Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

APRIL 11, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black

 

Kate Jackson, Council Liaison, present

Allen Douma

 

Staff Present:

John Stromberg

Pam Marsh

 

Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Dave Dotterrer

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Mike Morris

 

 

Russ Chapman

 

 

Absent Members:

 

 

None

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS – Planning Action 2006-00078 has been postponed and will be re-noticed for next month’s meeting.

 

Molnar introduced the new Assistant City Attorney, Beth Lori.

 

On Tuesday, April 25th, the Planning Commission Study Session will be held at the Ashland Springs Ballroom from 7 to 9 p.m.  The consultants, Crandall Arambula will be there.  They will be in Ashland on Wednesday as well.  There will be a wrap-up on Wednesday the 26th summarizing the information the consultants gathered from the community.  The public is invited to attend.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS

March 14, 2006 and March 28, 2006 Minutes – Marsh said on page 5, paragraph 4, .change “non-school sponsored” to “school sponsored.”  Stromberg/Dotterrer m/s to approve the minutes as amended.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower Street, handed out Suggested Guidelines and Issues in Defining a Development’s Access Street and discussed the items on the handout. 

 

TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING

PLANNING ACTION 2006-00366

REQUEST FOR ANNEXATION, COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND ZONING MAP CHANGE FROM JACKSON COUNTY ZONING RR-5 (RURAL RESIDENTIAL) TO CITY OF ASHLAND ZONING M-1 (INDUSTRIAL) AND E-1 (EMPLOYMENT) FOR AN APPROXIMATELY 8.43-ACRE PARCEL LOCATED ON JEFFERSON AVE.  THE APPLICATION IS TO DEVELOP A SPECIALTY AUTOMOBILE DESIGN, RESEARCH AND FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY CAMPUS IN PHASES.  THE APPLICATION INCLUDES A REQUEST FOR THE SITE REVIEW APPROVAL OF THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT INCLUDING AN INDUSTRIAL BUILDING APPROXIMATELY 41,000 SQUARE FEET IN SIZE, PARKING AREAS AND LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION.  THE COMPLETION OF JEFFERSON AVENUE IS REQUIRED TO SERVE THE SITE, AND A PHYSICAL CONSTRAINTS REVIEW PERMIT IS REQUIRED FOR THE DESIGN AND INSTALLATION OF THE JEFFERSON AVE. CROSSING OF THE EXISTING CREEK RUNNING SOUTH TO NORTH THROUGH THE PROPERTY.  AN ADMINISTRATIVE VARIANCE TO THE SITE DESIGN AND USE STANDARDS IS REQUESTED TO NOT INCLUDE A FRONT ENTRANCE DIRECTLY FACING JEFFERSON AVENUE.  A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT IS REQUESTED TO REMOVE FIVE TREES GREATER THAN SIX INCHES DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT OR GREATER IN THE BUILDING LOCATIONS.

APPLICANT:  CRAIG BRAMSCHER

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts

Chapman has driven by the site numerous times.  Morris has had numerous site visits.  His family business is to the east of this project.  He declared a potential conflict but believes he can be impartial.  Stromberg had a site visit and also went by Science Works, the applicant’s current facility, but didn’t see much.  Fields, Black, Marsh, Dawkins and Dotterrer had site visits.  Douma had no ex parte contact.

 

STAFF REPORT

Molnar described the project as outlined in the Staff Report.  The property is roughly 8.5 acres inside the Urban Growth Boundary, contiguous with the City Limits, but outside the City Limits. The project is proposed in multiple phases.  Phase I will involve the construction of a 41,000 square foot facility with 69 parking spaces.  It will involve the completion of Jefferson Avenue through the property, crossing a seasonal creek. 

 

Staff has suggested a condition to defer removal of the trees in future phases until the time of site review for each phase. 

 

The creek crossing will require a Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit.  The bridge design or box culvert design will be designed to accommodate a 100 year flood flow and consider a design that is the least invasive on the natural area.  There is a bioswale identified adjacent to the parking spaces.  There is a chipped pathway to allow pedestrians to walk along the top of the bank for the length of the project along with a small outdoor seating area for employees or visitors.

