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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC Meeting

Thursday, January 26, 2012


January 26, 2012

The meeting was called to order by Chair Steve Ryan at 6:00 p.m.
Transportation Commissioners Present:  Tom Burnham, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan (Chair), Brent Thompson, Corinne Vičville, and David Young
Planning Commissioners Present:  Michael Dawkins, Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Pam Marsh, Debbie Miller, and Melanie Mindlin
Members Absent:  Colin Swales
Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Jodi Vizzini
Council Liaison:  David Chapman
Ex Officio Members:  Brandon Goldman
Consultant:  Susan Wright, Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (via conference call)
January 12, 2012 minutes were not available at this meeting.
Chair Ryan suggested that Roadway Projects R22, R23, R25 be moved to the top of the agenda so the consultant could give a synopsis, followed by public comment on the proposed roadway projects and discussion amongst the Commissioners. The Commissioners agreed to the adjustment of the agenda.
Roadway Projects R22 and R23
Susan Wright stated the driving need for R22 and R23 is system connectivity.  R22 and R23 are included in the minutes as Exhibit A and Exhibit B, respectively. She stated the proposed roadway was based on complaints regarding lack of connectivity to other areas of town. She added there is not a strong trigger now that indicates the need to construct R22 and R23, but it should be in place if development or redevelopment occurs in the future.
Commissioner Mindlin promoted a previous suggestion of an underpass beneath Hwy 66 connecting Clay Street with a pedestrian walkway, or an entire street into the Bi-Mart parking area.  She added if this area redevelops it could provide a nice circulation route. She would like to see this concept as a consideration.  Mr. Faught asked Ms. Wright if she thought this would work.  Ms. Wright stated she did not remember prior conversations about this suggestion, but would look into it. Commissioners Thompson/ Dawkins added they are also in favor of this concept and would like to explore it further.
Commissioner Young stated he does not support R23 for a vehicular use, but would support R23 as a pedestrian/bike path.  Ms. Wright replied she understands this concept but concluded it would not address the general connection needs and did not see it as a replacement.  She reiterated the importance of R22 and R23 for long term protection for possible future development.  Mr. Faught summarized that Planning would like the ability to declare a road is needed in this area in the event of development or redevelopment.
Commissioner Miller asked if Kittelson had considered combining R22 and R23 into one vehicular road and keep R23 as a pedestrian/bike path. Ms. Wright replied one connection could serve the need if a pedestrian/bike path is included. She added from a capacity standpoint this is not a problem; however there is a timing issue of not knowing when or where parcels will develop in the future. Mr. Faught asked if an option would be to simply identify that a connection will be needed in that general area if redevelopment occurs.  Ms. Wright agreed that would be satisfactory.
Chair Ryan questioned the effect of property value if the proposed roads are designated on maps.  Commissioner Kampmann commented he was under the impression that the lines on the map are schematic and not necessarily fixed in stone.  Ms. Wright replied there is flexibility with the exact location of the proposed roads.  Commissioner Heesacker added the Commissioners are approving lines on a map that show an idea of possible circulation in the event of redevelopment; not lines cast in stone. Commissioner Mindlin stated that putting lines on a map does indeed impact property values, but the need to indicate available space for future construction is vitally important.
Brandon Goldman provided information that was not reflected in the material which includes a 60 unit Housing Authority of Jackson County development, a new road, and a 20 foot set aside area of land for potential annexation at some point.
Sherry Smilo/215 Tolman Creek/Stated she was grateful for the intelligent attention to this problem. She addressed the issue of disclosure and how that would impact her and her neighbors if they wanted to sell their property.  She stressed there is not enough room for a road in this area. She did not offer an alternative to R22, but added the existing walking path is functional.  She suggested improving the intersections to alleviate traffic, but does not feel congestion is a problem. She concluded by stating that R22 is not a good idea.
Jason Stranberg/408 Clinton/Lisa Molnar/155 Hillcrest/Stated he was speaking on behalf of the Ashland YMCA as a past board president and currently serves as the interim president. He stated he was speaking in objection of R23 as the proposed road alignment appears to divide critical components of the YMCA property and the soccer park owned by the Parks Department. He described the various services the YMCA offers to the community. He stated on a daily basis, hundreds of members cross the property line as indicated on R23, and the thought of a road dividing those critical operations of their organization is difficult to fathom. He concluded by stating the property was once owned by the YMCA and donated to the City of Ashland Parks Department with the sole intent of remaining an active park.  They currently operate with a use agreement with the Parks Department.
