|Commissioners Present:||Staff Present:|
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
|Absent Members:||Council Liaison:|
|Dennis Slattery, absent|
A. Approval of Minutes.
A. PLANNING ACTION: #2012-00018
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 2220 Ashland Street
APPLICANT: Summit Investments
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Review approval to construct a new 4,125 square foot, single story, retail building and associated site improvements for the property located at 2220 Ashland Street. The former Pizza Hut building is currently located on the site. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 14BA; TAX LOT: 1700. [Continued from April 10, 2012 meeting. Public Hearing is closed.]
Commissioner Marsh noted the public hearing is closed and the Commission will not be taking further public input.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter explained the packet materials include new information, including a revised site plan from the applicant, a staff memo that addresses the issues raised at the last meeting, the applicant’s written response, and a staff report addendum.
Ms. Gunter commented on the applicant’s revised site plan. She noted at the last meeting staff raised concern with the proposed median extension and how it would impact site circulation, and explained the applicant’s are now proposing to not extend the median as far and instead will add striping to the pavement. She added they are also proposing a rolled curb divider and directional signage. Ms. Gunter stated another issue from the last meeting was the pedestrian plaza area, and explained the revised site plan includes low seating walls, benches, colored and scored concrete, and a food vendor area. Lastly, Ms. Gunter stated the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) was identified by the Commission as a significant concern, as well as whether the applicants meet the exception criteria. She noted the staff report addresses this issue is further detail, but summarized the proposed FAR is 0.35 and the functional FAR is 0.40. She stated the applicants have also provided a shadow plan, even though this is not technically allowed. She explained they have proposed a building that will accommodate a 2,000 sq.ft. second floor addition, and with that future addition the functional FAR would be 0.53. Ms. Gunter noted the applicants findings address the demonstrable difficulty criteria and stated the multiple driveway locations and existing businesses could be seen as a case for the exception. She added the findings also show the applicants have made significant efforts to meet the purpose of the Site Design & Use Standards.
Ms. Gunter stated the proposed development would not negatively impact the surrounding sites, and would actually improve them and could be a springboard for a master plan and improvements to the shopping center as a whole. She reviewed the conditions of approval suggested by staff, and noted Condition #8 which states as the site develops over time, the applicants must work towards meeting the overall FAR.
Questions of Staff
Ms. Gunter clarified the criteria for granting an exception to the Site Design & Use Standards is as follows:
A. There is a demonstrable difficulty in meeting the specific requirements of the Site Design and Use Standards due to a unique or unusual aspect of an existing structure or the proposed use of a site; and approval of the exception will not substantially negatively impact adjacent properties; and approval of the exception is consistent with the stated purpose of the Site Design and Use Standards; and the exception requested is the minimum which would alleviate the difficulty; OR
B. There is no demonstrable difficulty in meeting the specific requirements, but granting the exception will result in a design that equally or better achieves the stated purpose of the Site Design and Use Standards.
She added it would be helpful for the findings if the Commission could specify whether they believe one is more applicable than the other.
Commissioner Marsh suggested better clarifying the phrase “under control of the applicant” in Condition #8. Staff agreed and indicated this condition could reference the map and tax lot numbers.
Ms. Gunter clarified there are 20 excess parking spaces on the larger shopping center property, and this site could develop further and still be able to accommodate the parking requirement. She added if a residential use was proposed for the second story addition the parking requirement would not increase.
Comment was made questioning if staff had included the public sidewalk in the calculation for plaza area. Ms. Gunter clarified the public sidewalk along the Ashland Street frontage is not included, however the sidewalk along the driveway, which is not required, is included in that calculation since they are going above and beyond what is required.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioner Mindlin stated she does not want to turn down the application, but is not confident that the applicants have met the exception criteria. Commissioner Dawkins stated this development will be a step in the right direction in the overall development of the shopping center, however he encouraged the property owners to provide a way for nearby residential patrons to cross over to this property. He added the subject lot size is only 3/10 of an acre short of qualifying for the shadow plan option and does not want to halt the redevelopment of this area. Commissioner Mindlin stated she could be supportive of this application if: 1) references to the shadow plan are removed from the findings and instead they acknowledge that they are granting the applicants a lower FAR; and, 2) they modify Condition #8 to state: “That future land use applications shall address the Floor Area Ratio standard and circulation plan…”. Support was voiced for the modifications proposed by Mindlin. Commissioner Marsh commented that this application illustrates the importance to dealing with this area in a comprehensive manner and noted her desire to work and collaborate with the property owners. She also voiced her opinion that exception criteria ‘B’ applies to this project and stated this is the first step towards a larger redevelopment project that will move this shopping center towards the desired FAR.
