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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Wednesday, May 03, 2000

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
May 3, 2000

 

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:37 p.m., Chairperson Jim Lewis called the meeting to order at the Hillah Temple. Members present were Terry Skibby, Jim Lewis, Dale Shostrom, Vava Bailey, Keith Chambers, Kay Maser, Jay Leighton and Gary Foll. Also present were Associate Planner Mark Knox, Secretary Sonja Akerman and City Council Liaison Cameron Hanson. Member Joan Steele was unable to attend the meeting.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Chambers moved and Bailey seconded to approve the minutes of the April 5, 2000 meeting as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Planning Action 2000-046
Conditional Use Permit and Site Review
407 North Main Street
Pat Tellini

Knox reported this request is to convert an existing second unit on this property to a one-unit traveler's' accommodation. The 324 square foot unit is attached to the main house. The living room in the main house will serve as a lobby and sitting room. Prior to 1984, the residence was a duplex. In April of 1984, approval was granted for a medical office. Entrance to this unit will be off Wimer Street, as will the access. Three existing parking spaces are located at the rear of the property. There will be no visible exterior changes. Staff is recommending approval.

After a short discussion, Skibby moved and Chambers seconded to recommend approval of this request to the Hearings Board. The motion was unanimously passed.

Planning Action 2000-039
Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment, Zone Change, Site Design & Use Review, and Land Use Ordinance Amendment
410 Siskiyou Boulevard - Public Library
City of Ashland

Knox stated this application is the result of about two year's work. The request involves a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment (Multi Family to Downtown Commercial), Zone Change (R-2 to C-1-D), Site Design and Use Review to construct an approximately 17,000 square foot addition to the existing library, and a request to amend the Land Use Ordinance to reduce the side yard setback requirement in a commercial zoning district when abutting a residential zoning district. A lot of effort has gone into this request with respect to historic preservation. Initial discussion and efforts have been to preserve and respect the historic Carnegie Library.

SERA Architect Peter Meijer said this is the third time the Historic Commission has been presented with the evolving design of the library addition. The team working on the design has sought Historic Commission comments throughout the process. It is felt they have an environmentally conscionable design. Meijer then presented a new rendering and described previous Commission concerns and how they were addressed. There was a concern about the elaborate treatment of the front. SERA responded to a pediment façade of the Carnegie. The columns were removed and the vertical element was brought through to the second floor of the addition - the window element also responding to the Carnegie. The window mullions have also been changed. The base to the new addition is now a foundation pediment, which will be 6 to 12 inches. By doing this, it creates a plinth for the building to sit upon. A new element is the ADA ramp access to the lower level of the Carnegie which will be the night entrance. Also, the connecting ramp between the two buildings has been given more substance. Meijer emphasized the fact that they are tying in the main cornice level of the new addition to the Carnegie. He then showed the members a sample of metal shingle siding, which is proposed for the upper portion of the new building. The bottom will be stucco. They would like to paint the buildings the previous color of the Carnegie. Detail of the cornices was also presented. He acknowledged the massing and form has not changed.

At Knox's request, Meijer explained the Secretary of Interior Standards as they relate to the Carnegie. Since the library has been nominated for National Register status with the Downtown Historic District, these standards should be reviewed. The question that needs to be asked is "Do the components of the new building detract from the historic structure?" The Downtown Design Standards were also used in the design of the addition (new building). Another component is the compatibility of where the building is placed on the site.

Skibby had questions about the restoration of the Carnegie and wondered if the State Historic Preservation Office would also review the plans. Historic Consultant George Kramer said he has been communicating with Deputy Director James Hamrick throughout the process. Meijer also stated the 1953 addition to the Carnegie will be removed.

Lewis quoted from the Secretary of Interior Standards and the Site Design & Use Standards, then maintained this project does not meet the standards for either. He then asked about the entrance to the Carnegie. Meijer stated it will be an emergency exit only. The entrance locations will all be in the new building. Leighton asked about the ramp along Gresham Street, and Meijer replied it will be for night entrance only. Lewis then asked about parking, which is also an issue with the Historic Commission because of the impact on the neighborhood. Meijer responded by stating because of the slope and placement of the existing Carnegie and the new addition, the slope only allows 11 standard parking spaces off the alley and four off Gresham Street. He also noted there is no off-street parking required with the zone change, but understands the concerns of the neighborhood, hence the spaces off the alley. At this time, they are not asking for any parking on Siskiyou Boulevard.

