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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Historic Commission Meeting

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Meeting Minutes
November 4, 2015
Community Development/Engineering Services Building – 51 Winburn Way – Siskiyou Room
REGULAR MEETING - CALL TO ORDER 6:04p.m. – SISKIYOU ROOM in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building, located at 51 Winburn Way
Historic Commissioners Present:  Mr. Skibby, Ms. Kencairn, Ms. Renwick, Mr. Emery, Mr. Ladygo, Mr. Shostrom, Mr. Giordano
Commission Members Absent:  Mr. Swink (E), Mr. Whitford (E)
Council Liaison :  Carol Voisin
Staff Present: Staff Liaison: Mark Schexnayder; Clerk: Regan Trapp
Ms. Kencairn motioned to approve minutes from October 7, 2015.  Mr. Ladygo seconded.  No one opposed.
There was no one in the audience wishing to speak.
Ms. Voisin gave the Council Liaison report. 
Public Arts Commission, Gateway Island proposal.  Public input and Commission recommendations on the proposal will happen during this time.
Mr. Skibby opened the discussion by reading a statement from Bill Molnar in regards to the Gateway Island Proposal and what their focus needs to be during this discussion time.
Mr. Skibby asked if there was conflict of interest or ex parte contact.  Ms. Renwick brought to the attention of the Commission that she was selected for the Arts Commission review panel as a modern art historian and went on to say that was she was not appointed as a representative from the Historic Commission. Ms. Renwick stated that she does not believe she has a conflict of interest or financial gain in this project.
Mr. Schexnayder reminded the Historic Commission that unless a Commissioner has financial conflict, they are not required to recuse themselves. Mr. Schexnayder emphasized that if a Commissioner has a pre-disposition likely to affect their objectivity they should disclose it now.
Mr. Skibby opened the discussion for comment from the public regarding “Gather”.
George Kramer of 326 N. Laurel, Ashland, OR addressed the Commission and read his letter to the Historic Commission into record regarding the “Gather” sculpture.  See exhibit A, attached.  Mr. Kramer stated that he opposed the scale of the sculpture and the process by which it was chosen.  He stressed that he does not agree with the Public Arts Commission’s broken process and encourages the Historic Commission to protect the downtown by making a clear and strong statement to City Council. 
David Powell of 875 Beswick Way, Ashland, OR addressed the Commission regarding the “Gather” sculpture. Mr. Powell does not like the scale, massing and location of the sculpture and stated that it does not fit in with what he pictures Ashland to be.  Mr. Powell feels that the City should be promoting the Historic character of the town in such a public place. 
Alice Mallory of 438 Taylor, Ashland OR addressed the Commission regarding the “Gather” sculpture.  Ms. Mallory stated that she represents the thoughts of many citizens of Ashland and would like to ask the City Council to please reconsider the placement of the “Gather” sculpture.  Ms. Mallory feels that this large, expansive and expensive, contemporary sculpture would best be suited for the grounds of the City Government offices on East Main Street.  A large piece of art like this would complement the Contemporary architectural style of the City offices and could become a symbolic invitation welcoming people to the civic center, the “gathering place” of our local government.  This location would provide a home for the “Gather” sculpture, in harmony with its theme and its size while expanding Ashland’s reputation as an art community beyond the downtown periphery.  The Historic core should be preserved as an area apart from the contemporary and urban areas of town.  She is one of many that would like to see a vigorous recruitment of artists from the Rogue Valley.  She asks that the City Council slow the pace of this process and plan a public listening meeting so that all voices may be heard. 
Mr. Skibby closed public input and opened to the Commissioners for comments regarding “Gather”. 
Mr. Giordano stated that he was impressed with the public comment and could not add more to what was said.
Ms. Kencairn remarked that an attack on the Public Arts Commission is inappropriate. 

Ms. Renwick agreed and stated that having been a part of the process, the Public Art Commission was in no way, any of the things mentioned in George Kramer's letter.  They were rigorous in their selections and the issue about local artists is that they are, for the most part, not capable of handling an installation of this scale.  She emphasized that locals do not pay the Transient Occupancy Tax (Hotels/Motels) which paid for the “Gather” sculpture. She stressed that according to the City website it is not the job of the Public Art Commission to bring art to the Historic Commission nor is it the Historic Commission’s job to comment on it.  Ms. Renwick went on to say that an ADHOC committee with both Historic and Public Arts representative’s should be formed to change the flawed process.  As a member of the Public Arts Commission selection committee, each member had to write a letter to the City Council.  Ms. Renwick read aloud her letter addressed to the City Council stating she is in favor of the sculpture. 
