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Planning Commission Special Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
SPECIAL MEETING
MINUTES - Draft
October 23, 2018
 
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.
 
Commissioners Present:  Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson

 
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant





 
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
  Dennis Slattery, absent
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the Wildfire Lands Ordinance went into effect October 18, 2018.   It would not affect the building permit review issuance or inspection process.  The public hearing for the system development charges revision would happen at the City Council meeting November 6, 2018.  Council heard the continued public hearing on the Transit Triangle October 16, 2018.  It was continued to the meeting November 20, 2018 in order to complete a transportation analysis regarding concerns from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Spoke on climate change, solar panels and whether having an ordinance on clean energy was effective.
 
Monika Neri/Ashland/Distributed a review of Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 18.3.9.050.B.3.a and spoke regarding major recreational facilities and density bonuses.
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A.   Approval of Findings for PA-T2-2018-00002, 880 Park Street.
The Commission declared no ex parte on the matter.  Commissioner Thompson distributed proposed clarifications to the Findings.
 
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA-T2-2018-00002, 880 Park Street with the modifications set forth and suggested amendments.  DISCUSSION:  Chair Pearce offered an amendment to the motion that Condition 12 include the full definition of family.  Commissioner Thompson accepted the amendment.  There was a correction made to the second sentence on page 12 changing “water” to “watered” to read, “…trees be watered.”   Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.  
  
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS 
    A.  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.  This was a continued hearing.  Evidence and legal argument would be accepted without limit at this hearing. 
 
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson noted the following Key issues:
  • Driveway Separation.  The applicants amended their original proposal with three options.  They preferred Option B that would reduce parking by four spaces and retain the existing curb cut, power pole and guy-wire.  The drive aisle would utilize the access easement. 
  • On-street parking.  Slides from 2015, 2016 and 2018 showed very few cars parked on the street at 188 Garfield Street.  The applicants were asking for five to nine on-street parking spaces depending on which driveway option the Commission chose.  There were 30 on-street parking spaces available.  
  • Sidewalks.  The applicants original plan submittals showed curbside sidewalks along the frontage and tree preservation.  There were several trees partially along Garfield Street and up Quincy Street the applicants would remove.  Staff thought it appropriate to add a park row to that area. 
  • Open Space.  The plan presented a courtyard area and major recreation facility.  The code provided density bonuses for tennis courts, a swimming pools, etc.  Staff questioned if the lawn and BBQ areas were appropriate expressions of that density bonus.  
Questions of Staff
Mr. Severson addressed the driveway and explained the easement provided a constraint the applicants had to resolve.  He was not sure how much negotiation had occurred with the neighbor.  At the least, they had to maintain the present distance.  It seemed reasonable to utilize the current driveway instead of making another. 
 
Commission comment asked about bike routes on Iowa Street.  Mr. Molnar clarified the street was not wide enough curb-to-curb to accommodate a bike lane without removing parking.
 
Mr. Severson addressed bicycle parking.  The standards spoke to allowing bikes inside and specified racks.  The only standard rack listed was a U-rack but was typically not an interior installation.  The code did have interior bike parking for employees.  The applicant proposed a hanger in each unit to hang a bike on the wall.   Commission comment wanted to review the code for bicycle parking at a future Study Session.
 
Mr. Severson confirmed staff recommended park rows and sidewalks on Quincy Street and northeast Garfield Street.
 
He clarified the definitions for open space versus recreational space, private and semi-private patio areas, common spaces and stacking open space.  The general definition for open space under AMC 18.6.1.  AMC Section 18.4.2.030(H) spoke to recreational requirements.  Decks, patios and similar areas were a part of open space.  Historically the Commission had accepted decks, patios and porches as open space whether or not it was a common area.  Mr. Molnar added open space was not always consistent.
 
The Commission discussed open space and recreational open space.  Mr. Severson explained that open space areas were not available for developing and did not include setbacks.  The applicants plan showed 21%-23% open space. 
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Amy Gunter/Rogue Planning & Development Services/Medford/Ray Kistler/Kistler, Small, and White/Ashland/Spoke to aspects of the project.  Ms. Gunter explained the need for studio apartments in Ashland. She was waiting to hear back from Kim Parducci, a traffic engineer, on how many parking spaces were lost due to the yellow bars. A change to the driveway location would result in the loss of 3-4 on-site parking spaces.  Mr. Kistler explained the property owner with the easement had agreed to move the driveway over 5-feet but would not relinquish the easement.
 
Ms. Gunter addressed average daily trips (ADT).The ADT for Quincy and Garfield Streets did not trigger analysis thresholds.Amended Findings addressed the driveway apron and how it complied with the Exception standards due to the easement.
 
