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Hearings Board

Minutes
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

HEARINGS BOARD

OCTOBER 11, 2005

MINUTES

 

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Michael Dawkins at 1:30 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, OR  97520.

 

               Commissioners Present:                  Michael Dawkins

                                                                           John Stromberg

                                                                           Allen Douma

               Absent Members:                                             None

               Council Liaison:                                Jack Hardesty, absent

               Staff Present:                                     Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

                                                                           Maria Harris, Senior Planner

                                                                           Derek Severson, Assistant Planner

                                                                           Amy Anderson, Assistant Planner

                                                                           Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

TYPE I PLANNING ACTIONS

PLANNING ACTION:           #2005-01484

SUBJECT PROPERTY: North Mountain Ave. & East Nevada Street

OWNER/APPLICANT:  Camelot Family Homes, LLC

DESCRIPTION:  Request for a Site Review approval to construct 26 townhouse units for the property located in the Meadowbrook Park Subdivision.

 

Stromberg stated he’d had an ex parte contact at two different Planning Commission meetings when they heard complaints that the applicants had violated some of the approval conditions.  Staff reported they’d received a letter from Tom Mar stating all the issues have been resolved. 

 

Solar access can be remedied through Condition 11.  The applicant did not show any coverage calculations and can be covered with Condition 13.

 

This action was approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION:           #2005-01608

SUBJECT PROPERTY: 496 Beach Street

OWNER/APPLICANT:  Ned & Lisa Beach

DESCRIPTION:  Request for a Conditional Use Permit for a transfer of ownership of the traveler’s accommodation (A Midsummer’s Dream).

 

This action was approved.

 

TYPE II PLANNING ACTIONS

PLANNING ACTION:           #2005-01307

SUBJECT PROPERTY: 125 Sherman St.

OWNER/APPLICANT:  Russ Dale

DESCRIPTION:  Request for a Site Review approval to construct a second residential unit attached to the existing garage for the property located at 125 Sherman St.  A Conditional Use Permit is required to expand the non-conforming garage structure.  The garage is located within a foot of the rear property line and ten feet is required.  The new proposed addition meets setback requirements.

 

This action has been postponed.

 

PLANNING ACTION:           #2005-01474

SUBJECT PROPERTY: 893 Hillview Drive

OWNER/APPLICANT:  Medinger Construction Co.

DESCRIPTION:  Request for a Land Partition to create a flag lot from the rear of the property located at 893 Hillview Drive.

 

Stromberg recused himself because of a possible conflict of interest.  He has been working with Medinger on a community project.    

 

Site Visits or Ex Parte Contacts – Dawkins and Douma had a site visit.

 

STAFF REPORT

Anderson reported the applicant has submitted some new information addressing the concerns of the neighbors regarding lot configuration.  The information has been distributed to the Commissioners.

 

The applicant is requesting approval of a flag partition.  The action was called up for a public hearing by a neighbor.  Issues raised include traffic generation, tree retention, a French drain system that crosses property lines, and impacts of the flag on the neighborhood.  The parcel is 19,000 square feet in size, zoned R-1-7.5.  The existing single family residence will remain with the old garage being demolished and a new garage added at the rear of the residence.  The accessory structures will be demolished.  The applicant is requesting a land partition to divide the property into two lots.  The rear property would be a flag lot located on the western portion of the parent lot.  The Tree Protection Plan identifies eleven trees for protection.  The proposal involves the removal of two trees, a five inch cedar and a ten inch willow along the southern property line.  The applicant will explain why he now wants to retain the willow. 

 

The neighbors have raised a concern regarding flag lot configuration and width.  In the case of a flag lot, there is not a typical street frontage to base lot frontage.  Historically, the determination has been made by the applicant with Staff’s approval.  Staff believes the benefit of this approach is flexibility in determining lot configuration based on existing development patterns in the neighborhood.  It allows flexibility in determining the orientation of the new structure as well as determining the setbacks.  The lot configuration for a side lot is not clearly defined by the ordinance and the Hearings Board has the ability to interpret lot configuration and setbacks.

 

Generation of traffic is not subject to the minor land partition approval criteria but there is adequate capacity to serve one additional single family home with an average of ten vehicle trips per day. 

 

The applicant has met the criteria for three off-street parking spaces in the flag drive.  They appear to have adequate vehicular turnaround.   Staff will allow the requested curbside sidewalk along the frontage of the parcel. 

 

With regard to the French drain system, private storm drain easements are not subject to minor land partition approval criteria.

 

Staff is recommending approval of this application with the attached conditions.  The cypress trees along the back will be protected.  A Condition has been added to protect the crab apple tree.  

  

PUBLIC HEARING

LARRY MEDINGER, 115 Fork Street, said his handout refers to options A, B, C, and D  showing different orientations to the front and side yards..  He referred to site plan C.  They laid it out originally with the front yard setback to Hillview Drive because Medinger was trying to preserve a rear yard setback with the neighbors.

