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Planning Commission Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, August 12, 2014


 
ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
 MINUTES
August 12, 2014
 
 
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Richard Kaplan 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
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Melanie Mindlin
Lynn Thompson
  Mike Morris, absent
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the City Council public hearing for the Unified Land Use Ordinance is scheduled for Tuesday, August 19. He also noted the upcoming Planning Commissioner training and directed interested members to contact staff.
 
AD-HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES
Downtown Beautification Committee: Commissioner Dawkins announced all of the improvements discussed at their last meeting have been approved.
 
SDC Review Committee: Commissioner Brown stated the committee completed their review of the water and wastewater SDCs and are moving on to streets and traffic. He added their next meeting will be in October.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.  June 24, 2014 Study Session.
2.  July 8, 2014 Regular Meeting.
3.  July 22, 2014 Special Meeting.
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda with a correction to the July 8 minutes: Page 3, the date listed in the first paragraph should read July 22. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forward to speak.
 
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  #2014-00710
    SUBJECT PROPERTY:  143 Nutley Street
    APPLICANT:  Robert Baldwin
    DESCRIPTION:  A request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) approval to exceed maximum permitted floor area (MPFA) in the Skidmore Academy Historic District for the addition to the existing 896 square foot residence on the property at 143 Nutley Street. The request is to exceed the allowed MPFA by 17.9 percent or 392 square feet.
Commissioner Kaplan read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Kaplan, Miller and Peddicord declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Staff Report
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter provided a description of the property location and stated similar to other residential lots on this block, this property was created prior to current zoning regulations and is smaller than the minimum lot size of 7,500 sq. ft. As a result, the property is considered a legal, non-conforming lot. Ms. Gunter explained the applicant requests to exceed the Maximum Permitted Floor Area which is 2,292 sq. ft. and add 1,695 sq. ft. to the existing 896 sq. ft. home for a total of 2,591 sq. ft. She stated the applicant has proposed a two-story addition at the rear of the existing residence and the existing front façade will remain. Ms. Gunter noted the Historic Commission reviewed this proposal at their August meeting and found the proposed addition is compatible with the other residences in the vicinity, both in massing and scale, and recommended approval of the proposal.
 
Ms. Gunter called attention to the concerns raised by neighbors regarding lack of on-site parking and the impacts of the proposed relocated driveway to the two trees. Regarding parking, she stated this parcel has historically had a single parking space, although there is room to stack vehicles in the long driveway. She stated the proposal is not inconsistent with what has historically been happening in the neighborhood and noted the applicant is prepared to address this concern during their presentation. Ms. Gunter recited the current parking requirements for the Commission but noted because this is a conditional use permit the Commission does have discretion on this issue. Ms. Gunter commented on the concerns raised regarding tree impacts and stated the relocated driveway appears to require the removal of the maple tree and have impacts to the root zone of the cedar tree, both of which are on the adjacent property which is also going through a land use approval. She noted because the trees are not on this parcel, potential impacts will need to be addressed in the adjacent property’s arborist report.
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Gary Caperna/2908 Hillcrest, Medford/Mr. Caperna acknowledged the neighbors concerns and stated they have done their best to address their issues. He stated they have worked within the constraints of these two adjacent lots and stated this application goes hand in hand with the application for 135 Nutley. Mr. Caperna stated they wanted to reduce the impacts of garages on the street and have realigned the driveway to straddle the property line which will allow the garages for both homes to be placed at the rear of the properties. He stated the back out space will be utilized by both properties and will reduce impervious surfaces. Mr. Caperna stated they have worked closely with the Historic Commission to mitigate the mass of the home and noted the addition is at the back of the current structure. He pointed out that both lots are smaller than normal and stated 1/3 of the lots are undevelopable because of the slope. Mr. Caperna explained there are currently two curb cuts on Nutley and stated they are proposing a single driveway access for both properties which will provide more space to park on the street. Mr. Caperna suggested possible modifications that would increase the on-site parking, including retaining the location of the existing driveway (although this would exceed the maximum site coverage requirements), and shifting the location of the garage for 135 Nutley to create another parking space. Regarding the trees at 135 Nutley, Mr. Caperna clarified they are doing everything they can to preserve the cedar tree, however the maple tree is problematic and will likely not remain.
 
Questions of Staff
Ms. Gunter clarified the removal of the maple tree at 135 Nutley would not require a tree removal permit and is outright permitted in the code.

Public Testimony
No one came forward to speak. Staff noted the letter in the record submitted by Mr. Phil Cooper, which raised concerns with parking and trees, and the Commission confirmed that they had read this letter.
 
Commissioner Kaplan closed the record and the public hearing at 7:45 p.m.
 
