CALL TO ORDER
Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Cameron Hanson, Colin Swales, Marilyn Briggs, Dave Dotterrer, John Fields and Mike Morris. Absent members were Ray Kistler and Kerry KenCairn. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Maria Harris, Mark Knox and Sue Yates.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
Minutes - May 13, 2003 Regular Meeting
Swales referred to Page 11 toward the end of the minutes where he stated his opposition to Variances. He would like the minutes to reflect that he believes there was insufficient information given by the applicant to satisfy the burden of proof required to meet the criteria, not that he is opposed to Variances.
Dotterrer moved to approve the minutes, as amended. The motion was seconded and the minutes were approved.
Findings for PA2003-151, North Mountain Land Company
Swales moved to approve the Findings. The motion was seconded and the Findings were approved.
PUBLIC FORUM - No one came forth to speak.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2003-047
REQUEST FOR MODIFICATION OF PREVIOUSLY APPROVED OUTLINE PLAN, INVOLVING A REDUCTION IN THE TOTAL NUMBER OF LOTS FROM 13 TO SEVEN FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED SOUTHEAST OF ROGUE PLACE AND NORTH OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS. THE APPLICATION INCLUDES FINAL PLAN APPROVAL FOR A SEVEN LOT SUBDIVISION UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION AND A PHYSICAL CONTRAINTS REVIEW PERMIT TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT WITHIN A REGULATED AREA ADJOINING AN IDENTFIED DRAINAGEWAY THAT IS FLOODPLAIN CORRIDOR LAND.
APPLICANT: RUSS DALE
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contact - Site visits were made by all.
Harris stated the application is very similar to the subdivision approval approved by the Planning Commission in July 2002. The proposal involves a four acre parcel. There is largely residentially developed land to the north and east. To the south and west is mostly commercially zoned property. There is a drainage along the eastern border, Mountain Creek that is listed on the National Wetlands Inventory. There are four existing trees that are greater than six inches dbh. Most of the willows are slightly to the south of the subject properties.
Changes from the previous approval include the number of lots, minor adjustments to the street, the driveway system, the storm water collection and treatment proposed and alterations to a protected drainage corridor.
There are six lots proposed for development and the seventh for common open space. The applicant is proposing to make the future development in condominium ownership. The street, an extension of Rogue Place, is classified as a commercial neighborhood collector. The applicant is proposing to reduce the street treewells from six feet to four feet but make up the difference in the sidewalk area. In the previously approved plan, the driveway system to the rear of the northern lots was connected. In this plan they are severed. Harris thought the applicant had a new proposal for this area. One of Staffs concerns had been that effect of severing the driveways would increase vehicle trips that would be forced out onto the public street system rather than accommodating them at the rear.
The proposed storm water collection and treatment will collect the flows into Mountain Creek drainage and forward it to the new line in Starflower Lane at peak times. The existing wetland system will be maintained. The applicant is proposing to install a rock gabion system from the north property line to the street. The banks are cut pretty severely. They are proposing to alter the west bank of the drainage area. They will lay back the bank and give it more of a small floodplain character. The length of the riparian area will be planted with vegetation and irrigated to try and bring back the true riparian nature of the area. A footbridge will connect to the open space area in the existing subdivision.
Staffs main concerns revolve around the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit and the drainage corridor. One concern is the possible intrusion of earthwork and possible overflow from construction activities into the protected area. There is a pre-existing drainage easement that was put in place to protect the drainage corridor. The application shows the street intruding into this drainage easement. Staff is recommending that the street right-of-way should be shifted in a westerly direction so it is outside the drainage easement. With that information, the applicant has moved the northerly part of Lot 7 further to the west, away from the easement. Staff is recommending that the part of the easement line on Lot 7 line up with the southerly portion.
Secondly, there is a concern about doing work in the protected area and the definition of the protected area. Staff is recommending that the easement or protected area be overlaid on the grading plan because it is somewhat difficult to tell where the area lies. Staff is concerned with the fill from the parking area and street construction and how that lines up with the easement protected area. More information is needed.
It appears the building envelope for Lot 5 has been shifted to the west, as required. However, Staffs concern is if that building is constructed to the edge of the building envelope, what will come over into the protected area. Harris believes their new information will address that.
Harris said with regard to the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit that the applicant is required to evaluate the potential impacts of their proposal, that they identify and put in place all mitigation measures that will prevent potential hazards, and that they have taken steps to reduce the adverse impact on the environment. Staff is particularly concerned with the rock gabion treatment. Also, a concern is the landscaping in the gabion area. Gabions are large wire boxes full of rocks. The protected drainage area is supposed to be a balance between a natural area riparian corridor and serving a storm water function. Staff wonders how a gabion will do that. What kind of landscape material can be put in place to re-create the riparian area? The applicant has talked with Staff about potential changes in the grading plan. Harris believes they will be adding more fill dirt.
