Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Hearings Board

Minutes
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

HEARINGS BOARD

MINUTES

OCTOBER 10, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDERMike Morris called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

Council Liaison:

Mike Morris

Tom Dimitre

Melanie Mindlin

 

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

 

Absent Members: 

 

Staff Present:

None

 

Maria Harris, Senior Planner

 

 

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

 

 

Amy Anderson, Assistant Planner

Angela Barry, Assistant Planner

 

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Dimitre/Morris m/s to approve the minutes of the September 12, 2006 Hearings Board.  Voice Vote:  The minutes were approved. (Mindlin was not present at the 9/12/2006 meeting and abstained from the vote.)

 

TYPE I PLANNING ACTIONS

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01754

REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO CONVERT FOUR EXISTING APARTMENTS INTO FOUR CONDOMINIUMS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1875 VENTURA CIRCLE. 

APPLICANT: KATHERINE M. KENNEDY

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01755

REQUEST FOR FINAL PLAN APPROVAL UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION CHAPTER (AMC 18.88) FOR AN ELEVEN-UNIT, TWELVE-LOT MULTI-FAMILY DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 829-857 N. MAIN ST.  THE PROPOSED SUBDIVISION CREATES AN INDIVIDUAL LOT FOR EACH OF THE ELEVEN EXISTING TOWNHOMES AND A TWELFTH LOT AS COMMON AREA. 

APPLICANT: JERRY TONEY

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01692

REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO CONVERT EIGHT (8) EXISTING TOWNHOUSE APARTMENTS TO EIGHT (8) CONDOMINIUM UNITS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATION AT 420–436 CHESTNUT STREET.

APPLICANT: JONATHAN P. & TERRY L. TURRELL

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01792

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL TO CONSTRUCT AN APPROXIMATELY 1,500 SQUARE FOOT GEODESIC DOME, NATIVE PLANT NURSERY STRUCTURE FOR FORESTRY RELATED EDUCATION AND AN APPROXIMATELY THIRTY-FOUR FOOT TALL WEATHER STATION TOWER FOR THE SCIENCE WORKS PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1500 EAST MAIN STREET.

APPLICANT: SCIENCE WORKS

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01569

REQUEST FOR A SOLAR ACCESS WAIVER FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 294 & 308 AVERY STREET AND A MODIFICATION OF THE LAND PARTITION APPROVAL (PA 2006-00085) CREATING THE LOT WHICH REQUIRED THAT NEW STRUCTURES MEET SOLAR SETBACK STANDARD A.  THE OWNER OF THE ADJOINING PROPERTY TO THE NORTH AT 280 AVERY STREET HAS AGREED TO THE ADDITIONAL SHADING BEYOND THAT ALLOWED BY ORDINANCE. 

APPLICANT: GAYLORD & BETTY DIANE BUCK

 

This action stands approved.

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01548

REQUEST FOR A MODIFICATION OF A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED SITE REVIEW (PA 2005-01673) FOR A MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT LOCATED AT 1651 ASHLAND ST., WITHIN THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW ZONE.  THE PREVIOUS APPROVAL WAS FOR TWO, THREE-STORY MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS CONSISTING OF OFFICE AND RETAIL USES ON THE GROUND FLOORS, AND A TOTAL OF 23 RESIDENTIAL UNITS ON THE FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS.  THE MODIFICATIONS TO THE ORIGINAL APPROVAL PROPOSED HERE INVOLVE A REDESIGN OF THE SOUTH ELEVATION, ALONG THE ASHLAND STREET SIDE OF BUILDING #1, AND THE CONVERSION OF TWO OF THE FOUR AFFORDABLE UNITS TO AN ALTERNATIVE AFFORDABILITY STANDARD BEING PROPOSED BY THE APPLICANT.   

APPLICANT: KIRT MEYER

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte ContactsThere were none.

