Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Hearings Board

Minutes
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
HEARINGS BOARD
MINUTES
FEBRUARY 10, 2004

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chair Russ Chairman at 1:40 p.m.

Commissioners Present: Russ Chapman, Chair
Ray Kistler
John Fields
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
Staff Present: Maria Harris, Associate Planner
Mark Knox, Associate Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
The minutes of the January 13, 2004 meeting were approved

The Findings for PA2003-136, 272 Orange Street (Heller) were approved.

TYPE I PLANNING ACTIONS
PLANNING ACTION 2004-014
REQUEST FOR A THREE-PARCEL LAND PARTITION FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED ALONG THE SOUTH SIDE OF EVERGREEN LANE.
APPLICANT: TOM FRANTZ

This action was approved.

PLANNING ACTION 2004-016
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO CONSTRUCT AN ACCESSORY RESIDENTIAL UNIT (<500 SQ. FT.) ON THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 265 ALTA STREET. A PHYSICAL CONSTRAINTS PERMIT IS REQUESTED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A STRUCTURE (I.E. "DEVELOPMENT") ON HILLSIDE LANDS. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 05 DC; TAX LOT: 1400.
APPLICANT: DIANE AND ALEX AMAROTICO

This action was approved.

PLANNING ACTION 2004-017 IS A REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW TO CONSTRUCT A SECOND RESIDENCE (<500 SQ. FT.) ATOP A NEW GARAGE STRUCTURE, TO BE LOCATED ON THE PROPERTY AT 364 HARGADINE STREET. .
APPLICANT: REN KOLAR

This action was approved.

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
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 - Site visits were made by all.

STAFF REPORT
This planning action is a continuation from last month. Knox gave a brief follow-up Staff Report. Last month the applicant was given the opportunity to explore reducing the square footage on the residence. The applicant is also requesting a Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit. The applicants have submitted a new site plan and new elevations that show a detached garage. If the garage is separated by more than six feet, it is no longer part of the maximum permitted floor area and, therefore, there is no need for a Conditional Use Permit. The applicants still want to request the approval of the original CUP with the garage attached. But they have tried to show how the volume will not look any less by detaching the garage. The Historic Commission felt that because of the grade, when you detach the garage, the garage has to be brought toward the street and does not improve the aesthetics or mass and scale and could increase the problem. The applicants are open to whatever the Commission wants, but they would like the Commission to make a decision on the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit today. The Conditions would remain the same except Condition 8. Technically, that Condition probably relates more to the maximum permitted floor area issue and not the requirements of a hillside house.

There was a question about drainage on the property and how that would be handled. Jim Olson, City Engineer said even though drainage would hit the property below it, it would not be acceptable to berm Montview. Olson requested the drainage be piped from the property, the length of Montview and connect to Granite Street. Chapman asked if Condition 6 would cover the drainage. Knox felt it would.

PUBLIC HEARING
CARLOS DELGADO, 545 A Street
, project architect, said the garage has been shifted forward about five feet toward the west. They went through due process to look at the relief valve of the 25 percent of the maximum permitted floor area (mpfa). The CUP process allows them to look at the 25 percent for conditions that exist with this lot. The proposal does increase the appearance of the mass by separating the garage. He reinforced that the Historic Commission approved this project despite the neighborhood opposition because they felt it was working within the intent of the ordinance.

Kistler asked if any attempt was made to lessen the massing of volume of the house. Delgado said no.

Chapman said in looking at the elevation it does appear to lessen the massing by detaching the garage. He thought that was the intent of the ordinance. Delgado said he is referring to the actual impervious development of the site. There is a larger occupation of the site by separating the garage. The earlier design was trying to achieve containment of the impervious surface.

LAUREL PRAIRIE-KUNTZ, 522 Park Avenue, Medford, OR, is representing Frances Sharkey, the adjoining property owner. Who is the applicant and who is the owner? She noticed on some paperwork that the applicant is listed as Michael Young. Knox said that is a clerical error. The owner and applicant is Michael Ryan.

On the new plans, where is the front door? The elevation shows it to the south of the garage, but the floorplan shows the entry on the north side of the house.

The neighbors are concerned with the CUP criteria, specifically that the application will have no greater adverse material effect on the livability of the impact area. They consider the impact area to be those surrounding properties within the notice area. The livability factors identified, specifically, are similarity in scale, bulk and coverage. The Planning Commission's direction at the January meeting was for the applicant to reduce the loft volume and to show that the CUP won't have an adverse impact on the neighborhood. The neighbors have not heard from the applicant nor has the applicant asked for input or discussions. They have prepared an exhibit showing the scale of the proposed house. This issue has not been addressed in the information supplied by the applicant.

