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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

August 6, 2003



At 7:08 p.m., Chairperson Dale Shostrom called the meeting to order in the Siskiyou Room, located in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way. In addition to Shostrom, members present were Alexander Krach, Jay Leighton, Tom Giordano, Joanne Krippaehne, and Keith Chambers. Staff present Mark Knox and Derek Severson. Members Terry Skibby, Rob Saladoff, and Sam Whitford, and Council Liaison John Morrison were unable to attend.


The minutes of the July 2, 2003 were approved as submitted by general consensus, with Chambers abstaining, as he was not present at the last meeting.

Shostrom questioned, and Knox clarified that forms were available for audience members wishing to speak on any item. Audience members were asked to complete forms and return them to staff if they wished to comment on any item on the agenda.

Shostrom noted that Planning Action #2003-092 for 124 Alida Street was being moved to the end of the agenda.


Planning Action #2003-072
Conditional Use Permit
310 Oak Street
Artattack Theater Ensemble

Knox stated that this was a housecleaning item, and noted the background of the application in light of the recently changed city ordinance to allow the use in this zone. Knox emphasized that no changes to the building were proposed.

Chambers/Leighton m/s to recommend approval of Planning Action #2003-072. Discussion: Giordano noted that he would be abstaining as he was the project architect on the rest of the building, but not this specific project. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Planning Action #2003-090
Site Review
125 North Main Street
Lynn Thompson

Knox presented the staff report for this action. He explained that the building proposed is off of the alley in the back, and that it was a single story, two bedroom intended as an additional family dwelling for the family living in the main house. He noted that it is an attractive Queen Anne with reflective notes, and he added that the designer for the project was present. Knox pointed out that the project includes a few changes that were requested by the Review Board.

Designer Michael McKee explained that the issue was the significance of the primary structure, but with the siting behind the main unit the new structure is removed and does not interact with the three sisters. He added that based on Review Board suggestions, the pedimenti had been removed and the brackets had been simplified to three types. He pointed out that there would be painted shingles on the gable, and the color scheme and siding would be similar. He stated that the aim was to create a charming new structure that would relate attractively. He thanked the Review Board for their suggestions and stated that the client is happy with the result.

Shostrom noted that he had made a site visit, and he stated that the garage is new. Shostrom added that it is a beautiful site and that the garage seems to fit.

McKee noted that both the garage and the cottage being discussed are invisible from North Main Street.

Chambers stated that the result is indeed charming, and the plans look beautiful. He noted that he likes the design and that he feels it is fitting, apt to the area and the city, and a positive addition all the way around.

Giordano/Krach m/s to recommend approval of Planning Action #2003-090. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Planning Action 2003-094
Conditional Use Permit
45 Wimer Street
Paul Crafft

Knox presented the staff report, and noted that the shape and volume were to be similar but a conditional use permit was required due to the non-conforming setback. He explained that the design was for a one-story/one car garage, and he noted that while there is not a lot of detail it is appropriate to this application. He added that the trees on the site and the curb cut and other circumstances made this the most obvious way to expand.

Knox clarified for Giordano that the planning action was necessary only because of the non-conforming setback.

Leighton expressed her approval of the applicants desire to expand the garage rather than expanding the house.

Chambers questioned the horizontal window being proposed for the East side. He indicated that he felt it was inappropriate but added that it was not an issue given that it faces inward on the property. Giordano agreed and suggested that this be considered in the motion to be made. Chambers noted that he has an old window that would be better that he would be willing to give the applicant. Leighton noted that the window may relate to the interior layout.

Shostrom noted that the existing structure has aluminum siding, and the applicants are proposing to use a siding that would match. He pointed out that it appears that they were proposing to use 2" corner trim. He recognized that it was hard to determine the age of the structure based on the siding, but he noted that the house had 4" trim and he would like to have the garage match the house.

Chambers summarized that the issues here appeared to be that the commission would prefer a more vertical window on the East wall of the garage and 4" trim on the window and corner trim.

Leighton/Krippaehne m/s to recommend approval with the added conditions that the siding and corner boards match the 4" spacing from the house and that the East window be altered to match that on the North or at least to be a double-hung with a more vertical aspect. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Planning Action 2003-087
Ordinance Amendment
Maximum House Size in Historic Districts
City of Ashland

Shostrom asked that comments be limited to three minutes, and that speakers try to avoid repeating what has already been said. He also asked that speakers try to stick to the subject.

Shostrom read the proposed amendment to the ordinance. Knox noted the materials that were available for audience members near the door. Knox gave background information, and discussed the history leading up to the current proposal. He added that the matter would be considered by the Planning Commission next Tuesday and would then be passed on to the City Council in September.

