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Planning Commission Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, June 11, 2013


ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
 MINUTES
June 11, 2013
 
CALL TO ORDER
Vice-Chair Michael Dawkins 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
Tracy Peddicord
Melanie Mindlin (Recused self from Agenda Item V. A.)
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Dawn Lamb
 
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
    Mike Morris, absent
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
New Planning Commissioner appointed by Council; Carol Davis past chair of the Public Arts Commission.
 
Unified Land Use Code- Open House scheduled for Thursday, June 20th from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.  An informal session for staff to update public on progress of update and an opportunity for the public to ask questions.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1.  May 14, 2013 Regular Meeting.
       3.  May 28, 2013 Study Session.
 
Commissioners Kaplan/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda with changes.  Motion passed 5-0.
 
PUBLIC FORUM:  None.
 
DISCUSSION ITEMS
A.    Planning Action #2013-00593
Applicant:  City of Ashland
Description:  Amendments to Ashland's Municipal Code related to existing Traveler's Accommodations (i.e. B&Bs), as well as the establishment of non-owner occupied short-term home rentals within Multiple Family Residential Districts (R-2; R-3).
 
Commissioner Mindlin recused herself from discussion. 
 
Dawkins clarified that the first agenda item would be short-term home rentals. There will be two parts of this planning action discussed tonight; traveler's accommodations and establishment and operation of non-owner occupied short-term home rentals within multi-family zoning districts is the first item. 
 
 
Staff Report:
Molnar explained that revisions came about due to compliance activity regarding transient housing.  Increasing numbers of short-term transient accommodations did not acquire proper zoning approvals or business licenses and were not paying transient occupancy taxes or commercial utility rates.  Comments from the Planning and Housing Commission were forwarded as suggestions to the City Council.  A public hearing was held and staff was directed to prepare an ordinance that provided an allowance for vacation short-term home rentals in multifamily zones.  Interest was not placed on limiting numbers or geographic area other than within a multifamily zone and within 200 feet of an arterial or collector street.  In multifamily zones there is a list of conditional uses and this amendment would add another conditional use alongside the Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) by adding short-term home rentals. 
 
The definition of a short-term would be "the short-term occupancy of a dwelling unit in a residential zone by the general public for a fee for a period of less than 30 consecutive days.  The short-term rental shall not include the rent of individual rooms within a residential dwelling unit." 
 
This limits renters to a dwelling unit, not just rooms in a house where several reservations could be obliged.  That is an existing portion of the traveler's accommodations CUP.  Molnar described the difference between traveler's accommodations and the short-term accommodations.   The main difference between short-term and traveler's accommodations is that a short-term home rental does not require the owner to live on the property. 
 
Staff identified three areas of general requirements; management, licensing, and inspections, taxes, and advertising.  The entire dwelling unit is required to be rented. It is not allowed to have more than one dwelling unit on a parcel that may be used as a short-term home rental.  Use of more than one dwelling on a property requires obtaining a different conditional use permit for traveler's accommodations and owner must live on the property.  Maximum number of guests is based on a formula structured after other communities.  The standard is two guests per bedroom, plus two, but never to exceed 10 guests.  The Planning Commission could chose to discuss this number.  Under the management section an owner/applicant can only own one short -term home rental.  Other communities have been having problems with investors or LLCs buying up several houses to make short-term rentals.  Our intent is to decrease that attraction for investment purposes but to allow for different accommodations to be provided to visitors and an additional allowance for an individual property owner.  Owners are required to identify a local contact person with further requirements on availability of that local contact person, provisions for noticing neighbors within 200 feet exists and as well as conditions of planning approval.  Posting of house policies in regards to respecting neighbors in terms of noise and quiet hours.  Lastly under licensing, inspections, taxes, and advertising it specifies requirements for an inspection  by the fire department, a business license, transient occupancy tax registration, and to help ensure accommodations do have an approved CUP the license number should be included in advertisements.  Advertising operation of these facilities without the proper due diligence is a violation of the code. 
 
Both travelers accommodations and short-term rentals must exist in a multifamily zone, be within 200 feet of an arterial or collector, and posses the same requirements for advertising.  The advertising for traveler's accommodations is an addition to keep uniformity between the two types.
 
