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Planning Commission

Minutes
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
DECEMBER 9, 2008

CALL TO ORDER
Vice Chair Michael Dawkins called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.

Commissioners Present: 00 Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins
Mike Morris
Debbie Miller
Pam Marsh
Melanie Mindlin
Michael Church
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Angela Barry, Assistant Planner
Richard Appicello, City Attorney
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
John Stromberg
Tom Dimitre
Dave Dotterrer
Cate Hartzell, absent


CONSENT AGENDA

A. Approval of Minutes
1. November 6, 2008 Planning Commission Meeting
2. November 12, 2008 Planning Commission Meeting
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B. Adoption of Findings for 2200 Ashland Street, PA #2008-00911

Mindlin requested the November 6, 2008 minutes be amended on Page 2, last paragraph, to include the statement "herbicides may be applied for initial eradication, but should not be used as an ongoing maintenance plan."

Commissioners Marsh/Church m/s to approve the November 6, 2008 Planning Commission minutes as amended. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Commissioners Marsh/Mindlin m/s to approve the November 12, 2008 Planning Commission minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Associate Planner Derek Severson clarified revised findings for 2200 Ashland Street were distributed to the Commission at the beginning of the meeting. He noted the following changes have been made:

1) Condition 5d was changed to read "All hardscaping, including driveways, sidewalks, walkways, and required automobile and bicycle parking; landscaping; and irrigation system, shall be installed according to the approved plans, inspected and approved by the Staff Advisor."
2) Condition 6 now includes the clarification that "this provision only applies to grading and surfacing of the driveway, and nothing in this condition requires the applicant to relocate existing utilities."
3) Condition 7 now reads "that the Applicant shall provide a future connectivity route to what is now the informal pathway connecting to the Central Ashland Bikepath through or adjacent to the subject property…"

Community Development Director Bill Molnar clarified the change made to Condition 7 would provide the Applicant with some flexibility. Marsh commented that she is not opposed to providing flexibility, but felt the proposed language was awkward. Mindlin suggested the minutes reflect that this connection is still the Applicant's responsibility.

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
Miller indicated a gentleman commented to her that he had seen the meeting on TV and that the Planning Commission had made a good decision. Both Dawkins and Church indicated they had passed through the site. Mindlin stated she had a conversation on a different subject with someone who testified at the hearing.

Commissioners Church/Morris to approve the Findings for 2200 Ashland Street. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Morris, Church, Mindlin, Marsh, Dawkins and Miller, YES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forward to speak.

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
Dawkins read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.

A. PLANNING ACTION: 2008-00911
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 2300 Siskiyou Blvd.
APPLICANT: Steve Asher
DESCRIPTION:
A request for Site Review approval to construct thirteen condominium units for the property located at 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard. Also included are requests for a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to allow tree removal and parking space installation on Flood Plain Corridor/Riparian Preservation Lands adjacent to a culverted section of Clay Creek; Tree Removal Permits to remove 36 of the site's 78 trees; and an Exception to Street Standards to not install sidewalks and curbs along Siskiyou Boulevard frontage. (The approval of this application would replace the previous Performance Standards Options subdivision approval from PA #96-131). COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low Density Multi Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 14 CA; TAX LOTS: 7700, 7800, 7801, 7802, 7803, 7804, 7805, 7806, 7807 and 7808.

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported by any of the Commissioners. Both Dawkins and Marsh indicated they had passed by the site since the last meeting.

Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson noted this hearing is a continuation from the November 12 meeting and reviewed some of the key points that were not previously discussed. He noted the site consists of nine tax lots and there is a previous subdivision approval in place that would allow for the build out of the property. That approval included the installation of a driveway off Bellview to serve the units on the northeast portion of the property, and an easement for shared driveway access to serve two units on the southwest portion of the site. Mr. Severson stated the current proposal modifies the existing configuration of the site by: 1) removing the house that sits on the property, 2) removing the paving of the existing driveway off Siskiyou, and 3) installing a new driveway system off Bellview that would circulate through the property. He noted there would be 13 condominium units constructed on the site, all of which would be accessed from Bellview, with two of the units accessed through the easement that was recorded as part of the 1996 subdivision approval.

