Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

 

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

STUDY SESSION

MINUTES

April 27, 2010

 

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

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.

 

Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

 

 

 

Absent Members:

 

Council Liaison:

Debbie Miller, absent

 

Eric Navickas

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the Economic Development Strategy update will come before the Commission at their May Study Session. He also commented on the Croman Mill Plan and stated the Council held their first public hearing on April 6th and this item will be continued at the Council’s May 4th meeting.

 

Commissioner Marsh stated at the May Study Session she would like the Commission to revisit the goals they set at their annual retreat and determine what still needs to be accomplished before the end of the year.

 

PRESENTATIONS

A.      2010-2014 CDBG Consolidated Plan Update.

Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid and Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a presentation on the 2010-2014 CDBG Consolidated Plan. Mr. Goldman explained the Consolidated Plan contains an assessment of needs for specific eligible activities to benefit low income populations and populations with special needs. It also contains a housing market analysis, an evaluation of resources that are available to serve the specific populations, an assessment of barriers to affordable housing, an analysis of impediments to fair housing, an evaluation of economic and community development needs, and an outline of the public participation process for how the CDBG funds will be allocated. He noted most of the demographic information comes from the 2000 Census but in order to have it be more up to date, Ms. Reid and the Housing Commission supplemented the 2006-2008 American Survey data.

 

Ms. Reid commented on the Consolidated Plan’s public participation process, provided information on the City’s housing types and vacancy rates, and provided information on the City’s demographics. The following are some of the key figures listed by Ms. Reid:

·   Ashland has 17 Census block groups and of those 8 are considered low to moderate income.

·   Between 1990 and 2008 the total population of people 55 or older doubled; and all other age groups with the exception of children under age 5 were reduced.

·   There is a higher percentage of individuals living below the poverty level in Ashland than in Jackson County, the State of Oregon, and the United States as a whole.

·   Ashland has a lower median income than Medford, Jackson County, the State of Oregon, and the United States.

 

Staff noted the City Council approved the 2010-2010 Consolidated Plan on April 20, 2010 and asked if the Planning Commissioners had any questions.

 

Commissioner Dotterrer asked what impact Southern Oregon University students have on this data. Ms. Reid stated it is not possible to separate this information out of the Census report; however the University is coming out with their own data which will be very helpful.

 

Commissioner Mindlin asked if CDBG funds could be used for transportation needs. Ms. Reid stated CDBG funds could be used for transportation improvements if those improvements primarily benefit low to moderate income families, and she provided some examples. Mr. Molnar noted the current Obama administration is moving in the direction of forming relationships between transportation and housing needs and indicated there may be future funding possibilities in this regard.

Mindlin noted recent reports are indicating money spent on public transportation benefits lower income families to a greater extent per dollar than money spent on affordable housing projects.

 

Ms. Reid briefly reviewed the grant recipients for this year’s award and stated the leftover funds will be used to complete ADA and public facility improvements in qualified low income areas.

 

B.      Regional Plan for the Greater Bear Creek Valley Update.

Associate Planner Derek Severson and Community Development Director Bill Molnar provided an update on the Regional Plan for the Greater Bear Creek Valley. Mr. Severson explained this plan, which is also called Regional Problem Solving or RPS, is a coordinated planning process that addresses the doubling of the valley’s population over the next 40-50 years. He stated the full Draft Plan is now available on the City’s website and stated the City is currently scheduled to present their final comments on the Plan at a public hearing before the Jackson County Planning Commission on August 12, 2010.

 

Mr. Severson provided some history on this process. He stated in 2003 the City of Ashland agreed to participate in the RPS process, but decided to not identify any urban reserves, and instead would accommodate growth through infill and increased density. Mr. Severson reviewed the issues that were in a 2007 letter from the Mayor, and commented on a recent discrepancy in regards to the population allocation that is identified. He stated the City is in the process of working through this issue with the County and clarified Ashland never said our population would not grow, but rather that we would accommodate that growth within our current boundaries.

 

Mr. Severson provided information on the adoption process and listed the next steps. He clarified the Jackson County Board of Commissioners is the deciding body in this action and once they have made their decision it will be forwarded to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). He stated the cities will then have to incorporate the adopted plan into their individual Comprehensive Plans, and noted this will be fairly simple for Ashland since we are not proposing any changes. Once this step is complete and the DLCD adopts the plan, there will be an opportunity for cities to appeal the Plan.

 

Mr. Molnar clarified the purpose of this meeting is to bring everyone up to date, and stated if the Commission would like to issue formal comments to the City Council in time for their public hearing, staff could allocate time at the Commission’s May meeting.

 

Commissioner Marsh questioned if this process has considered how the current economic recession will affect this Plan. Mr. Severson stated this has not really be discussed and stated it is not about the timeframe and deals more with how to accommodate the doubling when it occurs.

 

Commissioner Mindlin commented that all of the issues outlined in the 2007 letter are still very important and noted she has concerns with the transportation planning. She stated transportation development in the County will have an effect on Ashland even if it is happening elsewhere.

 

Comment was made questioning if there will be an affirmation by the participants at the end of this process. Mr. Molnar shared some the concerns that were raised about cities backing out of the process in the end. He stated in lieu of an affirmation process, all of the cities who participated will have the opportunity to appeal the Plan.

 

Commissioner Rinaldi commented that all of the issues raised in the 2007 letter are just as relevant today as they were then, and questioned how this Plan will affect air quality, wastewater capacity, etc.

 

Commissioner Marsh read into the record a statement emailed to the Commission from “sd96950@hotmail.com”.

 

Commissioner Marsh noted the Commission could revisit this at their May meeting if they need to, but stated there seems to be general agreement with reinforcing the comments that are already on the table. Several commissioners voiced their agreement with this statement. Marsh stated she also agrees with the comments that have already made by the City, but stated she hopes the Council will not hold back when this goes before the County and hopes they will make a strong statement about our land use values being incorporated over time into the RPS process. Commissioner Dawkins commented that the City had the opportunity to stand with Jacksonville and not participate in this process which would have made a much stronger statement, but at this point there is not much room for disagreement.

 

C.      FEMA Flood Map Rate Modernization Update.

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided an update on the FEMA Flood Map modernization. He explained this is a nationwide project that modifies the 100 yr. and 500 yr. flood zones in the City. Mr. Goldman stated these maps do not change the Ashland Modified Flood Plain, but they may impact citizens’ flood insurance need and rates, developable land area, and building code requirements. He stated the City is working to alert the community about these changes and their opportunity to lock in insurance rates if they are affected.

 

Mr. Molnar clarified the Ashland Modified Flood Zone was identified back in the 1980’s based on discrepancies with the FEMA Flood Zone. He stated the Ashland zone was based on where water actually flowed during flooding events and stated staff does not anticipate moving that zone based on this newer information from FEMA. Mr. Goldman noted that both zones are regulated, so even if someone is in the FEMA Flood Zone but not the Ashland Modified Flood Zone, they will be regulated to the same extent.

 

Mr. Goldman provided further information on the grandfathering clause to lock in insurance rates and clarified citizens will need to purchase insurance before the map revisions go into effect. He noted all of the updated FEMA Flood maps are posted to the City’s website and citizens are encouraged to contact the Planning Division with questions. He stated this item will come back to the Commission in June, where they will be asked to adopt the revised maps and approve ordinance amendments that are necessary for consistency. 

 

Mr. Goldman noted the outreach that is being performed and staff was thanked for all their efforts to assist the community through this process.

 

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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