CALL TO ORDER
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
|Troy Brown, Jr.
|Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
||Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained City Council would hear the continuation of the Transit Triangle code at their meeting October 16, 2018. Staff presented drafts of the Regional Housing Strategy and Housing Element to Council at their Study Session October 1, 2018. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development awarded the City a Housing Assistance Grant for the updates. The Planning Commission would present the annual commission report at the first Council meeting in December.
AD-HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES
A. Approval of Minutes
1. September 11, 2018 Regular Meeting
Commissioners Mindlin/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes of September 11, 2018. Commissioner Brown and Harper abstained. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
Commissioners Mindlin/Brown m/s to approve the minutes of September 25, 2018. Chair Pearce abstained. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
2. September 25, 2018 Study Session
Spoke on recreational space, open space, and community garden plots.
A. Approval of Findings for PA-T1-2018-00011, 294 Skycrest Drive.
The Commission had no ex parte on the matter. Commissioner Harper abstained.
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-T1-2018-00011, 294 Skycrest Drive. Commissioner Harper abstained. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2018-00002
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 880 Park Street
OWNER/APPLICANT: Tudor Properties, LLC/Kistler Small + White, LLC
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a 15-unit apartment complex consisting of six apartment buildings, a separate 221 square foot laundry facility and a 30-space parking lot for the property at 880 Park Street. The application includes requests for Exception to the Street Standards to retain the existing asphalt multi-use path along Siskiyou Boulevard and to construct a meandering sidewalk along the subject properties Park Street frontage rather than installing new city standard sidewalks and parkrow planting strips, and for a Tree Removal Permit to remove five trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.)., including two Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), one Modesto Ash (Fraxinus velutina), and two Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) including a multi-trunked cluster with five trunks of diameters ranging from eight- to 14-inches d.b.h. Note: An existing approximately 895 square foot shop building on the southeastern portion of the property would be demolished as part of the proposal. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E39 1E 15AD; TAX LOT: 3402.
Chair Pearce explained the record was closed.There were two public comment periods that ended September 18 and September 25, 2018.The applicant had an additional week to respond to all comments by October 2, 2018.The record and public hearing were closed.The Commission would discuss and consider the matter at this meeting.
Commissioner Brown and Commissioner Harper watched the City meeting video, reviewed the record and rebuttal evidence.Both were able to participate in the discussion and deliberation.
Questions of Staff
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained staff recommended a revised Tree Protection Plan that included the trees adjacent to the site within 15-feet of the property line for Condition 90.The applicants would provide the revised plan prior to the applicant purchasing building permits.
Conditions on the Storm Drainage Plan would address peak flows after development and not exceed pre-development levels.The applicant had to provide final engineering details showing their stormwater plan met the Public Works Department standards.They were willing to take the water already coming into the catch basin and manage it in their system. There were no easements in place but the applicants would address it through this plan.Staff met with the Public Works Department and no concerns were raised.
The applicants would replace the existing fence to further screen the parking lot if necessary. The Planning Commission could add this as a Condition.
There were no criteria that spoke to particular housing needs.The code did not have a specific definition under dormitory.The definition of Group Living Facility included dormitories. However, that definition did not include kitchens.The proposed project had four bedrooms with a self-contained kitchen in the unit.It met the definition of a multi-family dwelling unit.
Deliberations & Decision
Chair Pearce explained the applicant submitted new evidence that violated ORS 197.763. Conduct of local quasi-judicial land use hearings (6) and needed to be struck from the record.Commission comment thought the evidence should not have gone to them at all.Other comment thought it was appropriate to come to them first so they could officially strike it from the record.
Commissioners Dawkins/Harper, m/s to put it aside and go on with Deliberation.
Commissioner Norton thought they should continue the matter for 2 weeks and have staff remove the parts that should not be in packet then deliberate. Chair Pearce noted it was ten to eleven pages that should not have submitted. It violated both state and City law. Commissioner Dawkins clarified Discussion order after a motion was made. He did not think waiting two weeks would make a difference. Chair Pearce called for the question. The Commission clarified pages 2, 3, then page 8 through 19 would be struck from the record. Voice Vote: ALL AYES. Commissioner Brown abstained. Motion passed 6-1.