Mr. Severson commented on the Physical & Environmental Constraints portion of the application and clarified the components that trigger this are the three parking spaces in the Riparian Corridor and the removal of four trees. He clarified the Riparian Corridor map does not take into account that the creek channel in this area feeds into a detention pond on the Parks Department property, and from there it is piped underground beneath the Ashlander Apartments. He stated while this is an identified riparian corridor, it has no hydrology and there is very little likelihood of it being daylighted at any point. Regardless of this, he noted the Applicant is conforming to the 20 ft. setback requirement.

In reviewing the application, Staff had two primary issues with the proposal: 1) the functionality of the smaller (private) open space areas, and 2) the Applicant's request for an exception to the City Street Standards. Mr. Severson clarified Staff was able to work with the Applicant on the open space issue and noted the proposed condition that would require a landscape plan to be submitted prior to building permits that would modify the landscaping to demonstrate a 10 ft. yard area for the private yards. He added the larger and more shared open space areas identified in the plan more than satisfy the 8% open space requirement. Regarding the Street Standards, Mr. Severson clarified Staff is recommending denial of this exception. He stated the Street Standards require the Applicant to install curbs, gutters, parkrow, and street trees, and displayed several photos of other projects along Siskiyou that were required to conform with these standards. He noted with no curbs, cars can turn from Siskiyou onto Bellview without much reduction in traveling speed, and the lack of a curb puts pedestrians on a path that has no distinction from the street. Mr. Severson clarified the new sidewalk could be placed in the same location as the existing path.

Applicant's Presentation
Mark Knox/485 W Nevada/Applicant's Representative, Laurie Sager/700 Mistletoe/Landscape Architect, and Steve Asher/1060 Elkader/Applicant addressed the Commission. Mr. Knox noted they have been working on this project for over two years and stated there are a lot of constraints due to the shape of the site, the trees, and the Physical & Environmental Constraints issues. He commented on the request for an exception to the Street Standards and clarified they are not seeking to avoid the improvements. He noted the original 1996 subdivision application talked about this issue being deferred until a Local Improvement District could be designed that would address the uniqueness of this section of Siskiyou Boulevard. Mr. Knox commented on the need for "boulevard street standards" and stated the current Street Standards seem more appropriate for residential areas. He added if the Commission denies their request for an exception, they have included plans in the record that comply with the Street Standards criteria. Mr. Knox commented on the Physical & Environmental Constraints permit. He referenced the site plan, and clarified where the creek line, sediment pond, and underground pipe are located. He clarified their proposal actually reduces the riparian encroachment that is there now, and clarified there is no vegetation or water in this area. Mr. Knox commented on the access to the proposed units, and stated ODOT and Staff have both indicated the driveway off Siskiyou should be removed. He noted the 1996 approval had no restrictions on the size of the units that could use the private drive; however they are proposing to put the smaller units in this location out of consideration for the neighbors.

Questions of the Applicant
Mr. Knox stated the current path is functioning very well and clarified they would like to fix the turning radius and improve pedestrian movement; what they are trying to minimize is the bleach white sidewalk and delineated curb edge. He elaborated on the idea of doing a comprehensive design for this section of Siskiyou Blvd. He stated they have the room to do some really neat things, but noted the domino effect and stated once the standard Street Design pattern starts, it is hard to stop. Mr. Asher added that this application would set precedence for the whole south side of Siskiyou. He added that more people use the meandering path on the south side than the traditional sidewalk on the north side. He voiced his support for a more comprehensive plan to address this and questioned if applying the Street Standards for this area was the appropriate thing to do.

