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Planning Commission

Minutes
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

 

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

July 13, 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

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.

 

Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

Richard Appicello, City Attorney

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

 

 

Absent Members:

 

Council Liaison:

None

 

Eric Navickas, absent

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the City Council has passed first reading on three of the six Croman Mill ordinances and are scheduled to take up the remaining three on August 3, 2010.

 

Chair Pam Marsh announced the July Study Session has been cancelled.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

A.         Approval of Minutes

         1.  June 8, 2010 Planning Commission Minutes

         2.  June 22, 2010 Special Meeting Minutes

 

Commissioners Dotterrer/Morris m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed 8-0.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Colin Swales/143 8th St/Commented on the preparation of Findings and cited a modified process outlined by former Community Development Director John McLaughlin. Mr. Swales cited the minutes from the February 10, 2004 Planning Commission meeting where Mr. McLaughlin proposed a more standardized form for Findings that would reference the staff report, the applicant’s findings, the minutes, and attached conditions; and they would be adopted at the same meeting the hearing is held. Mr. Swales stated Findings are very important documents and are precedent setting, and asked the Commission to consider streamlining the process as suggested by the former Director.

 

Mr. Molnar stated he believes Mr. McLaughlin proposed this process because at the time they were dealing with a higher number of planning actions. He stated many of the applications at that time were fairly simple and did not have any opposition, and adopting the Findings by reference would have been sufficient. However the City has gone to a different format and appeals to the Council are now “on the record”. As a result, Mr. Molnar stated it is necessary for the Findings to be more thorough and address any comments that came up during the hearing. City Attorney Richard Appicello concurred and added it is important for the City and the applicant to make sure the Findings are adequate, and stated he would not recommend rushing the adoption of Findings.

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

A.      PLANNING ACTION: #2010-00582     
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 1405 Tolman Creek Rd
APPLICANT: Malibar Group, LLC
DESCRIPTION: A request for a Boundary Line Adjustment and a Variance to allow a lot wider than it is deep for the vacant property located at 1405 Tolman Creek Road. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 39 1E 23 BA; TAX LOT: 308 and 501.

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

 

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact

Commissioner Morris asked to be recused. He stated he has worked for the applicant in the past and has a potential conflict of interest. Commissioner Morris left the meeting at 7:13 p.m.

 

Commissioners Rinaldi, Mindlin, Dawkins, Dotterrer, Miller and Marsh declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.

 

Staff Report

Associate Planner Derek Severson reviewed the location of the site and the existing conditions. He explained this application involves a lot line adjustment for two lots; the larger lot is currently 2.32 acres and the smaller lot is .89 acres. The proposal is to reduce the size of the smaller lot to .33 acres and increase the size of the larger lot to 2.89 acres. Mr. Severson noted this type of action is typically approved administratively; however in this case the movement of lot lines will result in a flag lot that is wider than it is deep and therefore a variance is required. Mr. Severson explained that the applicant has demonstrated there is significant development potential for this area. He noted the applicant is offering an irrevocable consent to dedicate a future street which will service development on that property in the future; and at that time, their lot will become compliant with the width versus depth standard. Mr. Severson stated staff is supportive of this application and are recommending approval with the conditions outlined in the staff report. 

 

Staff was asked to clarify the width of the street. Mr. Severson explained the width of the flag drive is currently 37 ft, and a minimum of 47 ft is needed for a new residential street. He explained the applicant has agreed to provide a half-street improvement, which will consist of two travel lanes, a parkrow and a sidewalk on the south side; and if and when the neighboring lot develops, that property owner would be asked to dedicate the remaining 10 ft. Staff clarified the full street improvement of the flag drive would only be needed if the other property decides to build out their lot.

 

Commissioner Dawkins raised concern with dedicating a street when the applicant does not own the tax lots on the north and south sides. Mr. Severson noted they have done this with other developments in Ashland where you ask for the improvement to develop according to the zoning, and as properties develop the property owners are asked to dedicate the necessary parts of the street. He added they are getting most of the street with this proposal and it is only the street trees and parkrow that will be needed in the future on the north side.

