Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

MAY 10, 2005

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Russ Chapman called the Ashland Planning Commission meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. on May 10, 2005 at the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.

 

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:             Russ Chapman, Chair

                                                                                Mike Morris

                                                                                John Fields

                                                                                John Stromberg

                                                                                Allen Douma

                                                                                Olena Black

                                                                                Michael Dawkins

                                                                                Dave Dotterrer

                                                                                Kerry KenCairn

                ABSENT MEMBERS:                             None

COUNCIL LIAISON:                              Jack Hardesty, absent

STAFF PRESENT:                                 John McLaughlin, Planning Director

                                                                Bill Molnar, Senior Planner

                                                                Mike Reeder, Assistant City Attorney

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Planning Commission “Chat” will be held May 24, 2005 at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to drop in and discuss planning issues that do not involve current planning actions.

 

There will be a study session on May 24, 2005 at 7:00 at the Council Chambers to discuss proposed amendments to the Sign Ordinance, Tree Ordinance and Conservation Density Bonus (calculations for subdivisions). 

 

Chapman reminded Commissioners of the retreat to be held on May 20, 2005 at the Community Development and Engineering Services building from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. 

 

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Chapman is stepping down as Chair tonight as he had noted at the last meeting.  He opened the meeting up for the election of officers.

 

Douma/Stromberg m/s to postpone the election of the officers until they have had the opportunity on May 20th to have further discussion of roles and responsibilities, and move the election to May 24, 2005.  Morris preferred to postpone the election until after a discussion at the retreat. 

 

Chapman disagreed and felt the election needed to be held tonight.  There has already been an opportunity to see how everyone functions in a meeting.  There can still be a discussion at the retreat.  He preferred to follow the practice of years prior by holding the elections at the May meeting.  He believes our bylaws have served us well.

 

Dawkins felt there had been enough time to discuss who wants to be Chair and their qualifications.  KenCairn said if the usual election process was going to change, we should have decided it before tonight.  Both would like to discuss the overall responsibilities of the officers at the retreat. 

 

Roll Call:  Morris, Douma, Stromberg voted “yes” and  KenCairn, Dawkins, Fields, Chapman, Black, voted “no”.  The motion failed.

 

 

Nominations

Chair

Dawkins nominated Fields for Chair.  Black seconded the nomination.  There were no other nominations.  Fields was elected.  Chapman turned the meeting over to Fields.

 

The Commission thanked Chapman for serving as Chair. 

 

First Vice Chair

Black nominated KenCairn for First Vice Chair.  Dotterrer seconded the nomination.  There were no other nominations.  KenCairn was elected as First Vice Chair.

 

Second Vice Chair

Morris nominated Dawkins.  KenCairn seconded the nomination.  There were no other nominations.  Dawkins was elected.

 

DOWNTOWN PROPOSALS – Recommendation to Council

At the April 26, 2005 study session, it was decided the Commission would discuss and recommend to the Council who should take the lead on the downtown plan. This item will be discussed at the retreat and the recommendation will be made at the next regular meeting.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS

Chapman/Black m/s to approve the minutes of the April 12, 2005 Hearings Board.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous. 

 

KenCairn/Dotterrer m/s to approve the minutes of the April 12, 2005 Regular Planning Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous.

 

Dotterrer/KenCairn m/s to approve the April 26, 2005 Study Session minutes.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous. 

 

PUBLIC FORUM

BRENT THOMPSON, 582 Allison Street, said he would not be available on May 24th to speak to the proposed sign ordinance change.  He entered his requests into the record concerning 18.96.080 and 18.96.090 under Special Provisions.  Is there really going to be a problem with having signs on more than two sides of the building if the building has three or four street frontages?   Do you want to maintain the outright prohibition of a sign on a building that has only an entrance for deliveries or no entrance, but not a public entrance? 