Prairie-Kuntz said there have been discussions about water flow down Montview Street. She showed a photo where the pavement begins. If the water were to sheetflow onto Montview, it would impact the Reid and Sharkey properties. The neighbors feel the proposed development will create an adverse impact. She would like a Condition added that piping of drainage should be required.

Fields said the Commission has to evaluate the evidence. What is the applicant entitled to do according to the ordinance? The house does not exceed the height limitation even though there is a complaint about the downslope mass that it doesn't fit the neighborhood.

Kuntz said the structure could be built into the hill instead of on top of it, reducing the mass. By placing it on top, they are ending up with a five foot foundation plus a two story house on top of that and a fairly steep hillside. Neighbors to the north and east and some to the south are severely impacted.

Fields asked Knox about any requirement for stepping a house into the hillside. Knox said there are no numbers. It is a subjective issue.

FRANCES SHARKEY, 163 Granite Street, said she owns the lot directly below and adjacent to the applicant. She has plans to build on the lot directly below 22 Scenic. If Ryan's house is built, it will have an adverse effect on her monetarily and on her personal enjoyment of her property. She asked the scale, bulk and coverage be reduced in this application. The proposed house does not fit into the existing neighborhood. It is out of scale. This neighborhood will see increasing infill in the coming years. If houses are built with similar scale, bulk and coverage, the ambience and livability of the neighborhood will be detrimentally impacted.

Scenic Drive marks the edge of the Jackson County designated "Extreme Fire Hazard Area" (submitted for the record). Sharkey spoke with Fire Chief Woodley and if her house and Ryan's house are 20 feet apart, they will certainly be in a hazardous position in the event of a fire. Woodley thought the Planning Commission had the power to require fire resistant roofing material, fire resistant landscaping, and greater setbacks between houses.

Sharkey asked the Commission to address the drainage issue.

Sharkey referred to 18.72.010. She also quoted the 18.04.020.

She submitted her written comments for the record.

Chapman told Sharkey that the Commission tries to have clear and objective standards in their ordinances. However, enough ordinances cannot be written to cover everything. If they deny the CUP and approve the project with the separated garage, the applicant has complied with all the ordinances, as they exist today.

Sharkey referred to the exhibit. When she looks out of the house she builds, she will be looking at an enormous five foot block wall. Separating the garage has no impact one way or the other.

ARLENE MILLS, 34 Scenic Drive, said she lives on the north side of 22 Scenic and is opposed to this application. She supports the mpfa allowed under ordinance. Since this lot has been divided, it allows another future house to be constructed below it and it will be developed under the same guidelines with a precedent established. The neighborhood is changing. There are other lots in the neighborhood for sale with steep hillsides. They will all come under the new city ordinance. The three houses built around Mills have all been built so the houses fit the lots. They have not lost their neighborhood identity and livability yet. The proposed house is not compatible with their existing neighborhood.

Rebuttal
Delgado said their main focus is getting the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit approved. With regard to storm drainage, the applicant is prepared to pipe the drain to Granite.

MICHAEL RYAN said he has offered in the spirit of cooperation fencing his property to the neighbors and manipulation of grade. The roof will be fire retardant. The stem wall starts out at two feet and follows the slope. An attached garage would minimize the visual impact from a direct neighbor. Attaching the garage would also reduce the footprint.

Staff Response
Chapman asked what is the maximum lot coverage? Knox said in an R-1-7.5 zone, 45 percent is allowed. The proposal is for 40.4 percent.

Fields said his original discussion regarding violation of the ordinance was asking the applicant to reduce the mass in lieu of separating the garage. Separation of the garage does not have any impact from the street.

Knox said Historic Commissioners had similar discussions.

MARGUERITTE HICKMAN, Fire Prevention Officer, said if someone is building in the wildfire zone, the Fire Department requires the presentation of a wildfire management plan showing how fuels will be reduced. That would need to be submitted prior to issuance of building permits. She is not certain if non-combustible roofing is required. The proposed lot is approximately one-tenth of a mile from the wildfire hazards zone. The Fire Department has recommended utilizing fire resistant plans in the landscaping.

Kistler said there has been no attempt to reduce the scale of the building. He sees the relief valve for the mpfa is going in another direction for times when a house gets pushed into a hill. This house is completely on a pedestal.

Fields said the overall effect with the garage detached, is more massive than if it were attached. Fields said the ordinance doesn't address or define massing. The proposed house has wasted volumes that affect the overall mass. The Planning Commission may need to go back and look at what percent of volume does one get on top of the percentage of floor area. Fields said with an inadequate ordinance dealing with volumes both upslope and downslope, they don't have a way to deny the application. The Hillside Ordinance reduced what could be built (from 3000 lots to 250) by taking out the steepest lots.

COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman said it meets the height and maximum lot coverage. He would like to hold onto the ordinance the way it is written and detach the garage.

Chapman moved to approve the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit and detach the garage. There was no second to the motion.

Kistler likes the concept of what we did with the ordinance, but if we approve this one with the attached garage, he can't see the reason for the 25 percent relief valve. He doesn't' think it improves anything to have the garage separated.

Fields believes the ordinance has a major flaw. We are not solving the neighbor's issue. But, punishing the applicant isn't the solution either. We are being asked to regulate the building design - attach or detach. The issue is massing.

Fields moved to approve Planning Action 2003-150 under the original plan with the attached garage. Approve the Physical and Environmental Permit with the attached nine Conditions. Condition 9 - that they have a landscape plan and thinning plan prior to issuance of a building permit.

Fields wanted to note the only reason they are approving the attached garage is because there were no objections as to whether the garage was attached or not. We should go back and look at both volumes and accessory buildings in relationship to mass and scale. Kistler seconded the motion.

Chapman still feels the separation of the garage helps break up the mass. From the downhill slope, it would not.

The motion carried with Chapman casting a "no" vote.

Knox said it is conceivable there will be an appeal to the City Council on this application. Would they consider a second motion to approve the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit with the detached garage? It allows the applicant an opportunity not to go through the whole process again in order to get approval for the Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit.

Fields made a second motion to approve the Physical and Environmental Constraints permit by itself with a Condition to detach the garage. Chapman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

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 DEPTH.
APPLICANT: ADAM FOX AND JOYCE DRESNER

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.

STAFF REPORT
Harris stated the parcel is at Ashland Mine Road and Norton Street. Norton Street is an unimproved street. The lot is almost 16,000 square feet and the proposal is to divide it roughly in half with the existing house accessed on Ashland Mine Road. The applicants will be required to improve Norton Street so the parcel will have a street that meets street standards and adequate transportation capacity. The applicant is proposing a half-street improvement of Norton. The street grade is proposed to be finished at the centerline at 16.2 percent. Staff believes this meets the ordinance. The ordinance requires that new streets meet the 15 percent maximum. However, Norton Street is an existing platted public street right-of-way. In the past, the Planning Commission and City Council have treated existing street right-of-ways not subject to the percentage maximum.

An issue has been raised regarding water pressure. The existing water lines in Ashland Mine Road are part of program to be upsized in the future (about 2006). The Engineering Dept. believes there is currently adequate capacity.

There are five trees on the property mostly up by the front house that are shown on the tree survey submitted with the application. There are about six or seven trees and a variety of shrubs in the building envelope not shown in the application. Some of the trees appear to be close to six inches in diameter at breast height. There is some confusion where you measure that. The trees shown in the building envelope could be removed. There are no tree removal permits required with this application because that is only required for trees 18 inches or greater and none of the trees are close to that size.

There is a ten foot easement along the south property line accessing lots to the east. A Condition has been added if this is approved, that the easement be delineated on the new survey. The building envelope would be re-worked to stay completely out of the easement. Also, the Condition includes that a driveway apron will be provided off the new Norton Street improvement so people that use that access easement would have a physical drive to get onto it.

The applicant needs a Variance because they are creating a lot wider than it is deep. The lot is 93.8 feet wide and 80 feet deep. The applicant is arguing that it is somewhat unusual to have an existing street right-of-way and a lot that has enough square footage to divide but is close on the width and depth measurements. The conditions have not been self-imposed because the pre-existing lot size is not something the applicants have been responsible for. The benefit Staff sees is that it is providing an additional housing unit within the city limits. Staff has suggested 12 Conditions of approval.

PUBLIC HEARING
EVAN ARCHERD, 120 North Second Street
, an advisor and friend of the applicant, said this parcel is unique because it is large enough to divide and yet it is on a public street. Normally, one could create a flag partition in a situation like this, but typically when there is a public street access adjacent to it, that is not the preferred alternative. In that case, we would not be asking for a Variance. The Conditions are not self-imposed.

The existing street grade is 16.2 percent. When the engineer did a drawing for the street, they made it clear the 15 percent grade could be met, but it would result in greater cuts on the street and a cut at the end of the street. If the portion in the Urban Growth Boundary is ever brought in, it does flatten out over the top of the hill. He cannot see that it would serve a useful function to reduce the grade to 15 percent.

Archerd talked to Jim Olson, Engineering Dept., regarding the water pressure. There is 150 psi at the hydrant on Ashland Mine Road. The applicant has provided fully engineered drawings to extend the City water and sewer lines up to the site. There is a public benefit of extending sidewalks to the site, improving a street, and creating an additional lot in the city (infill).