Knox discussed the local and national trend to increasingly larger homes to the point that they are out of scale for historic neighborhoods. He reported that the issue came to the city council and lead to a staff assessment of the issue. Council determined that the trend could affect the integrity of the historic districts. Staff evaluated various similar ordinances around the nation and drafted a hybrid to address Ashland's unique zoning, intended densities, and the desire for affordable housing. He emphasized that the ordinance proposed is an effort to address what is unique about Ashland.

Knox discussed the changes to the ordinance that have been proposed since the May 3rd study session. He explained that there has been a change to what is counted as floor area, and that basements, detached buildings and attics with ceilings less than 7' are not to be counted. He clarified that main floors and half-stories are to be counted. Knox clarified the definition of a basement as having 50% of its perimeter at less than 6' high and no portion at more than 12' high. He added that the other proposed change was in providing for an exception to the formula. Knox clarified that the proposed exception would allow someone to exceed the allowed floor area by a maximum of 25% with a conditional use permit.

Knox reported that the formula proposed was arrived at based on a random sampling of 50 houses in the Railroad, Siskiyou Hargadine and Skidmore Academy Districts by an intern. He explained that based on this sampling, the average house size within the districts was determined to be 1,850 square feet. Knox added that staff had surveyed another 56 houses, meaning that a total of 10% of all houses within Ashland's districts had been surveyed, and staff's numbers supported the intern's research about average house size within the districts. Knox pointed out that the formula numbers allow additions, and based on the 106 properties surveys, the 1,865 square foot average house could add an additional 852 square feet (not counting the 25% exception).

Knox stated that he found this to be a flexible ordinance that reflects the committee and the community's respect for the historic districts. Knox recognized that those making additions within the district make good efforts, but he stated that these are often out of scale for the districts. He explained that presently, it is difficult to challenge these applications based on size, and added that this is the basis of this ordinance. He emphasized that staff feels this to be a fair ordinance, and that of the numerous letters received the vast majority are in favor of some restrictions on house size within the districts.

Knox noted that the letter from the DeBoers to people interested in the issue has lead to them educating themselves. Knox reiterated that the ordinance has flexibility while respecting the historic districts' integrity.

Knox pointed out that of the original sample of 106 houses within the districts, only 10 would exceed the standard of the new ordinance, and with the allowed additional 25% under a conditional use permit only 2 would exceed the maximum allowed floor area. He added that 1 of these 2 is a very big house on a small lot. He reiterated that the ordinance accommodates the vast majority of structures in the districts.

Leighton asked how many of the houses looked at are historically intact. Knox responded that he was not sure as this had not been something that was tracked. He added that they had tried to look at overall mass, and he felt that the bigger houses were newer.

Dona Nelson & Mel Bugg/2707 Connell Avenue, Medford (owners of 133 Sixth St and 721 Oak St) asked that their written comments be read into the record. Shostrom read their comments to the audience. The comments indicated that Bugg and Nelson feel the ordinance amounts to a taking by limiting what they can do with their property and as such greatly diminishes the value of their property. They suggested that there was no justification for the ordinance given the numerous other ordinances limiting size and usage.

Philip Lang/758 B Street noted that he owns 13 units in addition to his B Street residence, and stated that he manages these and one other property in the districts as affordable housing. He noted that he had previously commented on the proposed ordinance, and that his message tonight would be the same - that he advocates affordable housing but is opposed to any limitation on house size. He agreed that limitations on "monster houses" were desirable, but he added that legislation is only a sham which will be violated as soon as it serves the city's interests. He reiterated that regulations merely give the illusion of providing protection where none exists. He went on to state that he has been tracking city actions for 18 years, and he noted that many ordinances exist that are never enforced. Lang cited A Street Marketplace as one example, noting its "garish colors" within a detail site review zone are in direct violation of an ordinance that prohibits such colors, yet the colors were approved by the city. He also stated that a 1991 ordinance to address the "B&B-ification" of Ashland required periodic review of B&B's. Lang stated that this ordinance was adopted and ignored, and that when it was called into question it was simply repealed. Lang suggested that the "Big Box" ordinance was another example of an ordinance viewed as a savior of the community, which was then violated and subsequently reinterpreted to suit the city. Lang explained that regardless of the ordinance there will be loopholes left in to get around it, and he added that ordinances can always be reinterpreted or violated and ignored. He stated that if it becomes an issue, an ordinance can simply be repealed. Lang raised the issue of the sidewalk ordinance as an important one for public safety, and he noted how the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is in direct violation of the ordinance with bricks that yield frequent injuries and which he claimed are entirely ignored by the city. Lang noted that a certain citizen had placed similar bricks outside their home to echo the OSF bricks, again only to be ignored by the city. Lang then pointed out the slippery tile outside the Community Development and Engineering Services Building in violation of the city's own standards. Lang concluded that any ordinance will be abrogated to serve corporate interests, government, moneyed citizens, or the OSF. Lang noted that he has repeatedly asked the city to follow-up on these violations, and he suggested that the lack of any enforcement makes a mockery of the ordinances.