Maser asked if there would be a loading zone. Meijer said it will be off the alley. Architect Ray Kistler added with the removal of the 1953 addition on the Carnegie, it will allow the alley to be widened in that area. Chambers asked if there would be a parking gain. Knox answered there would be no net gain and that the City is committed to analyze the parking situation six months from final approval. Lewis maintained the need to look at the impact of the neighborhood. Gresham and Allison Streets will realize a big impact. Meijer replied the number of visits probably would not increase. Lewis, however, said the library had done a study that said with the addition of the new building, the usage should increase by 25%.

Skibby asked about the statue in front of the Carnegie. Meijer responded the concrete around it will be removed and the granite steps will be revealed. Restoration of the statue will come from different funding.

Maser asked for the height of the top ridgeline off the street. Meijer said it is 15-20 feet above Siskiyou Boulevard. The top of the new building is 55 feet from the sidewalk level. Maser commented it is as high as a four-story building. Meijer said it is more like a two-story building on top of two stories worth of landscaping. When asked by Skibby about the visibility of the clerestory, Meijer said it would not be noticeable from the street. Kramer added the Carnegie still remains the visible terminus of the site. Maser noted the addition will be two and one-half times the size of the Carnegie.

Knox related Staff recognizes there will be impacts. When you look at a large civic structure, there will be issues and impacts, but there will also be positive elements - social, educational, civic, environmental, historic and even transportation. The community approved the library expansion bond and the positive impacts outweigh the negative.

Barbara Ryberg, president of Friends of the Library, quoted from two studies regarding the library. One study that was commissioned by Jackson County in 1992 found all its libraries are below standard. The other, conducted by SOSC students in 1994, indicated library patrons favored keeping the library at its present site in spite of the parking situation by four to one. In 1998, the library board members, library staff, and Friends of the Library studied various business sites for relocation; however, none met the criteria. By June of 1999, the City Council granted approval to place a bond measure on the ballot. In November of 1999, Ashland voters approved the measure.

Foll asked if the Friends of the Library was aware a zone change would be necessary to expand the library. Ryberg said they were not involved with the technical aspect but they were aware a zone change might need to happen. Foll said it was not clear when the citizens voted that this would be a necessity.

Ashland Librarian Bob Wilson passed out booklets on the history of the library. He said he had been at the library since 1973 and has seen growth and change throughout the years. He stressed the fact that the library can't afford to wait any longer for repairs. The building is leaking and the walls are shedding plaster in the basement.

Reference Librarian Amy Blossom give further details about the condition of the library by explaining the damage to materials is extensive because of water leakage. Also, there is no heat in the 1953 addition of the Carnegie. Living in it is a daily challenge. The building is in desperate need of help.

Dennis Donahue, 54 Gresham Street, stated he also owns 48 Gresham. He has no problem with the concept of the library expansion, and he is in favor of the restoration of the Carnegie. He disagrees the new addition preserves the Carnegie as the premier building on the site. The new building not only overwhelms the Carnegie, it overwhelms the site and the neighborhood. His house will lose its entire view of Grizzly. All trees in the alley are to be removed, so he will get not only a big structure but also no landscaping. He feels the architects just got carried away. He opposes this because is it not proper for the neighborhood. He also discovered that without the zone change, the large addition couldn't be built. C-1-D gets away from off-street parking and height requirements.

Knox clarified C-1-D allows the library to exist as a conditional use. Without the C-1-D designation, the library couldn't even expand 10 feet because a non-conforming use cannot be expanded.

Foll commented it appears this site has always been zoned R-2, so why wasn't it known earlier that a zone change would be required? Kramer responded that zoning was created in the 1970s. This building predates zoning by 70 years. The zoning line goes down the middle of the street, which was the typical way of delineating zoning lines at that time. The library was built in 1912 and the building clearly was not residential at that time. When he worked on the National Register nomination for the Downtown District, Kramer said it was felt that by bringing the library into the Downtown District, it would be bringing the property back to what it really is.

When asked about the library committee that was appointed to work on library issues, Knox explained the idea was for the committee to work with design and space issues of the library, not zoning issues.

Charles Ryberg, 373 Vista Street, said he understands the zone change is important, but the average voter looks at the library on that lot as a library.

