Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Special Mtg

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27, 2018
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
 Commissioners Present: Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members: Council Liaison:
  Dennis Slattery, absent

Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the City Council approved First Reading of the Transit Triangle Ordinance.  Second Reading would occur at the City Council meeting December 18, 2018.   The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had positive feedback about the Planning Commission and staff.  At the City Council meeting December 4, 2018, the Planning Commission would give the annual commission presentation and Council would hear the 880 Park Street Appeal.  The City Council would hear an appeal for 188 Garfield Street at their meeting December 18, 2018.  The appellants cited 12 points of error in their appeal.
Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Spoke on climate change, Statewide Goal 13, and the recent national assessment released from the White House.
A.   PLANNING ACTION:  PA-L-2018-00004              
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  Housing ElementDESCRIPTION:  The proposal amends Chapter 6, (the Housing Element), of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Ashland.  Revisions include a new narrative, updates to exiting, and the addition of new, charts and tables and revised goals and policies.  Additionally, the Regional Housing Strategy document drafted by EcoNorthWest will be adopted as a technical supporting document to the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Staff Report
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman and Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid provided a presentation on the update. They gave an overview of the public outreach and key issues identified during that process.  The result was four overarching Goals and 24 policies that address community values.
  • Goal 1: Ensure a range of different dwelling types that provide living opportunities for the total cross section of Ashland’s population.  This Goal included Policies 1-8.
  • Goal 2: Support creation and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households and that is commensurate with the incomes of Ashland’s workforce.  This Goal included Policies.
  • Goal 3: Encourage development of housing in ways that protect the natural environment and encourage development patterns that reduce the effects of climate change.  This Goal included Policies 17-20.
  • Goal 4: Forecast and plan for changing housing needs over time in relation to land supply and housing production.  This Goal included Policies 21- 24. 
The Housing Strategy was a document drafted by EcoNorthWest.  It would be adopted as a technical supporting document to the Comprehensive Plan.  Technical supporting documents did not establish new policies.  They provided technical information and a framework for future elected or appointed officials.  The Housing Strategy identified the following five policies and several actions:
  • Policy 1: Provide a variety of housing types in Ashland that are more affordable to middle-income households, as well as provide opportunities for development of housing affordable to moderate and low-income households.
  • Policy 2: Encourage development of new multifamily in areas zoned for multifamily housing and commercial areas by increasing the amount and density of multifamily development.
  • Policy 3: Monitor residential land development to ensure there is enough residential land to accommodate the long-term forecast for population growth.
  • Policy 4: Develop policies to support affordable housing by lowering the costs of housing development for low-income affordable housing and/or middle-income affordable housing.
  • Policy 5: Develop funding sources to pay for the costs of implementing the affordable housing programs described in Policy 4 and fund the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 
Questions of Staff
The Commission discussed adding a goal that supported rental properties with policies that protected renters and rentals.  They added it under Goal 1 as Policy 9 Encourage retention and development of rental housing.
Staff explained Goal 1, Policy 6 would serve as a guide on short term rentals, rentals and condominium conversions.
Universal Housing was an industry term defined as housing that looked holistically at differing needs.  Staff would revise the language and include a definition in the Housing Element and in Policy 2 under Goal 1.
Goal 3, Policy 20 spoke to designing housing that encouraged walking and biking while considering the topography and aging community.  The Transportation Element addressed this in more detail.  Goal 1, Policy 3 included some elements of transportation and housing compatibility as well.
Staff explained how Policy 9 and Policy 15 under Goal 2 worked together to preserve rentals.  Some affordable housing did not have City restrictions and were subsidized by the federal government.  Staff suggested revising the language to make the policies clearer.  Ashland had the greatest affordable housing loss in the state due to deed restrictions and housing turning over to regular housing. 
The City did not have a mechanism in place to track rental rates for privately owned apartment complexes.  They did have the ability to get that information through surveys but to date had not. 