Dawkins restated the four components of this application and asked the speakers to limit their testimony to the criteria.

Public Testimony
Woo Gardenswartz/917 Bellview, #1/Shared his concern that the proposed development is too dense compared to the previous approval for this area. He commented on the parking situation along Bellview and stated having two driveways off this street will be problematic. Mr. Gardenswartz displayed photos of cars parking along Bellview and stated this project would increase density and is worried the parking will become even worse. He commented on the walkway along Siskiyou and stated it is not safe and a new sidewalk would fit in with the improvements across the street. He also expressed concern that if the Commission decides to postpone the installation of sidewalk improvements, the homeowners will end up paying for it through a Local Improvement District.

Mr. Dawkins clarified that the proposed development does meet the density requirements.

Anne Ainsworth/933 Bellview/Noted her house is the first one beyond the proposed development and clarified Bellview is used as an access to the entire Greenmeadows neighborhood. Ms. Ainsworth clarified she is not opposed to the number of proposed units, but feels the development should be accessed from Siskiyou. She commented on the number of parked cars along Bellview and noted there are already 4 apartments and 8 condominiums that use the same access road off Bellview and thinks adding 13 more units is not logical.

Mike Tillinghast/919 Bellview, #1/Submitted a letter on behalf of the Bellview Homeowners Association. Mr. Tillinghast expressed concern with the impact this development will have on the neighborhood and felt the number of proposed units is excessive. He also expressed concern with the Applicant's request to waive the constraints imposed by the Water Resource Protection Zones ordinance. He stated all the other property owners along Clay Creek have had to conform to the rules regarding riparian buffer zones and does not believe the Applicant's reasons for an exception are compelling enough. Mr. Tillinghast also commented on the sidewalk and curb improvements and acknowledged the Applicant's rationale for this waiver does make a certain amount of sense. He concluded by urging the Commission to not grant the waiver to the riparian zone ordinance and to consider a requirement to scale back the development.

Dawkins read a letter into the record submitted by Marlyn McClaskey/915 Bellview, #2/The letter expressed Ms. McClaskey's concerns regarding the removal of trees that line up along the fence of her property. It also expressed her concern with the plans for ingress and egress to and from the property and parking issues. It stated any plans for a new development should be accessed from Siskiyou, not Bellview.

Dawkins read a letter into the record submitted by Larry & Rosalie Meyer/917 Bellview, #2/The letter made the following points: 1) They are opposed to the sidewalk variance and sidewalks should be installed by the developer to assure that this development blends in with the neighborhood, 2) They oppose access to the parking garages through their small driveway, since they already have problems with congestion and unwanted parking, and 3) They hope the trees will be retained, as they are very important for erosion control.

Rebuttal by the Applicant
Mark Knox/Commented on the following issues raised by the neighbors:

1) The proposal is too dense: Mr. Knox clarified this proposal is at 80% of the density allowed.
2) Concerns about driveway access: Mr. Knox clarified the perpetual easement could allow a lot more trips than they are proposing, and their design mitigates these issues.
3) Riparian Area/P&E Encroachment Permit: Mr. Knox stated there is already an existing asphalt driveway in this area. He stated there is no riparian area that they are encroaching on and stated this proposal actually reduces the amount of asphalt in that area.
4) Compliance with the Water Resource Protection Zones Ordinance. Mr. Knox stated the original 1996 approval had a setback of 20 ft. from the creek channel; at the closest point, this development has a 60 ft. setback.
5) Sidewalks: Mr. Knox clarified they would like to see a more comprehensive design for this area, but they have submitted an alternate set of plans that complies with the Street Standards and they are willing to comply with whatever the Commission decides.

Mr. Knox concluded by stating they feel they have met all of the required criteria.

Dawkins closed the public hearing and the record at 8:20 p.m. Mr. Knox agreed to waive final written argument.