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

PLANNING ACTION 2005-00084

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL OF A MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT TO BE LOCATED AT 165 LITHIA WAY AND 123 N. FIRST ST.  THE PROPOSAL INCLUDES TWO 3-STORY MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS.  IN ADDITION, SIX ROW HOUSES ARE PROPOSED.  A TOTAL OF APPROXIMATELY 14,700 SQUARE FEET OF RETAIL AND OFFICE SPACE AND A TOTAL OF 41 RESIDENTIAL UNITS ARE INCLUDED IN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT.  THE SITE IS LOCATED IN THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW ZONE, AND IS SUBJECT TO THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW STANDARDS AND TO THE DOWNTOWN DESIGN STANDARDS.  IN ADDITION, THE PROPOSAL IS SUBJECT TO THE LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS BECAUSE IT EXCEEDS 10,000 SQUARE FEET IN SIZE AND INCLUDES BUILDINGS GREATER THAN 100 FEET IN LENGTH.  AN ADMINISTRATIVE VARIANCE FROM THE SITE DESIGN AND USE STANDARDS IS REQUESTED FOR THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE BUILDINGS.  A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT IS REQUESTED TO REMOVE FOUR TREES ON SITE. 

APPLICANT:  ARCHERD & DRESNER, LLC, AND REDCO, LLC

 

Site Visits or Ex Parte Contacts

Morris met with Colin Swales and they talked a lot about the downtown plan discussed nothing about tonight’s hearing. 

Black had a conversation with a citizen.  They thought this project was too big.  She did not believe it would prejudice her decision.

Stromberg heard a few comments and read some things in the paper.  He had a conversation with Hal Dresner but did not discuss the project.  Stromberg does not have a preconceived idea about this project.

 

Douma, Chapman, Fields, Dawkins, Dotterrer, and KenCairn had no ex parte contacts.

 

McLaughlin introduced the new planning commissioner, John Stromberg. He attended last month’s meeting, heard all the testimony, received and reviewed all the packet materials.  No one from the public or Planning Commission objected to his participation.

 

STAFF REPORT

Molnar stated this hearing is a continuance from the April 12, 2005 Regular Planning Commission meeting.  He reviewed the Commission’s recommendations given to the applicant at that meeting. 

1.             Transition between C-1 and R-2 zoning district to the north – soften the design by changing materials.

The majority of the exterior skin was stucco with slight mingling of wood shingle.  Now the prominent exterior is a shingle-type siding.  The Historic Commission discussed that rather than having prescribed landscaping in front of the row houses along First Street, allow each of the individual property owners to incorporate their own landscaping.  Molnar said where the sidewalk meets the row houses, Staff anticipates a more residential five foot wide sidewalk with a seven foot wide parkrow, similar to B Street. 

 

2.             Explore options for First Street – one-way entrance into the project, convert First Street to two-way. 

Molnar showed a revised site plan submitted by the applicant.  The Traffic Safety Commission discussed First Street at their meeting and minutes are included.  There is an addendum to the Traffic Impact Analysis.  The Traffic Safety Commission as well as Public Works felt that maintaining both ingress and egress at this location would be best at this point.  The peak hour, according to the Impact Study, is going to be between 5 and 6 p.m.  The number of trips exiting this project was fairly minimal (approximately five trips).

 

The Traffic Safety Commission, at this point, decided it was best to keep First Street a one-way street.  They were concerned that the 28 foot street width could create a bottleneck. 

 

3.             Separation between Buildings 1 and 2.

The area has been widened to incorporate arcade entries to both buildings.  Also, the entrance to the housing for Building 1 has been located off the pedestrian breezeway to create more activity in that area.  They have increased the distance between buildings to 40 feet where ground floor areas are commercial and the distance narrows to approximately 27 feet between buildings.  There is still a Variance to that standard that is required. 

 

4.             Appropriateness of the Moderne style.

The applicants will discuss this further.  They have added a higher corner parapet to create more stepping between the building heights and a couple of upper story veranda areas along with two recessed entryways that face Lithia Way.

 

5.             Compliance with other Ashland Design Standards.     

The applicants have identified two building entries that are four and one-half feet in depth.  In their addendum, the applicants provided which four of the six required elements are included in each public space.  They are requesting spaces along Lithia Way and First Street have more concrete and the spaces toward the residential have a more landscaped edge.  Staff believes there is some merit in this transitioning. 