 

The building is a large utilitarian warehouse type space as well as office and showroom space.  The materials consist of metal roofing and siding with a concrete base.  There is a series of larger 4 x 6 windows along both sides of the two-story gabled central spine that goes through the center of the building.  There are two smaller volumes on either side of the central gable feature.  In order to allow for light into the building, there is a five foot wide translucent band along the building.  There are two entrances to either side of the two-story gable.  The application could be found to require an Administrative Variance from the Site Review Standard that states:  “That the primary orientation of the new building face the City street.”  It could be found that the side facing Jefferson Avenue has no entrance and thus fails to meet the standard and therefore requires a Variance.  Or, it could be found that the prominent gable feature with glazing on both sides with landscaping in front (with a series of pathways) is the entrance feature and does meet the standard.  

 

Staff felt the Annexation, Site Review, Physical Constraints Permit and Tree Removal were straight forward and the criteria have been met and they have recommended approval of the application.

 

Molnar said they are proposing to zone the portion to the south of Jefferson as M-1 and the north portion as E-1.  He is unclear about the timing of future phases.  The City’s largest inventory of E-1 land is currently the railroad property.  There are not many parcels of this size in the City Limits to accommodate a structure of this size.

 

Molnar noted there is quite a significant change in elevation from the rear of the property to Jefferson Avenue.  The applicant has not yet provided a final grading plan.  There will most likely be a significant retaining wall constructed independently at the back of the building. 

 

Staff suggested a Condition that if there are TID facilities that they be identified and TID will review the final engineering to accommodate those facilities. 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

CRAIG BRAMSCHER, Brammo Motor Sports, LLC, 7118 Hwy. 66, Ashland, confirmed they do have TID irrigation and they plan on using it to water some of the landscaping.  The railroad right-of-way width varies.  They have a 50 foot setback from the center of the railroad tracks or 100 feet for the total easement.  They have checked with the railroad and they did not have a problem with the setback and are happy to have their right-of-way landscaped.

 

GARY CAPERNA, Senior Designer, Batzer, Inc., N. Ross Lane, Medford, 97501, is representing Mark McKechnie, architect and Craig Bramscher.  They have also set the building back an additional eleven feet from the property line.  They do not have a completed civil plan.  They are trying to keep the building up as high as possible to eliminate the need for any significant retaining walls or any significant cut.  They understand they will have to develop some landscape retaining walls but want to do that in a more terraced way. 

 

The finished floor height of the building and the topography affected the way they dealt with then entry to the building.  They wanted the architectural spine that bisects the two halves of the building to look like a monolithic piece.  They would not be averse to having an entry at the front, but it tends to detract from the monolithic solidity of that element.  In developing the ADA access, it flows better by way of a circuitous route to the front entrance as it has been designed.

 

LAURIE SAGER, KenCairn Sager Landscape Architects, is representing Craig Bramscher.  There are eight trees recommended for removal, three of which have been recommended for removal because of the extension of Jefferson Avenue.  The remaining five have been recommended to be removed at a later date.  The applicant is agreeable to that. 

 

There is approximately 60 linear feet of impacted bank where Jefferson Avenue crosses the creek.  They propose to put together a landscape plan showing planting, a circuitous path on both sides of Jefferson Avenue and on both sides of Knoll Creek and attach it to all three phases of the development as it develops so there is passive recreation for those that work there and access for anybody in the neighborhood or anyone coming over Jefferson Avenue. They intend to have seating in order to enjoy the natural riparian area.

 

Approximately nine trees will be needed for Phase I and a total of about 30 trees along Jefferson Avenue.  They have just done a preliminary landscape plan for the other phases of the project. 

 

They have shown vegetative bioswales that treat the storm water off the parking lot and also to retain some of the water off some of the roof structure.  The intention is to get everything they can back into the creek after cleaning it up through the vegetative bioswales and then filtering it back into Knoll Creek in a sustainable way. 

 

They will be using TID water where possible.

 

Bramscher said they will be providing a large number of jobs at all levels.

 

Caperna wondered if there could be more flexibility with Condition 8.  They want to keep all parts of this project moving ahead.  They would rather not have to have Jefferson Street fully improved before obtaining their building permits. 

 

Sager said the elevations of the front façade don’t show any landscaping. They envision some larger trees in that area to soften the front.

 

Molnar said they could consider additional wording on Condition 8.  Also, as the application finds its way to the Council, they can address it.  The re-wording would state at the end of the first sentence in Condition 8: “prior to issuance of a building permit…” or “costs associated with the final construction drawings and improvements be guaranteed through the posting of a bond or similar instruments acceptable to the City Legal Department.” 

 

Molnar said they are pleased with the improvements associated with the creek area.  It is identified as an intermittent creek and under our current standards requires a ten foot buffer from the top of bank.  Under the proposed riparian ordinance (currently on hold) they would be required to increase the buffer to 20 feet and not allow any continuous culverts.  The applicants have been willing to meet the new proposed standards.

