CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chair Russ Chapman. Other Commissioners present were John Fields, Colin Swales, Kerry KenCairn, Cameron Hanson and Mike Morris. Ray Kistler arrived at 8:00 p.m. Absent members were Dave Dotterrer and Marilyn Briggs. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Brandon Goldman, and Sue Yates.
A study session is scheduled for September 23, 2003 at the Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m. The tentative subject is Citizens Planning Advisory Committee.
Also, on September 23rd, there is an opportunity for community members to drop by the Community Development and Engineering Services Building at 4:00 p.m. to talk with a Planning Commissioner or staff member.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
The minutes of the August 12, 2003 Hearings Board were approved. The minutes of the August 12, 2003 Regular Meeting were approved. The minutes of the August 26, 2003 Joint Study Session were approved. The Findings for PA2003-071 (No. Mountain) were approved. The Findings for PA2003-053 (155 Strawberry) were approved.
Swales noted that the writing on the blue and white planning action signs has disappeared off several signs. Staff is looking into a more permanent ink.
PUBLIC FORUM - No one came forth to speak.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
PLANNING ACTION 2003-105
REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO ALLOW THE EXISTING 6,858 SQUARE FOOT INTERIOR OF THE NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY FACILITY, LOCATED AT 1420 EAST MAIN STREET, TO BE USED FOR A VARIETY OF EVENTS, INCLUDING TRADE SHOWS, FLEA MARKETS, COMMUNITY EVENTS, AND PRIVATE PARTIES BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:00 A.M. AND MIDNIGHT.
APPLICANT: OREGON MILITARY DEPARTMENT
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all. Hanson stepped down as he had a conflict of interest.
Goldman said this action was administratively approved in August 2003 and called up for a public hearing by several neighbors.
There is already an existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) on the property for the Grower's Market. The property is in the SO zone and falls under the SOU Master Plan. This is a partnership area and available for lease to provide money back to the University and benefit to the community at large. There is access off Wightman. The central Ashland bike path provides pedestrian access.
The uses are consistent and in conformance with their lease agreement with SOU. This involves use of only the interior space. Expansion of exterior space would require a different CUP than proposed.
The SO zone allows for a variety of uses. Some uses require a CUP. Staff has directed the applicant to apply for this permit, based on activities that are currently being held in the facility, namely the flea market activities held on Saturdays. Staff determined that activities that were part of the original proposal in 1987 were related to military installation use as well as for community functions. Flea market use and other commercial activity and private parties may not be deemed community functions and would thereby require a CUP.
The site has 200 parking spaces on site, with 30 reserved for National Guard. Floor area is 6800 sq. ft. or one parking space for every 40 sq. ft. of floor area. This exceeds the maximum requirement for the most intense use. Staff has determined there is adequate parking on-site for the intended uses.
With regard to traffic capacity, East Main Street is a boulevard and can accommodate a range of traffic from 8,000 to 30,000 vehicle trips per day (vtpd). Taking into consideration the most recent counts in 2002 of 8016 vtpd on East Main, Staff believes there is adequate capacity to handle additional vehicle trips.
Staff has some concerns relating to noise, particularly related to concert and dance use. The application states the noise will conform to local zoning codes. Staff has suggested a condition of approval that a contact person for the facility be provided to the City and available so that should the use generate noise or have unintended impacts on the neighborhood, the City could contact an individual.
Staff also has some fire code concerns. When the facility was built, it was designed for a National Guard Armory. The Fire Marshall has indicated that a number of those uses are going to trigger additional fire code requirements that may not be in place today. Prior to an event, the Fire Marshall will do a special inspection. Staff has recommended Condition 6, that all conditional uses shall comply with applicable fire and building code requirements prior to operation of the conditional use activities.
Swales asked who pays for the special inspections. Goldman said it is a free service today, but the Fire Marshall is putting together a fee schedule.
Swales asked if they could have a liquor license. McLaughlin said it is his understanding that if an event has a caterer, the caterer can have a liquor license. The location does not have to have a license.
McLaughlin said two planning actions ago, this area was an opportunity area in the SO zone with no particular uses noted. That is when the armory, forensics lab and museum moved in.
