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Planning Commission Mtg

Minutes
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES
NOVEMBER 8, 2016
 
 
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 provided an overview of the upcoming meeting schedule. He stated the commission will hear from the consultants on the Transit Triangle Infill Strategy project at their November study session and this item will go before the council on December 19. He stated there will be a public hearing at their December meeting, however the December study session may be cancelled.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
  1. Approval of Minutes.
  1. October 11, 2016 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Highway 99/Spoke to the commission regarding climate change.  
 
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2016-01504
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  1098 B Street
OWNER/APPLICANT:  RNN Properties, LLC     
DESCRIPTION:  The Planning Commission will consider an appeal of staff’s approval of a request for Site Design Review to allow the re-construction of a second dwelling located on the property at 1098 B Street. The approved application also includes requests for Exception to Street Standards to not install city standard sidewalks, to allow the retention of an existing driveway curb cut on North Mountain Avenue that is closer to the adjacent curb cut than allowed by current codes, and for a Tree Removal Permit to remove a 15˝ -inch Ash tree.  The appeal request focuses on the Exception to Street Standards to not install city standard sidewalks, asserting that the additional square footage proposed should trigger sidewalk improvements. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09AD; TAX LOT #:100.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Thompson, Brown, Norton, Pearce, Dawkins, Miller, and Mindlin declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson explained the property is located on the corner of B St. and Mountain Ave. and the applicants are requesting to expand the existing 672 sq.ft. two bedroom residence to a 2,063 sq.ft. three bedroom unit, and demolish the 504 sq.ft. one bedroom unit and replace it with a 1,785 sq.ft. three bedroom residence. The request also includes an exception to the Street Standards to not install city standard sidewalks, to allow the retention of an existing driveway curb cut on N. Mountain Ave. that is closer to the adjacent curb cut than allowed by current codes, and for a tree removal permit to remove an Ash Tree. Mr. Severson stated this request was approved by staff with a number of conditions of approval; however during the appeal period this action was called up for a public hearing by one of the neighboring property owners who feels the additional square footage should trigger sidewalk improvements.
 
Mr. Severson provided a presentation which included images of the project site, proposed floorplans, elevations, and landscape plans. He explained that while the proposal does not increase density, the increase in square footage and number of bedrooms could be found to be an intensification that would warrant street improvements to at least one of the frontages. He went on to say staff visited the site with Public Works Dept. staff who indicated the city standard sidewalks and parkrows could be installed without impacting the existing utility poles, however in order to install the required ADA ramp at the corner of N. Mountain and B Street a fire hydrant and two utility pedestals will need to be relocated. Further, the Public Works Dept. offered to handle the relocation of the fire hydrant if one of the street frontages is improved to city standards, and if sidewalks are installed on both frontages they will pay up to 50% of the design and construction costs for the ramp. The Public Works Dept. also requested that if only one sidewalk is installed, that it be on the N. Mountain frontage since this is a “Safe Routes to School” corridor.
 
Questions of Staff
Mr. Severson clarified the criteria for approval of an exception to the Street Standards is listed on page 77 of their packet and states: 1) There is demonstrable difficulty in meeting the specific requirements of this chapter due to a unique or unusual aspect of the site or proposed use of the site; 2) The exception will result in equal or superior transportation facilities and connectivity, which for pedestrian facilities is to consider “feeling of safety, quality of experience (i.e., comfort level of walking along roadway), and ability to safety and efficiency crossing roadway;” 3) The exception is the minimum necessary to alleviate the difficulty; and 4) The exception is consistent with the Purpose and Intent of the Street Standards in subsection 18.4.6.040.A.  Staff was asked what the unusual circumstance in this case is. Mr. Severson responded that the site contains utility infrastructure and clarified if either frontage is improved the corner ramp would be required. He added the commission could find that the cost to complete these improvements is not proportional to the impact of the project.
 
Mr. Severson noted the proposed condition regarding the ingress/egress easement and stated staff is recommending approval of the application but upholding the appeal with regard to the sidewalk installation on N. Mountain Ave.
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Amy Gunter/Rogue Planning & Development/Mr. Gunter reviewed the site layout and clarified there is a corner ramp on the opposite side of B Street but it is not an ADA ramp, and clarified the driveway design would allow vehicles to exit in a forward manner. Ms. Gunter stated the proposal does not increase the trip generation figures and it is a stretch to claim the increase in structure size will increase trip generation. She also stated installing city sidewalks and corner ramp would require substantial changes to the property and street and would result in significant engineering and construction costs.
 