 

Fields read a letter supporting the project from Graham Lewis, President of Ashland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Jac Nickels, Economic Sustainability Committee, 110 East Main Street,  P. O. Box 1360.

 

DANA GREAVES, 900 Strawberry Lane, CEO of Vortex, stated they are the largest custom technology firm in the region.  They employ about 25 people in Ashland.  He spoke in favor of Bramscher’s plan.  It is a clean industry and will provide jobs for Brammo Motors and the surrounding subsidiary businesses that will add quality to the demographic of Ashland.

 

RICHARD EATHERLY, 740 Jefferson Avenue, Yerba Prima, Inc., is an adjoining property owner.  He is neutral on the project.  He supports a diverse economy.  He is concerned about transportation. With the increase in development in that area, there has been an increase in traffic.  What are the repercussions of adding 100 employees to the area?  What is the impact of traffic at Ashland and Washington Streets?  He is concerned he might be included in a Local Improvement District (LID).  He had to participate in the LID at Tolman Creek and Ashland Street.  They have problems with their own trucks getting in and out of the street.  How many trucks would this new business add?  The wetlands might be impacted from a leak in TID.  He does not want to be involved in the Jefferson Avenue extension.

 

Molnar said they have evaluated the traffic and ODOT has discussed it.  There is ample street capacity.  ODOT has identified some of the turning movements coming on and off Ashland Street.  Staff has identified a condition that the applicant agrees to participate in a future LID for possibly a signal at the Washington and Hwy. 66 intersection or perhaps another type of change as the vehicle trips increase.

 

Staff Response - Staff suggested adding a Condition 27 that Talent Irrigation District (TID) facilities be identified and changes be reviewed by the district and approved by the Staff Advisor. 

 

Fields would like to see some glazing on the front of the building to allow transparency so passersby can see activity to create a sense of connection. Black was interested in clear story windows up higher on the building.

 

Rebuttal - Bramscher said there is a tremendous amount of glass on either side of the gable.  The sides of the building are mainly what are seen as one approaches the building.  In addition, they do not want direct sunlight in their showroom.

 

With regard to the Jefferson Street extension, if the State gives them the grant money, they do not want to do the street one-third at a time, so they agreed to do the project all at once.  He thought it would be better for the City too.  The issue for him is not the bond, but getting the building built as soon as possible.  Caperna noted this is not a high truck traffic business.

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Black/Dawkins m/s to approve the Site Review, Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit, Tree Removal Permit, and not the Administrative Variance for the front entrance for PA2006-00366.

 

The Commissioners discussed the Administrative Variance and some points made to include the approval of an Administrative Variance were:  The entry does not have to be the physical door facing the street and landscaping will soften the façade.  By granting approval with the Administrative Variance, when another development comes along for approval, the burden of proof will be on that applicant, not the City.  There is not as much pedestrian traffic.  There are unusual aspects regarding the site that support a Variance.

 

Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to amend the motion to include approving the Administrative Variance for the entryway [that was the only change in the motion].  Add Condition 27 that Talent Irrigation District (TID) facilities be identified and changes be reviewed by the district and approved by the Staff Advisor. 

 

Stromberg wondered if the City’s Land Use Ordinance applies to this property or will it only apply once the property is annexed.  Could we add a Condition that this approval will become effective, if and when or at such time as the City actually annexes the property?

 

Molnar said the annexation standards says concurrent Site Review approval has to be sought, but since the Planning Commission is the final decision maker for Site Review, that approval is technically coming before the Commission.   The Site Review approval doesn’t hold weight until the ordinance adopting and annexing this property is final. 

 

Roll Call for the amendment:  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Roll Call for the original motion:  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Stromberg/Black m/s to do a finding that this project meets all the approval criteria of the annexation section of the Land Use Ordinance. 

 

Stromberg would like to see the Council clearly distinguish between annexations and planning applications.  It is a promising project but he doesn’t believe there has been careful analysis of the annexation because that belongs at the Council.  He would like the Planning Commission to do findings that this application meets all the criteria to become eligible so the Council could legitimately annex it if they see fit.  Let the Council decide if it should be annexed for the good of the community. 

 

Molnar said the Procedures Chapter says the Commission shall make a report of its findings and recommendations on the proposed action.  He believes Stromberg is stating the Commission will make a report of their findings but base those on how this proposal meets the annexation approval standards as outlined.  The City Attorney, in the past, has directed the City Council that annexations fall under a different category in land use and the Council has some other discretionary options that even if they find all the approval criteria have been met, that they can consider other information.

