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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Tuesday, July 03, 2001

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
July 3, 2001

 

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:38 p.m., Chairperson Dale Shostrom called the meeting to order at the Community Center. Members present were Terry Skibby, Dale Shostrom, Gary Foll, Jay Leighton, Bob Meiser, Joan Steele, and Keith Chambers. Also present were Associate Planners Mark Knox and Brandon Goldman, and Secretary Sonja Akerman. Members Kay Maser and Rob Saladoff were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Steele moved and Chambers seconded to approve the minutes of the June 6, 2001 meeting as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Planning Action 2001-063
Site Review, Variance and Three-Parcel, Three-Unit Development
544 "B" Street
Richard and Leslie Lovett

Meiser declared a conflict of interest and left the room because he is the designer/contractor for the project. Foll stated his wife is related to the applicants and would therefore refrain from participating in the discussion and voting.

Knox then explained this application is for a three-unit development under the Performance Standards Option. Also requested is a Variance to the driveway spacing standards, which would allow a distance of 30 feet between two driveways, rather than the required 50 feet. The driveways are on the Fourth Street side and will each go to a single car garage. This is a corner lot without alley access and after trying several different configurations, this seemed to be the best proposal. The lot is 9,990 square feet and has an existing single family residence that just received special assessment status from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Design of the new residences will not only be compatible with the existing one, but homes in the neighborhood as well. Each home will be one and a half stories high with dormers to minimize the roof height. Staff is recommending approval for this application with ten conditions. One condition will be that the driveways consist of planting strips between two parallel driveway strips in order to minimize the impact of two fairly close driveways. The applicants are proposing to have special garage doors installed that will swing out rather than roll up. Knox noted that Meiser had met with the Review Board on at least two occasions.

Shostrom asked if the applicants are receiving on-street parking credit since the garages will be for single vehicles. Knox stated that is the case.

Shostrom opened the public hearing and Philip Lang, 758 "B" Street, stated he owns several rentals in the area. He is opposed to this application and will appeal it to the City Council and the State Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) if necessary. Lang stated he is opposed for four reasons and they all relate to the same reasons why he was opposed to the Railroad District nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. 1) The eclectic quality of the neighborhood is lost with developments such as this and there is no preservation of artifacts. This development will make the neighborhood less desirable and less historic. 2) He and his partner own 13 affordable housing rentals in the Railroad District. Lang contends that people who buy lots, then divide and sell them are only out to make a profit. 3) If the Variance is approved it would just be a sanction for breaking the law, since that is the nature of a Variance - getting approval for something that is not allowed. Lang said he sees greed here because the applicants will be building two expensive homes, then selling them. He stated the criteria for granting a Variance are not being met here because they are self-imposed. 4) "B" Street is a major arterial. There is a lot of traffic and it is not safe. Ashland does not need more houses or more traffic here.

Applicant Leslie Lovett took exception to Lang's reasons. She stated she and her husband have no intention of selling the two new houses because they are hoping their sons will move to Ashland and live in the homes. In the meantime, they will be adding two rentals to Ashland. She stated the area is zoned Multi-Family Residential and their property would actually allow for more units. She also stated there are other houses in the Railroad District that have been built more recently, Lang's included.

Lang asked Knox about the size of the lot and Knox responded the Lovetts have at least 950 square feet more than needed for three units. Skibby asked about the frontage of the two new lots on Fourth Street and Knox said they are both 40 feet wide, and the "B" Street frontage is 80 feet. Skibby then noted the Railroad District was originally platted with 25 foot lots so the two new ones are reminiscent of the past.

As there was no one else who wished to speak, Shostrom closed the public hearing.

As a point of information, Steele clarified the Historic Commission's purview of this application is the design of the two new homes. Knox affirmed this.

Leighton asked about the stonework depicted in the packet compared with the recent submittal that was on display. Knox said the one to use in making a decision would be the most recent drawing. Skibby stated he feels comfortable with the size of the lots and the way the residential homes tie in to the area. He also likes the more historic garage doors. As far as he knows, this corner has always been vacant and infill is inevitable. It is important to keep people living in the area.

