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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
January 7, 2004

 

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:02 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 Alex Krach, Jay Leighton, Joanne Krippaehne, Robert Saladoff, Terry Skibby, Sam Whitford and Keith Swink. Also present were Associate Planner Mark Knox, City Council Liaison John Morrison and Secretary Sonja Akerman. Member Tom Giordano was unable to attend the meeting. There are no youth liaisons assigned to the Historic Commission.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Whitford moved to approve the December 3, 2003 minutes as submitted. With a second by Swink, the motion was unanimously approved.

PUBLIC HEARING

Planning Action 2003-150
Conditional Use Permit & Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit
22 Scenic Drive
T. Michael Ryan

Site visits were made by all. Skibby and Shostrom declared ex parte contacts with neighbors while they were at the site but were both confident they would be able to make an unbiased decision based on the criteria.

Knox explained this application was heard last month and both the Historic and Planning Commissions voted to continue it to this month. Historic Commission concerns were as follows:

  • Sense of entry on Scenic Drive.
  • Work with neighbors on landscape issues.
  • Reduce size of residence by 154 square feet.
  • Retain attached garage or turn into carport or surface parking area.
  • Make roof eaves consistent.
  • Reduce modernization of south elevation where second story cantilevers over the first story.

The square footage has now been reduced by 5% compared to what was presented last month. 155 square feet were removed.

Applicant Michael Ryan addressed the landscape issue of working with the neighbors. Since the last meeting, he has incurred additional architectural fees and said he isn't as inclined now to do what he thought he would be able to do last month. He talked to two of the neighbors. However, one (Chris Wood) claimed adverse ownership to an area on Ryan's property that Wood landscaped 12 years ago. Ryan also talked briefly with Francis Sharkey. He then stated he was disappointed the December 3rd minutes did not reflect the erroneous footprint of his proposed house that was submitted by neighbors in opposition. He read a letter in full support of his project into the record from adjacent property owner Benjamin Stott (155 Strawberry Lane), who was unable to attend the meeting.

Architect Carlos Delgado explained to the Commission where the inches were shaved off the house. He also explained only a 24" overhang will be allowed on the garage because of its location and setbacks. The entrance is now facing Scenic Drive. He also noted on the west elevation, back section, the cantilever is relatively hidden. Shostrom had mentioned at the last meeting that he thought it was a little too modern. Delgado stated they are now asking for a 19% exception. They kept the sense that the garage looks detached to maintain a visual separation, but it is still attached. Skibby asked if the garage could be seen from Granite Street and Delgado said only the very top portion of the roof will be seen.

Shostrom opened the public hearing.

Francis Sharkey, 163 Granite Street, said she not only owns 163 Granite but also the vacant lot (165 Granite) between the bed & breakfast and Ryan's property. She had intentions of building a modest home on the property but her plans are now on hold. She noted that several houses have been built on Granite Street that have enhanced the Historic District. The footprint of Ryan's proposed house is a major problem for her. She said that all the neighbors who have adjoining properties are opposing this project because the house will loom on the hillside from the Granite Street perspective. She stated the City needs guidelines. There has to be good reasons that people ask for and are granted 5% to 20% exceptions. She asked why there is a 25% variance allowance and was told by Knox that basically, it would allow an addition on an old house. She asked if the 25% exception is available to everybody. If so, when five to 10 acres are developed, houses will be closer than tract homes. She declared this potential exists. The five-foot cement block wall proposed by Mr. Ryan will loom above her house. She said the City needs Historic Commission direction on the purpose of the percentage exceptions.

Planning Consultant Laurel Prairie-Kuntz, 522 Park Avenue, Medford, stated she represents Chris Wood, Marlene Mills and Dr. F.F. Sharkey. She explained the map that was said to be in error last month came from Jackson County's smartmap.com. She maintained the houses on the map are to scale. The fact that the map included the eaves in the footprint of the proposed house caused the misunderstanding. Prairie-Kuntz said that people from Granite Street will be looking up at a two and a half story structure. Under the three conditions for approval under a Conditional Use Permit, section C refers to three criteria. The third pertains to livability, which includes similarity in scale, bulk and coverage, and architectural compatibility with the impact area. The scale and bulk are more substantial in the proposed house than other houses in the area. The neighbors would like to work with Mr. Ryan regarding the bulk of the house.

