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Housing projects advance

Slowly but surely, Ashland is beginning to address the lack of affordable housing in the community, and last week’s actions by the Planning Commission add two apartment projects to the list of pending construction.

The Mid-Town Lofts on Garfield Street don’t meet the official definition of “affordable housing” because they are not subsidized and there is no income test for residency. But they are all rentals, and most are smaller than 500 square feet, which will make them far more affordable than single-family homes or larger apartments.

In fact, that project started out to be condominiums for purchase, but evolved into 72 studio units, designed to appeal to young working people, singles or couples. That’s a positive step. Not everyone in the housing market is looking to purchase a single-family residence, or can afford to.

A second project will construct 30 affordable housing units, 25 of which will be under 500 square feet, behind Rogue Federal Credit Union on Ashland Street. The commission approved the land partition and site design review to create three parcels, paving the way for the housing project on one of them.

A third project, the Park Square Apartments at Park Street and Siskiyou Boulevard, saw the final step in the process toward approval of 15 quad units that could accommodate 60 residents. Parking is still a concern, but in general, the high-density project is what Ashland must begin to provide if students and people who work in Ashland’s service economy can ever hope to live there.