Commissioner Young asked if a pedestrian/bike trail would work through the area. Mr. Stranberg replied it would be difficult to designate a route between those two properties due to potential blind spots caused by zero lot line set-back. He provided information about a current pedestrian connection in place that is functional. Mr. Goldman provided specific information and illustrated the area on the map.  Other possible solutions for an alternate path were discussed. Commissioner Heesacker asked Ms. Wright if Kittelson could approve a shaded area on the map that indicates if redevelopment occurs at some point in the future, there shall be a road and/or pedestrian/bike connection between Clay St. and Tolman Creek Rd, without including specific lines on the map.  Ms. Wright stated this is entirely possible.
Dan Linder/15097 Hwy 66/Stated Roadway Project R22 would put a road ten feet from his window, which is a personal concern. He keeps hearing the word community used, yet he has yet to find one person in this area of the community who wants these roads constructed.  He questions at what point is this process representing the real community. He commented that he appreciates the idea of planning ahead, but putting this on a map is a threat.  He disagrees with the need for the connection as represented in the proposed projects. He ended by stating the City’s plan is somehow more important than the people who live there; the plan is supposed to be for them; but the people living there do not want it.
Mr. Goldman clarified that R21 has been constructed between R22 and R23.  He explained a road currently goes from Clay St., to where R21 is shown, going north from Villard St. up to the terminus at the Cooper property to where the north half of R21 terminates. The south half has an existing alley that goes through Barkley Square that was dedicated as public access and meanders over and connects to Clay St. He referred to R23; the area west of R21, Villard St., was established for the Snowberry property.
Roadway Project R25 
Ms. Wright explained the main reason this connection is in the plan is because the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has determined they will not accept a signal at the location of Washington and Ashland Streets.  For the foreseeable future, Washington Street will remain as a full access intersection, but the Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) states when traffic volumes or safety warrants it, the median will be extended to Tolman Creek. There may not be a need for 20 years, but ODOT will evaluate the implementation of the IAMP.  She explained the possibility of an access to the south and maybe another connection to Benson Way, but that will not guarantee vehicular trips in that location.  ODOT wants the local connectivity to provide the second outlet. Mr. Faught summarized it was driven by the IAMP and development of Washington Street. Roadway Project R25 is included in the minutes as Exhibit C.
Zach Brombacher/1370 Tolman Creek/Thanked the Commissioners for the time and effort put into this process. He stated he has been a land owner in Ashland for 45 years and gave an overview of the history of his property between Tolman Creek Road and Washington St. and how it is currently utilized.  He stated the proposed R25 will construct a 63 foot road that will ruin an existing site plan he has had in place for quite some time. He added the City has never had a discussion with him about R25. He outlined the completed infrastructure improvements, including stubbing out utilities for future development of IPCO’s property which the City directed him to do. He stressed the need to know what will happen to his property. He summarized his statement by saying he does not feel this is fair; he does not need the traffic; he has cooperated with the City on other projects; paid his share of fees; and strongly opposes the development of this road.
Chris Hearn/515 E. Main St./Stated he was representing the Brombacher family and IPCO Development and Printing.  He gave an overview of the history of the Brombacher/IPCO property including the recent Tolman Creek LID improvements. He explained how this property is the Brombacher’s livelihood as well as other businesses he has brought into the area, including Maranatha Natural Foods, Inspired Foods and Dagoba Organic Chocolate, which provide living wage jobs to many employees.  Mr. Hearn presented a document outlining a request to the Commissioners to adopt Roadway Project R29 and abandon Roadway Project R25. The document is included in the minutes as Exhibit D.  Mr. Hearn explained that R25 will bisect the Brombacher/IPCO property from end to end, solving the City’s problem at his expense, yet will provide no benefit to his client.  Mr. Hearn stressed concern for his clients’ property value and marketability if this project is approved.
The Commissioner’s asked Mr. Brombacher clarifying questions regarding the possibility of a compromise, current encumbrances, and connectivity to Washington St.  Mr. Brombacher reiterated he is not interested in a road going through his property. Based on comments from Mr. Brombacher regarding his resistance to allow a public right of way through his property, Mr. Heesacker asked staff if this is a question of eminent domain.  Mr. Goldman deferred the question to Mr. Faught who replied the City could draw the line on the map which would lead to the conversation of just compensation and the impact to Mr. Brombacher’s long term site plan. He encouraged the Commissioner’s and the consultant to consider an alternative way of achieving connectivity, such as R29 presented by Mr. Hearn.
Commissioner Marsh offered an observation that all the discussions help reinforce the commitment to a multi-modal TSP.  She encouraged foresighted thinking and to keep brainstorming about an alternative solution.  Mr. Faught suggested R29 as a topic of discussion at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:02 p.m. 
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Office Assistant II                                                                     

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