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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Minutes
Tuesday, February 26, 2013



ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
February 26, 2013
 
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
 

Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Richard Kaplan
Melanie Mindlin
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
 
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
 Debbie Miller - Excused Absence
(Commissioner Miller recused herself from the Normal Master Plan discussion)
  Mike Morris
 
 
ANNOUCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the City Council will discuss short-term vacation rentals at their March 5, 2013 meeting.  
 
PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forward to speak.
 
DISCUSSION ITEMS
A.    Normal Neighborhood Master Plan.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman introduced Derek Chisholm with Parametrix and provided some background information on the Normal neighborhood master plan. He explained the City Council initiated this project and the City received a TGM award to work with the consulting firm Parametrix. He also reviewed the project’s primary objectives, which are to: 1) increase efficiency in the use of land through concentration of housing in a centrally located area within the City’s urban growth boundary planned for future urban development, 2) achieve a development pattern that results in a balanced, multi-modal transportation system that enhances opportunities for walking, bicycling or using transit in areas planned for transit service, 3) Delineate housing, neighborhood serving commercial, open space, public space, and green infrastructure improvements in a manner that provides for preservation and enhancement of creeks and wetlands, and 4) design a local street grid for the project area including connections to existing and planned streets, pedestrian, and bicycle facilities outside the project area to more fully integrate the project area into the City’s transportation. Mr. Goldman noted the public outreach that has been done to date, and commented on the design charrettes that were held last October. He clarified the draft plan being reviewed tonight is largely consistent with the work that was done at the charrettes and stated tonight is an opportunity for the commission and the neighbors to provide comment.
 
Derek Chisholm addressed the commission and provided a presentation on the Normal neighborhood master plan. Mr. Chisholm’s presentation covered several elements of the plan, including: 1) existing conditions, 2) early concepts, 3) the public charrette, and 4) the proposed plan. [A copy of the full presentation is attached to minutes – see Appendix A.] At the conclusion of his presentation, Mr. Chisholm clarified the next steps for this project are to gather stakeholder input, finalize the code language, and produce the final plan images, documents and maps.
 
Bob Foster/431 Ash Street, Lake Oswego/Stated he is representing the Baptist Church and noted its location on the project area map. He explained the church’s plan is to move off the site and relocate in the County, and to let the site fully development. Mr. Foster stated their parcel is 10-acres in size and they are considering large, family-sized apartments that would be two and three stories high. He voiced his support for the master plan and believes the initial concepts being presented will accommodate their development plans.
 
Howard Miller/160 Normal Ave/Noted his wife, Planning Commissioner Debbie Miller, could not attend this meeting because their property is within the project area and asked that this be properly reflected in the record. Mr. Miller listed his concerns and comments with the master plan as follows: 1) he stated the priority should be preserving the natural areas, wetlands, and agricultural land, and noted the desire to produce more food locally, 2) he raised concern with the potential increase in traffic, 3) he stated it is incorrect to assume the residents of the new Normal Ave will not use the existing railroad crossing and stated this could be a significant problem, 4) he questioned the inclusion of cottage units in the plan and asked if the housing needs analysis shows a need for this type of housing, and 5) he questioned if the proposed roadways would damage the wetlands and wildlife. Mr. Miller concluded his testimony and stated this plan is not in the best interest of the people who live in this area and believes there are key items that have not been addressed.
 
Julie Matthews/2090 Creek Dr/Voiced her support for Mr. Miller comments and stated there has not been enough consideration given to the wetlands. Ms. Matthews questioned if it would be more appropriate to locate the high density housing along East Main Street and does not understand why it has to be located next to her property. She commented on the wildlife and recommended the commission consider not placing the roads parallel to the wetlands and waterways. She also asked them to consider not placing apartments in the identified area, and also raised issue the increased traffic and parking demands this would create. Ms. Matthews asked the commission to consider the underground water which runs underneath this area, and recommend a geologist survey the area to ascertain the impacts of paving over this area.
 