Advice from Legal Counsel and Staff
City Attorney Richard Appicello informed the Commission of a recent City planning action approval that went before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The planning action included an exception to the Street Standards, and the LUBA judge ruled the City had to follow the Street Standards unless there was a demonstrable difficulty in meeting this requirement. He stated this case applies to this action, and asked the Commission to take this into consideration.

Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Marsh/Church m/s to approve, noting that the project satisfies the criteria for Site Review Approval, the criteria for Tree Removal Permit, and the criteria for Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit, and noting that it does not meet the criteria for exception to Street Standards. DISCUSSION: Marsh commented on some of the concerns raised by the neighbors. She clarified that not only does the project meet the density of the zone, it is required to have as many units as proposed. Regarding access off Bellview, she stated accessing the project off Siskiyou would be far more treacherous for pedestrians and bicyclists, and having the primary access off a side street is a much better option. Regarding the sidewalk issue, Marsh stated there is no significant difficultly in meeting the requirements of the Street Standards, and they let go of the idea of doing a master plan for this area a long time ago, and have been imposing these improvements all along Siskiyou. Mr. Severson clarified where the bikelane, curb, parkrow and sidewalk would be located and clarified there would still be a separation between the pedestrians and the street. Church shared his reservations about applying the Street Standards, and empathized with the Applicant regarding the suburban nature of the standard. Several Commissioners echoed Church's reservations, but it was noted that since the Applicant cannot show demonstrable difficultly, the Commission cannot grant the exception. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Marsh, Mindlin, Church, Morris, Miller, and Dawkins, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Commissioners Marsh/Morris m/s to approve the Findings. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Miller, Mindlin, Church, Dawkins, Marsh, and Morris, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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B. PLANNING ACTION: 2008-01517
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 232 Vista Street
APPLICANT: Kerry KenCairn
DESCRIPTION:
A request for a Minor Land Partition, a Type II to Variance to the requirement that the new lot have a paved 20-foot wide access or an unpaved 20-foot wide access with less than 10 percent slope, and a Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit for development and tree removal on Hillside Lands. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 09BC; TAX LOT: 7500

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
Dawkins noted he is familiar with the property. Marsh, Mindlin, Morris, Miller, and Church all reported site visits. Church noted he saw a real estate sign and was intrigued that the property was for sale before the Application had been approved. Staff clarified there is a separate adjacent lot that is for sale. All of the Commissioners agreed that they had not seen anything during their site visits that is not already characterized in the Staff Report.

Staff Report
Assistant Planner Angela Barry provided an overview of the Staff Report. She noted the property is located between Vista Street and Glenview Drive, and is zoned R-1-7.5. She displayed the Site Plan for the Commission and clarified if the lot partition is approved, both lots would be just over 9,000 sq. ft. Ms. Barry stated the new lot would be accessed from Glenview Drive, and noted there is no structure proposed for the lot at this time. She commented briefly on the Hillside Lands Overlay and noted the slopes on this property range from 15% to 35%. She stated the Applicant has submitted a Geotechnical Report addressing the hillside issues and any future home would be located in the area with the least amount of slope. Ms. Barry noted the application includes the removal of three trees, as well as a variance to create a lot that does not meet the requirements for access off an unpaved street. She elaborated that Glenview Dr. is narrower than the required 20 ft. and steeper than the maximum 10% grade, and noted the Project Engineer has indicated that widening the road would not be feasible. Ms. Barry clarified staff is recommending the Applicant improve the intersection of Glenview and Hillcrest by paving the first 70 ft. of Glenview, including curb and gutter along one side. She noted the Applicant has requested to install those improvements in the summer months, rather than during the winter, and clarified the Applicant would be required to provide a financial guarantee of this.