Margueritte Hickman, AFD Division Chief/Fire Marshal, advocated an inspection for the short-term rentals and for traveler's accommodations regardless of occupancy load.  Discussion continues on how routinely that would occur, maybe every other year.  Fire Marshal Hickman commented that the fire department's interest in inspecting the units is that the occupants will be in unfamiliar surroundings.  This increases risk.  Want to make sure adequate smoke alarms, proper addressing, and other items are in place.  The fire and building code does not look at single-family dwellings with fewer than 10 occupants as an inspectable occupancy.  This is an oversight when the use of the dwelling is used for short-term rentals. It is our intent to make the situation safer for the occupant and owner.
 
Molnar clarified that this is a legislative change and the Planning Commission's role is advisory to the Council. Items is tentatively scheduled for public hearing and first reading on July 16th.  Tonight will be recommendations on amendments for forwarding to the City Council.  City Attorney Lohman proposed housekeeping changes and his main recommendation was to refer to guests as "occupants permitted to stay overnight". 
 
Dawkins will address public discussion on short-term rentals first.  People wishing to speak regarding the R-1 zoning will be heard, but the R-1 zoning is not part of what we will be forwarding to Council as part of the ordinance amendments tonight.     We are taking input to revisit the R-1 zoning with council.  This is a separate topic to be addressed similarly to the ordinance amendments being addressed tonight.
 
Public Discussion: 
Laura Westerman, 250 Timberlake Dr, long time resident.  Inherited family home located on Manzanita Street from parents and operated the property as a long-term rental.  The home is a corner lot on a third of an acre.  The house is located across from multi-family homes.  The long-term renting did not cover costs and became difficult to maintain because renters did not take care of the residence very well.  We changed it to short-term rental about a year ago and were not aware of being in violation.  We have parking in the driveway for seven vehicles.  The house is a three bedroom, two bath, with an additional sunroom.  The house sleeps eight people.  Time and money has been invested in the upkeep of the home.  Personally enjoys staying in short-term rentals when traveling.  Short-term works better for longer stays and in a group of multiple people.  It is more comfortable and we are still contributing to the economy.  It is a different type of rental and attracts different type of people.  These businesses add dollars to the city coffer and City and residents need to look at these operations.  It makes it possible for me to keep my family home.  One day we intend to move into the home when we are older.  This is a way for us to keep the home and share it with others. 
 
Corrine Lombardi, 1685 Old Hwy 99S.  Owns two licensed vacation rental properties and receives state inspections every 2 years that cover the items addressed by the Fire Department.  I don’t see the value in a second inspection.  One discussion that I would like to comment on is the insufficient properties for long-term rentals for people who want to live here full-time, and the short-term rental which is another definition of something that we already have.  I have an E-1 zoned property and have CUP for hotel/motel that meets the requirements.  We have zoning and accommodations to provide the goals to offer a different experience for guests.  If the goal is to provide long-term housing for residents than taking more housing out of it is not appropriate.  The non-compliance issue has been huge in this town.  Until we can keep current on current compliance why add more regulation for additional items that would be very difficult to manage.  I think there are twice as many illegal vacation rentals as legal rentals.  How are you going to make sure that they are in compliance with all those conditions?  One complaints guy is not going to accomplish this.  The more regulations you impose then the less likely you are able to enforce them.  Recommend that we use the current laws and make them work.  Rather see results before the Planning Commission takes another step.
 
Abi Maghamfar, Ashland Lodging Association, 451 N. Main Street. The Lodging Association consists of 48 licensed hotels, motels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals, cottages and all kinds of travelers accommodations.  The association formed at the beginning of this year to deal with the illegal vacation rentals.  There are presently 77 licensed establishments in the City of Ashland.  Of the 77, 29 are cottages and homes.  That is 38%.  The notion that there are not sufficient homes for rent for short-term is purely nonsense.  You can talk to operators and if they were at maximum occupancy all the time then there basis for creating more for those potential guests who like to stay in those types of facilities.  In respect to proposed changes, the association met with staff and gave input and recommendations.  But the bottom line comes to some of the vague and ambiguous definitions. Some of the conditions are purely unenforceable.  By putting this on paper you cannot require someone to notify the neighbors once every year, or post the house rules where they are supposed to, who is going to go look for that?  Overall the Association supports the notion if there is going to be a new category of vacation rental, that additional rules are required.  If the commission's approach is to recommend to the Council to adopt such a resolution, then we support the rules and we want to make sure that they are enforceable. 
 