 

STAFF REPORT

Severson explained the proposal as outlined in the Staff Report.  In December, 2005, the applicant proposed four affordable units.  The request is to convert two of the four affordable units to an alternative affordable standard and to redesign the south elevation along the Ashland Street frontage of Building 1.  Only two units would typically be required as affordable units but since the applicant proposed four units, it was made a condition of approval.  The applicant has now said because of the increases in construction costs, interest rates and the slowing in the real estate market, the economic viability of their project is in jeopardy.  The two units would have a $225,000 sales price versus an approximately $148,000 sales price that would have been required previously.  They also would retain the rental levels so if the units are rented, they will be rented at the City’s affordability standards.  The proposal also adds in a ten percent annual appreciation in the sales price of the units.  Severson reviewed information provided by the City’s Housing Specialist, showing how their request it is not far out of line with the current affordability standards.  However, adding the ten percent annual appreciation would in ten years raise the sales price to 215 percent of median income needed to afford a $583,000 sales price.  Staff doesn’t agree that it meets the intent of providing four affordable units.  However, only two units are required to be affordable under our ordinance. 

 

With regard to the modification to the Ashland Street façade, Severson said it is Staff’s opinion that the proposed change is a significant modification to the way Building 1 relates to the pedestrian environment on Ashland Street, and while it still incorporates changes in height, size, mass and direction, it seems to have lost some of the human scale relationship to the streetscape that was provided by the buffering affect of the larger third floor deck space.  Staff believes the addition of the two tower elements draws the third story mass of the building forward and anchors it so that it seems to tower over the pedestrian corridor. 

 

If the Commission chooses to approve this application, five conditions have been included in the Staff Report.

 

Harris noted it is 18 feet from the back of the sidewalk to the front of the building.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, is the agent & architect for the project.  Giordano reiterated that only two affordable units are required.  They are requesting two modified affordable units.  The rentals would stay the same.  Because of the construction costs, interest rates and slower markets, the applicant is concerned about getting some return on the units.  He believes the design does meet, if not exceeds, the Design Standards Guideline.  He’s explained the design modification thoroughly in his application.  The modification is not a solid wall, but varying roof levels.  Most of the building is much further back than required, still creating a human scale pedestrian walkway.  There is also about five percent incline from the sidewalk.  If anything, the building will be lower down on the site by about a foot.

 

Mindlin said the two additional affordable units came as part of the first hearings process and something was given to the applicant for that.  She feels like the program the applicant has laid out starts out fine, but goes too far too fast in terms of pulling it away from affordability.  She wondered if the applicant would be open to a revised affordability that is not as generous as the one proposed.

 

Giordano said it will cost $225,000 to build each of the two units.

 

KIRT MEYER, 678 Park Street, said the ten percent annual increase was a proposal, but they are not necessarily set on it. 

 

Mindlin suggested the two units could fall under the current ordinance.  Harris noted that the current standard keeps the affordability for 30 years instead of 20.

 

Negotiations between the Commissioner and the applicant ensued. 

 

Dimitre asked with regard to the towers and the setback, what alternatives are viable, or is what is being presented the only thing they can do?  Giordano believes they meet the setback for the front surface and they meet the guidelines.   He just doesn’t agree with Staff’s concerns.

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Affordable Units – The Commission discussed going with the current standard or continuing the hearing to give the applicants more time to study their options.   

 

Towers – Dimitre said the Planning Commission approved this previously and he does not want to approve the modification because he is concerned about how much more imposing the alternative will be on pedestrians.  He is disappointed there are not more alternatives.  Mindlin and Morris are not that concerned with the towers and the way the front façade is broken up. 

 

MORRIS RE-OPENED THE PUBLIC HEARING

Meyer will accept doing two affordable units under the earlier standards and two under the current standards if they are allowed to gain the additional square footage. 

 

THE PUBLIC HEARING WAS CLOSED

 

COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Dimitre moved to continue the meeting for 30 days and have 30 days added to the 120 day timeline so they can investigate timelines for the third and fourth units.  The motion failed for lack of a second.

 

Mindlin/Morris m/s to approve PA2006-01548, adding a condition that two of the four affordable units will use the current affordability standard program set by the City and two under the previous program, and approve the modified design of the building façade along Ashland Street.  Roll Call:  The motion carried with Dimitre voting “no.”

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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