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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Wednesday, August 08, 2001

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
August 8, 2001

 

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:34 p.m., Chairperson Shostrom called the meeting to order at the Community Center. Members present were Terry Skibby, Dale Shostrom, Gary Foll, Jay Leighton, Joan Steele, Kay Maser and Rob Saladoff. Also present were Associate Planners Mark Knox and Brandon Goldman, and Secretary Sonja Akerman. Members Bob Meiser and Keith Chambers were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Steele moved and Leighton seconded to approve the minutes of the July 3, 2001 meeting as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Planning Action 2001-077
Conditional Use Permit
120 Gresham Street
Lavonne Boucher

Knox reported this application is for the transfer of ownership for Chanticleer Inn, which consists of six guest units, plus the owner's unit. Staff is recommending approval.

With a motion by Steele and second by Maser, the Historic Commission unanimously approved recommending approval of this application to the Planning Commission.

Planning Action 2001-079
Site Review and Conditional Use Permit
685 East Main Street
Talent Properties

Knox explained this application is to convert the existing single family residence into a one-unit, two-bedroom traveler's accommodation. Since the zoning is commercial, the owner does not have to reside on-site. Staff is supportive of all the proposed changes except for the issue of the fence/wall height, which does not meet City code as submitted.

Applicant Jean Johns, 225 Gagnes Drive, Talent, clarified the only exterior changes to the house will be decking and hand rails at this time. The side porch will be replaced at a later date. When asked by Shostrom, Knox verified the retaining wall and fence will require a permit and is one of the conditions of approval. Johns stated the retaining wall will be constructed with a wooden fence on top and will step down the hill on Sixth Street. She also noted a deck will be integrated with the fence.

Skibby stated he feels uncomfortable with the fence and stone wall because the design is not street friendly from Sixth Street. He asked about the fence in the front and Knox responded the existing fence will be removed and replaced with a wooden one that can be no higher than 31/2 feet. Steele stated that in terms of design, this is a simple historic home in an historic neighborhood and there is not much upgrading of the exterior that is needed. However, with the heavy landscaping that has been proposed, the fence will be fancier than the house. The Commission agreed the fence should be more in keeping with the historic nature of the area and the home.

Johns asked what would be more appropriate. Shostrom responded that because the yard is naturally sloped and because she wants to create a flat yard, an imposing fence will result. He said that perhaps a retaining wall behind the fence would bring the scale and bulk down to make it more compatible with the area. One of the problems with this application is that there is not enough detail in the plans that were submitted. Shostrom would like to know what the materials are, for instance.

Skibby noted the porch in front of the house is different than the side porch on Sixth Street. He would like to see the same type of railing installed on the side porch. Shostrom added that not enough detail was submitted on the porches or the eaves.

Bill Emerson, 90 Fifth Street, interjected he thinks the entire house has asbestos siding and that underneath this, it is possible the original siding may be found. Knox summarized that the goal would be that the siding material be consistent with the original house in rebuilding the porch and that the railings should match. Leighton stated that the members had hit on all the proposed conditions of approval, however, she suggested a condition be added that would require more detail to be submitted, along with more historic design choices in the fence, and that approval of the design be deferred to the Review Board. Steele said she would like to make sure either Saladoff, Shostrom or Meiser be at the Review Board to examine the plans because of their expertise in design.

Skibby moved and Leighton seconded to recommend approval of the Conditional Use Permit and Site Review with the exception of the design of the fence and porch, which will be deferred to a Review Board meeting when the plans are submitted for a permit. In addition to providing details and materials of the proposed rebuilding of the side porch, which should match the original siding of the house and the railings on the front porch, the scale and material of the fence and retaining wall also need to be furnished. The motion was unanimously passed.

Planning Action 2001-074
Variance
159 North Main Street
Jon and Carmen Reinhardt

Knox related the history of applications for this property, noting the Reinhardts originally applied for a three-unit travelers' accommodation in 1984. Last September they received approval for one additional unit and for the expansion of an existing non-conforming structure (carriage house). When plans were submitted for a building permit, the eaves were drawn at 18 inches, which is the maximum allowed for the required six-foot setback in the rear. The addition was constructed according to the approved plans. The eaves, however, were constructed at 31 inches, so they encroach into the setback area by 13 inches. This change was brought to the attention of the Planning Department by the neighbor at 157 North Main Street. Knox said that from a Fire & Life Safety point, this does not create a problem but because one of the criteria for a Variance is that "the circumstances or conditions have not been willfully or purposely self-imposed" and essentially, this was self-imposed, the neighbor has a right to say this has an impact. Staff needs to uphold the City's requirements so it is recommending denial of this request since it does not meet the ordinance.