Giordano questioned if the affordable units that Lang manages qualify as affordable under the city's affordable housing standards. Lang responded that his rents are lower than required in the county ordinance under subsection 8.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty Street noted that he was a Tree Commissioner speaking on his own behalf. Holley noted that the volunteer efforts of both the Tree Commission and Historic Commission are gratifying, and he urged passage of this ordinance amendment. He stated that he respectfully disagreed with Mr. Lang, and suggested that society is about vision, which is in turn about ordinances to constrain behavior for social good. Holley stated that the issue being considered is not one that is unique to Ashland, and he cited a recent San Francisco Chronicle about grassroots efforts to limit house sizes in a historic neighborhood. Holley again urged passage, and he emphasized that citizens needed to be made aware that this proposal would only affect the Historic Districts, not the whole of Ashland. He discussed the process of creating the Tree Ordinance and how it involved redefining the vision of the Tree Commission as one whose scope extended beyond merely street trees. Holley suggested that perhaps a new Historic Ordinance might be drafted by looking at the charter and municipal code and attempting to readdress this commission in light of today's issues and concerns. Holley added that to his surprise, developers seem to favor ordinances as they present a level playing field where everyone knows what to expect. Holley concluded that if this commission were to choose to follow his second suggestion, they should expect to be called many things for their vision, but he urged them to remember that they are working for the common good.

Paul Mensch/451 North Main Street agreed with Lang. He stated that there has been no determination about the effect such an ordinance would have on property values, and he feels the ordinance proposed is subjective and fuzzy. He suggested that the height issue is arbitrary and that the floor area ratio (F.A.R.) calculation is interesting if non-standard. He noted that attached garages and walls are counted, but no detached garages or tall accessory structures. He added that the formula is too complex, and the exception permit is an expensive permit based on non-quantifiable factors that amount to fluff. He pointed out that while this commission does not dictate design, they did make design suggestions on a previous application this evening. He suggested that the sampling done to arrive at the ordinance was neither random nor statistically valid, and he reiterated that this ordinance is not needed. He suggested that it all comes down to the June 2nd discussion of limiting people's incentive to consolidate lots, and he added that he might be agreeable to something that simply addressed that issue. He concluded that the ordinance as it is seems poorly written, and amounts to an ordinance in need of a problem.

Bill Street/180 Mead Street discussed room layout as a tension-creating element for public meetings. He noted that he was a Mead Street resident, living in Ashland since 1985. He stated that he bought his lot on Mead Street for $19,000 and built an 1,152 square foot home that was average for the time. He discussed how neighboring properties have been demolished or burned and replaced with more and larger homes. He suggested that these new homes have made dramatic changes and that the historic character of the neighborhood is disappearing. He added that size is the factor driving these changes. He stated that smaller homes have a charm that lead him to seek out and live in Ashland. He explained that smaller homes are common in Europe, where history is still valued. Street questioned how this commission's recommendation would be conveyed to the Planning Commission and City Council. Knox responded that this would be done through the minutes and staff report, and he noted that in some instances in the past the commission has also sent some members to convey their recommendations in person. Street urged that the commission present their recommendation in person, drawing on members' knowledge and expertise to educate. He also asked that the changes made to the proposed ordinance since the DeBoer letter be made clear, and that it be pointed out that the letter is outdated and misinforming. Street questioned the exclusion of basements from floor area calculations and asked that the philosophy behind this exclusion be explained. He noted that the DeBoer basement on Vista Street is exposed and is much more like a full story. He suggested that if a basement faces the street it should be counted as floor area for its impact on the street's character.

Giordano asked if a house with an existing basement were making a conversion how would it be viewed under the ordinance. Knox responded that as long as the basement was a basement by definition it would not be a factor.