The Commission discussed the character of the use.It was a four-bedroom unit with a shared kitchen. How it was rented might be a different concept.It fit the definition of domicile.Parking requirements associated with dorm style housing might be different from a single family.The term dormitory was not accurate.The code set the definition and the number of bedrooms set the parking spaces.The project use was different from what the parking code addressed.The closest definition was a 3-bedroom apartment.Staff had recommended a Condition that reiterated the state’s definition of family as not more than five persons who are not related by blood, marriage, legal adoption or guardianship.The Commission agreed it was mutli-family.
Parking was set by the code and addressed three bedroom units, not four.A way to mitigate parking was possibly introducing a residential parking permit program.However, parking programs were very controversial.There was concern about the offset intersection and traffic already funneling down Park Street.Other comments did not think there was enough parking.They did not think there was any flexibility in the code regarding parking.
The Commission addressed transportation issues.Case law allowed them to only apply clear and objective standards because it was housing. Comment thought five peak hour trips with potentially 60 people did not make sense.Traffic studies indicated residential did not have many AM-PM peak hour trips.There were more trips during the day and the abutting streets were not as busy.Even if trip generation doubled.
Issues with drainage would occur on the applicant’s property.It was up to them to ensure it worked well.The existing fence provided enough screening from lights.
Although traffic issues were not enough for a full realignment, there was enough right-of-way to accommodate a future turn lane.It would require a consent to dedication from the applicant as well as minor changes to the drainage plan.
Commission comment suggested a tradeoff that safer conditions be created at the intersection for a variance that allowed a curbside sidewalk.There was concern the drainage plan might not be adequate. However, reports from the applicant’s engineers indicated they could satisfactorily manage the drainage.
Regarding the Exception to the Street Standards for the sidewalk, the Commission did not support meandering sidewalks.They wanted the sidewalk straight and on the street side.The Commission did not think the applicant needed to redo the existing asphalt walkway along Siskiyou Boulevard.They added a Condition where the applicant would sign a Local Improvement District (LID) for future sidewalk improvements along Siskiyou Boulevard.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s approve PA-T2-2018-00002 880 Park Street with the Conditions stated by staff, including the definition of family as not more than 5 unrelated people, and the definition of fence for vision and light. DISCUSSION:
Commissioner Brown noted that during projects like this, people wanted to change code. In some cases, they should but this was not the time. The project met all the criteria the City demanded. The Commission had to follow the rules. Roll Call Vote: Commissioner Norton, Dawkins, Brown, Pearce, Mindlin, Thompson, and Harper, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
B. PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2018-00003
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 188 Garfield Street
OWNER/APPLICANT: Rogue Panning & Development Services, LLC
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a 72-unit studio apartment community (“The MidTown Lofts”) for the properties located at 188 Garfield Street. The application also includes requests for a Tree Removal Permit to remove 15 trees that are more than six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.); an Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards to treat storm water run-off in a combination of bio-swales, underground treatment facilities and detentions ponds rather than in landscaped parking lot medians and swales; and for Exceptions to Street Standards to retain the existing curbside sidewalk system along the frontage of the property and for the location of the driveway curb cut on Quincy Street, which is proposed to be shared with the property to the east and which would exceed the maximum driveway curb cut width for residential developments. (All of the proposed units are studio units that are less than 500 square feet in gross habitable floor area and each counts as ¾ of a unit for purposes of density calculation; density bonuses are requested for conservation housing, outdoor recreation space and major recreation facilities.) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 10CB; TAX LOT: 2100 & 2101.
Chair Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Brown, Thompson, Harper, and Norton declared no ex parte and one site visit. Commissioner Dawkins had no ex parte but many site visits. Chair Pearce declared no exparte but was familiar with the site. Commissioner Mindlin had no ex parte and no site visit.
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained there were additional submittals from the applicant and requests for a Continuance and keeping the record open for 14 days. He provided a presentation on the application. The subject property consisted of two lots at 2.1 acres. The application asked for a site design approval to construct a 72 studio apartment development. The applicant also wanted density bonuses for conservation housing, outdoor recreation space and major recreation facilities. All units would be built to Earth Advantage Standards. The project would remove 15 trees.