 

Fields believes the Commission has enough information to make a recommendation to the Council for annexation.

 

Roll Call:  The motion carried with Dotterrer, Douma, Stromberg, Dawkins, Morris, Marsh, Black and Chapman voting “yes.”  Fields voted “no.”

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-00278 IS A REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW AND OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTIONS CHAPTER 18.88 OF AN ELEVEN-UNIT, ELEVEN LOT MULTI-FAMILY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 31 N. MOUNTAIN AVE.  A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT IS REQUESTED TO REMOVE FOUR TREES ON THE SITE.

APPLICANT: ARCHERD & DRESNER, LLC

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.  Fields and Morris each said they were doing work for Evan Archerd, declaring a potential conflict of interest. [Below is further discussion of the potential conflict of interest.]

 

STAFF REPORT

Harris gave a description of the site and project.  The Tree Commission’s two recommendations are included in the packet.  The main access to the property is by way of a public alley right-of-way.  From the alleyway, it is proposed to construct an L-shaped driveway that would access seven of the double car garages.  The remaining four would be accessed off the alley. 

 

There are two issues that have been raised by Staff.

1.    The public alley is 15 feet wide and connects North Mountain Avenue with Emerick Street.  The standard is 12 feet of driving surface and 16 feet of right-of-way.  On the eastern end, it appears some or all of the existing parking spaces (belonging to the art school) are intruding into that width required for the alley. What is on the ground appears to be different that what was shown in the art school redevelopment plan in 2002.   Staff is suggesting two possible ways to correct the situation.  a)  Reconfigure the existing spaces to get them out of the alley right-of-way or b) dedicate a greater area of alley right-of-way along that section of the alley so the full 16 feet of alley width is available.  Staff believes this can be addressed at Final Plan. 

 

2.    The parking bay on North Mountain Avenue is showing the equivalent of four parking spaces set in a bay.  Parking is not required but a proposal of the applicant.  It does provide guest parking in close proximity to the site, however, they lose the parkrow that would provide a buffer for pedestrians to the street.  They will lose the opportunity for street trees to provide a traffic calming benefit.  Staff has suggested the Planning Commission might want to consider reducing the size of the parking bay to two spaces. 

 

Staff has recommended approval of this application with 25 Conditions of approval.  There is a change to Condition 7, after the third sentence, insert a sentence:  Any encroachments in that alley right-of-way shall be identified in the Final Plan submittals and encroachments shall not be located in the minimum paved width of 12 feet and minimum clear width of 16 feet.

 

The Commissioners discussed the following items:

·        What is the back-up and turnaround room into and out of garages?  How far is the face of the garage to the alley?  Harris said it is 11 feet, 3 inches.  She did not believe there were any vision clearance issues, but a Condition has been added, just in case. 

·        The Engineering Department felt the highest priority for the overall traffic flow of the entire neighborhood is to maintain a two-way travel lane. 

·        It appears the art school parking is heavily used. 

 

Molnar suggested Commissioners Fields and Morris disclose the nature of their business relationship with Evan Archerd.  Fields said his current business relationship is on another project and he has no intention of becoming involved in a business relationship on this project.  Morris has a separate business relationship with Archerd.  He does not have any problem being impartial, nor does Fields.  Morris said he discussed this potential conflict of interest with the City Attorney.  Black is willing to proceed but she is not comfortable with their relationship with the applicant.  The other Commissioners felt Morris and Fields could be impartial.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

EVAN ARCHERD, 550 E. Main Street, believes this project meets the approval criteria in the findings presented. 

a.      They have no particular preference with regard to the parking bays along Mountain Avenue.  They proposed them because it seemed some parking would be beneficial. 

b.      Between now and Final Plan they will work out the parking encroachment into the alley. 

c.      Most of the units have a back-up or maneuvering area of about 22 to 26 feet. 

 

MIKE THORNTON, Thornton Engineering, 1236 Disk Drive, Suite 1, Medford, OR  97501 said they will provide at Final Plan more maneuvering room for the one difficult unit. 

 

Marsh said the residents won’t be able to park anyplace else but in their garages.  Guests will be forced to park outside the project.  Archerd noted that there are many items that are required to meet minimum density.  This project is at minimum density.

 

Archerd indicated they would plant trees at the top and bottom of the parking bays. 

 

Staff Response - Harris said the backup requirement is 22 feet.  All of the garages meet the standard.  The L-shaped access is driveway; not a private drive.  It is required to be 20 feet in width. 

 

Rebuttal – None.

