This Affordable Housing Action Plan was adopted by the City Council in 2002 and recommends a number of strategies that Ashland can take to address the problem of affordable housing. Many of these strategies have been, or are in the process of being addressed by the City. The full document attached goes into further detail regarding specific tools available to address these six strategies.
The strategies are:
1. Provide funding for affordable housing.
The crux of providing affordable housing is finding ongoing funding sources to finance the development of affordable housing. The plan recommends creating a Housing Trust Fund with dedicated funding sources. Deciding on sources will require both study and building a consensus for adopting legislation for the fund.
2. Reduce development and operating costs.
Ashland has adopted several measures to defer systems development fees for affordable housing developments. Additional measures could further reduce planning and development fees and utility costs. Ashland should continue this approach while determining an annual limit so that the impact on the City's budget can be known and planned for.
3. Adopt land use regulations to promote affordable housing.
The City is in a position to use its land use and zoning authority to assist in developing affordable housing. Recommendations include: rezoning land to multi-family use, identifying target properties for affordable housing that takes advantage of new state laws for tax exemptions, examining the feasibility of expanding the Urban Growth Boundary for a property owned by the school district, restricting single family housing in land zoned for multi-family use, permitting accessory units in single family zones, and encouraging and promoting development on small lots in new subdivisions.
4. Preserve and create affordable housing.
Affordable housingcan be developed and kept permanently for low and moderate income households leveraging funds from State and Federal housing programs where the development is by non-profits or by the Jackson County Housing Authority. Where the City assists affordability through the waiver of development or utility fees, the City should adopt a policy requiring long-term affordability for a period of 60 years as required in City ordinances on affordable housing.
5. Develop organizational capability.
To provide a focus for its affordable housing efforts the City should immediately create a full-time position of a Housing Coordinator to enable the development of affordable housing and seek auxiliary funding sources to improve price and costs of housing for low and moderate income households. The Housing Coordinator should develop good working relationships with non-profit housing organizations. The Housing Commission will play an important role in Ashland's affordable housing program. (Note this positition has been created and filled as a full time position in the Planning Department since 2003)
6. Build understanding and support for affordable housing.
The Housing Commission should develop a public information program to explain the need and benefits of affordable housing and build support for actions needed to develop and preserve affordable housing. Other actions include preparing an Annual Housing Report, and holding an Annual Affordable Housing Conference.