Board of Directors Meeting

Monday, June 5, 2017
Regular meeting at 6:00 p.m.



I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 6:04 PM.

II. Roll Call
Members present: Jiselle Kenny, Kirk Stapp, John Wentworth
Members absent: Lindsay Barksdale, Larry Johnston, Bill Taylor
Staff: Jennifer Halferty, Executive Director and Patricia Robertson, Grant & Financial Associate
Public: Ruth Traxler, Town of Mammoth Lakes and Tom Hodges, MMSA

III. Public Comments
Tom Hodges gave a brief overview of a potential tiny home test project that MMSA and the Town may partner on as a result of the work being done by Darin Dinsmore, the consultant charged with creating a “public visioning/planning process for a revitalized downtown Mammoth Lakes.” The project would be located on the Arrowhead Drive site, owned by MMSA. This is the same parcel of land that MLH proposed partnering with MMSA to build 24 apartments, but which MMSA declined March 2017 because public funds for the development of the project would not permit the units to be restricted to Mountain employees only. There would be approximately 6 tiny homes of which perhaps 2-3 would be restricted for MMSA employees. The homes cost approximately $100,000 – $120,000 each, would be approximately 400 square feet and house up to four people. The site would be leased by the Town for a period of approximately 3-5 years, at which time they could relocate the units. This test project could potentially happen in conjunction with the development of the Shady Rest Affordable Housing site.

Ruth Traxler, Associate Planner for the Town of Mammoth Lakes announced that the Town of Mammoth Lakes-Mono County Live/Work Survey closed on May 26th. There were more than 1,000 respondents including Town and County residents, in-commuters, and seasonal employees. In addition, there were 62 employer surveys submitted. These responses will be used to inform both the Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes forthcoming Housing Element Updates as well as the work being conducted through the Mammoth Lakes Community Housing Action Plan: Live, Work, Thrive.

IV. Approval of minutes from May 1, 2017 Regular Board meeting
The approval of the May 1, 2017 minutes was tabled until the next regular meeting.

V. Board Member reports
John Wentworth explained that as part of the Measure 2002A recalibration effort, he and Colin Fernie met with Jennifer Halferty, Executive Director and MLH Board Members Lindsay Barksdale and Bill Taylor. He also explained that there was an applicant of an old motel project that wished to convert the motel into apartments temporarily and that there would need to be an update to the Municipal Code (§17.52.110) to allow for the interim use of entitled properties without jeopardizing their future entitlements. Mammoth View would be able to convert the temporary apartment units into condominiums or a hotel without being penalized under the Condo Conversion section of the Municipal Code.

Kirk Stapp announced that he read the book Living and Working in Paradise: Why housing is too expensive and what communities can do about it by Dr. Bill Hettinger, Ph.D. He explained that the book outlines the external factors that contribute to the housing market failure in four resort communities (Aspen, Whistler, Martha’s Vineyard, and Provincetown): the second homebuyer market, geography, and political will.

He has had constituents complaining to him regarding long-term camping and people living in their cars at Shady Rest Park and out by the propane tanks.

Jiselle Kenny mentioned that Wild Iris has secured 10 additional units for transitional housing in the City of Bishop. They will need lots of rehab before they will be ready. Unfortunately, they expect to lose the one transitional housing unit available in Mammoth Lakes this fall.

VI. MLH monthly status report
Jennifer Halferty, Executive Director, noted that there are 56 families currently on the waiting list. This does not completely reflect the need since many individuals are discouraged by the length of the waiting list and do not apply. MLH filled one vacancy when a tenant exited their lease early in May; however besides this, there has not been a vacancy since December.

The Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, and Mammoth Lakes Housing, Inc. should all hear whether or not they were awarded under the 2016 HOME application. The Strategic Growth Council will meet in July, at which time they will adopt the revised program guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program through Cap + Trade funding. The Notice of Funding Availability is expected in August or September, with an application deadline of March 2018. Awards are expected sometime in the summer of 2018.

Jennifer Halferty noted that staff is working with multiple deed restricted owners to help transfer their homes to eligible buyers. Jiselle Kenny asked what this process entailed and Jennifer Halferty explained that the deed restriction has a clause which entitles MLH a first right of refusal when a deed restricted property owner wishes to sell the home. This allows MLH to purchase the property back from the owner in order to ensure that the asset remains in the community for the long-term.