 

Applicant’s Presentation

Roy Martin/Applicant and Mark Knox/Applicant’s Representative addressed the Commission. Mr. Knox explained they have two existing lots and all they are really doing is shrinking one of them. He noted the existing development potential and stated where this gets complicated is when you consider how this area will eventually build out. Mr. Knox stated in the future, tax lots 400 and 500 are likely to be portioned off and developed, which will force a street to go in. He explained if you look at the City’s Street Standards, it is clear that if these parcels are divided, they will be required to take access off this new lane. He stated as part of this application, his client is agreeing to a ¾ street improvement; and if the owner of tax lot 400 decides to develop their lot, they will likely be asked to provide the last quarter which would consist of curbing, a planting strip and sidewalk. Mr. Knox noted his client’s irrevocable consent to dedicate this strip right now, and stated they have identified reciprocal easements to allow the current property owner to use this strip of land.

 

Mr. Martin noted that typically this type of action only requires a staff approval and it would not have come before the Commission if not for the situation of the lot being wider than it is long. He stated all they are doing is taking one buildable site and making it smaller.

 

Mr. Knox commented that they are designing these envelopes with the assumption that there is going to be a street there one day. He also noted a neighborhood meeting was held and feels it went well. 

 

Mr. Severson clarified this property is served by city utilities. Mr. Molnar commented on the setback requirements and how future homes might be oriented. It was clarified there are design standards for single family home development that address eaves and porches, but there is no requirement that states the front door must be oriented towards to the street.  

 

Public Testimony

Maria Paul/2375 Green Meadows/Voiced her concern with the impact this lot formation will have on the existing home values along Green Meadows Way. She stated all of the surrounding homes are modest, single story homes and is worried if they start building two-story homes it will have a negative impact on the value of her home. Ms. Paul asked if the variance is approved that it carry with it a mandatory restriction for only single story homes. She stated anything else would be incompatible with the surrounding homes and their views and privacy would be compromised.

 

Colin Swales/143 8th St/Stated this should not have come before the Commission as a variance and believes it could have been handled administratively. Mr. Swales clarified what he would like to speak to is the interpretation made by the City’s former Assistant Attorney on the Hillview application about what constitutes a front, back, and rear yard. Mr. Swales stated he believes some real errors were made in that interpretation and it impacts this application. He stated infill issues including existing neighborhoods, privacy, and overlooking need to be sorted out; and while he supports approval of this application, he would like the Commission to direct staff to address these infill issues. Mr. Swales asked that the record be left open so he can enter into the record arguments as to why he believes that interpretation is wrong. He added he does not want to hold up this application up, but feels these issues need to be addressed.

 

Commissioner Marsh asked for clarification as to whether Mr. Swales is asking to leave the record open. Mr. Swales stated he does not want to delay this application, but feels this interpretation needs to be addressed and does not know what the correct course of action is. Mr. Swales stated if the Commission will take up these infill issues on their own, he will withdraw his request to leave the record open.

 

Michael Fagundes/2323 Green Meadows/Stated he lives in this neighborhood and has heard a lot of verbiage tonight that makes him nervous. Mr. Fagundes noted that the applicant does not control this whole piece of land and they don’t know what will happen on the other lot in the future. He commented on privacy issues and expressed concern with neighbors looking in on him, and added that a new subdivision will not fit in this area.

 

Rebuttal by the Applicant

Mark Knox/Stated they have attempted to address the neighbors concerns by providing excessive setbacks over what is required, and noted that these lots will also be bigger than the neighboring lots. Mr. Knox stated it is difficult to say what is compatible and what is not. He agreed that the Green Meadows development is predominately single story homes, but noted that there are two-story houses to the north that are mixed in. Mr. Knox agreed with Mr. Swales and stated he supports the Planning Commission taking another look at the interpretation made by the former Assistant City Attorney.

 

Advice from Legal Counsel & Staff

Mr. Severson briefly reviewed the setback requirements and the additional buffer that is part of this application; he also clarified there is no provision that would allow staff to prohibit a two-story house.