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve the application as presented with the conditions of approval recommended by staff. DISUCSSION: Commissioner Brown commented that while it would be convenient to have two parking spots on each site, this is not what the code requires. Ms. Gunter stated Condition 2(d) needs to be corrected to read “no more than the 45% allowed in the R-1-7.5”. She also pointed out Condition 3 will address the tree protection and preservation at 135 Nutley, and Condition 5 will extend the curbside sidewalk to the west property line. Commissioner Brown asked if the term “substantial” could be removed from Condition 2(a) and Ms. Gunter agreed to make this change. Commissioner Dawkins indicated he will vote in favor of this motion but expressed his disappointment that entry level housing continues to be gentrified to make it bigger, and feels the City needs to do a better job of retaining smaller houses. Roll Call Vote: Commissioner Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Peddicord and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
 
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  #2014-00967
    SUBJECT PROPERTY:  572-582 Fair Oaks Avenue 
    APPLICANT:  Ayala Properties, LLC
    DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Review approval to construct a three-story mixed-use 10,748 square foot building at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Plum Ridge Drive.  The building will consist of six residential units on the upper two floors and one commercial space, with the option for interim residential use on the ground floor along with five parking spaces. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: North Mountain, Neighborhood Central Overlay; ZONING: NM-C; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04 AD TAX LOTS: 5900.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Kaplan and Peddicord declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson explained this application is for a three-story mixed use building at the corner of Fair Oaks and Plum Ridge Drive, and noted the Planning Commission issued site review approval for this area back in August 2013. Mr. Severson briefly reviewed the proposal and stated the building will consist of six residential units on the upper two floors, one commercial space on the first floor with the option for interim residential use, and five on-site parking spaces. Mr. Severson stated staff has no issues with the design as proposed, but feels there are some small fine tuning elements that could be considered, including: 1) continuous awning coverage of the sidewalk, 2) for the store front windows to not be tinted, 3) a stronger sense of entry for the upstairs residential units, 4) a reduction in the landscape buffer in order to maintain a 5 foot sidewalk between the landscaping and the tree wells, 5) enhanced landscaping to soften the expanse of the garage wall, and 6) screening for the parking garage. Mr. Severson stated staff is recommending approval with the conditions as presented.
 
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Miller expressed concern with the increased traffic onto North Mountain and stated this will impact an already dangerous intersection. Mr. Severson clarified the previous approval included a condition for the applicant to meet with the Transportation Commission to discuss this issue. He stated these meetings did occur, although he does not have the outcomes.
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Mark Knox/485 W Nevada, Rob Saladoff/508 Clinton, Tom Madara/2994 Wells Fargo Rd, Central Point.
Mr. Knox stated they are very excited about this project and noted this is part of the North Mountain Master Plan. He stated this parcel is planned for six units with the ground floor space to be flexible, and stated the ground floor will convert to commercial once the neighborhood density can support commercial uses. Regarding the enhancements recommended by staff, Mr. Knox stated staff has been very supportive of this project and they welcome working with staff on further improvements. Mr. Knox stated the sidewalk modification is not an issue and clarified they never intended to tint the windows.
 
Mr. Saladoff voiced support for staff’s suggestions to screen the garage and to enhance the residential entry and provided a few suggestions on how this could be accomplished, including: changing the ground lever door and windows, using different surface texture on the sidewalk, and potentially creating a lobby space.
 
Mr. Knox commented on the continuous awning recommendation from staff and stated they understood this to mean creating places of refuge for pedestrians and they continue to walk, not a full awning wrapping around the entire building. He added you do not see this in downtown and there is not a continuous awning at Julian Square.
 
Public Testimony
No one came forward to speak.
 
Questions of Staff
Mr. Molnar read the awning standard aloud and agreed that the intention is not for a singular awning, but questioned if the plan put forward by the applicants provides adequate pedestrian refuge. Mr. Severson added there are opportunities to combine different treatments to provide increased refuge and believes this can be done without impacting the character of the buildings.
 
Mr. Knox acknowledged the awnings could extend more over the sidewalk, but noted they did not know staff was going to interpret this standard this way until the staff report was released last week.
 
Comment was made that there is a difference between continuous and contiguous and would like the condition to give this some flexibility. Mr. Severson recommended the language in Condition 7(j) be revised to read “revised treatments to provide continuous sidewalk coverage.” He also clarified he would remove the term “substantial” from Condition 3 and would add trash enclosures to Condition 7(l).
 
Commissioner Kaplan closed the record and the public hearing at 8:40 p.m.
 
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Peddicord m/s to approve PA-2014-00967 with the conditions as stated by staff. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Miller indicated she is still concerned with traffic. Mr. Molnar noted when this subdivision was approved there was a traffic analysis completed and it met the standards. He added the Public Works Department is aware of this location in terms of potential future safety improvements and staff will follow up on the results of the meeting with the Transportation Commission. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Peddicord and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
 
Submitted by, April Lucas
Administrative Supervisor

 

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