Jiselle Kenny also asked how much of the Town’s open CDBG grant contract had been expended to date, considering that 50% of the allocation must be spent down before the Town can reapply for more CDBG funding. Jennifer Halferty estimated that approximately 25% of the open contract had been spent. Once the contract for electrical rehabilitation at the Glass Mountain Apartments has been awarded and the work can begin the money will be spent more quickly, which is expected to happen by the end of June. The original grant allocation was for $1,000,000 and included the Glass Mountain Apartments rehabilitations, first time homebuyer assistance, and owner-occupied and investor rehabilitation for low income households.

John Wentworth asked Tom Hodges from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area about the fact that other community members have asked about potentially using the MMSA’s seasonal housing for their employees during the off season. John Wentworth asked if MMSA housing was mostly being used year-round and Tom Hodges confirmed. Tom Hodges explained that MMSA does not have at-large units available for non mountain employees.

VII. Update by Town staff on the Mammoth Mall partial conversion from commercial to residential use
Ruth Traxler, Associate Planner for the Town of Mammoth Lakes, gave a presentation regarding the partial residential conversion of an existing commercial building at the Mammoth Mall on Old Mammoth Road. The new residential upstairs wing will have 13 long-term rental apartments. The breakdown of the units is as follows: 5 studio units, 4 one-bedroom units, 3 two-bedroom units, and 1 three-bedroom unit. The project is exempt from ADA requirements and from housing mitigation requirements. The applicant is working on a parking analysis and fulfilling the outdoor space requirement.

Kirk Stapp asked the square footage on the studio units. Ruth Traxler noted that she did not know the square footage of the individual units. Jennifer Halferty asked what the utilities were. Ruth Traxler said that she believed it was all electric. John Wentworth asked what the parking requirements were. Ruth Traxler explained that because it is a change in use, they are not required to provide any additional covered parking. Patricia Robertson asked if at some point in the future the owner wanted to change to use to transient rentals would that trigger the requirement for housing mitigation fees. Ruth Traxler explained that she would have to confirm with the Building Official whether or not that would be considered a change in use and trigger a building permit, in which case it may trigger mitigation fees. John Wentworth encouraged staff to find out what the change to transient rentals would entail.

VIII. Town of Mammoth Lakes allocation of political commitments
Jennifer Halferty provided some background on the recalibration of the Measure 2002A political commitments. At the May 17th Town Council meeting, Councilmembers Fernie and Wentworth gave a presentation regarding the history of the political commitments: Tourism, Housing, and Transit. At their next meeting on Wednesday, June 7th they will make a recommendation to the Town Council to recalibrate the funding levels of the three political commitments. She explained that MLH has been concerned with the lack of consistency in funding across the political commitments since the MLLA settlement in about 20011-12. Now the Town Council is readdressing the funding levels of the three political commitment areas and considering a restoration of funding to housing, which is a theme in the staff report and finding a way to eliminate the cap on housing funds. There are some good things and shortcomings in the proposal.

Jennifer Halferty explained that MLH is the first nonprofit NGO partner formed in 2002. MLH was the most successful in creating housing between about 2004-2012 with the access to local funding sources. Since then MLH has been limited to finding grant opportunities which have income limits, and homeownership assistance programs, but we know that we need to increase the supply of housing stock for our locals. MLH has a track record of being innovative, nimble, and entrepreneurial which was why it was created. And rather than being limited by bureaucratic processes of the Town, it is best if we fund housing in a more direct way that aligns with the community. That means funding MLH and the successful outcomes that we have been able to achieve. The Town has had a positive return on their investment in housing through MLH; for every one dollar the Town has invested, MLH has returned eight.

John Wentworth stated that it’s important to look at this from a high level which is the Council perspective. All of the tax measures that came forward were general tax measures, which cannot be restricted for a specific use. During the MLLA settlement, the Town Council decided to cap housing funds. Councilmembers Fernie and Wentworth felt like with the growing revenue the Town has experienced, it was time to restore the funding level to housing.