George Kramer/386 Laurel Street North stated that he was glad to see that the discussion was over details rather than debating the idea of the ordinance. Kramer noted that he had 3 points to make: 1) He would like to see the ordinance return to the 0.38 factor rather than the 0.42 which was done in attempt to reduce the number of non-conforming structures. He suggested that these are substandard lots or newer homes, and he emphasized that the 0.38 factor gets to the point of the proposal; 2) He feels that the 25% exception allowance needs to be revised. He explained that this exception could be seen as allowing for 25% beyond whatever is existing which would mean that people would be rewarded for overbuilding. He urged a limit set at 25% over the maximum floor area for the lot tied to CUP approval standards and flatly stating that beyond that someone simply cannot build. He agreed that the exception should not be a one-time option, but rather an allowable exception to 25% over the maximum allowed floor area; 3) He suggested that a simple, absolute maximum house size was needed to discourage lot consolidation. He stated that this could allow for an increase in density and scale. He cited Lake Oswego as a similar community with more restrictive standards, and he noted that they limit the lot size used in calculations to 15,000 square feet regardless of the actual lot size beyond that. He suggested that this ensures appropriate scale while remaining somewhat open. He encouraged the commission to recommend this amendment to the Planning Commission.

Knox responded to public comments, noting that staff concurred with Kramer's comments relative to the 25% exception and had no issue with the 0.38 factor versus the 0.42. He noted the 0.42 factor came out of suggestions for more flexibility and to make more of the existing units conforming. He agreed that the 25% exception provided a measure of flexibility. Knox added that based on permits issued in 2001, Ashland's average new home at 2,658 square feet is 400 square feet larger than the national average of 2,255 square feet, and he noted that in 1955 the average was 1,140 square feet.

Knox explained that the ordinance is complex but not difficult, and that a maximum house size can be determined based on the lot size, number of units proposed and the zoning. He suggested that this is complicated only in trying to address lot density, and he stated that the ordinance is an attempt to address mass and scale.

Knox suggested that while new ordinances may be difficult to enforce, in this case the calculation is part of the plan review and approval and as such it should be much less difficult.

Krippaehne asked why, if only one number was needed to calculate floor area, a simple table could not be presented as part of the ordinance. Knox suggested that the majority of projects were one unit and could be done with a table, but he explained that the R2 and R3 zones would require multiple tables to address varying unit numbers. Knox added that to lessen the complexity, he would leave things as is with the formula for calculation. Krippaehne suggested looking at any opportunity to make things less cumbersome. Chambers indicated that the calculation was an easy one, and Shostrom added that it was of comparable complexity to other existing ordinances.

Chambers stated that he was willing to return to the 0.38 factor. Giordano stated that he supports this ratio in concept, citywide, but he has some concerns with the ordinance. Giordano went on to noted that under Oregon land use law, the intent was to keep county lands free of houses while developing more densely in urban areas. Giordano emphasized his agreement with this idea as a way to preserve the state's natural beauty while developing as densely as possible in urban areas. He suggested that the ordinance as proposed does not do enough to address multifamily zones.

Giordano stated that some a limitation is needed for the R1 zone, and he agreed with some level of limitation in the R2/R3 zones, but he stated that too much limitation could jeopardize intended densities. He emphasized that he supports the current review process and the Site Design and Use Standards, and noted that he has done projects which exceed city requirements for landscaping, open space and etc. yet that would not work under this ordinance. He stated that this seems contradictory. He also noted that he would like to see some means of addressing suitable design, and he suggested that a design can be compatible with the historic district or not irrespective of its square footage. Giordano expressed his agreement with the ordinance as it is proposed for single family zones, but stated that he would like to adjust it to better deal with multifamily zones and to address suitability of design.

Shostrom responded that the existing process addresses design. Giordano stated that it address mass, bulk and scale as well. Shostrom noted that there have not been a lot of large projects in the R1 zone, but he suggested that a wave of hotel-sized homes on small lots could be coming.

Giordano reiterated his concern that the ordinance runs counter to land use goals and raises concerns about density.

Knox responded that he believed the ordinance supports the state and city policies for infill, and he added that it has other positive attributes as well. He cited the Archerd project on Holly Street as an example, and suggested that under the ordinance it may not be possible to build single family residence-scale homes in multi-family zones. He emphasized that this may lead to more opportunity to create rental units. He stated that the ordinance would likely bring things more into scale.

Giordano stated that he did not disagree with Knox's assessment, but he suggested that a lot of people have no use for an 850 square foot unit. He noted that more square footage is needed to address today's families, and that he would like to see increased density. Knox responded that the ordinance would result in more detached garages, smaller units, and fewer units to get more square footage per unit.