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Dotterrer/Chapman m/s to approve PA2006-00078 including the four parking bay spaces on North Mountain Avenue. 

 

Dawkins stated he is not in favor of any parking bays.  The spaces will be used by the art school, during football games and events at the Havarah.  This is a major, gnarly intersection that anything we can do to eliminate more congestion and have just the two lanes is something he would rather see.

 

Chapman said for the reasons Dawkins mentioned is why there is a need for as many parking spaces as we can safely grant. 

 

Marsh said this project is going to have a terrible parking problem.  The trade-off is having a little curbside parking instead of a planting strip, however, she would like to see trees at the bumpouts, giving people a little feeling of safety.

 

Dotterrer/Chapman m/s to amend the motion to add a sentence to Condition 7 that would read as follows:  The preliminary engineering for proposed street and alley improvements shall be provided at Final Plan application.  Street and alley improvements shall be consistent with City of Ashland Street Standards.  The alley shall be improved to city standards for N. Mountain Avenue to Emerick Street.  Delete the last sentence and add this wording:  Any encroachments in the alley right-of-way shall be identified in the Final Plan submittals and encroachment shall not be located in the minimum paved width of 12 feet and minimum clear width of 16 feet.  Add Condition 27 that trees shall be added to the available parkrow areas.  Roll Call:  Unanimous.

 

Roll Call on original motion:  Unanimous.

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-00454 IS A REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTIONS CHAPTER 18.88 OF AN ELEVEN-UNIT, ELEVEN LOT MULTI-FAMILY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED 829- 857 N. MAIN ST.   THE PROPOSED SUBDIVISION CREATES AN INDIVIDUAL LOT FOR EACH OF THE EXISTING TOWNHOMES

APPLICANT: JERRY TONEY & URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Marsh, Morris, Fields, Stromberg, Dawkins, Douma and Dotterrer had a site visit. 

 

STAFF REPORT

Harris gave a brief Staff Report as outlined in the packet.  There are two issues – 1) The density of the project (14 units) is higher than the current standard (not quite 11).  The applicant has agreed to do an affordable housing unit as covered in Condition 6, and 2)  the lot has a flag pole that connects to Sheridan that is not a vehicular access.  When it was originally approved the flag pole had a pedestrian connection from Sheridan Street and was counted as open space.  The area is undeveloped but does not appear to go through.  It is not landscaped or finished off.  There appears to be a driveway access to the lot that may be partially located in the flag pole.  Condition 3 states this application would have to go to Final Plan.  A design for the path to be submitted with the Final Plan application as well as landscaping for that area and the improvement shall be installed prior to signature of the final plat.  3)  Remove the stumps and plant material with trees. 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

MARK DIRIENZO, Urban Development Services, LLC, 320 East Main, Suite 202, stated they are agreeable to the Conditions as they are written.  They will come back with the landscape plan adding the trees and planters.  The affordable unit is acceptable.  The units are all being rented.  The owner has been approached from some of the renters requesting to purchase their units. 

 

The pathway was improved to a decomposed granite pathway in 1990.  It is not being utilized by the existing residents.  They will bring a new plan back. 

 

DiRienzo wondered if the Commission would be open to an easement on the driveway encroachment that has occurred or does it have to strictly remain as it is today?  Harris said the Commission has the ability to adjust it.  DiRienzo said when they come back at Final Plan, whatever it is then, is how it will be forever.  The path needs to be a minimum of ten feet.

 

Black said the larger issue is the conversion of apartments to townhomes and the concern of losing rental stock.  DiRienzo said the homes are all under 1000 square feet. 

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Black wondered if the new homeowner’s association could develop the flag pole as an alley. 

 

THE PUBLIC HEARING WAS RE-OPENED.

DiRienzo said the flag pole is an area that will be dedicated as open space to the homeowner’s association.  It would be a pretty steep access point, if paved.  There are homes to the right and left of the flag.  He doubts they would be happy to have a flag. 

 

The public hearing was closed.

 

Dawkins/Dotterrer m/s to approve PA2006-00454 with the addition to Condition 3 that a driveway easement for the adjacent driveway may be permitted with a minimum of ten feet preserved for the pedestrian path connection.  Twenty feet in width shall be maintained for the property’s flag pole connection to Sheridan.  Roll Call:  Unanimously approved.

 

OTHER

There was a short discussion regarding the Housing Needs Analysis and the conversion of apartments to condominiums.  They would like to see the Housing Commission decipher this. 

 

Bring the Communications Guide back to the next meeting.

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

 

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