ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
JANUARY 13, 2004
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chair Russ Chairman at 1:40 p.m.
Russ Chapman, Chair
Absent Members: None
Council Liaison: Alex Amarotico (Council Liaison does not attend Hearings Board meetings to avoid conflict of interest)
High School Liaison: None
SOU Liaison: None
Maria Harris, Associate Planner
Brandon Goldman, Assistant Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
TYPE I PLANNING ACTIONS
PLANNING ACTION 2004-003
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO PERMIT THE CONVERSION OF A NON-CONFORMING STRUCTURE INTO A STUDIO APARTMENT.
987 SISKIYOU BOULEVARD.
APPLICANT: MARC AND AARON HELLER
This action was approved.
PLANNING ACTION 2004-004
REQUEST FOR A LAND PARTITION TO DIVIDE THE EXISTING PROPERTY INTO TWO LOTS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1249 ASHLAND MINE ROAD. A VARIANCE IS REQUESTED TO PERMIT THE REAR LOT (OFF NORTON) TO HAVE A LOT WIDTH GREATER THAN THE LOT DEPTH.
APPLICANT: ADAM FOX AND JOYCE DRESNER
This action was called up for a public hearing.
PLANNING ACTION 2004-007
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO OPERATE THE EXISTING RESIDENCE LOCATED AT 185 NORTH PIONEER AS A VACATION HOME RENTAL (I.E. ONE-UNIT HOTEL/MOTEL).
APPLICANT: DEBORAH DELAUNAY
This action was approved.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
PLANNING ACTION 2003-136
REQUEST FOR A LAND PARTITION TO DIVIDE THE EXISTING PROPERTY INTO THREE PARCELS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 272 ORANGE STREET. A FLAG DRIVEWAY WILL BE CONSTRUCTED FROM ORANGE STREET TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE MIDDLE PARCEL, WHILE THE BACK PARCEL WILL DERIVE ACCESS FROM THE UNIMPROVED SECTION OF OHIO STREET.
APPLICANT: DAN HELLER
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts
Chapman had a site visit and he spoke with Deborah Gordon, but did not speak about the project. Fields and Kistler had site visits.
Goldman said this action was called up for a public hearing last month. The application is a Land Partition to divide the parcel into three parcels. A flag drive will be created to provide access to the rear Parcel A and to Parcel B. The most notable natural feature is a man-made pond. The Division of State Lands (DSL) has noted it as a jurisdictional wetland. To provide vehicular access to Parcel A, the applicant has proposed to provide an extension of the unimproved section of Ohio Street to go around the pond within the existing public right-of-way to meet up with the property. A neighbor had a concern about the flag drive and how it would meander around the pond and whether the pond would be retained. The property's frontage on Orange Street does not have an established park row or sidewalk. The sidewalk that extends to the west of the property down Orange Street is all curbside. There is a power pole located at the terminus of the existing sidewalk. The applicant can modify the proposal for a curbside sidewalk to meander around the existing power pole and provide it as a modified sidewalk improvement plan. Staff has recommended a Condition of approval that prior to signature of a final survey, that a revised sidewalk plan be provided, reviewed and approved.
The flag accessing Parcel B will be 15 feet in width with a 12 foot paved surface. Parcel C is located on the unimproved section of Ohio. Ohio is at least 20 feet wide and the centerline grade is less than ten percent. The applicant is required to participate in a LID for full street improvements to Ohio.
Of particular concern to Staff is the impact on the natural features, particularly, the pond and any potential wetlands in the immediate vicinity of the pond. The applicant hired Northwest Biological Consulting to evaluate the site and determine whether the pond and vicinity qualify as jurisdictional wetlands. The wetlands determination provided by the consultant indicates that the pond itself is a wetland, whereas the area around the pond is not a wetland, having been created with fill. The application was submitted to DSL in September, 2003 but has yet to receive a response. Goldman was informed upon calling DSL that their response could take up to six months. Staff has recommended a Condition that the applicant refrain from any fill, removal or construction activities until DSL responds to the submitted wetland determination.