Rod Reid, 171 Granite Street, stated he was one of the first Historic Commission members after it was created. At that time, the members' task was to protect the historic aspect of the community. He said he hopes this Commission will make its decision based on the good to the community and not for a particular person. This application is about money. If the architect can shave inches off the design, why not make it conform to the ordinance that was recently passed.

Ryan asked for clarification on the ordinance regarding "variance" and "exception." Knox responded the ordinance allows for percentage "exceptions" and these are not variances. The exception allows for flexibility. Ryan said that obviously this is a difficult site to build on and he wanted everyone to see that the mass of the home is not pushed to the lot line and minimum setbacks. He acknowledged the house will look tall, but the fact is the Land Use Ordinance would allow the house to be 35 feet above the natural grade. This house will only be 24 feet above grade. Therefore, Ryan contended he has been respectful to not make the house ostentatious. He stated he will bring in boulders and soil to help mitigate the size of the stem walls. He then spoke of the path Ashland has chosen to follow - that of infill. There is a lot of pressure to infill so vacant lots will be lost and this is what those lots will look like. He empathizes with the neighbors but he feels the proposed home will be beautiful.

Reid asked for further clarification on variances and exceptions in reference to this application. Knox responded that under reasonable circumstances, applicants can request an exception for up to 25% over the maximum permitted floor area (MFPA). The maximum house size standards in the historic districts was adopted allowing this exception under Conditional Use Criteria rather than Variance criteria in order to permit more flexibility. Reid asked what the unique circumstances were in this case. Shostrom stated the Commission would discuss this prior to making a decision.

Shostrom closed the public hearing.

Knox declared both sides made valuable arguments. If the garage were separated from the house, the house size and garage would comply with the ordinance but the bulk perception would increase. In addition, codes would allow the house to be 11 feet taller. The design of the home is very nice, but the neighbors have a decent argument about the mass and scale. Since this is the first application for an exception, the Commission needs to make sure the size and scale is compatible with the Historic District. Each application will need to come before the Historic Commission; each will be evaluated on its own merits. Knox emphasized the outcome of this application will not set precedence for future requests.

Krippaehne asked Knox where the separation would be measured if the garage would be considered detached. He replied it would be from wall to wall. Skibby asked if a roof, such as a breezeway, could legally connect the two and Knox responded they could be connected by a roof, but not enclosed on the sides. Knox cautioned the Commission not to make a decision to allow the exception based on the fact that the applicant could separate the buildings.

Skibby stated this is a difficult decision because the house itself is now in compliance with the ordinance so the Granite Street view won't change. The house will be built with the exception approved or with the garage detached. Knox stated the Commission should not assume the applicant will give the ultimatum that he will separate the house and garage in order to persuade the Commission to recommend approval. Delgado assured everyone that they have addressed the issues expressed last month and are not playing a game.

Swink commented he would hate to see his own neighborhood change and he has been listening to the neighbors with their concerns. This is a double-edged sword, however and there will be gain and suffering. This application is financially driven. The property does not have the yard space that others have in the area and the Commission needs to focus on the lot proposed for development. The payback is the reality. He also mentioned there are many homes in Ashland that stand above others in the hillside and look very tall. He said he was sad to hear Ryan could no longer support a community landscape project on the north side of his lot. There is a need for people to be able to work with each other on projects such as this. He commended Ryan and Delgado for the changes that were made and said they have done what they were asked to do. It is time to move forward.

Shostrom summarized the following points and noted some of the concerns will be mitigated when Francis Sharkey's lot is built upon because it is between her existing travelers' accommodation and Michael Ryan's property. The architect has done a good job regarding the nature of this hillside lot. In Shostrom's opinion, the prairie design of the home is appropriate for the area. The lot coverage will be 27% of the lot, counting the driveway it will be 40%. The house itself (without the attached garage) is within the parameters of the ordinance. The streetscape on Scenic Drive will be mitigated because the house will sit below the street. There are houses in the area that sit quite close to the street and some that seem quite looming.

