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Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Minutes

Wednesday, November 28, 2001



NOVEMBER 28, 2001

CALL TO ORDER - Chair Larry Medinger called the meeting to order at 4:10 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Cate Hartzell, Richard Seidman, Joan Legg, Nancy Richardson, Diana Goodwin Shavey, Aaron Benjamin, and Jan Vaughn. There were no absent members. Staff present were Bill Molnar and Sue Yates.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Joan Legg moved to approve the minutes of the October 24, 2001 meeting. The motion was seconded and carried.


Medinger, Shavey and Richardson met with Russ Dale regarding his project that is scheduled for review at the December Planning Commission meeting that has a component of ten affordable houses. Dale was unable to be at this meeting today. Molnar said this project is a little different than the Kaufman Crossing zone change. In Dale’s project, it is five acres adjacent to Chautauqua Trace. He is requesting annexation. There is no zone change. The annexation standards for affordability are fairly objective. You either have to provide 25 percent of units to households that do not exceed 100 percent of the area median income or 15 percent of the units to households that do not exceed 80 percent of the area median. Dale is proposing to do ten units not to exceed 100 percent of area median and work out something with the Land Trust. There is so little discretion involved, Molnar was not certain about bringing it to the Housing Commission for review because he did not know what kind of recommendation they could forward to the Planning Commission. They could not recommend a change in the affordability standard because that is already contained in the annexation criteria. Medinger thought this needed further discussion.

Seidman would like an update on Commission vacancies and an update on the Lower Pines trailer park. Hartzell said the Mayor will be making a recommendation for next Tuesday’s meeting for filling McKeever’s position.

Medinger recognized Mayor DeBoer who said he was at today’s meeting just to listen in.

Shavey suggested in the future, an item is needed at the end standing agenda to include Unfinished Business or Other Items.

PUBLIC FORUM - No one came forth to speak.


Molnar reported this update has been rescheduled for December 18, 2001, at the 7:00 p.m. meeting. A presentation from the Community Outreach and Education subcommittee could be made. Items of interest include why we would do employer assisted housing, putting a face on poverty, summary report on land use work, interest in having serious feedback into CDBG process next year, list of the Commission’s accomplishments, and the Strategic Plan. Hartzell, Shavey, Seidman, Vaughn, and Medinger will meet at Geppetto’s on Tuesday, December 4th at 4:30 p.m. to work on the details of the presentation.


Shavey and Molnar came up with a simplified recommendation that incorporated a lot of the issues they had been discussing and would apply to anyone doing a re-zone or annexation or asking the city for a change in current land use involving any housing on the land.

The recommendation is as follows:

For all residential annexations of four units or greater:

1. A minimum of 15 percent of the proposed units shall be affordable for no less than thirty (30) years and available to qualifying buyers or renters with incomes at or below 80 percent of median income.

2. An additional 10 percent of the proposed units (for a total of 25 percent of all units) shall be affordable and available to qualifying buyers or renters with incomes at or below 100 percent of median income; or

the total number of affordable units required by this section shall be determined by rounding up fractional answers, determined above, to the nearest whole unit.

3. Properties providing affordable units as part of the annexation process shall also qualify for a density bonus for development under the Performance Standards Option for subdivisions.

Shavey continued with the suggested ordinance amendments concerning awarding density bonus.

Affordable Housing to include moderate income housing (100% of median), low income housing (80% of median), Federal Tax Credit Housing (60% of median), Community Land Trust Option (would give developers density equivelant to the next zoning density.

Shavey will add 30 years to item 2.

Hartzell said if we are giving density bonus, she would like more than 30 years. The premise is the trade-off of density is the incentive. She believes they need to look for unintended consequences. Eban Foder asserts that the cost of any house that gets built, taxpayers subsidize it for almost $3900 per house. By giving the density, we are dumping extra impacts to the cost of living for those who already live here.

Shavey said that is true whether or not there is affordable housing or not on a site. Medinger believes Foder’s numbers are laughable. Hartzell is not necessarily standing by these numbers, but there is a cost to growth. She does not think you can separate the cost of living from affordable housing. Molnar said the cost of subsidies is complex. Shavey said the bottom line is that if people are going to control the unit affordability for 30 years or more, and the only thing that is controllable is who owns the land. We have to get someone to give it to us in exchange for something non-monetary or we have to find the money to buy it. Hartzell said in giving the density bonus, there is a money trade-off. She would like some numbers.

