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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Wednesday, August 02, 2000

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
August 2, 2000

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:38 p.m., Acting Chairperson Terry Skibby called the meeting to order at the Community Center. Members present were Terry Skibby, Dale Shostrom, Vava Bailey, Keith Chambers, Kay Maser, Gary Foll and Joan Steele. Also present were Senior Planner Bill Molnar, Secretary Sonja Akerman and City Council Liaison Cameron Hanson. Member Jay Leighton was unable to attend the meeting. The Commission is still one member short.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Foll moved and Bailey seconded to approve the minutes of the July 5 and July 13, 2000 meeting as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Planning Action 2000-081
Conditional Use Permit and Variance
130 Hargadine Street (Windsor Arms Apartments)
Jeanette Wilcox

Molnar presented the Staff Report, explaining the applicant is proposing to convert four existing apartment units into travelers' accommodations which would only be used as such from June 15 to October 15. For the rest of the year, the units would be used as apartments. There are six existing units on the site. Four are off Hargadine Street and two are behind these units on Fork Street. This request concerns only the four units on Hargadine Street. No exterior changes are proposed other than landscaping enhancement. The applicant, who would also be the business owner, lives in one of the units on Fork Street. The adjacent unit would remain an apartment. Wilcox is also requesting a Variance because the location is in excess of the required 200 feet from a City collector or arterial street. Molnar pointed out two previous similar proposals were denied by the Planning Commission and the City Council in 1986 and 1987. As in the preceding proposals, Staff is still concerned about the loss of rental housing and feels none of the applications have complied with the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan. Regarding the Variance, Molnar explained Hargadine Street is approximately 400 feet from the closest arterial or collector street (which is East Main Street). According to the Land Use Ordinance, a traveler's accommodation is required to be within 200 feet. Staff disagrees with the applicant that this site is unique or has unusual circumstances that would not typically apply elsewhere. Maps were provided that illustrated properties with similar circumstances (adjacent to C-1 or C-1-D that are further than 200 feet from collector or arterial streets). Molnar pointed out that variances can be valuable tools to advance the community's overall good, but Staff feels the loss of affordable housing, even for only four months, would create a hardship because the net vacancy rate generally has not changed since 1987. Every land use application is judged on its own merits, and although one Variance for a traveler's accommodation was granted on Hargadine Street closer to the library, the unit was not previously a rental apartment, so there was no net loss. In summary, Molnar stated the project is still inconsistent with regard to loss of rental housing. Additionally, it is unclear as to what public purpose would be advanced by approval of this application. Molnar also stated that because of a provision in the Land Use Ordinance, a possible suggestion would be to convert the rentals to condos, of which 25% would have to remain affordable for a period of 20 years in order to further provide affordable housing for Ashland citizens. As a result, two of the six units would be required to be set aside as long term affordable rentals, while the remaining four units could be used for traveler's accommodations. Deed restrictions would need to be recorded to keep the units affordable. Molnar explained that while rentals and homes have increased, income in the county has remained the same. He said he realized this is a difficult decision for the Historic Commission because there is no exterior change, however, he advised the members to view this application philosophically by looking at the impact to the Historic District and neighborhood.

Applicant Jeanette Wilcox stated she is one of the tenants of Windsor Arms and has lived there for two years. She will sign a lease agreement to run the traveler's accommodation for a minimum of five years, with an option to renew for five more. She currently manages 72 rental units for the people who also own this property. In this capacity, she said she has seen the trends of renters leaving for the summer, usually in June, then not returning until August or September. She assured the Commission she would not be forcing anyone to move out of these rental units. All the current occupants of the four units will be leaving prior to next year's season. She added it would be very easy to rent these apartments to students, then use them for traveler's accommodations during the summer. She also noted all the apartment units rent for approximately 15% lower than what is typical in Ashland. Wilcox stated the benefits are greater than the negative impacts on the neighborhood. Increased economic benefits will result from the transient occupancy tax and more money will be going to the downtown merchants. There will also be a reduction of traffic and parking in this area because a parking area is already provided for the apartments. Wilcox related she would also be maintaining the condition of the property. With the construction of the new theater, Wilcox said she feels this is an opportunity to use and improve the site. She also commented shutters will be added to the windows on these units and she will relandscape the property. She said she does not see a negative impact on the neighborhood - in fact, the neighbors are supportive.

Steele asked Chambers when students typically return to the university and he responded around September 20. She then asked Wilcox how she could provide housing for students if the apartments were still being used as traveler's accommodations. Wilcox answered she has seen students arriving as late as October 20. She also said she has the leeway to rent out the units earlier than October 15 and added the apartments will all be furnished. Bailey said she sees an inconsistency with this because students can be very messy and traveler's accommodations need to be very neat. Wilcox responded she is very careful with the interviewing process of renters but admitted occasionally someone moves in that leaves a mess. She said she would remove some of the finer things, including good linens, etc. while the units are rented as apartments. Wilcox also related after any renter moves out of a unit, it is thoroughly cleaned and detailed. If approved, she stated she plans on renting the traveler's accommodations for $100/night. This includes two bedrooms, a bathroom and a full kitchen in each unit. Wilcox also noted she often gets requests from people who want to rent an apartment for nine months.