Colin Swales, 143 8th Street.  I share concerns about the reduction of long-term, full-time rentals but see this ordinance as a step forward. I find some things anomalous.  First, the condition that the structure be at least 20 years old.  The ordinance was introduced in the 1980s and now we are in 2013 which puts the date at 1993 for compliance.  The original understanding was to provide some incentive to maintain the older houses, especially in the Historic District.  Well, 1993 is no longer very historic.  The 20-year timeline needs a bit of attention.  Recalls a recommendation that the vacation rentals should be within walking distance of downtown to help maintain the historic district.  The requirement for being 200 feet from arterial or collector creates strange donuts.  Like to see the zone for these things to be more lapcentric or taking into account the historic districts and support the rentals within walking distance of downtown.  Appears to be car oriented at the moment and the last thing we want to encourage is people driving to the downtown.  Bicycle amenities created by the Transportation System Plan should be utilized to help fill in the donuts.  Increase the 200 feet to maybe 300 feet.  Looking at some outlying properties, they are way out from city center and makes the 200 foot requirement appear to be out of date from the modern thinking of the Transportation Plan.
 
Russ Manzone, 249 Hillcrest, 9-year resident.  Purchased a rental property and built an ADU on his primary property.  Intending to retire into ADU and rent out main property in the future.  Second rental was not able to be flipped as intended and they have retained it as a rental to offset cost.  We live on the rental property and have been able to rent it out for long term but also as short term.   We have many people who chose to stay where we are and we have recurring tenants.  We have reciprocity with some of the B&B owners referring travelers.  Nothing deviant was intended, we are trying to be in compliance.
 
Jeff Jones, 79 Pine Street, own property that has ADU used as a long-term rental since 1999.  We attempted to do a vacation rental to supplement income.  This produces more revenue than a long-term rental.  The modifications are useful to all visitors' accommodations.  He would like the commission to consider provisions to allow travelers accommodations in R1 zones as well.  Several reasons exist to support these rentals; it is a good thing for economy of the individual, puts money city coffers in taxes and they are safe units for people to stay in.  They offer a different experience than hotel or B&B.  Four past occupants have made Ashland their home.  Consider modifying the R1 inclusion. 
 
Carl Litsinger, 1810 Mt Vernon St., Waynesburg, VA.  Reiterated and supported Jeff Jones' sentiments regarding R1 designations.  We have exclusively traveled for the last 5 years and stayed all over the country.  They have stayed in Ashland on three separate occasions for in excess of a month each visit.  We like to have accommodations close to downtown and easily accessible.  Visitors improve the economic situation.  We come to Ashland because it's unique; the theatre, the trails and other amenities.  They use the VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owners) to find accommodations.  We prefer a place to stay with a kitchen and house space because we typically stay longer than a week.  We feel a neighborhood experience is a huge plus.  Having this type of accommodation is a good way to experience Ashland and supports expansion to the R1 zones.  We have now purchased a house in Ashland.
 
Kim Blackwolf, 354 Liberty Street.  In support of ordinance changes.  She assists a friend that uses her house as a rental since she has been relocated to work in California.  Short-term renters take better care of rentals than long-term renters and seem to be nicer to the neighborhoods.  Most short-term rentals have never been or are intended to be long-term rentals.  Not stealing from long-term rental pool.  There are not enough short-term rentals and this is a way to help support the economy and support our residents.  People are looking for variety.  The vacation rental is a new positive.  This needs to be supported and made possible for all kinds of people to do if it fits in their neighborhood.  She is still not comfortable with the 200-foot arterial distance requirement.  Hard to make a living in Ashland and we need to support our residents.  Input from people running short-term rentals is that they would love to be licensed and be paying taxes.  It makes them part of the community. 
 
