JANUARY 10, 2006
CALL TO ORDER – Second Vice Chair Michael Dawkins called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. at the
Commissioners Present: Michael Dawkins, 2nd Vice Chair
Absent Members: Dave Dotterrer
Council Liaison: Jack Hardesty (present)
Staff Present: Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director
Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Assistant Planner
Agenda Items for the January 24, 2006 Study Session
1. Send top two or three goals to the Planning Department by January 19th to be discussed at the study session.
2. Review the Citizens Guide and make any revisions by the study session. (Chapman & Douma)
3. Review the Powers and Duties. (Dotterrer)
4. Begin thinking about items for the May retreat.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
1. December 12, 2005 Regular Meeting Minutes – Black noted a correction on page 3 just above Public Hearing, add the wording “Black asked KenCairn if this was a co-housing project for small business and KenCairn responded ‘You might say that’.” Chapman/Black m/s to approve the corrected minutes. Voice Vote: Approved.
2. Approval of the Findings for PA-2005-01674,
3. Chapman/Douma m/s to approve the Findings for PA2005-01833,
4. Stromberg/Black m/s to approve the Findings for PA2005-01476, 290 Skycrest. Voice Vote: Approved.
5. Douma/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes of the December 12, 2005 Hearings Board. Voice Vote: Approved.
6. Douma/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA2005-01474,
Molnar said the sign code amendment went to the Council in September. Most of the Council’s concerns centered on whether or not the ordinance should take into consideration the quality of a business frontage. Are there elements that commonly constitute a standard business frontage? They are also concerned about opening up a sign permit review to a site review. It was not a high priority for Staff.
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01834
APPLICANT: RUSS DALE & DARREN LECOMTE
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR A THREE-STORY, MIXED-USE BUILDING FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts
Chapman, Douma, Stromberg, Black and Dawkins had site visits. Stromberg tried to get a sense of the angle and view the neighbors will get of this project.
Molnar reviewed this project (refer to Staff Report dated December 12, 2005 and Staff Report Addendum dated January 10, 2006). There has been concern by the neighbors about the open carport design and a request by the applicant has been made to enclose five parking spaces in garages. By enclosing the garages, the applicants exceed the Maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of .5 and they require an Administrative Variance to go up to .6 for the Floor Area Ratio requirement. Molnar showed a revised design showing the five garages and outdoor space for the residential.
The Commissioners should discuss the following design details:
1. Solar Calculations – There has been an agreement between the neighbors and developer to use the standard residential Solar Access Standard A. Staff is uncertain if the height of the shadow producing point is measured from natural grade. They will need to verify that the measurement is taken to natural grade based on the topographic survey of the property prior to installation of the public infrastructure. This can be reviewed at the building permit stage.
2. Location and Design of Bike Parking
3. Adequacy of the pedestrian coverings. Are they wide enough to shade pedestrians from the elements?
4. If additional design choices need to be considered for east and west elevations to further break up the mass, Staff would need direction from the Commission as well as the applicant.
5. The Commission would have to identify if there is a demonstrable difficulty in meeting the specific requirements of the Design Standards due the unique or unusual aspects of the site in order to approve the Administrative Variance up to .6 of the FAR. Discussions between Staff and the neighborhood have been about abutting districts (example: employment against residential) where some different site planning issues exist that would not exist when evaluating a project surrounded by a similar zone. Due to the site’s proximity to a residential district, Molnar believes the Commission can find that there are some unusual circumstances surrounding it.
6. The adjacent properties believe the carport design will negatively impact them and would like to see the garages enclosed.
Staff has identified 21 Conditions if the Commission decides to approve the project. If the Commission would like to see changes made to the project, they might need to extend the 120 time limit.
Molnar asked the Commission to consider two additional Conditions. Condition 22 discusses that the applicants revise solar setback calculations and be provided for review prior to issuance of a building permit. The height of the shadow producing point shall be measured at natural grade based upon topographic survey completed prior to construction of the subdivision structure. Condition 23 would state: That all conditions of the Outline and Final Plan be complied with prior to building permit. Specifically, installation of the pedestrian bridge shall be modified so the location of its eastern terminus complies with the approved construction documents. The final erosion control methods employed along Mountain Creek have been approved by the Public Works Department prior to issuance of any building permits.
Molnar noted that the covered spaces are required parking and they are required to accommodate an automobile. If there is extra room, storage shelves would be permissible. He said in the past concerns have been raised about incorporating enclosed garages as part of mixed use projects. As we build larger residential units in mixed use where people want to cover their parking spaces, we lose some ability to gauge how parking is working in a project. What makes this project different is that the covered parking is triggering an Administrative Variance for the FAR.
Molnar commented on the stepping back of masses as noted in a memo from Colin Swales. Molnar said in looking at the back of the building, he feels there is enough going on with the treatment of the doors, railings, windows, that the three story masses are of a proportion and size that incorporate elements of human scale.
RUSS DALE, 585 Allison Street, introduced the other team members: TOM GIORDANO, JEFFREY HYATT, DARREN LECOMTE, KERRY KENCAIRN and LAURIE SAGER.