 

6.             Evaluate standards in Bill Street’s handout.

The applicants have provided an addendum addressing Street’s comments.  All the standards were initially addressed in the applicants’ original submittal.  They have embellished those findings based on Street’s comments.  Overall, the application of the Design Standards is subjective.  The Design Standards were never intended to be prescribed but to allow for creativity of the design team.  Most of the graphics that help us determine compliance show smaller main street type buildings.  Even though 35,000 square foot building design graphics are not shown, the buildings are still allowed.  It is not the intent of the Design Standards to create buildings that look old and create a confusing streetscape. 

 

There is little direction given for the standard of buildings being separated by 40 feet for the full building height, although there is probably some leeway for interpretation.  Even if the distance is met on the ground floor, the buildings will be less on the second and third floors.  The applicants have stated they feel the requirement is contrary to the Downtown Design Standards.  This standard only applies to buildings in excess of 10,000 square feet.  This is one of the first times in the downtown we have had two buildings in one project in excess of 10,000 square feet.  As the buildings get larger in bulk and scale, there is a need for a separation similar to what is seen on a gridded street network.  McLaughlin said the idea is to create a rhythm of buildings and openings similar to downtown blocks. 

 

Assistant City Attorney, Mike Reeder said each standard needs to be looked at to determine whether or not that standard has been met.  McLaughlin said the Commission has to look at the evidence in the record to see if it meets the standards or not.  If it does not, then the Commission has to state additional information is necessary or the request is denied.  Does the information provided satisfy the standard?

 

Black referred to the Downtown Design Standards, Section 6 C, Item 2.  “Lots greater than 80 feet in width shall respect the traditional look of buildings in the downtown area by incorporating a rhythmic division of the façade.”  Building 1 seems to have more than 80 feet that does not have significant vertical distinction (Moderne).  Molnar said Staff has relied throughout the process on the Historic Commission’s opinion.  The use of the fairly significant sized pilasters are definitely vertical components of the building.  The rear of the building has a series of vertical bays carried through to the back of Building 1. 

 

Molnar said the Historic Commission recommended the Planning Commission continue the application again with the hope the Planning Commission would endorse their recommendations and have the applicant make the suggested changes.  Some of the recommendations included:

§         Review the location of all utilities, meters and signs for the building.

§         The pedestrian covering on the Moderne building has been lowered to ten feet.

§         Even though the buildings have been widened toward Lithia Way, given the size of the building, necking it down to 25 feet was too narrow.  They gave the option that the applicants comply with the 40 foot requirement at the ground floor or they do a similar flare out towards the rear of the breezeway.  Or, they look at reducing or removing a portion of the third floor level to bring the height down so it isn’t as ominous walking through the breezeway.

§         The applicants have identified a ten foot wide pedestrian crossing across the parking lot from the breezeway to the pedestrian space by the row houses with landscaping or bollards to protect pedestrians from cars parked on either side.

 

The Planning Commission can concur with the Historic Commission (some or all of their items).  Be specific as to which recommendations the Planning Commission would like to include.  Or, the Planning Commission can ask for new plans incorporating the changes to be brought back again next month. 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

EVAN ARCHERD, 550 E. Main Street, referred to their most recent submittals.  He spoke to the size and scope of the project.  There are a lot of big buildings in Ashland that are over 20,000 square feet.  For example, the Gateway Real Estate building on the plaza, the Old Armory, the Swedenburg building, the Elks building, Ashland Springs Hotel, Lela’s Bakery on A Street, Ashland Street Condos on Water Street and others.  These buildings are big, but not out of scale with our existing fabric of downtown. 

 

GENE CALLAN, GBD Architects, 1120 N. W. Couch, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97209, showed a computer generated model of the buildings and “flew” around the project. 

 

Stromberg asked if the applicants could have additional time to present.  Fields said the applicants’ presentations are kept to 15 minutes.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions. 

 

The breezeway looking from Lithia Way has been expanded to 75 feet wide at the opening.  Proceeding into the breezeway, the arcade is an additional seven and one-half feet on each side, then the building distance is at 40 feet.  Archerd said the distance between buildings to the north is 25 feet.  As a comparison, between the Varsity Theater and the bookstore is about 12 feet and between Starbucks and the old Fortmiller’s building is about 16 feet.  There is a total 3655 square feet of plaza on their proposed project.  They have met the intent by creating usable, public plaza space. 

