Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Special Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
SPECIAL MEETING
MINUTES
FEBRUARY 24, 2009

CALL TO ORDER
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:
Michael Dawkins
Mike Morris
Debbie Miller
Pam Marsh
Melanie Mindlin
Dave Dotterrer
Larry Blake
Staff Present:
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Richard Appicello, City Attorney
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant
-
Absent Members:
Tom Dimitre
Council Liaison:
Eric Navickas


ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Planning Commissioner Larry Blake was introduced to the group.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the Council's approval of the Croman Mill Redevelopment Plan and indicated staff and the Planning Commission would soon begin working on implementation.

PUBLIC FORUM
Julie Norman/596 Helman/Spoke regarding the herbicide issue in the proposed Water Resource Protection Zones ordinance. Ms. Norman encouraged the City to steadily reduce the use of herbicides. She stated she is a member of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and explained this group has worked with cities, colleges, and agencies throughout the Northwest to perform steady transitions away from chemicals. She submitted written material to the Commission for their review, and stated her goal is to help make the ordinance precise, enforceable, and headed toward reducing herbicide use.

Angie Thusius/897 Beach/Also spoke regarding herbicide use. Ms. Thusius shared her concerns regarding herbicides and explained many herbicides that were once deemed safe are not recommended for use anymore. She commented on the glyphosate product, which is referenced in the proposed Water Resource Protection Zones ordinance, and encouraged the City to do more research before this herbicide is allowed. Ms. Thusius noted that 17 cities throughout the Northwest have parks that are either transitioning away from herbicide use or are already herbicide free, and noted the maintenance costs for these parks have not increased.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

A. PLANNING ACTION: 2008-02013
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION:
Public Hearing regarding Ordinance Amendments to the Sign Regulation Chapter (18.96) of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance, relating to changes in the type, size, number and materials of signage allowed within residential and commercial zones. (This is a continuation from the February 10th meeting. The Public Hearing is closed and the Planning Commission is in deliberations. )

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman reviewed the recent changes to the ordinance that address the comments received at the February 10 public hearing.

1) Wall Graphics. Staff had initially recommended the prohibition on wall graphics be removed, but following the concerns raised at the public hearing, staff is now recommending the prohibition language be retained in the ordinance.
2) Portable Signs. Staff is recommending new language that limits the placement of portable signs to within 10 ft. of the business entrance.
3) Flags. Mr. Goldman stated if the Commission wants to allow Tibetan prayer flags, staff recommends inserting language for wind signs with specific limitations on height, location and size.
4) 3D Signs. It was clarified "fiberglass" has been inserted as an allowable durable material.
5) Public Art. Mr. Goldman explained if the public art provision is removed from the Sign Code, there is a strong rational to allow for review of public art when it is altering the faηade of a historic building. Staff is proposing additional language to AMC 18.72.030 which would state "or includes the installation of public art." This would require the addition of public art on a historical building to have a review process that includes review by the Historic Commission before it comes to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Goldman commented on the signage allowance for buildings with multiple frontages, and clarified the draft ordinance includes an allowance for the 3rd and 4th frontage to have half the signage amount that would be allowed for the 1st or 2nd frontage. Mindlin expressed concern with this language and felt equal signage should be allowed for each side of the building when there are different businesses housed inside. Marsh voiced her support for the proposed language. She noted they are expanding the signage amount that is currently allowed and felt this was a good compromise. It was noted that Brent Thompson, who is the citizen who originally raised this issue, has indicated his support for the provision provided by staff. Mr. Molnar used the back wall in the Council Chamber to give a realistic example of how much signage the 3rd or 4th side of a building would get given the proposed language.

Mr. Goldman clarified the provision that would allow for Sound Peace's prayer flags. He noted the limit for free standing signs and clarified wind signs are classified as portable signs and the flags would need to be taken down each night. He added staff did not want to create a window of opportunity for various banner signs and the intent of the language is to create a narrow window to accommodate a narrow circumstance. Comment was made expressing concern with the proposed language, indicating it would not accommodate the Sound Peace prayer flags. Mr. Goldman suggested Sound Peace would likely need to lower the flags on the pole in order to come into compliance with the proposed language.

Comment was made expressing concern with whether the proposed 3D provision would successfully accommodate the Alfredo statue outside Wiley's Pasta. Mr. Goldman commented on statue's 4 in. base and indicated the business owner may need to sink the base two inches in order to bring Alfredo into compliance.

Commissioner Dotterrer/Marsh m/s to recommend to the City Council the approval of the amendments as presented to Chapter 18.96 and 18.72.030 of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dotterrer, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin and Dawkins, YES. Motion passed 5-0.

OTHER BUSINESS

A. Planning Commission Goals
Commissioner Mindlin noted the City Council will be discussing their goals next month and encouraged the Planning Commission to have a discussion on this so that they can provide input during that process. Dotterrer voiced his support for this discussion and stated the Planning Commission should provide input on land use planning goals and have the Council make a determination during their goal setting on which priorities they would like the Commission to work on.

Staff noted the following planning related City Council goals that have not yet been completed:

• Water Resource Protection Zones Ordinance
• Develop Strategy for the Railroad Property
• Downtown Planning Process
• Affordable Housing Goal

Mr. Molnar also noted the TSP update and explained the Planning Commission will have a substantial role in this project as well. He voiced his support for the Commission providing input to the Council, but reminded the Commission of the economic situation the City is in and noted the recent 20% reduction in Planning staff.

The Commission continued their discussion on possible goals they would like to bring forward to the City Council. Several suggestions were made, including the following:

• Encourage Council to complete Visioning Process and offer the Planning Commission's involvement in anyway that would be helpful.
• Revision of the land use areas of the Comprehensive Plan
• Transportation Planning
• Water Infiltration
• Changing Design Standards to incorporate Solar Orientation issues
• Complete second portion of Sustainability Work Groups task (determine what other government agencies are doing)
• Implement Croman Mills Redevelopment Plan

Mr. Molnar commented that staff envisions a number of these aspects (water infiltration, solar orientation, sustainability) being addressed as part of the Croman Mills plan. He added the policies that are developed could be applied city wide, and not just the Croman property.

Council Liaison Eric Navickas voiced his support for the Planning Commission providing input on the Council's goals and stated he would share the Commission's desires with the Council.

Commissioners Marsh/Dotterrer m/s to recommend the following goals to the City Council: 1) Strategic Vision/Visioning, and offer the Planning Commission's involvement in anyway that is helpful, 2) Transportation Planning if the TSP goes forward, and incorporating a planning vision and active participation in that process, 3) Continue with the Croman planning process and incorporate potential issues such as solar orientation and water infiltration design standards, and 4) Indicate the Planning Commission's desire to specifically look at sustainability in terms of researching what other municipal entities have done. DISCUSSION: Mr. Molnar commented on the implementation phase of the Croman Plan and recommended the Planning Commission and City Council come to an agreement on the scope and timeline early in the process. Miller voiced concern with the number of jobs the consultants have proposed for the Croman property and stated if they are going to address sustainability issues with this plan they need to have an awareness of their limitations in terms of capacity. Comment was made that the Commission will be able to have a more detailed discussion on these items at a later date, and the motion on the table is the recommendation of these items as goals. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Blake, Dotterrer, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Morris and Dawkins, YES. Motion passed 7-0.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

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