Dale said they tried to merge the E-1 zone successfully with the adjacent residential area. In this case, the residential component preceded this project. They’ve divided the property into seven lots and set aside the seventh lot to accentuate the aesthetically pleasing drainage area to create a separation between the residential and E-1 zone. He has signed an agreement to restrict the project to a Solar Schedule A. They have stepped the building away from the neighbors. The decks are for some outdoor living space on the back side of the building. This is, however, still an E-1 zone. He can build language into the Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s) to use the garages for parking an automobile, enforceable by the homeowner’s association.
TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, stated it is important to understand the history of this parcel. It was always understood where the residential development would occur. The area around the residential boundary to the railroad track was going to be industrial. He lobbied hard to get the residential component added. The Planning Commission agreed and gave them the residential overlay.
Giordano noted the solar calculations were taken from the old topographic maps.
KERRY KENCAIRN, 545 A Street, said the bioswale adjacent to this proposal has more of an impact on the public space than the landscaping around the proposed building. KenCairn said their team is aware and embarrassed by the placement of the bridge and they plan to move it. She believes the plaza area is active because of the width of the sidewalk and the plazas pushing in toward the buildings. All the entries to the building are bracketed by a large amount of landscaping. They talked about bringing the sidewalk paving and concrete to and through the doors to further emphasize the doors, making the sidewalk entry relationship even stronger.
Dale concurs with the neighbors regarding the enclosed garages. The garage doors make the building look more attractive.
DARREN LECOMTE, 1110 Gay Park Drive, Central Point, said the not all the garages are enclosed due the requirement of maintaining no greater than 35 percent for residential on the ground floor. Dawkins felt by leaving a couple of the carports open, that the building doesn’t seem complete.
Douma said there is a disabled parking space in the back. LeComte said the disabled parking has been addressed with a walkway directly to the elevator that will take someone to the residential.
LeComte said if the back deck was lowered, there would be steps going out the back of the units on the occupant’s first floor and that wouldn’t be practical. It would also create an accessibility issue for those living on the ground floor. There could also be a headroom issue in exiting the commercial building.
Black noted that the tops of the garage doors are the same height all the way across. LeComte said the bottoms of the doors will vary a little due to a slight drop in grade.
Dale said the parking lots were designed to do storm water retention. KenCairn said this whole project was designed so the back of the parking lots along the property line were raised because the whole thing was supposed to detain storm water. Through various changes over time, it was decided to do away with the surface detention of storm water. But, the project structure remained the same.
LaComte said the drawings on the wall are different than the drawings in the packet. They made some adjustments to the ends of the buildings per Staff’s comments pertaining to the canopy and the solid wall.
EDWARD HUNGERFORD, 456 Williamson Way, said he is concerned about the excessive height of the buildings throwing a significant shadow and he asked that the buildings be kept to two stories. He would support the idea of a variance to allow the garages to be enclosed.
GWEN MCMAHON, 421 N. Mountain Avenue, said she is President of the Homeowner’s Association of Mountain Creek Estates. The Homeowner’s Association, by a vote, will be paying in perpetuity to water the proposed project’s landscaping as part of a cooperative effort with the applicant. They have 57 units in their development and they have only one carport. Almost everyone uses their garage for something other than a car. To enforce the use of a garage for a car just isn’t practical. She believes aesthetically a garage door is a necessity.
SURYA BOLOM, 470 Williamson Way, stated the proposed building is right in back of her property. There is no land barrier to ensure her privacy. She will look up from her yard to a 40 foot building with layers of parked cars at her fence, making her backyard visible to people parking their cars. Trucks will tower three to four feet above the fenceline. Cars and trucks bring cell phones, radios, night lighting, smoking and additional noises. The Draft Railroad Plan calls for new buildings to be compatible with and complementary to those adjoining neighborhoods. She would like to see the carports enclosed and the building brought as close as possible to
MERA GAGNON, 466 Williamson Way, is impacted on two sides by the project. In the photos she passed around, there is a truck parked alongside the parking lot. Note the height of the truck. There was noise reverberating in her yard from across the fence. They are planning to put dumpsters in that corner. She’ll smell it and hear it and it will be within 15 to 20 feet of her yard. She has requested a two story building and she would favor the garage doors except it all needs to be further away.
NOLA KATOPOTHIS, 473 Williamson Way, said Dale told them in a meeting that the buildings will be only two stories. Whether it is a residential property or a commercial property, there needs to be a buffer. When people get out of their car, they can look right into the houses along the back.
NANCI KENT, 460 Williamson Way, said she had an intoxicated intruder jump from the parking lot into her backyard and into her house one night and it was terrifying. She is looking for a sense of safety, especially for families with children. She was told the railroad tracks are a highway for undesirables. She would like enclosed garages as they would provide a sense of safety. This is an unusual situation with E-1 backing a residential. There should have been an area of transition.
DOUG KENT, 460 Williamson Way, stated when they first moved in and met with Russ Dale, they were told
ERIC NAVICKAS, 711 Faith Avenue, asked for denial of the Variance and FAR. Dale has failed to show a demonstrable difficulty to allow the Variance. Dale has the option of scaling back the building to meet the FAR and maintain the enclosed garages. If Dale has to go without carports then it does meet the City’s ordinances.
