ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
DECEMBER 10, 2002
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Mike Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Colin Swales, Russ Chapman, Alex Amarotico, John Fields, Ray Kistler, Marilyn Briggs, and Mike Morris. Kerry KenCairn was absent. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, and Sue Yates.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
November 12, 2002, Regular Meeting - Amarotico moved to approve, Kistler seconded and the minutes were approved.
November 12, 2002 Regular Meeting(continuation) - Chapman moved to approve, Amarotico seconded and the minutes were approved.
November 12, 2002 Study Session- Kistler moved to approve, Fields seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
Findings of November 12, 2002meeting for denial of PA2002-106 (DeLuca, 916 East Main Street). Swales noted this action was not denied without prejudice. McLaughlin said to "deny without prejudice" usually means there is a procedural error. If the Commissioners do not believe the application meets the standard, they are "denying with prejudice". It was clear the Commission did not agree with the request, so it was denied with prejudice. The applicant can re-apply within a year’s time if he/she can show that certain facts were not considered or the plan is modified.
Chapman moved to approve approval of the Findings for PA2002-106, Amarotico seconded the motion and the Findings were approved.
Findings of the November 26, 2002(continuation) meeting for approval of PA2001-117 (Dale - 250 Clay Street) - Kistler moved to approve, Amarotico seconded the motion and the Findings were approved.
September 24, 2002 Joint Study Session Minutes- Swales moved to approve, Amarotico seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
PUBLIC FORUM- No one came forth to speak.
PLANNING ACTION 2002-128
REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL FOR A 73-UNIT SUBDIVISION UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION INVOLVING 16.29 ACRES OF LAND LOCATED WEST OF THE WESTERN TERMINUS OF NEVADA STREET AND NORTH OF NORTH MAIN STREET (1140 JACKSON ROAD). THIS PROJECT CONSISTS OF 50 SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS AND 23 TOWN HOMES.
APPLICANT: BILLINGS RANCH GOLF GROUP, LLC
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all. Swales received an e-mail from Bryan Holley regarding general development in Ashland. Swales forwarded it to the Planning Department.
Molnar stated this is an application for Outline Plan approval under the Performance Standards Option and the applicable approval standards are identified in Chapter 18.88 of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance and have been mailed to property owners within a minimum of 200 feet from the subject property.
Molnar said the project involves one of the larger last remaining vacant pieces of property at the northwest section of the community. It is a little over 16 acres. There are no trees on the property of any significant size
Of the 73 lots being requested, approximately 23 lots are projected for townhomes occurring along the lots adjoining the railroad right-of-way. The remaining 50 lots are proposed to be single family detached homes.
Proposed access to the development is requested at two locations. As identified in the City’s Transportation Plan, the extension of West Nevada into the site is one access. The second access is identified off the corner of Cambridge Street, involving the removal of the existing residence and the building of a road where the existing residence lies that will lead into the subdivision. The street layout is generally a modified grid system, including alleys, as well as a public alley system running parallel to the railroad tracks. The street system also identifies a future stub-out at the southeast portion of the property that is projected to ultimately extend to the east and connect to Randy Street.
The most notable feature on the property is some wetland areas. The applicant is considering requesting approval of a golf course through Jackson County. They anticipate the wetland mitigation for the reduction of wetlands to occur in that area as well. There is a proposed open space area accessible and central to the project, involving one large wetland and development of the street network around it.
The plan includes some multi-use paths through the project with one extending through the wetlands, running south to north, ultimately abutting the north property line, allowing potential pedestrian access to the golf course to the north. Also identified is a future public bikeway along the railroad right-of-way. The City has obtained easements along this right-of-way and has about ten years to construct the bikeway system. This application proposes to construct approximately 1700 linear feet of the public bikeway system.