 

Callan said the biggest change is moving the housing entrance of Building 1 from the First Street exposure onto the breezeway.  The two housing entrances are now across from each other.  The large water feature is gone in the breezeway.  They can now add benches and outdoor restaurants in the future.  Windows and additional landscaping have been added to the two blank walls of the studios to the north.  There are two bio-planters in the breezeway to capture rainwater from the two buildings to be pumped out for landscaping.

 

Three building entrances are shown and corresponding to each of the entries is a notch or a balcony on the third floor of the building.  The new entrances to the buildings have increased in depth since the last Historic Commission meeting.

 

GEORGE KRAMER, 386 North Laurel, discussed the Moderne style.  This application has been before the Historic Commission four times using the Moderne design based on responses to the initial request from the Historic Commission.  There was not a lot of discussion about the appropriateness of Moderne in Ashland.  They talked about the smooth walls, the horizontal lines and the appropriateness of Moderne for a corner.

 

Callan said there are a number of pilasters that break up the structural grid at the pedestrian level.  There is now an extended decorative parapet that exceeds the 40 foot height limitation.  He believes the building needs the additional height.  There is a small retail spot across from the Post Office with two floors of housing above. Today there is more a molding of materials on the two buildings with added windows, more articulation to the brick walls facing the surface parking lot.   The row houses are softened using a higher percentage of shingles instead of stucco.  The stucco colors are more earth tone. 

 

They have designed the row houses in a manner that will give the owners an opportunity for a home office. 

 

Archerd addressed the distance between buildings.  He said the standards for an administrative variance are slightly less strict.  There are two conflicting design standards:  the Large Scale Development Standards dictating buildings must be separated the distance equal to the highest building, and the Downtown Design Standards dictating a lot length of downtown building with no separation.  They have tried to compromise between the two standards by providing a large separation between the two buildings that provides connectivity, better light, a more aesthetically pleasing design, yet still respecting the Downtown Design Standards that would have connected the buildings together. 

 

From the computer generated model, Black noted the volume of the Moderne building looking from the Post Office side.

 

Kramer noted on the other side of Lithia Way, buildings are required to touch, but the on the north side of Lithia Way, buildings are subject to the Design Standards but outside of C-1-D.  Reeder concurred with the applicant that the exceptions to the Design Standards are more flexible with a lower standard than the typical variance standard that applies throughout the Land Use Ordinance.  It allows the Commissioners to take into consideration the design of the proposal.  Chapman said the Administrative Variance is very specific:  “All of the following circumstances are found to exist.”  There is no difficulty in meeting the 40 feet distance between buildings all the way through.  The Commission has to come up with findings to support the variance.  Kramer said the intent while developing the Downtown Standards (he was involved) worked toward trying to create a pedestrian friendly downtown.  They have attempted a compromise between the two conflicting elements.  Chapman agreed but he does not believe the language in the Administrative Variance allows the applicants to do that.  Archerd argued that the demonstrated difficulty in meeting the Standards is the conflict between the standards. 

 

MARY REXFORD, 129 Fifth Street, believes the project is a massive, slick block of stucco.  This project will cause further problems with parking in the downtown.  The aesthetics are not in line with the feel of a small town.  She does not believe the Design Standards are clear. 

 

STEVEN SIRIANNI, 558 Holly Street, stated there is already traffic congestion around the Ashland Community Food Co-op at the lunch hour and 5 p.m.  This project will cause backing of up of cars past B Street.  He does not believe First Street is an adequate size for the smooth flow of traffic.  Oak Street will be impacted.  If the new shops are successful, that will mean more people.  He is concerned about losing our quality of life in Ashland.  He noted the architects are from Portland – a city.

 

MEGAN MITCHELL, 180 N. Pioneer, submitted “The B Street Parking Crisis” for the record.  She is concerned about the lack of adequate parking for the project.  She wondered why the City parking lot could be used for one-half of the access to the project. Molnar stated the City purchased the property from Copeland and there is an easement through the parking lot in perpetuity, allowing the project site ingress and egress through the parking lot.  Mitchell is concerned about a bottleneck on B and Pioneer Streets.  There is already a dire parking situation. 

