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Planning Commission

Minutes
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

July 12, 2011

 

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

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

 

Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

 

 

 

 

Absent Members:

 

Council Liaison:

Melanie Mindlin

 

Russ Silbiger, absent

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissioner Marsh presented John Rinaldi Jr. a certificate in recognition of his service on the Planning Commission.

 

Community Development Director Bill Molnar stated the City Council will be holding a Study Session on urban renewal on July 18th and stated staff is looking for direction from the Council on whether they want to proceed.

 

Commissioner Marsh listed the upcoming meetings of the Planning Commission.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

A.      Approval of Minutes.

  1. June 14, 2011 Regular Meeting.
  2. June 28, 2011 Study Session.

Commissioner Miller requested the minutes of June 14, 2011 be amended to reflect her attendance and input from the June Historic Commission meeting.

 

The Consent Agenda was approved with the noted correction to the June 14th meeting minutes.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

No one came forward to speak.

 

TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS

A.      PLANNING ACTION: #2011-00738                     

SUBJECT PROPERTY:  1405 Tolman Creek Road

APPLICANT:  Malibar Group, LLC

DESCRIPTION: A request for Outline and Final Plan approval for an eight-lot Performance Standards Subdivision to be developed in three phases for the vacant property located at 1405 Tolman Creek Road.  The application also includes requests for a Variance to reduce the number of on-street parking spaces by fifty percent in order to preserve a large (60-inch diameter) maple tree; an Exception to Street Standards to not install sidewalks along a portion of the new street; and a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to allow utility installation within the Hamilton Creek floodplain along 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

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

 

Ex Parte Contact

Commissioners Miller, Dawkins, Blake and Marsh made site visits; No ex parte contact was reported.

 

Staff Report

Associate Planner Derek Severson presented the staff report for the proposed 8-lot subdivision. He stated the proposal is for a three phased performance standards subdivision, including a variance to reduce the number of on-street parking spaces to preserve a large maple tree, an exception to not install sidewalks along a portion of the new street, and a physical and environmental constraints permit to allow utility installation within the Hamilton Creek floodplain.

 

Mr. Severson provided an overview of the site and the surrounding area, and clarified the tax lots to the north and south of the flag drive are not included in this application. He explained the applicant is proposing to complete a ¾ street improvement within the existing driveway and to meander the drive around a large maple tree located in the center of the site. He stated the street improvements, including a parkrow and sidewalk would be installed along the south side of the street during phase one, and the sidewalk along the opposite side would go in when the property to the north is eventually developed. He added the applicant is willing to install the full street improvement at this time if a reimbursement agreement can be worked out with that owner. Mr. Severson reviewed the placement of the sidewalks and stated the existing driveway easement would be turned into a pedestrian easement to provide connectivity from Apple Way to Tolman Creek Rd. He reviewed the applicant’s Tree Protection Plan and noted the issues raised in the staff report, including the request for a revised plan that identifies any additional measures the arborist finds necessary to protect the maple tree during construction and excavation, and the adjustment of the building envelope for Lot 6 to protect the trees on the west property line. Mr. Severson reviewed the applicant’s variance request to the on-street parking requirement and stated staff believes the requirement can be met when the circular drive is removed in the later phases of the development. He stated staff is recommending a revised site plan be presented that addresses on-street parking, the removal of the looped drive, the use of shared drives, and the separation between driveways.

 

In closing, Mr. Severson stated staff believes the applicant has met the requirements for subdivision approval and the physical and environmental constraints permit. He restated staff’s request for the applicant to present a revised Tree Protection Plan and a revised Site Plan as discussed, and in terms of the sidewalk recommended the pedestrian routes be clearly distinguished.

 

Questions of Staff

Commissioner Dawkins asked for clarification regarding the parking and questioned if this development would take away potential parking from the undeveloped lots. He also asked if accessory residential units (ARU) could be placed on these lots and what the parking requirements would be. Mr. Severson stated an ARU would be subject to a conditional use permit and staff would normally address parking at that time based on the size of the additional unit. Dawkins questioned if they should include the capability for more parking at this stage rather than having this issue come up later down the road.

 

Commissioner Miller asked if it would be feasible to install the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street where there are no trees planted. Mr. Severson stated city street standards require sidewalks to be installed on both sides of the street, and regardless of which side of the street the sidewalk goes in first, eventually those trees will be impacted.

 

Applicant’s Presentation

Mark Knox, 485 W Nevada/Laurie Sager, 700 Mistletoe/Mark Kamrath, 725 Alaska/Mr. Knox addressed the Commission and stated the primary objectives of the applicant are: neighborhood compatibility, preserving the trees, and limiting the impact on the surrounding properties. He noted the neighborhood meetings that were held and commented on the phasing of the development. Mr. Knox explained they are going from two lots to eight, and on 3.21 acres they could legally do 11 and could enhance that number significantly through density bonuses. He added, however, this is not what the applicant wants. He explained the average lot size in the proposed development is 15,000 sq. ft, and the surrounding neighborhood has averages of 10,200 sq. ft. In addition, they are proposing setbacks that greatly exceed the standard.

