Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

 

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

OCTOBER 13, 2009

 

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Pam Marsh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.

 

Commissioners Present:

 

Staff Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

Dave Dotterrer

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.

Tom Dimitre

 

Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

 

 

Absent Members:

 

Council Liaison:

None

 

Eric Navickas

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the City Council has asked for an update on the Planning Commission’s discussion of the tolling and extension ordinances. He stated this update is currently scheduled for the October 20th City Council Meeting.

 

Commissioner Marsh reminded the group of their Annual Retreat scheduled for October 31st, and stated there is still time to submit agenda ideas.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

A.      Approval of Minutes
1.  September 15, 2009 Planning Commission Minutes

2.  September 29, 2009 Planning Commission Minutes

 

Commissioners Dawkins/Dotterrer m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES (Commissioners Dimitre and Miller abstained). Motion passed 7-0.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

No one came forward to speak.

 

TYPE III PUBLIC HEARINGS

A.           PLANNING ACTION:  #2009-01051
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  514 Granite Street
APPLICANT:  Ron Rusnak & Lisa Zingarelli-Rusnak
DESCRIPTION:  A request for a Conditional Use Permit to reconstruct an existing non-conforming structure for the property located at 514 Granite Street. A Conditional Use Permit is required because the existing lot coverage (impervious surfaces of the existing home, driveway and sidewalks) exceeds the seven percent coverage allowed in the zoning district. With the proposal, overall lot coverage on the site is to be reduced by 23 square feet. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Woodland Residential; ZONING: WR; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E 17AA; TAX LOT: 1105.

Commissioner Marsh read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.

 

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact

Commissioners Miller, Dotterrer, and Dawkins declared site visits; no ex parte contact was reported by any of the commissioners.

 

Staff Report

Associate Planner Derek Severson presented the staff report and clarified this planning application is required to come before the Planning Commission because it involves a conditional use permit for a new structure. Mr. Severson reviewed the property location and stated it is on the west side of Granite Street between Ashland Creek Dr. and Lantern Hill and is zoned Woodland Residential, which has a minimum lot size of 2-acres and an allowed lot coverage of 7%. He stated the existing lot is much smaller than the 2-acre minimum and is only .61 acres in size, and roughly 1,695 sq. ft. of the property (or 90% of the allowed lot coverage) is occupied by a shared driveway that serves seven properties. Mr. Severson explained the proposal before the Commission is to demolish the existing home due to mold infestation (a demolition permit has already been approved by the Building Division) and to construct a new home. Mr. Severson clarified while the new home will have a larger footprint than the current structure, because the proposal includes removing the shed and reducing the area of the existing driveway, patio and sidewalk, the overall lot coverage is reduced by 23 sq. ft.

 

Mr. Severson noted the Applicant’s have provided some conceptual building elevations which are fairly contemporary; however staff does not believe this is out of character with the surroundings. He clarified staff is recommending approval of the application with the noted conditions, and clarified there were no recommendations from the Tree Commission.

 

Applicant’s Presentation

Mark Knox/Applicant’s Representative and Carlos Delgado/Project Architect came forward and addressed the Commission. Mr. Knox explained the current structure is proposed for removal because it has a sever amount of poisonous mold, and the reports obtained by the property owner clearly indicate this issue. He commented on the site and clarified this lot was created prior to the adoption of the Woodland Residential Zone and this is a classic case where the lot is too small for the zoning designation. He stated this is a simple case and they have worked hard to create a proposal that lessens the impact and reduces the lot coverage of the site. He stated a good portion of the new house will be located on the existing driveway and impervious surface areas and noted the substandard size of the lot makes it difficult to put any kind of house here without going through the City’s conditional use process.

 

Mr. Delgado commented briefly on the conceptual design of the proposed house and stated they had to really work around the site considerations to lessen the lot coverage. 

 

Commissioner Miller expressed her concern about architectural compatibility. Mr. Knox clarified in this area the housing style is a mixed bag and if you go up into that area you will find houses that are contemporary.

 

Public Testimony

No one came forward to speak.

 

Commissioner Marsh closed the public hearing and the record at 7:23 p.m.

 

Deliberations & Decision

Commissioner Rinaldi asked if staff would follow up and make sure the final building design is compatible with the neighborhood. Mr. Severson clarified staff will review the building plans for consistency with what has been proposed and will look for changes that might significantly alter the plan in how it relates to neighboring properties.