The Open Space plan demonstrated that the 2.1-acre lot required 8% open space.They needed an additional 10% of the lot area for a project total of 16,453 sq. ft. to achieve the density bonus. In the event the major recreational amenities went away, they would use some type of turf for the sports court area. There were no thoroughfares included in the open space area.The applicants amended the plan and removed areas not considered open space.It left lawn areas that met open space requirements.There was now 18,361 sq. ft. of open recreational area.Of that, 6,600 sq. ft. was the decks.They exceeded the 16,465 sq. ft. of required open space.
 
They were now proposing 70-units.They would use the two units for maintenance storage and office space.They would not go forward with the major recreational facilities.
 
Mr. Kistler touched on the first plan for 43 2-3 bedroom units and compared it to the 70-unit project before the Commission.Studio apartments met a housing need in Ashland.
 
Ms. Gunter addressed outdoor bicycle parking and on-street parking credits.The bike closets appeared to meet the intent of the code. There would be two twelve space bicycle parking areas outside.Essentially, there was seven on-street parking credits and one mixed use credit for bicycle parking.
 
Questions of the Applicant
Ms. Gunter clarified reducing the units from 72 to 70 would not change any of the numbers.The two units were based on receiving the major recreational facilities density bonus.
 
Mr. Kistler clarified the 30 on-street parking credits included the space taken by the driveway aprons.If the yellow striping was 20-30 feet, it would eliminate two parking spaces.
 
Patios and balconies were approximately 6x15 feet and excluded the 6 sq. ft. from the door area.The recent submission showing 5,616 sq. ft. of patios was part of the open space.Aside from the patios, there was 11,756 sq. ft. for a total of 17,372 sq. ft.
 
The indoor bike area was a closet without a door with a vertical bike rack on the wall.It was located by the front door.
 
Public Testimony
Jesse Walker/Ashland/The applicant incorrectly calculated square footage by measuring habitable space from the interior instead of the exterior.  The units were probably over 500 sq. ft.  She was concerned with parking and opposed the number of units.
 
Sue LeRoy/Ashland/Explained how the design would not blend with the neighborhood.  Ashland needed affordable housing that this project would not provide.  Two people could live in a studio apartment.  Where would they park?
 
Michael Gutman/Ashland/Understood the need for smaller units but this was not an infill project.  He spoke to density.
 
Devin Huseby/Ashland/Encouraged the Commission to close the record and not deliberate.  There was confusion with parking.  The written submittal on Option B conflicted with what was stated verbally.  Secure outdoor bike parking was lockers that locked.  The applicant’s presentation on open space was difficult to understand. 
 
Staci Antaya/Ashland/Thought the code for open space and recreational space was being used at an advantage. They were not intended to create maximum occupancy.  The project did not meet the housing needs of the community.  They were being used for maximum profit.
 
Eric Chandler/Ashland/It was a high foot traffic location and there were many problems walking in the area.  The streets needed more speed bumps and stop signs.  The parking lot for the development was at the back of his house.  He had five children and was concerned about parking accidents.  He wanted a stone wall built that would prevent a moving vehicle from coming into his yard.  Also, having two trees there would not provide an appropriate sound or light barrier.
 
Rebuttal by Applicant
Ms. Gunter was not aware of the code requirement for exterior measurement to determine square footage.They fixed it in the plan.Due to the short turn around between meetings there was differing language on the number of parking spaces.Option B reduced on-site parking spaces by three for a total of 64 spaces.There was ample space to park bicycles outside and the applicant would provide it if needed.However, they would not remove the indoor bicycle parking.Ms. Parducci had responded to Ms. Gunter’s message regarding the length of the yellow bars and thought it was 50-feet.This would reduce parking by two spaces.Ms. Gunter confirmed the units were rentals.
 
Questions of the Applicant
Mr. Kistler explained compatibility had to do with mass and scale, not matching finished materials.The development was compatible regarding mass and scale.
 
Deliberations & Decision
The Commission discussed the driveway Exception.Opposing comment did not think an easement rose to the level of an Exception.Nor did the applicant provide a basis for spacing the driveway.Other comment noted the existing curb cut presented an issue in the street right of way. It was an unusual aspect of the site to have a curb cut accessing the property.The City would not allow them to wall off the curb cut or do it themselves.It would be taking their access.That was the Exception that could be granted.Opposing comment thought the applicants needed to design the project to meet the code.Concern was expressed that on-street parking could be taken up with similar projects in the future.The code was clear regarding driveway spacing
 
They discussed major recreational space next.  The intent of the recreational space was suitable for adults.  Recreation needs changed over time.  It was antiquated to require a pool or tennis court to qualify.  Opposing comment thought there should be a structured play area.  The proposed structure could be an outdoor living room.  Others thought the code was archaic.  Supporting comment thought the recreation proposal was a great way to get people to build community.  It was an adult playground, something that would be used.  A gray area was the lack of structure for the grassy areas.  
 
