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Planning Commission Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, December 10, 2013



ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
 MINUTES
December 10, 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
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
 
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Tracy Peddicord   Mike Morris, absent
 
ANNOUCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar informed the Commission of a change to the meeting’s agenda. He noted the Commission was directed by the City Council to review short term home rentals in single family zones, however a request has been received to postpone this item until January due to the late posting of the agenda and the inclement weather. The Commission agreed to postpone this item to a future agenda.
 
Commissioner Kaplan announced that on December 5, 2013 the Downtown Multi-Modal Advisory Committee met for the first time and he and Commissioner Dawkins attended as Planning Commission representatives.  He noted the first meeting was a general orientation and they will continue to meet the first Wednesday of every other month.
 
Mr. Molnar noted the presentation to the City Council on long range planning projects will be presented on Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1. November 12, 2013 Regular Meeting.
     
Commissioners Kaplan/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Melissa Syken/260 N. First Street/Requested the Commission not allow contemporary homes in the Railroad District.
 
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Spoke regarding the Downtown Multi-Modal Advisory Committee and requested the Planning Commission advocate for public input into that process.
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS

 
  1.     Approval of Findings for PA-2013-01505, 31 North Mountain.
The Commission requested the following corrections to the Findings: 1) Page 1, Recital #1: Correct the address to read 31 North Mountain, and 2) Page 4, Section 2.9: Capitalize the word “Commission”.
 
 
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Commissioners Miller/Kaplan m/s to approve the Findings with the noted corrections. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Kaplan, Miller and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 5-0.
 
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING

 
  1. PLANNING ACTION: #2013-01506
SUBJECT PROPERTY: North Mountain & Fair Oaks Avenues
OWNERS: Ayala Properties, L.L.C./Scott Lissberger Revocable Trust (Scott Lissberger, Trustee)
APPLICANT: Ayala Properties, L.L.C.
DESCRIPTION: A rCOMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  North Mountain, Neighborhood Central Overlay; ZONING:  NM-C; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04AD TAX LOTS: 700, 800, 1400, 1500 and 5900.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Miller and Dawkins performed site visits; no ex parte contact was reported.
 
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson noted the City has received a request for the record be left open or for the hearing to be continued. Mr. Severson explained the Commission cannot deliberate this evening, but they can hear the staff report, applicant’s presentation, and conduct the public hearing. Mr. Molnar clarified if the record is left open only written comments can be submitted; whereas if the hearing is continued the Commission can also take oral testimony at the next meeting.
 
Mr. Severson presented the staff report and reviewed the application before them. He stated the applicant’s are requesting to modify their prior approval to: 1) clarify the proposal’s density allocations, parking management, and number of ground floor commercial spaces between the subject properties, 2) increase the number of upper floor residential units on tax lot 700 from 10 to 14, and 3) modify the proposed building design for tax lot 700.
 
Mr. Severson described the design modifications and reviewed the parking allocation plan. He stated the applicants have proposed 22 on-site parking spaces for the residential units on the four tax lots and 11 spaces on Plum Ridge Court. They have also proposed a condition of approval that states: “That no more than 50% of the total residential parking requirement per individual tax lots will be from the amount of parking located on Plum Ridge Court, except that in the event tax lot 1500’s ground floor is ever temporarily converted to residential use, through an approved process, it can be allocated temporary parking spaces from the 23 parking spaces existing on tax lot 1400.” Mr. Severson commented on the on-street parking availability in the NM-C zone and clarified there is adequate space available in the public realm to address the commercial demand district wide. He also clarified all the on-street parking is within a 200 ft. radius of each lot’s center.
 
