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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

February 5, 2003


At 7:07 p.m., Chairperson Dale Shostrom called the meeting to order in the Siskiyou Room located in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building. In addition to Shostrom, members present were Keith Chambers, Joan Steele, Tom Giordano, Terry Skibby, Gary Foll and Joanne Krippaehne. Also present were Council Liaison John Morrison and Secretary Sonja Akerman. Members Jay Leighton and Rob Saladoff were unable to attend the meeting.


Steele moved and Foll seconded to approve the January 8, 2003 minutes as submitted. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.


Planning Action 2003-005
Conditional Use Permit and Site Review
35 South Second Street
Mike and Laurie Gibbs

Shostrom reported this request is to add a glass conservatory on the south side of the Winchester Inn and to add a guest unit on the second floor. He noted the owner and architect had attended Historic Commission meetings last summer. Originally, they had requested approval for a much larger conservatory. However, because of the initial reaction of the massing of the conservatory overpowering the existing facade of the inn, the Commission voiced concerns at the June meeting. As a result, members met with the owner and architect at the site in order to help minimize the effect the large conservatory would have on the historic building. When new plans were presented in August, the conservatory was more in scale with the existing building and it did not obscure the prominent bay window on the south side. Also in June, the Commission concurred the gable addition on the second floor would be acceptable as long as it would not minimize the original structure.

While the Commission still has concerns about the overpowering mass the second story addition will create, the members also expressed appreciation of the modifications that have been made.

There was no one in the audience to speak for or against this proposal.

Steele moved and Foll seconded to recommend approval of this application to the Hearings Board. The motion was unanimously passed.


Review Board - Following is the February schedule for the Review Board, which meets every Thursday from 3:00 to at least 3:30 p.m. in the Planning Department:

February 6th

Skibby, Krippaehne and Steele

February 13th

Foll, Skibby and Shostrom

February 20th

Skibby, Giordano and Leighton

February 27th

Chambers, Skibby and Steele


Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA #2000-120

485 "A" Street (Steve Hoxmeier)


PA #2001-029

455 Siskiyou Boulevard (Fire Station)


PA #2001-075

358 Iowa Street (Eva Cooley)


PA #2002-010

103 S. Laurel Street (Laura Shrewsbury)


PA #2002-021

25 Granite Street (Carol Dutra)


PA #2002-064

542 "A" Street (David Gremmels & Cary Bryant)


PA #2002-080

286 Eighth Street (John & Mary Ellen Cole)


PA #2002-075

SE Corner of "A" & Pioneer Streets (Alan Sandler)


PA #2002-094

340 Oak Street ("A" Street Marketplace)


PA # 2002-098

521 North Main Street (Scott Young Medical Center)


PA #2002-100

142 East Main Street (Earthly Goods)


PA #2002-125

44 North Second Street (Trinity Episcopal Church)


PA #2002-127

NW Corner North Main & Maple Streets Intersection (ACHF)


PA #2002-142

120 Gresham Street (Chanticleer)


PA #2002-139

266 Third Street (Third Street Partners)


PA #2003-005

35 S. Second Street (Winchester Inn)



Discuss Potential Tidings Articles - Skibby stated he has talked with reporter Myles Murphy but nothing has been decided yet. He will, however, be meeting with him soon to bring him historic photos and will try to find out more at that time.

Steele volunteered to write one or two articles, but said it will first be necessary to know the parameters.

Following is a list of suggested subjects: 1) history of the Lithia Springs property, 2) Siskiyou Boulevard and the different guises it has had over the years (due to the major construction work it is currently undergoing), 3) schools - i.e. history of Briscoe School to coincide with its closing; history and demise of Skidmore Academy School (located where Briscoe now stands); etc., 3) history of the Carnegie Library to coincide with the dedication of the new library and rededication of this historic building, 4) history of the Fire Station to coincide with the dedication of the new station, and 5) in July, the history of the 4th of July Parade. Historic and current photos could be used with all subjects.

Skibby related the stone at Briscoe School that was used for children to mount their horses is still there. It was placed at its present location while the Skidmore School was still in existence. He also noted the library was located in the City Hall around 1905.

The Commission discussed the Lithia Springs property and whether or not historic status should be pursued. The Commission will invite former Public Works Director Al Alsing to its next meeting for guidance on what to do next. Morrison volunteered to track down the status of the property, noting nothing is currently happening and the property is not for sale. Chambers related the Southern Oregon University Archeology Department works at a field site every summer. Since Lithia Springs was no doubt used by the Indians prior to settlement in the area, he will speak to the department head about the possibility of using this site for study.