The applicant was requesting an Exception to Site and Design Standards to treat storm water run-off. They wanted to use a combination of bio swales, underground treatment facilities and detention ponds. An Exception to the Street Standards would retain the existing curbside sidewalk long the frontage of the property and the driveway curb cut on Quincy Street.
Mr. Severson described the layout of the projects and the Danish style used for the apartments. The property would consist of eight-plex buildings with four units on the bottom and four on top. Each unit would be under 500 square feet (sq. ft.).
A key issue was density. Base density for the R-3 zone was 20 units per acre. The subject property at 2.1 acres had a base density of 42 units. The applicant was requesting the following density bonuses; Conservation housing 15%, Outdoor Recreation Space 10%, and Major Recreation Space at 4% for a total density bonus of 29%.
The proposed studios counted as 0.75 units for density at 496 sq. ft. for 72.24 studio units. The code allowed major recreational facilities as a density bonus in exchange for tennis courts, swimming pools, playgrounds or similar facilities. The applicant’s facility was a flexible outdoor activity space for lawn games. It also included a recreational space with a fire pit, barbecue kitchen area and covered seating. Staff was not clear it qualified as a major recreational facility.
Another issue was the driveway separation between the driveways on Quincy Street. There was a telephone pole between the two driveways and a substandard separation. With more than 3 units on a lot there needed to be a 50-foot separation and it was approximately 18-feet. The applicants proposed to mitigate the issue by combining the two driveways, widening the curb cut and retaining the circulation patterns. The applicants would relocate the telephone pole. Staff did not think the Exception was merited and preferred maintaining the driveways as they were.
The other Exception would maintain the existing sidewalks to preserve the street trees on Garfield Street. The applicants proposed removing the bushes on Quincy Street and the north end of Garfield Street. The sidewalk would transition to a standard park row. Staff recommended a curbside sidewalk along Iowa and Garfield Streets and a standard sidewalk configuration for the transition.
The Tree Commission would review the planning action Thursday, October 11, 2018 with a recommendation for the record if it remained open as requested.
Parking requirements for units less than 500 sq. ft. was one space per unit. The applicant was proposing 67 parking spaces in the parking lot and 5 on-street parking credits of the 30 credits that were available.
Staff supported the application and wanted guidance from the Commission on the recreational space. They recommended several Conditions.
Questions of Staff
Amy Gunter/Rogue Planning & Development Services/Medford/ and Ray Kistler/Kistler, Small, and White/Ashland/
Spoke to the project. Ms. Gunter explained the Mid-Town lofts would be energy efficient, small scale, low impact housing. The building would have a community oriented design that supported sustainable, multi-modal transportation systems. The project met the housing needs noted in several City plans and analysis and state housing objectives. It also complied with the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Land Use Ordinances.
The applicants mailed 80 postcards to neighbors and received only one response.
The proposed multi-family complex would have the majority of units oriented to public streets.There were large open spaces. The parking lot would provide 67 parking spaces.There were 30 on-street parking spaces available to the property but they would only use five.Long-term, safe and secure bicycle parking could not be located outdoors.The applicant proposed bike closets in each unit.Outside, they would have two 12-space bicycle parking areas south of the walkway.
There were various parking management strategies in the code that reduced on-site parking.One way was allowing on-street parking spaces.The proposal requesting five on-street parking spaces created less than a 10% reduction.There were events in the area that might increase demand but it did not equate to the need for a parking study nor did it dictate parking.
The buildings would have a modern Danish style architecture and be built using energy efficient materials.She described the orientation and landscape.The Landscape Plan complied with the maximum lot coverage in the zone and had 49,727 sq. ft. of pervious surfaces exceeding the maximum coverage requirements.It also complied with more than 7% of the parking area landscaping.There was an issue with the planters along the property lines.According to their landscape architect, the trees selected would not create a growth barrier and the five-foot planter was more than adequate for large stature shade trees.