 

ERIC NAVICKAS, 711 Faith Avenue, said the buildings have a common foundation. The total building and parking square footages equal 103,000 square feet.  It is about twice the square footage of the Mark Anthony.  Not counting the parking below, buildings 1 and 2 total about 65,000 square feet, clearly exceeding the 45,000 square foot limitation.

 

The Big Box Ordinance discusses building inside and outside the downtown.  Under C(1) of the Big Box, it says “outside the downtown standards” so buildings not touching are two buildings.   Navickas showed a photo of the City’s municipal warehouse building that had once been on the site of the proposed project. 

 

Douma asked if there was an interpretation for the single foundation.  McLaughlin sated there is not.  KenCairn said the parking lot is a shared foundation.

 

SUSANNE KRIEG, 196 Meade Street, is the great granddaughter of Jacob Wagner who came here in 1892.  She can accept scale and blending of history.  There are no more dry goods store, no Penney’s, etc.  The new buildings must be in scale with the downtown buildings.    

 

MARILYN BRIGGS, 590 Glenview Drive, said though the project meets the criteria she would ask the Commission to consider two conditions, if approve.  First of all, she believes the three row houses on First Street are too massive adjacent to the residential.  She would suggest pivoting the southern most row house that now takes up a great deal of driveway space.  Pivoting it would add a great deal of open space to the two remaining row houses on First.  The middle row house does not get the natural light encouraged by the LEED program.  If the row houses were two/two/two, they would all get the LEED natural light.  That would meet the livability criteria.  If the sawtooth roofs were pitched on both sides, coming to a peak, it would give a more balanced look down the alleyway. 

 

Secondly, the corner of Building 1 has no delight, joy, or sense of entry.  It is a primary focal point.  It has nothing that says, “I want to go in it.”  She suggested the curve (arc) be repeated in a vertical motif at the top of the windows.  Add it to either an entry or the tops of the windows to make them look interesting.  She likes the parapet, but not going 45 feet.

 

STEVE NEELY, 386 B Street, said he thinks the building is completely out compliance visually with anything in the Railroad District and inappropriate to abut the District.  Using a 28 foot wide street to enter the project coupled with the fact the Post Office is one of the busiest public buildings in town and exiting through a parking lot seems unbelievable. The project will only add to the already aggravated parking problem they experience in front of their house at the corner of B Street and Third, particularly during the summer.

 

COLIN SWALES, 1282 Old Willow Lane, asked to submit his PowerPoint presentation into the record (equipment in Council Chambers was malfunctioning) and that the record be left open after this meeting.   

Traffic – Swales is a member of the Traffic Safety Commission but he is speaking as a citizen.  The easement granting ingress and egress through the City parking lot does not really have an easement right.  The easement is only 15 feet wide.  They can’t have two-way traffic.  He believes a new easement would be required to bring the lot into compliance. 

 

Parking – Jim Olson, City Engineer, said the existing parking for the Post Office is inadequate.  This has not been factored into this action at all.  He reminded the Commissioners that parking at Tempest Court and Copeland both emptied onto Lithia Way.  The volume of traffic going down First Street on a one-way is far more than the five cars noted by the applicant.    

 

Live/work spaces – Are these spaces for housing or retail?  They are boxes with 20 foot high ceilings.  What will go in that high ceiling area unless it’s a mezzanine? If so, that area has not been taken into account.  With regard to the 65 percent floor area having to be in a designated use, his understanding when there are multiple buildings, 50 percent of the total lot area has to be in a permitted use. 

 

Is this in the downtown?  Swales’ PowerPoint presentation would have presented information showing this is in the Railroad District.  The Downtown Historic District boundary runs down the center of Lithia Way.  Anything north of it is the Railroad District.  Swales feels the Site Design and Use Standards criteria are intended for infill on Main Street.

 

Swales mentioned a required 20 foot setback from Lithia Way.  In the Central Area Plan and the 1988 Downtown Plan, Lithia Way was envisaged at some point to be a bypass for our downtown.  If this building does not adhere to a 20 foot setback, it precludes for all times ever widening that street to allow a central median as shown in the Central Plan. 

