Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
MARCH 31, 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.

Planning Commissioners Present: Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins
Tom Dimitre
David Dotterrer
Pam Marsh
Melanie Mindlin
Mike Morris
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
Debbie Miller
Larry Blake (Recused himself due to
his affiliation with SOU)
Eric Navickas
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ANNOUNCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the Recommended Council Goals Memo that staff had prepared and stated if needed they could discuss this after the Master Plan Presentation.
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SOUTHERN OREGON UNIVERSITY MASTER PLAN UPDATE
Mr. Molnar provided a brief history of the Southern Oregon University Master Plan. He explained the first plan was done in the 1950s and updated in the 1960s to establish the campus boundaries. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the City became more actively involved in the Plans after the adoption of the Oregon Statewide Planning Program which created a coordination requirement. In 1979 the City approved a Cooperation Agreement with the University, adopted the 1980-1990 Campus Plan, and added Chapter 18.64 to the Municipal Code. The Master Plan has continued to be updated every 10 years and the Cooperation Agreement signed in 1979 is still in place. Mr. Molnar explained a few months ago the University began the process to create the 2010-2020 Master Plan and tonight Eric Ridenour with SERA Architects is here to present some of the options the University has been discussing.

Mr. Eric Ridenour introduced himself to the Commission and explained SERA Architects was hired by the University to assist with their Master Plan update. He stated the University has conducted site visits, spoke with key stakeholder groups, have held general public forums and are at a point where they are honing in on a preferred alternative. He stated the next steps in this process will involve preparing the Draft Master Plan, coming back to the Planning Commission for a public hearing, and continuing on to the City Council for adoption of the Plan.

Mr. Ridenour delivered a presentation to the Commission which addressed the following objectives and options for the 2010-2020 SOU Master Plan:

Renovate and make modest expansions to the existing academic buildings.
The Theatre Arts building would be the first priority, followed by the Sciences Complex and McNeal Pavilion.
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Improve the quantity and quality of residential facilities.
Option 1 proposes new residential housing to the north of campus, but retains the existing residence halls with minor renovations. Option 2 proposes more or less the same strategy as Option 1, but would remove dining services from the Cascade Complex and relocate it to a separate facility. Option 3 proposes to begin moving residential life to the north side of campus and would preserve the location of the Cascade Complex for future academic needs. Mr. Ridenour explained the preferred option is consistent with Option 3 but would retain the newer Madrone apartment complex and the Suzanne Holes building. It would move the bulk of the residential housing to the area between Ashland Street and McNeal Pavilion, and if this mixed use housing is successful, future residences could be added in that same area east of Wightman. Mr. Ridenour added if funding became available, the University would also like to pursue additional faculty housing.
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Enhance the pedestrian core.
Mr. Ridenour stated the idea is to "bookend" the two ends of the pedestrian core of the campus and to further enhance the pedestrian experience.
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Enhance the athletic facilities.
Ideas include adding field turf to the stadium field, developing a soccer field north of Iowa Street, and renovating the existing recreation building north of Iowa Street into a new women's athletics facility. The tennis courts could also be relocated to this area should housing be added on the east side of Wightman. Additional ideas include improving the circulation into McNeal Pavilion and creating a more grand entry to the stadium from Wightman.
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Improve the campus gateways and transportation circulation.
Ideas include improving the way you approach the campus along Siskiyou Blvd and changing University Way to a two-way street (right in, right out only). It was noted pedestrian safety is an ongoing issue, especially as more housing becomes available north of campus. Various options have been discussed, including a pedestrian ramp, pedestrian underpass, center lane underpass, and traffic circles. However because all these suggestions have significant constraints, the most likely option is to improve the crosswalk configurations and increase pedestrian visibility by using pavement and color more aggressively. Mr. Ridenour added at some point there may be enough pedestrian traffic during peak times to have an all pedestrian phase to the traffic signal.

Mr. Ridenour's presentation also indicated the University would incorporate sustainability by: 1) increasing efficiency of the residence halls and academic buildings, 2) utilizing renewable energy development and water conservation measures, and 3) integrating sustainability teaching into the curriculum. He also commented on transportation demand management and encouraged the Commission's input on this subject. Mr. Ridenour noted the City's parking space requirement and commented on possible amendments to this requirement for the University.

Mr. Ridenour concluded his presentation by proving the timeline for the 2010-2020 Master Plan adoption process and asked if the Commission had any questions. He clarified approximately 25% of students currently live on campus and the goal is to increase this figure to 35%-50%. Several comments were made voicing support for the preferred plan, including the creation of a sense of entry along Siskiyou Blvd and development of mixed use housing along Ashland Street. Additional suggestions were made to include transportation planning in this process and looking into possible amendments to the University's parking requirements.

Mr. Molnar noted the timeline reviewed by Mr. Ridenour and stated staff would bring forward updates as this process moves forward.

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OTHER BUSINESS
1. Recommended Council Goals Memo
No changes where requested to the Memo. Mr. Molnar indicated staff would submit the Memo as presented for inclusion in the Council's Goal Setting packet.
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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

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