Knox stated the Planning Commission can still require mitigation with the neighbors for landscaping.

Leighton asked the applicant about the foundation that is already on the site. Ryan said he would love to keep it, but it is not in the same footprint as his proposed house. However, he may be able to incorporate some of it into the garage. He would at least like to retain the broken pieces as part of the landscaping.

Knox reiterated the applicant needs to sit down and talk with Francis Sharkey regarding the landscaping and masking the gray cement wall of the foundation, perhaps with pieces of the existing foundation.

Krach asserted the general size of the house should be discussed again. Last month he thought the Historic Commission meant the house size should be reduced so the applicant would not need to come before it with a Conditional Use Permit. There is a need to discuss more why it should be smaller. The value of what exists in terms of size also needs more discussion. He said this is about the community, who clearly was in favor of creating maximum house sizes in the Historic District. He feels the house still needs to shrink in size.

Skibby asked about the foundation material and Ryan stated it will be gray split face block.

Krippaehne commented she feels the applicants are not threatening an ultimatum here. Rather, she feels the applicant has opened up to considerably more input form the Commission and the neighbors by keeping the garage attached to the house. As itself, the square footage of the house is fine. She feels the Commission should take the opportunity to move in the direction of the applicant mitigating the concerns of the neighbors.

Shostrom stated that under normal conditions, a 2,500 square foot house is of average size. Leighton acknowledged there are unusable corners of the lot that will not be used. She would still like to see a smaller house on the lot, however.

Skibby argued the house size itself is within the law. Krach agreed, but wondered why the limit needs to be pushed every time. Saladoff said the obvious option would be that the applicant move the garage to separate the two buildings. Exceptions provide valid arguments to see more of these projects at full Commission meetings. Saladoff agrees there are some scale issues from the neighboring lots but doesn't want to see the bulk and scale increased by separating the buildings.

Whitford declared he would like to see a smaller house on the lot but also acknowledged the house will seem larger if the garage is detached and pushed over six feet.

Krippaehne said she understands about the height of the foundation and agreed there should be a condition to screen it through landscaping.

Leighton maintained that coverage is the issue here. The applicant should have created a smaller house.

Shostrom related there are many hillsides in Ashland and many large houses. He feels the landscape should be used to mitigate the appearance of the house from Granite Street. Ryan stated he was trained as a landscape architect and would be willing to soften the look of the foundation with different materials and landscaping.

Knox stated that if the Planning Commission votes to approve this application, a condition could be added stating the following: Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant meet with the neighbor to the east (Sharkey) to address screening along the shared property line. Plans shall be submitted to the Staff Advisor for final review and approval.

In discussing this further, Shostrom recounted this is an unusually steep lot that dictates where the house will be built. Other issues that contribute to the uniqueness include: separating the house and the garage would only add to the mass, the square footage is not unusually large, the driveway grade is very steep, the house sits five feet below the garage, the low pitches of the roofline mitigate the height issue, and modulation of the rooflines and stepping back sections of the house have contributed to breaking up the elevations.

Shostrom moved to recommend approval of this application based on the odd shaped lot and mitigating architectural design of the house with one of the conditions of approval reading as follows: Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant meet with the neighbor to the east (Sharkey) to address screening along the shared property line. Plans shall be submitted to the Staff Advisor for final review and approval. Krippaehne seconded the motion and it passed with the following voice vote - Krippaehne, Leighton, Saladoff, Shostrom, Skibby and Swink voting aye and Krach and Whitford voting nay.

