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Planning Commission Hearings Board Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

HEARINGS BOARD

MINUTES

NOVEMBER 14, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDER – Commissioner Mike Morris called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

Council Liaison:

Mike Morris

Tom Dimitre

Pam Marsh (stepped down for PA2006-01548)

Melanie Mindlin (for PA2006-01548 only

 

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

 

 

Angela Barry, Assistant Planner

 

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

 

Marsh was present for the Type I Planning Actions.  She stepped down and did not participate in the Reconsideration, PA2006-01548, 1651 Ashland Street.  Mindlin, because she was in attendance at the last meeting, stepped in for the Reconsideration only, PA2006-01548, 1651 Ashland Street, but did not participate in the Type I Planning Actions.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT – Morris announced that PA-2006-2014, 531 Lakota Way, had been called up for a public hearing and will not be heard today.  And, PA2006-01999 has been postponed and will not be heard today.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Dimitre/Morris m/s to approve the minutes of the October 10, 2006 Hearings Board.  Voice Vote:  Approved.  (Marsh did not vote as she was not present at the meeting of October 10, 2006.)

 

TYPE I PLANNING ACTION

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01553

REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO IMPLEMENT A COMPREHENSIVE SIGNAGE PROGRAM FOR ASHLAND COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, FOR THE PROPERTIES LOCATED AT 280 MAPLE ST. AND 560 CATALINA DR.  THE PROPOSAL INVOLVES THE INSTALLATION OF FOUR NEW SIGNS TO REPLACE SIX EXISTING EXTERIOR GROUND SIGNS, RESULTING IN A NET REDUCTION IN THE TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE OF SIGNAGE. THE SIGNS ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE DIRECTIONS TO THE PARKING AND ENTRIES. 

APPLICANT:  ASHLAND COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01786

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL AND A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO AN EXISTING NON-CONFORMING COMMERCIAL SITE AND BUILDING (FORMERLY TRINITY LANES BOWLING ALLEY) LOCATED WITHIN THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW ZONE AT 1505 SISKIYOU BLVD.  THE PROPOSED MODIFICATION WOULD INCLUDE EXTERIOR UPGRADES TO THE EXISTING BUILDING, PARKING AND LANDSCAPING, AND WOULD CREATE FIVE RETAIL TENANT SPACES AND ONE RESTAURANT TENANT SPACE.  THE DEVELOPMENT IS SUBJECT TO DETAIL SITE REVIEW AND LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS.

APPLICANT:  MEISTER

 

The Commissioners discussed the deferral of the sidewalk improvement.  They were concerned that it might not ever get improved if a new building isn’t built on the site.  Harris said if the sidewalk improvement is deferred, there would be an opportunity to design the sidewalk around the new building and perhaps locate a public space or plaza space in front of a potential new building. 

 

Dimitre moved to call this action up for a public hearing as he did not feel the burden of proof had been met by the applicant with regard to the Site Design issues. The motion died for lack of a second. 

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-02017

REQUEST FOR A MODIFICATION OF A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED SITE REVIEW AT 180 CLEAR CREEK DR.  THE PROPERTY IS LOCATED IN THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW ZONE.  THE PREVIOUS APPROVAL ALLOWED CONSTRUCTION OF A TWO-STORY MIXED-USE BUILDING WITH UNDERGROUND PARKING BELOW, AND INCLUDED AN ADMINISTRATIVE VARIANCE TO EXCEED THE FLOOR AREA RATIO.  THE MAXIMUM FLOOR AREA RATIO (FAR) LIMIT IS TYPICALLY 0.50 AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE VARIANCE ALLOWED AN FAR OF 0.66.  THE MODIFICATION PROPOSED HERE WOULD RECONFIGURE THE INTERIOR SPACE TO ALLOW THREE RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUMS WHERE ONLY TWO WERE PREVIOUSLY APPROVED, AND MINOR EXTERIOR CHANGES WOULD BE MADE TO ENTRIES, DOORS AND WINDOWS TO REFLECT THE INTERIOR RECONFIGURATION.  NO INCREASE IN THE BUILDING SIZE OR FLOOR AREA IS PROPOSED WITH THIS MODIFICATION.   

APPLICANT:  NEAL KINZIE/WEST VISTA COMMUNICATIONS

 

Harris noted an e-mail that the Commission received from Colin Swales.

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-01507

REQUEST FOR A MINOR LAND PARTITION TO CREATE TWO SINGLE-FAMILY PARCELS FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 805 HILLVIEW DR.  THE APPLICATION ALSO INCLUDES A REQUEST FOR AN EXCEPTION TO THE STREET STANDARDS TO ELIMINATE THE REQUIRED SEVEN FOOT PARKROW BETWEEN THE SIDEWALK AND THE STREET ON THE HILLVIEW DR. PROPERTY FRONTAGE.

APPLICANT:  LARRY KELLEMS/GARY SMITH

 

This action stands approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-02014

REQUEST FOR A MODIFICATION OF A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED BUILDING ENVELOPE FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATION AT 531 LAKOTA WAY.  THE BUILDING ENVELOPE MODIFICATION REQUEST IS TO REDUCE THE SIDE YARD SETBACK ON THE WEST SIDE FROM 20 FEET TO 10 FEET TO ACCOMMODATE PREVIOUSLY APPROVED DRIVEWAY LOCATION. 

