Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Minutes
Tuesday, March 26, 2013


ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
March 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
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
  Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
 
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
    Mike Morris, absent
 
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Bryce Anderson/2092 Creek Drive/Spoke regarding the Normal Neighborhood Plan and indicated he was representing Meadowbrook Park Estates. Mr. Anderson explained they are not opposed to the Plan, but stated overdevelopment could lead to serious problems and there are certain protections that need to be put in place. He voiced opposition to the area between Creek Drive and the LDS Church being developed as high density residential and stated this could cause major traffic problems on East Main and Creek Drive. He also voiced concern with the property owner who is seeking to develop this area on the fast track and stated the Baptist Church has been less than an ideal member of our community. He stated the church has disregarded the maintenance of their property despite repeated requests, and they mow the weeds on this property themselves because it is an immediate fire hazard. Mr. Anderson elaborated on his concerns regarding traffic and stated the high rate of speed on East Main makes it difficult to turn onto it from Clay Street, and vehicles often have to wait a long time to get onto East Main. He suggested a stop light be installed at Tolman Creek and East Main, and secondary controls at the Clay Street intersection.
 
DISCUSSION ITEMS
A.    Keeping of Animals Ordinance.  
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained in August 2012 the City Council adopted ordinances related to the keeping of chickens. During their review of the code changes the Council heard testimony regarding the keeping of other animals and directed staff to look at potential code changes that would allow greater flexibility for local food production. Mr. Goldman stated staff has met with a group of individuals who are familiar with urban agriculture and are now requesting input from the Planning Commission so that a draft ordinance can be prepared. He noted the key questions for commission consideration outlined in the staff report and stated staff believes more flexibility could be provided by making minor revisions to the land use code.
 
Comment was made questioning if staff had reviewed the keeping of animal provisions for other cities. Mr. Goldman responded that he had reviewed several ordinances and could provide those to the commissioners for review, but noted that every community is different and the city will not be in a position to refine the codes of other cities until we receive input from the public.
 
Comment was made questioning if the city is considering the creation of an animal control division and an expansion of its code enforcement program. Mr. Goldman explained a clear and objective ordinance should alleviate the need for an animal control division and stated any code compliance complaints would be handled by staff. Commission Miller mentioned the Oregon statutes and stated the County’s animal control would enforce these statutes, just as they do currently for pets.
 
Sarah Red-Laird/285 Wightman/Stated she is the executive director of Bee-Girl and thanked staff for contacting her for input.
Ms. Red-Laird stated honey bees are dying out and the need for city bees is imminent. She explained the answer to this problem is sustainable agriculture and believes urban agriculture is an important piece of this. Ms. Red-Laird commented on the current city requirements, which state bee hives must be kept 150 ft. from the nearest roadway or building, and stated this is not very sensible because a honey bee has a flight range of up to 5 miles in every direction. As a replacement for the current code provisions, she recommended for lots less than .5 acre in size: 1) to allow no more than three bee hives, 2) provide water for the bees so they do not end up in your neighbor’s pools and hot tubs, and 3) to require a flyway barrier if you are less than 25 ft. from the nearest property line.
 
Comment was made expressing concern that residents will find swarms of bees frightening. Ms. Red-Laird stated having more urban beekeepers is the first line of defense against swarms and stated honey bees are actually very docile and will only sting in defense of their life or to protect their  hive. Commissioner Brown stated his son is highly allergic to bees and the statement that there will be more beekeepers around does not satisfy his concern.
 
Ryan King/420 Chestnut/Stated he is a graduate student at SOU studying environmental education and his thesis project was on beekeeping. He stated the two strategies he has focused on in his teachings are project based learning and thematic instruction, and explained he has been working with campus administration to establish the keeping of bees on campus. He stated the university agreed to his project and anyone who participates in beekeeping on campus is trained and mentored under Ms. Red-Laird on best management strategies. Mr. King noted SOU has established a “green fund” to fund eligible student projects and recommended the city’s ordinance be amended as described by Ms. Red-Laird so that future beekeeping projects can be considered.
 
Mr. Goldman noted the state statues on the keeping of bees are extensive and stated he will provide this information at a future meeting.
 
