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102 more places to live

The Ashland Planning Commission at a special meeting Tuesday green-lighted two large apartment complexes designed to be easy on the pocketbook and remedy rental shortages — 72 studio units on Garfield Street and 29 affordable units, plus manager’s quarters, behind Rogue Credit Union on Ashland Street.

The MidTown Lofts at 188 Garfield are aimed at singles, couples or perhaps a single mom with one child and will be sited on a two-acre lot between Quincy and Iowa Streets where the now-razed Rivergate Church sat.

These are not technically “affordable housing,” as they are not subsidized and there is no income test and, said its land-use planning consultant, Amy Gunter, they should help address the “high population of single, middle-aged to elderly women looking for housing, and is not so much a college or elderly housing development.”

The project, by owner Don Jones of Spartan Properties, began as for-purchase condos, but evolved, says Gunter, so that now, “This is all rental, because of the needs of young professionals who don’t have a lot of things and don’t have nicer places to live. The Ashland housing stock is so outdated.”

Commission Chairman Roger Pearce observed, “Everyone likes this project because it’s the kind of housing that’s really useful in Ashland now, small-unit rental. They are all under 500 square feet good for people who work in Ashland, have jobs at the university or high school. The more housing we build, the better off we are as a city. Smaller is less expensive.”

Also approved were the land partition and site design review to create three parcels where Rogue Credit Union’s new Ashland office sits at 1661 Ashland St. One of the newly approved lots will be the site of Rogue Ridge,a 26,146

square-foot, three-story building in two connected wings. Twenty-five of the 30 proposed units would be studio units that are less than 500 square feet. The five remaining units would be two and three-bedroom.

A second parcel will be a nearly 10,000 square foot, two-story commercial building. The third parcel is the existing Rogue Credit Union. They recently sold the project to Columbia Care Services. They all are across Ashland Street from the Ashland Shopping Center (often called the Ashland Street Cinema). The hearing on the project was held earlier.

Kistler + Small + White are the architects for all the projects passed Tuesday.

The commission also took the final step — adopting findings of fact and conclusions of law — needed for the building of the 15-apartment, 60-unit Park Square Apartments at Park Street and Siskiyou Boulevard.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Site of a proposed 72-unit apartment building on Garfield Street. (Photo by John Darling)
Site of a proposed 30-unit apartment building behind the Rogue Credit Union branch on Ashland Street. (Photo by John Darling)