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Planning Commission Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, July 14, 2015



ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
July 14, 2015
 
 
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
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Greg Lemhouse, absent
 
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS & AD HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES
Community Development Director Bill Molnar welcomed new commissioner Roger Pearce and announced the public hearing for the Normal Neighborhood Plan has been scheduled for July 28, 2015.
 
Commissioner Thompson provided a brief update on the Downtown Parking Management & Circulation Committee. She stated the group is working with a new consultant and they are working on defining the guiding principles that will lead to specific strategies. Ms. Thompson explained the consultant has suggested identifying who the most important users are and dividing the downtown into zones, and stated it is clear that signage needs to be improved and there is emphasis on connecting the bike path through downtown.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.     June 9, 2015 Regular Meeting.
2.    June 23, 2015 Special Meeting.
 
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0. [Commissioner Pearce abstained]
 
PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forward to speak.
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
  1. Approval of Findings for PA-2015-00418, McNeal Pavilion.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2015-00418. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0. [Commissioner Pearce abstained]   
  1. Approval of Findings for PA-2015-00825, Verde Village Subdivision.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Commissioners Miller/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2015-00825. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0. [Commissioner Pearce abstained]  
 
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING
  1. PLANNING ACTION: PA-2015-00422                  
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  600-640-688-694-696 Tolman Creek Road, 2316 Hwy 66
APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
OWNERS:  Independent Printing Company, Inc., IPCO Development Corp.
AGENTS:  CSA Planning, Ltd.
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review, Exception to Street Standards, Property Line Adjustment, Limited Use Permit/Water Resource Protection Zone Reduction for Construction in the Water Resource Protection Zone, Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit for Floodplain Development, and Tree Removal Permit approvals to allow the construction of a new public street “Independent Way” between Washington Street and Tolman Creek Road and associated changes to the lane configuration and on-street parking on Tolman Creek Road to its intersection with Ashland Street. (The proposal also includes the review of driveway locations and associated circulation to allow the coordinated initial grading and utility installation on the adjacent private property in conjunction with the new street installation, however the development of the adjacent private properties will be subject to future Site Design Review as individual buildings are proposed.) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Employment; ZONING: E-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 14BA; TAX LOTS: 500, 600, 601, 700, 800, 900 and 1000.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Miller, Dawkins, Norton, Thompson, Mindlin, Brown, and Pearce declared site visits. Commissioner Dawkins stated he has spoken with the property owner but it was not regarding this planning action. Commission Mindlin stated she knows the applicant but they have not discussed this application.
 
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided an overview of the applicant’s request, which involves the following land use approvals: 1) Site Design Review to construct a new public street between Washington St. and Tolman Creek Rd. which involves changes to circulation, adds more than 1,000 sq.ft. of impervious surface, and includes driveway locations, utilities and rough grading of private property; 2) Exception to the Street Standards because the new street is not in conformance with city street standards for a neighborhood commercial collector street; 3) Property line adjustments to reconfigure property lines without creating additional lots; 4) Limited use permits and water resource protection zone reductions because the proposal includes a public street crossing and a private drive crossing through water resource protection zones to allow for a straight curb line installation; 5) a physical and environmental constraints review permit for development on floodplain corridor lands; and 6) Tree removal permits to remove 31 trees with a diameter of six-inches or more.
 
Mr. Severson reviewed the staff recommendations from the staff report and stated:
  • Staff is supportive of the proposed new street with a north side sidewalk corridor installed to city standards (six-foot sidewalk/seven-foot continuous landscape parkrow) and an exception to defer south side sidewalk corridor improvements until new development is proposed on the south side.
  • Staff is supportive of establishing driveway curb cuts, preliminary rough grading, and extending utility connections to anticipated building sites.
  • Staff is supportive of the creek crossing for the new private driveway access to the building pad at the southeast corner of the site, including the removal of Tree #13, but believes that the establishment of on-site parking and circulation or additional tree removals would be better considered with site review for development of that building pad.
  • Staff is supportive of the water resource protection zone reduction of 124 sq.ft. to square off curb lines for the functionality and efficiency of circulation.
  • Staff believes there should be no tree removal, paving, curbing or retaining wall installation approved other than that associated with the new street and its creek crossing or establishing the new driveway locations until site review approval is obtained for future buildings.
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Thompson noted the undeveloped lot for sale on Tolman Creek Rd. She asked if staff was comfortable with removing the on-street parking at that location and questioned if this would created issues for that lot once it is developed. Mr. Severson explained that lot is owned by the applicant. He stated the elimination of the on-street parking would require more parking to be provided on the site, and stated the applicant is aware of this.
 
When asked about the letter in the record from ODOT staff clarified that any new access into the applicant’s property would necessitate the need for a center turn lane on Tolman Creek Rd.
 
Commissioner Pearce asked staff to clarify who the applicant is and whether the residential overlay on the east side of Tolman Creek Rd. was considered during staff’s review. Mr. Severson clarified the City of Ashland is the applicant but they are working in conjunction with the property owner and CSA Planning to coordinate this. He added the City’s public works director went before the city council and received approval to work with the property owner to design this street. Regarding the residential overlay, Mr. Severson explained this would typically be looked at with a development proposal and less so with a street installation; and stated staff did not see anything in their request that raised any red flags.
 
