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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, February 02, 2000

February 2, 2000



At 4:07 p.m., Chairperson Lewis called the meeting to order at the Public Works Conference Room. Members present were Jim Lewis, Terry Skibby, Gary Foll, Dale Shostrom, Kay Maser, Joan Steele, Keith Chambers and Vava Bailey. Also present were Associate Planners Mark Knox and Maria Harris, and Secretary Sonja Akerman. Member Curt Anderson was unable to attend the meeting.


Steele moved to approve the January 5, 2000 minutes as submitted. Shostrom seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.


Planning Action 2000-014
Site Review for Historic Sign
1065 Siskiyou Boulevard
Palm Motel

Skibby declared a conflict of interest since he assisted in some of the research for dating the signs and provided photographs to the owner of the motel.

Knox informed the Commission the owner of the Palm Motel, Roxanne Jones, is requesting approval for a Site Review and Conditional Use Permit to allow for a two-unit expansion. She is also requesting a favorable recommendation from the Historic Commission to the City Council for inclusion of the existing building and pole signs on the City's Historic Sign Inventory. This is not in the Historic District, but the alteration of the front elevation needs to be considered in the discussion because it will play an important part in the final decision. The signs to be considered include the pole sign with the palm trees and the two neon ones above the existing front door. All three signs are non-conforming because of the neon. The large pole sign exceeds the maximum height of five feet and exceeds the maximum area of 60 square feet allowed for ground signs. Additionally, the number of signs exceeds the aggregate number of signs permitted for a business frontage. A business frontage is allowed two signs.

Harris stated the applicant is requesting that all three signs be included in the historic inventory. Carlos Delgado, designer for the applicant, requested the Commission focus on each sign individually. Knox said when a building is modified, signs need to come into conformance or if they meet the criteria, be put on the historic sign inventory. One requirement is that the sign be at least approximately 40 years old. Staff is still questioning the age of the signs because no concrete documentation has been submitted pinpointing the age. The actual relationship of the sign to the architecture of the building also needs to be considered. Harris went over the criteria for approval of historic signs. All signs must be substantially in existence at the time of the application; must be displayed in their original location; must be in association with an important event, person, group or business in the history of the City; and must have been in existence for approximately 40 years. In addition, they must either be exemplary of technology, craftsmanship or design of the period when it was constructed and not significantly altered from its historic period (if it has been altered, it must be restorable to its historic appearance), or be integrated into the architecture of the building and exemplary of a historically significant architectural style. In staff's opinion, the signs are not in the same location and several things have not been demonstrated. The small neon signs on the building are located above the existing front door. If the building frontage changes to the side (as is being proposed), the signs will not qualify. Staff does not feel that architecturally, the pole sign is in integrated into the building, and it is not clear when any of these signs were constructed.

Harris related the pole sign fits best into the plastic box interior illuminated sign technology. According to the U.S. Department of Interior Cultural Resources brief on "The Preservation of Historic Signs", these signs are post World War II, the technology is still being used today, and these signs are considered to be opposite of historic signage. The neon signs above the front door, however, are exemplary of technology and design popular in the 1940s.

 Since only the pole sign deals with the name of the business, Lewis asked if the neon signs on the building would qualify. Harris answered they are considered to be signs. In Harris' staff report, she refers to the Ashland Motel sign as Streamlined Moderne architectural style, which is typical of the 1950s. Chambers wondered if there were any crossover signs that would typify a style between the Ashland Motel and the Palm Motel signs. None came immediately to mind. He noted the artwork in the palm sign. He then stated he sees a danger in approving these signs because that would open up applications for other non-historic signs. Lewis added it is tough to fit the Palm Motel signs into our ordinance and that if the pole sign did not have the palms on it, the Commission probably wouldn't even be discussing this. Foll reiterated the box type style is still being used today. Harris clarified the streamlined moderne style is not being used today.

Roxanne Jones said they tried to establish the date and came as close as they could. In 1960 the pole sign was not there, in 1961 the name was changed from Palm Motor Court to the Palm Motel, and in 1966 the existing sign was in place.

Lewis asked what "approximately 40 years" means. Knox said "approximately" usually means give or take about five years. Chambers asked it historic signs were exempt from having to comply with the Sign Code Ordinance and Harris clarified they are. Lewis commented these signs are more cultural than historic.

Harris said the Commission is charged with looking at the signs and not the rest of the application. However, by moving through the Site Review and Conditional Use Permit proposal, the situation becomes more nonconforming when the entrance is moved to the side. The Sign Code Ordinance states that signs can only be located where there is an entrance. In staff's opinion, this application weakens the Site Design Standards by moving the entrance to the side. Staff does not necessarily agree the entrance was once on the side.

