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August 8, 2006 Planning Commission

Minutes
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

AUGUST 8, 2006

                                    

CALL TO ORDER - Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 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, does not attend Planning Commission meetings in order to avoid conflict of interest.)

John Stromberg

Pam Marsh

 

Staff Present:

Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

Melanie Mindlin

 

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

Mike Morris

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Tom Dimitre

 

 

Absent Members:

 

 

Dave Dotterrer

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS – There will be a Study Session on Tuesday, August 22, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers.  Kate Jackson is scheduled to speak about regional planning.  However, Molnar said the Commission might be reviewing the Russell Street (Russ Dale) application at that meeting.  Their action will expire November 1st. 

 

Fields introduced and welcomed the newest member on the Planning Commission, Melanie Mindlin.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

July 11, 2006 Regular Meeting Minutes – On Page 2, Stromberg should have been included as a “no” vote in the motion asking Fields to step down from the hearing.  Marsh/Morris m/s to approve the amended minutes.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Stromberg would like to see the Commission request the City Council to direct the City Attorney to clarify the non-remonstrance agreement and correct the language, if necessary, that can be tied to applications where an applicant would be asked to sign in favor of a future LID.  The Commission agreed to put in on the August 22, 2006 Study Session agenda.

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-00612

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL TO CONSTRUCT A MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT COMPRISED OF 7,841 SQUARE FEET OF GENERAL OFFICE SPACE AND SIX RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUMS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 160 HELMAN ST. 

APPLICANT:  SISKIYOU LLC/JAMES BATZER

 

This action was postponed.

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-01091

REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTIONS CHAPTER 18.88 TO SUBDIVIDE THE PROPERTY INTO 14 LOTS INCLUDING 13 LOTS FOR SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES AND ONE LOT FOR OPEN SPACE PURPOSES FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 203 N. MOUNTAIN AVE.  A LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT IS INCLUDED IN THE PROPOSAL TO INCORPORATE THE WESTERN END OF THE PARCEL LOCATED AT 185 N. MOUNTAIN AVE (HAVURAH SHIR HADDASH JEWISH TEMPLE) INTO THE SUBDIVISION.  A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT IS REQUESTED TO REMOVE A 40-INCH DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT BLACK WALNUT TREE IN THE N. MOUNTAIN AVENUE STREET RIGHT-OF-WAY ADJACENT TO THE FRONT OF THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 203 N. MOUNTAIN AVE.

APPLICANT:  URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC

 

This action was postponed.

 

PLANNING ACTION 2006-01295

REQUEST FOR OUTLINE AND FINAL PLAN APPROVAL FOR A SEVEN LOT (SIX UNITS AND COMMON AREA) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS SUBDIVISION AT 795 PARK ST. AND 1849 SISKIYOU BLVD.  A VARIANCE TO THE OFF-STREET PARKING STANDARDS TO ALLOW FOR THE ELIMINATION OF A REQUIRED DISABLED PERSON PARKING SPACE, AND A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT TO REMOVE EIGHT TREES ARE ALSO REQUESTED. 

APPLICANT:  ROGUE VALLEY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts

Dimitre, Marsh and Morris had site visits.  Stromberg had a site visit but did not find anything of interest to report.  Dawkins had a site visit and rode his bike down the bank.  Fields had a drive-by site visit.  Mindlin did not have a site visit but saw a preliminary design for the project as part of a workshop she attended before being appointed as a Commissioner, but she drew no particular conclusions about the project.  Black did not have a site visit.

 

STAFF REPORT

Severson described the details of the project as outlined in the Staff Report.  He showed photos of the site.  Approximately 34 percent of the project area falls within the common landscaped area, but it is unclear whether this takes into account any additional impervious areas for walkways.  Condition 23 has been added asking for calculations, demonstrating compliance with lot coverage and recreation space requirements. 

 

Overall, Staff believes the Tree Removal Permit is justified.  The Tree Commission reviewed the application and made eight recommendations that can be found in the packet. 

 

The nature of the site is given as one reason in the applicant’s findings for “unique and unusual circumstances,” and the findings further state for that reason would preclude disabled persons from being involved in the project.  However, that would violate the requirements of RVCDC’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding requiring they are an Equal Opportunity provider.  Therefore, the applicant has submitted a letter since the preparation of their findings asking that statement to be disregarded.