 

Staff was asked to comment on whether a future subdivision application would come before the Planning Commission. Mr. Severson clarified yes, this type of action would be a Type II hearing before the Commission and at that time staff would be looking at all the standards and issues raised earlier.

 

Commissioner Marsh closed the public hearing and the record at 8:10 p.m.

 

Deliberations & Decision

Commissioners Dotterrer/Blake motion to approve Planning Action #2010-00582 with the conditions proposed by staff. DISCUSSION: Dawkins voiced his concern with the assumptions they are making about the future development of this area and stated he will be voting no on this motion because he feels this is a roundabout way of approving a future subdivision. Mindlin stated she does not believe the applicant has met the criteria for unique or unusual circumstances that are not self imposed, and voiced concern with approving the applicant’s concept for development without dealing with the issues. Blake stated he is not in disagreement with anything that has been said, but noted that a subdivision application would have to come back before them and the applicant is just acknowledging that there is future potential for this. He added he is a believer in master planning and is supportive of infill, and also agrees with management access and having fewer driveways on Tolman Creek Rd. Rinaldi commented that approving this application does not lock them into anything and stated they would be able to look at a development application in more detail when it comes before them. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dotterrer, Miller, Blake, Rinaldi and Marsh, YES. Commissioners Dawkins and Mindlin, NO. Motion passed 5-2.

 

Commissioner Morris rejoined the hearing at 8:25 p.m.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

A.         Discussion of changes to the Planning Commission Rules of Conduct

Staff provided a brief review of the changes to the Planning Commission Rules and clarified these updates are necessary to provide consistency with the Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures Ordinance passed by the City Council in February, 2010. Because of the provision in the Rules that requires proposed changes to be announced 14 days prior to the decision, staff noted the Commission will not vote on these changes until their August 10, 2010 meeting.

 

Commissioner Dotterrer noted change to the number of votes needed to make amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Marsh commented that the new Rules change the selection of the Chair and Vice Chair to their first meeting in January, and asked that they discuss at their next meeting how they would like to handle the current Chair’s and Vice Chair’s terms until they are selected again in January 2011.

 

B.         Planning Commission Liaison to the TSP Technical Advisory Committee

Mr. Molnar asked for a volunteer to serve on the Technical Advisory Committee being formed for the City’s Transportation System Plan update.

 

Commissioner Dawkins noted his interest in serving on this group. General consensus was reached to select Michael Dawkins as the Planning Commission representative for the TSP TAC.

 

C.         Approval of Findings for PA-2009-01244, 1644 Ashland Street.

 

Commissioners Dawkins and Mindlin left the meeting at 8:37 p.m.

 

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact

Commissioner Miller stated she spoke with a citizen but did not receive any new information. No ex parte contact was reported by any of the commissioners.

 

City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified there is no opportunity for the public to rebut Commissioner Miller’s disclosure since no new information was obtained. He added the record is now closed and there is no opportunity for the public to comment on the Findings, and it is too late to issue a challenge or give additional information to the Commission.

 

Deliberations & Decision

Mr. Appicello briefly reviewed the Findings with the Commission and noted the key issues came down to collocation and economic impacts.

 

Commissioner Dotterrer asked if the following language contained in the first paragraph on page 14 is necessary: “The City Council as the legislative body could have written the above referenced design standards to reflect a more rigorous collocation requirement such as the following: …”  Mr. Appicello stated he included this language because many of the opponents that were commenting were characterizing the collocation standard as a mandatory standard that has to be met.

 

Commissioner Rinaldi noted the language on page 11 regarding landscape buffering and recommended the following change: “The design, color and material of the structure and the established landscaping along the property line to the south effectively mitigate any visual impacts of the proposal.” He clarified the adjacent property’s landscaping was not a reason for their decision and asked that this be removed. General support was voiced for this amendment.

 

Commissioners Rinaldi/Morris m/s to approve the Findings for Planning Action #2009-01244 with the revision to page 11 as discussed. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Morris, Rinaldi, Miller, Blake, Marsh and Dotterrer, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

 

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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