Mr. Molnar provided a brief overview of the Hillside Lands Ordinance. He stated the Ordinance triggers the project's geotech to evaluate the new lot and provide a recommendation on where the best location for a future home would be. In this application, the proposal is to locate the building envelope on the flattest portion of the lot, and they will be using an existing graded access for the driveway. Mr. Molnar added if a home is developed on that lot in the future, there will be additional Hillside standards that apply. He clarified the application currently before the Commission is just to create the lot.

Mr. Molnar provided some background on the surrounding area, and stated most of these lots were platted prior to the City's minimum standards for street width. He explained when applicants come in for a building permit, the City can impose the Hillside Standards on the construction of the home, but cannot require them to bring the street up to current standards. He noted the City does require applicants to sign an agreement to participate in a Local Improvement District, should one be formed in the future.

Applicant's Presentation
Kerry KenCairn/147 Central and Karen DeBoer/234 Vista addressed the Commission. Ms. KenCairn stated the proposed lot meets all of the ordinance requirements for lot creation and the only exception is the variance for the road. She explained the reason for this lot split is not to create a new house, but to release the home that is there now. She added they want to leave this area as open space, which is why they are proposing to create a new lot without a home. Ms. KenCairn explained in order to do this, they have to prove that the new lot could accommodate a home. She commented on the problems with Glenview, and stated there is enough right of way on the downhill side to widen the road, but due to the slope it would create more impacts to widen it, then to leave it the way it is. Ms. KenCairn stated there is a huge hardship involved with making the road wider, mostly from an environmental standpoint, and noted the report from the geotech states it is not feasible to widen the road.

Public Testimony
Dawkins read an email into the record submitted by Colin Swales/461 Allison. The email requested the Commission consider how this proposal would affect the emergency evacuation of the residential neighborhood above Lithia Park in the event of a wildfire, as well as how it would affect emergency vehicle access. The email also questioned whether the "pinch points" mentioned on Glenview were due to the considerable, un-permitted encroachment by the same property owner and whether this narrowing was self-imposed.

Ms. Barry clarified there are encroachment permits on file for the two parking spaces, fence, and landscaping that are located in the right of way. She added the terms of those permits gives the City the right to have those encroachments removed at no cost to the City, should the road ever be widened.

Rebuttal by the Applicant
Kerry KenCairn/Stated the email read into the record implies that they are not meeting the Hillside Ordinance, and this is untrue. She noted the City's Fire Marshall reviewed the plans and had no issues with this project. She also mentioned the "pinch points" and restated Ms. Barry's assertion that these permitted items would be removed if a future widening of the street occurred.

Dawkins closed the public hearing and the record at 9:35 p.m. Ms. KenCairn agreed to waive final written argument.

Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Morris/Marsh m/s to approve PA 2008-01517 with the revised conditions. DISCUSSION: Ms. Barry clarified the revised conditions are 8a, 8e, and 8f.

Commissioners Miller/Marsh m/s to extend meeting to 10 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

DISCUSSION (Continued): Miller asked if the emergency vehicle access was a concern for anyone. Dawkins stated he would be much more concerned with widening or paving the street. Church expressed his concerns with the creation of another lot. He stated given the nature of this area, he is unsure about increasing the capacity for development. Mindlin agreed, and expressed her concerns with creating another lot. Marsh noted the criteria for the lot creation, and stated the Applicant meets this, the only issue is the road. She stated this parcel fits a pattern that has already been established on the street and stated this approval seems appropriate to her. Morris noted the lot meets the requirements of the Hillside Ordinance and there is a demonstrable difficultly in altering the access road. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Marsh, Mindlin, Morris, Miller, and Dawkins, YES. Commissioner Church, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

OTHER BUSINESS

A. Select Planning Commission Representative for the Interchange 14 Bridge Design Review Committee.
Mr. Molnar provided a brief explanation of the Bridge Design Review Committee and asked for a representative from the Commission to sit on this committee. The Commission agreed Dave Dotterrer would be offered the position, and if he was unable, Michael Dawkins would serve as the Planning Commission representative.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

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