LT. COL RENDELL CHILTON, 1776 S. E. Militia Way, Salem, OR 97309-5047, said he manages about 38 armories around the state. It is his responsibility to go out and earn about $1.5 million every year. He works with some annual leases and many one-time events. The facility has rented spaces since 1987. The revenue is very important to the military department. They recognize they must be good neighbors in the communities they are in. Renters are responsible for following the OLCC rules. When they get calls complaining about noise or activity, they try to respond as quickly as possible. It is the responsibility of the renter to meet any sign requirements. He is familiar with the fire code.
Chilton knows that many of the neighbors are concerned with this application. Most of their business is dog clubs, gymnastics, in other words, renters with the least impact. The traffic impact will not be as great as some might believe.
The high attendance events would not occur during high traffic flows on East Main. Most of their business comes on the weekend, usually starting around 4:00 p.m. and running often to midnight. Some events have alcohol. Fifty-five percent of their business comes from the Hispanic community. They often ask to serve alcohol. They are often denied.
Fields asked if they will be actively marketing the armory more than before or are they just trying to get it legal? Chilton said they are trying to get it legal but they are operating a business too. However, they want to be selective with rentals and make sure they conform.
Chapman said the hours 8:00 a.m. to midnight raised a red flag for him. Operating until midnight every day of the week is a lot.
Chilton said in none of their facilities do they operate seven days a week until midnight. The major producers are Salem and Medford, but even they don't rent every day. He felt they needed to apply for the maximum time limits for those who would want to use it during the week.
KenCairn wondered if they could pare their hours. Chilton said they will do whatever the City will approve because the revenue is extremely important to them.
Swales wondered if Chilton sees these uses in competition with business in town. This could be viewed as a publicly subsidized facility being used for commercial activity. Would gun shows be coming to Ashland? He is thinking about community members who would be concerned about that. Chilton said they only have one gun show and that takes place in Portland. Recent legislation has made it more difficult to have them. With regard to competition with businesses, Chilton said they fill a niche. A lot of communities don't provide the type of facility that would accommodate the events they have. He does a market analysis every year along with a rate schedule. He has to be sure he is not lower than the market so he does not use public funds too underbid a local competitor.
JULIE ALVES, 251 E. Hersey Street, Regional Event Coordinator for the Armory, stated she believes they serve a purpose. The armory provides a venue that fills a need for 150 people. We are filling a big niche for the church market, for larger events where other facilities are not big enough. She does not see, as a resident of Ashland, that this will have a major impact in the neighborhood. Medford produces ten events per month. One weekend a month is reserved for the soldier's drill weekend. She believes this is good for the City of Ashland.
KENT CUTTING, 1447 East Main Street, has lived right across from the armory since 1981. He was pleased when the armory was built there as well as the forensics lab and museum. They have been good neighbors. He believes we should support the military and that this facility is for community use.
MARK POUND, Rogue Valley Grower's Market Manager, supports the CUP. The Growers have found the National Guard IS good to deal with. He would like to modify Condition 4 to state that the Grower's Market can move inside during inclement weather or year round.
Ray Kistler arrived.
SUSAN RUST, 42 N. Wightman, read a prepared statement in opposition to the application. With regard to the traffic, she does not want to see events go until midnight. Many older people are in bed by 10 p.m. If this is approved, she is concerned it will shift the burden of proof to the neighbors. The signs for the flea market were up for two months. The moneymakers for the armory are not gymnastics or weddings. The closest commercial establishment is the Rogue Valley Roasters.
SELENE RAFFEL, 75 N. Wightman, said she concurs with Susan Rust. She leaves for work between 8 and 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. The Grower's Market looks exactly like Mountain and East Main before the traffic signal was installed. During the Grower's Market, there are cars parked all up and down Wightman. She has nothing against the Grower's market, but believe their neighborhood needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on the CUP.
DEREK BUDD, 1395 Evergreen Lane, stated he has concerns with traffic, safety to children, and events booked solidly throughout the week. He said turning onto East Main from Fordyce or Wightman during peak times is a nightmare. The potential that events could be running at any time would adversely impact them. East Main is a route for children walking and biking to school. He supports the low impact venues.
JOHANNA FISHER, President, Mill Pond Homeowner's Association, is speaking for herself and all in the Mill Pond Homeowner's Association. She can well understand the desire for the National Guard Armory to have more income with a facility that can bring them more revenue. She, however, objects to the way the CUP is worded. They will be allowed to have parties seven days a week until midnight everyday. She envisions people leaving a party at midnight, talking in the parking area, then finally getting in their cars and then zooming off in their cars. Think of the noise of 100 cars coming out of a parking lot. She will not accept the midnight deadline. Let's have a deadline of 10 p.m. And, parties lasting until 10 p.m. should be on weekends only.
