SEPTEMBER 25, 2007
CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. at the
John Stromberg, Chair
Cate Hartzell , Council Liaison, absent
Bill Molnar, Planning Manager
Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
Absent Members: (excused)
Marsh updated the Commission on the Street Fund Task Force, stating they have completed their work. Their mission had been to look at the street fund, both the maintenance projects and capital projects looking at projected expenditures and income. There is a significant gap. The street fund is substantial enough to pay for the maintenance projects over the next ten years with very little available to go toward the capital expenditures. They are making some recommendations to the Council regarding funding sources. They re-named themselves the Transportation Funding Task Force, and concluded that transportation planning truly fits into all the urban planning that we do on a daily basis and they are integrated and cannot be separated. They will pose the question to the Council as to who should do transportation planning within the City of
HEARINGS BOARD SUBSTITUTION – Fields offered to substitute for Mindlin at the October Hearings Board.
Presentation by Bill Molnar, Planning Manager and Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Stromberg explained we are working through this process in a sequence of meetings (this is the second meeting) because there have been ongoing problems and confusion dealing with the front yard setbacks along arterial streets. He understood Staff would bring a structure to the Commission for analyzing and working on the problem. Tonight, they have brought specific recommendations and therein lies an ongoing issue. Commissioner Dotterrer brought this up with regard to the Riparian Ordinance, asking that instead of bringing recommendations, he would rather be given multiple options and let the Planning Commission get more involved in the problem-solving stage and when the Commission chooses a basic direction, then the Commission would like Staff to implement that and translate it into ordinance language. For Stromberg, if we are trying to work on this in an open and creative way, having a very specific recommendation brought to the Commission tends to put them in a reactive position. Also, sometimes it is difficult to understand the underlying assumptions.
Molnar said a lot of the work Staff has done in approaching the arterial setback issue relates to the underlying assumptions. Staff proposed specific options if the Commission feels that approach is worthwhile. If there are other objectives, they are open to hearing those as well.
Molnar said this is a continuation of where they left off a couple of months ago in reviewing the arterial front yard setback. Staff started with an arterial corridor assessment, evaluating each corridor. The corridors are: North Main,
The two objectives they identified were:
1. To insure, through preserving or reserving space that these transportation corridors provide a superior transportation corridor based on the concept in the Comprehensive Plan of modal equity.
2. Insure that development or redevelopment occurring along the corridors is considerate toward these preferred patterns that establish the character upon which they all agree. Make sure we don’t have standards that will be detrimental to the established patterns.
In order to meet the above objectives, they looked at the following approaches:
1. A street improvements setback that preserves the space back from the curb to insure that if one of the elements from the Transportation System is missing, that the area will be preserved to accommodate it upon redevelopment.
2. Establish a front yard requirement that protects the agreed upon character that is of importance along each corridor.
Harris gave a PowerPoint presentation (included in the record).
1. Look at a maximum setback. (Fields)
2. Break North Main into two parts with Manzanita (approximately) as the dividing line so nothing would be taken away from the historic portion of
3. Develop way(s) to deal with exceptions and still reserve discretion. (Fields)
COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, said pullouts for transit stops along
With regard to the Downtown Plan Phase II, there were 100 downtown merchants involved in the study area. Only two showed up for the charrette. He believes we need more input from the downtown merchants and other commercial property owners. Additionally, the couplet was never discussed in the Downtown Plan Phase II. The couplet was put in to relieve the traffic congestion and then I-5 was built and took a lot of the through traffic away from downtown. Are there more creative options for moving our traffic around the downtown? We need to also look at traffic patterns in downtown. Several citizens noted a lack of greenery in the downtown. The Site Design Standards handbook requires a ten percent landscaping in the downtown, but it is not in our 18.72 Site Design Standards. We need to look at opportunities for creating public plazas and space on the street.