Maser stated that this is not an issue for the Historic Commission because the design is correct. The eaves on the carriage house match the existing house as they were built. The Commission would not like to see the eaves on that side of the structure cut off 13 inches because it would not look right. This puts the Historic Commission in an awkward position. Saladoff agreed and said if the Commission's decision is based strictly on design, it would be to keep the eaves as they are.

Applicant Carmen Reinhardt related she and her husband believe they acted in good faith. They thought they were suppose to make the carriage house look as much like the existing house as possible, so when the contractor brought up the fact the eaves on the plans were a different size than on the house, they told him to match the eaves with the house. If this planning application is denied, they will shorten the eaves on the side that encroaches but it will look terrible. Jon Reinhardt added they did not willfully do it wrong. He also noted the building inspectors never mentioned it when they were on the site so they felt everything was all right. Then, the neighbor waited until the entire roof was completed before saying anything and now his house is up for sale.

Foll stated the Historic Commission approves of the carriage house as it was built. If the eaves on that side were to be cut, the Commission could not support it. Skibby said he feels this was not self imposed because the Historic Commission always recommends the owners build additions, etc. to match the existing structure. Steele stated the members need to be true to the Commission calling - clearly they approve what the applicants have done in building and matching the carriage house to the existing house, including the size of the eaves. She also pointed out the applicants have come to the Review Board many times for direction in trying to do the right thing. Skibby agreed and said the applicants have gone above and beyond what most people do in working with historic structures.

Steele moved to commend the Reinhardts in maintaining the historic character and nature of their existing house with the addition to the carriage house and recommended the Planning Commission approve this request for a Variance. Leighton seconded the motion and it passed with a unanimous vote.

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

Goldman reported this application came before the Historic Commission last month but because of concerns voiced by neighbors and members of both the Historic Commission and Planning Commission, the proposal was continued to allow the applicant an opportunity to address these concerns. He then touched on the changes the applicant is now proposing. Concerns voiced last month included noise and the two nine-foot cooling towers on the roof. Since then, Qwest's mechanical engineers have been consulted and they are now proposing three four-foot condenser units plus a louvered wall that will match the existing louvers. The 12' x 12' louvered wall that had been proposed will now be 10'8" x 14', which is more compatible with the existing building.

When questioned by Skibby, Goldman clarified the wall with the louvers (Sixth Street side) will be recessed. Goldman also noted the existing cinder block wall will remain during construction to house the mechanical equipment, then will be removed.

Phil Gall, architect for the project, stated the significant differences between this application and the one previously submitted are the lowered equipment on the rooftop and the redesign of the louver, which will give a more integrated design to the project. Skibby asked about the location of the condensers and Gall clarified they will be set further back on the roof and impossible to see from East Main Street. They will be visible, however, from across Sixth Street.

Zelpha Hutton, 59 Sixth Street, said she is not exactly opposed to this proposal. She just wants to be sure that what is approved will be what is built because in the past, the phone company has not been a good neighbor. She wants reassurance Qwest will follow through with the landscaping and the proposed addition as approved by the Planning Commission. Years ago the property had many more trees and there was an irrigation system, but the system was not maintained and it fell into disrepair. The system was not fixed when something went wrong and as a result, many trees were removed and the landscaping was not kept up. Hutton said she would also like to see Qwest remove the chain link fence and replace it with something less industrial.

Bill Emerson, 90 Fifth Street, commented he is glad to see the nine-foot towers will be replaced with the shorter condensers. He said he also agrees with Hutton and would like to see the chain link fence replaced. He noted the building is currently brick, with portions painted white. Emerson would like to see the white sections a more compatible color with the brick sections. He went on to say the entire neighborhood is being upgraded and this is the only industrial building in the area. He also pointed out the fence is only four feet high, but for security reasons, he thinks it should be higher. In addition, there is a six-foot tall electric box in the front of the building which should be screened more to buffer its existence. As a last comment, he said he thinks the two proposed benches will be nice but would recommend something more substantial and similar to the ones in the downtown area.

