I. CALL TO ORDER:
Chair Norton called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
Commissioners Present: Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins Brandon Goldman, Interim Community Development Director
Haywood Norton Aaron Anderson, Senior Planner
Lynn Thompson Michael Sullivan, Executive Assistant
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
Interim Community Development Director Brandon Goldman made the following announcements:
Chair Norton inquired if the Commission would discuss whether to approve the Water Treatment Plant project, or whether they would be making a recommendation to the City Council. Mr. Goldman responded that the project is a Type II planning action, and that the Commission would be voting whether to approve the application. Chair Norton suggested that the Commission conduct a Site Visit to 1111 Granite on Monday, April 24th in preparation for the meeting. Mr. Goldman responded that such a visit would be arranged.
III. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Approval of Minutes
1. March 14, 2023, Regular Meeting
2. March 28, 2023 Study Session
Commissioners Verner/Herron m/s to approve the consent agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
IV. PUBLIC FORUM - None
V. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Approval of Findings for PA-T2-2023-00039, 440 Granite Street
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioners Dawkins/KenCairn m/s to approve the Findings for PA-T2-2023-00039 as presented. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
VI. OTHER BUSINESS
A. Recommendation of Housing Production Strategy Draft Report
Mr. Goldman informed the Commission that many of the strategies in the Housing Production Strategy (HPS) would require land use amendments, which would be subject to approval by the Commission. A recommendation for approval to the City Council would also not approve any particular strategy, but would instead
Beth Goodman of ECONorthwest began by describing the scale of the HPS, as well as the involvement from stakeholders, developers, and the community during the process. Ms. Goodman informed the Commission that the Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (HHSAC) and the HPS Advisory Committee were both recommending approval of the HPS.
Ms. Goodman described the role that the City and state would play in the adoption and implementation of the HPS. She stated that the City is required to commit to implementation, but not adoption. She added that the HPS is a living document that can be adjusted as some strategies become unfeasible and are replaced with more viable options. Ms. Goodman presented the implementation schedule for the strategies identified in the HPS, informing the Commission that late implementation of some strategies is due to the limited staff of the City, as well as the demanding schedules of the Commission and Council (see attachment).
Commission Knauer noted that there was not a specified housing goal within the HPS, and asked how the City and state would gauge success. He further inquired if the state would penalize the City for not meeting its goals. Ms. Goodman noted that the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis, which showed the predicted growth in Jackson County using a variety of factors, could inform the City’s housing target. She added that the state does not currently have a housing target, but that it will have one in the future. Mr. Goldman stated that the City had experienced strong growth recently, but that it may lessen and therefore appear disproportionate in comparison. Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid pointed out that the City also showed housing targets in the Housing Capacity Analysis (HCA), which could prove useful moving forward with the HPS. Mr. Goldman said that there will not be one strategy to achieve success.
Cynthia Dettman/Ms. Dettman relayed her experience living in a mobile home park to the Commission, as well as the experience of some of her neighbors who are struggling to find affordable housing. She described how many mobile home parks across the country are being closed or bought and being developed into permanent residences. Ms. Dettman described how many of the City’s underprivileged members rely on this form of affordable housing, and implored the City to designate a mobile home park zone to protect the parks’ inhabitants.
Echo Fields/Ms. Fields supported Ms. Dettman’s call for mobile home parks to receive a new zoning designation, and described how Talent had lost many of its mobile homes to outside developers. She stated that the City should help protect its mobile homes from predatory practices in a way that also promotes diversity and safety. Ms. Fields concluded that, in her capacity as a member of the HHSAC, she fully supports the HPS and implored the Commission to approve it as presented.
Rich Rodhe/Mr. Rodhe stated that he is member of the HHSAC and the HPS Advisory Committee, and thanked the City, Commission, and staff for their work thus far. He described how the HHSAC had made 15 recommendations based off of an independent survey it had conducted, some of which are already being implemented. He stated that the City should hold itself accountable for its work and goals, and that the HHSAC fully supports the HPS. He appealed to the Commission to approve it as presented.
Deliberation and Decision
Commissioner Verner commented that she didn’t believe that the HPS will do enough to alleviate the housing needs of the City. She stated that additional housing will require funding being injected into the City, which many of the suggested strategies adequately provide. She commented that the City is still in early stages of acquiring funding sources, and that she is hopeful that the HPS will be beneficial.
Commissioner Knauer agreed with Commissioner Verner, adding that the strategies should be prioritized so that some can be achieved more efficiently instead of attempting to complete a variety of goals simultaneously.
Commissioner Thompson shared some of the skepticism expressed by Commissioners Verner and Knauer, adding that the City’s main role will be in creating favorable conditions for developers to create additional housing, and hoped that they are attracted to those opportunities. She showed appreciation for those who have been involved in the process thus far, and supported ratifying the HPS.
Commissioner KenCairn suggested that pursuing a variety of strategies will give developers more options to provide needed housing, and voiced her support of the HPS and those who participated in its development.
Councilor Hyatt voiced her appreciation to those involved in the creation and development of the HPS thus far, and expressed the hope that they would continue to be involved when it goes to the Council.
Chair Norton commented that many of the strategies listed would not have been considered in the past. He noted that the housing will not be developed by the City itself. He lamented the lack of involvement from members of the community, and thanked the members of the public who showed up to speak on this topic.
Commissioner Dawkins agreed with the points raised by Commissioners Knauer and Thompson, and remarked on the changes the City is undergoing. He pointed out that lumber was the dominant industry when he was growing up, and that it was unthinkable that that could change. He stated that the news of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s dire financial situation could harken an equally significant change for the City.
Commissioners Thompson/KenCairn m/s to recommend that the City Council adopt the Housing Production Strategy Report as presented. Roll Call Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
VII. OPEN DISCUSSION
Commission Knauer informed the Commission that he and Senior Planner Derek Severson had spoken before the Social Equity and Racial Justice Advisory Committee (SERJAC) regarding the Commission’s work. He stated that SERJAC was focused on housing and fostering a better community, and expressed disappointment that the Commission is limited by the code in what it can accomplish.
Meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m.
Michael Sullivan, Executive Assistant