The primary concerns that will be heard tonight relate to the impacts of this project on surrounding streets, primarily Nevada Street. Staff anticipates, given the proximity of the access point onto Cambridge Street, that the majority of the traffic will use Nevada Street to get in and out of the project. Nevada Street is identified as a collector street and anticipated in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to accommodate traffic levels from 3,000 to 10,000 vehicle trips per day. Typically, other collectors in the community carry 4,000 to 5,000 trips per day. A concern of neighbors is that Nevada is straight and wide. There are no sidewalks and children in the area access Helman School.
The Staff Report addresses the concern regarding the connection to Cambridge Street. Generally, the City requires for multiple points of connection to a subdivision to disperse traffic generated from that subdivision onto the higher street networks so not just one street accounts for the overall burden for the development. Staff does not see a lot of the impact taken off Nevada through the Cambridge connection. Staff has recommended the Cambridge connection not occur and be omitted from the proposal. And, rely on what has been planned for in the future with an additional connection to this development, primarily through Randy and a possible connection to Otis Street. The applicant has been working with the neighborhood to form an assessment district to install sidewalks and traffic calming measures along Nevada Street from this subdivision to the Helman School area. They have stipulated they agree to pay a significant portion of the costs associated with sidewalks along one side of Nevada and traffic calming measures along Nevada Street in the interim, until additional connections are made to Randy and Otis. There is one piece of property, not under the ownership of the applicant that lies between the subdivision and the end of Otis and Randy. The applicants might speak to their attempts at negotiating the construction of Randy Street. At this point, they have been unable to reach an agreement with the owner.
Staff has included a Condition requiring this development participate in a Local Improvement District (LID). However, there is no timeline of when the assessment district should be formed and the installation of the improvements completed. The applicants anticipate build-out two and one-half to three years from this date.
The applicant’s wetland assessment concludes that the wetland is occurring because of seepage of the open ditch that runs parallel to the railroad tracks. The applicant plans to install a storm drain pipe and pipe the ditch. After piping, the wetland may no longer qualify for a wetland or it could be substantially reduced in size. The Division of State Lands has given no formal delineation. The applicant proposes to remove about three-quarters of an acre of wetland. The usable open space is added in, creating a contiguous common area of approximately 1.8 acres in the project. That exceeds the City’s minimum requirement of five percent of the total project area being developed as common area.
Another point that will probably be raised at this meeting is: Has the City or the applicant considered additional points of access to the north of the property? Molnar said to the north is the Urban Growth Boundary. The City does not anticipate urbanizing that area. It is zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) and outside the City’s jurisdiction. Approval to extend a public infrastructure is difficult. The difficulty with an access off North Main is the railroad track and the inability to get an at-grade crossing. Nationwide, there is an attempt to reduce the number of crossings because of safety issues and it is very difficult, if not impossible.
Staff believes the applicant has done a good job in meeting the design standards for a subdivision in terms of street layout, incorporating the natural features adjacent to City streets, allowing visual and physical access through the natural areas. The alley systems provide access to many of the properties with the alleys linked with the projected bikeways along the railroad property.
Molnar said there are 24 Conditions outlined in the Staff Report.
Briggs wondered if the applicant was specifically asked to do an affordable component. Molnar said they always stress the need for a mix of housing types and would encourage that. The applicant is developing this project at the base density for the project site. They do not require any type of density bonus. They are not proposing any affordable units.
Briggs asked if there would be parking on both sides of the street. Molnar said the streets are designed at 22-24 feet wide, allowing parking on one side. The parking will alternate.
Swales asked for an estimated cost of improvements to Nevada. Molnar said the neighborhood has identified some traffic calming measures as well as sidewalks. A quick estimate of costs would be $100,000 for the improvements. The special assessment would cost very roughly $700 to $800 for each residence.
Swales noted that although the connections are gridded within the subdivision, it is like a big cul-de-sac for the whole neighborhood. He was wondering if an access could be provided through the adjacent property to Jackson Street. Molnar said he could ask the applicant. It is his understanding they are going to relocate the existing connection with Jackson Street and North Main further to the north. There would be limited streets throughout the golf course due to constraints on developing EFU land.
