ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
FEBRUARY 10, 2004
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
|Commissioners Present:||Russ Chapman, Chair|
|Absent Members:||Dave Dotterrer|
|Council Liaison:||Alex Amarotico (Council Liaison does not attend Planning Commission meetings in order to avoid conflict of interest)|
|High School Liaison:||None|
|Staff Present:||John McLaughlin, Director, and Community Development|
|Bill Molnar, Senior Planner|
|Mark Knox, Associate Planner|
|Sue Yates, Executive Secretary|
The Planning Commission retreat is scheduled for May 1, 2004. The time and place will be announced later.
There will be a Study Session on Tuesday, February 23, 2004. The topic will be announced in the next few days.
The Planning Commissioner's "chat" will be held on February 23, 2004 at 3:30 in the Community Development and Engineering Services building. Note the time has changed.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES AND FINDINGS
Swales moved to approve the minutes of the January 13, 2004 meeting. KenCairn seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
KenCairn moved to approve the Findings for 940 Clay Street. The motion was seconded and the Findings were approved.
The Planning Commission will approve the No. Mountain Land Company Findings at the end of the meeting.
PUBLIC FORUM - No one came forth to speak.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2003-126
REQUEST FOR OUTINE PLAN AND SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR A FOUR-LOT, 13-UNIT, MULTI-FAMILY PROJECT (THREE FOUR-PLEXES AND ONE SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE) UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTIONS ON THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 954 B STREET. THE PROJECT INVOLVES THE CONSTRUCTION OF THREE, TWO-STORY, FOUR-PLEX CONDOMINIUM BUILDINGS ON THREE OF THE LOTS, WHILE MAINTAINING THE EXISTING SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE ON ITS OWN LOT.
APPLICANT: ARCHERD/DRESNER LLC
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all but Fields. He is familiar with the property location. Swales, until recently, owned property in close vicinity and knows some of the neighbors personally. He has not had conversations with the neighbors concerning this property.
Knox said this project is made up of three new buildings, each placed on its own new lot. The existing house will be on its own lot and a fifth common area, covering all the open space area. The lot is a little over one-half acre and zoned R-3. The applicants are requesting a 15 percent conservation density bonus. There are a total of 13 units proposed. Six units are less than 500 square feet. The single family residence was built in 1900 and is part of the City's National Historic Register Inventory. The three buildings proposed behind the house are a duplication of each other. There is a proposed private driveway that extends from B Street to Eureka Street (similar to Ninth Street Alley). Each building will contain four units. The overall footprint of each building is approximately 1,350 square feet.
Nineteen parking spaces are required. Eighteen spaces are shown, 17 along the private drive and one along the street. It is likely the nineteenth space will be tucked in right next to space number one on the site plan. The on-street parking standards require meeting the street standards in order receive on-street parking credits. The street is just under the street standard requirement but because it is an existing situation, the on-street credit should be recognized.
The Historic Commission and Tree Commission have discussed how to soften the asphalt along the private driveway. The Tree Commission has recommended at least two landscape fingers to help break up the drive. Both Commissions realize it is very difficult to meet the parking standards and demands and build-out density and not have some asphalt impact. During the initial meetings with the applicant, they brought back a new plan that loads the parking off the private driveway and also utilizes the driveway for the back up. That allowed much less impervious surface and created the large open space landscaped area. In an attempt to mitigate parking along the drive, the applicant is proposing to put trees along the driveway on the eastern side of the property. It is not their property, but they have agreements with the owner to help soften the driveway. Eventually when the neighboring property develops as multi-family, the parking won't be seen because the buildings will be along B Street as part of the City's Design Standards.
There are 27 trees on the site. Nineteen trees are proposed to be removed. Mostly it relates to inadequate maintenance. The proposal is to replace the entire existing canopy with urban landscaping that will be planted in the right location, irrigated and maintained. The trees will allow shading of the parking areas, thermal cooling of the houses, etc. Knox read the Tree Commission's four recommendations as outlined in the Staff Report.
Knox showed the building elevations and explained how the Historic Commission had requested more building detail. The applicants have provided that detail. The Historic Commission will be reviewing the plan again at Final Plan. They have asked the applicant to explore a couple of changes.
Staff has recommended approval with the attached ten Conditions.
Briggs asked about the driveway. Is it part of the applicant's property? Knox said the applicants have been given permission by the owner to use the driveway. It will suffice for both properties.
Swales noted the letter from the neighbor that the agreement is purely an understanding rather than anything legal. Would it be wise to put a Condition regarding the easement? Knox said it would. Is it all right for the driveway to exit onto B Street on the bend? Knox said Engineering has said it would work.
Swales saw the notice map mailed to property owners is the only map showing the property boundaries. He is concerned that the actual depiction of where these buildings will sit on the lot is totally different than what is proposed here tonight. Are the neighbors aware that what they are getting is not what the notice map showed? McLaughlin said the notice requirements require you show a vicinity map of where the development will occur. Staff has tried to show a depiction, however, from the initial submittal and then modifications worked out with Staff, building locations changed. We are required to provide a map and a written description of the proposal. If someone is concerned they will need to contact the office.