 

There was a long discussion at the Tree Commission meeting about the cypress trees.  Tom Myers, Upper Limb-It said the cypresses weren’t normally allowed to grow as tall as they have and they pose a fire danger.  The consensus seemed to be to have a plan for removal and replacement of those trees, but trying to maintain the screening as they go.  

 

The neighbor at 893 Hillview wants the willow tree to stay so if they pull the driveway seven feet from the trunk, the willow tree would be given plenty of room to grow.  The Tree Commission concurred.

 

He will preserve any drains.  They will be required to make sure there is no drainage onto the neighbor’s property.  The pattern of development in the neighborhood is a long driveway back out.  They want to rearrange the pattern so the cars could turn around in the driveway and go out forward to the street.  The existing driveway is quite wide.  He will remove some of it down to 15 feet and that will allow for more greenery in the front yard.

 

Medinger said site plan B is a response to one of the neighbor’s letters.  There is a definition in the R-1 section stating that interior lots in a block should have the narrow face toward the street.  He is showing what it would look like if the depth had to be longer than the width.  The existing house would have to be completely removed and the house would be built on the smaller lot in the front with a normal setback.

 

RONALD DOYLE, 945 Hillview Drive, believes the size complies with the zoning but the lot configuration does not.  The only existing street is Hillview Drive and the house has to front Hillview with a 20 foot setback.  He doesn’t see how the Commissioners can interpret this any other way.  He is asking the Commission to deny the application.  The neighbors would like to have an opportunity to review Medinger’s recent submittals.

 

Harris interjected that the A, B, C and D variations were looked at, but variation C was the one that Medinger ultimately put forth. 

 

LYNN COSTANTINO, 892 Harmony Lane, spoke to the original plan.  He lives right behind the cypress trees.  His interpretation from the Tree Commission meeting is that they were going to take all the trees out because they could burn within 45 seconds.    

 

The Staff Report states that a flag lot does not have a typical street frontage upon which to base lot lines and concludes the code is silent on the front lot line on a flag lot.  The neighbors believe this is not a reasonable interpretation of the code.  A lot is defined as a unit of land under single ownership.  A flag lot is defined as any lot that has frontage on a city street of less than 40 feet.  Definitions applying to all lots also apply to flag lots.  In case of an interior lot the front line is defined as the lot line separating the lot line from the street.  This is the portion of the flag abutting the street.  The rear line is the line with the most distance from the front line.  R-1 clearly says all lots must have a minimum depth of 80 feet.  The lot shown is only 75.6 feet.  No lot shall a have width greater than its depth.  Based upon these definitions, the current configuration does not have a minimum depth of 80 feet and its width is greater than its depth.  The code is not silent on the front line for a flag lot.  There is nothing in the code that differentiates between a flag lot and any other lot.  The proposed flag lot fails the minimum depth standard and violates the prohibition against being wider than it is deep.  He would just ask the Commissioners to strictly follow the code.  (LINDA BROWN, 904 Hillview Drive and JOANNE COSTANTINO, 892 Harmony Lane, yielded their time to Lynn Costantino.)

 

KEITH KLEINEDLER, 873 Hillview Drive, said he lives next door and downhill from the proposal.  He requested a survey be done to showing where the house will be sited and that it will meet the required setbacks.  He would like to know the location of the TID main that runs through the neighborhood because there is an easement that goes with it.  He would like to see the drainage addressed.  In the winter, he has standing water alongside his house and in his backyard.  Water runs under the house and into his garage and a good portion of the water is coming from the adjacent property.  There are drains, but eventually they fill up.   A traffic study was done on Hillview in 2001. He requested a new traffic study due to new development and the addition of a church service at the Catholic Church.  Cars tend to exceed the speed limit on Hillview.  (SHEILA JOHNSON yielded her time to Kleinedler.)

 

CYNDI DION, 897 Hillview Drive, said she is an alternate to the Planning Advisory Committee to the Riparian Ordinance.  She is very concerned about the incredible amount of runoff that occurs when we continue to pave and often require a large percentage of impervious surfaces on a project such as this.  Though the ordinances allow this large percentage of impervious surface on the proposed site there are some physical and environmental constraints that should be addressed, specifically, the decomposed granite. Large amounts of water come down the hill all winter and all summer.  All the properties are on TID. There used to be a large open space that was shared between the Harmony Lane and Hillview Drive property that was open and irrigated with TID.  It is important the water be allowed to percolate through the soils. Many of the suggestions in the City’s storm water management plan have not been implemented.  The neighbors feel the open space is the stable aspect of the neighborhood as noted in Chapter 18.20.010.  She showed pictures of the drainage situation.

 

CHUCK SMITH, 895 Hillview Drive, stated he lives south of 893 Hillview Drive.  He showed pictures relating to drainage and where he has cut in for a curtain drain.  The water runs continually all year round and it dumps into the street from the drain.  The proposed house will change the character of the neighborhood.  He isn’t sure the driveway meets the plan and violates 18.76.060B.  Can a fire truck get to the rear property?  He would like to see a fire plan and fire work area on the property.  Will there be adequate back-up space? Smith is not happy with how close he will be to a new residence (visual and noise). (JON KIMBALL, 1775 Bristol, yielded his time to Smith.)

