ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
March 25, 2014
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.
||Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
|Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Commissioner Dawkins announced the Downtown Beautification Improvement Committee held its second meeting, and also noted he was in attendance for the Council discussion on medical marijuana dispensaries.
No one came forward to speak.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the commission ran out of time to discuss this item at their last meeting and since then the Council has provided further clarification and have directed staff to draft an ordinance amendment that prohibits marijuana dispensaries in the downtown overlay district, makes state licensed marijuana dispensaries a conditional use in the E-1 zone, and makes state licensed marijuana dispensaries a permitted use in the C-1 and M-1 zones. She stated the Council would like this moved forward in a timely manner and stated a public hearing for the proposed amendments is scheduled for the May 13, 2014 meeting. Ms. Harris noted the city’s administration department is hosting an informational meeting at The Grove tomorrow evening to have an open conversation and hear neighborhood concerns regarding a specific proposed dispensary located on Williamson Way.
- Zoning Issues for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.
Ms. Harris reviewed the state requirements for dispensaries. She clarified sites must be 1,000 ft. from primary or secondary schools, 1,000 ft. from any other licensed dispensary, and must be located in an area that is zoned commercial, industrial, mixed use, or agricultural. Additionally, they must be registered as a business with the Secretary of State’s office and they must have a security system installed, including a video surveillance system, alarm system, and safe.
William Clary/460 Williamson Way/Requested the Commission consider placing buffer zones, especially around residential neighborhoods. Mr. Clary requested a minimum of 100 ft, but preferably 400 ft, from residential neighborhoods, and 1,000 ft from locations where there are high concentrations of children, such as North Mountain Park.
Commissioner Dawkins recommended this type of use be placed in areas that have higher traffic, instead of tucked back in more hidden areas. Additionally, he stated parking in front of the business is preferred to parking in the rear. He also suggested these be operated similar to liquor stores, with set hours and security requirements. Ms. Harris clarified restrictions on days and hours of operation is something that could be included in the code language.
Comment was made that the conditional use process seems out of place in the E-1 zone and it would be preferable to establish specific restrictions. Ms. Harris clarified the City could use the conditional use permit process for dispensaries located within a certain distant of a residential zone, and a special permit for the other locations. She stated special use permits are primarily used in commercial and employment zones and are in between a permitted use and a conditional use and have very specific requirements.
Commissioner Mindlin asked if there is any interest in establishing buffers for residential neighborhoods and parks/libraries. Commission Dawkins stated he does not like singling out one type of business. He also commented that if this becomes too restrictive there will not be any places left for these to operate. Comment was made questioning why the Council did not want this use in the downtown overlay district. It was clarified that the City Administrator has expressed that this is a tourist town and dispensaries on main street could be considered offensive.
Suggestion was made for staff to look at the licenses issued in California and determine what has worked and what types of problems they have encountered.
Additional Public Testimony
Julie Matthews/2090 Creek/Questioned if the City is obligated to allow this and expressed her concerns with people using marijuana.
William Clary/460 Williamson Way/Spoke to liquor stores and clarified OLCC determines where these businesses can be located.
Chris Luz/121 Samuel Lane, Phoenix/Stated medical marijuana patients need safe access to their medicine and feels it is appropriate for the City to identify where they want these to go and to restrict them from downtown. He supported allowing dispensaries in high volume commercial areas, such as shopping centers, and stated the people who need these stores will find them.
Commissioner Mindlin asked what direction staff needs in order to draft an ordinance for public hearing. Ms. Harris stated staff will prepare an ordinance as proposed by the Council and clarified the Planning Commission will have the ability to make further recommendations and those can be added as a memo or report for the Council’s consideration. She added the Commission does not need to have their recommendations prepared in advance of the hearing, but if they require additional information that should be identified now.
Commissioner Mindlin summarized the discussion and stated the commission is interested in establishing hours of operation, requiring surveillance, requiring a special use permit rather than a conditional use permit or potentially combining this with a conditional use permit in some parts of the E-1 zone, and a potential 100 ft. to 200 ft. buffer for residential, parks, and libraries. Mindlin also requested staff provide suggested language that would clarify the criteria for conditional use permits.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained this section combines all the definitions that were listed in the code into one section. She stated most of the edits were removing duplicates and editing the language for clarity, however the there is one substantive change. Ms. Harris went on to explain the proposed amendment to the definitions of hotel and motel would allow more flexibility for property owners to apply for a conditional use permit to use individual residential units for transient lodging in commercial and employment zones.
- Unified Land Use Ordinance: Part 18-6 Definitions.
Ms. Harris provided a short overview of the proposed amendments to Dwelling, Home Oriented Commercial Activity, Lot Line, Open Space, and Subdivision.
The Commission issued the following comments and suggestions regarding the Definitions section:
- Suggestion was made for staff to look into how row housing and cluster housing will be addressed.
- Comment was made questioning the language “other than an alley” in the Front Lot Line definition.
- A correction was noted to the Open Space definition; the text following “…left with a natural vegetation cover” should be removed.
- Recommendation was made for staff to re-phrase the Person definition to make it easier to understand.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.