Amarotico wondered where the criteria for providing streets to and through the development has not been met? Molnar said it is not black and white that there has to be a secondary access. In this case, they are making a provision to extend over to Randy and Otis when the property is available. Does the overall transportation system function adequately? McLaughlin thought Amarotico was referring to the length of the dead end within the subdivision itself. This would apply to the merits of the design and can be discussed by the applicant.
Fields said it looks on the site plan like buildings encroaching on dotted lines. Molnar said the applicant was asked to identify setbacks. Any buildings would have to be within the building envelope.
Fields thought it looked like one driveway per lot. Aren’t we consolidating driveways? Molnar said 65 percent have alley access so there are no driveway approaches. Some of the lots along the golf course are not showing shared driveways.
Fields thought lots 23 through 37 seemed like "stralley" developments. It looks like extreme lot coverage on those homes. Molnar believes they are identifying a typical footprint. It doesn’t negate the requirement that they have to comply with lot coverage requirement.
CRAIG STONE represents the applicants Michael Peru and Ross Waddell. The project architect is Dave Richardson, civil engineer Michael Thornton, wetland consultant, Phil Scoles. They have prepared Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in support of this project and asked those be incorporated into the record.
Stone said they were advised in the early planning stages that some sort of dual access would be desirable, if not required. They are in agreement with the criterion under which access is controlled, not requiring dual access. They are prepared to stipulate that no connection to Cambridge Street will be made. They will remove tax lot 153 from the application.
Stone looked at some of the letters submitted concerning traffic. They predict traffic loading using the trip generation by The Institute of Traffic Engineers. They have computed the traffic loading and this project would produce about 630 vehicle trips per day. This would average about one vehicle trip per minute during peak hour.
They believe that the wetlands have expanded and narrowed in scope based upon maintenance of the canal. With the improvements required to the canal to install the multi-purpose path, the wetlands are likely to disappear. However, a provision of open space is twice what is required by ordinance.
Contrary to what is indicated in the bound document and Findings of Fact with respect to storm drains and the accommodation of storm waters, they will not be detained within the project wetland. Instead, they will be transported to the ponds that exist on the golf course and then into Bear Creek. What happens if the golf course does not materialize? Will storm water still be accommodated on that property? Tim Billings, one of the owners of the Billings Ranch has said it will still be available for the transport of storm waters.
Stone said the Staff Report suggests that after hearing testimony, if the Commission still believes a secondary connection is required, they might be able to impose a condition that would require this project to be phased. The applicants would object to that. They proposed a secondary access even though it may not be ideal. Staff has indicated the capacity of Nevada Street as stated by Molnar. The applicants believe that the Planning Commission is not entitled to accomplish by condition what they cannot accomplish through a direct consideration of the criteria. He contends the approval criteria regarding streets and street capacity is met.
Stone noted that his client has proposed to pay for the installation of pedestrian facilities and traffic calming between the proposed property to Helman School. It would require the formation of a LID. He heard today that the cost would be an average of $63 per year for the average homeowner.
Stone addressed the question of the length of a private drive. The alternative would be to redesign the street to bring it further to the south and in doing so, the open space would be eliminated. They are looking for the accommodation of pedestrian traffic. To the rear, vehicular traffic will be accommodated. They can accommodate frontage along the street, but believe it would compromise the design to do so.
Stone said the Billings Ranch is zoned EFU and it cannot be taken out of that. A golf course can be proposed on farmland. The EFU zone has a list of permissible uses established by the legislature. One thing not listed is a public road where no existing right-of-way currently exists. They would not be able to approach the burden of proof for an exception because the street network serving the property is adequate.
Amarotico wondered if there could be a connection from the townhomes on the north to the townhomes on the south. Stone answered there will be a connection by way of the multi-use path.