Briggs asked about the separate lots with common open space. McLaughlin said these units are not designed for individual ownership. The common area is for renters to share. It is not set up for people to have their own yards. The lots are separate. A building will be on a parcel. KenCairn wondered about square footages and number of buildings in relation to the R-3 zoning requirements. McLaughlin said the flexibility of the Performance Standards allows the buildings to be on separate parcels but to share common area.
EVAN ARCHERD, 120 North Second Street, said his first goal was to restore the existing house. They intend to create exteriors on the new buildings that mimic the historic quality of the restored house. The process they have gone through with this project has been collaboration between Archerd/Dresner, Sally Crumme, property owner to the east and her representative, Tom Giordano and City Staff. They were able to reach an agreement whereby they have created the common access, benefiting both properties and the city as a whole. Ultimately it should minimize the amount of asphalt. The main goal was to try to create some rental housing in the City of Ashland. Because of the expense of land in Ashland, it is difficult to create rental projects and make any money. The four-plex should pencil and they hope to create something they can hold onto. It will never be sold as individual condominiums. It will always be a rental product. They want to make it as affordable as they can.
They believe the way this project has been proposed and platted is a benefit for a number of reasons. There will be a homeowners' association created so there will be four homeowners. There will be the owner of the house and the owner of each building. The homeowners' association will be responsible for maintaining the entire site. There will be a fund to make sure the landscaping is adequately maintained and a consistency.
Briggs said it looks like there are some slider windows. Since this is in the Historic District, can they install double hung windows? Knox said the Historic Commission made that change and it is reflected in the new elevation.
Swales noted the existing house has a very steeply pitched roof and it is only a story and a half. He thinks the same pitch on the two-story building would be hugely out of character. The narrative mentions the problems with solar. Have they looked at doing a hip roof with an eave overhang? That would reduce the bulk and scale feel for neighboring properties.
Fields said the neighbor will have ownership of the road but Archerd will have right-of-way easement. Archerd said they would build the entire road as part of the project, extend utilities and do all the landscaping and be allowed access.
Chapman complimented Archerd on the restoration of the old house.
SALLY CRUMME, 670 Glenwood Drive, stated she is in favor of the project as it is going to be developed. She has not drawn up a formal agreement with regard to the driveway.
TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, believes it will be beneficial to the city and the three owners involved to provide better connectivity (automobile and pedestrian) to B and C Streets. There will be a private driveway with a public pedestrian connection. It will greatly increase the open space landscaping. There will be more breathing room for the buildings. The Historic Commission will be looking at all the details.
Knox suggested Condition 11 that prior to final plat, the driveway easements be recorded with the property owner to the east.
Swales said the Performance Standards Options states it shall be required to meet all other sections of the land use ordinance. How does that affect the house size limitation in the Historic District? His concern is that so soon having passed the house size limitation, we are seeing this erosion in the limitation. Knox said this application is exempt. The application was made on September 12, 2003 prior to the adoption of the ordinance on October 16, 2003.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
KenCairn said if this is higher density than the current ordinance would allow, using this as an example, it is a nice development, not overly dense, yet open.
Kistler moved to approve PA2003-126 with the 11 Conditions. KenCairn seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
McLaughlin told the Commissioners he is working with the City Attorney to modify the way we do our findings document. Many decisions the Planning Commission makes are pretty straightforward. They are looking at a more standardized form. It would reference the staff report, the applicant's findings, the minutes and all the attached conditions. This method should provide more efficiency and will not slow down the 120-day process for fairly routine projects. The Planning Commission would adopt the findings at the same meeting the hearing is held. Should an action be appealed to the City Council, the Council tends to rely on the minutes and staff report and written materials more than the findings. He will be bringing the format to the Planning Commission to discuss this further in the near future.
Swales wondered who would be preparing the findings? McLaughlin said the Planning Commission findings would be a standardized form with one finding - that the application complies. On appeals to the Council it will probably be the same procedure we have always followed. The applicant carries the burden of proof for approval. Should it go on appeal beyond the Council, that puts the burden onto the applicant. It is the burden of the applicant to defend the approval and that is why they prepare the findings. If the City approves the project, the idea is that the findings support the city to the greatest degree possible so that decision is sustained on appeal. The applicant probably has a greater interest in the findings being supported on appeal than the Staff or City Attorney. It is in their interest to prepare the findings.
Swales wanted to iterate that it is important that if the findings are prepared by the applicant and they come before the Council, that the Council will have a chance to review them completely.
Briggs feels that speeding up the process for the applicant doesn't seem to be the better choice. McLaughlin said it is in everyone's interest to approve the findings sooner. If there should be an appeal, it compresses the appeal period time with less chance for the Council to handle the appeal process. There is nothing to be gained by anyone to wait 30 days to adopt the findings.
Briggs would be concerned about the accuracy of the document in the event there are changes at the meeting.
McLaughlin said they would bring this back and if it doesn't work, then they will continue doing what they are doing.
APPROVAL OF FINDINGS
Planning Action 2003-158, North Mountain Land Company, LLC - The following changes should be made to the Findings. Condition 26 should read "gates in fences" and doors in garages".
Condition 40 - The first sentence is fine. The intent and implementation of the swale shall be to preserve the existing groundwater seep, maintain the overflow from TID. The area will also receive supplemental irrigation as any other parkrow improvement would receive.
Condition 29 - That all the streets be surfaced or constructed prior to issuance of building permits.
Condition 39 - spelling of "intact" is not in tact.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
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