Steele noted that a perpetual Historic Commission complaint is that not enough detail is provided to the members and this should be no exception. More specificity is needed in calling out the material to be used and details. Everyone needs to be held to the same standard. Chambers agreed that more specificity is needed but also noted the design for the homes is good and that they will fit in to the neighborhood.

Shostrom stated the elevations show compatibility and similarity. However, he wondered that since the "B" Street elevation is the predominant side, if that could be the front of the house. Leighton said there are several corner buildings within a few blocks of this site that do not face "B" Street. Knox reasoned that because the side and front yard setbacks are different, it would be impossible to turn the "B" Street elevation into the front of the house. Knox asked if the Commission would like to see the porch wrapped around more to face "B" Street. Skibby maintained having two houses side by side like the ones proposed were typical for the Railroad District. Shostrom agreed that the setbacks would present a problem.

Skibby moved to recommend approval of this proposal to the Planning Commission with the ten conditions as noted by Knox, and that two new conditions be added relevant to submitting detailed elevations that specify material and dimensions be submitted to the Review Board prior to the issuance of a building permit, and that the garage doors swing out rather than roll up as proposed by the applicant. Leighton seconded the motion and it passed with all voting aye except Foll, who abstained for the previously mentioned reason. Meiser was out of the room.

Planning Action 2001-064
Site Review
237 North First Street
Ashland Community Food Store

Knox explained this application is for a 4,482 square foot addition to the Ashland Community Food Store. The existing 13,212 square foot store was built in 1993. The addition will be used mainly for storage and more retail space. The new entryway will have a two-story volume and will face First Street. The design is compatible with and draws elements from important structures in the Railroad District. Parking is adequate as it is. Staff is recommending approval with ten conditions.

Carlos Delgado, member of the design team for the project, explained the changes that had been made to the design after receiving input from the Review Board, and noted the team is pleased with the results. Details will be similar to the existing building and to Ashland Hardware (which is located across the street). Doyle Brightenburg, another member of the design team, stated the building will move more toward the parking lot and the new landscaping will promote people type of activity. Erik Wallbank, one of the applicants, said he worked with Associate Planner Maria Harris about addressing the First Street entryway, and after meeting with Review Board members Skibby and Chambers, who felt the original design did not keep the urban aspect of the building, Ashland Community Food Store (ACF) is pleased with the current design.

Steele asked about the function of the second story and Brightenburg replied it is not really a story, but rather a clerestory that will let people know it is an entryway because it is larger than the rest of the building. Skibby asked if the rafter ends will be exposed and Brightenburg responded they will be. The design is not meant to be fancy because the Railroad District contains structures that compliment simplicity. Brightenburg stated one of the objectives of the store was to create more presence and a facade that is a little more open. Also, they don't want the lighting to spill out into the residential area and the proposed entryway will accomplish this while letting customers know the store is open, especially when it is dark outside.

Meiser asked if the addition will be true or synthetic stucco. Delgado replied they are looking at true stucco, but won't know for sure until the costs are figured out. Meiser noted true stucco is much sturdier and Brightenburg said that while this is factual, he doesn't see much wear and tear on this portion of the building. He also stated there will be block beneath the stucco.

Shostrom inquired if the addition would be built up to the property line and Brightenburg replied it will go to the curb. Shostrom stated the northwest elevation will be a huge expanse of stucco and asked if a portion could be stepped back 18 inches. He suggested greenery at the least on that side because not having a buffer would make the addition feel looming. Brightenburg said that a function of the addition is being driven by the cooler and aisle inside the building. While wanting to break the relief on that side of the building, the store is fighting for interior square footage. Chambers agreed with Shostrom about breaking up the wall and while he knows this would be a compromise, said a trade off might be worth it. Zelpha Hutton, 59 Sixth Street, said that from an artist's viewpoint, the wall could be broken up with the use of texture, tiles, etc.

Knox asked if there would be any possibility of rearranging a little of the footprint in order to bring in the area another 18 inches. Brightenburg said it would be easier to bring in the portion that is already 18 inches to three feet. The other wall is part of the deli and cooler. Wallbank stated that as a part of Ashland Community Food Store, he and others are trying to make this a green building. While trying to get more square footage so the employees can work better inside, he appreciates the balance between the City and the store and will certainly take a look at stepping back that portion of the building.