Delgado stated the ordinance talks about the entrance, and that portion of the building is being preserved. It will be a vestibule. Harris said the City has always interpreted the term "entrance" to be the front door. Delgado countered the orientation of the building is skewed, however, Knox said the entrance is where the door is located and the Site Review Standards states there needs to be a strong orientation toward the street. Harris also noted signs are only allowed on the business frontage. Shostrom stated when you are coming from the south, you can see both sides of the building because it is at a 45 angle. This is not a good argument, however, when you are coming from the north. He asked the owner if she could would be willing to have two doors, one on the front and one on the side. Jones answered the space is very small and for safety reasons, she would prefer to have just the one on the side. It was noted the Commission would not have an issue with the two existing signs on the building if the door stayed in the same location. Delgado asked if it would work if the door could be visible from the street but have a physical barrier (i.e. a window) in the current location of the door. Knox said that has never come up before.

Chambers commented he didn't see how the Commission could defend the pole sign for inclusion on the historic sign inventory. Foll asked if the pole sign would come down if it were not deemed historic. Knox answered it could stay only if nothing is done to the building.

Chambers moved to recommend inclusion of the two existing neon signs on the building in the historic sign inventory only if the entrance door remains where it is currently located facing the street. He noted the Commission has carefully reviewed the criteria and sincerely regrets the pole sign does not meet the age and technology criteria. It is the consensus of the Commission the historic façade of the building will be substantially altered if the planning application is approved, thereby not justifying the retention of the historic signs. Steele seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Permits reviewed by members of the Historic Commission and issued during the months of November, December and January follow:

933 East Main Street

Jerry Quast

Remodel Garage

225 "B" Street

Dorothy Duthie

Bay Window

80 Wimer Street

Kathy & Tom Peterson

Detached Garage/Office

208 Oak Street

Valley Investments


145 Central Avenue

Kim Blackwolf


49 North Main Street

Lloyd Haines

Deck Repair

130 Fourth Street

Cindy Ceteras


25 North Main Street

Ashland Holdings

Tenant Improvements/Firefly

395 Pearl Street

William & Virginia Guengerich


58 Bush Street

Ruby Whalley

Add 2nd Bathroom

212 East Main Street

Mark Antony Historic Property

Historic Renovation

125 Van Ness Avenue

Dave Greene


139 Van Ness Avenue

Dave Greene


133 Van Ness Avenue

Dave Greene


156 Van Ness Avenue

Dave Greene


125 Van Ness Avenue

Dave Greene


319 Scenic Drive

Steve Werblow

Garage Conversion to Office

311 North Main Street

Doug Irvine


102 South Pioneer Street

James Benson


152 Strawberry Lane

Laura Dunbar Bressler


240 North First Street

Ron & Tracy Bass


183 Gresham Street

Bob Haxton


235 Fifth Street

Ashley Henry

Garage Renovation

320 Oak Street

Rogue Travel


532 North Main Street

Galaxy Ink


260 Fourth Street

Deluxe Awning


72 North Pioneer Street

Ashland Investment Services


266 East Main Street

Bead Studio/Magnolia


595 North Main Street

Ashland Community Hospital Fnd



Following is the February schedule for the Review Board, which meets every Thursday from 3:00 to at least 3:30 p.m. in the Planning Department:

February 3

Skibby, Bailey and Lewis

February 10

Skibby, Foll and Steele

February 17

Skibby, Maser and Foll

February 24

Skibby, Chambers and Shostrom

March 2

Skibby, Bailey and Steele

Steele offered to be on call.


Project Assignments for Planning Actions

PA# 96086

685 "A" Street

Anderson and Lewis

PA# 97018

661 "B" Street


PA# 98039

Holly Street

Steele and Lewis

PA# 98045

122 Church Street


PA# 98047

Between 548 & 628 North Main Street


PA# 99020

525 "A" Street


PA# 99062

Van Ness Avenue


PA# 99102

141 Lithia Way


PA #99108

340 Oak Street


Grant for National Register Web Site

Knox stated the Ashland site will not be up until after July. The web site can be checked out at www.cr.nps.gov/nr.


National Historic Preservation Week - May 7-13, 2000

The Commissioners were asked to start thinking about what activities should be initiated for National Historic Preservation Week. Skibby related Jay Leighton, from the Ashland office of Southern Oregon Historical Society, is willing to work with the Commission also.


It was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 5:30 p.m.

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