Chris Hearn/515 East Main St/Stated the estimates for improving the two street frontages are $16,041 and $3,208; however, the engineering costs will likely be double the construction cost. He stated two homes currently exist on the site and the proposal only increases the size, not the number of units. Mr. Hearn stated this is intended to be rental housing and unrealistic barriers are being put up. He agreed that the city should have connecting sidewalks but stated the conditions should be reasonable and fair based on the impacts of the project and disagreed with putting the full burden of this connection on one applicant. He stated sidewalks would be a benefit to everyone in the neighborhood and the costs should be shared.
 
Questions of the Applicant
Comment was made that the City has a Transportation System Plan (TSP) and it is the responsibility of people purchasing property to be aware of the projects identified in that plan. Mr. Hearn commented that when people purchase property a lot of them are not aware of what the city may require and it is difficult for the average property owner to foresee how this will pan out. Ms. Gunter stated they will be required to pay city system development charges which puts money into the pot to fulfil the goals of the TSP. She stated it is unfair to put this full burden on one person and the money the city has collected for systems development charges should be used to accomplish the improvements most important to the city.
 
Ms. Gunter clarified the applicant agrees to participate in a future local improvement district (LID) and stated this is a more reasonable approach since the other property owners would share in the cost for the neighborhood improvement.
 
Public Testimony
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Stated he is the owner of 1094 and 1096 B Street and used to own this property as well. Mr. Thompson stated the density will be greatly increased with the addition of the proposed bedrooms and this would be a far better project if it included sidewalks. He stated he has previously obtained bids to place sidewalks in front of his properties and would still like to do this in the future. He added if the curb was recessed slightly it would allow for another one or two on-street parking spots. Mr. Thompson explained the easement on this property was added when an alley in this location was vacated in order to facilitate potential future development of his two lots. He stated it is difficult to state the density for this site is not going up and that traffic won’t increase. He requested the applicants be required to install city sidewalks however he urged the city to do the best they could to minimize the costs.
 
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Amy Gunter/Stated the property owner would be willing to do the improvements on the B Street frontage, which includes the ADA ramp on the corner.
 
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked if the city would require the applicants to install a parkrow. Mr. Severson clarified a parkrow is required unless an exception is requested and approved. He added, however, there is no clear standard for parkrow configuration in regards to parking bays.
 
Mr. Severson clarified the pre-application comments provided to the applicant in February 2016 identified the sidewalk and parkrow improvements required by city standards.
 
Commissioner Mindlin closed the record and the public hearing at 8:10 p.m.
 
Discussion and Deliberations
Commissioner Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve of PA-2016-01504 with the additions of requiring a sidewalk and parkrow along N. Mountain Ave., and requiring a sidewalk and perhaps a parkrow on B Street (to be determined by the Public Works Department). Staff will work with the applicant on increasing size of B Street and determine whether a parkrow is necessary at the east end of B Street. DISCUSSION: Dawkins commented that this is a very busy street and stated the city spent a lot of time identifying connectivity projects in the TSP. He noted there are already parkrows along N. Mountain and this pattern should continue, however on B Street he is comfortable with waiving the parkrow requirement so that on-street parking could be provided. Brown stated while he is struggling with the economics it is important to have continuity of the sidewalks through this area. He stated when you develop a property you need to install sidewalks and does not believe they can side step this requirement; however he stated it needs to be equitable and the city should do what they can to mitigate the costs. Norton stated the sidewalk requirement and future costs should have been factored in by the property owner when they purchased this lot and he is in support of the motion. Pearce stated he does not believe the applicants have met the exception standard as there is nothing unusual about this property, however he stated the required improvements should be proportional to the impact of the project. He stated he is supportive of requiring sidewalks on N. Mountain but has a hard time seeing the impact on B Street. Miller stated she is inclined to support sidewalks on B Street, but not N. Mountain and stated she would like to mitigate the costs by making it simpler for the applicants. Thompson voiced her support for the motion. She stated this is a significant development of the site that will triple the size of the living space and agreed with Pearce that the exception standard has not been met. Thompson stated, however, she is struggling with the cost issue and supports the city working with the applicant to alleviate some of the financial burden for the improvements. Mindlin noted that the applicants were informed of the sidewalk requirements during their pre-application conference but voiced concern with the proportionality of what they are requiring. She stated there is some justification that some of it should be put off for a future local improvement district and stated she is interested in entertaining Commissioner Pearce’s proposal.
 