Stromberg asked if Navickas believes it is possible to get a more substantial appearance and still have carports. Navickas believes it is possible but a better option is to maintain the garages and require them to meet the FAR, including the garages and scale back the entire project.
LEE TUNEBERG, 327 Starflower, said his property is the one with the footbridge. Looking out his back door, he can see how high the roads have been raised. He thinks they’ll find a problem with solar. He said if the project is kept at two stories there won’t be a problem for people.
JODY COLENDIA, submitted a letter opposing the project.
CAROL KIM, 422 Rogue Place, submitted a letter opposing the project.
COLIN SWALES’ e-mail was entered into the record.
Dawkins announced the Planning Commission will not be reviewing Planning Action 2005-02107,
The Commission brought up several issues:
Dale said the site is unique. The parking lot was designed at the original grade and he did not raise his building pad. The neighbors cut their pads down in order to make their driveways and streets work in order to get the drainage to work on
Dale said he would do everything he could to address the headlight issue by working with each individual property owner and by entering into written agreements with each owner to give them the landscaping they want individually.
With regard to eliminating the ten foot setback, he is willing to work with Staff to move the buildings forward if they can help him find a way to comply with all the other ordinances required such as plaza space, bike parking, etc.
He is required, as one of the conditions of approval to sign in favor of the LID to pave a part of connectivity to
Dale was caught off guard at a meeting and agreed to a Solar Schedule A. By complying with Solar Schedule A, that pushes the building front closer to
Stromberg sees two alternatives. Move the building up ten feet as it stands or move the front of the building up ten feet, keep the back where it is and keep it two stories.
LeComte said they will entertain the option of moving the building up ten feet toward the street if it is reasonably viable. Giordano told the Commission the way the project was submitted (with carports), it met all the criteria. The designer has done a great job. The building has a lot of articulation. They can move the covered area on the third story (northeast corner) without any problem.
Dawkins asked if there is a problem creating a deeper landscape buffer. Dale said he has to meet the City’s standard for back-up space radius. Molnar would not recommend allowing beyond
Stromberg/Black m/s to continue the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Everyone favored.
Chapman believes a case can be made for moving the building ten feet closer to the street or whatever it takes to allow the building to come forward. He would agree with Dale to enter into an agreement with each property owner for their buffering requests.
The applicants would have to investigate whether or not they could do back-in parking. They thought there might be other kinds of fencing products.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Overall, the Commissioners favor the applicant bringing the project forward to the street. Potentially, this is a unique situation that could be addressed through an Administrative Variance. Does the plaza out in front really serve any purpose? Pulling the project away from the neighbors is a viable solution. Generally, doing more landscaping on a property-by-property basis addresses a concern raised by the neighbors. If it is feasible to bring the building up to the street, pull everything including the garages up ten feet. Keep garages where they are, pull the building up to the street and keep it two stories. Can the applicant come back with an alternative design using some of these ideas?
Stromberg/Chapman m/s to extend the meeting to 11:00 p.m. Everyone favored.
RE-OPENED THE PUBLIC HEARING
Dale stated he was willing to agree to an extension of the 120 day time limit. He will work with the Planning Staff on the items noted by the Commission and come back with a more clearly defined project.
PLANNING ACTION 2005-02105
REQUEST FOR A SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR A THREE-STORY, MIXED-USE BUILDING COMPRISED OF COMMERCIAL SPACE ON THE GROUND FLOOR AND TWO RESIDENTIAL UNITS ON THE SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 145 E. MAIN STREET. THE PROPOSED BUILDING WOULD BE LOCATED O THE VACANT LOT SITUATED BETWEEN LITHIA WAY AND THE WILL DODGE WAY ALLEY, NORTHEAST OF THE OLD HARRISON’S AUTO PARTS BUILDING.
APPLICANT: URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Site Visits were made by all. Stromberg noted that the sidewalk in front of Mojo’s seemed narrow and he wondered how it was approved. Dawkins noted the sidewalk in front of the new office building on the other side of the proposed building is only a foot or two wider.
Harris noted the approval criteria. She showed a site plan. This is currently one parcel but is unusual because it is split by a public alley. The project description is contained in the Staff Report. Three issues have been raised in the Staff Report:
1. Building Height – The staircase enclosure brings the building up higher than the maximum 40 feet.
2. Pedestrian Corridor and Sidewalk Width – Staff has recommended eight feet of sidewalk area be provided between the tree well and the face of the building. The Historic Commission looked at keeping the building the same but angling the building as the sidewalk narrows toward Mojo’s.
3. Electric Utilities – This issue has been resolved.
Staff is recommending a continuation unless the applicant can address these issues tonight.
MARK KNOX, 320 East Main Street, Suite 202, said the building has been designed by SERA Architects in
PA2005-02105 will be continued and the public hearing left open until January 24, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 P.M.
Respectfully submitted by
Susan Yates, Executive Secretary