Swales likes the idea of a median along
With regard to Measure 37 (property rights initiative), before we give away this arterial setback, we would seriously want to consider if we need to give away those rights. There are Measure 37 property owners on one side trying to roll back prior to the ordinances.
He is speaking as an individual, but he serves as a member of the Traffic Safety Commission and a Liaison to Bike and Pedestrian Commission. Providing a safe pedestrian and bike environment is high on their list of goals for the coming year for these commissions.
MARK KNOX, 276 W. Nevada, agreed with everything Staff said. He would like, however, to hear a discussion about going from a five lane non-multi-modal environment along
GEORGE KRAMER, 326 North Laurel, said he is glad to see they are looking at different standards for residential versus commercial. To the extent that
With the 19 foot sidewalk on North Main, not only would trees and houses be lost, but the retaining walls below the four “Queens” that were built by the City when they widened
Stromberg asked what Kramer would propose as an alternative. Kramer suggested they might want to have a range of widths to allow flexibility, and to develop a range of treatments. There is a functional aspect of what they are trying to solve, but this is the City’s opportunity to set a tone in its part of the public space that is reflected positively. There’s value in variety. Whatever happens on
RUSS DALE, 230 Wilson Road, said much of the emphasis has been placed on discussing the setback from the curb and talking too much about what the width of the street should be. He doesn’t want to miss the gravel shoulder on
EVAN ARCHERD, 550 E. Main Street, thanked Staff for tonight’s presentation and for the presentation at the Presbyterian Church. The speakers the other night talked quite a bit about connecting various commercial nodes and referred to them as “strings of pearls.” It occurred to Archerd that there are a couple of redevelopment sites along
When considering the setback on
Dimitre said this analysis started out as a front yard setback analysis. He said Kramer referred to a presentation slide that was an example of a ten foot setback for a non-historic commercial building. Harris said the ten foot setback for non-historic commercial development is a Site Design and Use requirement. The arterial front yard setback is from the front property line 20 feet in. Staff is suggesting the Commission repeal that because Staff believes the intent of the original ordinance was to look at preserving space for street improvements. They have looked at all the streets, identified what is missing and Staff is saying mostly what is missing is up to standard sidewalk pieces. The measurement should be from the back of the curb towards the property – the new build-to line. Molnar added if you repeal the 20 foot setback, it leaves you with the existing standards in the Site Review Standards. In a commercial historic district, there is really no setback other than that for building design and offsets. Outside the Historic District, there is still a ten foot requirement.
Stromberg read 18.68.050. If he reads it correctly, this would not apply to the eventual widening of
Harris said what Stromberg is getting at is, are people on board with the current urban design approach or not? The language from 18.68.050 was from 1964 and she believes they are outdated urban design principles that wider is better. You can balance good urban design and still have light and air and landscaping and make it all work. The Site Design and Use standards are not new. They have been around since the 1980’s and 90’s. They have talked about bringing buildings up to the street and having this kind of orientation.
Dimitre would like to know the differences between what we have now and what is being proposed. He needs more specific information.
Fields said what we are looking at is 13 to 15 feet of sidewalks and for a new building ten feet (23 to 25 feet from face of curb). What seems to be missing is establishing either from centerline of right-of-way to the back side of the curb. He believes we have to identify all the corridor widths. We need to link all the changes to the Transportation Plan. Harris said Fields is talking about survey level information. Generally, we don’t have right-of-way widths and curb-to-curb widths readily available. Fields said, in order to plan, we have to identify where we are going with the street widths and the rights-of-way we need. Harris said they are assuming the curb line isn’t going to change on all the streets except
Molnar said more than likely the curbline will be the constant. On
Marsh said she started tonight by reporting about the Street Financing Task Force and how we clearly recognize that transportation planning needs to be integrated with Planning and this is an obvious example of that when we’ve been talking about designing streets and the kind of streets that we need to carry traffic and the kind of development we want to be on those streets. It is her long-term hope that we look at ourselves as a planning and transportation commission.