Of the 18 suggested Conditions, Condition 10, replace the word "common" with the word "flag".
DAN HELLER, 872 B Street, stated he is speaking on behalf of Deborah Gordon. They are willing to conform with the Conditions Staff has outlined. Regarding the wetlands, Heller just phoned DSL and they are backlogged with applications. Pending their approval, they will wait before they do any development of the site. The pond will not be disturbed and they will stay away from the wetland area around the pond until it is determined it is not a wetland.
DAVE HARD, Fire Marshall, Ashland Fire & Rescue, 455 Siskiyou Boulevard, said if Parcel C's access is from Ohio, then Parcel C will need to have an Ohio address. Goldman said a Condition of approval can be added that the addressing of any structure on Parcel C be given an Ohio Street address if the access is from Ohio.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Kistler moved to approve PA2003-136 with the suggested additions to the Conditions. The motion was seconded and approved.
PLANNING ACTION 2003-150
REQUEST FOR A PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS PERMIT FOR DEVELOPMENT UPON HILLSIDE LANDS, AND A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO CONSTRUCT A NEW RESIDENCE 20 PERCENT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PERMITTED FLOOR AREA (MPFA) ESTABLISHED BY CITY ORDINANCE ON THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 22 SCENIC DRIVE.
APPLICANT: T. MICHAEL RYAN
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts
Chapman had a site visit. He spoke with Susan and Rod Reid about recycling, but not the project. Kistler and Fields did a walk-by.
Goldman reported the property is within the Skidmore Academy Historic District. Under the newly established maximum house size ordinance, the maximum size of a home for the subject property is 2507 square feet. The applicant has revised their plan in an attempt to address a number of concerns by the Historic Commission and reduce the size of the residence to 2507 square feet. Attached garages are included in the square footage. The applicant has proposed an attached garage. The entry on the application has been modified and relocated to the west elevation along Scenic Drive. The lot has severely constrained slopes. The two-story home will have a first floor of approximately 1813 square feet and a second floor 693 square feet and a 500 square foot garage for a total of 3,134 square feet. The amount of impervious surface (40.7 percent) on-site has been of concern. The building footprint maximizes the development potential of the lot and building very close, if not on, the minimum side and rear yard setbacks with the exception of the south property line. The impervious surface does, however, comply. The applicant addressed solar access. It complies with base setbacks. The deck is encroaching six inches into the side and rear yard setbacks.
There are a number of significant trees on-site that need to be retained. The applicant has proposed to retain them. The trees of particular concern to Staff are an eight inch pine tree and a 40 inch oak tree, an 18 inch cedar and a 30 inch pine. Staff has suggested a Condition of approval that any pruning of trees necessary in conjunction with the house construction be completed by a licensed arborist to insure the limbs are pruned to the minimum amount necessary without compromising the health of the trees. To protect the driplines of the trees, Staff has recommended a Condition that the tree protection measures employed include a six foot tall chain link fence around the dripline prior to grading or any site work.
The applicant's proposal does include a site evaluation and a geotechnical engineering report. Staff has recommended a Condition requiring the applicant to provide a final report prepared by the geotechnical engineer as well as an inspection schedule along the way, noting that the geotechnical will come out to inspect at the points noted in their report.
A landscaping plan was provided. It includes revegetation of the fill slopes. In review by the Fire Department, there is some concern with the landscaping proposed. In order to gain access to the back of the property, landscaping would have to provide at least a four foot clearance. Staff is recommending a modified Condition 5: That all requirements of the Ashland Fire Department be complied with prior to the issuance of a building permit, but not limited to installation of a foot path from Scenic to meet the fire apparatus access standards to be within 150 feet to the furthest point of any exterior wall or the installation of a hydrant or fire sprinkler system. Fire apparatus access and final landscaping must permit fire fighter access around the building. That Condition has been expanded.