 

Commissioners Dawkins/Dotterrer m/s to approve Planning Action #2009-01051 and approve the Findings (omitting Condition #3 as requested by staff). Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Morris, Mindlin, Miller, Rinaldi, Dawkins, Dimitre, Dotterrer, Blake and Marsh, YES. Motion passed 9-0.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

A.      Comments on Proposed Council Rules Ordinance and Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures Ordinance.

Council Liaison Eric Navickas explained the Council has begun discussing this issue, but have not yet made a final decision on the two proposed ordinances.

 

Council Rules Ordinance

The Commissioners shared their opinions on whether the Council Liaison to the Planning Commission should be an ex officio member or a non-member. Mr. Molnar clarified non-members cannot participate in the meeting, while ex officio members are generally allowed to sit and the table and participate in discussions, but not vote. Comment was made that in the past they have had liaisons that participated too energetically and at times their opinions influenced the Commission’s decisions. Marsh noted the proposed language in Section 2.01.100.C which states “under no circumstance is a liaison to a City advisory body to attempt to direct debate, lobby or otherwise influence the direction or decisions of the body,” and stated whatever you call the position this section addresses those concerns. Navickas commented that the Planning Commission and the City Council have a dual relationship and there are times where he believes it is appropriate for the liaison to speak up and provide guidance. He cited a recent discussion on the Croman Mill Redevelopment Plan as an example where he interjected when he felt the Commission was straying from what the Council had asked them to do. Opinion was given that classifying the liaison as an ex officio member and allowing this person to sit at the table tends to influence their decisions. Comment was made that the liaison should not be allowed to provide comment except in those circumstances where the Commission is getting off track from the Council’s direction.

 

City Attorney Richard Appicello commented on the direction he was given following the City Council’s initial discussion. He noted their desire to make sure no councilor is using their position as a liaison to try to move the debate in a direction contrary to what the full Council wants. The Council also requested staff clarify that for the Planning Commission, the liaison will be an ex officio member of the body except for quasi-judicial matters.

 

Commissioner Mindlin noted that there seems to be differing opinions amongst the group as to whether the liaison should be an ex officio member. Mr. Appicello stated the Council consensus was for all Council Liaisons to be ex officio members, except on the Planning Commission where the liaison would not be an ex officio member during quasi-judicial matters. General support was voiced for this clarification.

 

Commissioner Marsh noted the language in Section 2.04.100.G which states “Each advisory body should be invited to give a short annual presentation to the Council” and stated she would like to take advantage of this provision and schedule a joint session with the City Council. Comment was made questioning if the language should read “shall” instead of “should”. The Commission voiced agreement that they should meet with the Council at least annually.

 

Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures Ordinance

Commissioner Marsh reviewed the following Ordinance sections that would impact the current procedures of the Planning Commission: 1) The election of officers would be changed to the first meeting of the year, 2) Chairs and Vice Chairs could not serve as officers for more than two years, and 3) Commissioner terms would be limited to 5 terms (20 years). Mr. Appicello clarified the restriction on term limits may be removed from the final ordinance and instead it would include softer language that the Mayor should give preference to new qualified individuals. Comment was made voicing opposition to the term limit provision since this does not seem to be a problem on the City’s commissions and committees.  

 

Comment was made questioning why the chair and vice chair would be selected in January, when new members aren’t appointed until the end of April. Commissioner Dawkins noted they have had this discussion before and the Planning Commission decided it was better to have the new members on board before they elect their officers. Marsh agreed that the selection of the chairs should happen after the new members are appointed.

 

Mr. Molnar asked if the Commission had any input on the provision that limits the chair and vice chair to two years. Comment was made questioning why this needs to be in the ordinance and indicating the commission should be allowed to decide. Additional comment was made that if you have a really good chair, why shouldn’t they be allowed to remain in that position; and that commissions should be allowed to govern their own proceedings to a certain extent. 

Mr. Appicello provided some clarification on why the Council is proposing these two ordinances and the benefits of having some standardization.

 

Councilor Navickas questioned where the Commission would prefer him to sit during quasi-judicial hearings. Mr. Appicello clarified if the liaison is a non-member during these types of proceedings, it is probably appropriate for the liaison not to sit at the table. He stated the main question is whether the liaison should leave the room in order to avoid the possibility of non-verbal communication. Several commissioners voiced their opinion for the liaison to not be in the Council Chambers during quasi-judicial hearings. Suggestion was made for the Chair to announce why the Council Liaison is leaving the room when these situations occur.