 

Mr. Knox commented on the concern regarding two-story homes. He reviewed the proposed setbacks and explained this site also sits about 6-8 feet below the existing homes. Regarding the relocated pedestrian easement, he commented that the previously proposed easement was oddly placed and their proposal would relocate the easement along a public street and will provide a direct link to the meandering driveway up to Apple Way. Mr. Knox commented on the on-street parking requirements and noted where spaces could be made available. He also commented on the sidewalk installation and suggested either a narrower sidewalk to preserve one additional tree, or stopping the sidewalk short. He expressed concern with the staff recommendation for trees 38, 39 and 40 to be saved indefinitely and stated these are located on a shared property line and there could be hazardous conditions that arise in the future that may necessitate their removal.   

 

Questions of the Applicant

Mr. Knox was asked about the phasing of the development and its relation to the creation of off street parking, and about the private drive that will cross the natural drainage easement. Ms. Sager commented on how the maple tree will be protected during the construction stages, and emphasized that this project was designed around that tree and they will do everything they can to preserve it.

 

Public Testimony

Michael Hitchcock/2300 Lupine Dr/Stated he resides in one of the homes behind the project site and commented on the issues and concerns outlined in the letter he submitted; specifically, 1) tree preservation and protection, 2) retention of morning solar access, 3) single story compatibility with the neighborhood, and 4) light and glare screening.

 

Karen Green/1403 Apple Way/Stated the proposed pedestrian easement crosses her property and explained this is currently a private vehicular driveway. Ms. Green shared her concerns with turning this into a public easement, including the loss of property value and privacy, and light and glare associated with street lights. She questioned the need to have a pedestrian connection to Tolman Creek and stated this stretch of road can be a scary place to walk. She suggested the Commission table this element of the application, or abandon it entirely.

 

Estelle Voeller/3784 Coleman Creek Rd, Medford/Stated she is supportive of the proposed re-routing of the pedestrian pathway but understands this will affect other residents. Ms. Voeller noted where her property was located in relation to the proposed site and shared her concerns regarding the safety of the pathway. She commented on the potential fire danger and said the ravine could be dangerous if someone fell in. Ms. Voeller asked about the maintenance and accident liability if the vehicular driveway is turned into a public walkway, and also asked if the catch basin on her property would be impacted by the drainage.

 

Zach Brombacher/1370 Tolman Creek Rd/Stated he is not supportive of infill and shared his concerns regarding this proposal, including: inadequate parking, fire truck access and fire protection, installing the necessary road width, and using swales so that water does not flow onto his property.

 

Eric Heesacker/2360 Ranch Rd/Stated the land owner has gone out of his way to be generous to the property owners and thinks this is a very good land use proposal. Mr. Heesacker noted the applicant is proposing to create fewer lots than are allowed and voiced support for the extra setbacks. He stated it is not true that there are no two-story homes in the Greenmeadows subdivision and while he agrees that connectivity is valuable, concurred with the concerns about turning a private easement public. Mr. Heesacker stated the land owner has done what he can to appease the neighbors, and stated this application conforms to all applicable standards and believes it should be approved.

 

Commissioner Marsh explained a request to leave the record open has been received. She reviewed the letters that were handed out at the beginning of the meeting and summarized the content of those submittals.

 

Applicant’s Rebuttal

Mark Knox/Responded to issues raised by the neighbors. He stated they will commit to a 40 ft setback for Lot 5, but will not agree to only single story homes. He noted the additional setbacks and large lot sizes and stated there is no applicable criteria that would warrant a single story height restriction. He stated they would work with Ms. Green to address her concerns, and stated the applicant does not want to disregard the connectivity and believes there are treatments that can be done to remedy the neighbors’ concerns. Mr. Knox clarified any drainage issues would be address, and in response to the parking concern he noted the large lot sizes and stated he does not believe this will be an issue.

Commission Marsh closed the public hearing at 9 p.m. She stated the record would remain open for 7 days, and the applicant will have 7 days to respond. Staff added this application will come back before the commission on August 9, 2011.

 

Commissioner Dawkins requested staff respond to whether the sidewalk could stop at the sycamore tree, and whether this could be a condition of approval.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

A.      Planning Commission Retreat Schedule

Commissioner Marsh stated she believes they should wait until the Commission has more members before they pursue this topic. Commissioner Dawkins disagreed and stated at some point they need to make a decision on this.

 

B.      Bi-Annual Attendance Report

Commissioner Marsh noted the new Uniform Policies and Procedures Ordinance requires the Commission to review their attendance twice a year. She stated Commissioner Miller has exceeded the number of permitted absences and asked staff to consult with the City Attorney regarding this issue.

 

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

 

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