Lois Van Aken, 140 Central Avenue.  She has owned a vacation cottage for 6 years and a runs a long-term rental on same property and never had any problems in the last 30 years of operation.  The long-term rental is not as lucrative as short-term.  We have short-term rentals in R-2 and R-3 with owner occupied on the site and this is not a new concept.  We have CUPs that we follow.  She is concerned with properties that are not owner occupied causing difficulties with management and enforcement.  The City has enough to do.  The R1 is not in discussion.  Tonight the commission needs to look at what we have already and get the enforcement down before moving to the next steps.  I think there is a lot of hearsay in the lack of accommodations in Ashland. There are no statistics or studies showing occupancy rates for vacationers.  The perception is that there is a lack of housing.  Her occupancy rates have gone down last 3 years as the rate of illegal rentals has gone up.  It is hurting the legally operating short-term rentals. 
 
Ellen Campbell, 120 Gresham, owner of the oldest B&B in Ashland.  The first owners were influential in creating the municipal codes relating to B&Bs and travelers accommodations.  They wanted it to be owner occupied to restrict corporations from running the accommodations from afar. The environment has changed.  The banking laws have changed and the real estate prices have increased.  The larger B&Bs only exist, smaller B&Bs cannot make it financially viable.  There has been a 56% decrease in B&Bs in Ashland over the last 15 years.  After 2008 the banks no longer gave residential loans and B&Ba are forced to apply for commercial rates.  Because we are treated as a commercial property we should have the right to not have to live in the B&B.  We should be required to live within the city and be responsible.  There are some B&Bs that exist in the E and C zones with the same customers with same level of service to guests.  But I cannot fully use the property I have as a commercial property.  I have to live in mine.  It is not required of storeowners to carve out valuable real estate to live in their stores.  This is what is happening with the codes the way they are written.
 
Peter Hawes, 431 Courtney Street, resident since 1973 and volunteers actively in the community.  He speaks to the R-1 vacation home rentals.  He wanted to make a short-term rental with his home but could not comply with the VRBO codes because residence is in R-1.  He attended Council in March and did research and talked to many people in a similar situation.  There are people who have owned their homes for extended times working and living in Ashland now are at a point to travel.  Two issues with traveling: cost and home security if leave home vacant for 2-3 months.  If in fact the commission was to consider R-1 travel accommodations, the arterial question would not work because most of people do not live with 200 feet of an arterial and being distanced from an arterial plays into a very good neighborhood experience.  Knowing the neighborhood is a totally different experience than something close to the highway.
 
Commission Discussion:
Miller asked if a study or something exists that gives the rate of occupancy?  Dawkins commented that the issues dealing with financial decisions were not part of the scope of defined issues the commission is to be looking at.  The issue with foreclosure and people trying to support their homes is not part of the code.  Therefore occupancy is not part of our discussion either.  That is not something we are recommending to council. 
 
Brown felt the definition of short-term rentals is lacking.  Clarifying the definition and the rules will move us to more detailed aspects.  There are flaws and work that needs to be accomplished in respects to parking, occupant numbers, and other issues, but in general it begins the definition process.  If left as is, there would be no definition in the current code to be enforced.  He is in favor of where we are now.  Molnar agreed that the definition is going round and round and goal is to make clear that it is a different type of use for a home that can be rented out for less than 30 days and not renting out singular areas.  Parking is awkward because we are trying to retain the character of neighborhoods and concern is creating too much parking on property for visual balance.  Some existing single-family homes with larger families possess several more cars than space on the property allows.  If keeping it consistent with SFH use then you have to have 2 parking spaces.  And with allowances for on-street parking credits then overflow would be using on-street parking. 
 