The Commission went on to discuss open space and using semi-private or private patios as open space.  Comment did not think balconies should be included.  Other comment thought it was a code issue and semi-private areas should be excluded.
 
For the bicycle parking, externally, they did not have enough space to meet the code.  But having an area for bicycles in each unit was a better configuration than what the code required.  The Commission directed staff to remove 11-H from the recommendation.
 
The Commission discussed the on-street parking credits.  Supportive comment thought the application met the parking requirements off-site and on-site.  One comment wanted a parking study where staff checked parking in the area four times a day for five to seven days to ensure everyone had the same data.  Other comment noted public testimony stated available parking was adequate unless there was an event at the university or high school.
 
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve Planning Action #PA-T2-2018-00003, 188 Garfield Street with the Conditions and the amendments discussed, the removal of 11-H, reframe less than 500 sq. ft. from outside walls instead of the inside walls, accept Option B, keep the sidewalk as described, approve the open space unit reduction from 72 to 70, and retain the proposed bicycle parking.   DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawkins thought this project was exactly what Ashland needed.  He had no problem with the design or the mix.  Commissioner Thompson regretted losing the recreational amenity piece.  It needed more definition.  She thought it did meet the “or similar” portion of the requirement as an adult playground. 
 
Commissioner Harper would not support the motion.  The Commission’s role was to determine if it fit the code.  He supported denying the application and having the applicants return with a better designed plan for 72-units that included an outdoor living room.  Commissioner Norton also would not support the motion.  The lawn area was not defined for recreation.  They should have worked out the issues regarding the easement first.  The easement and the recreational space were the reasons he was voting no.  Commissioner Mindlin explained her biggest issue was the driveway.  She was willing to let that go though.  She thought the Commission was making a mistake on not acknowledging the value of the reactional facility the applicants were providing.  She would not support the motion.  Chair Pearce thought the existing curb cut created a unique situation.  It would be better for transportation facility connectivity to have two curb cuts instead of three.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Pearce, Dawkins, and Brown, YES; Commissioners Mindlin, Harper, Norton, and Thompson, NO.  Motion failed 3-4.
 
Commissioner Mindlin/Thompson m/s to approve the Planning Action #PA-T2-2018-00003, 188 Garfield Street with 72 two-units, accepting the plan for the major recreational facility, the alteration for exterior square footage calculations, accepting the interior bicycle parking by eliminating 11-H and granting the Exception for the Driveway using Option B, and requiring park rows per staff’s recommendation.  
DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Norton would not support the motion and thought it was sending the wrong message to the public.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Brown, Thompson, Mindlin, Pearce, and Dawkins, YES; Commissioners Norton and Harper, NO.  Motion passed 5-2. 
 
    B.  PLANNING ACTION:  PA-T2-2018-00004
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 1661 Ashland Street
OWNER:   Rogue Credit Union & Columbia Care Services, Inc.
APPLICANT:  Columbia Care Services, Inc./Jerome White, KSW Architects
DESCRIPTION:   A request for a Land Partition and Site Design Review to create three parcels from the parent property located at 1661 Ashland Street. Parcel 1 would be 33,278 square feet in area and would contain the proposed “Rogue Ridge” development consisting of 30 multi-family dwelling units including one resident manager’s unit and 29 affordable housing units in a 26,146 square foot, three-story building in two connected wings; Parcel 2 would be 9, 913 square feet in area and would contain a future two-story commercial building; and the third parcel would be 22,462 square feet and would contain the existing Rogue Credit Union building. (25 of the 30 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; the five remaining units are two- and three-bedroom and count as full units for density purposes.) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 10DC; TAX LOTS: 8700 & 9201.
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m.  Voice Cote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Dawkins, Thompson, and Brown declared no ex parte and one site visit.  Commissioners Norton, Pearce, Harper, and Mindlin had no ex parte.
 
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the Commission could find the original Shadow Plan provided a phased development plan for the site to prevent piecemeal and uncoordinated development.  Based on AMC 18.2.3.130.B.1 and Black’s Law Dictionary, Site – C, the Commission could consider the standards in terms of the original shadow-planned site instead of individual lots.  The applicant proposed 20 parking spaces for 25 studio units.  For future building parking, the applicants wanted a joint-use or mixed use credit for the remaining four spaces.  Additionally, the project was subject to the 100-Day Rule per ORS 197.311 because it was affordable housing.
 