Briggs asked if the applicant, out of the goodness of his heart, would provide an affordable townhome. Stone said that was not contemplated and noted this is not relevant to these proceedings.
Gardiner wondered, if by removing the Cambridge lot, does that change the density? Stone thought it would be insignificant. If it is, they would drop another lot instead at Final Plan.
Stone said the applicants have no objection to the Conditions of approval.
NORA KNOX, 276 W. Nevada, stated that she is generally in support of the project, but she has some concerns. Nevada is the only entrance and exit to the proposed development and her biggest concern is the increased traffic on Nevada and her safety concerns regarding fire and other emergencies. If fire vehicles were brought in, they could potentially block the exit to the whole subdivision. Nevada Street is wide and straight, encouraging speed and vehicles, thus making pedestrians and bicyclists feel unsafe. She understands and fully supports the proposed LID. There is much uncertainty around the Randy Street connection to the development. Will it ever go through? It could be years before it goes through. She believes it is too much to ask Nevada Street residents to absorb the full impact of all 73 units proposed for the development. Are we creating a big cul-de-sac at the end of Nevada Street? If the connection cannot go in at Randy, she would encourage the Commissioners ask for phasing the development until another street access can be formed. She wants the developer’s participation in the LID, but she also wants a secondary access to the development. Nevada Street is slated for improvements in 2003-2004. Can they ask for Nevada Street to be bumped in front of the Laurel Street improvements? The applicant said it would make a lot of sense for the Nevada Street improvements to coincide with his initial phase of development which will include installing roads and sidewalks. She would agree. Will there be any public accessibility to the walking paths created on the golf course, perhaps after hours?
RICHARD MARAK, 340 Cambridge Street, said he is happy to hear the Cambridge house will not be demolished and the street installed. He continues to have safety concerns about traffic on Cambridge Street. He believes the traffic may not flow that easily down Nevada and will spill over to Cambridge. It is a quiet street now and kids play in the street. He is concerned for the safety of those children walking to Helman School. He would feel better if the lots were conducive to families and were affordable. Cambridge is poorly lighted. Are there sufficient community resources and services to support this development? Have studies been done to prove it? Has the applicant looked at other access points? What is the impact on the water and creek? What will happen to the wildlife? Why is there no affordable housing? He is suspect that the Randy Street will ever become available.
DARCY NOYES, 384 Cambridge Street, said that with regard to the house on Cambridge, there are no existing shrubs and trees noted on the plans. She is concerned about safety and adding traffic on the streets. The accesses need traffic calming. Traffic calming on Nevada will cause cars to be diverted to other streets and interfere with their quality of life. She said exhaust and paving could cause damage to her landscaping. The children will no longer be able to play in the street. She would suggest the Cambridge house not be removed. Keep an access on North Main. What studies have been done on Cambridge or other accesses? There is a mineral springs bath at the end of Randy Street. She asked about the Tree Commission comments. McLaughlin said their comments were forwarded to the Planning Commission. Noyes agrees with Knox’s comments.
SANDRA COPELAND, 266 Cambridge Street, stated that she agrees with most of what has been said. Her primary concern is traffic. She does, however, see a need for a second access, particularly for a subdivision of this size. She is concerned for pedestrians and children and everyone in the Nevada/Cambridge/Laurel neighborhood.
KATHRYN BRESLAUER, 305 Randy Street, said she thought access should be given very careful thought. She agrees with what the other opponents have said.
JACK OPGENORTH, 575 Elizabeth Street, said he agrees with what neighbors have said. Safety and the size of the development are big concerns. If the developer has to go out of his way to find another access, then that is what the Planning Commission should do.
AL BODIN, 119 Cypress Circle, agrees with the others. Their quality of life will be drastically impacted. What about the people that live here? There will be a danger to the hundreds of kids going to Helman now and add to that those from Briscoe. Kids play in the street. He rides his bike through Quiet Village. He finds it offensive that affordable housing is not relevant.