Ms. Gunter clarified the percentages provided in their submittals regarding open space were incorrect.Materially the numbers were the same.The architect’s calculation resulted in slightly different outcomes.The project in general exceeded minimum requirements.A parcel at 91,474 sq. ft. required 7,318 sq. ft. of open space to meet the 8% open space requirement.This included patios and recreational areas.The applicants sought an additional 10% density bonus for open space that would add 9,147 sq. ft. for a total of 16,465 sq. ft.The combination resulted in 21,643 sq. ft. or 23.6%.Her numbers conflicted with the architecture’s because she excluded the 15.5 sq. ft. of entry areas for each unit.It reduced the total area but still exceeded the required 16,465 sq. ft.
The applicants were asking for a 4% bonus for the provision of a major recreational facility.The project would supply amenities that complied with the intent of the density bonus for major facilities.They were proposing a space that included lawn games, a barbeque area, built in outdoor kitchen, covered outdoor area, fire pit and seating areas.It would cost $164,000, exceeding the 1% of total project budget.If they did not get the major recreation facility credit, they would reduce the units to 70 and not provide the courtyard amenities.
The proposed stormwater and detention facilities were superior to smaller dispersed bio swales in the parking lot.Per the City’s Public Works Department, there was adequate capacity in the system for the development.
The applicant’s traffic engineer determined the number and size of the units did not generate enough traffic to require a transportation analysis or traffic impact study.Average daily trips (ADT) in 2012 for Quincy Street were 182.On Garfield Street, between Iowa and East Main Streets the ADT was 610 in 2017.On Iowa Street between Garfield Street and California Street, the ADT was 2,187 in 2017.
The Sidewalk Exception pertained to a portion of the frontage.
Questions of the Applicant
Mr. Kistler clarified if the proposal lost two units they would retain the structure but use the building for storage.The courtyard recreational improvements would cost $164,000 to build.The remaining was land value.It would be an open air building with an outdoor kitchen.They originally discussed enclosing it and turning it into a gym but thought it would get more use this way.It would be a four season facility with a long linear fire pit and a barbeque outside.There was enough space to incorporate a garden as well.Seating included tables, chairs, and raised concrete seat walls.
The Commission asked about the driveway separation issue.Mr. Kistler explained this was the most land use efficient solution.There were other alternatives.They could not remove the easement from the property owner.They wanted an Exception to retain the driveway as it was instead of separating the drive 50-feet.It would create a dead space on the driveway due to the easement.They talked to the property owner about moving the easement slightly.Moving the access would cut into the recreational area.There would be one large curb cut.The driveways would be separate.Due to concerns regarding the curb cut and driveways, the applicant came up with some alternatives.However, having a wide curb cut was the better solution.They had talked to the neighbor about combining uses but their client did not what to do that. The client’s driveway was 1,600 sq. ft.Retaining both driveways was a better solution.
Mr. Kistler addressed one of the options for off street parking.They had 30 on-street parking credits and had maximized onsite parking.Earlier that day there was only one car parked on the street for three units.Ms. Gunter further explained Option B was the preferred layout.It would retain the original plan and increase on-street parking from 5 to 7 spaces.
Mr. Kistler shared the project was originally designed for three bedroom apartments.They changed it to studio apartments due to demand and housing needs.
Mary Scott/Ashland/This was an area that had extensive college and residential parking. It was often difficult for visitors to find parking. Traffic on Iowa Street had been awful for the past two years. There was recently an accident involving two children that resulted in a stop sign and extended orange lines. Fifty-four units were more reasonable than 72. She wanted a Continuance on the issue. Another issue was light pollution.
Michael Hitsky/Ashland/Clarified the applicant’s presentation. There were two cars and an RV parked on the street at 3:00 p.m. on Garfield Street between Iowa and Quincy Streets. He had not received the postcard or submittals from the meeting that night. He did not think the project was entitled to the major recreation facility density bonus and explained how it failed to meet minimum space requirements and other requirements. He opposed the project.
Devin Huseby/Ashland/Did not receive the postcard either and he lived across the street from the subject property. The applicant complied with Earth Advantage but failed to specify how they would attain the points needed to qualify. There was not sufficient evidence provided to warrant a Type II approval. He cited code on gross habitable area and challenged outdoor decks as potential rooms without walls. Parking was an issue already. Quincy Street was not wide enough and there were often events at SOU and the High School. He wanted a parking analysis. He was concerned with bicycle parking. Providing indoor parking did not meet the spirit of the code. The bio swales and underground detention did not comply and the applicant did not explain how they were better. He requested a seven-day Continuance or keeping the record open.