Planning Action 2004-002
Site Review, Physical Constraints Review and Tree Removal Permit
88 North Main Street
Lloyd Haines

Knox reported this application is for an 8,325 square foot three-story building. The first floor is 1,970 square feet and will accommodate a restaurant and deck area. The second floor is 2,906 square feet and will include office and retail space. The 3,449 square feet in the third floor will comprise two residential units. An elevator will be incorporated in the building. He explained the North Main Street elevation will be built to the property line. The existing pedestrian bridge that crosses Ashland Creek to give access to Ashland Creek Bar & Grill will be removed and replaced with an engineered draw bridge that can be raised if flooding occurs. Although officially not part of this application, a new walkway (Ashland Creek Walk) is proposed, which will start at North Main Street and wind down toward Ashland Creek and the parking area under the viaduct and connect with Bluebird Park. Knox stated there will be a lot of landscaping around the north and west portions of the building. Staff feels the archway that would be the entrance to Ashland Creek Walk should be simplified but is generally supportive of this and the project. There are still flood plain issues that are being worked out so Knox explained if the Planning Commission does not hear this application in January, it will be heard during the February meeting. The design of the building and landscaping will not change.

Applicant Lloyd Haines explained the concept of placing the building where the existing decking is in the rear to North Main Street. The building was designed to fit the Downtown Standards and it has been revised to address Historic Commission concerns that were expressed at the November meeting. It will be a mixed use building with office, retail, residential and restaurant space. Haines stated he is very excited about Ashland Creek Walk. The concept is to get rid of the deck and disturbances associated with Ashland Creek Bar & Grill and create an art park. The walkway will connect Bulebird Park with the viaduct and back to North Main Street. Unfortunately, it is not feasible to keep the large Alder tree; however, Haines stated he has offered to hire local artist Russell Beebe to create a sculpture and furniture out of the Alder. The sculpture and benches will be placed along the walkway. Since the State of Oregon owns the property under the viaduct, the City has the right to use it and Haines is hoping to work with the City and Parks Commission on this project. Haines has offered to finance the sculpture, benches, lighting and some of the landscaping.

Architect Dave Richardson stated he revised the northwest elevations to incorporate Historic Commission concerns. Windows were added and stepped down copings on the side were integrated. He said they have created an attractive side that ties in to the front of the building. Cantilevers have softened the design, details have been added to the bottom in addition to corbels. Richardson also stated the base is now heavier.

Leighton asked about the third story stairway and landing on the southeast side of the building, noting it should be visible from all sides except the northwest. Richardson acknowledged it should have been on all elevations and noted it is 40 feet back from the front of the building. The stairway will have a railing on its entirety. When asked about the materials for the proposed building, Richardson responded the main building will be stucco with brick sills and heads. The grills on the deck and stairway will be steel.

Shostrom opened the public hearing.

Aaron Heller, 824 Holton Road, Talent, stated he was neutral about the project but wanted to say a few things. He grew up in Ashland and used to ride his bike on portions of the property that have been developed by Mr. Haines. He would like the existing deck associated with Ashland Creek Bar & Grill to remain so people would be able to have a place to hang out. Haines, however, said with the rowdy crowds, use of alcohol and vandalism that has been occurring, this is not a case of money pushing out entertainment. Most everyone agrees there should be less activity in that area. His concept will be to bring in a new flavor.

As there was no one else to speak on this planning action, Shostrom closed the public hearing.

Krippaehne asked who would be paying for and maintaining Ashland Creek Walk. Haines said he would be willing to provide the infrastructure, including the lights, artwork, benches, etc. if the Parks Department would maintain the area.

Whitford commented it is a great looking project that will enhance the Downtown District. He also said the pathway is a wonderful and charming concept. Skibby agrees on the design and the pathway; however, while he feels it is necessary to mark the entrance of the walk, he would like to see a simplified version of the arch. Knox said he would talk with landscape architect Kerry KenCairn, who has been working on the design of the stairway replacement from Granite Street to Calle Guanajuato. Perhaps something similar could be used for the walkway.

Skibby related that where Bluebird Park is now located, originally there were two larger buildings that spanned the creek. They were demolished in the 1960s.

Shostrom asked what type of windows will be used and Richardson said they have not yet decided. Shostrom noted he would like the Commission to review the windows as they get further into the project.