Colin Swales, 461 Allison Street, said he disagrees with Kramer on the zone change. There are residences all along Siskiyou Boulevard in that area. When the library was built, it was literally in the back yard of residences. Under most city zoning regulations, a Conditional Use Permit allows libraries in residential zones. It is unfortunate Ashland's Land Use Ordinance does not address libraries in residential zones, but he feels it does fit in as being a quasi-public building. Swales also stated he had e-mailed James Hamrick at the State Historic Preservation Office regarding this project. Since Hamrick said he was aware of the project but had not actually seen elevations of the proposed new building, Swales e-mailed the elevations. Hamrick was especially concerned about the entrance of the Carnegie being closed off. Swales said he also wrote Barbara Ryberg about this because he feels it is of the utmost importance and he does not want to see a staircase to nowhere. He then said when he had previously come before the Historic and Planning Commissions to gain approval of building another residence or office off the alley, he was told office use would be too much of an impact. He shares the same alley with the library.

Bill Street, 180 Meade Street, said he is a librarian at the middle school and is supporting the library restoration. He wondered if there are any Carnegie libraries that have been restored where people are not allowed to use the entrance. He feels the entrance should be preserved as an entrance. Skibby asked for clarification of the entrance closure. Meijer said it could be reverted back to an entrance in the future.

Skibby questioned the cresting that was removed on the Carnegie. Meijer said they would like to restore it and added they would like to know when it was removed. He understands it hasn't been that long since it was removed.

Meijer explained from a design standpoint, the Historic Commission is only one body with input. He also said they cannot exceed the bond limitation. When they looked at the site, they looked at balance and location. Although existing trees will be removed, trees will also be planted. Bailey asked what size trees would be replacing the large ones to be removed. Meijer said they would have at least a two-inch caliper, perhaps more. Meijer went on to say when you look at the model of the two buildings, it is difficult to tell the Carnegie sticks out twenty feet in front of the new building, so it will always be the prominent building. He acknowledged the impact on the residential properties. The new building will be higher and it sits on the edge of the alleyway. A library, however, is not an intensive area for loading zones and the parking will be spaced out. He also acknowledged the building backs up to the cottage and house owned by Mr. Donahue. The Carnegie will be the children's library and there are documented cases of children being abducted; hence the need to close the existing entrance and use it only for emergency exiting. The zone change will be heard in more detail at the Planning Commission meeting. Meijer related it is impossible to put an addition on the building without going through the zone change.

Kramer rebutted Swales comments regarding SHPO. He said he has talked to Hamrick about this project, and he did see renderings prior to the submittal of the current plans. In discussions with Hamrick, Kramer acknowledged he was concerned about the closure of the Carnegie entrance. The entrance will be kept, although not used. If there ever is a change of mind, this can revert back to a usable entrance. Hamrick is not thrilled with this, but understands the need for this. When there is an addition on an historic building, it is always important to recess the new portion. This is consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards. There was only one place to put the new addition, and that is what is being presented. The historic structure will be restored and there will be a beautiful new structure that will stand on its own. It will be possible to widen the alley by the removal of the rear addition. This is justified because of its condition. Bailey asked if Kramer was speaking as a private citizen or a paid consultant. Kramer replied he is a paid consultant but he wanted to go on record that they couldn't pay him enough to state something he did not believe in.

Lewis stated that until this application was received, in reality, no one knew what he or she were getting. He reminded the Commission it would be necessary for the members to advise on the entire package because of the neighborhood impacts.

Skibby asked about the park portion of the grounds and about the marker in this area. Meijer said it would be relocated. Skibby noted the marker was placed there in 1973, so if it could be fit into another location with a similar setting it would be best. Skibby then asked about the original entrance doors to the Carnegie. Meijer said they couldn't be used because of building codes.

Bailey stated she finds the project difficult to approve without having the main entrance to the Carnegie. This is a primary historic building. She also said she didn't know how the new building got so large. While she thinks the changes that have been made are better, the size still concerns her. She maintained the new building should be scaled down.

Maser said that as a designer, she agrees with Bailey. She also agrees there is a need to expand the library and to renovate the Carnegie, but the harmony and scale are out of proportion. She is afraid visual historic landmarks will be lost when new buildings this size are constructed. She wondered who determined the new building would have to be two and one-half times as large as the Carnegie is. She also questioned the parking. It is great to walk and take the bus, but it is important to look at this issue realistically. For many, it is impossible to not drive to the library. Also, during cold and rainy weather, even those who often walk will drive.

Shostrom expressed his appreciation for the architects in the design of the building and the incorporation of Historic Commission concerns. He also commented the process should be a model for other large projects. He still has a few design comments, however. He does not feel the new building is historical compatible with regard to the windows, openings and siding. One criterion of the Site Design Standards is to not have a visually glazed design. This is a fairly glassy building. It is a great design for skylights and lighting, however. Because of its size, he feels the base should be more substantial than 6 to 12 inches. It should be at least in the two to three foot range. He commented some of the quality of detail has been lost with the removal of the columns. Nevertheless, he added this will be a beautiful building and will stand alone.