Commissioners Pearce/Miller m/s to amend to the motion to require a sidewalk and parkrow on N. Mountain only. DISCUSSION: Comment was made that the TSP clearly states N. Mountain is a Safe Street corridor and this frontage should be the priority. Thompson noted the cost to improve the B Street frontage is fairly minimal and stated the city has already offered to cover a portion of the costs for the ramp. Dawkins stated he cannot support the amendment and voiced his support for the improvements to be made to both N. Mountain and B Street. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Miller, Pearce, and Mindlin, YES. Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Norton, and Thompson, NO. Motion failed 4-3.
 
Roll Call Vote on original motion: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, and Thompson, YES. Commissioners Pearce and Mindlin, NO. Motion passed 5-2.
 
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2016-01896   
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  601-691 Fair Oaks Avenue
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Ayala Properties, L.L.C./KDA Homes, L.L.C.
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a new 15,456 square foot three-story, mixed-use building to be located on Lot #71 of the Meadowbrook Park II Planned Unit Development (Tax Lot #800) located at 601-631 Fair Oaks Avenue within the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan area. The application also includes a request for Modification of the approved Site Design Review (PA #2016-00617) for a three-story, mixed-use building to be constructed on the adjacent Lot #70 (Tax Lot #700), located at 651-691 Fair Oaks Avenue, in order to modify the building’s exterior design. No changes are proposed to the previously-approved density or parking allocations. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: North Mountain, Neighborhood Central Overlay; ZONING:  NM-C; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04AD TAX LOTS: 700 & 800.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Dawkins, Pearce, and Brown declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
 
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided an overview of the request. He noted the commission has seen the development proposal for this site numerous times and clarified the current request is a modification to the building’s exterior design. Mr. Severson provided a presentation which included images of the site plan, proposed elevations, floorplans, and landscape plans. He stated staff is supportive of the building but recommended the following elements be reviewed to ensure a strong storefront identity: 1) continuous covered walks, 2) storefront window character, and 3) distinct bases for each storefront. Mr. Severson stated the staff report includes recommended conditions of approval to address these three items.
 
Applicant’s Presentation
Mark Knox/Stated they agree with staff’s recommendations with the exception of the seven foot awning depth listed in condition 5(a). Mr. Knox stated he supports pedestrian amenities and historic streetscapes but the fixed 7 ft. figure causes engineering issues and does not work with the property lines. He noted the awnings downtown are 4-5 ft. in depth on average and would like to see some flexibility with this element. He added they may be able to get to 7 ft. with a combination of the awning and recessed bays, but stated the way the condition is worded causes problems.
 
Mark McKechnie/Stated the commission has already approved the building on Lot 70 and they are trying to develop the site so that the buildings look like they were built by different people at different times. He noted the gazebo feature on the corner building has been changed to reflect the features on the building that is being constructed across the street. Mr. McKechnie clarified the awnings depicted on their drawings are 5 ft. He stated there may be some areas where they can install 7 ft. awnings but would like a condition that allows some flexibility.
 
Public Testimony
Ginger Humphrey/593 Plum Ridge/Stated she lives directly behind this lot and requested the road to the garages be a thru-way so that traffic is not funneled by her house.
 
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Mark Knox/Clarified the original proposal is to connect the alley to the parking lot and they still intend to do this.
 
Commissioner Mindlin closed the record and the public hearing at 9:00 p.m.
 
Questions of Staff
Mr. Severson stated if the commission is interested in modifying the awning condition they could modify it to state: “Stronger pedestrian coverings providing a generally continuous coverage of the sidewalk with a minimum cover depth of 5-7 ft. including any cover, awning, etc. as well as recessed areas of the building.”
 
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Brown/Pearce m/s to approve PA-2016-01896 with the modification to Condition 5(a) as stated by staff. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
 
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

 

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