Krippaehne stated she likes what has been done to the northwest side of the building, nevertheless she is still troubled by the depth and treatment of the overhang in the back. In her opinion, it feels oppressive with the huge corbels. She wondered what type of pedestrian experience one would feel standing in that area. Skibby said he feels pedestrians would feel more protected with more covering. Richardson remarked the bottom of the corbels goes up seven feet and there is about 15 feet between the floors. This is the deck area for the restaurant.

Saladoff asked if the restaurant floor area will be the same elevation grade as the deck and Richardson responded in the affirmative, noting it is a half flight up from the existing building.

Skibby moved to recommend approval of this application to the Planning Commission and Whitford seconded the motion. On voice vote, all voted aye.

The Commission asked Haines and Richardson to come to the Review Board when the design gets to the detailing stage.

Planning Action 2004-003
Site Review and Conditional Use Permit
987 Siskiyou Boulevard
Marc and Aaron Heller

Knox reported the applicants are requesting that a 317 square foot non-conforming garage be granted permission to be used as a small single family residence. The existing siding will be maintained, windows will be added on the north and west elevations, the garage door will be removed and replaced with a window and entrance door on the south elevation, and windows will be removed on the east elevation (per building code requirement). The building is fairly well hidden off Siskiyou Boulevard. Parking for the existing chiropractic business in the house and the proposed unit is off the alley at the rear of the property. Staff's only concern is that one tree may be removed.

Aaron Heller stated they do not plan to take out any trees.

Marc Heller explained that originally, the driveway went all the way back to the garage, but after he bought the property he planted trees in that area. He said this application is a simple project. He had a garage that wasn't being used for much and the roof was leaking. Aaron came up with the idea they could convert the building to a small residential unit, fix it up and keep it as a reasonably priced rental. The house and garage are both stucco-sided. Marc said the windows in the house are double and single hung with some being casement. Since he bought the property in 1999, he has upgraded the windows but has not put in sliders.

Shostrom asked what type of windows would be put in the converted building and Marc stated they would be casement, but he wasn't sure if they would be wood or vinyl. If vinyl, they will look the same as those on the house.

Leighton asked if real stucco will replace the windows that need to be removed on the east elevation. Aaron said he will do what he can to match the existing stucco. Shostrom asked that he match the stucco and match the windows to the existing ones in the house, preferably with wood. Krippaehne noted that on the drawings, which were submitted for the west elevation, it appears the left window will be a slider. Marc agreed it should not be and stated he will match the windows with the house. He also said landscaping will hide any imperfections in the stucco on the east elevation.

Shostrom closed the public hearing.

Leighton moved to recommend approval of this proposal to the Planning Commission with the conditions the windows will match and complement the existing house. Krach seconded the motion and it passed with a unanimous vote.

Planning Action 2004-007
Site Review and Conditional Use Permit
185 North Pioneer Street
Deborah DeLaunay

Knox explained the applicant is proposing to convert the top floor of her house to a one-unit hotel/motel accommodation. The first floor will remain the owner's unit and there will be no exterior or interior changes. Knox explained two off-street parking spaces are required for this application. The applicant is obtaining one credit on "B" Street and one on Pioneer Street and although not required, is leasing two spaces from the Christian Church of Ashland located at 318 "B" Street.

Shostrom opened the public hearing.

Architect Carlos Delgado stated he helped the applicant with her findings. She had originally asked for approval to operate a travelers' accommodation, however, since the property is in a Commercial zone, she was required to request a hotel/motel unit. He also noted the Planning Department is encouraging this type of use in commercial zones.

Knox continued Staff is supportive of this application.

There was no one else in the audience who wanted to speak so Shostrom closed the public hearing.

Krippaehne questioned Knox about the policies for these types of applications, noting she recalled Staff had not supported a hotel/motel on North Main Street a while ago. Knox responded the circumstances are different. Here we have an historic house in the Historic District. Also, there will be no interior or exterior changes. The top floor will be used as the hotel/motel unit. He acknowledged Staff has not been supportive of all requests because Ashland is quite saturated with travelers' accommodations already. Also, affordable rental units are being turned in to travelers' accommodations.