Hartzell said if we give 30 years, there has to be enforcement. Shavey suggested deed restrictions.

Hartzell wondered if we want to tie this to how long someone has lived in the community. Shavey said that will depend somewhat on the source of funds. Under fair housing, can residents of Ashland be a protected class? You can probably give first priority to people who reside or are employed in Ashland. Molnar said there are similar restrictions on the current rental housing loan program as well as first -time home buyer loan program.

Mayor DeBoer thanked the Commissioners for their work. Shavey said she had a conversation with the Mayor and believes this Commission should get represented at the budget hearings in February. They should start making some loud noises about the city funds that are potentially available and try to convince the budget committee to set some of those monies aside for land acquisition. There are potential other options that we could use like hotel/motel tax. It might be possible to set aside some part of the hotel/motel tax for employer assisted housing for employees of hotels/motels and entertainment. DeBoer said a general operating fund of $18 million can be looked at by the budget committee.

Benjamin likes the idea of a land bank for affordable housing as it could have the greatest potential.

Mayor DeBoer left the meeting.

(Returning to Draft Recommendations) Molnar said when the density bonus was adopted originally in 1991, they rolled back the base density in each zone by ten percent. R-1-5 used to be five units per acre. When the density bonus was adopted, it was rolled back to 4.5 units per acre.

Hartzell asked for further explanation of the Federal Tax Credit Housing. Shavey said this item means it is tax credit eligible. There is a tax credit program making it possible for developers to apply for Federal income tax credits that can be sold and used to generate capital for equity purposes. The capital is used to increase the equity and decrease the debt. They are normally used in conjunction with non-profits developing housing and using the tax credits to buy down the cost of the housing. If they donated the land to the Land Trust, the developer is also eligible for the tax credit.

Hartzell asked the feasibility of asking for longer than 30 years to guarantee affordability. Shavey said the Land Trust would be permanent. They suggested 30 years because it is a mortgage cycle. It is common to make housing affordable for 50 years. Hartzell asked about 99 years. Would it require monitoring?

Molnar said it has been four years since anyone has used the volunteer density bonus. Annexation requires affordable housing.

Molnar suggested the Land Use subcommittee take a look at the recommendations. Hartzell has heard interest in having a liaison from the Planning Commissioners to the Housing Commission to review these types of things.

Shavey moved to adopt the recommendations as a working document to be reviewed further by groups for ultimate presentation to the City Council for adoption. Vaughn seconded the motion.

Richardson is looking at the sustainable picture when looking at affordable housing. There is a group of people who would purchase Land Trust homes who can work their way up in income so it does not matter if they gain as much equity. Other programs provide the only way for some people. Some people may never leave a certain income bracket either because of education or love of their job. These people need the equity. This is what they need for their old age housing. If we don’t look at the whole picture, we will be looking at an affordable housing crisis for the elderly 30 to 40 years down the line. She believes you need a little bit of all of it to meet the needs of all the people in order to have a sustainable picture for affordability. She thinks it should be 30 years but with a rollover available.

Bill Barchet spoke. He is concerned that with this ordinance, down the road in ten or 20 years it becomes something that is non-workable. Instead of having developers have a certain time for affordability, he would rather see the Commission take an equity position with affordability being done on a sliding scale.

Medinger left the meeting. Vice Chair Vaughn finished chairing the meeting.

At 5:30, Hartzell and Legg left the meeting.

(Back to the motion) The motion is not to adopt the recommendations as they are, but to send out to other groups to review and then bring it back to the Housing Commission. At that point, it would probably go to a Planning Commission Study Session. Seidman, Richardson, Vaughn, Benjamin, and Shavey approved.


Employer Assisted Housing - Shavey met with representatives from the hospital, city, school district, and SOU. The school district owns a piece of land on East Main Street and there is a possibility of looking at that land for employer assisted housing. Mayor DeBoer felt, as far as the Council was concerned, it would depend on the strength of the proposal brought to them. Shavey talked with Julie DiChiro, Superintendent of Schools, and she said the school district would be very concerned with transferring funds because of their shortfall of funds. They are willing to meet, but their enthusiasm is constrained by the idea of being asked to give land away. Watson suggested the hospital, SOU and others contribute and buy back some of the land from the school district which might address DiChiro’s concern.

Community Outreach and Education - Seidman passed out a summary of their meeting. The main items involve developing a website, community meetings, and a media campaign.

Land Use Practices - No report.

Staff Orientation and Oversight

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.








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