Mr. Severson concluded his presentation and summarized the key points of the proposal:

 
  1. Tax Lot 700’s upper floor residential units would increase from 10 to 14, and the additional residential units parking would be met on Plum Ridge Court.
  2. Future buildings on remaining lots would be allowed to use Plum Ridge Court as allocated, with no more than 11 total Plum Ridge Court parking spaces utilized for permanent residential demand and no lot meeting more than 50% of its combined permanent and interim residential demand from Plum Ridge Court.
  3. Plum Ridge Court parking would continue to be treated like on-street parking – available to all, and not signed or otherwise restricted for individual use.
  4. Plum Ridge Court would be within 200 ft. of the buildings as allowed in the Off-Street Parking chapter.
Mr. Severson stated under the proposal, the combination of public on-street parking, quasi-public Plum Ridge Court parking, and private off-street parking within the district as a whole is sufficient to accommodate the anticipated demand. Additionally, staff believes that the realization of a mixed-use neighborhood core consistent with the vision of the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan is predicated on a district-wide approach to parking management which balances parking from a diverse mix of uses between a variety of on-street and off-street resources as proposed by the applicants. He stated should the Planning Commission concur and determine that the proposal represents the right balance in achieving the Plan’s vision for the district, staff has provided a number of recommended conditions of approval, which are included in the packet materials.
 
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked whether it is conceivable that Plum Ridge Court could be sold separately and developed. Mr. Severson explained a modification of the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan would need to be approved before the use of Plum Ridge Court could change.He added if this a concern for the Commission they could include a condition for a lease or easement agreement that makes it clear the parking spaces on Plum Ridge Court are available to other uses and that these spaces are spoken for.
 
Staff was asked why there is only a one parking space per residential unit requirement in the North Mountain Plan. Mr. Severson stated like the downtown area, the Plan envisioned a built environment that did not have a large portion of each lot dedicated to parking and driveways. Additionally, the Plan describes a mixed-use neighborhood and it is likely that some of the commercial parking demand would be reduced at night and those spaces would be freed up for overflow parking for the residential use. He also clarified the one for one requirement only applies to the commercial core of the North Mountain Plan (NM-C).
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Alan Harper, Applicant’s Attorney/Stated it is their desire to take the parking and density approved in the previous Findings and move them around slightly, and stated the parking for the temporary residential units was resolved in the previous application and does not need to be rehashed. Mr. Harper commented on their proposed condition which states at least 50% of the parking will take place on-site. He acknowledged the neighborhood concern over the village core concept, however stated this is what was envisioned in the master plan. He stated they are not asking for exceptions or variances, but rather are trying to move the pieces around to make this as developable as possible. Mr. Harper stated they have no issues with a public easement requirement for Plum Ridge Court which would ensure the parking exists in perpetuity and pointed out that staff has concurred there is adequate parking spaces for development.
 
Mark Knox, Applicant’s Representative/Commented on the creation of the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan and stated this proposal complies with that Plan as envisioned. He stated their application requests minor adjustments in order to complete the neighborhood core piece of the master plan, and stated even though they are able to utilize the parking on Plum Ridge Court to accommodate the densities envisioned in the Plan, they are willing to limit this to less than 50% (11 spaces) and will distribute those spaces in a fair way between the four tax lots. Mr. Knox stated the mass, density, and parking of their proposal meets all of the provisions of the North Mountain master plan and builds in flexibility in order to build this area out as envisioned. He also commented on the parking demand and noted the daytime versus nighttime factor. He added when complete, this development will have 45%-55% open parking spaces at any given time.  
 
Mr. Knox commented briefly on the ADA parking requirements and clarified the handicap parking will be located on the individual building lots and the exact locations will be determined at the building permit stage.
 
Mr. Harper issued their request for a 7-day rebuttal period if the record is left open.
 
Public Testimony
Donna Swanson/863 Plum Ridge Drive/Stated she represents the homeowners and residents living in the North Mountain neighborhood and noted their written statement was distributed to the Commission at the beginning of the meeting. Ms. Swanson stated they did not receive notice of this action and issued their request for a continuance of the hearing.
 
Mr. Severson clarified notice was sent according to state and city requirements and was mailed to all owners of record within 200 ft. of the subject property, as well as posted directly on the site and noticed in the Daily Tidings newspaper.
 
