Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes January 26, 2017
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
Sue Crader Dennis Slattery
Rich Rohde  
Joshua Boettiger SOU Liaison
Tom Gunderson Megan Mercier, absent
Sharon Harris  
Michelle Linley Staff Present:
Heidi Parker Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissioners Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Tom Buechele  
Gina DuQuenne  
Rohde/Harris m/s to approve the minutes of the November 17, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission regular meeting. Voice Vote: All Ayes, minutes were approved as presented.
Debbie Neuenswander was present to observe the meeting. 
Maria Harris, City of Ashland Planning Manager was present to answer any questions and explain the changes proposed by the Planning Commission to the ordinance. Ms. Harris outlined the changes.
  • Cottage Housing developments would only be allowed in R-1-5, R-1-7.5 and the Normal Neighborhood single family zones. The R-1-10 zone was removed.  The thinking behind this was there isn’t much available lands in the R-1-10 larger lot zones and cottage housing isn’t as compatible in that zone. 
  • The number of allowable units in a cottage housing development was changed from a minimum of four to a minimum of three and the maximum of sixteen was lowered to a maximum of twelve.  Ms. Harris explained that the smaller numbers tend to be more successful throughout the country and the lower amount of units are more compatible in single family zones. It was also mentioned that when the number of households grow beyond a dozen or so it becomes difficult for people to know their neighbors in any depth or to live close enough to call them in an emergency. 
  • The size of the cottages is based on a floor area ratio (FAR).  FAR is the relationship between the total amount of usable floor area that a building has and the total area of the lot on which the building stands. In an analysis it as determined that a typical single family home built on a standard lot has a floor area ratio of approximately .40 to .50.  The ordinance states that cottage housing development will not exceed an FAR of 0.35.  This will affect the average unit sizes. 
  • Originally the lot coverage could only cover the same percentage as in a single family zone.  The new proposal is increasing lot coverage slightly because there tends to be more walkways going to the different units in a cottage development. At this time there is no minimum lot coverage, stated Ms. Harris.
The Commissioners asked a few questions of Ms. Harris. 
Can you develop a cottage housing in an R-2 zone?
            It was not necessary to include cottage housing in the R-2 zones because this housing type is already allowed in that zone if the lot is big enough.
To what extent did anybody consider affordability in the cottage housing designs?
            The planning commission’s discussion was really centered around the need to provide another smaller housing type.  Affordability wasn’t the main issue though smaller homes tend to be more affordable by nature.
Would a developer get any density bonus’ that are offered in other zones?
            Only if the cottage housing development is over seven units in size.  Ms. Harris did remind the Commissioners that most of the available building lands inventory in Ashland is smaller lots and it would be difficult to get up to twelve units on them.
It was questioned if it was really necessary to give density bonuses for recreational facilities, tennis courts, swimming pools etc. Seems like the intent of the cottage developments is not for a resort atmosphere. 
            Ms. Harris explained this is part of the existing code and the intent behind it is if you provide recreational facilities within your development it possibly could take some of the pressure off of our City Parks and Facilities.  Ms. Harris also reminded the Commissioners this is not a requirement.
The commissioners asked Ms. Harris if anyone on the planning commission actually tried to put four units in a 10,000 square foot lot adhering to the setbacks.  The Commissioners questioned whether or not it could be done, especially without a variance which is expensive.  The Commissioners also like the concept but feel that the design restrictions are too cumbersome.  They would like to see alternative parking allowed.  The proposal seems to have so much area designated to parking that it could restrict the amount of units on the lot.
Reid will put together a letter with the concerns of the Commission and bring it to next month’s meeting for review and approval. The Planning Commission will be discussing the ordinance again at their February 28th Study Session.  It was suggested that as many Commissioners that were available attend the Study Session and express their concerns.
Reid asked the question “Does this group want to expend the funding at this time knowing that it might not come back in and the Commission would need to identify a priority use as outlined in the ordinance.”
Rohde acknowledged this is an important discussion because we need complete transparency and understanding that this money has been unavailable for years.  Rhode explained there are two ways to use the money, Request for Proposal and Notice of Funding Availability. By ordinance ten percent of the money can be utilized for immediate use for help with the housing crisis. Rohde shared his frustration that it is difficult to find the line item in the budget.  Reid explained the money was never identified as an expenditure so it didn’t make it into the actual budget.  
Rohde gave an example saying recently the City had the potential of a thirty unit affordable housing project.  The Housing Trust fund money could be used for pre-development costs for projects such as that, stated Rohde.  Reid clarified the thirty unit affordable housing project was never a formal application.
The Commissioners agreed they need a tangible project to present to the Council before they will release the funds.  Would also like to see the Council find a funding steam to grow the amount. 
Rohde/Crader m/s that the Housing Commission recommend to the City that we follow our responsibility and present a request that the existing dollars in the end of fund balance be put into the useable budget for the coming two years and additional funds be surveyed and looked for additions to the $166,000.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed.  
The Commissioners reviewed the memo that Reid prepared for the Council regarding the porta-potty proposal.  Harris heard back from both the Parks Department and the Public Works Department in support of the proposal.  The Commissioners agreed they would like to request two more porta potties, one around the railroad park and one at the south end of town. 
Parker/Crader m/s that we approve with some additions that Linda will wordsmith on the draft Porta-Potty and submit it to the Council.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed. 
The Commissioners welcomed the new Council Liaison Dennis Slattery.  Slattery expressed his intention to be on this Commission as both affordable housing and affordable living are of specific interest to him.  Slattery acknowledged there are issues in the Planning Department. There appears to be plenty of laws that prohibit but we need planning rules that promote, stated Slattery.  Slattery also sees the homeless issues in our Community as something he would like to help with.  Slattery asked the question “Is two more nights at the shelter doable? Is there enough staff to manage that?  During the summer he would like us to identify some resident homeless priorities. Slattery is committed to being present and active at this Commissions meetings.
The Commissioners reviewed the strategic goals identified at the retreat held in December.  The Commission felt that it was important to revisit these goals and check in on their progress regularly.
Council – This is Commissioner Slattery’s first meeting and he has already introduced himself.  No other report at this time.
Staff – Reid will try and get in touch with Megan Mercier the SOU Liaison for this Commission.  She has not been present at the meetings for quite some time.  Perhaps Leo would be able to take her place. 
Quorum Check – Everyone should be present
A discussion surrounding zero tolerance on hate speech and what we can do to keep it out of our community. Be a partner in bringing forth a resolution. 
Review questions for Social Service Grant applications.
Next Housing and Human Services Regular Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; February 23, 2017, in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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