Staff suggests if the Planning Commission decides to approve the application, that they attach 26 Conditions listed in Staff Report. There are some amendments to the Conditions. Add to the end of Condition 6 footbridge and pedestrian paths.
Harris said there was a letter from the neighbors at 424 Williamson Way. They have several issues they would like addressed in the Conditions.
Chapman read a letter from Gwen McMahon asking about review of the drainage plans. McLaughlin said the City reviews the plans that become part of our storm water system.
RUSS DALE, 585 Allison Street, said they have redesigned the plan to take into consideration the drainage area. He said the water that ends up in the parks wetland comes from approximately 410 acres. A portion of the water comes through the site along with the east drainage. A pre-existing condition was created by some grading that resulted in an hourglass effect being pushed into the area between two homes that will ultimately erode their foundations. They have come up with some aesthetically pleasing solutions.
Dale said they wanted to reduce the number of lots to give a designation to the aesthetic area. He has designed some buildings that he believes will fit nicely.
ROGER ANDERSON, KAS & Associates, 304 S. Holly Street, Medford, OR 97501, explained that they are proposing to redirect the water that comes across the Railroad District area and across the grassy swale, traversing the Falcon Heights site and also become part of Mountain Creek at this point
LAURIE SAGER, Environmental Designs, showed slides of the existing site. The banks are very steeply cut. The riparian character and vegetation is lacking. She showed the areas where the gabions will be placed. They are proposing to lay back the stream corridor to the west. They would like to provide shade, some meandering habitat to slowly spread the water out for flood events when large water passes through there. The open space will be somewhat passive but should add to the area. They would like to provide the connection between the Mountain Creek Subdivision with a bridge and pathway. They are proposing to implant boulders in the gabions. They do not have a planting plan yet but they plan to use native and natural plants to cover and screen the rock gabions.
The bioswales running through the parking lot areas will be planted with ornamentals. The area will be used as passive open spaces, buffering and cleaning up the water from the parking areas. Most of the water will be directed into the storm drains. Screening on the north and east sides will be important surrounding the subdivision.
With regard to Staffs concerns, they move the back the building envelope for Lot 5 by five additional feet all along the back side. On the plan they submitted today, they have shifted the parking up, they shifted a lot over slightly and the driveway has moved to where the parking spaces were on the original plan. They removed the proposed island. The small driveway will access the garages to one of the buildings. Sager talked about the easement. Dale said they are not proposing any modifications to the streambed.
Sager read a statement written by Kerry KenCairn regarding a discussion she had with Jim Olson regarding the easement.
Sager had a revision to Condition 2. Revise the building envelope on Lot 5 and move it at least 15 feet from top of bank.
Roger said the foundations on the homes at the corner are at risk. The banks have to be stabilized and armored. They will lay the bank back. It is very steep. They are going with smaller rock gabions. There are still some landscaping issues that need to be worked out.
Fields had some questions about the gabions. Roger said they will be 24 inches apart but he hasnt decided on the type of rock. They can use a conveyor system to place the gabions and rocks. The plants will ultimately cover the gabions. Near the bottom of the drainage where it widens, the gabions can be staggered. They will have to secure easements for the irrigation system.
ARLEN GREGORIO, 474 Williamson Way, stated that their property is at the low point at the corner. He is concerned with the safety of their buildings and foundations. They are living there, in part, because of the creek. They have spent time and money maintaining the creek. He has concerns about screening and concerns about the riparian to the south. He believes the gabion baskets are appropriate. They have seen screening plans and are enthusiastic about the riparian upstream.
Gregorios main concern is with the construction dealing with the portion of the creek on their property. They want to reserve the opportunity to review the most specific plans possible before construction commences. They would like to add a Condition that Russ Dale has a representative on-site continuously that would have the authorization to address issues as they come up. They would also like a Condition that the gabions be appropriate and adequately planted. They are asking to review the landscape plans before they are approved.
WILLIAM HOLMES, 357 Starflower, said he is in agreement with Gregorios comments. He and the residents of Mountain Creek Subdivision are concerned that the property be designed so the ponds downstream are protected from excess water flow.
SURYA BLUHM, 470 Williamson Way, said she is unclear about what structures are proposed for these lots. She heard there is going to be a 30-car garage. Dale said he has eight antique cars he plans to store in garages on this site. She is concerned about what will be built behind her and the height of the buildings.
Dale said he would be returning when each building is ready to be reviewed. He will meet individually with the neighbors so they can resolve any issues then. He said someone would be on-site at all times during construction. He has plans to plant screening materials between the parking and the residents on Williamson Way.
Molnar said there has been a lot of discussion about the aesthetics of the gabion. Staff wonders if this is the proper treatment for that narrow area. He would agree that a culvert is not the way to go. Their suggestion early on was placing larger boulders in the drainage. The applicants said it is difficult to get equipment in. Is it impossible? Molnar said Pieter Smeenk, City Engineer thought boulders were a possibility. They are still not certain about aesthetics.