Leighton noted that a lot of single people have difficulty affording today's 3-bedroom, 2,000 square foot units, and she noted that the recent school closure reflects this trend. She suggested that there was a need to serve this population as well.

Shostrom pointed to the Holly Street and Scenic Drive projects as big contracts, and he suggested that those who live in the districts want some assurance that the ambience will be assured. He emphasized that a demolition replaced with a "new castle" could completely alter the character of an entire block.

Giordano echoed Lang's concerns and suggested that he wanted to see greater density and less exclusivity.

Leighton noted the contrast between the 1970-style apartments near the Rogue Valley Roasting Company and the Scenic Drive project, and she suggested that the scale, mass and height are contradictory to the districts. She stated that she liked the idea of allowing the 25% exception to be continued perpetually.

Knox clarified that the discussion was to allow continued additions until the full amount of the 25% exception was reached.

Shostrom responded to Mensch's comments, and noted that detached units are more traditional in the districts and have less of an effect on the overall scale of buildings on a site. He suggested that the allowance for detached accessory units reflects this historic tradition. He added that the issue of lot consolidation could be addressed by setting an absolute maximum house size that could not be exceeded based on what would be allowed on a 15,000 square foot lot.

There was discussion of the 0.38 factor versus the 0.42 factor and after looking at several examples members determined that the 0.42 factor allowed about 10% more floor area.

Giordano reiterated that he would still like a restriction on single family residences with less of a restriction on multi family uses.

Chambers stated that there would have to be a full study across all zones, but he stated that he did not feel that the same adjustment factor was needed across all zones. Chambers agreed with Giordano's concerns about density issues.

Kramer questioned whether the calculations should address zones or use. Giordano stated that he would like to see the factor used determined by use rather than just zone. Kramer agreed that aiming the calculation at the usage was more appropriate. An audience member with a grandfather duplex in the R1 zone agreed that looking at usage rather than just the zone was a better idea.

Chambers stated that among the charges of the commission are to protect historic structures being renovated and to look ahead to the future. He agreed that gradually increasing house sizes are changing the nature of the districts. He suggested that something must be given up for the greater good to preserve scale within the district, and he agreed with Holley's suggestion to take a visionary stance.

Leighton asked that the 0.38 factor be used rather than the 0.42, and Chambers agreed. Shostrom noted that the 25% exception allows for more than adequate flexibility. Giordano stated that he had no problem with this for single family zones, provided that something is done with the factor or a larger allowed exception for multi family zones.

Knox stated that staff would need to look at numbers to address unit size for multi family zones. He asked that any motion include direction to staff to explore a greater adjustment factor or a larger CUP exception for multi family zones. He added that while the Historic Commission serves only as a recommending body in commenting on additions, the CUP to allow for the 25% exceptions will give them more of a say in the review process. He stated that staff would discuss these issues further prior to the Planning Commission meeting, and would look at how the ordinance meshes with the city's comprehensive plan.

Chambers questioned whether Giordano would be agreeable to a higher exception through the CUP process for multi family zones. Chambers suggested that the CUP process is a better means to address this in his view. He also agreed that the factor to be used should be based on use rather than merely zone. Knox clarified that this was currently addressed by taking the number of units proposed into account as part of the formula.

Shostrom stated that a 15,000 square foot lot would be allowed about 340 more square feet as multi family than it would as single family, and he suggested that this will mean more bulk and scale, and will encourage multi family units to go bigger, bulkier and less historically compatible. Giordano responded that a CUP would still be required, and a finding would be required that the project fit the neighborhood. Shostrom stated that the issue was that increased bulk and scale would make a structure less compatible. Giordano stated that he had more concern with encouraging density.

Knox noted that the historic districts comprise approximately 15% of the city's total acreage. Shostrom suggested that the city could aim for density in the other 85%.

Holley emphasized that the goal here is to protect the character of the district, and he suggested that the social order can be addressed elsewhere.

Giordano stated that he is concerned with preserving the character of the districts, but he added that one must also consider the dynamics of modern life. He stated that he would like to fine tune the ordinance to stop large houses without diminishing density.

Knox responded that the ordinance is an attempt to make things fit in and to stop extremes. He stated that staff will consider if exceptions can be formulated to address the concerns that have been raised here tonight.

Giordano stated that a CUP exception for multi family of 30-40% might work for him. Leighton responded that she saw no need for 2,000 square foot 9-unit developments in a historic district. Knox stated that staff would try to bring things into focus; he recognized that many city plans are based on the allowed density.