Staff requested clarification about the circulation plan component. Commissioner Mindlin stated she does not feel compelled to make this more specific and believes the applicants understand what the Planning Commission is looking for. Ms. Gunter indicated Condition #8 would be revised as indicated and would also specify the map and tax lot numbers as previously discussed.
Commissioners Dawkins/Mindlin m/s to approve PA-2012-00018 with conditions as stated during discussion. DISCUSSION: Ms. Gunter clarified the condition modifications include the revision to Condition #8 as discussed and the addition of Condition #10 regarding the landscaping and irrigation plan. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Mindlin, Dawkins, Heesacker, Kaplan, Brown and Marsh, YES. Motion passed 6-0.
B. PLANNING ACTION: #2012-00265
APPLICANT: Ashland Food Cooperative
LOCATION(S): C-1- & C-1-D-zoned portions of Ashland's "Historic Interest Area"
REQUEST: A proposal to amend the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC 18.32.035.E) as it relates to drive-up uses in Commercial districts. Drive-up uses are currently a special permitted use in the C-1 zoning district, but only in the area east of a line drawn perpendicular to Ashland Street at the intersection of Ashland Street and Siskiyou Boulevard. Drive-up uses are currently explicitly prohibited in the Historic Interest Area as defined in the Comprehensive Plan. The proposed legislative amendment is to provide exception language which would apply only to existing drive-up uses within the Historic Interest Area and would allow them to relocate to a new site elsewhere within the Historic Interest Area provided that they are located predominantly underground or otherwise screened from view from the public right-of-way.
Associate Planner Derek Severson explained the request before the Commission is a proposal to modify the regulations in the C-1 and C-1-D districts relative to drive-up uses in the Historic Interest Area. Mr. Severson reviewed the existing regulations and stated drive-up uses are currently prohibited in the Historic Interest Area. He explained this proposal would modify Section 18.32.025.E to read:
“Drive-up uses are prohibited in Ashland’s Historic Interest Area as defined in the Comprehensive Plan; except that drive-up uses already existing and located within Ashland’s Historic Interest Area may be relocated to another property or site within Ashland’s Historic Interest Area subject to the following additional requirement.
a. Existing drive-up uses within Ashland’s Historic Interest Area seeking to relocated to another site or property within Ashland Historic Interest Area must be either underground drive-up uses or drive-up uses that are predominately screened, as defined in Section 18.08.805.
Mr. Severson stated the applicants are also proposing to define underground drive-up uses as: “Underground Drive-up Uses are located within the underground portion of a building where a majority of the drive-up facilities, such as the teller window or ATM kiosk, are either located underground or are predominately screened and have limited visibility from the adjacent public right-of-way. Underground drive-Up Uses within the Ashland Historic Interest Area shall be subject to Type II review.”
Mr. Severson explained the Ashland Historic Interest Area consists of the four historic districts in town (Skidmore Academy, Downtown, Railroad, Siskiyou/Hargadine), and the four drive-up uses that would be impacted by this proposal are Umpqua Bank (250 N Pioneer), Wells Fargo Bank (67 E Main), U.S. Bank (30 N Second), and Chase Bank (243 E Main). Mr. Severson reviewed the policies and standards that have been adopted that discourage drive-up use and asked whether the Planning Commission would support a change in policy as a means to encourage relocation and redevelopment of these four uses; and if so, does the Commission support the request as submitted or wish to impose additional performance standards as outlined in the staff report and supported by the Historic Commission.
Questions of Staff
The following comments and questions were issued to staff: