ASHLAND HOUSING COMMISSION
FEBURARY 27, 2002
CALL TO ORDER- The meeting was called to order by Chair Nancy Richardson at 4:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Joan Legg, Andy Dungan, Jan Vaughn, Richard Seidman, Diana Goodwin-Shavey, Aaron Benjamin, and Cate Hartzell. There were no absent members. Staff present were Bill Molnar and Sue Yates.
Jan Vaughn announced this would be her last meeting. She does not plan to ask for reappointment.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- Shavey noted a correction to the minutes on page 3. The sentence should read: "Shavey has a CDBG program 'summary' she got off the web." Vaughn moved to approve the minutes as corrected, Dungan seconded and the minutes were approved.
PUBLIC FORUM- No one came forth to speak.
PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS TO CDBG PROGRAM - UPDATE
Richardson reported that Maria Harris attended the meeting to explain the modifications. Richardson said she asked Harris if for 2003, we could change whether or not we want as top priority, perpetuity. In other words, unless Habitat or RVCDC change the way they operate, if they come to us and Ashland Community Land Trust is on board, the Land Trust will automatically get that money because they are in perpetuity.
Shavey has been a fan of perpetuity, however, she realizes perpetuity could tie our hands if there was a land use change or if there would be an opportunity to own a piece of land to trade for another piece that would provide affordable housing. Maybe we ought to have some wording that would indicate a concrete period of time or the economic life of the building.
Legg believes this is a moral question too. She does not believe it is showing good stewardship of public money to have only one provider. She would not be in favor of perpetuity.
Richardson thought with such a small amount of money, it should be leveraged towards other projects and organizations as much as possible. The money will strengthen, over a number of years, several organizations.
Shavey would be interested in setting up a point system and scoring all applications every year and giving it to the most responsive applicants according to the point system in that given year.
With regard to perpetuity, Shavey continued that perhaps we could write a requirement that if the non-profit chooses to sell the land, that almost any proceeds from that land have to be rolled over into affordable housing again or it has to go to another non-profit for affordable housing. This could get at the continued use of the resources in perpetuity even if the land is not held in perpetuity.
Dungan read from the City's CDBG Goals and Strategies. Strategy 1.2, Goal 3, and Strategy 3.2 don't talk about ownership, but about keeping it in the affordable inventory. A deed restriction would run with the house and land.
Shavey is concerned with interpretation.
Benjamin believes it would be to our advantage to encourage the non-profits to look for a means to accomplish the objective of keeping affordable housing in perpetuity.
Dungan wondered if someone could look at some new language. Richardson clarified that any changes made would be for 2003.
REQUEST FOR BLOCK GRANT FUNDS
Molnar thought the proposals for CDGB funding would be presented to the Housing Commission at the March meeting to forward a recommendation to the Council. The Commissioners indicated they would like a special meeting to review the proposals.
Shavey recommended establishing a point criteria. Richardson thought we were bound by the criteria. Shavey suggested a special meeting to work out a point system for meeting the criteria and a special meeting to hear the presentations. Molnar said he would look at the schedule for taking this to the Council. Shavey, Legg and Medinger volunteered to meet to establish a point system in the next week.
HOUSING PROVIDER MEETING- Richardson said the meeting of housing providers took place on Monday and the group decided to begin meeting once a month.
PUBLIC MEETINGS LAW - PAUL NOLTE, CITY ATTORNEY
Nolte said he is here to explain some of the aspects of the public meetings law and how it may apply to the commission and any committees they may serve on. This commission is subject to public meetings law.
The definition of those public bodies subject to a public meetings law also include any board, commission, committee, or subcommittee of a city board or commission. Even if you appoint private citizens not on the board or commission, those people become a public body subject to the public meetings law. When any of these groups meet, they have to give notice and minutes have to be taken. When any two members get together, itís a quorum if they deliberate towards making a decision. Every time they get together it is a meeting. It is difficult, in terms of resources, to comply. It is possible, but the commissioners need to be aware of the public meetings law and how it applies.
Nolte said if you appoint a committee to do nothing more than gather information, that committee is not subject to the public meetings law. If you appoint a committee to come back with individual recommendations, that is not subject to the public meetings law.
Nolte explained if a quorum of a commission gets together for a purely social gathering and no deliberations or decisions are made, no notice needs to be given nor minutes taken. There is a fine line.
Nolte said you donít want to give the impression there is any subterfuge or the appearance of avoiding the public meetings law. It is necessary to notify the media before meeting.
Nolte said with regard to exchange of e-mails, the closer you come to real time exchanges, the closer you come to meeting. It becomes a problem if you are all on line at the same time.
Richardson asked if it creates an economic interest conflict when someone is hired as a consultant if he/she is a member of the commission. Nolte said it is a conflict if there becomes an economic gain to be made. There are two types of conflict. There is potential and actual. If you stand to gain economically (paid staff), your conflict has to be stated and you cannot vote or deliberate. You can vote or deliberate if there is a potential conflict.
MOBILE HOME ORDINANCE - STATUS
Nolte reported the Planning Commission heard this in November. After that meeting, Nolte met with Rohde, the committee and staff to see how this ordinance should move forward. The revisions made are with regard to when the mobile home park is converted to any other use, what body would hear it. It would go directly to the Council. The mobile home park owner has some responsibilities too. Basically, if the mobile home park owner removes the tenant he/she is required to find a space for the tenant or pay the tenant $5000. If the mobile home to be moved isnít worth $5000, the mobile home park owner only has to pay the value of the mobile home. The purpose of the public hearing would be to shed light on the closure of the park.
