Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes August 25, 2016
Chair Boettiger called the meeting to order at 4:30 pm in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development and Engineering Offices located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland OR 97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Pam Marsh, arrived at 5:15
Rich Rohde  
Joshua Boettiger SOU Liaison
Tom Gunderson Megan Mercier, absent
Sharon Harris  
Sue Crader Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Heidi Parker Carolyn Schwendener, Staff Secretary
Tom Buechele  
Rohde/DuQuenne m/s to approve the minutes of the July 28, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission as presented.  Voice Vote: All Ayes, minutes were unanimously approved.
Audience members introduced themselves. 
Michelle Linley, resident manager at Snowberry Brook and works for the Housing Authority of Jackson County.  Ms. Lindley has applied for the vacancy on this Commission. She was present to observe the meeting.
Brandon Goldman, City of Ashland Senior Planner, is giving a presentation on Cottage Housing this evening.
Kathy Kennedy, represents Southern Oregon Renters Association.
Maryanne Baker, works for the State of Oregon housing for people with HIV/AIDS program and has also applied for the vacancy on this Commission. She was present to observe the meeting.
Huelz Gutchen, designs zero net energy homes.  Huelz briefly explained his desire that we not add any carbons at all.  The technology has been here for a couple of years and it’s important for the builders to learn it, stated Huelz.  The only way out of climate change is to have zero net energy or autonomous homes.  The key is to understand “What is the carbon signature.”  Huelz remarked that the State is working to implement a policy that all houses being sold have to disclose a list of energy use. 
Rohde reported that the forum had a great turn out approximately eighty participants.  The three topics at the forum discussed were Policy Solutions, Housing Trust Fund and Housing and Shelter Options for Homeless Residents.  In the course of the two hour event the group came up with a huge amount of good ideas, brain storms and next steps.  The Forum also looked at the Housing Rental Survey that United Oregon had been working on.  A report was put together summarizing the results from the forum.  See exhibit A at the end of the minutes.  This report will also be emailed to those who were in attendance. 
To conclude Rohde felt the forum accomplished most of the goals they set out to accomplish though this is only a start of what is needed. The Commissioners asked Rohde how this Commission could most effectively help.  Rohde acknowledged keeping this topic on the agenda would be helpful so the next steps could be discussed.  This Commission can be a stirrer of good ideas and even a mover of some of those ideas, stated Rohde. 
Goldman suggested this Commission might like to give an update on what they are working on along with the forum results at the Planning Commission Study Session on September 27.  The Planning Commission meets at Council Chambers located at 1175 E Main Street at 7:00 pm. 
Commissioner Harris departed from the agenda in order to give an explanation regarding last month’s minutes.  Harris acknowledged that the minutes were accurate as to what was said but she wanted to clarify who she was referring to as Council members on the Chamber Board.  Harris was counting the Mayor, the City Administrator, Dennis Slattery and Pam Marsh.  
Brandon Goldman, City Senior Planner, gave a presentation on Cottage Housing.  Goldman explained this is something the City Council has been discussing for years.  Cottage Housing does not represent a completely new type of zoning, but rather an alternative use of land with an existing underlying zoning. The size of the cottage will play a large part in determining what market segments find it appealing.  Smaller cottages will attract mostly single buyers with some couples, whereas larger cottages work well for couples or even small families.  One of the advantages of providing smaller units with fewer occupants per household, is the ability to reduce standard parking requirements to allow for more land area to be dedicated to common open space.
Goldman mentioned that prior to adopting a complete reformatting of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance in December 2014, the City Council deleted the then proposed section on cottage housing and referred the item back to the Planning Commission for further review.  At the study sessions on April 26, and August 23 2016 the Planning Commission reviewed the prior draft of the ordinance and discussed land availability, applicable zones, unit sizes, and density allowances relating to the new cottage housing development standards.  The draft Ordinance is still a work in progress, stated Goldman, there will be future public hearings and community input before the final ordinance language is sent to the City Council for their review. 
The Commissioners asked a few questions of Goldman.
Will there be an opportunity for public input?
Yes, there will be many opportunities for public input.  The public is encouraged to attend any of the Commission meetings, study sessions and City Council meetings where they will discuss the draft ordinance.