Skibby said he has seen the design a couple times at Review Board meetings and he likes the improvement. The tower provides a good strong sense of entry. Originally, it just blended in with the rest of the building.

Leighton said she likes the idea of adding textural elements to the northwest wall, but this would be out of character with the rest of the building. Repeating an architectural detail that is typical on the rest of the building, however, will help.

Steele moved to recommend approval of this application to the Planning Commission with the recommendation the northwest wall be broken up with either landscaping or an architectural element compatible with the existing building. Skibby seconded the motion and it was unanimously passed.

Planning Action 2001-059
Conditional Use Permit and Site Review
50 Sixth Street
Qwest Communications

Goldman provided background information regarding this application, noting the original application that was approved last year was for a 2,800 square foot addition. When the plans for the building permit were recently submitted, two nine-foot tall cooling towers had replaced the four-foot condensers that had been approved for the roof. Another modification of the previous approval is the application of a 12 x 12 foot metal louver and external duct work facing Sixth Street. Because of these changes to what was approved last year, the Planning Department decided to re-notice this as a public hearing since neighbors already had concerns. Goldman said the landscape plan that was submitted is exemplary. Qwest maintains the four-foot condenser units are louder than the nine-foot cooling towers. Staff is recommending approval if Qwest can mitigate the cooling towers.

Skibby asked about the noise level. Goldman stated the noise levels on the site currently exceed the limit on the residential side, however, Qwest is proposing to take the mechanical equipment and move it into the new addition. He added the applicant has said the cooling towers will meet the noise ordinance and the metal louvers will also help.

Leighton asked if the metal louvers are an aesthetic solution and Goldman responded that according to Qwest they are, then he stated Staff is looking for Historic Commission input on the towers and the louvers. Goldman then informed the Commission Qwest has stated the condenser units would have to operate more and would be louder than the cooling towers. When he asked the City's mechanical inspector about this, he was told the coolers would project sound upward instead of out, however Qwest may be able to use more efficient four-foot units.

Zelpha Hutton, 59 Sixth Street, said she lives across the street from this building and thinks the brick side on Sixth Street is nice, but the building will look very industrial with the addition and the cooling towers.

Ron Bass, 78 Sixth Street, said he knew the phone company was located next to him when he bought the house and he is not anti-phone company. However, in this case, we are dealing with a phantom applicant. This is a classic out-of-town company that put in an emergency generator without telling the City and without permits. When the generator kicks in, he can hear it inside his home. The applicant came in for approval and turned in something different without consulting with the City or the neighbors. Another concern of his is the noise. When the emergency generator is on, it is very loud. He does not have the confidence Qwest would correct anything. Bass also said the Railroad District is on the National Register and he thinks the Qwest building is one of the most incompatible buildings in the district. All five houses that surround the building are listed as primary contributing. He maintained that the building should not change size because an expansion would be incompatible with the neighborhood. Bass then asked why it was that when he added on to his house, he was required to make his addition compatible with his existing house and Qwest is not being required to do so.

Chuck McKereghan, 77 Sixth Street, stated he is still puzzled by the change from the four-foot condensers to the nine-foot cooling towers. Cooling towers in general are quiet. Why couldn't they be redesigned to be longer, not higher? It seems as though nobody has any firm handle on what the FCC requirements are for the next five years. He stated there are three people that work in the building, one man per shift, but there is a lot of traffic and many trucks, which park on Sixth Street rather than in the parking lot. There seems to be no consideration for the residents. In his opinion, the entire operation should be cancelled out. He would make Qwest come back and justify why all this is necessary.

Goldman referred to recommended conditions #3 and 4 in the Staff Report referring to noise levels and an available contact person.

Foll stated he agrees with the neighbors concerns, but noted the Commission only has authority to recommend design issues on the proposed addition. He said he feels Qwest is pushing the City and he doesn't think this proposal should be allowed. Steele and Meiser agreed with Foll.