Jan Christensen/Ashland/Did receive the postcard. She supported studio apartments but 72 units did not fit in her neighborhood. It would impact the safety of children. Traffic issues would increase. The design was not compatible with the neighborhood that had a 1950s style.
Shana Huseby/Ashland/Had two children and was concerned about safety and happiness. Another concern was the inadequate sidewalk situation on Garfield, Iowa and Quincy Streets. Adding 72 residences was a huge safety concern. Two people could live in one unit. It would double the number of people and cars. This was a family neighborhood with a lot of kids and schools. The proposal was suitable for college students and could be a party scene. The fire pit was a safety concern. People not accustomed to children on the street were another concern.
Gordon Longhurst/Ashland/Over the years had walked his grandchildren to Walker School, and Ashland Middle School. He encouraged the Commission to see the bigger picture of the whole neighborhood. There was heavy traffic already. The area did not need another 200 trips per day.
Sue Lereid/Ashland/Walked her dog five to six times a day in the area. There were constantly 5-6 cars on Garfield Street from Quincy Street. The driveway to the complex would negatively affect her and her neighbor. Headlights would come in both their homes. People drove fast on the streets. The style of the buildings was not compatible to the rest of the area. She wanted the Commission to reconsider the matter and at least have the developers make the complex more cohesive with the neighborhood.
Staci Antaya/Ashland/Submitted a letter into the record. The proposal was not a perfect fit or a community oriented housing project. The 72 units would create traffic, congestion, and noise pollution. It would only fit the needs of one section of the population. She proposed decreasing the scale of the project so it did not deteriorate the integrity, beauty, and family quality in their neighborhood. Or, use all the Exceptions for maximum density bonuses and create a true multi-family housing development that served all of the community. The 72-unit development was maximum profit for the developer and not the community.
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: ALL AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
Jesse Longhurst/Ashland/The traffic increased exponentially on Garfield Street when Palm Street was closed off to Siskiyou Boulevard. Garfield and Iowa were neighborhood collector streets. The streets fed six schools. Her primary concern was traffic. There was not adequate sidewalks or infrastructure for pedestrians. The rental situation in Ashland was dire. But 72 units was far too many and she opposed the Exceptions. She requested a Continuance. Even though it did not trigger traffic analysis, she asked the Commission to request a formal traffic study.
Monika Neri/Ashland/Did the density calculations on the lot and the applicant could build 90 units. If the Commission had an issue with the parking for this project, they would need to rethink 880 Park Street. She supported the option that provided the most parking. The project met and exceeded the parking requirements. She liked the building design. The price of both land and building was really high and required density.
Rebuttal by Applicant
Ms. Gunter explained people may not have received the postcard because they were not the property owner. They mailed them out to the property owners of record.She confirmed the application was signed by the property owner.There would be no direct lighting on the site per City code.Lighting would be shrouded downward.
She was not sure how public testimony was calculating the recreational facilities.There were 20,635 square feet of area between the porches and decks that were allowed by code to be included in recreation areas.The grass areas and the courtyard areas were extra space.
What they were proposing for the major recreational facilities met the intent of the density bonuses.There were many reasons they did not install tennis courts, basketball courts, or a pool.They wanted an alternative that was less noisy and would not disturb tenants or adjacent properties.
The project team met with a representative from Earth Advantage.A points list based on Earth Advantage specifications would be provided with the building permit submittals as required by code.The buildings were high performance design and potentially would not need individual HVAC air handling systems.
She disagreed with statements the proposal did not provide a housing need.It was factually inaccurate based on several City documents adopted and acknowledged by the Planning Commission and the City Council.Single family homes were inappropriate in multi-family zoned areas.That was where apartments were built.
Sidewalks would be provided around the perimeter of the site.There was no rationale to provide off-site sidewalk improvements with this project. On street parking spaces would be twenty feet from the corners.There were traffic calming measures in place.Additionally, there was no collusion with the former owners of the property.
Chair Pearce addressed the request for a Continuance and discussed options with staff and the Commission.The meeting was continued to a Special Meeting October 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.The Commission wanted the applicant to provide more information on the following: