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Planning Commission

Minutes
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

 

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

JANUARY 9, 2007

MINUTES

 

CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 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:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin

 

Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Mike Morris

 

Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Tom Dimitre

 

Richard Appicello, Assistant City Attorney

Dave Dotterrer

 

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Absent Members:  None

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS – Fields introduced and welcomed David Stalheim, the City’s new Community Development Director.

 

There will be a study session on January 23, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers. Bob Parker, ECONorthwest will review the draft Economic Opportunities Analysis.  The Council will be invited to attend.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Dawkins moved to approve the minutes of the December 12, 2006 Regular Planning Commission meeting.  Black asked for a correction on page 2, paragraph 4. The third sentence should read:  She doesn’t feel the bulk and scale against the sidewalk is out of character with other historic examples in Ashland and in southern Oregon.   Stromberg seconded the motion.  Voice Vote:  The minutes were approved as corrected.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower, gave the Commission an update on the current court case concerning the Park Street apartments converting to condominiums.  With regard to the Commission’s process, he said that there has been considerable ambiguity surrounding the request for a continuance of a planning action.  He thought the findings should be approved at the same meeting at which the action is approved. 

 

COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, said he recalled some time back the subject of the findings was discussed by the Commission.  He thought the previous Planning Director had said that findings could be written that were straightforward and referred back to the record and videotape of the findings.

 

RICHARD APPICELLO, Assistant City Attorney, corrected some of the statements concerning requests for a continuance and further explained how an extension to the 120 day limit is requested and granted. 

 

Fields announced that PA2006-01787, 479 Russell Street, has been postponed.

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

PLANNING ACTION 2006- 2006-01784

REQUEST FOR A PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS REVIEW PERMIT FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE WRIGHTS CREEK FLOODPLAIN AND RIPARIAN PRESERVATION AREA FOR THE IMPROVEMENT AND WIDENING OF A PORTION OF AN EXISTING DRIVEWAY, RE-GRADING OF A PORTION OF GRANDVIEW DRIVE AND THE EXTENSION OF UTLIITIES TO SERVE A NEW SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE FOR THE PROPERTY LOCTED AT 720 GRANDVIEW DRIVE .

APPLICANT:  LYNN AND BILL MCDONALD

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Black had a site visit and used the Jackson County Front Counter website to look at all the county lands located to the west of the property.  She understood the County is going through a process to extend their driveway ordinances for fire upgrades.   Dotterrer had a site visit and just looked at the driveway portion.  Dawkins and Morris had a site visit.  Stromberg, Fields, Mindlin, Dimitre and Marsh did not have a site visit. 

 

STAFF REPORT

Harris noted three items were handed out tonight to the Commissioners:  A request for a continuance dated January 5th, a memo from Bonnie Broderson and letter from Thornton Engineering both dated January 9, 2007.  The request for continuance also included a request to leave the record open for seven days.  Staff is recommending leaving the record open for seven days. 

 

Harris gave a history of this action as outlined in the Staff Report beginning with a request for a building permit  The applicant is trying to address alleged assignments of error that were brought up in the appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) through a local process.   If there are questions on elements other than the Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit, the Commissioners should wait until they deliberate to discuss them.    

 

Harris described the proposal also outlined in the Staff Report.  The Physical Constraints Permit covers development in the Wright’s Creek Floodplain Corridor land.  There are four things happening in the protected area:  1)  The re-grading of Grandview Drive to come in line with the new paved driveway, 2) the paving of the existing driveway, widened to meet a fire apparatus access road requirement of 15 feet where shared and 12 feet where it splits into the two distinct pieces, 3) build a utility corridor to connect the new single family home to the existing utilities farther up Grandview Drive, and 4)  a private storm drain for storm drainage from the house that enters the Wright’s Creek Floodplain as well as an energy dissipater at the end (rocks to slow the water).  In this proposal most of the driveway and the single family home are not located in the Floodplain.    

 

Staff believes the application meets the approval criteria for a Physical Constraints Permit.  The proposal minimizes the impact because they have located the driveway in the location of the existing driveway.  They are trying to stay within the area that’s already been disturbed and the same for the utility corridor connection.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

MARK BARTHOLOMEW, 717 Murphy Road, Medford, OR  97504, represents the applicant.  They do not object to leaving the record open for seven days.  They would like to have seven days to respond, and reserve time for oral rebuttal at tonight’s meeting.  They agreed to a voluntary remand because there was some question as to whether there was a discretionary element in how the length of the driveway was measured.  By having a public hearing remedies one of the assignments of error. 

 

They have done everything they can to mitigate any adverse impacts in the area by the plan they submitted.  They are following the existing driveway, using pervious asphalt to minimize runoff and will obtain an easement from a neighbor to allow the applicant to traverse the neighbor’s property in order to stay as far away from the creek and top of bank as possible.  They are going to be placing rock outfall to slow down the water and prevent erosion. 

 

The Staff Report and Bartholomew covered the Assignments of Error. 

 

TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way and MIKE THORNTON, Thornton Engineering, 1236 Disk Drive, Medford, OR  97504 spoke.  Thornton referred the Commissioners to Sheet 1 that showed the changes on his drawing.  He said FEMA doesn’t map these creeks.  The City’s 1989 Floodplain Corridor doesn’t map the streams either.  They have proposed the improvements will be at grade.  All the work they have done is within the existing gravel roadways. 

 

Mindlin asked if the utility trenches could be moved farther from the top of bank.  Thornton thought that would be possible. 

 

NANCY LOUIE, 507 Grandview Drive, lives nearby in the county.  The driveway is a single lane gravel driveway.  It cuts through her lot, and the fork of Wright’s Creek goes onto her property.  They just need to take care of the creek and she is confident the Planning Commission will be able to figure it out.

 

LLOYD HAINES, 96 N. MAIN STREET, owns the lot abutting the McDonald’s lot.  He does not oppose the application and believes it will be an asset to the community.  It will not adversely impact his lot or the other lots in that area. 

 

LYNN MCDONALD, 8621 Oak Branch Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93311, said they want to build on this lot and move to Ashland.  They are willing to comply with all the regulations and would like the Commission to approve the application.

 

BONNIE BRODERSON, 635 Wright’s Creek Drive, disagreed with Bartholomew that the Assignments of Error have been addressed.  She did not receive an official notice that has occurred.  The only thing officially noticed to the public was the Physical Constraints Review Permit.  The Staff Report states there are approximately 280 square feet of widening and paving of the driveway outside the existing driveway surface, located mostly in the Grandview Drive right-of-way.  She requested the LUBA record be made a part of this record.  Broderson explained that the Physical and Environmental Constraints ordinance was not finalized correctly by the City with DLCD.  She said the Safe Harbor rule applies to the proposal.  Chapter 18.62.070M has no provision for placing a driveway in the floodplain corridor or extending a driveway.  A private storm drain line and an outlet energy dissipater in a protected area violate the ordinance.  Certain information that is required has not been provided on the topographic map.  The proposed development will degrade and destroy the riparian area.  The proposal violates Ashland’s ordinances and Comprehensive Plan and the provisions of Goal 5 resources.  Broderson is concerned with the amount of paving there will be.

 

JAMES HULSE, 416 Wimer Street, said his parents divided many of the lots in this area.  He was here during two floods.  The part of the road and the driveway included in this proposal were not affected by the floods.    

 

Fields noted that there are certain impacts we allow to happen in a riparian area.  Staff looks at the impacts and whether or not they can be mitigated. 

 

Molnar said the Assignments of Error are included in the Staff Report in order to have it part of the record but it is not part of tonight’s review. 

 

The drainage system was discussed.  There is a perforated subsurface drain pipe under the driveway.  There is a drainage ditch on the east side of the driveway area.

 

Fields asked if anyone from the public who participated would like to rebut.  No one came forward.

 

Applicant’s Rebuttal – Giordano said the impact of the drainage is from a single family resident on the riparian area.   They are trying to take steps to minimize the impacts by using a perforated pipe, rock for erosion control and enhancing the vegetation.  They are impacting 280 square feet. 

 

Thornton said they can pull the improvements back farther than 20 feet from top of bank.  In order provide emergency access to meet the code requirements, they are doing some improvements within 20 feet of the bank where there are no floodwaters and no riparian vegetation.   With regard to the drainage, they are taking it within 20 feet from top of bank so they don’t discharge it uphill from the neighbor.  They are mitigating any disturbance. 

 

Bartholomew said a notice is not in error as long as there is no any prejudice.  Since Broderson wrote the Assignments of Error and agreed to the voluntary remand, there is no surprise they are being considered and therefore no prejudice. 

 

Fields closed the public hearing and announced there will be no public testimony taken at the next meeting.  The record will remain open for seven days until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday,  on January 17th.  Then the applicant will have seven days to submit written arguments.  This action is continued to the February 13, 2007 Planning Commission meeting to be held at the Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-02354

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW APPROVAL TO CONSTRUCT A TWO-STORY OFFICE BUILDING LOCATED ON THE VACANT PARCEL AT THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF THE INTERSECTION OF N. MAIN ST. AND GLENN ST.  A VARIANCE IS REQUESTED TO ALLOW A 10-FOOT FRONT YARD SETBACK WHERE A 20-FOOT FRONT YARD FOR PROPERTIES ABUTTING ARTERIAL STREETS IS REQUIRED.  AN EXCEPTION TO THE STREET STANDARDS IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A CURBSIDE SIDEWALK ON GLENN ST. 

APPLICANT:  RAYMOND J. KISTLER ARCHITECTURE

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts  - The Commissioners all had a site visit.  Black noticed a large, historic granite rock at the site.

 

STAFF REPORT

Harris noted this application is looking for three approvals:

1)  Exception to Street Standards:  Staff feels the Exception to Street Standards is justified and meets the approval criteria because the Glenn Street frontage is relatively short and the opportunity for a parkrow is limited to about 50 feet between the corner and the proposed driveway apron. 

2)  Site Review:  The basic standards have been met.  Staff has issues with the north elevation in terms of the Historic District Standards (mass, roof shape and rhythm of openings).  The Glenn Street side will be very visible.  The mass and roof are fairly continuous planes that are not broken up.  The Historic Commission’s recommendations are in the packet. 

3)  Variance to the Special Setback:  They are requesting the building to be located ten feet from the front property line.  Staff believes the intent of the ordinance was to accommodate street widening projects.  The applicant has submitted a letter from ODOT stating they don’t see there would be any reason to widen the street in that location.  The applicant states the unusual circumstance is the historic façade line of the neighboring area.  Staff felt the more unusual circumstance is the dimensions of the lot, particularly the depth from front to back.  There are two issues with regard to the benefit of the proposal compared to the negative impacts:  complementing the historic front façade line that contributes to the historic streetscape and enclosing the street and making it more pedestrian oriented calls for front facades to be located close to the street and at the same plane.  With regard to transportation, the Engineering Department did not anticipate anything being taken out along the front property line. 

 

Staff is recommending a continuance of the application based on the design issues and the Historic Commission’s recommendation to continue the application to allow those items to be addressed. 

 

Stromberg said he wants to be careful about accepting the building and the building placement as a given and then starting to talk about Variances because “there is a problem.”  He’s looking for a different reason for characterizing why there is a unique circumstance.  Harris clarified the lot dimension is the unusual circumstance.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, and RAY KISTLER, 2025 Butler Creek Road spoke.

 

Giordano addressed the setback issue and read from the Historic Design Guidelines concerning maintaining historic façade lines.  He said they provided an aerial photo and topographic map showing the historic façade line.  The state has no plans to improve the state highway.  Placing the building closer to the street creates a much friendlier pedestrian environment. 