Kaplan sticking just to reviewing the ordinance as proposed from a technical standpoint.  On page 5 of 11, no. 8; "Owner/applicant should keep local contact on file with name, telephone number, e-mail address…" could that be defined as a management company as well?  Could a management company work or a neighbor, or owner?  Molnar felt the intent is that there needs to be someone and they need to be identified.  Kaplan asked for that to be robust enough to be more than just "a person".  Regarding the initial and annual notice of all neighboring properties within 200 feet he feels this is difficult for an applicant to accomplish.  Can the City provide that service?  Kaplan supports posting of a sign annually.  Molnar said the City could provide a mailing list in the approval packet.  It is easily accomplished with County database system.  We mirrored this from other communities.  Brown supports noticing as is.  It is reasonable to have written notices to neighbors annually and with technology, this is easily accomplished.  As a neighbor I would expect to get a written notice.  Molnar assured them that properties will get noticed during application process regardless.  The original code required that for the first 3 years they had to go through a renewal where notices were sent out to neighboring properties within 200 feet and there was an associated fee.  It seemed that if a property was not operating within the code, it would be the neighbors who would complain.  It sounds like support of having the notice the first time is more reasonable.  Peddicord voiced that it seems onerous for annual noticing and it becomes impractical for a short-term; an initial notice is sufficient.  Miller supports noticing for 3 years of a new accommodation and she suggested that if the property management changes a notification should go to neighbors and occupants as well.  Kaplan likes the trigger in information that a neighbor would need in order to report an issue.  Dawkins agrees with noticing. 
 
Kaplan called out Page 6, paragraph 10 C; "vehicles should be parked in designated areas."  This allows for on street parking as well even though it does not say that?  Could that be expanded with street parking if allowable?  Brown thought that was covered by item 6 under short-term rentals; "a minimum of 2 parking spaces must be made available."  Molnar clarified that it is required to have 2 spots on the property, but if on street is available then they can use that, but 2 spots are required on site. Peddicord supports the 2 spaces on the property because to increase it would create small parking lots and that is not going to be welcome in most residential neighborhoods.  Brown said that if 10 tenants are allowed, assume 5 couples, that is 5 cars or more potentially.  We would be allowing for up to 10 cars by having the occupancy called out as 10.  This seems a little to lose to just say, "what neighborhood allows".  Need to be able to control better.  This is the biggest problem he has with allowing 10 occupants.  No discussion on maximum number occurred.  Dawkins agrees on the parking, but sees parking as a reality and hopefully tenants will see parking as a pain and try to make other accommodations. 
 
Miller called out page 6, item 11, how is a permit revoked if the property owner is out of the area and the rental is not being kept up?  Molnar said that currently under enforcement there is a condition for revoking CUPs.  Attempts are made to contact the owner and than a public hearing is held to evaluate what conditions have been violated.  The CUP can be revoked for a time and then they are allowed to reapply after that time.  Issues typically come about because of a complaint.  Dawkins commented that it fits into the 3-year annual noticing. 
 
Dawkins addressed the 200-foot arterial requirement.  Kaplan understands rationale but it seems arbitrary and would like to see the requirement market driven.  If a home is 210 feet from arterial, than why should we push them into being illegal, like to see them encouraged to do it legally as opposed to black market rentals.  No matter how this is done someone is going to be disadvantaged.  He would like to help people if they are in an acceptable proper area with a marketable residence.  Just because a property is within the 200 feet doesn't make it a desirable house to stay in.  Substitute with other language or leave it out, he would feel better about the direction.  Brown wants to leave it at 200 feet because of the expectations of buyers on who the neighbor is.  Does not support the idea of putting anything you want anywhere in the city.  There is always the ability to come in and apply for a variance.  He supports having something clearly definable for potential buyers to know the expectations of the area.  This is why we have ordinances and clear definitions.  Molnar spoke to variance process and that it is based on target use for a zone and if still allows for multi-family zone than still have use of the property for long-term rental.  The 200-foot zone gives discreet overlays within the communities for where you can apply, supporting what Brown said.  This does work as an overlay district but try to balance impact on housing stock and how much of R-2 and R-3 is used for rentals.  The collector and arterials go to commercial areas and it helps to keep traffic impacts in check.  The preponderance of these uses need to be controlled so that they are not increasing traffic on the local street networks which are not designed for the increased usage.  Attempt to keep the traffic closer in proximity to a major street where it is designed for heavier traffic.  Miller felt there is a balance of people who want an experience of living in a neighborhood and our concern of keeping traffic close to town.  Some of the areas are too far for walking and there is a balance to find for the guest to feel like they are in a neighborhood and be close to downtown.  Peddicord asked if exceptions could be made in the Historic or Railroad districts which are close to downtown but maybe out of the 200-foot radius.  There still needs to be considerations for properties expanding out from the downtown core.  Molnar recalled that the original intent of the 200 feet was to keep travelers close to a facility to accommodate greater traffic.  Molnar said that requesting the creation of an overlay for downtown could be forwarded to council, but they have said they did not want to limit rentals geographically. 
 