An RPS requirement adopted by the Comprehensive Plan in Chapter 14 had a density target of 6.6 units per acre.  It recognized Ashland would not expand into the urban growth boundary.  It was adopted in the Regional Plan Element and mandatory.  Goal 4 Policy 23 spoke to it as well.  
Policy 16 under Goal 2 was intentionally broad because infrastructure had an impact on housing and could change over time.
Public Testimony
Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Did not support the Housing Element updates and thought it should be redone using Oregon State Goal 13 and nothing else.
Deliberations & Decision
The Commission made the following changes:
Goal 1
  • Policy 1: Replace “…household sizes, and cultural backgrounds” with “…household sizes and types.”
  • Policy 4: Change “Housing opportunities should be accessible…” to “Housing opportunities should be available…”
  • Policy 7:  Delete “…specifically in the historic resources.”
  • Add Policy 9 Encourage the retention and development of rental housing.  Renumber the following policy numbers. 
Goal 2
  • Policy 9:  Change verbiage from “Encourage the preservation of affordable housing, including non-subsidized units, to avoid the net loss of safe, healthy, affordable housing,” to “Encourage the preservation of housing that is required to be affordable to avoid the net loss of safe, healthy, affordable housing.”
  • Policy 10:  Change, “Utilize Ashland’s Housing Trust Fund to encourage…” to “Utilize Ashland’s Housing Trust Fund or other City financial funding mechanisms to encourage…”  
The Commission discussed a suggestion to add a policy restricting volumes on house expansions to maintain affordability.  Commission majority was not comfortable imposing the restriction and thought setbacks and height restrictions covered expansion.
Goal 3 – No changes.
Goal 4
  • Policy 21:  Change a semi-colon to a comma. 
Staff Report
  • Page 4, III Conclusions and Recommendations second paragraph, first sentence correct “Housing.” 
  • Housing Element Narrative
  • Add the Universal Housing definition.
  • Combine Section 6.05 and 6.04 as Housing Type and Housing Demand with housing type definitions first then the housing demand.
  • Page 7 punctuation changes to the last paragraph.
  • Page 8 remove the last sentence from the first paragraph, “Table VI-3 shows…”
  • Page 9 Townhouses and Condominiums remove density amounts.
  • Page 13 Multiple Family Housing second sentence, replace “As can be seen,” with “The percentage of multi-family housing stock shown in Chart VI-5…”  and change VI-5 from “Table” to “Chart.”  First partial paragraph, last sentence.  Change wording to “For purposes of estimating demand for various housing categories, income and housing tenure trends, the following four general types of housing demand are assumed.”
  • Page 20, first paragraph second sentence remove the words “continue to…” to read “By decreasing transportation costs, the City can improve the overall….” Same page and paragraph strike the fourth sentence, “Growth management…” 
Staff confirmed the Residential Land Supply Table was updated every five years and adopted as a technical supporting document by the City Council.  
The Commission discussed a future suggestion to add in-migration to the language on Page 4 Housing Stock, first paragraph.
The City Council would discuss the Housing Element update at their January 2019 Study Session.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to accept the draft Housing Element with all the changes and modifications.  Voice Vote:  All AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.
Mr. Goldman explained the Housing Strategies could be adopted or attached to the Housing Element.  It would be a technical document and part of the Housing Element.  The document was not considered policy. 
The Commission disagreed with some of the content in the memo, had concerns regarding the lack of implementation strategies and issues with the format.  They wanted to make changes to the document as well.  Discussing the matter at a future meeting would be beneficial.     
The Housing and Human Services Commission had a public hearing on the matter at their meeting November 15, 2018.  They recommended approval of the Housing Element but had issues with the Housing Strategy document.  They were not sure whether it should be a timeline or have more requisite language.  The Commission would readdress the item at their meeting December 19, 2018 before making a recommendation to the City Council.
The Planning Commission added the Housing Strategy document to the update of the Regional Housing Strategy Plan.
Meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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