Chambers asked if it would be best to move forward by determining if there was general agreement to the 0.38 factor, the CUP exception as an allowance that continued perpetually until 25% was reached, and staff to revisit the density issue. Knox noted that a vote was necessary tonight, but he agreed that something could be formulated by item to better allow staff to work on issues. He recognized the need to weigh the density that the city encourages versus the historic districts' character and find a balance.

Chambers asked about a maximum house size cap. Knox stated that this hadn't been looked at. Shostrom stated that he likes the idea of basing the cap on a 15,000 square foot lot, and he added that this was another demonstration that the 0.42 was too high.

Shostrom suggested at looking at the proposal by item.

Krippaehne stated that she did not like going back to the 0.38 factor, and she noted that she had a very large family in a small house. She explained that while she hated to romanticize the past, people historically lived in a smaller home and added on as they could afford to. She suggested that many houses in the district reflect this. She emphasized that standards change and that we need to expand to address them. She stated that she liked the 0.42 factor.

Leighton noted that the 25% exception allowance with a CUP compensates for the 0.42 factor.

Chambers pointed out that larger homes are rarely for larger families anymore.

Krippaehne asked if the CUP allowance would apply to new construction as well. After discussion, Kramer suggested that the wording simply state that structures within the historic district may exceed the maximum by 25% with a conditional use permit.

Shostrom, Chambers and Giordano stated that they were for the 0.38 factor with the 25% exception by CUP.

Shostrom suggested looked at the cap on house size, and basing it on a 15,000 square foot lot at the 0.38 factor. He noted that this would allow for a 4,065 square foot home as the absolute maximum within the districts, not including detached accessory structures. Giordano stated that he was willing to have a cap on single family residential uses but not on multi family.

Knox asked to clarify that members were looking at an absolute maximum and that no matter what house size within the districts could not exceed 4,065 square feet. Members agreed that this was what they were suggesting.

Kramer stated that this did not really address the consolidation issue, except that no matter how large a lot was the house would have to be built as though the lot were 15,000 feet. Kramer suggested capping the adjustment factor at 0.57 and the maximum house size as a 15,000 square foot lot with that 0.57 factor.

Giordano reiterated his opposition to a maximum house size for multi family.

Kramer responded that not much is being built in the R2 and R3 zones that is truly multi family. He agreed that there was a need for increased density, but he added that he did not want to ruin the districts by trying to be everything. He suggested that builders could build as they wish in other multi family zoned areas within the city, but he emphasized that they should be compatible when building within the districts.

Giordano noted that the CUP findings ensure that compatibility can be addressed.

Kramer questioned whether a lot of what is being built in the R2 and R3 zones in the districts is appropriate. Shostrom cited 8th-9th Street alley as an example, where 18-20 homes were built that would have been incompatible had they been oriented to the streetscape. Shostrom suggested discouraging bigger, denser multi family growth within the districts and encouraging it elsewhere.

A majority of those presence indicated that they could accept a 0.38 factor on all R1, R2 and R3 zoned properties with a 25% CUP exception for single family and a 35% exception for multi family.

Leighton stated that she would like a cap on multi family zoned lots. Giordano noted that there is more scrutiny in the R2 and R3 zones anyway. Chambers stated that he would like to cap both but increase the factor for multi family zones. Giordano agreed with Chambers, and noted that he would like to change the one time exception to a perpetual one.

Chambers/Leighton m/s to express the strong support of the commission for this ordinance amendment and recommend approval of PA #2003-087 with the following recommendations:

1) That the adjustment factor for single family residences be changed from .42 to .38

2) That the allowance for conditional use permit exceptions up to 25% over the maximum house size be altered to include both existing houses and new construction and the "one-time" exception clause to allow continued perpetual additions up to the 25% allowed exception.

3) That a maximum house size for single family residences be set. (Commission recommendation was to cap the house size as the maximum allowed on a 15000 square foot lot, so that lots over 15000 square foot could not build any larger than the maximum allowed on a 15000 square foot lot. With the 25% exception allowed by CUP, this would make the maximum allowed single family house size within the district 4065 square feet.)

4) That staff be directed to consider a higher FAR adjustment factor or CUP exception (35%) in multi-family (R2-R3) zones within the districts. The commission recommends that these options be looked at in order to balance the need to encourage density with the need to preserve the character of the districts. The commission also recommends looking at a maximum house size within the district for multi-family units.

DISCUSSION: Shostrom wanted it to be clear that the commission was recommending a .38 adjustment factor as the 25% exception was more than generous. Knox clarified that staff would prepare an addendum to the ordinance addressing the commission recommendations. Shostrom added that he found the exception allowance more than generous in light of the exemption for detached structures. Knox clarified that the proposed maximum size for single family homes was intended as 4065 square feet with detached accessory structures allowed.

