PLANNING COMMISSION ASHLAND
FEBRUARY 14, 2006
CALL TO ORDER - Commissioner Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. at the
, Ashland Civic Center 1175 East Main Street.
John Fields, Chair
Jack Hardesty, absent
Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Assistant Planner
Amy Anderson, Assistant Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – The January 10, 2006 minutes will be reviewed at tonight’s meeting.
TYPE I PLANNING ACTIONS
PLANNING ACTION 2006-00034
REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FOR TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF THE TRAVELER’S ACCOMMODATION BUSINESS FROM THE PROPERTY OWNER TO A BUSINESS OWNER FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT
34 UNION ST.
APPLICANT: STEPHANIE CLARK
This action was approved.
PLANNING ACTION 2006-00086
REQUEST FOR A LAND PARTITION TO CREATE THREE PARCELS INCLUDING ONE FLAG LOT FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 975 TOLMAN CREEK RD. A NEW "HALF-STREET" IMPROVEMENT WILL BE INSTALLED ADJACENT TO THE EXISTING
PRIVATE DRIVETO THE NORTH TO ACCESS THE PROPOSED PARCELS.
APPLICANT: URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
This action was approved.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01307
REQUEST FOR A SITE REVIEW APPROVAL TO CONSTRUCT A SECOND RESIDENTIAL UNIT ABOVE 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. A SOLAR SETBACK VARIANCE IS REQUESTED TO CREATE A GREATER SHADOW ON THE PROPERTY TO THE NORTH THAN IS PERMITTED.
APPLICANT: RUSS DALE
Site Visits or Ex Parte Contacts - Chapman and Black each had site visit and Fields had a drive-by site visit.
Severson said the Commission is reviewing the applicant’s redesign after review by the Historic Commission. A detailed description of the project is outlined in the Staff Report.
The Historic Commission wanted to go on record as strongly opposing covering of the original siding on the main house with vertical siding resulting in the loss of the historical integrity on the structure. But, since it is already covered, the Commission believes it is more compatible to keep the vertical siding treatment on the new addition consistent with the main house.
The Tree Commission suggested one additional Condition. The landscape plan has been provided as well as a tree protection plan, however, the landscape plan doesn’t show the level of detail required for Site Review. A Condition has been added that the landscape plan be revised and submitted at the time of building permit submittal. Severson added a Condition that any conditions of the Tree Commission be made conditions of approval.
Staff is recommending approval of this application as it will result in a moderately sized rental unit within close proximity to SOU, to the downtown and to the transit route. Staff has suggested these added Conditions:
Condition 15 – Remove the old driveway asphalt (to the East of the proposed unit) and replace it with appropriate landscaping to the alley boundary.
Condition 16 – That a mutual access easement (for garage access) with the property owner to the west be recorded prior to issuance of a building permit.
Condition 17 – That a revised tree protection plan addressing the recommendations of the Tree Commission be submitted prior to issuance of a building permit.
PUBLIC HEARING – No one came forth to speak.
Staff Response – None
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Black said since the applicant is changing the ridgeline, she would like to see the end closest to the alley have a slope down (Dutch gable). Harris said the Historic Commission did not discuss this at their meeting. Fields suggested leaving it optional.
Fields/Black m/s to approve PA2005-01307 with the three suggested added conditions. Roll Call: The vote was unanimous with Black, Chapman and Fields voting “yes.”
PLANNING ACTION 2006-00057
REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE TO THE SIDE YARD SETBACK REQUIREMENT AND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO EXPAND A
FOR FIRST AND SECOND STORY ADDITIONS TO THE HOME LOCATED AT NON-CONFORMING BUILDING 247 THIRD ST. THE PROPOSED ADDITIONS ARE LESS THAN THE REQUIRED SIX FEET FOR A SIDE YARD ON BOTH THE NORTH AND SOUTH SIDES OF THE BUILDING. A SOLAR SETBACK VARIANCE IS REQUESTED TO CREATE A GREATER SHADOW ON THE PROPERTY TO THE NORTH THAN IS PERMITTED.
APPLICANT: MARC VALENS & ANNE GOLDEN
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Chapman had a site visit, Black drove by the site and Fields is familiar with the house.
said the main components of this application outlined in the Staff Report include the Variance request, the Conditional Use Permit and the Maximum Permitted Floor Area. Anderson
The Historic Commission concluded in their meeting that using the approach of including the floor area with seven feet of headroom or more is a way to encourage applicants to retain the use of half stories and pony walls. The Historic Commission listed items to be included on the revised drawings as well as outlining a list of recommended changes. The Historic Commission recommended continuing this application based on the need for more detail and asked for consistency with what is written in the findings and shown on the plans. Staff supports this recommendation.
Staff is concerned about impacts to the existing trees along the alleyway. The trees are right on the property line. The Tree Commission would like to see Condition 10 stricken. They suggested Conditions that would allow the applicant to reserve the right to take out some of the trees. There are four Conditions suggested by the Tree Commission listed on the Planning Application Review dated February 9, 2006. 1. Hand digging within the root zones of the black walnut, 2. Recommend removal of the existing Birch tree and replace with one large stature tree or two large stature trees, 3. The owner reserves the right to remove the plum tree (tree #7) and supports their removal with appropriate permits and not requiring a modification of this approval.