Dawkins said there was another issue to discuss.  It has been said that an owner cannot own more than one unit.  The intent was to allow people to afford to stay in their homes without having corporations and LLCs buying up properties for rentals.  All commissioners supported this requirement. 
 
Discussion ensued regarding the definition of walking distances and the use of the Historic District as a boundary.  This was said to support walking distance and they support of utilizing older homes.  Dawkins provided comment that a lot of historic is R-1 and that is another conversation.  Molnar clarified that if the motion said within walking distance it would only include the R-2 and R-3 homes. 
 
Notices are currently for initial application and then once a year before April 1st.  The initial notice is sent by city and subsequently come from the operator.  The change would be for the first three years and any change in contact.  Take out the continuous notification.
 
Brown asked for clarification on Page 5, item 11 regarding duration of renting a rental.  Can it be a consecutive rental for 30 days, then another 30 days and so on, or does it mean you can have so many rentals per year.  Molnar clarified that the code now reads you can rent it continually as long as it is not to the same person.  This is intended to be for use under 30 days and it requires a CUP to have that flexibility of use.  It is a transient accommodation at that point and subject to transient occupancy taxes.  The definition clearly calls out less than 30 days to be classified as a short-term rental.
 
Commissioners Kaplan/Miller motioned to recommend to City Council adoption of an Ordinance amending Chapter 18.08, 18.24.030 and 18.28.030 of Ashland Land Use Ordinance relating to travelers accommodations and short-term home rentals in multi-family residential districts with changes as follows:  Under Management, Item 9:  owner shall provide written notice to all neighboring property owners within a 200 foot distance from the parcel on which the short-term vacation home rental is located for the first 3 years after approval of the Conditional Use Permit and whenever the local contact changes; The 200- foot requirement be modified to include 200 feet or within the boundaries of the Historic District.
Roll call vote:  Brown, opposed, Kaplan, Peddicord, Miller, Dawkins, ayes. Motion passed 1:4 in favor
 
Vacation Home Rentals Recommendations (R-1 Zoning Designation):
Molnar addressed the vacation home rental background.  Discussions have ensued regarding properties in the single-family zones requesting the ability to operate vacation rentals.  Current enforcement numbers show that 70 prosperities are out of compliance and 70% are in the R-1 zones.  This shows an interest in operating establishments in this zone. The council directed staff to provide an ordinance that addressed R-2 and R-3.  Some discussion did take place at the council level.  For discussion purposes we looked at what type of change could be made to the R-1 zone to ease this type of use in.  It was suggested using CUPs and add a new conditional use for a seasonal short-term rental or room rental that would be limited to operating for a period not to exceed 90 days in a calendar year.  Two reasons seem prevalent as to why this is desirable, residents retire and want to leave for a few months out of the year and want house occupied, or there was an unexpected reduction in the number of residents and need extra income.  The limit of 90 calendar days could be limited to the summer season.  It would be the primary residence of the property owner avoiding the absentee notion.  Requiring owner to reside on property still offers continuity to the neighborhood.  A suggested provision of not more than one dwelling or room allowed.  On a lot with a home and ADU the owner would chose one to use as rental.  A limit on the occupancy should be less than R-2 or R-3 and we suggested 8 tenants maximum.  These are some ideas for discussion.  If you feel this is a valid issue for council to discuss this is an opportunity to weigh in.  If you want to leave single-family zone districts as is, then we offer no recommendation to council.  The Finance Department receives quarterly reports from rentals indicating how many days of operation with occupancy; a similar requirement would be put in place.   
 
Commission Discussion:
Miller asked if the process would be the same as for R-2 and R-3 except for the limitation of 90 days.  Molnar clarified that yes, all other requirements would be the same.  What about commercial taxation on utilities?  Molnar will need to talk to the Utility Department.  It is not the primary use, the residence is.  There could be division of sorts.  Staff started at 90 days and there was no strict reason, it could be changed. 
 