The Commission agreed to continue the hearing in order to allow those not present to provide their oral testimony at the January 14, 2014 meeting. In terms of the 120-day clock, staff stated in order to meet this deadline the Findings document will likely need to be adopted at the January meeting as well.
 
Commissioners Brown/Miller m/s to continue this action to the first public hearing at the January 14, 2014 Planning Commission meeting.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
 
DISCUSSION ITEMS

 
  1. Unified Land Use Ordinance: Final Draft Review of Section 18-4, Zoning Regulations.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman highlighted a few of the proposed changes to Section 18-4, including:
 
  • Building Separation for Large Scale Development: Amended language states buildings located on the same parcel and not connected by a common wall shall be separated by a distance equal to the height of the tallest building. If buildings are more than 240 ft. in length the separation shall be 60 ft.
  • Plaza/Public Space Requirement for Large Scale Development: Amended language states one sq.ft. of plaza or public space shall be required for every ten sq.ft. of gross floor area, except that the gross floor area of the fourth floor is exempt. It was noted that this language is correct in the matrix, but incorrectly has an extra “area” in the draft code. Mr. Molnar stated this is a partial solution and commented on the difficulties in getting buildings closer to the street in the downtown because of the plaza space requirement. He added this will likely need to be revisited at some point in the future to determine if the 1:10 ratio is appropriate.
  • Adjustments to Minimum Parking Ratios Using Demand Analysis: New criteria states the City reviewing authority through a discretionary review may approve a parking standard that is different than the standards if “a) the applicant submits a Parking Demand Analysis, which is a written request with supporting data prepared by a professional engineer, planner, architect, landscape architect, or other qualified professional.” Comment was made expressing concern with the wording “written request” and Mr. Goldman stated staff would look into this.
Commission Discussion
The commissioners issued their comments and questions to staff, including:

 
  • Staff was asked to clarify what “Y/N” means on pages 4-5 and 4-6. Mr. Goldman stated this means maybe, and suggestion was made that using “I - in some circumstances” might be clearer.
  • Page 4-8, Build-to-Line in Residential Developments: Comment was made questioning if this language was laying the groundwork for more residential build-to-lines, or if this is in response to something specific.
  • Page 4-8, Garages: Comment was made that this is an odd place include the language “Detached single-family dwellings are not exempt from this section and subject to the following standards” and suggesting it be relocated for clarity.
  •  Page 4-23, Section A: “areas” needs an apostrophe.
Public Testimony
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Voiced his disappointment with the recommendations from the focus group and stated what came out of that meeting seems to benefit architects and developers rather than the City as a whole. Mr. Swales stated he is specifically concerned with: 1) the exemption of plaza space for fourth floors, 2) overly tall buildings in the downtown, and 3) the design concept of a continuous storefront streetscape with no breaks in it. He suggested the plaza requirements include a mandatory standard for public art that would be based on a percentage of the total project cost, and also suggested the Transportation Commission review the vision clearance requirements.    
 
The Commission continued their discussion of the code language.

 
  • Page 4-39, Accessible Parking Spaces: Recommendation was made for this to reference the specific building code language. Mr. Goldman noted the concern with incorporating existing building code within the land use ordinance when the building code is likely to change. Suggestion was made to create a handout that includes the relevant information.
  • Page 4-48: The numbering is incorrect.
  • Page 4-41, Off-Site Shared Parking: Comment was made expressing concern with a reduction of up to 100% and suggesting the language include a maximum permitted distance of the shared parking facility.
  • Page 4-39, Parking Management Strategies: It was pointed out the term “written request” appears in this section as well.
  • Matrix page 7: There is a typographical error and “parking are” should be “parking area”.
Mr. Molnar noted Councilor Marsh and Councilor Morris will be the Unified Code liaisons and will work with staff and determine the best way to present this information to the Council. He suggested a representative from the Planning Commission assist staff as well, and Commissioner Mindlin volunteered to serve in this capacity. Suggestion was made for staff to create a single document that explains the substantive policy changes.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:46 p.m.

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