Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 12 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor John Morrison called the Study Session to order at 12:05 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
City Administrator Gino Grimaldi and Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman were also present.

1.  Review of Lithia Parking Lot Affordable Housing Proposals.

Staff Presentation:
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman explained that the City of Ashland issued a Request for Proposals in December of 2004 for the development of affordable housing on the Lithia Way Parking lot, located between Pioneer Street and First Street.

Provisions of the RFP included:

Affordable Housing Development
- Up to ten rental units
- Less than 80% Area Median Income targeted
- 40 year affordability period requested
Reversion to City Ownership at end of affordability period
Downtown and Historic Compatibility
Flexible to encourage proposals that do not meet the specific requirements

Mr. Goldman explained that the City received proposals from: The Housing Authority of Jackson County, Sandler Films, Kendrick Enterprises and LDC Design Group

Mr. Goldman presented a brief outline of the components of each proposal.

Housing Authority Proposal:

Subsurface Parking
- 13 spaces optimum
- 11 space possibility
One handicap space on alley and one in lot
Two stories above parking
Nine large affordable units
- 4 one-bedrooms
- 5 two-bedrooms
50-60 years (or longer) as affordable under HAJC
- No reversion to City of Ashland

Sandler Films Proposal:

Surface Level Parking
- 13 spaces
- 2 Lithia Way and alley entrances
Units targeted to 80% AMI
- 5 single story one-bedroom units
- 5 two story two-bedroom units
Reversion to City of Ashland
- At conclusion of affordability period at cost of original construction secured through trust deed
- Annual review to entertain change of use
- Negotiated costs including:
Elevator (maintenance and phone)
Common area repairs/maintenance

Kendrick Enterprise Proposal:

Subsurface Parking
- 16 spaces
Commercial Component
- Entire ground floor
- Partial second floor
10 affordable units
- Second and third floors
4 studios
4 one-bedrooms
2 two-bedrooms
Reversion to City of Ashland
- Residential and Commercial revert to City ownership after 40 years

LDC Design Group Proposal:

- Up to 21 spaces subsurface for residential use only
- 10 spaces off alley for public
Commercial Component
- Entire ground floor
16 affordable units
- Second and third floors
10 one-bedrooms
6 two-bedrooms
6 market rate condominiums
Reversion to City of Ashland
- Affordable units revert to City ownership after 15 years
- Commercial and market condominiums do not revert to City, remaining private perpetually

The Housing Commission recommends the City Council select the Housing Authority of Jackson County Proposal. This is contingent upon 13 parking spaces being provided (allowing no reduction in parking due to cost of utility relocation). Staff has recommended the Kendrick Enterprise Proposal with the stipulation that rents should be adjusted to comply with HOME program, and subsurface parking (Alternative 'A' = 16 spaces) should be a condition of selection.

Housing Commissioner Faye Wiesler addressed the Council. She stated that the Housing Commission spent a good deal of time reviewing the proposals and stated that the ranking was not as easy as anticipated due to the proposed mixed use in some of the proposals. Ms. Wiesler stated that the Commission agreed with Staff in that they liked the Kendrick proposal; however they had some concerns that prohibited them from recommending the proposal as presented. She noted that their primary concern dealt with whether there was a strong enough benefit to the City that would warrant them receiving the commercial space for free. In the end, it was these concerns regarding the commercial element that led them to recommend the Housing Authority proposal instead.

Presentations from Applicants:

Sandler Films:
Allan Sandler addressed the Council and read aloud his written comments. He stated that he started this process three years ago with the intent of developing a affordable housing project; not a commercial project with some affordable housing as offered by some of the proposals. Mr. Sandler stated that his was the only proposal that does not need to go out and obtain a grant or additional financing to complete the project. He voiced his concern that the City was not willing to sit down with the parties that made proposals and try and iron out some of their concerns as to how low the affordability can be and under what circumstances or to discuss concerns about style or any other matter that might improve the project. Mr. Sandler noted the importance of this project to the City and citizens of Ashland and stated that it was vitally important that the applicants are not in it for the money, but for the long term good effect for the City as a whole. He commented that this is not a profitable development deal, but is a project of giving back to the City. Mr. Sandler stated that the City should not give away land for commercial development and voiced his concerns in regards to underground parking. He also requested the opportunity to further discuss and work out the finer points of his proposal with Council and Staff.

Kendrick Enterprise:
Bob Kendrick of Kendrick Enterprise, George "Bing" Sheldon of SERA Architects, and Shelley Austin of the Ashland Community Land Trust addressed the Council.

Mr. Kendrick stated that this was a great opportunity to demonstrate a participatory project that would include the City of Ashland, a for-profit development and a non-profit development. He noted that with their proposal, at the time of reversion, the City would capture a value of 8.5 million dollars in commercial and residential property, with a cash flow of .5 million dollars annually. Mr. Kendrick commented on the need for underground parking and stated that their goal was to construct a building that would serve the City well into the future and would be a structure that the City and the community would be proud of. He stated that their proposed structure would work well in the downtown district and stated that the commercial component would generate multi-millions of dollars in cash flow for the City.

Ms. Austin spoke regarding the funding. She stated that ACLT has been approached to help cover some of the construction costs and their portion would be approximately 1 million dollars. She stated that ACLT would assemble a fundraising campaign and noted the different agencies they would approach for funds.

Mr. Sheldon briefly spoke on the architectural design. He stated that they would place the parking underground and noted that the mixed use design would bring some of the vitality of Main Street to Lithia Way.

Housing Authority of Jackson County:
Betty McRoberts and Bruce Abeloe addressed the Council. Ms. Roberts briefly explained that their proposal includes 9 spacious and livable units and noted that it does not contain a commercial element. She also stated that they hope to keep the rent for the units below the 60% area median income. Ms. McRoberts stated that in regards to the exit time, the RFP was unclear as to what the City's intent was. She stated that HAJC would prefer to keep the housing permanently, however they would be willing to work with the City to reach an agreement and noted the potential future debt related to maintenance and upkeep. She added that HAJC currently has over 800 units and noted that they manage all of the units in house.

Mr. Abeloe noted that parking would be below grade and stated that the current landscaping around the perimeter would be preserved. He also pointed out that the units would have balconies that front Lithia Way and the alley.

Council Determination of Next Step:
Council briefly discussed whether to forward this issue to a Council Meeting or whether an additional Study Session or Special Meeting was preferred. Several comments were made suggesting the need for further Council discussion before placing this on the regular meeting agenda. Suggestion was made to hold a Special Meeting rather than another Study Session so that the Council could take action if they are able to come to an agreement. Consensus was reached by the Council to schedule a Special Meeting to discuss this issue during the month of August.

City Administrator Gino Grimaldi stated that Staff would schedule an evening meeting in August that would work with the schedules of the council members. It was clarified that the four agencies that presented proposals would not be giving presentations during the Special Meeting, but are welcome to attend and might be called upon to answer Council's questions.

Adjournment: Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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