The Historic Commission reviewed the application for similarity in scale, bulk and coverage as well as architectural compatibility with the impact area and forwarded a recommendation to the Planning Commission to approve the application, contingent upon the applicant meeting with property owners to the east to address landscaping screening along the shared property line. Landscaping plans incorporating this proposed screening should be submitted to the Staff Advisor for final review and approve, prior to issuance of a building permit.
Should the Commission wish to approve the application, Staff has attached eight Conditions.
Goldman the construction of a single family home under building code has to direct its storm drainage to a fully improved street system. That does not change with the CUP. The storm drainage will be directed through the adjacent property. The applicant had suggested a berm along the north side of Montview Street. The Engineering Dept. reviewed it, and is afraid it could cause further problems.
MICHAEL RYAN, 179 ½ Oak Street, said he'd met with the City on four separate occasions and nothing of the new ordinance was ever mentioned. He supports the maximum house size ordinance. Considering his design and lot constraints and the size of the house at approximately 2500 square feet, it fits well within the spirit of the new ordinance. This neighborhood has an eclectic mix of houses. They comply with all but one of the six directives they were giving.
CARLOS DELGADO, 545 A Street, agent for the applicant, addressed the six issues. The first was changing the location of the front entrance. The landscape issue of the most concern for the neighbors was on the east side because of the exposure of the foundation wall. By reducing the square footage by 155 square feet, it has eliminated the massing. From any view, the garage appears as a separate entity.
Delgado discussed the concern of the neighbors about this application. This is one of the first lots that has gone through the maximum house size ordinance. Ryan's lot is zoned R-1-7.5, but his lot is 8000 square feet. Most lots in the neighborhood are 12,000 to 13,000 square feet.
Kistler wondered if the loft areas share the same ceiling height. Delgado said the ceiling height is continued the same across the loft area. Kistler said the house looks like it's a lot over 2500 square feet. One of the downfalls of the maximum house size ordinance is one can design a 2500 square foot house with ceilings 20 feet tall throughout and it will comply. Delgado said they've taken what they can to bring down the size without compromising the function and aesthetic value. Ryan said when it comes time to sell the home, he is interested in roof heights, an expanded feeling and aesthetics. The home on paper does look large.
Chapman said the maximum house size ordinance is in place. The community supported it and the Council supported it. He has to agree by reading the minutes of the Historic Commission, that the CUP was included for people with existing homes that were up against it when putting in a minor extension on their homes. He doesn't want to habitually see requests for 25 percent above the maximum permitted floor area. We have said mass, bulk, scale and size over a certain point, have a negative effect. We have to take that into account when neighbors are coming before us asking the Commission to defend the ordinance. The burden is on the applicant to show us where the neighbors are wrong.
Delgado doesn't think the neighbors are wrong. It is about being subjective and perceptive of new development on a pristine lot. Because of the lot constraints, the building envelope is limited.
Kistler said if we approve this we have to be able to answer the question: What is the hardship?
Ryan believes the alternative is working against the spirit of the ordinance.
Kistler said when we are talking about bulk, mass and scale, it is every bit as relevant as whether a "floor" exists or not. The intent of the ordinance is how big does the house feel?
Goldman reiterated the criteria for a CUP. Looking at the livability of the impact area, of the seven criteria, the one Kistler is referencing is similarity of scale, bulk and coverage.
CHRIS WOOD, 121 Strawberry Lane, said he is a neighbor. He believes the ordinance is a savior So many homes have been maximized. The ordinance is not perfect, but over time, this ordinance is going to have a lasting and positive effect on the Historic District. He is concerned about setting a precedent. He is asking the Commission to go with the wishes of the citizens of Ashland. The existing homes do not maximize the setbacks. He would like to see the ordinance defended.