 

There has been a request from the applicant for a Variance to the Off-Street Parking requirement to eliminate the disabled parking space.  A suggested condition has been added, allowing a disabled person’s parking space to be eliminated if it is approved by the local and State Building Division.  The Commission could consider the oak tree to be a unique or unusual element because the disabled person parking space aisle would be within the oak tree’s root zone. 

 

Staff has recommended approval with the attached Conditions.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

RON DEMELE, Executive Director, RVCDC, 165 Crocker Street, (P. O. Box 1733, Medford, OR  97501), passed around information on the Self-Help program.  Households work on the project for 32 hours per week.  The project will provide housing to individuals making less than 80 percent median income. The homes will stay affordable forever.  The owners sign a 99 year lease.  The homes stay in a land trust managed by RVCDC.  The price of the homes is set by the actual costs and will range from $127,000 for a two bedroom to $148,000 for a three bedroom.

 

Demele said if they had a disabled purchaser with special considerations, the floor plan of a unit could be adapted.  He added that someone else is allowed to do the sweat equity for a disabled person.

 

BRUCE ABELOE, Abeloe & Associates, 827 Alder Creek, Suite A, Medford, OR 97504, said they have found an exception in the code for the accessible parking space.  They would go through the appeal process with the Building Official and the State to obtain a favorable appeal to the exception.  It would be difficult for a disabled person with mobility issue to navigate the site due to so many stairs throughout the project.

 

Dimitre said there are many different types of disabilities.  He is not willing to agree to the exception.  What would it take to design the project to include it? 

 

Mindlin noted that rolling a trash can to the curb will be difficult if there a lot of steps to navigate.

 

Marsh asked if they looked at invading the front yard setback with the buildings or with a parking bay on Siskiyou.  Abeloe said they could fit two spaces on Siskiyou.  Marsh wondered if the project has no parking bay, could the buildings be moved forward into the front yard setback?  Doesn’t that free up more room in the parking lot?  Abeloe said there is a two-way slope and he can’t raise the site.  The bay in the front would make more sense.

 

Molnar talked with the Building Official and as of yesterday this project is exempt from the building code in terms of requiring a disabled parking space.  It is still required through the Land Use Ordinance. 

 

 Morris asked if they make ADA grade from the parking lot to the units.  Abeloe is working with Marquess Engineering. 

 

Staff Comments - None

 

Dimitre asked about the calculations for the landscaping for the common area.  Severson said they will want verification and added a Condition of approval.  Abeloe indicated he would provide the calculations.

 

Dimitre wondered what happens if an arborist says the oak tree cannot survive the project.  Molnar said they would see if there might be something the applicant could do to the current design through the adjustment of walkways or something else to mitigate it.  Once the Commission has approved the project, the footprint and parking areas are locked in.  There are some minor adjustments that can be made.  Abeloe said they won’t be doing much backhoeing near the tree.  If they need to use pavers for the sidewalk, they can do that. 

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Black/Marsh m/s to approve PA 2006-01295, Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation, 1849 Siskiyou Boulevard with the understanding that the request for a Variance has been removed from the application with the addition of the amendment to Condition 8 and the deletion of Condition 18.  [This motion was withdrawn and restated below.] 

 

Morris will have trouble approving the parking bay without knowing what it looks like with the landscape plan and how it will interface with other things such as a bus stop.  What would happen if the project is sold and there is no longer a need for a handicap space?    

 

Marsh believes the handicap parking is integral to the project.  It may not be required, but culturally, politically and perhaps even legally we have a commitment to provide disabled access, particularly to a project that has public funding.  We should be bending over backwards to make sure it is fully accessible to those with disabilities.  By adding the parking bay, the Commission has found a solution and she sees this as a permanent feature of the project.

 

Stromberg/Dimitre made a sub-motion to deny the Variance to eliminate a required disabled person parking space.  Roll Call:  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Black restated her motion.  Black/Marsh m/s to approve PA2006-01295, Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation, 1849 Siskiyou Boulevard and 795 Park Street with the removal of Condition 18 and a revision of Condition 8 to include a parking bay with two spaces on Siskiyou Boulevard.  Add a new Condition requiring a permanent handicap parking space.  Roll Call:  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

OTHER – There was no further business.

 

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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