Chambers asked from the planning side if there is really any merit to the need for the zone change. Knox stated it is needed. Meijer added an addition this size cannot happen in a residential zone. It would be incompatible in the current zone. Chambers said that while he personally would prefer the addition be smaller in bulk and scale, an issue that has to be faced is whether it is possible to step back, or is this application process now beyond that. He said it is clear to Ashland residents the library needs to stay where it is currently located. On the whole, he feels the new building is reasonably compatible with the Carnegie and will certainly provide a major improvement in usability. He also feels the burden of proof has been met overall.

Lewis stated he has concerns in that the design of the new building overpowers the Carnegie. Side yard additions of this size are not recommended and if built, this will make the Carnegie ancillary to the site. He also has a concern with the Carnegie entrance being closed off. As far as the neighborhood is concerned, the reality is that it will have a negative effect. There has been no traffic study. This is a car society and there is a need to be concerned about this. The library has a considerable affect on the neighborhood now. The design is not compatible with a residential neighborhood, especially the metal siding. Lewis asserted Craig Stone, who drew up the findings for the City, did not think the library would fit into the downtown zone. The commercial zone will not protect the Carnegie. This side of Siskiyou Boulevard is mostly residential all the way to the university. Right now, the library fits into the neighborhood. If the current zoning is maintained, protection of the Carnegie building and the neighborhood will be maintained. Also on the negative side are the loss of mature trees and the parklike nature of the site. The stone wall will also be lost. Lewis said he has thought about this a lot and he just doesn't think it is a good thing. He has been on the Historic Commission a long time and he feels the Commission should be consistent in making decisions for all applications. The City should be held to its own criteria and he feels the criteria have not been met for approval. The Commission, after all, is here to protect historic resources. This is a neighborhood library and the citizens should realize they can't do everything with it they want.

Leighton said her observation is from a residential point of view with the metal back wall and the large mass which will be up against they alley. Having driven to the library many times, she feels the alleyway is not the place to increase use. This will affect the residential area. Also, the loss of trees is significant, as is the parklike quality. The existing trees are unique to that site and she would prefer not to get a homogenous look. The model is not the same as the revisions that have been made, but from what she can see, it looks as though the windows are coming straight out of the ground. Also, she does not think the 6 to 12 inch base is significant enough.

Foll related he has tried to analyze the document that was presented. He has seen the changes and feels the architects have done a good job. He doesn't think the Carnegie will be destroyed or diminished. He likes what has been done with the proposed greenery in front of the new building. It is a very large building, but the City needs this. In determining the size of the new building, the projected population was considered. People voted for the expansion at this site. The only problem he sees is that the zoning should have been changed first. He thinks this is what the people want.

Knox stated that from the standpoint of the staff, many meetings have been held and a significant amount of money has been spent on this project. He doesn't think there has been a more comprehensive process for any project. The size of the new building is the size that is needed for this community. The preservation of the Carnegie building has been a primary focus from the beginning.

Skibby agreed the size has been determined by the space that is needed. To scale down would not work. This location is right next to downtown and public meetings have already been held. The Carnegie needs upgrading and this is a chance to preserve it. Lewis argued he thinks this would be a sacrifice for the neighborhood and the Carnegie. Skibby said there is a strong public need.

Leighton asked if the stone wall could be carefully removed and relocated since this an element of historic qualify on the site. Meijer said they will use the wall components and incorporate them elsewhere.

Chambers stated everyone present can see there are significant impacts, but there is always give and take on projects such as this. He would personally like to see the new building a bit smaller, but to be responsible to Ashland residents, he thinks the Commission should realize this will be a nice functional building. Overall, it will be a positive gain for the City and he is happy it can be done on the same site.

Shostrom reiterated the size is what is needed. He wondered, however, if many citizens know what the new building will look like. He also wondered why metal siding is being proposed if the building is supposed to be historically compatible.

Lewis stated the Commission has told people for years that this is not what you do to historic properties. Why should this be different? Criteria are how historic properties are treated and this does not meet the criteria. Knox asked Lewis to clarify which criteria he was referring to. Bailey said she knows how she would feel if someone built a zinc sided huge building in front of her historic house.

Kramer clarified the original roof on the Carnegie was zinc, rear additions are usually not as compatible with the original buildings., and he feels it is entirely appropriate to blend in the old with the new. He would also like people to be as impassioned in 2050 about the new building as we are about the Carnegie today. Lewis stated the impacts are not just about the siding but also on the impact of a residential neighborhood.

Chambers recommended three conditions of approval: 1) the architects look carefully at the metal siding, 2) nothing be changed on the existing entrance to the Carnegie so it can revert back to a front entrance in the future, and 3) the base be more substantial rather than just cosmetic. Skibby moved to recommend approval of this application to the Planning Commission with the previously stated conditions. Foll seconded the motion. With a show of hands, Skibby, Chambers, Foll and Shostrom voted aye and Bailey, Lewis, Maser and Leighton voted nay.

 

NEW BUSINESS

House Move from 1941 Siskiyou Boulevard to 150 Manzanita Street

Treg Scott informed the Commission he had bought the house currently located at 1941 Siskiyou Boulevard and he plans to move it to 150 Manzanita Street. The 1550 square foot house was built in 1866. It will be moved without the addition, but he plans to build an addition once it has been moved. When the house was last remodeled, its character changed. He would like to restore the interior more like it was originally. The Commission agreed this house will fit nicely into the neighborhood and will support Scott in this endeavor.

At 10:30, with a motion by Chambers and second by Leighton, the Commission unanimously agreed to extend the meeting.

BUILDING PERMITS

Permits reviewed by members of the Historic Commission and issued during the month of April follow:

101 Gresham Street

Richard and Debra Barth

Interior Remodel

207 Hillcrest Street

Gloria Boyd

Addition

107 Sixth Street

Lynn Ceteras Huerta

Porch Screen

155 Hillcrest Street

Bill and Lisa Molnar

Addition

159 North Main Street

Jon and Carmen Reinhardt

Addition

258 "A" Street

Marquette Frazier

Interior Remodel

462 "A" Street

Tom Garson

Interior Remodel

48 Gresham Street

Dennis Donahue

Remodel/Dormer Addition

119 Granite Street

Gary Rigotti

Addition/Remodel

77 Oak Street

Raw Elements

Sign

559 Scenic Drive

Ashland Community Hospital Fnd

Sign

20 East Main Street

AFN/City of Ashland

Sign

90 North Main Street

Blue Heron

Sign

60 East Main Street

b. Ella

Sign

23 North Main Street

Firefly

Sign

OLD BUSINESS

Review Board

Following is the May schedule for the Review Board, which meets every Thursday from 3:00 to at least 3:30 p.m. in the Planning Department:

May 4th

Skibby, Bailey, Foll and Lewis

May 11t

Skibby, Leighton and Shostrom

May 18t

Skibby, Steele and Bailey

May 25t

Skibby, Maser and Chambers

June 1st

Skibby, Steele and Maser

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA# 96-086

685 "A" Street

Lewis

PA# 97-018

661 "B" Street

Lewis

PA# 98-039

Holly Street

Steele and Lewis

PA# 98-045

122 Church Street

Bailey

PA# 98-047

Between 548 & 628 North Main Street

Foll

PA# 99-020

525 "A" Street

Lewis

PA# 99-062

Van Ness Avenue

Foll

PA# 99-102

141 Lithia Way

Shostrom

PA# 99-108

340 Oak Street

Shostrom

PA #2000-038

361 Scenic Drive

Shostrom

PA #2000-039

410 Siskiyou Boulevard

Skibby

National Historic Preservation Week

Winners for the awards to be presented on May 19 are as follows: Residential - 625 "B" Street and 132 Fifth Street; Commercial - 142 East Main Street; Individual - Wally Cannon; Civic - Briscoe School Music Building; Historically Compatible Commercial - 525 "A" Street; and Historically Compatible Residential - 162 and 164 Harrison Street.

MORE NEW BUSINESS

Special Assessment Applications

The Commission unanimously recommended approval of Special Assessment applications for 925 "B" Street, 125 East Main Street and 232-242 East Main Street. The J.P. Dodge Building (125 East Main Street) will be undergoing a certified rehabilitation. The east portion of the Citizen's Banking and Trust Company Building (232-242 East Main Street) is applying for its second 15-year special assessment.

Skidmore-Academy District Photo Stamping

Since it was getting so late the Commission will set a time at a later date to help George Kramer stamp the hundreds of photos that he will be submitting with the nomination of the Skidmore-Academy District to the National Register of Historic Places.

ADJOURNMENT

It was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 p.m.

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