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Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Agenda
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
MINUTES
November 14, 2017
 
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
 
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson   
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant



 
     
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
 
 
  Dennis Slattery, absent
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the City Council passed first reading of the cottage housing ordinance at their November 7, 2017, meeting.   Second reading would occur November 21, 2017.  The Planning Commission annual update to City Council was scheduled for December 5, 2017.  The Planning Commission’s meeting for December 26, 2017, was canceled.  There would be a Study Session November 28, 2017. 
 
AD-HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES
  1. 1.  October 10, 2017 Regular Meeting.
2.  October 24, 2017 Study Session.
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the minutes of the October 10, 2017, meeting.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Chair Pearce abstained.  Motion passed 6-0.
 
Commissioner Norton addressed the October 24, 2017 minutes.  It showed him in attendance when he was absent.
 
Commissioner Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes of the October 24, 2017 meeting as amended.  Commissioner Norton abstained.  Motion passed 6-0.
 
PUBLIC FORUM - None
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2017-00406, 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard.
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained Condition 8(b) under Section 3. Decision requested clear property lines along the subject property’s south boundary.
 
The Commission declared no ex parte regarding the matter.  Chair Pearce would abstain from the vote.
 
Commissioners Mindlin/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2017-00406, 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 6-0.   Chair Pearce abstained.  
 
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
  1. PLANNING ACTION APPEALPA-2017-00978 SUBJECT PROPERTY:  232 Nutley                 
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Leah K. Henigson Trust (Leah K Henigson, trustee)
DESCRIPTION:  A request for a Site Design Review to construct an approximately 999 square foot Accessory Residential Unit for the property located at 232 Nutley Street.  The application also includes a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the expansion of an existing non-conforming development. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  Rural Residential; ZONING: RR-.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E08AD; TAX LOT: 8000
Chair Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
 
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Mindlin, Norton, and Thompson declared one site visit, no ex parte.  Commission Miller declared two site visits and one ex parte.  She encountered one of the neighbors who explained they had written a letter and proceeded to share the contents with Commissioner Miller.  She did not think it would create any bias in her decision.  Commissioner Dawkins disclosed he had grown up in the area and knew it well.  He declared two site visits and ran into one of the appellants during a work party.  They did not discuss the matter.  Commissioner Brown declared no new site visits and no ex parte.  Chair Pearce visited the site November 13, 2017, and ran into Ms. Henigson.  He introduced himself and neither discussed the matter.  He also talked to Ms. Henigson and both attorneys regarding procedural matters for the meeting earlier in the day.
 
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the property was west of the Nutley Street and Alnutt Street intersection.  An unpaved driveway extended through from Nutley Street to Alnutt Street.  At the bottom of the property was a 256 square foot (sq. ft.) accessory building described as a barn. 
 
This was a de novo appeal of staff’s approval of a request for Site Design Review to construct a 999 sq. ft. accessory residential unit (ARU).  The application included a request for a conditional use permit (CUP) to expand an existing non-conforming development.  The proposal would demolish the existing 256 sq. ft. barn to construct a 999 sq. ft. ARU with utilities extended and three new parking spaces added.  They would install one standard and one compact parking space at the entrance to the driveway in front of the house.  The ARU would have a 30x25 or 750 sq. ft. footprint in lieu of the current 256 sq. ft. footprint.
 
The property was zoned RR-.5.  ARU’s required a Site Design Review approval and had to address pertaining criteria in addition to criteria for an ARU in the RR zone.  In addition to the standards in Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) subsection 18.2.3.040 (A), ARUs in the RR zone had to meet the following requirements:
  1. If the accessory residential unit is not part of the primary dwelling, all construction and land disturbance associated with the accessory residential unit shall occur on lands with less than 25% slope.
  2. The lot on which the accessory residential unit is located shall have access to an improved city street, paved to a minimum of 20-feet in width, with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.
  3. No on-street parking credits shall be allowed for accessory residential units.
  4. If located in the Wildfire zone, the accessory residential unit shall have a residential sprinkler system installed.
 