Skibby said that concerning the design, he is opposed to the louvers because they are not compatible; they are out of character with the neighborhood. He also questioned the effect of the noise on the neighborhood and the design compatibility. He does not feel approval would be appropriate.

Chambers moved to recommend denial of this planning action as presented for the following reasons: 1) the increase in height beyond the four-foot condenser units to the nine-foot cooling towers is not compatible with the surrounding historic area, and the louvers move away from residential to commercial, 2) there is a concern regarding the generation of noise that has not been adequately addressed by the applicant, 3) the difficulties associated with making direct contact with Qwest representatives need to be addressed, and 4) the unpermitted installation of the emergency generator is cause for concern, as well as turning in plans that do not reflect the conditions of approval. Steele seconded the motion and it passed with a unanimous vote.

Leighton then moved to recommend a continuance of this application if Qwest wishes to address and fix the concerns as noted in the first motion, with a representative of Qwest to be present at the meeting in order to explain and speak to the Historic Commission about these concerns because there are technical questions that need to be answered. Chambers seconded the motion. The motion passed with Shostrom, Leighton, Chambers and Meiser voting aye and Skibby, Steele and Foll voting nay.

OLD BUSINESS

Review Board - Following is the July schedule for the Review Board, which meets every Thursday from 3:00 to at least 3:30 p.m. in the Planning Department:

July 5

Skibby, Steele and Foll

July 12

Skibby, Chambers and Meiser

July 19

Skibby, Steele and Foll

July 26

Skibby, Shostrom and Leighton

August 2

Skibby, Leighton and Maser

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA #99-108

340 Oak Street

Shostrom

PA #2000-039

410 Siskiyou Boulevard

Skibby

PA #2000-052

220 Fourth Street

Shostrom

PA #2000-074

15 South Pioneer Street

Skibby

PA #2000-095

181 Morse Avenue

Foll

PA #2000-098

50 Sixth Street

Leighton

PA #2000-106

239 Oak Street

Meiser

PA #2000-107

House Move to Laurel Street

Leighton

PA #2000-108

552 "A" Street

Foll

PA #2000-124

51 Winburn Way

Foll

PA #2001-011

130 Helman Street

Leighton

PA #2001-019

521 North Main Street

Shostrom

PA #2001-021

215 Scenic Drive

Meiser

PA #2000-120

485 "A" Street

Shostrom

PA #2001-042

472 Scenic Drive

Meiser

PA #2001-029

455 Siskiyou Boulevard

Skibby

PA #2001-047

269 Maple Street

Saladoff

PA #2001-052

39 Fourth Street

Saladoff

PA #2001-064

237 North First Street

Shostrom

PA #2001-063

544 "B" Street

Foll

PA #2001-059

50 Sixth Street

Leighton

 

Goals for 2001 - This was postponed until the August 8 meeting.

Historical markers for the old dam sites that were recently removed in Lithia Park - Skibby moved and Steele seconded to support the acquisition of historic markers for the old dam sites and to work with the Parks Commission in order to accomplish this. The motion passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

Discuss Topic for September Brown Bag Seminar - Knox asked the Commission for ideas of topics for the brown bag seminar jointly sponsored by the Cities of Jacksonville and Ashland. Subjects included property values for historic homes, tax breaks and how SHPO can help, foundations for older homes, siding and incompatible materials. The Commission decided it would be best to have someone speak on siding at this time.

Commission Items - 1) Steele announced Ashland should be on the National RegisterTravel Itinerary website by July 24, which has been set as the launch date. 2) Chambers will be the liaison to the Planning Commission and the City Council. 3) Leighton noted the Review Board had concerns about a project Russ Dale is proposing on Sherman Street and suggested an on-site meeting during one of the Review Boards. 4) Knox stressed the importance of a representative of the Review Board in writing comments on the building permit form. 5) When asked by Knox if the members found the information useful that was included in the packet taken from The Old House web site, they all said they would like to receive more information like this. 6) Chambers will not be at the August meeting. Leighton and Foll will miss the September meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The next meeting will be on August 8.

ADJOURNMENT

With a motion by Leighton and second by Foll, it was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 10:15 p.m.

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