LAUREL PRAIRIE KUNTZ, 522 Park Avenue, Medford, OR, said she is representing Dr. Francis Sharkey who owns the Lithia Rose Bed & Breakfast on Granite Street and the vacant piece behind the Lithia Rose. Her main concern is what she will be looking at from the bed and breakfast and a new structure on her other lot. She will be looking at almost a three-story mass almost to the setback line on the east side of the property. The applicant is saying that it is a difficult property to build on given the slopes and the configuration of the property, therefore, the house needs to be larger inside than what is allowed under the maximum permitted floor area ordinance. She would think with constraints, the applicant would have to go with a smaller size than the maximum allowed. The burden of proof is on the applicant to show how he complies.
The criteria they are most concerned with the similarity in scale, bulk and coverage. The proposal does not appear to meet that standard. There is a larger bulk in this house and substantially more lot coverage than the surrounding properties and many of the homes within this historic district. The neighbors would like the bulk reduced and the home to fit more completely into the neighborhood.
This is a new ordinance and a precedent will be established by the Commission's actions today.
ROD REID, 171 Granite Street, said they live within 150 feet of this
lot. It is not that they don't want a house built on that lot. He has been
involved with historic preservation since the 1970's. He is looking at preserving
the interest of the community over an individual. Historic preservation has
changed for the last 30 years. Today the most pressing issue for historic
districts is infill. The issue is bulk, mass and scale. The applicant has
stated part of the hardship is economic hardship. Property values are high.
The neighbors shouldn't be asked to help the applicant make money over and
above what is allowed. Why didn't he revise the plans to meet the letter
of the law? He is asking three things:
· Reduce the size of the house.
· Move the garage. If there is a loophole that allows him to build a detached garage, that is his right. Look into the loophole of the detached garage.
· Will everyone be given 125 percent of his or her lot?
Reid does not want to design the house for him. He wants to see him conform.
Ryan said he gave the Commission comparables. There are only three lines on the house that are brought to the maximum setback. He can create a boulder retaining wall to mitigate some of the visual mass of the foundation, install some shrubs to soften it as well as plantings on her property that he would be willing to install. He takes issue with the massing in the three-story structure. It is allowed to be 30 feet in height. There should be a letter from Ben Stott in the file. There has been support from some of the neighbors.
Goldman said the Commission is looking at the issues of bulk and scale. Staff has determined the house as proposed with the attached garage, does not comply with the maximum permitted floor area, therefore, triggering the need for a Conditional Use Permit. The CUP is a way to evaluate the site based on criteria. If Ryan chooses to make any modifications, we would need to see it come back again. He would suggest the Commission evaluate whether the exception to the maximum permitted floor area is warranted based on minimizing the bulk and scale. The 25 percent allowance would be allowed if it were concealed from the public right-of-way or from the impact area in a way that is minimally intrusive.
With regard to the rock wall, that has some ramifications in terms of drainage and fire apparatus access. Staff would need to see if it is raising the grade and how it transitions and also ask for review by a geotechnical engineer.
Fields said this is a pretty good case to adjust the vaulted area. It seems a denial would be a little punitive by forcing the applicant to redo the application.
Kistler believes we will be seeing a lot of this. Some strong points are that the house is about ten feet below the street and already diminishes it in size. All the walls are fairly short with jogs in and out.
Chapman believes the ordinance may need some refining. The neighbors, by talking about the negative impact, want to know what the rules will be.
Fields said the gravity of the neighbors coming forward is more of a reason to deny it.
Harris suggested the application could be continued with the applicant coming back with a revised proposal.
Fields would entertain granting a continuance to get the square footage down, keep the garage attached, and reduce the upper volume (ceiling area). Or maybe there is a way to reduce the mass in some way.
Goldman asked the applicants if they would be willing to waive the 120 days. The applicant agreed. This action will be continued next month on February 10, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The public hearing will be re-opened.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.
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