 

Glazing on the southwest face of the building – How will this building meet the LEED building?  The whole front of the building is glazed unlike the downtown buildings.  The heat loss through the north side must be tremendous. 

 

Stromberg asked the implications of the proposed project being in the Railroad District.   Swales responded because it is in the Railroad District, it should respect the bulk and scale of the neighborhood compared with the railroad buildings.

 

Molnar clarified the standard states that at least 65 percent of the total gross floor area of the ground floor, or at least 50 percent of the total lot area, if there are multiple buildings shall be designated for a permitted or a special permitted use.  McLaughlin also clarified that the Design Standards in the downtown apply to the Downtown Design Overlay zone.  This project is zoned C-1, it is in the downtown and in the Downtown Design Standards zone so the Downtown Design Standards apply.

 

TOM BRADLEY, 700 Terrace Street, asked, is this not high quality mixed use infill development in accordance with the Downtown Plan and the Comprehensive Plan?  An update to the 1988 Downtown Plan was published in 2001.  The study area was defined by the East Main Street and Lithia Way couplet.  The four goals of the update were improving pedestrian crossings, improving the streetscape, improving mixed use pedestrian oriented infill and redevelopment along Lithia Way and managing parking supply.  He encouraged the Commission to approve this action.

 

LYNN GALLAGHER, 386 B Street, spoke in opposition to the project.  She read a letter from SUSAN DIMARINAS, 376 B STREET, and entered into it the record.  DiMarinas opposes this project as it will increase housing density, traffic and parking.  It will diminish the residential character of the neighborhood and solar access. 

 

Gallagher said she believes this project is highly out of scale with this community.  She opposes any variance regarding the distance between buildings.  There is going to be 65,000 square feet including the six row houses.  There will be 41 townhouses plus the mixed residential and commercial. 

 

BILL STREET, 180 Meade Street, updated his checklist from the last meeting.  BRYAN HOLLEY, 324 Liberty Street and TRACY HARDING BUNGAY, 334 Bridge Street gave Street their time.  Street referred to the most recent elevations.  He submitted the checklist with his comments.  He reiterated the concluding paragraph introducing the Site Design and Use Standards – “…the applicant must demonstrate the proposal meets all the design standards…”  

 

Street said in Jerome White’s (White is part of applicant’s team) response to his checklist, he did not address the above paragraph.  White has found individual buildings that are exceptions to our standards.  White pointed out the exception and made the argument he does not need to meet the standard because there is an exception in the town.  If one argues that conforming to a standard is unnecessary because there is an exception, one would be left with no design standards.  This sets a precedent.

 

Street’s checklist encompasses several sections of the Site Design Standards that he believes the applicant has failed to meet.  The checklist was entered into the record.  An item brought up at the Historic Commission meeting related to the height of the building and height of the ceilings in the cancer center.  Six feet of additional ceiling space is proposed in the cancer center for ventilation, cooling and radiation security shields to make the cancer center safe.  He handed out two articles that were entered into the record.

 

There have been several changes that have not been seen by the Commission or the public.  He asked the Commission to have the Historic Commission review the details of those changes. 

 

Street asserted Jerome White did not address all the issues.

 

Morris said the 20 foot setback under 18.68.050 seems to refer only to East Main Street between the City Limits and Lithia Way.

 

JOHN GAFFEY, 637 Oak Street, hopes this Commission sticks to the criteria.  He likes the project and believes the building is a great use for the site.  It is time to realize the town is growing and we need commercial buildings.    He has always hoped Main Street would stretch out some.  It’s not up to the Commission to decide how the space is used.   

 

Staff Response

Molnar said the Commissioners might want to ask the engineer about the traffic study.  He said the study indicated there would be five cars turning left onto First from Lithia Way but other traffic would be exiting by way of the City parking lot.  He could do further research on the easement.  In his review, it appears it grants ingress and egress of varying width through the lower part of the parking lot.    