Chapman asked about what is required for a turnaround. Archerd said there is not a specific turnaround indicated on the plan.

BRIAN ALMQUIST, 128 Wimer Street, said he and his daughter own the property immediately to the east and adjacent to this property. He noted that the ten foot easement was not shown on the initial site plan or the land partition. He understands from today's Staff Report that the easement has been recognized and any objection he might have had has been met. He heard there was going to be a driveway approach from the ten foot easement. He uses the easement to access the rear of his property to mow the weeds on the back of his lot. The same easement that goes across his easement also goes to the third lot.

PETER WOO, 1269 Ashland MineRoad, lives directly to the west of Norton Street. He objects to the partition based on the criteria. Specifically, (A) the future use for urban purposes of the remainder of the tract will not be impeded and (B) the development of the remainder of any adjoining land or access will not be impeded.

The water pressure is generally low. If the City proposes to upgrade the system by 2006, this means that after this lot is partitioned and he wanted to partition his land, then he would probably have to wait beyond 2006 because the pressure will be even lower. That is impeding his right for future development of land. There is no mention of how electricity will be brought to the parcel. Will more electrical poles be put down? That would lower his property value. The street grade poses a problem for his property. Looking at the topography map, his lot is higher than the proposed partition. At this point, it would go down to Norton Street. If they regrade the street, access from his property will be steeper and impede his access. There is no turnaround on Norton. If a fire truck cannot get up onto it, if there is a fire it will endanger his property and house. Can a fire truck get up there?

Fields said all utilities are underground. It is his understanding they will not change the grade but leave it at 16.5 percent.

Harris said the Fire Dept. is requiring residential fire sprinklers.

Woo wondered if there is enough room for a fire truck to get up there. Chapman said the Fire Department will have to sign off on it.

Fields said if there is adequate water to build this house, there will be adequate water to build the next ten houses. Harris said capacity is not an issue at this time.

DANA BUSSELL, 1269 Ashland Mine Road, said there were originally seven lots of identical dimension. Each property added another 80 by 80 feet to each lot. The intent of the request was to provide a buffer, green space or open space. People also wanted access to their backyard so an easement was added. She read the terms of the easement and added it to the record. Partitioning effects the easement. Fields said this one does not need the easement because it has access to a public street.

Bussell said they have weak water pressure. Other building has been allowed in the neighborhood. There are trees over six inches diameter at breast height. These should be on the survey. The easement should be on the survey. Norton Street averages 16 percent. It goes up over 20 percent. With regard to the signing in favor of a local improvement district, it will add a large expense to them. Sidewalks, curbs and gutters are expensive. The burden of the expense will fall to future owners. They don't want to see parking on Norton Street eliminated. More housing will cause more congestion. Their neighborhood has been a combination of affordable rental housing and owner occupied housing. The new development will be very upscale and will inflate the cost of housing throughout the neighborhood. She is concerned about fire. There is no open space in her neighborhood.

RON SMITH, 1281 Ashland Mine Road, said it is all about open space. More houses mean more traffic. They have provided a buffer strip behind their houses that will stay. All the deer and wildlife are going to stop because they won't have anyplace to go. He agrees with Woo and Bussell.

Rebuttal
Archerd said from the pre-application review, Mike Morris from the Water Dept. did not see any issues with water pressures in this plan. It is his understanding a turnaround isn't required unless you exceed 250 feet. It is 200 feet from Ashland Mine Road to the back of the subject property line. They are coming off the existing line with an eight inch line to the new property.

ADAM FOX said it was always his intention to leave the back area open so the neighbors could use the easement.

Chapman reopened the public hearing.

JOE SMITH, 1281 Ashland Mine Road, said the field behind their houses posed a fire danger. They put a buffer in place and he would be the last one to give that up. He doesn't want to see any fences on the rear. Fields said it appears just one house (the proposed partition) will be on the only one that can access the rear lot area.

Rebuttal
Archerd said it is clear the applicant has no desire to change the easement at it exists today.

Staff Response
Harris thought in Condition 5, after the first sentence, the Hearings Board might want to consider adding, "The existing ten foot mutual access easement shall be maintained." Condition 3 - correct a typographical error - That a driveway apron shall be provided "for" (delete "if there is an")… Maximum street grade on a new street is allowed at 18 percent with a Variance. The only alternative to not sign in favor of a local improvement district would be to require the full street improvement up front with the partition. It seemed disproportionate for the creation of one lot. Staff also felt it would be potentially more disruptive to the neighborhood.

COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman moved to approve 2004-004 with the attached Conditions. Fields seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.

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