Voice vote: Krach, Leighton, Giordano, Shostrom, and Chambers, YES. Krippaehne, NO. Motion Passed 5-1.

Planning Action 2003-092
Site Review
124 Alida Street
Kirt Meyer & Vadim Agakhanov

Giordano noted that he had a conflict as he was the applicants' agent on this project.

Leighton/Krippaehne m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Knox presented the staff report. He noted that the proposal was for a 3-unit condominium development at the corner of Alida and Blaine Streets. He explained that the applicants propose to relocate a 1905 home to the south of the property, and that they also propose to relocate a 10" blue spruce tree on-site. He added that in addition to the 1905 home, the development will consist of two new units in a duplex.

Knox noted the streetscape and discussed the side and rear elevations. He pointed out that access would be to a rear garage off of Blaine Street. He stated that one unit would be approximately 1300 square feet including the garage, and he explained that the condominium development would consist of four total lots governed by CC&R's.

Knox stated that the design was an attempt to address the context of the area, and he noted the applicants' attempt to set the second-story volume of their proposal back from the street. He discussed project details: a 6/12 roof pitch, 6" hardi-plank siding, and 4" trim. Knox noted that there was also a variance proposed to the required distance between buildings, as the ordinance would require approximately 18.5' between the buildings with only 14' being proposed here. Knox stated that this followed a pattern established in the neighborhood and demonstrated on the applicants' "Map A" exhibit.

Knox noted that there would be sidewalks and parkrows included on the Blaine Street side, and he stated that the applicants would be using a new surface treatment to allow air and water to the existing trees' root zones.

Knox stated that this application had been called up to a public hearing by a neighboring property owner, but he added that the applicants may have since addressed the neighbor's concerns. Knox stated that he would need to see a specific request from the neighbor rescinding the request to call up the application. Knox added that his feeling was that the neighbor would withdraw the request for hearing. Knox noted that there had been some other inquiries as to the mass and scale of the project, and he recognized the applicants' efforts to minimize the building heights. Knox stated that staff deferred to this commission on design issues, and he added that the applicants had met with the Review Board previously.

Applicants Kirt Meyer and Vadim Agakhanov introduced themselves to the commissioners. Meyer noted that the design as presented sprang from staff suggestions through the initial pre-application conference, the suggestions of the city's Site Design and Use Standards for development within the historic districts, and two meetings with the Review Board.

Meyer noted that the main issue was compatibility with the neighborhood, and he explained that the structure appears to be single-story when viewed from Alida Street in order to minimize the impact on the streetscape. He noted details in the side elevation that attempted to articulate the wall as viewed from Blaine. Agakhanov discussed the scale of the buildings. Meyer pointed out design features, and emphasized the applicants' attempts to eliminate flat, continuous walls and to make the structure look like a single family residence. He added that the offset entries helped to this end.

Agakhanov noted that the Blaine Street parkrow will effectively screen that side of the project when the trees mature, and he added that he felt the design was consistent with the prevailing patterns of the nearby streetscape. He added that the average spacing between buildings is 11 feet in the surrounding neighborhood, and the applicants are proposing 14.

Agakhanov stated that the footprint is not too massive, and he noted that there were more bulky apartments in the neighborhood near Siskiyou Boulevard. He distributed photos to members, and noted that some houses nearby are 16-18' high single-story structures. He added that the proposed structure is to be 21' versus the existing structure's 16'.

Chambers questioned the roof pitch. Meyer responded that the existing house to be moved has an 8/12 pitch.

Knox noted that in looking at the design, it appeared that the actual building heights were 21' and 24'. He clarified that this would require an actual spacing between buildings of 22.5'. He explained that this was greater than the 18.5' previously stated, so the 14' requested represents a greater variance. Knox emphasized that staff felt it was clear that this distance was acceptable based on the findings relative to the patterns within the neighborhood and the fact that the applicants could merge the buildings for more mass to meet the minimum.

Chambers asked why the applicants were moving the existing historic home rather than building the new structures to the other side. Meyer explained that their feeling was that the proposal would blend better with the existing streetscape. He added that this also helped to address solar access issues, and he stated that the moved structure would be fully restored. He reiterated that the applicants felt the streetscape looked better with the larger structure on the corner, and he added that it helps with the single-family style appearance.