Do you think there are developers within our Community that would be willing to look at cottage housing?
Yes, in 2014 when cottage housing was originally looked at there were developers who were looking at properties where they could develop cottage housing.  Had the ordinance been adopted we probably would have seen some applications come forward, said Goldman.
Do you have an example of cottage Housing in our community?
The Normal Neighborhood plan is currently in the County but as it gets annexed into the City there would be the possibility of cottage housing within the single family zone. Because an annexation would take place there would also be an affordable housing component. Verde Village is a development located at the old Ashland Greenhouses on Nevada Street which is currently under construction, it has a segment that includes cottages.
Is there any consideration to using the cottage standards for Tiny Homes?
No, cottage housing is built on a permanent foundation and connected to permanent services.  Tiny homes are generally on trailers, essentially they are recreational vehicles, and might not be hooked up to services.  They are looked at as different housing types.
Boettiger reported that he had spoken with John Wieczorek earlier in the day and Mr. Wieczorek explained they are bringing to their board at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the proposal to have a porta potty at their church.  Mr. Wieczorek was feeling very optimistic that the board will approve the proposal.  This would be amazing, stated Boettiger.  If they approve to have this porta potty Boettiger suggested that the Commission could take the same proposal to other Faith groups in other areas in town.  The commission will look into whether or not the city can offer any money to help with the monthly fee of porta potties. 
Council – Councilor Marsh met with one of the developers of Verde Village and commented that the development is a model for Ashland to look at for cottage housing.They anticipate the purchase price of the cottage housing to be between $300,000 and $325,000.  Marsh said the Council has an upcoming study session in which they will discuss the new excise tax.  It was agreed that the Housing Trust Fund needs to find a new source of funding and there appears to be two options; the marijuana tax and the excise tax. As we are coming up on a campaign season with a number of seats on the Council open, this is a great time to be talking about housing issues.  How are these candidates who are running committed to this issue, inquired Marsh?
Marsh was not present at last month’s meeting but asked to address some implications that were made in the minutes from that meeting.  There was a miss-statement about the Chamber and the relationship with the City Councilors.  There are no Councilors on the Chamber board stated Marsh, only a liaison position in which Marsh holds.  (Harris made a correction to the minutes at the 9/22/2016 meeting.  She did not say the Councilors were on the Chamber Board but that they participated in the Chamber) Marsh is not a voting member but does attend the meeting when she is available. The “Change with a Purpose” program was put together at a committee level and brought to the board for final consideration.  Marsh did not attend any of those development meetings.
Marsh explained that the money the Chamber receives from the City comes from the Transient Occupancy Tax.  A portion of the TOT money is designated to be used on tourism related promotions and expenditures.  The statement was made that St. Vincent DePaul is not local but in fact the money is used only for the local St. Vincent DePaul.  The Chamber wanted one group to represent people with Housing (St. Vincent DePaul) and the group to help with food (Ashland Community Food Bank).  Marsh emphasized that the Food Bank tries to stay out of the political limelight and with the exception of the money received from the Community Development Block Grant funds to buy the building, they have never asked for money from the City of Ashland.  Marsh went on to say she is somewhat sensitive about the idea her association would suggest anything other than a fair choice of organizations to be involved in with the Chambers effort.  Marsh made the comment the program has not brought in any money as of yet. 
Staff – Reid reported that HUD representative came to Southern Oregon because our county is not meeting their goal of rehousing veterans in a timely manner.  This is something HUD has prioritized and put a lot of money into.  Reid acknowledge that we currently do not have enough rental units to put people in regardless of how much money HUD gives us to pay for the rent. 
The Jackson County Homeless task force manages the continuum of care grant money from HUD to house homeless populations in our county.  The County receives over $300,000 and has previously sponsored four organizations, The Home at Last housing voucher program for people with disabilities, The Transitional living program administered by Community Works to house homeless youth, The Salvation army hope house, Access for a unit at Woodrow Pines for peoples with Mental Health issues.  HUD no longer is encouraging transitional housing but would like to put the money somewhere else as they would like to see more permanent supportive housing.  The county is in danger of losing some of that money if the continuum does not better meet HUD’s goals.
Quorum Check –
Next Housing Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; September 22, 2016 in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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