Questions of Staff - None
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Jerome White/Kistler Small and White, Clark Stevens/Richards Stevens and Associates, and Cindy Dyer/Columbia Care/Spoke to the application.  Jerome White provided history on the Shadow Plan.  It coordinated with the Rogue Credit Union.  At the time of the appeal, Columbia Care was introduced as the developer of the property.  They would exceed the floor area ratio (FAR) slightly by dividing Parcel 2 into two lots due to the proposed two story building.  Clark Stevens further explained the original plan had 4 separate structures.  Technically it was three because two structures were connected by the sky walk.  It would be a multi-family structure with commercial below.  The project was consistent with the Shadow Plan.  They had less than 30 dwelling units per acre and met all the setbacks. The west side had a 20-foot side yard and a 10-foot setback.
 
They determined through a San Diego parking study that 47.5% of low income occupants did not own a vehicle.  They used of the City of Eugene’s parking at .67 spaces per dwelling unit.That would allow 17 parking spaces for 25 studios and 10 spaces for the 2 and three bedroom facilities.This was where the joint-use parking came into play.There was ample space that eliminated parking conflicts.
 
Mr. White explained the need for an Exception regarding storm water.They could not put in a bioswale without raising the parking lot two to three feet.Instead, they wanted to retain the water on the parking lot, filter it though porous paving and a hydro dam separator then send it to Parker Street.
 
The project team met with the neighbors.The neighbors were concerned with the present lighting used by the Rogue Credit Union.This project would shield parking lights on the north side to avoid spillage onto the adjacent properties.They would use 14-foot light poles that were lower than the standard.They wanted to use individual motion sensors as well.
 
They were planning on planting one tree every four parking spaces and adding peninsulas to help mitigate the impact to the neighbors.They would also plant an eight-foot hedge.
 
Questions of the Applicant
The lot was fenced at the property and there was an access easement to the back of the property.  There was a large tree the neighbors wanted protected.  The sky walk was 14-feet above grade and a fire truck would clear the height.
 
Staff explained the original Shadow Plan went from 65%-35% to commercial-residential to 50%-50% due to the uses.
 
Mr. White clarified the alternative to the bio swale.  A line went to Parker Street.  The water would reach the curb and get metered.  It was already approved and in place.  Mr. Severson added the applicants received an easement at the time development began for the Rogue Credit Union.
 
Public Testimony
Karen Zerger/Ashland/Explained Rogue Credit Union worked with the architects on this plan.  The Credit Union supported the project and would continue to support affordable housing efforts.
 
Jeff Westergaard/Ashland/Shared a personal story regarding a homeless individual with mental health issues.  He questioned whether this was the right location for this type of facility.  There were current lighting issues with Rogue Credit Union.  He did not trust the applicants would divert lighting with this project.  Other issues were sewage and the slope.
 
Tara Elder/Ashland/Did not support the project and had safety concerns.  There were concerns with building height, and Josephine County “dumping” thirteen people on Jackson County.  Neighbors were already moving.  The Credit Union and this project were taking away the feeling of community that existed in her neighborhood.
 
Keith Henty/Ashland/Lived right over the fence.  There were issues with the lighting Rogue Credit Union was using.  He had concerns on building height as well.  Proximity was another concern along with the designated smoking area that would be too close to his fence.  Other issues were septic, traffic, and the view.
 
Rebuttal by Applicant
Cindy Dyer clarified Columbia Care served people with behavorial health issues and veterans.They had sites throughout state of Oregon.They were not importing people from Josephine County.The security was for the residents walking to their cars.Mr. White added lighting would be shielded.He wanted to install light monitors but it required installing one between each parking stall.
 
Questions of the Applicant
The Rogue Credit Union had stated the current lighting system met state safety requirements. They would not meet that requirement if the lighting was in the middle of the parking lot.
 
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Thompson was concerned about relying on a Shadow Plan that was no longer under common ownership.  The Commission initially rejected Rogue Credit Union’s plan because they could not develop the lot themselves with the Shadow Plan.  The City Council overturned that decision and wanted the credit union to create exactly what they did.  There were two issues.  Whether the code permitted the Commission to rely on the Shadow Plan to satisfy FAR and the minimum residential versus commercial even though there was no longer common ownership.   It could be considered a phased development plan.  There were other examples where common ownership did not exist.  The impact to the neighbors was understood.  This project was exactly what City Council wanted to see happen here.  It was a thoughtful design and she supported the project.   
 
There were concerns regarding the storm water.  However, the applicants had it designed by an engineer, the Commission reviewed the reports, and the Public Works Department would ensure it worked.
 
The Commission was concerned with the lighting used by the Rogue Credit Union.  Mr. Molnar thought it was a potential code violation and would look into the matter.
 
Commissioners Mindlin/Dawkins m/s to approve PA-T2-2018-00004,1661 Ashland Street with additional Findings with as stringent as possible lighting conditions.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Thompson, Pearce, Dawkins, Brown, Harper, Mindlin, and Norton, YES.  Motion passed 7-0. 
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:20  p.m.
 
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
 
 

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