Peddicord questioned the 70 properties that are out of compliance.  Molnar said those are properties that information has been gathered on and of that 70, 50 have already received notification.  Peddicord asked that if we expand into R-1 with these restrictions, is that onerous in terms of enforcement.  Is there an existing backlog or it is caught up?  Molnar was unsure whether compliance would be more onerous but some would voluntarily come in for compliance.  Staff has not evaluated the complete impacts but one nice part is that the owner is residing on the property and is invested in the neighborhood.  Council approved a new position for a code compliance officer.  People do not always grasp how the compliance process works.  These are new land use issues.  They are resource intensive but in most land use we receive voluntary compliance.  When we start the compliance there is a due process.  
 
Miller feels renting the house offers less impact than the construction of accessory units.  It affects your backyard usage and traffic. 
 
Kaplan is in favor of some limited aspect of vacation home rentals in R-1.  It allows people who it works for to operate legally and brings revenue to the city, offers inspections.  This encourages people to try.  It is too restrictive to say because you are in R-1 you cannot do it. 
 
Dawkins initial feelings come from the intent of what we are looking at of balancing long-term rental market and consideration of impact on established B&Bs.  Not like to see Ashland turn into Sunriver.  But understand the people who want to take off for a few months and rent out their house. It is admirable and he understands the security issue.  I would like to explore this a bit more.  We touched on historic districts and if we start expanding way out where we are having vacation rentals where people have to drive in and exacerbate parking issues then that is something we need to examine.  With the R-2 and R-3 we have brought in the historic districts I feel comfortable brining in R-1 rentals within the Historic District.  Molnar said the commission could do a motion to have Council explore single family zones and add additional comments like limited durations and geographic areas this would give some parameters.  It may come back from Council with further recommendations. 
 
Brown added to his comments that there is a need to explore but cannot do this without information.  A seasonal mode will be hard to identify.  The exploration between do nothing or everything is still wavering.  The council should explore with necessary constraints by the fire department, city staff, and limited usage of a time frame or a seasonal frame. 
 
Miller feels there are still grey areas to explore especially because of the primary resident living on site.  Does this imply that if someone is staying in the house that is not related, there needs to be special licensing? 
 
Peddicord likes the time constraints and geographic constraints, because the idea of no time constraints starts pushing into a long-term rental which could push the prices of long-term rentals in the downtown area higher and move the long-term rental inventory further out in the community.   She supports both constraints.  Dawkins felt that was a good observation and has heard similar concerns.  Dawkins supports the time constraints with a limited number of days.  Summer time seems to be when others want to be out of town. 
 
Brown exploration should look into the potential of R-1 properties becoming more valuable if they become income-producing properties.  You start to drive up the cost of real estate.  That is the switch off between long-term and short-term rentals. 
 
Kaplan said by imposing time, geographically and other limits it becomes less enticing.  If we are not directed by Council to explore a desire to research this, than there will be no considerations for the R-1 zones. 
 
Commissioner Brown/Kaplan m/s at approve a motion to inform the Council that we feel this is an issue that should be explored and areas for the R-1 seasonal short-term home rentals within the R-1 single-family resident districts be considered with: time constraints, geographic constraints, and economical constraints.  Voice vote: Ayes, all in favor. Motion passed 5:0. 
 
Commissioner Mindlin rejoined the meeting in progress.
 
B.    Planning Action #2013-00545
Applicant:  City of Ashland
Description:  Recommendation to the City Council regarding adoption of an ordinance amending the City of Ashland Municipal Code and Land Use Ordinance to provide new standards for the keeping of micro-livestock and bees.
 
Staff Report
Goldman presented modified changes to the ordinance:
·         Chickens, Ducks and other Domestic Fowl - ordinance allows for 1 adult and 1 juvenile per 1000 sq feet of lot area, 2 adult turkeys and 2 juveniles per 1000 sq feet of lot area, specifically prohibiting roosters, geese, and peacocks within the residential zones. 
·         Rabbits - allowed when setback 75 feet from nearest street within a residential zone with maximum number of 6 adults and nursing offspring and kept within a hutch or fence enclosure. 
·         Pygmy goats – 2 adults and nursing offspring allowed on less than 1 acre, more allowed if more than an acre.  Pygmy goats were specifically identified as no larger than 95 lbs and males to be neutered.
·         Bees – 3 hives on less than an acre, 5 hives on lots greater than an acre.  Ordinance addresses flyaway barriers of 6 feet in height be supplied when hives are within 25 feet of property line in order to change trajectory of the bees when leaving the property.  Onsite water is provided within 15 feet of hive.
 
