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Affordable housing gets delayed

Site design for 60 affordable apartments is up for review, but a decision about the design by the Ashland Planning Commission was postponed Tuesday due to a request from an Ashland resident to leave the record open.

A decision will be made Tuesday, July 9, after three weeks to give people more time to comment on the proposal.

The apartments would be the second phase of the Snowberry Brook apartments near the Ashland Family YMCA. The apartments would be built on two separate pieces of land along Villard and Engle streets.

The city, the Parks and Recreation Department, the applicant and the Housing Authority of Jackson County came together to purchase the lots to build the much-needed affordable housing.

Ryan Haynes, director of real estate development at HAJC, said the agency has been anxious to start the project for a long time.

“The current list to get into the Snowberry Brook apartments is four years long,” Haynes said. “Ashland needs affordable housing, and this meets the immediate housing requirements.”

Haynes, using statistics the city released last year in developing the new housing element of the comprehensive plan, said 44% of Ashland residents are rent burdened, which means they spend more than 30% of their gross income on housing. Another 35% of Ashland residents are severely rent burdened, which means that they spend more than half of their gross income on housing.

The proposed plan includes a play area, a communal area, a community garden and a wetland area.

The multifamily apartments are planned to include four two-story eightplexes and seven two-story townhouse fourplexes.

According to city staff, units would consist of 10 one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats, 10 three-bedroom flats and 28 two-bedroom townhomes.

For the proposed 60 multifamily units, 105 parking spaces would be required by the city.

HAJC has proposed 19 on-street parking spaces, 86 surface spots and 45 bike racks for a total of 90 bike parking spaces on the property.

City Senior Planner Derek Severson said the parking allocation meets the requirements and that studies have shown people occupying low-income housing tend to have fewer vehicles than those who are not in low-income housing.

The traffic engineer who performed the traffic-impact analysis said it should not negatively impact the transportation system, but he recommended an access road be installed for pedestrians, bikes and emergency vehicles, Severson said.

Severson said an old cottonwood tree near the site is technically on city-owned land and will remain where it is.

Dan Horton, the architect who built the first Snowberry Brook apartments 10 years ago, would build the second phase if it is approved.

The open record period will allow people to submit evidence or arguments about the proposal until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18.

The second open record period, for anyone to submit information on what’s already been submitted, will close at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25.

A third open record period for the applicant’s rebuttal of any information submitted will close at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, and the Planning Commission will make a decision on whether to approve the site design at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at the City Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

To submit information, visit the Planning Department in the Community Development building, 51 Winburn Way, or email information to planning@ashland.or.us.

Contact Tidings reporter Caitlin Fowlkes at cfowlkes@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4496. Follow her on Twitter @cfowlkes6.

Townhomes at Snowberry Brook HAJC photo