Marsh continued that it looks like we are looking at two levels of decisions. The first set of decisions is: What kinds of street frontage improvements do we want in these areas? How wide should the sidewalk be? Should there be a parkrow? How wide should the parkrow be? The second set of decisions would be: How close should the buildings be to whatever street frontage improvements we make? She suggested we narrow down our focus to start with one of the arterial sections. She would like to start with
Molnar wondered if Marsh had in mind to go out and lay some things on the ground to see how close improvements would be. Marsh thought it would be good to have a cross section of
Stromberg believes Marsh’s suggestion is an interesting one, however, Lithia Way is not the one he would choose because: 1) it is politically charged, and 2) it’s the whole question of doing the Downtown Plan and it’s right smack in the middle of that. He would support picking one of the others, such as
Fields understands what we are talking about is rescinding 18.68.050 and looking at a modification. Harris said it deviates from the street standards that are on the books because we are saying to use a residential standard on
Harris went back to her original presentation that one of the assumptions is that we don’t have the resources available to do a corridor study. It’s one thing to do illustrations to better explain how things would change, but when you start going out to
Further discussion ensued regarding if one of the streets presented tonight should be chosen to study, what street to choose and when it should be chosen. There was a general understanding that there are not resources at this time to do a corridor study. The discussion concluded with the Commission voting informally (Marsh, Dawkins, Dimitre, Mindlin and Stromberg favored) to move forward with Staff working on gathering more information on just Lithia Way and bringing it back to the Commission.
Molnar said they would look at how it would work out on
PLANNING COMMISSION GOALS
Stromberg handed out a list of revised goals. He thought the Commission could take another look at the goals, set up a meeting with the Council to talk about the goals with the idea they could hear our goals before the budget process begins for next year. However, in the meantime, David Stalheim resigned and that left a question – what is going to happen?
Stromberg suggested we deal with our highest priority items and get them cleaned up this fall so we can be ready to move ahead with whatever is going to happen with visioning and the Comprehensive Plan. Stromberg would like to review the Planning Commission goals every four months. Whatever decisions we make about our goals, we have to make sure that we have the ability to do our part of the work and that it’s within the capacity of Staff to get that work done. After our discussion tonight, Stromberg will work with Molnar to see how it will fit into our workplan. He will bring that to the next meeting on October 4th.
Stromberg reviewed his list of “Planning Commission Goals Revised 9/25/07 – Proposed”
1. Visioning - started in early 2008. Good lead-in for doing the Comp Plan.
2 Ordinance Review
(Siegel) Try to harvest things from the work we have done rather than expanding the ordinance review. Pass it as soon as possible and move to the Council. Proposing Morris, Fields, Stromberg and Molnar meet and decide what should go through.
Procedural Changes – Set aside and wait until new dept. head is in place or wait until interim person is in place.
(Marsh believes we shouldn’t wait too long because if we end up short-staffed, some of the procedural changes could be assets)
Policy issues – Put on our pending list.
1. Riparian Ordinance/Wetlands Inventory – Have to stay with this and get it done.
2. Economic Opportunities Analysis – Molnar will bring it to a meeting soon.
3. Croman Plan – The state has hired consultants to do this. This needs to be on an agenda soon.
4. Arterial Setback – Next step decided at tonight’s meeting.
7. Planning Commission Roles & Responsibilities – The City Administrator is going to talk to each individual Councilor and negotiate wording they would be comfortable approving. She will bring it back to the Commissioners. (Comment: Mindlin and Marsh believe this is an inconsequential piece.)
8. Planning Commission Training & Candidate Prep – Make sure for us and future Planning Commissioners to understand the basics of how we operate in a quasi-judicial manner. It should be institutionalized
9. Regional Problem Solving – We need to hear about this soon as it is relevant. Stalheim will do a presentation before he leaves.
Dimitre /Dawkins m/s to approve Stromberg’s list. Voice Vote: Morris cast the only dissenting vote.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,
Susan Yates, Executive Secretary