Krippaehne then moved to recommend approval of this proposal and Leighton seconded the motion, which passed with a unanimous vote.

OLD BUSINESS

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

January 8th

Skibby, Krippaehne and Leighton

January 15th

Skibby, Saladoff and Swink

January 22nd

Skibby, Whitford and Giordano

January 29th

Skibby, Swink and Shostrom

 

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA #2000-120

485 "A" Street (Steve Hoxmeier)

Shostrom

PA #2002-100

142 East Main Street (Earthly Goods)

Leighton

PA #2002-125

44 North Second Street (Trinity Episcopal Church)

Skibby

PA #2003-005

35 S. Second Street (Winchester Inn)

Krippaehne

PA #2003-035

665 East Main Street (Kirk McAllister)

Shostrom

PA #2003-045/110/122

230/232 VanNess Avenue (Serin Eggling/Sherri Morgan)

Leighton

PA #2003-090

125 North Main Street (Lynn Thompson)

Krach

PA #2003-094

45 Wimer Street (Paul Crafft)

Whitford

PA #2003-108

115 Church Street (Nancy Seward and Tim Bond)

Saladoff

PA #2003-092

124 Alida Street (Kirt Meyer and Vadim Agakhanov)

Krippaehne

PA #2003-152

44 North Second Street (Trinity Episcopal Church)

Swink

Possible National Register Nomination for Lithia Springs Property - There has been no change on this.

Carnegie Library Restoration - There was nothing new to report.

NEW BUSINESS:

150 Manzanita Street - Feedback on Getting a Conditional Use Permit Exception - Architect Richard Wagner and Dick Sweet (owner of 150 Manzanita) met with the Commission to get feedback on their proposal. Wagner stated they have been working on plans for Sweet's house for the past two years. Because of personal reasons, however, the owner was forced to put a hold on the project for over a year. Although this is not an excuse, Wagner said when they came back to the project, there was a maximum square footage ordinance. He explained that in the beginning, there was also an accessory unit associated with the project. It is no longer being proposed. He has already removed quite a bit of square footage off the proposed house. If he removes more, the owner will not have what he needs and they will have to start completely over. Wagner went on to say they were encouraged to come to the full Commission for input after going to the Review Board. The proposal involves a two-story home with a basement. The house is fairly well set back from the street. They will be requesting a 14% exception.

Leighton asked why they think a Conditional Use Permit should be granted. Wagner said that he has redesigned the house as well as he could after Sweet came back to get the project going again. He feels it is a well designed house that fits in well with the neighborhood, however, the square footage is still slightly over the allowable. Timing plays a large part in this request.

Sweet stated that without losing the concept of the design of the house, it is now down to three bedrooms and an office. He will also have a work area with a bathroom in the basement where the garage is located. Sweet also mentioned the accessory unit had already been approved by the City but it will no longer be necessary. He would like to break ground this spring.

Whitford asked if the owner could still build an accessory unit on the lot at a later date and Knox answered that one could because of the R-1 zoning. Sweet assured the Commission he has no current plans to build another unit.

At 10:00, Krippaehne moved to extend the meeting until 10:30. With a second by Skibby, the motion was unanimously passed.

Whitford commented the proposed house is more in scale with the neighborhood and is smaller than the adjacent home. Krach stated that he would have a difficult time supporting most exceptions because the community was very vocal in its wish to get an ordinance adopted that would limit the house sizes in Ashland's historic districts.

While most of the Commission agreed the scale was good for the size of the lot, it should also be noted some members felt there could be ways to reduce the scale even more to come closer to compliance.

National Historic Preservation Week May 3 - 9, 2004 New Frontiers in Preservation - Krach volunteered to write a shortened version of the Commission's solicitation for nominations for its "Distinguished Architectural Preservation Awards" for the City Source. The Commission requested that it would like to have a list of projects that were approved within the historic districts from June of 2002 to June of 2003 for the February meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

There were no new announcements.

ADJOURNMENT

It was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 p.m.

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