 

They can recalculate the 65 percent ground floor being a permitted use other than residential.  Reeder said it either fits under the 65 percent of\r the 50 percent.  The portion that discusses the 50 percent links the multiple buildings.  If the 65 percent total gross floor area is met on the ground floor, the criteria is met.  If the 65 percent is not met, the 50 percent has to be met.  Douma asked how to interpret what is and isn’t residential.  Molnar said they have identified only three as purely office space on the ground floor.  Staff put the other six spaces under residential because it is uncertain at this point, but they could be available for mixed use.  The ground floor office could increase. 

 

KenCairn asked if the developer is required to do a LEED building.  Molnar said the Commission could impose a Condition but the applicants would have to stipulate to agree to that construction technique.

 

Dotterrer asked about the height of the parapet.  McLaughlin said there have been applications in the past where the parapet has not been counted.  The definition of the height is to the coping of a flat roof.

 

McLaughlin clarified that section of the ordinance referring to the Special Setback Requirement.  He said it applies to East Main, not Lithia Way. 

 

Chapman/Dotterrer m/s to continue the meeting to 11:00 p.m.  The motion carried.

 

Rebuttal

Archerd said this project has been in the planning stages for two years.  They have had more public outreach and input than any other private development, he would say, in the history of Ashland.  There have been articles in the newspaper, signs in front of the Copeland building numerous times asking for citizens to help plan this site.  The developers are local citizens, members of this community who have lived her 20 and 35 years.  To impugn their history is offensive.  For public citizens to assume Staff doesn’t know the standards, he also finds offensive.  This project has been before the Historic Commission four times.  At their last meeting, three elements still had to be discussed – (1) Distance between buildings, (2) Pedestrian walkway across the plaza, and (3) Recessed entries.  The recessed entries have been addressed and the width of the pedestrian walkways.  The only issue left for the Historic Commission to consider is the distance between buildings.  The Historic Commission has studied this proposal thoroughly and has carried through with their charge.

 

JEROME WHITE, 253 Third Street, said he was on the committee that drafted the Downtown Design Standards.  He understands the intent and believes this application meets the standards.  They responded in the original application to all of the standards and have supplemented them. The Historic Commission believes the standards have been met and Staff has stated they met all the standards.

 

Stromberg asked if there were other things brought up for which the applicants would like to respond? 

 

GEORGE KRAMER explained there is the Historic Railroad District and the Historic Downtown District.  As a consultant to the City, he listed both of those districts on the National Registers.  As Chair of the Ashland Historic Commission 20 years ago, he helped interpret the standards before the standards. He was the staff advisor with Mark Knox when the new standards were drafted and adopted.   Twenty years ago or even five years ago, it was never the Historic Commission’s intent for Lithia Way to be a residential historic district on one side and a commercial historic district on the other.  

 

This has been an incredibly visible project.  The Historic Commission has concurred that the applicants meet the standards the City charges them to interpret.  Their project meets the code, height, mass and Design Standards.  There are allowable uses and volumes in downtown and he hopes the Commission will approve their project.

 

White responded to Black’s question about the length of the building.  It was understood there would be lots along Lithia Way that were bigger than the historic standard.  For example, the Enders building is 115 feet long.  The intent of the standards includes vertical rhythms with vertical columns to break up the building façade into smaller bays.     

 

Kramer said the Moderne building is clearly more horizontal than Building 2.  The Historic Commission asked them to have two different buildings.  The Historic Commission, after looking at their Moderne design three times, have essentially agreed it is compatible with the standards and compatible with the downtown.  

 

Swales wanted to provide additional materials.  He requested the record be left open for seven additional days.  McLaughlin said anyone can submit additional information during the seven days.  The applicant will be given seven days to respond. 

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

The record will be left open an additional seven days and the applicant will respond in five days from that time.  This action will be heard at the meeting on May 24, 2005. 

 

McLaughlin explained the Commission can grant an exception and find it meets the criteria.  It doesn’t mean the Commission has ignored the criteria.  

 

In order to give direction to the applicant, a straw vote was taken to not require the 40 foot minimum distance between buildings.  Those in favor were Morris, Chapman, Fields, KenCairn, Dotterrer and Douma.  Those opposed and wanted to see the full 40 foot width for the entire space were Stromberg, Black and Dawkins.

 

OTHER – There was no other business.

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Susan Yates

Executive Secretary

 

 

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