 

Kistler discussed the setback along North Main Street.   If the building was smaller, it still couldn’t be moved back farther because of the parking lot, the required five foot landscape strip, and the distance of the parking lot to the building.  The distance from the back of the building to the eastern property line, the dimensions are all City standard minimums.  If the building is moved back and ten feet is taken off, it won’t meet the Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

 

Kistler showed the building material samples.  He added a gable to the mass, lowered the saddle and took away steel supports on the Glenn Street elevation.  He defended his original design.  The Historic Commission has not seen the new color drawings trying to address their recommendations.

 

Mindlin liked Kistler’s original design and believes the new design is quite a compromise.  Kistler explained the pieces he likes better in the new design and those he likes better in his original design.  Kistler referred the Commissioners to the landscape plan in the packets.  The street trees will be placed on the inward side of the sidewalk, instead of the parkrow.

 

JEROME WHITE, 253 Third Street, spoke in favor of the proposal.  With regard to street widening, there has been a long history of acknowledging that North Main doesn’t have a problem with capacity according to the Transportation System Plan (TSP) from 1998.  There are buildings all around this building that don’t conform.  As far as affording better light and air, if ten feet of the front of the building is cut off, it would be 2000 square feet or 30 percent FAR (in violation).  White liked the first design.  This is not a big building. 

 

COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison, said he was surprised that Kistler was unaware of the arterial setback.  Secondly, Giordano recused himself from the beginning of last Historic Commission meeting because he was representing a client, returned to the meeting, where Kistler presented this application.  He feels that was inappropriate since he is now representing Kistler for monetary gain.  

 

Swales argued that the setback along North Main is needed in the event it is ever necessary to widen it.   He stated that he is a Traffic Safety Commissioner.

 

ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower, requested the record be kept open for seven days as he has not sent the new materials

that have been brought forward.  With regard to the Variance, this site does not have an unusual physical circumstance that can’t be worked around – the lot does not have unusual lot dimensions, the neighborhood façade is not an unusual circumstance on the site, and how can reducing the setback make a street more pedestrian friendly.  Setbacks are for air, light and space.  In addition, the City might want a right-of-way for a turn lane.  Curbside sidewalks are dangerous for pedestrians. 

 

PHILIP LANG, 758 B Street, said Ruth Miller has given her testimony time to him.  Lang’s written submittal in opposition to the project is in the record.

 

Dotterrer/Black m/s to continue the meeting past 10:30 p.m.   The motion was approved.   

 

Morris/Dotterrer m/s to continue the public hearing, leaving the record open to February 13,  2007 at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers.  Voice Vote:  All favored.  Fields announced the public hearing will be continued on February 13, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Dawkins/Black m/s to extend the meeting until 11:30 p.m. to work through the next action.  The motion was approved.

 

PLANNING ACTION #2006-02357 

REQUEST FOR OUTLINE AND FINAL PLAN APPROVAL FOR A SEVEN-LOT SUBDIVISION FOR THE PROPERTIES LOCATED AT 165 LITHIA WAY AND 123 N. FIRST ST.  SITE REVIEW APPROVAL IS REQUESTED FOR THE PROPOSED PARKING LOT AND PERIMETER LANDSCAPING.  A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT IS REQUESTED TO REMOVE FOUR TREES SIX INCHES DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT AND GREATER IN SIZE

APPLICANT:  ARCHERD & DRESNER, LLC

 

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Dawkins, Dotterrer, Stromberg, Dimitre and Marsh had site visits and no ex parte contacts.  Mindlin had no site visit but is familiar with the site.  Fields just completed a project at 180 Lithia Way for Evan Archerd and believes he can be unbiased and impartial.   Morris did work for Archerd on a different project but said he is not biased. 