Existing nonconformities – AMC 18.6.1 Nonconforming Development & 18.1.4 Nonconforming Situations:
  • Street not fully improved to city standards.  (Paved width of Nutley is approximately 17½ feet at frontage; Alnutt is one-way and approximately 12 feet in width.)
  • The lot area is less than the minimum for the zone.  RR-.5 zone requires a ½-acre minimum lot size (i.e. 21,780 square feet); subject property is 0.29 acres (12,632 square feet).
  • Existing lot coverage exceeds the maximum allowed.  The existing coverage was approximately 33% where 20% was the maximum for the zone.  The application noted 38% existing coverage.
  • Existing driveway is over 50 feet in length and does not meet flag drive standards.  A flag drive serving one lot required 12-feet of paving centered in a 15-foot clear width.  The existing driveway was approximately nine-feet wide and not paved. 
  • The site was less than the minimum for the zone.  Where the property in the RR-.5 required a minimum half acre lot size, the subject property was .29 acres or 12,632 sq. ft.
  • NOTE: The existing barn complied with the setback & height regulations of the zoning district.
Lot Coverage - Current
  • House:   1,612 sq. ft.
  • Paved Driveway/Parking:   290 sq. ft.
  • Barn:      256 sq. ft.
  • Total:      2,158 that was within the 20% allowance for the zoning district.
  • Permits were issued in 2003 & 2004 to allow 577 sq. ft. and 72 sq. ft. of new coverage.
Lot Coverage – Questionable Areas
  • Decks:  647 sq. ft. – in 2003 and 2004 decks with surfaces that allowed water to flow through were not included in coverage.  The code changed in 2014 and now included decks in the coverage.
  • Driveway:  1,350 sq. ft. – in 2003 and 2004 the code spoke to paved driveways counting towards coverage.  It was not clear the driveway was counted beyond the paved portion.  The code changed in 2014 and now included unpaved driveways and parking spaces in the coverage.
  • Playhouse:  unknown
  • Decks & unpaved driveways are clearly included as coverage in the ULUO as of 2014.  Previously, decks that allowed water to flow through the surface were excluded from coverage and coverage was defined to include “paved driveways.”    
  • Existing 33% Coverage:  4,155 sq. ft.
  • Allowed 20% Coverage:  2,526 sq. ft.
Lot Coverage - Proposed                
  • Added 3 Parking Spaces:  + 452 sq. ft.
  • Proposed ARU:  + 558 sq. ft.
  • Proposed Deck:  + 380 sq. ft.
  • New Coverage:  + 1,390 sq. ft. of coverage
  • Proposed 44% Coverage: 5,545 sq. ft. of coverage
 
Regarding street frontage not meeting current standards, staff looked at that in terms of the local improvement district (LID) process that occurred in the early 2000s for Strawberry Lane.  AMC 18.4.6.040.J Publicly Funded Street Improvements granted an exemption to street standards as part of that LID process.  It specifically spoke of allowing street improvements constructed through a public funded project to be permitted to reduce required curb-to-curb width.  It required approval from the Planning, Engineering, Police, and Fire Departments.  Through the LID process, the street width would have been reviewed and determined sufficient.
 
The application was processed with a CUP process to address the non-conforming situations in AMC 18.1.4.040 Non-Conforming Development.  The application was treated as a non-conforming development.  The structure met the setback and height requirements.  The coverage on the site, the deck, and driveway were driving the non-conforming development not meeting the standards.  The code stated a non-conforming development could be enlarged or altered subject to the approval of a CUP and approval of required building permits.  The planning action did not need to be required for exempt alterations.  Because it was expanding a non-conformity in coverage, it was not exempt so it was processed as a CUP.
 
The hillside ordinance regulated development as defined in the code on properties in the hillside overlay and portions of the property that have slopes greater than 25% being disturbed to trigger a hillside development permit.  In this case, during the pre-application process, staff went to the property, measured the slopes and reviewed GIS data.  Both had it close to 25%.  They instructed the applicant to get an analysis from a surveyor of the area being disturbed.  The analysis was included in the application as less than 25%.  Additional information was included in the November packet from the surveyor that discussed the methodology used.
 
The appellant’s material spoke to slope in terms of natural slope or averaging slope across property lines.  The code was not clear on how slope was calculated.  In this case, the applicant did not have a full analysis because the slope was not over 25%.  The standards for RR-.5, prohibited ARUs on a slope over 25%.  If it were over 25%, they would look into a variance.
 
For tree removal, the subject property was single-family residentially zoned and exempt from tree removal provided it was not disturbing something in a water resource protection zone or on a sloped area.  Staff included a condition requiring a tree protection plan prepared by an arborist with the building permit submittals.
 
The appellant’s also had concerns regarding setback compliance.  The deck had a corner that projected over the single story 10-foot setback.  Staff included a condition on the original approval that the building had to meet setbacks.  The building permit would address modifying the deck to comply with the setback.
 
Staff recommended the Planning Commission deny the appeal and uphold the staff decision.
 
Questions of Staff
Mr. Severson confirmed all prior building permits were from the same homeowner.  Recreational space included the deck area.  The applicant was willing to share the deck between the two units. 
 