National Historic Preservation Week (May 5-12) - Having met with Saladoff regarding events during National Historic Preservation Week, Krippaehne offered the following ideas.

    • Display board(s) representing elements of architectural styles typically seen in Ashland. Although it would be impractical to do all the styles at this time, Krippaehne said the boards would give the Commission a tool to use any time. The boards would also include historic photos, depicting a snapshot of what was happening in Ashland during the time period. The first board will portray the social context for the physical environment prior to the auto between 1900-1905.
    • Since the Oregon Heritage Commission will be meeting in Ashland during this week, it may be possible for the Commission to put together a 4 hour workshop or 90 minute session, perhaps on "What Style Is This?" for the conference.
    • Self-guided and guided tour(s) - the Railroad District would be a good tour for the Heritage Commission. Skibby has once again volunteered to lead one or two cemetery walking tours (possibly focusing on people who were prominent between 1900-1905). He will also gather enough information to lead a walking tour of one of the other National Register districts.
    • Display board for the award winners. Foll volunteered to work on the board, hopefully with the help of Leighton.
    • Award ceremony for the winners.


House Demolition Discussion with Building Official Mike Broomfield - Giordano prefaced the discussion with an explanation of events that led to the demolition of a house on property where he was the project architect. Because he thought the existing house was in very poor condition and was unsafe, he went to Broomfield and asked what the normal procedure would be. Consequently, he wrote a letter, then met Broomfield on the site. Broomfield declared the house dangerous and informed Giordano it needed to be restored or demolished. Since there was not much to save and restore, Giordano's client made the decision to have the structure demolished. Members of the community and the Historic Commission have questioned this process.

Broomfield said he was at the meeting to explain the process and answer questions. He began by stating Ashland had adopted the Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings, which is a national code with established criteria of what constitutes a dangerous building. The intent of the Code is to either abate or repair the structure. The local government has the authority (which is derived from the state) to determine and declare dangerous buildings. Since Ashland does not have a housing code, there is no one from the City who actively looks for buildings in a negligent state. Therefore, written notification is required before he will investigate whether or not any of the criterion in the Dangerous Buildings Code applies. In addition to this Code, Ashland has adopted standards for the demolition and relocation of structures. These standards were specifically adopted to reduce the amount of refuse that goes into the landfill. Hopefully, Broomfield added, it also saves historic structures from being destroyed, as a lengthy process is required for the demolition or moving of a structure if it is older than 45 years and larger than 500 square feet. As Building Official for the City, he is the person who makes decisions on the condition of the structure. He then writes a letter to the owner, who chooses how to deal with the building - either repair it or abate it. His decisions are published in the local newspaper and can be appealed; however, the time period is only seven days.

In discussing the issue, the Commission expressed concern that some owners could use the process to manipulate the outcome. There is also concern that the inventory of historic buildings decreases as trophy houses are built, especially in the Historic Districts. Broomfield said he does not encourage people to demolish buildings. He is sensitive to the community and aware of the historic inventory. There are, however, individual rights that also need to be considered.

Skibby asked if input from the Historic Commission could be sought and Broomfield responded public notice is printed in the paper and anyone can comment. Morrison commented there does not seem to be a process, however, to save the building. An owner can let a building get into a state of disrepair, then do what he wants. Broomfield agreed and added that while the Code can be a speedy resolution to a dangerous building, there is no safety net for the Historic Commission. Members expressed their concern about not having input if there is a potential that something could be done to restore a building.

Giordano stated that if a building is truly dangerous, it is the responsibility of the professionals to bring it to the attention of the Building Official. He suggested the Commission write a letter to the professionals in the area to let them know there is a body of people (Historic Commission) willing to take a look at buildings in order to determine the potential for restoration. He stated he will solicit input from other members from now on.

After discussing the varying degrees of "dangerous" and whether or not notification is essential, Broomfield restated his awareness of and interest in historic preservation. He also informed the Commission he has worked with local historic preservation consultant George Kramer numerous times.


Regarding the rafters on the back of the Carnegie library, Shostrom related that Mayor DeBoer has communicated the need to first pay the contractors to determine the amount of money that would be available to finish the fascia and cornice work to match the other three sides. The restoration work would cost approximately $25,000. Shostrom explained the cornice and fascia were removed when an addition was constructed many years ago. With the recent restoration work, the addition was removed, thus exposing the rafters.


With a motion by Krippaehne and second by Giordano, it was the unanimous decision to adjourn the meeting at 9:48 p.m.

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