Affordable Housing Committee Meeting Minutes ~ 6.2.21

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Kristin and Nan thanked those that signed the public comment drafted by Nan Parson and submitted to  City Council calling for inclusion, respect, and equity .  There were over 130 signatures gathered in just a few days.  Kristin and Nan met with new alderman Harmony Harrington to discuss ways to include affordable housing in the Comprehensive Plan.

The former Park Ridge Community Preservation and Development Director, Jim Brown, spoke to the group about the Comprehensive Plan and what actions the group might take to ensure that the preservation and creation of affordable housing is included in the Comp Plan.  Jim made the following points and suggestions:

  • There is no champion of AH on City Council or staff.  There are a few supporters on the P&Z Commission.  The Chair of P&Z is not a supporter.
  • Some Aldermen and Commissioners have a fear of AH due to misinformation or lack of understanding.  Jim tried to assuage those fears, but a few pushed back even harder.  There is intense opposition by some.
  • Jim does not recommend a Housing Task Force at this time.  Teska and former staff have done a lot of the work that a task force would do.  He is suspicious that Council would only create a task force to “kick the can down the road” and not as a path to implementation of a policy.  The mayor appoints the members of a task force, and he might appoint people who are not in favor of AH in Park Ridge.
  • Jim believes that continued public comments in favor of AH would be the best tactic right now to ensure that a Housing Policy around AH is created and included in the Comp Plan.  He commented that the 50-60 letters written to Council and P&Z in 2020 in favor of AH was huge.  Even receiving a few public comments on an issue is unusual.
  • It is important to get something done now in the Comp Plan, if possible, to help change the message regarding housing.  The Plan could always be amended later to be even more inclusive.
  • A Housing Task Force might be useful after the Comp Plan is done and with assurances of who will be appointed.  The timeline should be short.  A budget for implementation of new housing policies is important.
  • Park Ridge changed its zoning ordinance in 2007 to be more restrictive which stifles development.  In order to attract AH developers, parts of the zoning ordinance should be revised:
    • Minimum Lot Area
    • Height restriction at 40’ is too low for multifamily
    • Parking restrictions
  • Our group should coordinate an effort to keep the AH issue in front of Council and P&Z and make sure the Comp Plan gets finished.
  • We should start a public education campaign to counteract the misinformation about AH.

Time Meeting Adjourned:  @8:30pm

Next Meeting Date:  June 23rd AT 7:00pm via Zoom

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