The Historic Commission is very supportive of this application. There are a lot of details that have been left up to verbal discussions between the Historic Commission and the applicant and it’s easy for those to get lost They are asking that the hearing be left open and the applicant will come back.
MARC VALENS, 127 Third Street, handed out a packet at this meeting. He had done recalculations and believes they are within the allowed maximum permitted floor area. He is not sure how they can get the headroom without getting too bulky. Bedroom two really needs more headroom. He showed revised elevations. They are leaving the front the same and will use shingles as requested by the Historic Commission. They will remove the existing fascia and replace it with one that matches the front of the house. They disagree with the Historic Commission with the upstairs balcony. They are hoping to keep the 4x9 foot balcony. He showed several photos of balconies on houses in the Historic District. They showed a gable end over the enclosed patio on the back side of the house. The Historic Commission has asked for a hip end. He made an error on the solar shadow. There is almost no new shading.
The Tree Commission said they might not want to remove the trees along the south property line as they provide a lot of shade. They’d be happy if they would start removing and begin replanting over time one by one.
Valens is hoping for an approval without a continuance. He believes they have met the Historic Commission concerns. They would rather not lose the balcony.
ANNE GOLDEN, 127 Third Street, said this is a modest expansion of an old house. They want to create more living space while maintaining the integrity of the existing house.
JEROME WHITE, 253 Third Street and LIZ ALEXSON, 253 Third Street spoke. J. White said they support the application. He suggested the Hearings Board approve this because the Variance is the minimum necessary.
Fields said it is unusual the Historic Commission would ask that they come back to the Hearings Board too. Harris suggested if they approve it, add a condition that the items presented by the Historic Commission be addressed with the Historic Commission (entire Commission) prior to submission of a building permit. That would allow the approval process to move ahead but still give the Historic Commission the final review.
Harris asked the applicant if he knew the size of the tree #7 and #3. The two trees on their property would require a tree removal permit if they are greater than six inches diameter at breast height (dbh). Valens said there is an inventory that describes each tree.
Valens said the Tree Commission was hoping they would remove #7, the plum tree and plant another tree. Harris said that would require a tree removal permit planning action that would have to be noticed. That could be done separately because it wasn’t rolled into this application.
Fields thought the hip or gable roof can only be seen from the back yard. He doesn’t see that is something we need to regulate. With regard to the balcony on the back of the building, the applicant brought plenty of evidence (photos) showing balconies on the front of buildings in the Historic District.
Include in Condition 9 the four Tree Commission recommendations. A new Condition 10 stating “That prior to tree removal, trees on the property or in the alley, that the appropriate tree removal permit is obtained.” Revise Condition 10 to read “That tree protection fencing be installed in accordance with Chapter 18.61.200 for the cedar tree on the adjacent property to the north.”
Harris recommended re-wording of Condition 6 to say “That the plans shall be revised incorporating the February 8, 2006 Historic Commission recommendations except the balcony and hip roof on the back, and submitted to the full Historic Commission for approval prior to submission and issuance of a building permit.
Fields/Chapman m/s to approve PA2006-00057 with modified Condition 10 and 6 and a new Condition 17.
PLANNING ACTION 2006-00069 IS A REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE TO THE REAR YARD SETBACK REQUIREMENT FOR A SECOND STORY ADDITION TO THE GARAGE LOCATED AT THE REAR OF THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT
758 B STREET. THE REQUIRED REAR YARD SETBACK FOR THE SECOND STORY IS 20 FEET FROM THE REAR PROPERTY LINE, AND THE PROPOSAL IS TO LOCATE THE SECOND STORY 14 FEET FROM THE REAR PROPERTY LINE. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 39 1E 09 AC; TAX LOT: 2000.
APPLICANT: PHILIP LANG
Lang stated in his letter of January 12, 2006 that there is a member of the Planning Commission who is not acceptable to them as a member of the Hearings Board. Lang stated, however, that this no longer applies in this case.
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Fields had a site visit with no conflicts of interest. Black viewed the property from the alley. She is aware of Lang’s presence as an active member of the community. She believes she can be impartial although it seems there are a lot of complications and nuances with this application and she hopes she will be up to being able to consider it in a fairly short period of time. Chapman had a site visit.
Harris showed the site plan. The garage structure meets setback requirements. There is a permitted open air deck on top of the garage. The Staff Report points out that the Variance is supposed to be a unique or unusual circumstance that is specific to the site or the property. Commonly it is a physical feature of the property that requires a setback that cannot be met. The applicant talks about setback patterns. If the Hearings Board moves toward finding there is a unique or unusual circumstance, they need to really make it site specific or look at this particular alley.
Harris understood the applicant wanted to go ahead with the original packet of information they had submitted and the Variance request. The later material is a Plan B.