 

B.      Croman Mill District Plan

Commissioner Marsh clarified they will be continuing their discussions of the Outline of Issues document from the September 29th meeting and asked Councilor Navickas to comment on how they are doing with communicating with the Council. Navickas encouraged the Commission to schedule an update with the Council in the near future, and explained the time for liaisons to give updates to the entire Council comes at the very end of their meetings and they often run out of time before this occurs. Community Development Director Bill Molnar suggested they schedule a Study Session with the Council before the Planning Commission holds its public hearing. Navickas and the Planning Commissioners voiced their support for this suggestion. Request was made for a representative of the Croman Advisory Committee to also be invited to attend the Study Session.

 

Transportation Issues

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman noted that some members have raised concerns regarding the alignment of Tolman Creek Road and the new central boulevard. He explained the idea is the for majority of traffic to be directed to the Croman site, and those who want to continue down Tolman Creek Rd would have to make a right hand turn to connect back onto Tolman Creek. Mr. Molnar commented since this alignment would happen at a future phase, and is contingent on a lot of things happening (including the exchange with ODOT), he suggested they may want to wait on making a final decision on this element of the plan. He added the City is in the process of updating its Transportation System Plan and it may be beneficial to wait until this plan is complete before they make a decision since the TSP will likely address this area and may propose suggestions for how this area should be addressed. 

 

Commissioner Miller suggested they create two lanes going south toward Siskiyou Blvd; the left lane could go into the Croman site and the right lane could continue along Tolman Creek Rd to the residential areas. She questioned how long it will take for the Croman site to generate a lot of traffic and until that buildup occurs she supports a left hand turn off Tolman Creek Rd. into the Croman site. Dotterrer noted the concept was to direct the arterial traffic to the new boulevard and turn Tolman Creek Rd., which passes right by an elementary school, back into a residential street. Miller commented that the proposed layout seems awkward. Dimitre gave his opinion that it is doubtful the new street will become a new boulevard and he believes people will continue to use Tolman Creek Rd.  

 

Mr. Goldman noted that Tolman Creek Rd. is part of the bus loop, and once a certain amount of buildup occurs on the Croman site, they may want to move the bus stops to the main boulevard. He noted there are pedestrian crossings included in the plan that would enable people to get from the residential neighborhood to the new bus routes. Comment was made that taking the bus service away from a dense residential area and diverting it to the Croman site might be a mistake. Additional comment was made that people use the bus throughout the day in the residential areas, while at the Croman site it may only be utilized in the morning and evening when people and coming and leaving work.

 

Mr. Molnar commented briefly on the possibility of a future connection from Washington Street over to Tolman Creek Road that is identified in the Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP). He clarified this may come up as part of the TSP update, but any future connection would not pass through the Croman site. Mindlin stated she is worried about displacing uses from the Croman site over to Washington Street and is concerned with this areas access issues. Mr. Molnar explained Washington St. is an existing problem and ODOT is aware that this is part of the TSP update and that changes will need to occur. He noted there were some discussions to vent both areas by crossing the railroad tracks with a roadway, but the grade issues and costs involved created limitations to this option. Marsh stated it is important for them to look at pedestrian and bicycle access on both sides of the tracks so that people can move from one side to the other. Mr. Molnar voiced his support for tracking the land use proposals for the Washington Street area and providing this type of input during the TSP process.

Commissioner Dotterrer voiced his support for postponing a decision on the future alignment of Tolman Creek Rd. He stated the Commission should come to an agreement on the idea of a central boulevard and leave the issue of the future alignment to the Transportation Commission. Marsh voiced her opinion that they do not need to decide how this intersection will work at the master planning level. Rinaldi suggested if they want to leave this intersection to be determined, it should be more generic in the plan and not specified as it is currently. The Commission reached general consensus on the central boulevard concept. Mr. Molnar suggested they consider adding wording to the Design Standards that acknowledges the master plan concept for the central boulevard, but notes this is a future phase and the details will need to be evaluated at a later date. Support was voiced for injecting some ambiguity into the Design Standards language.

 

Commissioner Rinaldi questioned if they are getting too precise with the grid layout in terms of the minor streets and access ways, and whether this would limit the size and variety of the parcels. He stated buyers may have concerns with this and he suggested they dash the streets in order to show them as being more conceptual.  Mr. Molnar stated the local streets and the central boulevard are fairly set, but there could be opportunity to consider other options for the access ways, such as a multi-use path system.

 

Commissioner Blake expressed concern with the proposed active zones that require building façades to be within 25 ft. of the property line and how this would affect solar access. Mr. Molnar clarified staff has starting working on possible adjustments to the street configuration to more of an east-west layout and can bring this forward if the Commission is interested in exploring different options. Commissioner Marsh indicated the Commission’s support for staff to research alternate options to the street configuration.   

 

Land Use Mix

Mr. Molnar provided an introduction to the matrix and briefly reviewed the difference between special permitted uses and conditional uses. The Commission reviewed the matrix and the uses that are outlined.

 

Residential Uses

Mr. Goldman clarified a definition will need to be added for short term employee housing, but this definition will likely indicate the unit could only be occupied by someone employed by the permitted use on site. He added this type of housing would typically be an apartment located within an office building. Dotterrer voiced his support for this concept, but requested staff make sure the definition is consistent with the concept. Dimitre commented that he is not in favor of the short term employee housing idea and stated he would like this reworked to support more affordable housing. Mr. Molnar clarified under State law, the City cannot mandate affordable housing and can only provide incentives. Councilor Navickas suggested re-zoning the existing industrial as mixed-use employment as a means to get an additional amount of housing. Miller voiced her support for the Croman site to be primarily employment, with the opportunity for mixed-use near the other residential areas along the creek. Dimitre commented on the need to provide adequate housing on the site and suggested residential use be permitted without being in conjunction with commercial. Comment was made suggesting the proposed neighborhood center be used for high density housing. Mr. Goldman clarified in the neighborhood center, 100% of the second or third story could be residential, but 100% of the ground floor needs to be commercial. Comment was made that the whole idea behind this plan was to create employment and industrial opportunities and what has been presented is a nice compromise. Several opinions were given on whether high density housing should be permitted in the neighborhood center, and Marsh clarified it does not appear they have a consensus on this issue. She added they will reach a point in the process where they will need to vote on these items and they may want to consider including minority reports along with the package that goes before the City Council.

 

Commercial Uses

Mr. Molnar suggested 1,500 sq. ft. be the maximum square footage for stores, restaurants and shops in the Office Employment and Compatible Industrial areas and asked for the Commission’s feedback. Mindlin voiced her support for allowing stores and restaurants in these areas and stated she would even support it being more flexible. Dotterrer agreed and stated most office areas have places on the ground floor where employees can get a sandwich or a quick bite to eat. Several other comments were made voicing support for this provision.

 

Commissioner Marsh questioned the child/daycare center and fitness club provision and whether these would be open to the general public. She asked why they would allow the general public to visit the restaurants, but not allow them to use the daycare facilities. Mindlin agreed with Marsh and stated this feels exclusionary to not allow businesses to provide services to the general public. Mr. Goldman clarified the way it is currently drafted, a Gold’s Gym or a daycare center open to the general public could only be located in the neighborhood center. For businesses located in the Office Employment or Compatible Industrial area, you can only provide this use if it is for your employees. Comment was made questioning what would happen if a business wants to offer a daycare service to its employees, but due to a limited number of children, they need to open it up to the public in order to make it viable. Mr. Goldman clarified the language currently states “services generally intended to support”, so there may be some allowance for this type of situation.

 

Industrial Uses

Mr. Goldman clarified he has made a note to insert a line for “Retail in conjunction with a manufactured use of less than 600 ft” to be permitted outright in the Compatible Industrial zone. Dimitre suggested the “manufacture or assembly contiguous to a retail outlet” be removed from the Neighborhood Center and stated he does not believe this is an appropriate use in that zone.  Mindlin commented on the provision for “warehouse and similar storage facilities in conjunction with permitted use and enclosed in building” and recommended they allow for storage outside of buildings. Several commissioners voiced support for storage outside of buildings to be a conditional use so that appropriate screening could be required.

 

Public & Institutional Uses

Comment was made voicing concern with not allowing private schools (adult education) as a permitted use. Mr. Goldman noted there are employee targets they are trying to hit and based on floor area, schools typically don’t have a high number of employees. Dotterrer questioned why there are different standards for public service and community buildings with and stated whatever they decide for private use, they should allow the same for public use.

 

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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