Mike Shore/140 Clay St/Questioned how the shared spaces would be used by residents in a pocket neighborhood development. He asked how the common spaces would be cared for and how they would draw people together, and is unclear about how this would actually function.
 
Nancy Boyer/425 Normal/Voiced concern with how a three-story apartment complex will block their view, and commented briefly on the wildlife in the project area.
 
Commission Discussion
The commission requested clarification and issued comments on various elements in the plan. The following is a summary of their questions and statements:
  • Who will be responsible for wetland preservation and conducting a hydrology study of the site? Mr. Goldman clarified the study would be completed by the applicant and would be part of their application. He added the same is true with or without this master plan and is a requirement of annexation.  
  • Where did the soils and infiltration data contained in the frameworks come from? Mr. Chisholm clarified this was pulled from the USDA data, which is a relatively good source, but confirmed this was the initial data that was gathered before they had walked the site and conducted further review.
  • Did the updated Transportation System Plan (TSP) consider the amount of development and traffic that will go into this site and how East Main Street will be impacted? Mr. Goldman clarified this was addressed in the TSP. He added the Comprehensive Plan designations and densities are largely comparable with what is proposed and the TSP presumed this area would develop at maximum density. Additionally, a transportation analysis was completed by Parametrix and another one will be provided based on the final plan.
  • How will the railroad crossing be handled? Mr. Goldman clarified staff is working with ODOT Rail to get a consistent answer on the railroad crossing and stated the impetus of the two phase proposal is to demonstrate conclusively that phase one could be accommodated through East Main and Clay without increasing the use of the Normal railroad crossing.
  • Why is there a neighborhood street that leads to nowhere? Mr. Goldman clarified this road terminates at the mobile home park and is on the map in case that area is developed in the future. He added this would be a long term project and dependent on the manufactured housing park redeveloping.
  • Will transit services be provided along East Main? Mr. Goldman stated RVTD locates bus lines based on where density is located. He stated RVTD was not comfortable locating a bus line along East Main at this time but said they would look at this again when this area is built out.
  • How was it decided to put the high density housing where it is, rather than along East Main? Mr. Chisholm explained the intent is to cluster the higher intensity development together and to achieve a stepped up transition between the densities. He added they received input from a number of property owners who recommended the high density housing be moved to the far east side. Additionally, the west side is either wetlands area or land that is already built out by institutional organizations and not likely to redevelop.
  • Comment was made expressing concern with the use of cuplets and questioning if the intent is to create a one-lane road on each side of the waterway. Mr. Chisholm stated the design is intended to provide access to different parcels at different times as this land develops, and to not end up in the end with an excessive amount of north-south pavement. He commented on the benefits of looking at this in a comprehensive manner rather than letting this area develop piece by piece, and stated the entire network was intentionally designed to slow down traffic.
  • Staff was asked to clarify the proposed densities. Mr. Goldman explained NA-01 is comparable to the R-1-5 single family zone, NA-02 is comparable to the R-2 multi-family low density zone, and NA-03 is comparable to the R-3 multi-family high density zone. He clarified this is a work in progress and if the commission has direction on densities they are welcome to provide this.
  • Opinion was given that the cluster housing illustrations do not meet the true definition of cottage housing and they may have missed the mark with this.
Mr. Goldman commented on what the final plan will include and how the adoption process will unfold. He clarified staff’s next steps are to take the recent feedback from the neighborhood meeting that was held last Thursday, as well as any direction the commission provides, and make minor revisions and return with a final plan for adoption. However, before the land use public hearing and adoption process begins, staff will bring the proposed code amendments and a more refined plan forward at the commission’s May 14 meeting and provide an opportunity for input by the neighbors and the commission before the final draft of the plan is put together. Mr. Goldman commented further on the public involvement aspect and stated this has been a fully transparent exercise and staff welcomes input from citizens. He noted the methods on how citizens can reach staff and also encouraged the commissioners to provide any additional feedback they may have.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
 

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