The public hearing was closed and the Commission discussed the application. Bailey asked about the Stone House across the street and Molnar replied at one time it was a traveler's accommodation. It had received City Council approval but over the years, the use had lapsed and rooms are no longer rented as traveler's accommodations. She then questioned the zoning on Pioneer Street. Molnar said all the homes are private and are zoned R-1. She wondered if approval of this application would open the door for these houses to becoming traveler's accommodations also. Molnar stated this did come up during the public hearing for the new OSF theater. A resident on Pioneer Street asked questions about becoming commercial. Molnar said parking is very limited in that area and as stated before, each application would need to be viewed on its own merits.

Maser wondered if this would really be economically feasible, as she has had rentals and knows they can be trashed. She is also concerned there will be fewer apartments available to students and fewer affordable housing units. Steele agreed affordable housing is currently a big issue in Ashland. Shostrom stated he had just been by the site and the loss of residential mix in the neighborhood would be an issue. He said he likes the historic residential feel and that will be lost if the area becomes more commercial. Chambers agreed with Shostrom that the area has historic residential overtones. The core of Ashland has always been a mix; this can be seen in historic photos. He said from an historic point of view, approval of this application would not be in the best interest of Ashland. There have been two previous denials and it still goes against the Comprehensive Plan. Foll concurred and stressed he would not want to set a precedence. He also felt a decision on this application would be more appropriate for the Planning Commission. Skibby stated he agreed with the members and with staff.

 

Chambers moved to recommend denial of this application to the Planning Commission based on the degradation of the mixed use target zone, the fact that it does not meet Comprehensive Plan criteria for affordable housing, and it would set a poor precedence for other properties in the area. Steele seconded the motion and it was unanimously passed.

BUILDING PERMITS

Permits reviewed by members of the Historic Commission and issued during the months of June and July follow:

611 Siskiyou Boulevard

John Chmelir

Interior Remodel

15 South Pioneer Street

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Photo Voltaic System

212 East Main Street

Ashland Springs Hotel

Kitchen Remodel

87 Granite Street

Ron and Noreen Hulteen

Addition/Remodel

87 Granite Street

Ron and Noreen Hulteen

Replace Garage

361 Scenic Drive

James Whitaker

Accessory Unit/Garage

323 High Street

Torsten Heycke

Remodel

315 High Street

Laura Shrewsbury

Sunroom

611 Siskiyou Boulevard

John Chmelir

Wheelchair Ramp

320 Iowa Street

Joan and Wayne Brown

Addition/Remodel

10 Calle Guanajuato Way

Hal Cloer

Reroof

102 Will Dodge Way

Brent Thompson

Interior Remodel

162 North Pioneer Street

Al and Sara Berman

Addition

101 Gresham Street

Rick Barath

Retaining Wall

586 "C" Street

Toni and Orlene Brend

Addition

134 Church Street

Barry Jones

Swimming Pool

477 Fairview Street

Alex Stevens

Retaining Wall

15 North First Street

Erik Brown

Remodel

236 East Main Street

Doug Neuman

Remodel/Addition

39 Fourth Street

Sarah and Shady Challman

Bathroom Remodel

163 Meade Street

Lisa Cobo

Demolish SFR

137 Seventh Street

Kim and Dale Rooklyn

Rebuild Shed

51 Winburn Way

City of Ashland

Restrooms for Calle Guanajuato

315 High Street

Laura Shrewsbury

Swimming Pool

258 "A" Street

Marquette & Co. Salon

Sign

611 Siskiyou Boulevard #8

Kolpia Counseling Service

Sign

101 East Main Street

Clay Angel

Sign

15 North First Street

Amuse

Sign

115 East Main Street

Allysons of Ashland

Sign

OLD BUSINESS

Review Board

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

August 3

Skibby, Foll and Bailey

August 10

Skibby and Maser

August 17

Skibby, Maser and Shostrom

August 24

Skibby, Steele and Chambers

August 31

Skibby, Steele and Bailey

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA# 96086

685 "A" Street

Lewis

PA# 97018

661 "B" Street

Lewis

PA# 98039

Holly Street

Steele and Lewis

PA# 98045

122 Church Street

Bailey

PA# 98047

Between 548 & 628 North Main Street

Foll

PA# 99020

525 "A" Street

Lewis

PA# 99062

Van Ness Avenue

Foll

PA# 99102

141 Lithia Way

Shostrom

PA# 99108

340 Oak Street

Shostrom

PA #2000038

361 Scenic Drive

Shostrom

PA #2000039

410 Siskiyou Boulevard

Skibby

PA #2000052

220 Fourth Street

Shostrom

PA #2000074

15 South Pioneer Street

Skibby

NEW BUSINESS

Election of Officers

Steele moved and Shostrom seconded to formally elect the following officers: Skibby as Chair, Shostrom as Vice Chair, Chambers as Council Liaison and Foll as Planning Commission Liaison. The motion was unanimously passed.

Special Assessment for 542 and 552 "A" Street

After reviewing the special assessment applications and proposed work summaries for certified rehabilitation work on the J.K. Van Sant Building, also known as the Palace Chop House (542 "A" Street) and the John M. Easterling Building, also known as the VFW Hall (552 "A" Street), Chambers moved and Foll seconded to support approval. The motion passed by a unanimous vote.

Letter to the Editor

The Commissioners commended Bailey, Steele and Maser for the Letter to the Editor regarding the use of vinyl siding on historic homes.

Heritage Committee Meeting

Skibby announced the annual Heritage Committee meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on September 30 in the Swedenburg House.

ADJOURNMENT

With a motion by Bailey and second by Shostrom, it was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

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