APPLICANT:  RON MARCHETTI/STERLING GATE DESIGN

 

This action was called up for a public hearing by a neighbor.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-02025 REQUEST FOR A FINAL PLAN APPROVAL FOR AN 11-UNIT MULTI-FAMILY SUBDIVISION UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION, CHAPTER 18.88 LOCATED AT 31 N. MOUNTAIN AVE.

APPLICANT: ARCHERD & DRESNER LLC

 

This action stands approved.

 

RECONSIDERATION OF A PLANNING ACTION

PLANNING ACTION 2006-01548

REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION DECISION REACHED AT THE OCTOBER 10, 2006 PLANNING COMMISSION HEARINGS BOARD MEETING ON A REQUEST FOR A MODIFICATION OF A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED SITE REVIEW (PA2005-01673) FOR A MIXED-USE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT LOCATED AT 1651 ASHLAND ST., WITHIN THE DETAIL SITE REVIEW ZONE.  THE APPLICANT HAS REQUESTED THAT THE PLANNING COMMISSION RECONSIDER THE AFFORDABILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR TWO NON-MANDATORY AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS. 

APPLICANT: KIRT MEYER

 

Marsh left the meeting and Mindlin stepped up to participate.

 

STAFF REPORT

Severson reminded the Commissioners that during the last month’s meeting, the applicant agreed to provide four affordable units, two units to be subject to the affordability requirements under the current standard and two under the previous standard that was in affect under their initial approval in December, 2005.  After the meeting, the applicant met with the City’s Housing Specialist and determined that he did not believe that those affordable requirements would serve the project and would probably threaten the liability of the project.

 

After talking to the applicant, Staff felt it would be a more efficient use of staff time and potentially the Council, if this group would be willing to reconsider their decision from the last meeting.  The applicant has provided a written request for reconsideration.  It was noticed as a public hearing.  The Hearings Board is not required to re-visit this.  The Assistant City Attorney believes the bases have been covered as far as noticing.  The Commission can opt to reconsider and open the public hearing, or they can opt not to reconsider, but still open the public hearing and give the public an opportunity to speak.

 

Staff feels the Commission needs to look at the possibility of whether requiring the applicant to provide those two additional affordable units will jeopardize the project and cost the two affordable units that are required by ordinance. 

 

RICHARD APPICELLO, Assistant City Attorney, said the Hearings Board made a tentative oral decision at the last meeting.  They will be asked to make a final written decision today.  Between the oral decision and the final decision, they received information asking for a reconsideration.  The meeting was advertised in order to give an opportunity for rebuttal. 

 

MORRIS RE-OPENED THE PUBLIC HEARING

 

Ex Parte Contacts – Dimitre, Morris and Mindlin stated that he read through all the information in the packet and read the e-mail from Swales.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

KIRT MEYER, said he did a feasibility study based upon today’s market as opposed to last year when the project was approved.  He handed it out to the Hearings Board members.  The housing market has taken a sharp decline in the last year.  They are showing about a $50,000 decrease in projected income per unit.  He believes anyone who would qualify for a $242,000 loan wouldn’t be interested in investing in an affordable unit because it is based on the appreciation of the median income in Oregon (typically three percent) and secondly it is locked into affordability for 30 years.

 

COLIN MULANE, 133 Wagner Butte Avenue, Talent, projected a higher sales price on the original development.  There is a downward pressure on the final sales price specifically on condominiums in Ashland.  There are number of different projects that are on the market.  Most notably and comparable homes are located on McCall Drive.  There has not been a single sale sold or pending.  He believes this trend could continue for the next 18 months.

 

Meyer said if they build this, the interest will be about $30,000 per month. 

 

Mindlin said basically what Meyer is saying is that no one would want to be under the equity limitation program when it’s only going to cost $8,000 more than what he’d sell the affordable units for.  Meyer agreed and said that a buyer would not be bound for 30 years when for $8000 more you can do whatever you want.

 

Meyer is proposing eliminating the two additional affordable units and asking that they be sold on the open market like all the rest of them and only do the two required affordable units.

 

COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, thought a reconsideration would take place in a more timely manner.  He would like to discourage the reconsideration because he feels it undermines a very circumscribed process.  His concern is that anyone involved in real estate isn’t guaranteed to make a profit on a project.  It’s a risky market and shouldn’t be a reason to approve a reconsideration.  This project is in a C-1 zone and it meets the bare minimum square footage for commercial (65%).

 

Appicello said Swales is correct in stating that the reconsideration is not clear.  The code needs to be amended stating under what circumstances a reconsideration can occur.  The ability to reconsider should be narrowed.  Appicello stated that when the applicant made representation at the first approval and stated what they would agree to do, they are bound by that.  The Hearings Board can amend it.

 

Rebuttal – Mulane said statistics are compared from one month to one month (comparing October 2005 and October 2006, not October 2005 through October 2006).

 

Meyer said if the project is not feasible for him to do, instead of having four affordable units for Ashland, there might be zero affordable units on a bare piece of land.

 

MORRIS CLOSED THE PUBLIC HEARING

Mindlin said this is thorny because the ordinance doesn’t require it.  Because it is a commercial zone, the applicant has the option to appeal or reapply.  She is leaning toward letting their last decision hold.

 

Dimitre doesn’t see the housing market as a reason to change their decision.  

 

Morris said this seems to be what happens when the Planning Commission proposes solutions.  It was his feeling that at the first meeting the two additional units were proposed in order to gain approval.  He wonders if the housing part of this project will subsidize the commercial.  He doesn’t want to lose the two required units. 

 

Dimitre/Mindlin m/s to adopt the Findings as proposed.  Roll Call:  The motion carried unanimously.    

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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