Molnar said Staff has concerns with regard to encroaching in the conservation easement. If gabions are used on that lower section, it seems like natural mitigation to use a more natural treatment in that area.
Molnar stated that the proposal to shift the driveway to where the parking is located raises questions. What is the impact on traffic - ingress/egress? Perhaps this could be reviewed at Site Review.
Harris said it is difficult to tell where the fill area is on the applicants map.
Dale can help accommodate the project by redesigning a building. It wont line up with the street as it is existing on the plans.
Morris is concerned about reducing the setback and forcing water onto the adjacent property. And, it looks like they are raising the west side higher than the east side. Roger said there is a danger of getting too shallow at the corner. They want to make sure they have enough overbank to keep the creek in its current channel.
COMMISSIONERS DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman noted the earlier change to Condition 6 - adding footbridge and pedestrian paths".
Harris wording for Condition 13 is That the common open space, Lot 7, shall be modified so that it is congruent with the existing drainage easement from the bend adjacent to Lot 5 to the south.
Harris wanted Condition 2 to remain as it is written in the Staff Report.
With regard to shifting of the driveway, Harris said Staff still has concerns because they have not had a chance to analyze the new information they have submitted. Harris suggested it be approved as shown previously and not approve what they submitted tonight. If the applicants want to come back to shift it, it can be done through the Site Review process. The connectivity needs to happen. Add a Condition 27 that addresses movement of the driveway.
Fields noted that if the dedicated open space is our gift from the developer, but it is part of the Citys drainage corridor, are we not giving 15 feet of what should be part of the riparian area? Maybe there is an exchange there that hasnt been considered. If we accept that the road moves, we may also be asking them to move the alley 15 feet if engineering requires it.
Harris said the alternative to adding conditions is to ask that the information be brought back in front of the whole Commission. Briggs believes Engineering and Planning Staff can work out the details and they dont need to review it again.
Harris had wording for Condition 27, That the proposed move of the driveway to the east shall be reviewed at Site Review approval for Lots 4 and 5, whichever is first. Molnar said if we keep the Condition regarding moving of the road, it wont come back to the Commission".
Dotterrer is comfortable with the gabions.
Morris asked for clarification of Conditions 2 and 13. Harris said what is shown on the site plan submitted with the application, that entire area will be five feet back from the property line of Lot 5.
Morris said he would be happy with not moving the road if they could establish the height is not any higher than on the easement line. Harris thinks there is a retaining wall and that would be at a higher point than the easement line.
Fields moved to approve PA2003-047 with the 27 Conditions. Briggs seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Chapman announced that PA2003-052 has been postponed until next months meeting.
PLANNING ACTION 2003-040
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR THE CONSTRUCTIN OF A CONVEYOR CAR WASH SYSTEM (I.E. DRIVE-THRU) AT THE MOBIL SERVICE STATION. THE APPLICATION INCLUDES A REQUEST FOR THE PLANNING COMMISSION TO MAKE AN INTERPRETATION THAT THE PROPOSED CONVEYOR CAR WASH SYSTEM IS NOT A DRIVE-UP USE AS DEFINED IN THE ASHLAND LAND USE ORDINANCE.
APPLICANT: KEN KHOSROABADI/ASHLAND MOBIL
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.
Knox reported this is a request for a Conditional Use Permit and Site Review. It is also to determine that a car wash is not a drive-up use.
They are requesting that the car wash module be constructed behind the existing service station. The automobile will be pulled through by conveyor belt. The applicant has already done a lot of site improvements because he did a Site Review last year. The asphalt has been reduced 15 to 20 percent. The building in the rear will not be that visible from Ashland Street.
Knox said the question is: Is this a drive-up use or not?
McLaughlin said generally gas stations are listed as permitted uses. In a gas station you can turn your car off. The service is to the car rather than service to a customer in the car. Staff sees this as two distinctive uses.
KEN KHOSROABADI, 132 Crocker Street, said he is the owner of the Mobil Station. He would like the car wash because cars dont require tune-ups like they used to and he does not like the appearance of a mechanics shop. The car wash system is the newest system. The dryer portion is closest to the freeway. The water is 100 percent recycled. He said he could wash 75 cars per hour.
PJ said that having a new car wash would benefit Ashland because it would reduce dust in town. It would pull cars away from the center of town.
RIC HOLT supports the project. He believes this is a good job opportunity for young people. He prefers sitting in his car when going through a car wash.
YOUNG MAN said he favors the cars wash, particularly as a consumer.
GREG BOESCHE, 1121 Old Siskiyou Highway, said he has helped Khosroabadi with the landscaping. The plantings will look good year round.
COMMISSIONERS DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Hanson moved to approve the Conditional Use Permit and Site Review. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.
Hanson moved to forward a recommendation to the Council that the conveyor car wash system is not considered a drive-up use. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
OTHER - There will be a study session on June 24, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. regarding maximum house size.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.