Shavey wondered who decides the value of the mobile home. If its only value is tied to its current location because it wonít meet the criteria to go into any other mobile home park in town, who decides if the value is a $10,00 or nothing? What is the remedy and who handles whether the owner is liable for it or not? If mobile homes are personal property, they fall into the same category as furnishings inside an apartment building. If an apartment building owner decides to close an apartment, he/she has no obligation to move the personal property of the tenants or compensate them for their personal property of the tenants. How did Nolte come to the legal conclusion that you can handle one set of personal property one way and another set of personal property another way?
Nolte said we can build a whole process of how mobile homes are to be valued. It is an area fraught with dispute as it is now written.
Nolte said in response to Shaveyís second question, under the governmentís police powers, there are a lot of cases that justify rent controls. The government can make a case there is a need that can be satisfied through the adoption of this legislation. He believes the City has the legal authority to require payment. Even the state law requires $3500 if the mobile home owners donít give notice.
Vaughn said they found out that some of the units at the Lower Pines are rental units. How would that be addressed? Nolte said it would be more difficult if you wanted to do something for those that rent.
Richardson noted there could be salvage value on a mobile home.
Hartzell asked that with regard to the sale of a mobile home park, a "good faith offer" has to be made, not first right of refusal? Nolte said that is correct. If the mobile home park owner puts it on the market at a certain price, they have to make a good faith effort to negotiate with the tenantís association as to whether their offer might be competitive with any other buyer. Shavey said this permits private sales to continue without ever having to put it on the market.
This ordinance will go before the Council on March 19, 2002 for a first reading.
Rich Rohde was in the audience and suggested the value for the mobile home should be the assessed value. This value presumably represents what the mobile home is worth. Nolte said that would make it easy. It could be the assessed value or $5000, whichever is less. Nolte will add the assessed valuation wording.
Rohde said this ordinance is going to be very important for all the mobile home owners in Ashland. Eugene has an ordinance that is ten years old. This will give hope and impetus for other mobile residents. This is not a solution to affordable housing, just a small step.
Legg moved that Nolte add the assessed valuation language. Shavey seconded the motion and all the Commissioners approved.
Shavey moved to extend the meeting 20 minutes. The motion was moved and it was carried.
Outreach and Education - Seidman said they have worked more on the website and forwarded the content to Ann Seltzer. She has put much of it on the website. She is refining the different links. Seidman said he is waiting for a few more pieces, but for now, it is pretty much done.
The Outreach and Education committee meets the second Wednesday of the month (March 13th) at 10:00 a.m. at Campus Grounds Coffee House. At the March meeting, they will be discussing public meetings.
Jeff LeLande is doing a cable TV show on housing with various players in the valley. He is looking for a representative from the Housing Commission to do an interview this Saturday. Medinger volunteered.
Land Use Practices - Vaughn said they will need a new chairperson. Medinger is interested in a small commitment and in land use. Richardson volunteered for this committee.
Hartzell is continuing to work on the draft density.
Employer Assisted Housing - Shavey said she got the distinct impression from the Mayor that instead of pushing the initial concept, he would rather go after the railroad site. She proposed using land over the hospital parking lot for housing and Jim Watson was intrigued with that idea. Thatís as far as it has gone. Hartzell thought it would be good to get involved in board meetings to begin discussions regarding the hospitalís expansion plan.
Hartzell is working with Carlus Harris on the railroad district building.
Medinger said he has been meeting with the school district to try and push use of the schoolís land on East Main for residential use. He feels the school board and the district are feeling castigated recently over their drug and alcohol policy in addition to budget problems, and as a result are afraid to step into this issue. The Commission was in agreement that this is an opportunity for the district to show some good faith and moving forward if they were to use this land for affordable housing. Medinger said the hospital and City are totally online for this. Hartzell suggested a meeting on this. Shavey keeps hearing that the political issues around expanding the Urban Growth Boundary are a barrier in some settings. When the school district had its various meetings last year, parents from everywhere were telling them to sell the land. Medinger said they donít even have to sell it, but using it as a pass-through project, allowing younger childbearing families to stay in Ashland until they are ready to form a homestead. Shavey suggested one of the reasons for a public meeting would be to discuss the impact on the community as a whole for a town that doesnít have any children. Hartzell said they can work out a meeting time over e-mail.
Shavey noted that she is the Executive Director of the Schools Foundation. She has discussed with the Board whether or not there is any potential or perceived conflict. They advised her there is not a conflict.
The Commissioners asked employer assisted housing be put on next monthís agenda.
Medinger has a potential economic interest and will abstain from participating in discussions on this matter.
Molnar received a voice mail from the consultants saying they would have the draft by the end of this week. The City supplied their data needs and forwarded them some good personnel data. The consultants said they are having difficulty getting the same personnel data from the hospital and university. Once the draft comes in, the Oversight Committee will take a look at it and will schedule a presentation before the Housing Commission and Council.
NEXT MONTHíS MEETING- The next meeting will be held Tuesday, April 2, 2002 at 4:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers.
Dungan would like to put an item on the agenda to discuss what the Commission would do if they were to hire a staff person. He believes one of the reasons nothing has happened on this is because we have no clarity about what we want. What would his/her responsibilities be, where would they be located, etc.?
Legg had some written information she wanted the Commissioners to read. She noted that Mary Brooks is an expert on funding affordable housing trust funds. Shavey thought we should go ahead and schedule this.
Hartzell asked Molnar for an update of the two programs currently in our trust fund.
ADJOURNMENT- The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.