Chambers questioned taking a significant home tied to an Oregon pioneer and moving it. He stated that even with a good deal of care and renovation, the home would still lose its historic context and negatively impact its character. He stated that he would need to be convinced that this move was necessary before he could grant his approval. He added that if the structure were renovated in place, the city's historic inventory would be protected. He recognized that the house was modest and in need of work, but he added that it was well-designed and a pristine example of its era. He stated that this relocation would be a hard sell for him, and he suggested that the new structure would dwarf the relocated house despite the thoughtful design.

Meyer explained that the house currently sits in the middle of the lot and is in disrepair. He added that new utilities are needed. Meyer noted that the proposed design exceeds city standards for landscape and lot coverage.

Members discussed the proposal in contrast to what would be allowed were the previously discussed maximum house size ordinance in effect. Knox explained that under the proposed ordinance, and noted that only 3,750 square feet of floor area would be allowed. He added that taking off the 1,000 square feet of the existing structure, only 2,750 would be allowed between the two new units. Knox emphasized for members that this application could not be considered under the standards of an ordinance that has not been adopted.

Shostrom noted that while the footprint of the structure may appear compatible on paper, he found it to be less so from the ground. He suggested that the structure was 3-4 times as large as any of its neighbors.

Leighton/Krach m/s to extend the meeting to 11:00 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Shostrom added that he had visited the site and the setback from Blaine and Alida was 32'. He proposed that the structures be moved 10' closer to the sidewalk. He discussed the applicants' photos, and noted the example from B Street actually detracts from the streetscape and could've been done more sensitively. Shostrom agreed that the articulation proposed to mitigate the design was well-done, but he explained he found the volume pushed to the Blaine Street side was just too large. Shostrom cited more of the applicants' photo examples as means to mitigate volume concerns, and noted how some design features cascaded to lessen volumes.

Knox asked what specific elements of the city's Site Design and Use Standards were not being met. Shostrom responded that the need for similar setbacks and similar volume were both missing on the Blaine Street side. He suggested using the historic house as the corner to shield the 2-story structure, but he emphasized that the best option would be to leave the historic home where it is and develop the remainder of the lot. He added that if it were moved, the house should be 10' closer to the sidewalk.

Leighton concurred, and added that she would prefer that the house not be moved. She noted the need to somehow bring the mass down. She pointed out that the top bay window does little to change the articulation.

Chambers stated that the historic home serves as an anchor, and he suggested that moving it is a drastic change despite the care and expense to be taken. He emphasized that he did not feel approving this action as proposed would meet the standards that the commission is charged to uphold. He added that he would at least like to see some compromise, and he suggested looking more to the interior without undermining the corner.

Krach recognized the difficulty of this situation, and he stated that while he liked the overall design and the care being taken, the idea of moving the house made him pause. He noted that other projects allowed on Alida might make this proposal fit for a compromise and he added that it may be on the right path, but he suggested that it was not there yet. Krach noted that he could see the design working as it is if the move were necessary, but he emphasized that he did not want to see the house moved.

Chambers noted that the bad apartments nearby were allowed and now set a precedent by negating the streetscape.

Knox explained that if the commissioners were leaning toward requesting that the hearings board call this application up to a hearing before the full Planning Commission, they should be specific in their motion. He noted the concerns expressed had been with the need to meet the intent of the Site Design and Use Standards for setbacks, mass, scale and volume. He added that the action may already have been called up by the concerned neighbor. He pointed out that the applicant might also want to request a one-month extension.

Chambers stated that there was additional concern in that the proposal would call for the moving of a valued historic structure. He added that other key criteria had been violated, but he stated that he thought something could be developed here around the great design that was at the core of the proposal.

Krach clarified that the appropriate path here was for quasi-judicial review of the Site Design and Use Standards through a full public hearing before the Planning Commission hopefully leading to some additional design work to address the concerns that had been expressed.


Chambers/Leighton m/s to recommend that the Hearings Board call this item up to a full public hearing due to the massing on the Blaine Street side which was found to be inconsistent with the typical massing along Blaine and Alida due to the 2-story façade, scale and setbacks. Discussion: Members discussed whether moving the existing structure to the corner as an anchor would work better than having the new building there at twice the size of any other nearby structure. Voice vote: All AYES, with Giordano abstaining as project architect. Motion passed.


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

August 7th

Skibby and Krippaehne

August 14th

Skibby and Giordano

August 21st

Skibby and Krach

August 28th

Skibby and Whitford


Knox noted that there would be a site visit tomorrow at the corner of Pioneer and B Street for a project that is being considered. He stated that members would meet on-site at 4:30 p.m. and that project information would be distributed at that time.


It was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 p.m.

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