MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) met today for a study session, in which they are preparing to present over 30 recommendations to solve the housing crisis to the Medford City Council on February 15th.
The HAC is made up of builders, developers, employers, not-for-profit housing developers, and other community leaders that have been working for the past 3-4 months on a solution for affordable housing in the valley.
This process where in which a committee researches solutions to present to the City Council usually take 1-2 years to complete but the HAC has done this in 3-4 months.
"Everybody came together and we reached a consensus on a vast majority of the regulatory forms and economic incentives and now they are ready to forward to City Council and I think City Council understands the urgency of the issue and they’re motivated to act aggressively," said City of Medford Panning Director, Matt Brinkley.
The committee looked at the need to provide housing across the board, for multi-family and single-family homes, with an emphasis on housing that is affordable for families that make about $60,000.00 per year.
"We’re trying to find mechanisms that are going to encourage the development of more housing generally, rather than only single-family or only multi family, we’re trying to find strategies that are going to help us produce more particular kinds of housing that we just don’t have enough of right now," said Brinkley.
There are two broad groups of recommendations. The first group or recommendations are regulatory reforms that would impact subdividing land, streamlining, and the development review process. The second group of recommendations are economic incentives, such as figuring out ways to reduce or pay for a portion of system development charges, reducing permit fees, differing some of those things until later on in the development process, as well as, potentially paying for portions of infrastructure for certain kinds of residential projects.
If the City Council approves the recommendations, the process will still take time. The city planning commission and housing commission will be involved in advising and making recommendations to City Council and City Council will be updated regularly throughout the process.
This could I mean it will continue on over the next few years as the HAC continues to learn new things and adjust policies to make them work better.
Brinkley seemed urgent in his desire to find a working solution and implement the recommendations, "It’s a really important issue. We have a problem with affordability here in Medford and throughout the entire Rogue Valley and that problem is just getting worse. It’s more and more difficult month after month to find a home, to find an apartment, to find a town home; in Medford, Phoenix, Talent, and Central Point. All throughout the valley it’s just becoming more and more difficult and we need to address that now proactively."