Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes January 25, 2018
Commission Chair Rohde 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
Tom Gunderson Traci Darrow, absent
Rich Rohde  
Heidi Parker SOU Liaison
Michelle Linley  
Gina DuQuenne  
Jackie Bachman Staff Present:
Sue Crader Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Linda Reppond Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Bachman/Crader m/s to approve the minutes of the November 16, 2017 regular Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed. 
No one spoke at public forum.
Reid reviewed with the Commissioners the timeline schedule for the 2018 Community Development Block Grant and Ashland Housing Trust Fund grant applications.
  • January 1, 2018 – The RFP applications were available to the public.  They were published in the newspaper, City of Ashland website and previous applicants were mailed a letter.
  • February 16, 2018 – Applications are due by 4:30 pm
  • March 22, 2018 – Public Hearing at the Housing and Human Services Commission regular meeting who will then provide recommendations for awards to the City Council.
  • April 17, 2018 – Public Hearing at the Ashland City Council to make the final award selection(s).
This Commission has made communication with the Council a priority goal and would like to encourage Tracy Darrow the Council Liaison to be present at next month’s regular HHS Commission meeting.  Reid will speak to Darrow about the importance of being there.  It was suggested to invite another City Councilor or the Mayor as well.
As we go into this process we will pay close attention to any conflict of interest, stated Rohde.  Traditionally conflict of interest hasn’t been a problem with CDBG applications, the problem occurred with the Social Service Grant money.  There is a slight chance that Gunderson may recuse himself because he is joining the board of Rogue Retreat and there is a possibility they may have an application.
City Senior Planner, Brandon Goldman reported at the January 16, 2018 Council meeting the Ashland City Council directed staff to develop a final draft ordinance in order to implement the infill strategies for the Transit Triangle area.  Council also recommended that staff look at incentive based strategies such as vertical housing and system development credits in order to promote the proposed types of housing. 
The Transit Triangle is comprised of Ashland Street along the north edge, Siskiyou Boulevard on the southwest side, and Tolman Creek Road on the eastern edge.  This area includes opportunities for development of additional businesses and housing. Several issues were found to exist under the current zoning and land use standards that limit Commercial and Residential Development in the Transit Triangle.  Goldman explained that the preliminary analysis determined that changes to land use and zoning standards implemented in tandem with streetscape improvements allowed for development that could feasibly achieve rents affordable to median income households.
Goldman gave a power point presentation and answered questions.
Are apartments a possibility in this area?
Apartments would be allowed in the residential zones but not in the Commercial areas located mostly along Ashland Street.  The market tends to promote ownership property rather than apartments.
I didn’t see any mention of studio apartments; could they be referenced in the document?
If there is a market for studio apartments a developer could develop them.  We are only proposing getting rid of the density not proposing the size of the units.
Do the Developers have any rent control as rents continually increase?
Rent control is not permissible.  If the market allows for an increase the landlord can do it.  If the City offers an incentive, like system development charge deferrals, then the units would be required to maintain a certain level of affordability.
Was underground parking something that was discussed?
Underground parking would be allowable and there are areas in which it would work well.  The cost of underground parking is so high it could increase the amount of rent.
What are you hearing from the developers? 
Developers like hearing Lessening of restrictions.  They did express their concerns that some of the development costs in the model were somewhat low, construction costs are higher in Ashland.  Favorable regarding the reduction of parking. They had some concern with the setback and articulation requirements. 
What is the legality around restricting the use to rental as opposed to other uses?
There is an existing code in place that allows for ownership units to be developed above Commercial properties however the ordinance limits density and number of stories.  The applicant can choose to use the new Triangle Transit Zoning Code Ordinance then the restrictions can be imposed only allowing rental units.
The ordinance will go through a public hearing process before the Planning Commission and City Council to get more feedback on it for revisions.   The formal ordinance will be adopted by the City Council. This ordinance will come back to this Commission again for their review and recommendations. The Commissioners agreed this is an exciting opportunity for developing housing but would like to add how important it is to have housing that benefits the lower income target as well.
The Commissioners discussed the goals that were set at their December 13, 2017 goal setting retreat. 
The Community Development Director brought the discussion of Porta Potties to the leadership team and the new Public Works Director Paula Brown.  Brown was in favor of installing Porta Potties and felt it was a health issue.  It is still in the exploratory phase, looking at the cost feasibility.  Reid acknowledged it probably can be removed from the goals.
Parker commented she is in conversation with ACCESS regarding the funding for a Shelter Coordinator.  This too might be able to be removed from the goals.
The Commission commented it’s important to keep these goals in front of them.  They suggested on every Agenda there be a small check box with each goal listed.  Every time a goal is achieved they can check it off.  It was suggested to put land banking back on the list of goals. Parker expressed that things seem to get done at a glacial pace and sub committees are probably the most effective way to get an audience with any member of the Council.  Getting one or two Council members and working directly with them yields the greatest good, stated Parker. 
Reppond/Gunderson m/s to focus the Strategic Plan language on what we want to see and include the Land Bank and not necessarily put them in priority order. Voice Vote:  All ayes, motion passed.
Reppond volunteered to work on putting the language in a more positive way. 
At the HHSC annual retreat it was suggested that staff share the Cost of Homelessness Report put together by ACCESS in 2016.  Reid went through the power point presentation pointing out topics of interest.  The Commissioners also had the presentation in their packet. 
Council - Darrow was not present, no report.
SOU – Linley introduced Noah Hurley who currently works in the SOU Housing Department.  He has decided to apply for the SOU Liaison seat on the Commission.  Mr. Hurley shared his wife works for the Department of Human Services and Child Protective Services in Josephine County.  He and his wife see a large population who are trying to find affordable housing which has caused Mr. Hurley to be passionate about affordable housing for students and our Community as a whole.  Mr. Hurley acknowledged SOU is interested in creating more housing on campus to help with this situation. 
Staff - Reid reported the Point in Time Homeless count was taking place this week.  The survey will be given to ACCESS who will then tabulate the data and turn it into the State.  Reid remarked that the Jackson County Continuum of Care is undergoing some changes.  The first Board meeting with new Board members will be on January 29, 2018 at the Medford Police Station. 
Audience member Princess Franks introduced herself.  She has applied for the vacancy on the Commission and has an interview with the mayor.  Ms. Franks has lived in affordable housing and personally experienced what it’s like to raise children and make a living while looking for somewhere in Ashland to live. 
Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; February 22, 2018 at 51 Winburn Way.
Quorum Check – Commissioner Reppond will be out of town for next month’s meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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