John Wentworth explained that the way it is currently structured, it allows the NGO’s to have enormous surpluses, but it is the Town Council’s responsibility to oversee these public dollars. The proposal to the Council is to recalibrate the funding levels and affirm the commitments to housing, transit, and marketing, not specific NGOs. One of the fundamental components of the recommendation is to provide reliable funding streams to the NGOs to help the Town deliver the services. This will ensure that over the next 5 years there is reliable funding based on a budget. Excess dollars will be held in trust in reserve accounts by the Town. The Town will use those surpluses to insure funding to the NGOs in hard times, and in good times it will use these funds to fund programs in those general commitment areas. John Wentworth explained that this is so that the public can easily see where those funds are. To access the reserve funds MLH would apply to the Town and propose a project. The points will be adjusted down for each program area slightly to reflect the MLLA settlement payments.

Kirk Stapp asked why on page 6 of the staff report MLH is allocated $330,000, so you will be holding $600,000-700,000 back. How does that get spent? Who decides on that use? Can the Town Council decide to spend money on the tiny home project on private land owned by Mammoth Mountain proposed by Darin Dinsmore? John Wentworth noted that that could be something that the Town might want to spend housing money on. He stated that he hoped that we are working much more closely together. There is a lot of capacity that the Town has to help out with housing on grant applications and staff. The Town is not going to act unilaterally on these things. Kirk Stapp noted that it is important for the Town to maintain a reserve for housing programs and projects.

John Wentworth explained that the reserve policy would limit the amount an NGO partner can hold onto to about 25% of the NGO’s operating budget. The NGO contract would be guaranteed for 5 years. Housing is being restored to a full point. The remaining balance will go into a reserve account that the public can see at the Town. Patricia Robertson asked if there would be a resolution or something that explains more specifically what the reserves can be used for other than this staff report? John Wentworth replied that they will be used for transit, marketing, and housing. Legally, these funds are General Fund dollars. Jiselle Kenny asked if the reserve is considered General Fund then how can you assure the public that it will be used for the political commitments? John Wentworth stated that it will depend on if the Council reaffirms the political commitments. She noted that when the Council changes they could change the political commitments if they wanted to.

There was a discussion regarding the base allocation of $330,000 which was based on their operating budget after the 10% cut to help pay for the MLLA settlement. John Wentworth noted that MLH could go to the Town Council and ask for an adjustment this amount with compelling rationale. Kirk Stapp asked if the Town Council, the ultimate authority on the reserve accounts, would work through the NGOs to make funding decisions. John Wentworth stated that the Town would work through the NGOs. This will make it very difficult for MLH to commit to a project without knowing how much funding is available. John Wentworth stated his desire to integrate MLH and the capacity at the Town to work effectively together.

Jennifer Halferty pointed out that real estate is different than marketing and and transit. It requires capital and debt service. The Town Council didn’t necessarily like paying debt service on the HELP loan, but that’s part of creating housing, because it takes subsidy. And sometimes that is ongoing. Is that something that the Town Council housing reserve fund is available for? John Wentworth said that it would be. He explained that this is the beginning of the conversation and an opportunity for a fresh start.

IX. Review of the MLH Draft 2017-18 Fiscal Year Budget
The Board reviewed the Draft 2017-18 budget.

X. Mammoth Lakes Community Housing Action Plan; Live, Work, Thrive update
Jennifer Halferty explained that the Housing Working Group will get a copy of the draft Needs Assessment on the 12th. They will have 2 weeks to review and provide comments. Then the Housing Working Group and the consultants will meet on June 29th to review comments and changes. Then on July 19th the MLH Board and Town Council will have a joint workshop to hear from the consultants to be presented the Final Needs Assessment. On July 20th, is the kick-off for Phase II which will set the community’s housing goals, opportunities, and strategies over the course of four working sessions. The final report will be presented to Town Council on November 1st.


XI. Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957, the Board will hold a closed session to consider performance evaluation, title: Executive Director

XII. Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8, the Board will hold a conference with its representative in regard to property acquisition pertaining to:

Property: 238 Sierra Manor Road, APN 035-210-014-000
Negotiating Parties: Jennifer Halferty representing MLH (prospective buyer); Mammoth Property Partners (Seller)
Under Negotiation: Terms of sale (price, payment terms)

XIII. Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8, the Board will hold a conference with its representative in regard to property acquisition pertaining to:

Property: 61 Callahan Way, Unit G-1, APN 033-110-15-0004
Negotiating Parties: Jennifer Halferty representing Sierra Housing Advocates/MLH (seller); Suarez and Ocampo (prospective buyers)
Under Negotiation: Terms of sale (price, payment terms)

There was no action taken during closed session.

XIV. Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned at 8:01 PM.