ANN BODIN, 119 Cypress Circle, strongly objects to the development. She has submitted a letter. Helman is already heavily traveled. With adding children due the closure of Briscoe School, transporting those children along with the children from the added development, will be a treacherous situation.
CAROLYN HALD, 275 Cambridge Street, is concerned with traffic. There are no sidewalks on Cambridge and the kids walk in the street.
LANCE BISACCIA, 302 Cambridge Street, said that currently Cambridge is used by those that live on it in a safe and pleasing way. He is pleased they are releasing the access on Cambridge. If the character of their street is changed by changing it to an access street, it would be tremendous and unwelcome. He is also concerned about traffic calming on Cambridge.
BRYAN HOLLEY, 324 Liberty Street, noted that he is a Tree Commissioner but he is speaking for himself tonight. He is frustrated how the planning process works. The town is changing, step by step. An applicant comes to the City and the City helps him design the project. The Planning Commission has to look at it from a larger scale. Where is the cumulatively sense? He would urge the Commission to send the applicants back to the drawing board and put something on the property that serves our town.
DARREL JARVIS, 880 Cambridge Street, neither favors nor opposes the development. They do not favor the demolition of the house on Cambridge. They believe the project, as proposed, is too large to funnel traffic to Nevada and Randy. The development needs more than a one street access. The City should begin condemnation in order to acquire access.
DIANE COWAN, 1330 Oregon Street, said she owns the farm on Otis Street. They need to keep the land for her sons who will be returning to Ashland to make the decision. Is there a provision for the run-off? The Cowan’s flood irrigate their property. What if building changes topography and there is run-off into the development? Who is responsible for that? They will have animals and hot wire running along the property. They have water rights dating back to the 1800’s. They cannot stop the water coming to them. No matter where you put the street, there will be problems. Even though she feels very guilty, she does not wish to sell the property for at least three years and more likely, ten years.
GAIL GALLAHER, 340 Cambridge Street, agrees with all the neighbors’ concerns. When she comes home, it is her sanctuary. She is distressed this development is not providing affordable housing.
ANTHONY KERWIN, 350 West Nevada, generally agrees with the comments made by Knox. He supports the proposed LID and street calming measures. He would support multiple accesses to the project and a healthy maintenance of the wetlands. He suggested access to North Main. It would provide a benefit to everyone in the area. Are the wetlands being adequately mitigated?
KAREN MCCLINTOCK, 395 Oxford, believes the neighborhood needs sidewalks. She is incensed that affordable housing is an irrelevant issue. Since the developer no longer needs to buy the house on Cambridge, could he put that amount of money into a house for Habitat for Humanity?
CAROLYN FREDERICO, 339 Cambridge Street, said she is concerned about the safety of the numerous walking children. She believes the traffic will re-route to Cambridge.
Gardiner read a letter into the record from MARK KNOX, 276 West Nevada, who is concerned about the timing of the LID. If Nevada is to be the only entrance/exit for the new development (temporary or not), then he has no objection to a single phase build-out. He asked that a Condition be added to the end of Condition 3 that prior to signature of final plat, the LID shall be formed and adopted by the Ashland City Council. Obviously, construction of the sidewalk and traffic calming measures will still need to be completed. With the added wording, Nevada Street residents will be assured the improvements will most likely be completed before any homes are constructed.
McLaughlin gave a brief explanation of the Land Use Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan and statewide land use program. The state has passed specific legislation that local cities cannot impose requirements that the developer is required to provide affordable housing. He knows it is difficult for the neighborhood. We too, as residents of Ashland, feel all the issues of livability. However, there is a process the Planning Commission is bound to follow.
Chapman asked about the capacity of Cambridge. McLaughlin said Cambridge is a neighborhood street and 1500 vehicle trips per day is capacity. There are a few hundred trips per day at this time.