Tom Phillips, 60 Fifth Street, said his concerns are about the scale of the building with the addition and the incompatibility of use in the neighborhood. The impact on the neighborhood concerns parking.

Julie Coe, Qwest project manager, stated the number of employees will not change. There are two permanent people employed who work in the building. Steele related that last month the neighbors pointed out the parking lot is not being used. Numerous trucks park on the street. Coe said she will pass this on to the employees.

During the Commission's discussion, Foll stated if all the landscaping is installed according to the plans, it will hide much of the building. The City will need to rely on the Planning and Building Departments to make sure everything is completed as approved. Skibby said the condenser units are much more compatible than the cooling towers. Leighton asked if the louvers would be painted and Goldman responded they would be. Shostrom noted the building is obviously not historical and agreed with Foll the proposed landscaping will help. Leighton stated she is concerned the landscaping won't be maintained, however Knox responded if there are changes made or something is not being kept up, the Planning Department will write a letter and will make sure everything is brought up to compliance. He emphasized the neighbors should contact the Planning Department if there are problems. Saladoff said the architects have made an attempt to lessen the impact on the neighborhood.

Foll then moved to recommend approval of this application as presented with the four-foot condenser units. Steele amended the motion to include the landscaping be installed according to the approved plans and that it be maintained. Skibby seconded the motion with the amendment and it was unanimously passed.

 OLD BUSINESS

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

August 9

Skibby, Maser and Foll

August 16

Skibby, Chambers and Maser

August 23

Skibby, Steele and Saladoff

August 30

Skibby, Steele and Saladoff

 

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA #99-108

340 Oak Street

Shostrom

PA #2000-039

410 Siskiyou Boulevard

Skibby

PA #2000-074

15 South Pioneer Street

Skibby

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 #2001-021

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

PA #2001-079

685 East Main Street

Shostrom

 

Goals for 2001 - This was postponed until the September 5 meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

Initial Review - 348 Iowa Street - Designer Doyle Brightenburg presented drawings for the proposed 2,747 square foot single family residence with an attached 443 square foot accessory unit that will be located in the basement. Brightenburg came to the Historic Commission meeting because of feedback generated from the Planning Department that the structure looked massive. It will be located on a flag lot and access will be off the alley. Knox confirmed the application will not only require a Conditional Use Permit for the accessory unit, but also a Solar Waiver and Physical & Environmental Constraints Permit because of the slope. Brightenburg stated the house will be stucco and horizontal siding. Sections of the house will be stepped back and with the location of tall trees in front, he said it will hardly be visible from Iowa Street. The Commission agreed the house looked massive and would prefer something on a much smaller scale. However, since Brightenburg stated his client had certain needs that she wanted met in the proposed structure, the Commission asked if he could come to a Review Board meeting with detailed drawings and a rendering of what it will look like from the street. Knox said it would also be helpful to have a streetscape drawing and perhaps photos of large houses in close proximity to the site.

Proposed Cell Towers on Ashland Springs Hotel - Knox related he has been working closely with the two applicants that wish to locate cell towers on top of the hotel. Under the 1995 Telecommunications Act, cities are required to provide areas for cell towers. Since the hotel is the highest structure in Ashland, it seemed logical that companies would request to locate their towers on the rooftop. There is already an existing tower and three more sites had been identified that could be accommodated on the roof. After these two applications are approved, there will be one more site. Knox said the two proposed cell towers will blend in with the roof area. They will fit in the columns and utilize a canvas material that will absorb the sound waves. The owner of the hotel is making sure everything is done correctly because not only is it under a special tax assessment from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, but it is also receiving federal tax credits. Knox assured the Commission that any changes will need to be reviewed again by all departments involved, including the Historic Commission.

 (Steele moved and Foll seconded to extend the meeting beyond 10:00. The motion was unanimously passed.)

Heritage Needs Assessment 2001 - Knox stated he had written a letter especially expressing the need to get incentives for agencies that are already tax exempt in matters of historic preservation. Obtaining tax-exempt status is the impetus for most owners to do the right thing with historic structures.

Items Not on Agenda - Leighton and Foll will miss the September meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Knox related the special assessment program in Oregon was reenacted just before it was scheduled to sunset. Everyone was pleased with that news.

Steele noted that she had been notified by Shannon Bell (National Register of Historic Places) that the Ashland Travel Itinerary on the National Register web site has received more "hits" than any other site that has been added.

The next meeting will be on September 5.

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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