 

Bullock requested that whatever information is in the Northlight record and the Commissioners learned about the site should be included in this record.  Upon Appicello’s recommendation, Stromberg/Dotterrer m/s to incorporate all the minutes from all the Northlight meetings into the record for this action to represent the ex parte influences upon all of the Commissioners who were are part of that process.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

STAFF REPORT

Molnar reviewed the project as outlined in the Staff Report.  He said the applicant has presented a project asking for approval under the Performance Standards Option because the City’s standard subdivision code sets specific dimensions for lots.  The applicant has said the Performance Standard doesn’t require minimum lots sizes and their preference is to configure the lots to be more consistent with the lot sizes in the downtown.  They will form a homeowners’ association. 

 

Dawkins wondered if it would be appropriate to add a Condition 22 emphasizing there is a 20 foot setback on Lithia Way.  Molnar said the applicants have stated in their application that they are aware of the setback.  They could also make it clear in the Planning Commission Findings. 

 

Stromberg asked how this can be a  Performance Standards Option (PSO) application when the ordinance (18.88.070D) states the minimum number of dwelling units for a Performance Standard subdivision shall be three.  It seems with a Performance Standards Option the buildings are specified to some degree.  He also noted the separation between buildings.  What would stop the applicants or future buyers from purchasing the lots and consolidating them?  

 

Molnar said they first came to the Planning Department with a Subdivision and because of the need for flexibility in lot configuration, Staff suggested the PSO might be a better approach. 

 

Stromberg wondered if a PSO is designed for residential subdivisions, is there a way that has intellectual and legal integrity to use the PSO in a more creative way to create a mixed use subdivision.  Molnar is not certain how much latitude we have.  The PSO approach allows for common areas and landscaping building as one within a homeowner’s association.  It is generally a better product over a long term than having them maintained by individual owners.

 

Black mentioned a letter received from Kay Spierings requesting one of the bioswales be moved.

 

PUBLIC HEARING

MARK KNOX, 276 W. Nevada Street, said the site is almost 100 percent asphalted over.  The engineered plans could easily be revised to collect the water and send it over to the bioswale.  The applicant is willing to work with the neighbors. 

 

Knox said they were concerned about processing this application under the PSO.  A commercial subdivision doesn’t allow flexibility.  They are trying to look at this property long-term that accommodates a number of issues that were expressed during the original application such as:  mass and scale, architectural creativity, contextual compatibility with the downtown and at the same time, not to play with the 20 foot setback. 

 

Knox submitted a letter to the Commission changing two Conditions and adding a Condition in order to provide clarity.  Proposed Condition 22 – They want to recognize that a total of 43 units are allowed to be spread evenly throughout the subdivision.  Revise Condition 14 – That all the improvements are done before anything is built.  Defer the pedestrian easement until construction occurs on Lot 3.  Revised Condition 19 – Allocate the existing parking on the unbuildable lot to specific units so that parking will belong to them, but the parking allocation shall not limit the amount of parking they can have if an owner can find a way of doing it when ultimately developing the lot.

 

EVAN ARCHERD, 550 E. Main Street, said he heard from the previous applicant that the Commission wants smaller buildings developed over time.  That is the concept behind this action.  They plan to build buildings over a ten year period by using different designers and owners over a period of time.  They used the PSO because they thought the minimum lot width would work better than under the Subdivision.

 

Knox said they could come back under the Subdivision ordinance but they’d have to ask for a Variance.  With regard to distance between buildings, the ordinance requires building from lot line to lot line.  Knox believes they can guarantee a three unit minimum. 

 

Black/Dawkins m/s to continue until midnight.  Seven Commissioners reluctantly approved and two opposed.

 

Dawkins asked if we are assuming that Lithia Way is going to develop a new Ashland downtown.  That was the hope that we could develop a downtown plan to address this. 

 

Mindlin/Dimitre m/s to withdraw the continuance of the meeting until midnight and adjourn and continue the public hearing until February 13, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

 

ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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