McLaughlin said working out an agreement with the railroad for a crossing has been the major impediment. A bigger issue would be changing the grade from the development to North Main. It would have to be near Grant Street. The only way to make it work would be to build over the tracks, but by then it would have to be 50 feet above the Billings property. To have the proper landings, it would be like a freeway off-ramp over the Billings property. Then it would become a prime route out of Quiet Village.
Swales wondered about the possibility of moving the city limits 20 feet into the Billings property to allow a road to run alongside the multi-use path and join Jackson Street. McLaughlin said a boundary line adjustment would be a UGB amendment involving a very long process with Jackson County and the City of Ashland.
Stone clarified that affordable housing is irrelevant to this proceeding, not that it is unimportant.
The owner has gone out of his way to accommodate traffic issues by acquiring a dwelling to provide for a secondary access, by trying to provide pedestrians facilities and traffic calming along Nevada Street, and helping to construct the bike and multi-use path along the boundary of this property.
Stone said with the two hours of testimony, he is unable to do an appropriate job of rebuttal in five minutes. He moved to close the public hearing, leave the record open for ten days for the sole purpose of supplying rebuttal in written form, and delivering it within ten days to the Planning Department. Stone said deliberations would be continued to a future meeting after receiving the written rebuttal.
McLaughlin said the applicants are asking the record be closed to any other testimony other than their rebuttal. The Commission can deny Stone’s request to accept the rebuttal in writing and at this point allow Stone’s rebuttal, answer questions from the Commission, the Commission would deliberate and make a decision. McLaughlin said the Commission can also choose to leave the record open for all parties.
Stone said he simply wants to provide rebuttal to the various points that were made. He can’t do it in five minutes.
McLaughlin is concerned that at the next meeting we will be losing two planning commissioners. Gardiner recommended hearing the rebuttal tonight. All Commissioners agreed.
Stone thought the LID priority scheme has to do with the City’s participation. If the neighborhood is willing to proceed without guarantee of any city funds, then it can probably be increased in priority.
Stone felt getting a railroad crossing would be virtually impossible. If a crossing worked, they are just inviting more traffic into the neighborhood and could produce an undesirable effect.
Stone said Mrs. Cowan made her position clear. If a secondary access is important, imminent domain is the way to get there. That is not under the Planning Commission authority.
With Mrs. Cowan irrigating and keeping animals, Stone said that regulations require that the party irrigating is responsible for where the water goes. They might need to work that out with Mrs. Cowan. Animals are a pre-existing use. If they produce a nuisance or inconvenience, the occupants will have to live with it.
Stone believes they have explored all access points. A secondary access to the north has to ultimately cross farmland and it cannot be done with an exception. If the UGB was moved, the railroad crossing or farmland crossing would still apply to join Jackson Street. They are left with no other alternatives for access. They have heard testimony that the street is not at capacity.
Morris asked if mitigating wetlands for municipal use is allowable under EFU. Stone affirmed. Wetlands routinely occur on farmland. Increasing wetlands in concert with a golf course would be an incidental use. It is not a land use per se.
Briggs moved to extend the meting to 10:30 p.m. All favored.
Kistler knows we are not allowed to require affordable housing, but would the applicant be interested in providing a component after hearing the testimony? Stone could ask the owner to speak. He doubted the owner is interested in acquiring the Cambridge house for the purpose of donating it.
Fields said the Tree Commission reviewed the plans and recommended that the pedestrian easement heading toward the golf course and the open space be expanded. He is not sure if they were asking for wetlands. Are they asking for a drainage flowing that way or a visual aesthetic in the open space?