There are also maintenance requirements addressed in the ordinance.
  
Issues brought up during the last study session included:
·         Setting a maximum number of micro-livestock allowed per lot.  The current ordinance limits total animals at 20 animals; 10 animals on a 5000 sq foot lot with an additional 2 animals for each 1000 sq feet of lot area.  An editorial change for clarity will be made prior to Council to make sure that the plus 2 additional animals for each 1000 could be additive to the first 5000. 
·         Keeping of animals in multi-family complexes:  It is currently limited to single family residences on a single property.  Consideration to expanding that to multi-family adds the amendment to the ordinance.  Language states that it is allowed in multi-family zones as long as the property owner or property manager provides notification to the complex residents including a 24-hour emergency contact.  Essentially that means that there is someone onsite as primarily responsible for animal care.  This notification must also go to the City.  They shall be located 20 feet from any dwelling at the complex or on adjoining property.  Currently the ordinance for single family allows the enclosures to be closer to the primary residence as long as it is 20 feet away from adjoining properties.  Area must be maintained regardless of change of building tenancy or ownership.  Construction of accessory buildings or structures for purposes of housing the micro-livestock be subject to site review design standards. 
·         Animal enclosure is unchanged.  Only change was to include rabbit hutches no to exceed 40 sq feet in area or 40 sq feet per animal whichever is greater.  And outdoor areas for runs now include rabbits as well as chickens.
·         Surplus items produced on-premises can be sold, but no resale of other products from other properties.
 
Review process:  Present to City Council on August 6th and scheduled for August 20th public hearing and 2nd reading.
 
Public Discussion:
Colin Swales, 143 8th Street.  Huge supporter of bee keeping.  This is a huge cottage industry in the UK which he himself participated.  Bees are kept in a busy close city center with no issues at all.  The ordinance as written is very good.  Learned when over in UK that the EU put out ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that are harmful to bees.  Has Ashland considered imposing any similar ordinance?  The US has different operations for beekeeping, most in huge commercial migratory beekeepers but this cottage industry is hugely popular in the UK and great for food production. 
 
Sarah Red-Laird, 285 Wightman Street.  Wanted to be sure everyone saw the petition.  She received 300 signatures on the petition in support of beekeeping which brings attention to the support of the beekeeping ordinance.
 
Kim Blackwolf, 354 Liberty Street.  Commend the work Goldman put forth to accomplish this ordinance.  This is one of the most forward thinking ordinances anywhere.  It creates structure and limits while keeping the opportunity for the community to create food.  Multifamily induction is a great opportunity.
 
Swales rejoined the discussion to question whether bees need water to make honey.  Could this be a confusion with wasps?  Isn’t it quite the opposite?  Goldman explained that the bees do need a water source and the idea is to keep bees from going to adjoining properties.  Swales asked about observation hives within the house.  There is nothing that would prohibit it.  Goldman says this still falls under the 3 hives allowed.
 
Commission Discussion:
Mindlin had minor question on enclosure, what about rest of micro-livestock.  Goldman clarified the language is inclusive of all the micro-livestock.  
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Peddicord m/s to forward on to City Council approval of Planning Action 2013-00545. No further discussion. Roll call vote:  Peddicord, Miller, Brown, Kaplan, Dawkins, Mindlin, all AYES  Motion passed 6:0. 
 
D.    Other Business:
Nomination and Motions for Chair and Vice Chair for the 2013-2014 Planning Commission.
Miller motioned for Mindlin as Chair; seconded by Peddicord.
No other nominations.  Voice vote called. All ayes.  Motion passed 5:0.
Kaplan motioned for Dawkins as Vice Chair; seconded by Brown.
No other nominations.  Voice vote called. All ayes.  Motion passed 5:0.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:39 PM.
 

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