Mr. Severson clarified the grading plan included in the record shows more detail than necessary and stated this level of detail should be postponed until an actual development approval comes forward.
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Jay Harland, CSA Planning and Mike Faught, City of Ashland Public Works Director addressed the commission. Mr. Harland explained this is a joint application; the property owner is interested in some development on his land and the new street installation is a very high priority project for the City and would provide needed connectivity and circulation for all modes of transportation. Mr. Harland stated the Public Works Department has done a great job of balancing the City’s needs with the owner’s needs and noted there have been a lot of design iterations and changes that have got them to this point. He stated they are in agreement with most of staff’s recommendations, with one exception being the parkrow conversion condition. Mr. Harland stated it does not make sense to install landscaping now and tear it out later, and recommended the ultimate future use be considered. He commented on the sidewalk width on the north side of the street and explained that 12 ft. (as opposed to 13 ft.) is necessary for the grades to work with the driveways. Mr. Harland also asked that proposed condition #7 be clarified to state “Engineering station 450” instead of bridge. He clarified the onsite curbing and interior parking spaces are not proposed to be built at this time, however the retaining walls will be installed to address the grading issue and to allow for the proper water flow and curbing is proposed along the east boundary which will provide a hard edge to the water resource protection area. Regarding the timing of some of the improvements, Mr. Harland asked that the grading and underground utilities be allowed to be installed now instead of waiting for specific development proposals.
 
Public Works Director Mike Faught stated the City has been working with the property owner on this project and clarified that this area was identified as needing a connection in the City’s Transportation System Plan. He cautioned that the City’s partnership with the property owner may start to fall apart if the Commission starts removing pieces that they have both already agreed to.
 
Questions of the Applicant
Several commissioners questioned what they are being asked to approve and expressed that it was difficult to discern this on the applicant’s submittals. Suggestion was made for the applicant to present revised drawings that only show what they are being asked to approve at this time.
 
Comment was made that one of the retaining walls appears to be 15 ft. to 16 ft. tall and Mr. Harland confirmed that one of the walls is 15 ft. in height. He was then asked if there are any other walls over 5 ft. tall and he said Yes. Suggestion was made for the applicant to clearly indicate the locations and heights of the proposed retaining walls.
 
Comment was made that the applicant’s materials shows the locations of buildings pads, but they are not asking for approval on these. Request was made for it to be made clear what they are seeking approval for.  
 
Recess was called at 8:10 p.m. and resumed at 8:15 p.m.
 
Mr. Harland explained this is a large site with quite a bit happening and asked permission for the engineers and landscape architect to explain some of the details. He added they would be willing to return with simplified materials if that is the commission’s preference.
 
Mike Thornton, Thornton Engineering, explained there is a significant grade change across the site and in order to accommodate the city street and allow for development of the property there needs to be some rough grading done. He stated if they cut the road through and don’t address the future development, when the lots are developed they would need to get that fill back across the road and this would negatively impact the new street. Mr. Thornton stated they are asking to do this now and move that fill before the roadway goes in. He stated they are not doing curbs at this time and the only addition to the grading is the installation of the retaining walls. He stated the tallest is 14 ft. in height and they get down to 3 ft.
 
Mike Faught noted that performing the grading at the same time as the road installation would save the City money.  
 
Alan Pardee, Covey Pardee Landscape Architects, addressed the commission and identified on the maps where the retaining wall and curb would be located.
 
Mr. Pardee was asked if it is possible to shift the retaining wall and save the two ponderosa pine trees. He responded that one of those trees has a significant lean to it, and stated the other tree would need to be 12 ft. from the wall in order for it to survive. He added the roots for that tree are likely well contained and it may be possible to reconfigure the wall in that location. Mr. Harland cautioned that they need to still consider the impacts to the driveway locations and how the water way will function. Several other trees on the site were mentioned and the applicant was asked to present additional information on why those removals are necessary.  
 
Commissioner Mindlin stated the application as presented is difficult to approve because it includes too much detail and there is confusion on what they are approving now versus what will occur at a later date.
 
Comment was made that an area of disagreement seems to be the 12 ft. sidewalk and additional information was requested on why it is not feasible to build this to city standards. Clearer drawings of the locations of the parking bays, sidewalks, crosswalk, and center lane configuration were also requested. 
 
Kim Parducci, Transportation Engineer, addressed the commission clarified the sidewalk will be on the west side of the parking bays and clarified that they could look into a crosswalk at Tolman Creek Rd. Ms. Parducci commented on the center lane configuration and clarified this would happen with or without the development of this property or the connection going through and stated it will address the congestion issue on Tolman Creek Rd. She stated this is an existing issue that will just get worse with growth.
 
Commissioner Mindlin commented that it is difficult when the applicant and planning staff don’t agree and urged the applicant to speak with staff and provide a unified suggestion if at all possible.
 
Commissioners Brown/Miller m/s to continue the public hearing to the August 11, 2015 Planning Commission meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
 
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

 

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