PHIL SCOLES, Terra Science, Inc., 434 N. W. Sixth Avenue, Suite 303, P. O. Box 2100, Portland, OR 97208-2100, stated he cannot speculate on what the Tree Commission is referring to. However, the seepage area drains downhill, is intercepted by a ditch, and then the ditch flows north and drains ultimately into a larger seepage area and eventually into the pond. There is not a continuous downhill flow. They have to think about whether or not the state and federal agencies would approve a mitigation area that would be surrounded by homes. They are looking at setback from wetlands and mitigation areas and connectivity.
Swales wondered if pedestrians can get to the golf course. Stone said his client is nodding affirmatively that will be permissible after golfing.
MICHAEL PERU, Medford, said the bike path starts at their development and extends all the way down through the golf course to where their property ends at the Jackson House. Jackson Road is going to be going away.
Briggs asked Peru about providing affordable housing. Peru said it is not very possible. The land cost takes it out of the affordable range. Briggs said they have to take small steps. A unit or two is a small step.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Gardiner would like to add to the end of Condition 3, include the request made in Mark Knox’s letter, "That prior to signature of final plat, an LID shall be formed and adopted by the Ashland City Council." McLaughlin concurred if the Commissioners believe the timing of the improvements is necessary to meet adequate transportation requirements for the whole subdivision.
Swales believes the corner access to Cambridge is definitely not necessary. Without the availability of Randy Street, we are looking at a single entrance. He is concerned with the amount of traffic using just one entrance, especially construction traffic during the initial construction and during the build-out. He sees 19 properties backing onto grassland and thought back to a recent grass fire on Hersey Street and how quickly it spread. What is the emergency vehicle access like? What is the affect of the bottleneck through the subdivision? He would like to see some kind of LID in place to make sure children are safe and traffic calming is installed.
Swales wondered if there was any precedent that an affected single entrance cul-de-sac with 75 units has been approved. McLaughlin could think of none.
Swales would urge the architects to be more creative with house designs.
Chapman supported the LID as an addition to Condition 3.
Briggs agreed with Swales and she is very upset about one access. She has concerns about fire too. She pointed to Criteria 3, "to and through the development". She is not convinced that looping through the subdivision, entering and exiting at the same place means "to and through". She would be inclined to deny it on this issue.
Chapman said, it is his understanding, that if we require the applicant to have another access point, then upper Cambridge will be the road that is punched through.
Gardiner never heard it explained that "to and through" has to come in one side and go out the other. They are at the end of the city limits and there is no place for them to go.
McLaughlin said the Commissioners have some discretion in how they apply the connectivity and cul-de-sac standards. The street standards allow cul-de-sacs if there are natural features you are trying not to impact. By looping the road back around, it would run through the wetland again, creating greater impervious surface on top of the wetland. The street standard says a street should be designed to allow greatest efficiency of development and meeting plan densities. More asphalt will take out lots and reduce the overall densities. There is a balancing point that is not necessarily black and white. The applicant has provided an option he believes meets the standards. The paved access to and through is to ensure there is paved access throughout the development. They are providing that. Some of the Commissioners are asking if the subdivision meets adequate transportation. Is one access "adequate transportation"? There is evidence that there is probably a three year period where there may not be a connection. We have generally allowed developments, though smaller, with one access with future connections to happen (Fordyce is an example).
Swales moved to extend the meeting until 11:00 p.m. All favored.
McLaughlin continued by saying the Commissioners should ask if the two access points will distribute traffic throughout the neighborhood. Cambridge Street does not provide a good way of distributing traffic in the neighborhood. Ultimately Randy and Otis will distribute traffic more evenly. If they are concerned about an emergency access point, then they will have a hard time saying Cambridge should not be used.
Gardiner said the question isn’t whether Nevada Street will be at capacity with the additional houses, but the circumstance where there is a catastrophe and that is the only entrance. With the future connection of Randy that will happen some time, but no one knows when, that does meet the "to and through". The only other viable option is to punch through Cambridge giving a relief valve, but the neighbors don’t want it.