Harris discussed the benefits of the proposal compared to the negative impacts. The applicant talks about the second floor deck and how the enclosure will provide more privacy on neighboring property owners. Harris reminded the Commission that a second story addition is something that is possible. The Variance is applying to only the greenhouse addition which is the first six feet of the addition.
It is a 300 square foot, low profile, very articulated, detailed building with the most attractive side of the building toward the alley. The addition has a step back roof system to soften the height.
The Historic Commission recommended denial of the application as outlined in the packet. They listed four reasons for the denial. They did not believe there was a unique or unusual circumstance that necessitated the Variance. They did not believe the positive benefit of the proposal outweighed the negative impacts. They felt the bulk and scale of the two story accessory building on the alley was not typical of this alley. They felt the proposed deck on the south side of the second story is an incompatible element and they had some concerns about the deck railing being retained rather than using something like a bellyband.
PHILIP LANG AND RUTH MILLER,
758 B Street. LANG raised a procedural question. On page 2 of the Staff Report, Project Impact., he wondered why Staff decided to use their discretion and make this action a Type II review. How many 2005 Variances were administratively passed and how many were kicked up to a Type II procedure? Harris explained it is discretionary. She does not know how many applications were brought up to a Type II. It is common for Staff to forward an Administrative Action to the Hearings Board or Planning Commission to make the decision. Variances in the past year have come under a lot of scrutiny.
Lang said this is a six foot Variance and it is 15 feet wide or 90 square feet. It is one-half the height allowed. It is not visible from
B Streetand hardly visible to the neighbors.
Lang addressed the Variance in his Findings included in the packet. Unique or Unusual Circumstances – Their entire neighborhood is a unique and unusual circumstance and determined by the Council in another application. It is justified due to the existing development pattern in the historic neighborhood. The existing patterns of streets and alleys are unique and unusual circumstances.
Lang said the reason for the first story ten foot setback and a 20 foot setback is to prevent the creation of canyons. In their case, they have a one story garage (existing) that is already 26 feet from the neighbor’s garage and studio garage across the alley and right on the property line. The distance between their second story wall (greenhouse) and the neighbors is 30 feet. He concluded that the presence of alleys in the district is another unique and unusual feature creating openness and preventing the canyon affect. The addition functionally meets side and rear yard setback requirements.
Lang noted a comparable situation that exists at
872 B Street.
He noted that many alley structures were built directly on the property line according to the Sanborn fire maps.
The proposal’s benefit will have no negative affect on the adjoining properties. There will be a positive affect on the property at
762 B Street. Currently, they can look into the neighbors at 762 B Street. Since Lang will be using glass block in the addition, the neighbors will have total privacy.
It is self-evident that the conditions and circumstances have not been willfully self-imposed.
Lang showed better copies of the photos included in the packet.
Chapman said he has to look at the criteria for granting the Variance. The fact that he can have the addition without the greenhouse and meet the criteria would suggest that the additional space he wants to add is strictly self-imposed.
Lang explained if they push the building out into their six foot side yard seven feet, it would lower the roof to 15 feet. They could do that. Instead, they have tried to keep this addition simple and low and not offensive. If they could build it without the greenhouse walls, that would be an option.
Chapman said as far as unique and unusual circumstances, he believes the letter from Mike Reeder citing the Lovell case, the Variance has to be site specific. If it applies to a whole area, by definition, it means it is no longer unique or unusual. He has never granted a Variance based on something happening somewhere else.
Lang said it is his reading that the Railroad District is a unique and unusual circumstance as he explained. He looked at the Lovell decision and they do not believe the facts are relevant. The Council made a decision based on unique development patterns.
Fields said it becomes difficult to find the benefit and why it is unusual. Is there a benefit to the development pattern to encroach into the alley even more? We are being asked to disregard today’s standards.
Lang responded that if the Railroad District was turning over quickly, we would eliminate the wonderful historic pattern and everyone would be reduced to sameness.
Black asked if there was a structural reason why he needs to include the greenhouse at the time of building permit.
MILLER said they included the greenhouse because it made a nice finish to the whole project. It is a structure.
Staff Response – None.
Rebuttal – Lang still wondered why this was a Type II planning action. The DeLuca application on
East Mainwas going to be an Administrative Variance and the citizens called it up for a public hearing.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman does not believe there are unique or unusual circumstances. He does not believe the Council meant for their decision to apply to the entire Railroad District (E. Main project). If that was the case, Variances wouldn’t be required for anything there. Over time, as ordinances have passed, they have not excluded the Railroad District, so he would have to assume they apply. He believes the Variance is self-imposed.
Black said the letter of February 9th would suggest the greenhouse structure is self-imposed. The greenhouse in this historic area seems appropriate to her. She believes the request for the constructed solar feature is self-imposed.
Fields believes the Variance is self-imposed.
Fields/Chapman m/s to deny the Variance for the rear yard setback for PA2006-00069. Roll Call: Black, Chapman and Fields voted “yes” to deny. The action was denied.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 P.M.
Respectfully submitted by
Susan Yates, Executive Secretary