LOLA BROSBE, 198 N. Wightman, noted that Ashland is located between two mountains that can trap air pollution. She noticed that it can take up to two minutes for cars to enter East Main during the hours the Grower's Market is operating. She does not object to the use of the Grower's Market, she objects to additional air pollution caused by additional events. The entire air pollution in entire valley will increase to an unhealthy and unacceptable level. In addition, there is an increased potential for pedestrian and vehicular accidents. She is asking the request for a CUP be denied.
Chapman read comments from MOSCHE ROSS, 157 Blue Heron, objecting particularly to increased activity and increased generation of noise.
Chilton understands the neighbors concerns. He would be willing to meet with the Mill Pond Homeowner's Association to discuss the use of the armory. East Main Street has the capacity to handle increased traffic. The armory parking lot meets the City's requirement for parking. He wants to emphasize the volume of rentals will not be that much more significant than it has been over the past 14 years.
Chapman noted, though, that Chilton has felt under pressure to increase revenues. Chilton said the money earned is to help offset the cost of maintaining and operating their facilities throughout the state.
Goldman said Condition 2 can still be applied. If the Grower's Market moves inside, it will fall under the CUP. With regard to the capacity of East Main, the average daily trips account for peak generation. As traffic continues to grow, the intersection could fail.
Swales noticed the blue and white planning action sign was buried in the bushes. McLaughlin noted that much of the time it was out and almost on the sidewalk.
Swales said this CUP has to be compared to the target use of the zone. This is a use that in many instances is purely commercial. He thinks it needs to be made clear what the actual target use is.
Chapman feels some protection of the neighbors is deserved.
Fields can't believe there is a market for much more than what they are getting now. As a community, do we want to have a place like this where we can have this type of venue? He doesn't think they will be having a bunch of loud rowdy parties.
Swales said there have been no complaints by the neighbors yet. He believes they have been good neighbors in the past.
The Commissioners suggested some earlier hours of operation. Kistler said the space utilization helps prevent sprawl. He wants to be careful about putting a stranglehold on the armory to the point where nothing can happen.
KenCairn suggested a two hour buffer between events and limit the nightime uses.
Swales said the armory will still be there whether we approve this or not. Anything we give them is a bonus.
Chapman moved to approve the CUP operating no later than 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and no later than 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There was no second and the motion failed.
KenCairn moved to approve PA2003-105 with added Conditions 6, 7 and 8. Condition 6 relates to the Fire Code. Condition 7 to read that all conditional uses shall be limited from 8:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Add Condition 8 that no more than 12 conditional use activities occur past 7:00 p.m. in a given month. The motion was seconded and approved with Fields voting "no" and Kistler abstaining.
Hanson rejoined the meeting.
TYPE III PLANNING ACTION
PLANNING ACTION 2003-112
REQUEST FOR ANNEXATIONOF AN APPROXIMATELY 1.32 ACRE PARCEL, TWO-LOT LAND PARTITION AND A SITE REVIEW ON CLOVER LANE. THE APPLICATION IS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AN APPROXIMATELY 9000 SQUARE FOOT COMMERCIAL/LIGHT MANUFACTURING BUILDING ON ONE PARCEL (BUILDING "A") AND AN APPROXIMATELY 10,000 SQUARE FOOT COMMERCIAL/LIGHT MANUFACTURING BUILDING ON THE OTHER PARCEL (BUILDING "B"). THE PROPOSAL INCLUDES A VARIANCE TO PERMIT THE EXTENSION OF AN EXISTING DEAD END PUBLIC STREET (I.E. CLOVER LANE) THAT CURRENTLY IS IN EXCESS OF 500 FEET IN LENGTH.
APPLICANT: PACIFIC WESTERN OF MEDFORD, LLC
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.
Molnar said the Commission will be making the final decision on the Site Review, Variance and Land Partition and forwarding a recommendation the City Council for the annexation.
The current city limits are at the southern boundary of the cul-de-sac. The site is 1.3 acres. Molnar reviewed the history of the property as outlined in the Staff Report.
With regard to the annexation, the property is contiguous with the current city limits. Services have been extended and are available. They are requesting E-1 zoning. There are three additional properties in that area that are within the City's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and their designation is Single Family Residential. The remaining triangular area is approximately four acres.