Kim Blackwolf/354 Liberty/Stated there are swarms of bees in the city now, and people are keeping farm animals of all kinds within the city limits illegally because the rules are unreasonable. Ms. Blackwolf recommended reasonable care and best practices be the basis for any keeping of animals ordinance and shared the code requirements for the keeping of animals in the city of Central Point. She noted everyone is not going to run out and do this, and it is a select group of people who wish to raise animals as a food source. Ms. Blackwolf issued the following recommendations for the commission’s consideration: 1) Rabbits – recommended a minimum of two, 2) Ducks – recommended the ordinance specifically identify Muscovy ducks, as they are quiet and make an excellent food source, 3) Turkeys and Meat Chickens – recommended the ordinance be amended to allow property owners to replace their flock and raise their own meat, and 4) Goats – stated they are social animals and recommended a minimum of two. She recommended the commission look at best practices and amend the ordinance to establish reasonable limits that allow people to raise their own food.
 
Ms. Blackwolf was asked to clarify which animals she believes the ordinance should allow. She responded that her recommendation is for bees, rabbits, ducks, goats, chickens and turkeys to be allowed within the city limits. She also recommended the code allow for people to sell their product directly to the end consumer. 
 
Commissioner Mindlin thanked Ms. Blackwolf, Mr. King and Ms. Red-Laird for their input and recommended the commission discuss the questions outlined by staff. The commission held general discussion and the following recommendations and comments were made:
 
  • The commission reach general consensus that setbacks similar to those developed for the keeping of chickens should be drafted to permit the keeping of micro-livestock.
  • The commission reached general consensus that the ordinance should allow the slaughtering of animals and meat production.
  • Comment was made recommending clear, quantifiable language be used in the draft ordinance and to establish rules that can be clearly enforced.
  • Comment was made recommending the draft ordinance be based on the best practices and good science from other jurisdictions who have already established ordinances.
  • Comment was made suggesting the Central Point code language be used as a preamble or a purpose statement in the ordinance.
  • The commission reached general consensus to amend the existing requirement for bee hives to be placed 150 ft. away from adjoining dwellings, sidewalks or streets; and for the code section related to bees to be expanded to provide standards for the number of hives, placement, maintenance, and flyway barrier locations.
 
B.   Unified Land Use Ordinance – Part 4: Site Development and Design Standards.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained this is the final section of the draft Unified Land Use Code with the exception of the Definitions section which will come back with the next draft. She explained this section of the code has four substantive changes and reviewed those with the commission.
 
  1. Health Care Zone Signage. Language was added to address the Health Care Zone in the sign standards for commercial, industrial, and employment centers.  
  2. Commercial Exemption from Solar Setback. Language was changed to exempt C-1 properties from the solar setback requirement if the properties are not abutting a Residential Zone to the north.
  3. Solar Access Permit Protection from Shading by Vegetation. Language requiring a solar access permit be recorded on neighboring properties has been deleted; this language was found to be legally problematic by the city attorney. Comment was made regarding the definition of solar energy systems and for this code section to better clarify that the term solar energy systems is referring to both passive solar and mechanical solar systems.  
  4. Disc Antenna Installation Requirements. The language regarding the installation of disc antennas has been removed because it is already covered by the Building Code.
 
Commission Comments and Questions:
  • Correction was noted to pg.4-27, Item C: “solar access recordation” should be removed.
  • Correction was noted to pg.4-27, Item D-3 and pg.4.28, Item B: “collector” should be removed.
  • Comment was made questioning the purpose statement on pg.4-39 and what “public health and safety” this is referring to. Ms. Harris responded that staff would look into this.
 
OTHER BUSINESS
Commissioner Mindlin commented on the email that was sent to the commission from Mayor Stromberg on revising the role of the council liaison. She explained the Mayor is proposing to relieve the councilors from having to attend all of the commission’s meeting and as an alternative the commission can request their liaison’s attendance when it is needed and commission chairs will be asked to present periodic updates to the City Council. She noted the Mayor has asked the commissions to discuss this and propose a schedule for periodic reporting.
 
The commission held general discussion on periodic reporting to the Council and questioned what types of things they would report on. It was noted that the City Council already receives the Planning Commission’s meeting minutes on a regular basis; and concern was expressed about reporting on quasi-judicial actions that come before the commission. Suggestion was made to potentially speak to the Council on legislative actions that the Planning Commission has issued recommendations on, but before they are placed on the Council’s agenda. Additional suggestion was made to report only once a year after the commission has completed their annual goal setting.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
 

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