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July 11, 2006 Regular Planning Commission Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

JULY 11, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDER

Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, OR.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black

 

Kate Jackson (Council Liaison, does not attend Planning Commission meetings in order to avoid conflict of interest.)

John Stromberg

Pam Marsh

 

Staff Present:

Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

Dave Dotterrer

 

Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Mike Morris

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Tom Dimitre

 

 

Absent Members:

 

 

None

 

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES & FINDINGS

Dotterrer/Stromberg m/s to approve the Planning Commission Regular Meeting minutes for June 13, 2006.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

Marsh/Morris m/s to approve the continued Planning Commission Regular Meeting for June 27, 2006.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower, continued with Dolan v. Tigard case presentation (4th in a series) pointing out how much trouble cities will go to rather than respond to the public interest and the rights of property owners.

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING

PLANNING ACTION 2006-00078 (CONTINUED FROM JUNE 27, 2006)

REQUEST FOR AN OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTIONS CHAPTER 18.88 TO SUBDIVIDE THE PROPERTY INTO 20 LOTS INCLUDING 17 LOTS FOR NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES, TWO LOTS FOR OPEN SPACE PURPOSES, AND ONE LOT TO CONTAIN THE EXISTING STRUCTURES ON THE SITE, FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 247 OTIS STREET.  AN EXCEPTION TO STREET STANDARDS IS REQUESTED TO ALLOW A MEANDERING SIDEWALK ALONG THE OTIS STREET FRONTAGE TO PRESERVE EXISTING MATURE TREES.

APPLICANT:  SAGE DEVELOPMENT, LLC

 

Molnar said that Mr. Bullock asked right before the meeting convened tonight if Staff had received an e-mail he sent approximately eight days ago.  None of the Staff present at tonight’s meeting received his report.  Bullock had said it was quite lengthy.  Molnar said Staff does not have any reason to doubt Bullock sent the submittal.  One option for the Commission would be to allow Bullock’s report to be entered into the record so it is part of the record, but the Commission would not have an opportunity to discuss it.  The applicant had checked with Staff on more than one occasion to see if any new information had come to the Planning office.

 

Fields said he thought the burden was on Bullock to verify the report had reached the Planning office.  Dotterrer agreed. 

 

The notice mailed to property owners stated the public hearing is closed and no testimony or written comment would be taken. 

 

It was decided Bullock’s report would be entered into the record. Fields did not open the public hearing and it will not be considered at tonight’s meeting.  Molnar said if someone appeals this application to the Council, the Council appeal is heard de novo. 

 

Dotterrer/Marsh m/s that the issue of Bullock’s report not be brought before the Commission tonight and that the Commission continue with deliberations on this action and that no more public testimony will be taken.  Roll Call:  The motion carried with Marsh, Dotterrer, Black, Fields and Morris voting “yes” and Stromberg, Dawkins, Dimitre voting “no.”

 

STAFF REPORT

Staff did not have any follow-up.  There is a letter from Cyndi Dion in the packet.  There was no response from the applicant to the information that was submitted. 

 

Point of Order – Bullock said the Commissioners had not disclosed their ex parte contacts and the content of the site visits.  At the last meeting it came out during discussion that there was a sulfur smell in the area of the wellhead.   Bullock asked for the opportunity to respond and rebut the site visit information.   He HeIn the report that was not received, he asked that Fields recuse himself for failure to disclose a bias.

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Fields asked for any new ex parte contacts or site visits. 

Dotterrer, Dawkins and Stromberg had not revisited the site since their first visits.

Black had a site visit before the first hearing.  She drove by the street and noticed they have cut the hay.

Fields walked the site before the last meeting, but nothing new since then.  He was impressed by the actual spring and how it bubbled up and how clear it was, recognizing it as a resource.

Marsh walked the site before the first hearing.

Dimitre had a second site visit.

Morris had two site visits.  He reported his ex parte contact at the last meeting.

 

The Commission needs to decide amongst themselves if Fields should step down.  Marsh could not see any reason whatsoever that Fields should recuse himself.  Marsh said Bullock’s reason for asking Fields to step down is because Fields was unable to describe all the thoughts that he had in his head when he went to observe the site.  Marsh said that would be beyond what most of the Commissioners do.

 

Bullock came forward to clarify.  He directed his comments to the bias.  At the last meeting, Fields said he’d had a site visit.  Bullock understood the site visit to be a drive-by.  There are No Trespassing signs posted on the property.  That was not disclosed.  The public was not aware there were sulfur smells at the wellhead until Fields cut off the discussion when Black tried to bring up the sulfur smells.  By cutting off the conversation, Fields disallowed any discussion of this damage to the public interest which Bullock believes is evidence of a bias based on an undisclosed ex parte contact. 

 

Fields responded that he trespassed and did not talk to the property owner.  He didn’t believe the sulfur smell was relevant.  He made a judgment call because he was physically within ten feet of the water and found no sulfur smell. 

 

Black felt that she was shut down in the conversation at the last meeting because she believed the sulfur content of the water was an issue and part of the definition of a public resource.  Black/Stromberg m/s that Fields be asked to step down from this hearing.  Roll Call:  Black cast the only “yes” vote and Stromberg, Dotterrer, Dawkins, Dimitre, Marsh and Morris voted “no.”  Fields abstained.  The motion failed and Fields continued as Chair. 

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Harris said the last set of Conditions was in the Staff Report dated June 27, 2006.  On Page 10 is Condition 33 that addresses the wellhead and associated spring.  The only thing that has been changed is some “shall” language.  The Condition has seven components as noted on Page 2 of the Staff Report (June 27, 2006).

 

Harris said it has not been established if they need a water right.  If they do, it is covered in Condition 34.  The Legal Department has provided Staff this information.

 

Black does not believe they have given the Commission adequate information regarding the natural resources to know if the proposed layout is adequate.  Black/Dimitre m/s to deny PA2006-00078 for lack of adequate information regarding the natural resources on this application and that they do not meet the Performance Standards Options. 

 

Dimitre said his concern is that we still don’t know where the well exists or how big the easement would be.  He would be more comfortable if there was a map that showed the size of the area.  He also believes the wetlands are a significant resource and should be protected and preserved, particularly on Lot 18.  The standards indicate that the Commission has some subjective discretion.  Are the wetlands considered significant features?  Should they be considered unbuildable?  The Planning Commission has discretion concerning whether we decide to have the wetlands filled.

 

Molnar said Dimitre is correct.  The hardest line would be no mitigation.  In the past, there has usually been a balance.

 

Dawkins said it is subjective because the wetlands can move around.  He would rather have the State as the final arbiter. 

 

Dotterrer said this is Outline Plan and he believes there have been enough Conditions placed on the application that they will be addressed at Final Plan.

 

Molnar reminded the Commission that though they can be stricter with the wetlands, they are also planners and sometimes it might make better sense from a design standpoint to allow for mitigation.  They are trying to find a balance.

 

Harris said they have submitted their application for wetland delineation to the State and the applicants have adjusted their Outline Plan.

 

Roll Call:  Black and Dimitre voted “yes” and Marsh, Dawkins, Stromberg, Fields, Dotterrer and Morris voted “no.”  The motion to deny the application failed.

 

Marsh/Dotterrer m/s approval of Outline Plan under the Performance Standards Options for PA2006-00078.  This would include an Exception to the Street Standards as specified in the Staff Report.  Add to Condition 33 a statement that if Lot 18 is ever developed that first right of access to the water from the well/spring be offered to the full homeowners’ association. 

 

Marsh said she believes in working through these hearings, we have managed to craft a project that addresses the requirements of the Performance Standards Options.  We have done as well as we can in terms of preserving the natural features of the site.  The spring/well is the most prominent feature of the site and the developer has come back with an option that at least gives us the capability of preserving that water for use of the homeowners’ association.  It has been asked if the homeowners can absorb the weight of responsibility of care for all the natural features.  The developer is going to have to market this to people who like wetlands and wells and enjoy taking care of them because this is a subdivision with some very unique qualities. We need to look at this project in the context of the neighborhood.  The preservation of the fairly large wetland on the west side of the project is a significant statement.  Dotterrer agreed.