There was some discussion by the Commission on the size, scale and measurements of the “Gather” sculpture. 
Ms. Renwick read aloud the charters of both the Ashland Historic Commission and the Public Arts Commission.  Ms. Renwick stated that the descriptions are vague but the point is that we need to address the process.  She went on to say that the “Gather” piece has been chosen and that the Historic Commission has known about this for at least 3 years. Ms. Renwick declared that the process going forward needs to be addressed.
Ms. Voisin impressed upon the importance that the Historic Commission make some recommendations to the City Council on location, placement, size and materials of the “Gather” sculpture. 
Ms. Kencairn thinks the “Gather” sculpture is appropriate but says the process is flawed. 
Mr. Emery thinks the “Gather” sculpture is appropriate but says the process is flawed.
Mr. Skibby thinks the art is inappropriate for the area. He stated that it would be more suitable in another location.  He commented that it competes with the surroundings and is not compatible with the Historic District.  
Mr. Kramer interrupted the Commission review and stated that the fact that Ms. Renwick is testifying for the Public Arts Commission when she is a Commissioner on the Historic Commission is totally inappropriate. Mr. Kramer requested a rebuttal once the Commission is done with their comments.  Mr. Skibby allowed rebuttal.
Mr. Shostrom is most concerned about the process. He added that the “Gather” sculpture is out of scale and character for the area.
Mr. Giordano stated that art is very subjective and knows there are specific things they are supposed to comment on but is unable to comment because, in his opinion, the artist made “Gather” for that location.  He agrees that the process is flawed. 
Mr. Ladygo added that he too feels the process is flawed. He went on to say that someone from both the Public Arts Commission and the Historic Commission needs to represent at the Commission meetings.  Mr. Ladygo stated that, of the 3 finalists, “Gather” was the most appropriate for the location.  Mr. Ladygo is unsure that anything better could have resulted from the process that was in place at the time.
Mr. Swink was absent from the meeting but submitted a letter to the Historic Commission in regards to the “Gather” sculpture.  Ms. Trapp noted this letter for the record.  See attached exhibit B.
Mr. Skibby allowed rebuttal time from the public.
Mr. Kramer referenced the duties and responsibilities of the Historic and Arts Commission charter in section 18 which lays out the responsibilities of design review.  He declared that the Historic Commission needs to treat this as though the Public Arts Commission was any other applicant.  He pointed out that the “Gather” sculpture was made to be a landmark and that this landmark will impede the view of the Ashland Springs Hotel “by design”.  Mr. Kramer went on to say that that the Public Arts Commission did not consider these issues when they wrote the criteria for the RFP.  He stressed that the Historic Commission should not allow a failed process to create an incompatible product that will take over a major part of the Downtown area. 
Ms. Mallory mentioned that she was a tourist in Ashland for many years and was brought here by Ashland’s unique character.  She noted that tourist’s pay for the art but are not asked what they would like to see in Ashland.   She went on to say that the residents of Ashland need to be made aware of these projects and that the Commissions need to do a better job of getting the word out.  She pointed out that there are voices out there that would like to be heard and would appreciate being notified about public input sessions. 
Mr. Powell was surprised that the downtown art project would not be reviewed by the Historic Commission and that all future projects in this area should go through their review. 
Mr. Schexnayder gave the Historic Commission direction on what needed to be done to send a clear message to the City Council.
After review the Historic Commission was unanimous in their opinion that the process used to select public artwork is flawed. Furthermore, they believe that any Public Arts Commission project proposed to be located within Ashland’s Nationally Registered Historic District should require a recommendation by the Historic Commission to the City Council. In this instance, they find that the Public Arts Commission Master Plan and the Gateway Island Project RFP are inconsistent. In regards to the artwork selected by the Public Arts Commission for the Gateway Island Project the Historic Commission’s opinion was divided. The following is a tally of votes in favor and against four aspects of the project that affect historic compatibility:
Location and Placement – 4 in favor vs. 3 against
Scale and Massing – 4 in favor vs. 3 against
Materials – 4 in favor vs. 3 against
Overall Process used for Selection of the Artwork – 0 in favor vs. 7 against
It should be noted that Mr. Giordano abstained from the voting.
PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2015-01517               
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  209 Oak St., 221 Oak St., 225 Oak St. and 11 B St.
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Spartan Ashland Natalie Real Estate, LLC
AGENTS:  Kistler, Small & White, Architects      
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Outline Plan, Final Plan and Site Design Review approvals for the properties at 209 Oak Street, 221 Oak Street, 225 Oak Street and 11 B Street.  The proposal includes the renovation of two existing, historic homes; the construction of six townhouses along B Street; and the construction a new, detached residential cottage.  Also included are requests for a Variance to allow a 15-foot wide, one-way driveway where a 20-foot driveway width would typically be required; two Conditional Use Permits to allow a 25 percent increase in the Maximum Permitted Floor Area, and to allow a commercial use within an existing, historic residential building; and an Exception to the Street Standards to allow a curbside sidewalk along B Street where a planting strip would typically be required between the curb and sidewalk.    COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09BB; TAX LOTS: 15600, 15700, 15900 and 16000  
Mr. Schexnayder gave the staff report on PA-2015-01517
Mr. Skibby opened the public hearing to the applicant. 
Ray Kistler of Kistler, Small, White addressed the Commission in regards to the final plan for a type two site review for the renovation of the two historic houses, construction of six townhouses and a residential cottage.
Leslie Gore of Kistler, Small, White, elaborated on the concerns and issues, brought up at the October Historic Commission meeting. 
Mr. Skibby closed the public hearing and opened to the Commission. 
Mr. Giordano motioned to approve PA-2015-01517 with below conditions and recommendations.  Mr. Ladygo seconded.  No one opposed.
The Historic Commission recommends approving the application as submitted subject to the specific recommendations below:
1.      The Historic Commission recommends composition shingle roofs for the Mickelson-Chapman House and Smith-Elliot House because this treatment is historically compatible. Metal roof is appropriate for the new cottage.
2.      The Historic Commission would prefer the Mickelson-Chapman House remain a residential use because this house is a historical residence.
3.      The Historic Commission recommends that the porch and dormers be restored and that siding be replaced in kind where necessary.
4.      The Historic Commission supports the Exception to Street Standards to allow the continuation of the existing curbside sidewalk pattern established with the Winston Building at the corner of Water and B Streets because this design would allow for larger porches and retains the historic location of the sidewalk.
    Review board schedule
    Project assignments for planning actions
    Email from David Sherr.  Mr. Skibby requested that this be tabled until the next meeting.
  There were no items to discuss.
                   Review Board Schedule
November 12th Terry, Kerry, Bill
November 19th Terry, Sam, Tom
November 25th (Weds) Terry, Allison, Andrew
December 3rd Terry, Sam, Keith
                       Project Assignments for Planning Actions  
PA-2014-01956 Lithia & First All
PA-2014-00710/711 143/135 Nutley Swink & Whitford
PA-2014-01283 172 Skidmore Shostrom
PA-2014-00251 30 S. First St Whitford
BD-2013-00813 374 Hargadine Swink
PA-2013-01828 310 Oak St. (Thompson) Shostrom
PA-2014-02206 485 A Street Renwick
PA-2015-00178 156 Van Ness Ave Kencairn
PA -2015-00374 160 Lithia Way Emery
PA-2015-00541 345 Lithia Way Giordano & Renwick
PA-2015-00493 37 N. Main Skibby
PA-2015-00878 35 S. Pioneer Ladygo
PA-2015-01163 868 A’ Street Kencairn
PA-2015-00980 637 B’ Street Shostrom
PA-2015-00797 266 Third Ladygo
PA-2015-01115 34 S. Pioneer Ladygo
PA-2015-01496 35 S. Second-Winchester Inn Shostrom
PA-2015-01512 198 Hillcrest Swink
PA-2015-01695           399 Beach Skibby
PA-2015-01769           860 C Renwick
PA-2015-01517 209 Oak Shostrom
Next meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2015 at 6:00 pm.
There being no other items to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 8:25pm
Respectfully submitted by Regan Trapp

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