The Land Partition is to divide the property into two parcels of similar lot area and a Site Review to construct an approximately 9,000 square foot light manufacturing use on Parcel A and an approximately 10,000 square foot light manufacturing use on Parcel B. The applicant is requesting that one of the buildings have a two-year approval period. The buildings are oriented toward the street with the primary parking toward the north of each building. There is also a second driveway approach at the southern end of the parcel to access loading areas. There is a ten foot wide public pedestrian multi-use path system proposed to connect to the existing right-of-way on Spring Creek Drive. The applicant, instead of connecting Clover Lane to Spring Creek, has requested a Variance to the street length.
The main issue for Staff is the traffic impact of the development along Clover Lane and how the development will affect ingress and egress from Clover Lane onto Highway 66. In 2000, there was a traffic impact study done as well as ODOT review that were completed in connection with the KFC/A&W development. Those improvements have been completed to the intersection. Hardey Engineer prepared an updated traffic impact study. It was found that the trips occurring today are much less than projected, so there was no change in their recommendation. ODOT stated they have objections to this proposal. The intersection is not the best at peak times, however, the studies show it is operating at an acceptable level and the long-term improvements of what to do are still being studied by ODOT. ODOT's recommendation is that the project be conditioned based on the type of use they are proposing at this time - light manufacturing/light industrial. These uses tend to generate fewer trips.
Molnar recommended a Condition 19 that is included in the packet. If approved, there is a development agreement prepared by the applicant and reviewed by the City Attorney, and recorded on the two parcels limiting the uses on the two parcels to uses that don't generate more than 100 trips per parcel or a combined total of 200 trips per day. Condition 19 is missing the word "uses".
Add to Condition 2, "That the minimum be 22 feet wide where the extension occurs and the curb radiuses are reviewed and approved by the Fire Department for acceptable emergency services."
Swales thought there would be large semi trucks and trailers leaving the site and entering onto the Highway. Will that turning movement work? Molnar said that issue was raised in 2000. His understanding in talking with ODOT and Hardey Engineers is that their studies don't distinguish between different types of vehicles.
Swales asked what is envisioned for the parcels to the south in the UGB. Molnar said unless there is some grand solution, they envision the three parcels taking access from the extension of Clover Lane. The property is earmarked for Single Family Residential, R-1-5, for possibly 18 to 22 units. Depending on when those property owners come forward may depend on where the City and ODOT are in long-term planning for the intersection.
Swales said there is not a very smooth flow from Clover Lane into this road. If it is going to be developed further, it seems there will be an awkward jog. Molnar said Condition 2 analyzes the alignment of Clover Lane. When it gets to engineering stage, we might require shifting the right-of-way.
BOB ROBERTSON, 1175 East Main Street, Medford, OR, said this property is the only remaining property he owns on Clover Lane. It is the only one outside the city limits. The buildings have been designed for low impact uses.
JAC NICKELS, Architectural Design Works, 821 Beach Street, envisions trying to target a business such as an electrical shop and especially for a business that doesn't need any street exposure. Most of the back part of the building would be for warehouse supplies. It is likely one business could lease the whole space. Or, a space could be divided into two.
Nickels will try to work with the fill but if they can't they will do what they have to do.
DAVID KASZUBA, 680 Spring Creek Drive, expressed his concerns with traffic on Clover Lane. There are so many outlets from the gas station and hotels that there is lots of cross traffic. The traffic is somewhat isolated from Clover Lane. He would object to many of the permitted uses in the E-1 zone.
Will the road be torn up in their cul-de-sac to connect the water systems? He is concerned with the noise and trucks since he works out of his home.
Nickels said they would work with the City and look at the best way to connect to the utilities.
Robertson hoped the Commission would approve the application..
Molnar said there is no final utility plan yet. The storm drains would most likely tie into Clover Lane with a detention system for both of these parcels. They will be tying into Spring Creek for water.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Fields moved to approve PA2003-112. Add the word "uses" after "the properties limiting ...". Condition 2 with an additional sentence stating that the Clover Lane extension be no less than 22 feet in width with a curb radius at the point of transition between the cul-de-sac and Clover Lane being adequate for accommodating emergency service vehicle turning movements. Hanson seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Swales noted that he fully approves of the pedestrian linkage on cul-de-sacs. He would just like to see that this even works in residential areas to encourage pedestrian and bicycle use. It encourages all multi-modal transport.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.