 

Harris said the language in Condition 33 could read “If Lot 18 is ever partitioned or divided in the future…”  Marsh said the point is to acknowledge the current owner has an emotional and physical tie to the water source.  Should they relinquish that through the subdivision of Lot 18, then the homeowners in total should have access to the natural resource. 

 

Dawkins doesn’t see any protection of the pool.  He is also disappointed the applicants didn’t bring any affordable housing to the project. 

 

Stromberg asked if consistent terminology can be used throughout the documents when referring to the wellhead and associated spring to describe the natural feature.  He also believes it should be stated someplace that the applicants have agreed that the wellhead and associated spring shall be considered a significant natural feature under the language of this ordinance to be preserved or included in some open space.  We need to be explicit about this.  Molnar said Staff could make a specific finding.

 

Black is opposed to the Outline Plan as presented.  We don’t have the authority to give a water right to the homeowners’ association.  She read the letter from Harold Center that had previously been included in the record.

 

Dimitre is concerned about approving the easement because we don’t know where it is or how big it is.  

 

Morris likes the Earth Advantage aspect of the project. 

 

Roll Call:  The motion to approve carried with Dotterrer, Dawkins, Fields, Morris, Marsh and Stromberg voting “yes” and Dimitre and Black voting “no.” 

 

PA2006-000612 HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

 

Fields left the meeting due to a conflict of interest on the next action. Vice Chair Michael Dawkins stepped in to chair the meeting.

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-0190

REQUEST FOR AN OUTLINE PLAN, FINAL PLAN AND SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR A FOUR-LOT, EIGHT-UNIT, MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 41 GARFIELD STREET.  TWO NEW UNITS ARE PROPOSED IN A SEPARATE COMMON-WALL STRUCTURE ON TWO PARCELS, AND THE EXISTING SIX-UNIT BUILDING WILL BE LOCATED ON A SEPARATE PARCEL.

APPLICANT:  JOHN FIELDS & HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts

Morris had a site visit and he has framed a couple of Habitat Houses.  Marsh and Dawkins had a site visit.  Black had a drive-by site visit, parked in front and looked over the gravel patch in front. Stromberg had a site visit.  He drove into the parking lot, turned around and looked at it from the back side and wondered if there would be enough parking.  Dotterrer had a site visit from the street.  Dimitre did not have a site visit.

 

STAFF REPORT

Harris reviewed the Staff Report.  Staff is recommending approval with the 22 suggested Conditions. 

 

Dotterrer asked about the Tree Commission’s recommendation #1 for street pavers connecting the sidewalk to the street.  Harris said that oftentimes what happens with on-street parking is that passengers unload from the car, and they tend to step on whatever plant material is there.  They are recommending that in those places, that the applicants install some kind of pervious paving.

 

Stromberg wondered under Condition 13 why parking in the driveway is prohibited.  Harris said it is a way to ensure the driveway doesn’t get parked in and so everyone that lives there is made aware of it.  There has been a parking space there but the area will be made into just a driveway and by writing it in the CC&R’s, helps it to be self-enforcing.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

NICK HALE, 2945 Highway 238, Jacksonville, OR, said he is the project manager for Habitat for Humanity.  The single story three-bedroom home will be wheelchair accessible.  All the downstairs doors will be three feet wide. 

 

TOM BRADLEY, Vice President of Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) said the money that Habitat is paying ACLT ($45,000 per lot) is to reimburse ACLT for monies spent to purchase the land from the homeowner.  They will own the land in perpetuity.   

 

Marsh asked if they contemplate a monthly homeowners’ association fee.  Bradley said typically they would ask to pay a $70 per year administrative fee.  

 

Harris said Condition 11 should be removed because they meet the affordability requirement with six units that are affordable.  Condition 11 technically isn’t in line with the approval criteria. 

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSS AND MOTION

Dotterrer/Dimitre m/s to approve PA2006-01090 except Condition 11 that can be deleted.

 

Marsh believes this project speaks to affordability and every unit counts.  She appreciates the fact there are 3 to 4 bedroom units.

 

Roll Call:  The motion carried unanimously.  (Fields had left the meeting and did not participate in the hearing or voting.)

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

 

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