 

NANCY NERENBERG, 853 Hillview Drive, talked about Chapter 18.20.010, protecting the characteristic of the district and to promote and encourage a suitable environment for family life.  They chose to move to this neighborhood specifically because of the moderately priced single family homes with large yards.  Subdividing the proposed lot will not stabilize and protect their neighborhood.  There are kids in the neighborhood, starting a new cycle of families raising their children.  She is concerned with someone buying this new house with no intention of living there.  (JENS SEHM, 853 Hillview Drive, yielded his time to Nerenberg.) 

 

MATT WARSHAWSKY, 443 Allison Street, said he firmly believes in infill, however, this is the last neighborhood where you can go where there are consistently larger lots.  He is hoping to eventually be able to live in this neighborhood.   

 

WAYNE LINN, 899 Hillview Drive, talked about common values like the quality of air, water, open space, soil and others.  An additional single family residence with an average of ten vehicle trips per day and each mile driven by an SUV produces and releases up to one gram of toxic material.  This material goes into our air, vegetation, our bodies and into our waterways.  That does not even address the additional noise and substances from other internal combustion engine sources on the property.  Linn quoted studies showing that when hard surfaces cover five to ten percent of an area, ten percent of the precipitation becomes surface runoff.  This accelerates proportionately.  The runoff contains the most toxic contaminants that have accumulated on the hard surfaces, thus polluting the water going into our groundwater and public waterways. This will be the first flag lot in their neighborhood and they believe this will create a negative impact in the neighborhood as more building and people change the character of the neighborhood.

 

Staff Response

Margueritte Hickman, Ashland Fire Dept., said that with whatever configuration is chosen, provided the driveway width is met and the vertical clearance and turning radius is met, the fire apparatus issues will be met.  There has been a condition added that all conditions of the Ashland Fire and Rescue will be met. 

 

Anderson clarified the Tree Commissions’ recommendations.  They have recommended incorporating the arborist’s recommendation regarding moving the drive seven feet away from the willow tree in the applicant’s newly proposed plan.  The Tree Commission also recommended removing the Leland Cypresses along the western property line and replanting with appropriate shrubs and screening trees and the development of a long-term maintenance plan for the replacement of the Leland Cypress.  They didn’t want to see all the trees removed at one time because it would be such a drastic change.  They decided to leave it to the applicants and the neighbors to develop a long-term maintenance plan. 

 

Harris explained that the gray area with this application relates to the setbacks.  She read the definition for “front lot line.”  The code is silent concerning how the front property line is determined on a flag for the purpose of setbacks.  Once you determine the front property line, the rear line is the opposite and the sides follow.  The applicant looked at the neighborhood pattern and where backyards are located and tried to do the best fit. 

 

Dawkins thought it important that the public would have a chance to comment on the alternative plans that were submitted by the applicant.  Harris said they can approve the application as submitted with conditions, deny the application, or give the applicant the option to continue in order to put forth one of the alternatives.  By giving the applicant the opportunity to continue means they are seeing something in the original proposal that does not meet the requirements. 

 

The Commissioners asked if the application can be called up to the Full Commission.   Harris was not certain. 

 

Rebuttal

Medinger said after seeing the attorney’s letter from the neighbor raising the question about width versus the length of lot, he submitted the alternatives to the department.  If the Commission wants to continue the application, however, the ordinance isn’t clear.  He suggested looking at what has been done in the past.  He chose this plan because the rear yard had to stay the rear yard setback.  In the alternatives, he’s tried to show there other solutions where a ten or twenty foot rear yard setback can still be maintained leaving plenty of room without impacting the neighbors.  The rear lot is about 7600 square feet, well over the required 7500 square foot lot requirement.  The lot is almost one-half acre.  He would agree to a continuance to either the Hearings Board or the Full Commission.

 

Medinger and Dawkins brought up infill.  Medinger said if this neighborhood wants to see a change they need to request a zone change from R-1-7.5 to R-1-10.  The City would need to adjust the inventory accordingly.

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Douma said it appears there is some unanimity within the community to request a zone change.  How can the Commission get the neighborhoods to become activated ahead of time?  In this situation, Douma does not have enough information to decide what the front lot line is.  He believes it is important enough to bring this action to the Full Commission.  He would like a more definite statement about lot depth (80 feet).  He would like to see the storm water management plan and runoff addressed more specifically.  How do we address the ordinance that discusses stabilizing the neighborhood when the lots sizes are 19,000 square feet and the zoning is R-1-7.5? 

 

Harris said the Commissioners need to identify what part of the applicant’s proposal is problematic to meeting the approval criteria.  Douma would like a legal interpretation of the front yard.  .

 

Harris noted the Planning Commission agendas for the next couple of months are looking very full.  We are now 60 days into the 120 days on this application.  If it goes to the Full Commission, it could go beyond that time. 

 

Dawkins/Douma m/s to continue the application to the Full Commission, if possible, or the Hearings Board next month.  The motion carried.

 

Medinger agreed to a 60 day extension.

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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