Kistler said the long-range transportation plan calls for Randy Street to be extended to this neighborhood. It is no different than just about every other subdivision that has come before the Commission. For example, the neighborhoods up and down Fordyce that have dead end streets will some day will punch through.
When Kistler said this plan had no community value, he meant to say that this town’s largest impending problem seems to be affordable housing and it is not part of this package. He did not mean to diminish the amenities of the subdivision such as the bike path and the open space.
Fields did not see anything from the Fire Department’s review to oppose the access. Is there a risk when potentially 120 vehicles are trying to leave in an emergency? Are there any indications this is a liability? He is a little concerned about no access to the vacant portion of Billings Ranch for either escape or fire protection. It seems there should be some easement either along the bike path and multi-use path. It seems like it could potentially be a field that could have a summer fire.
DAVE HARD, Fire Marshall, 1097 B Street, said the new narrowed portion of Nevada is a concern because of 73 units. He believes there is a Condition added that temporarily requires the new street will be equal to the existing Nevada Street. Once the secondary access is put through, it can be narrowed down to the proposed width seen on the plan so emergency vehicles can get through even as people are exiting the neighborhood in an emergency. (Condition 6)
Hard said the applicant told him they could possibly be putting in a fire apparatus access only between the alleyways that are on each side of the wetlands.
Fields asked if the Fire Department needs the lateral connection for an emergency. Hard said that this time, the Fire Department is comfortable just changing the width of the Nevada Street extension to the new public street until there is a second way into the development.
Fields wondered if Hard saw any issue with the accessing the open fields. Hard said the field is outside the city limits and outside the Urban Growth Boundary - outside Ashland’s enforcement area.
McLaughlin said they have never required or been able to get an easement on an adjoining property in the county, but thought a condition could be added. Fields suggested a Condition 25 that a 100 foot maintenance access easement be provided. However, how would they get to it to mow it?
Amarotico is generally in favor of the project. He is happy to know there is a connection of two public alleys and that Randy will someday provide access. He is willing to compromise on Dave Hard’s non-automobile option.
Gardiner asked if the Commissioners wish to add a Condition 25 regarding fire protection to the north of the property.
Morris is not sure it is really necessary. Chapman is not picturing the risk. It is going to be a golf course anyway. Fields said Clear Creek is going to be all commercial buildings. However, a fire went through the field this summer that did about $50,000 damage without touching a structure.
Swales would like to see the applicant explore the possibility of extending some kind of vehicular access to the northeast by including a narrow strip included in the Urban Growth Boundary or wait on this project until Randy Street goes through. He moved to deny the proposal. Briggs seconded the motion. The motion failed with Swales, Amarotico, and Briggs voting "yes" and Kistler, Morris, Chapman, Fields, Gardiner voting "no".
Fields suggested adding a Condition that involves three-points of safety: 1) some kind of connection, preferably landscape or grass crete between the two alleys, 2) access onto the multi-use path, allowing emergency or maintenance access to the northwest (to the field), and 3) 100 foot buffer and access agreement to maintain the grass.
With the addition of these things, Fields moved to approve PA2002-128. Amarotico seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
VACATION OF ALLEYS
Vacating three unopened alleys between Hersey Street, Helman Street and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad and a portion of the east/west alley between Laurel and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad.
McLaughlin said the Planning Commission is required to review vacation of alleys to ensure there is a link. Staff has found no to the city by keeping the alley and we are recommending approval.
The Planning Commission did not voice an objection to the vacation.
HEARINGS BOARD ASSIGNMENTS FOR 2003
January through April
The remaining Hearings Board assignments will be made when the new commissioners are appointed.
Fields asked about a retreat for the Commissioners. McLaughlin said he is having difficulties finding a facilitator. He will be getting in touch with the Commissioners.
This is Amarotico and Gardiner’s last meeting. McLaughlin expressed his appreciation to
both for their hard work on the Planning Commission.
ADJOURNMENT- The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m.