There were driveway concerns from an adjacent neighbor. The applicants and neighbor’s driveways would come together in the right of way and not on private property.  The driveway and parking space were narrow.  The driveway standard was 12-feet wide.  Having the applicant modify the driveway would trigger more site disturbance.  It could be paved to the 9-foot width without modifying lot coverage.  If they paved it to the 12-foot standard, it would add more coverage and require an application.
 
The surveyor report called out a single data point for the 24.4% slope but they were actually delineating the footprint of the building proposed.  Materials submitted in the November packet indicated the surveyor took 173 reading points in the area on the ground to determine the overall slope of the area. It was the area of disturbance for the footprint.  Another data point showed 19.6% to the other side of the structure.  The surveyor needed to verify that percentage.
 
The project did not include grading or drainage plans.  Although the disturbances increased coverage, it was limited to the expansion of footprint.  The applicant would provide that information to building and engineering at the time of the building permit.  The disturbance proposed was not at a level requiring those specific plans.
 
Soil disturbance would occur in the footprint for basement construction. It was shown as not habitable but had a bathroom with no heat.  As conditioned, it would be storage space and the applicant’s would remove the bathroom.   The applicant would fully demolish the barn but might use some of the materials for the ARU.  Staff did not have a clear detail on excavation outside the footprint.
 
Applicant’s Presentation  
Amy Gunter/Rogue Planning Development Services/1424 South Ivy/Medford, OR/Explained there was adequate information within the record to uphold the Planning Division’s decision to approve the ARU proposed at 232 Nutley Street.  The staff reports laid out the issues and the basis for the decision, the appeal, and provided substantial Findings related to each of the items addressed by the appellants.
 
The proposed structure exceeded the required 6-foot side yard setbacks.  Other than the small deck encroachment area, it complied with the rear yard setbacks.  Structure orientation did not dictate setbacks.  Setbacks were designated by property lines.
 
The structure was designed similarly to one and a half stories where the upper floor did not exceed more than 50% of the floor below.  The walls of the upper floor were approximately 3-feet which was the amount of exposed wall area on second floors of half stories.  Not more than half of the floor area below and not more than 3-feet of exposure around the sides.  The structure was in compliance.  Based on the applicant’s measurements, the proposed structure was four feet taller than the existing barn.  The overall height was roughly the same except for the piece that popped up at the bedroom.
 
Regarding structure and disturbance, there was an existing below-grade room in the barn.  It was approximately 8.5 x 16.  That was where they would put the basement in the ARU.  It would be approximately the same depth just wider with a 6.2-foot ceiling height.  Excavation would not go down any further than where the existing disturbance was for the below-grade room.
 
The footprint of the barn was 256 sq. ft.  There was a small lean-to structure on it that was not included.  The area would be replaced with a 774 sq. ft. footprint for the ARU.  The barn was 400 sq. ft. and would be replaced with a 999 sq. ft. for the ARU.
 
The building designer took the measurements and determined the structure was 2,035 sq. ft.  They measured again and came up with a slightly lower number.  There was a 9 sq. ft. difference.  It would be easy to bring the structure into compliance without major modifications.  Removing the bump-out would bring the structure below 975 sq. ft.
 
There was a communication issue about when the additions were made.  Ms. Gunter clarified Ms. Henigson made the additions that increased the lot coverage that brought it to a non-conforming level that was approved through building permits.
 
There was not a lean-to structure next to applicant’s home.  This was an area Ms. Henigson stored items under the eaves of the house.  The playhouse could be removed. 
 
Stephan Barott from Stephan Barott Land Surveying surveyed the land and did 173 data points on the property.  The average slope area of the building ranged from 24.4% on one side of the footprint and 19.6% on the other side.  Mr. Barott ground-truthed the land to determine the actual slope of the property.  Because the slope was less than 25%, the hillside ordinance was not applicable.  One of the appellants’ hired Polaris Land Survey who provided LiDAR data on the property.  It was her understanding a ground survey was more accurate than LiDAR or GIS data.  They believed that was the reason why none of the requirements for the physical environmental constraints review were submitted.
 
The property had access to improved city streets.  The code did not differentiate width, it only indicated paved.  The definition of paving included all of the infrastructure for the street, curb, gutter, sidewalks.  The roads were improved to city standards at the time. 
 
Parking was currently tandem parking in the driveway with another space adjacent to the barn.  The proposed parking spaces would eliminate parking on the driveway.  Two parking spaces for the main house would be there as well.
 
An interior fire suppression system would be required in the ARU.  The Ashland Fire Department provided comment on the pre-application and did not indicate fire suppression issues.
 
The proposed level of detail was consistent with ARU applications.  Detailed landscape plans were not necessarily required because they were often beyond the scope of the proposal.  The subject property had natural vegetation and no landscaping. The file contained a discussion on what would be planted in areas of disturbance and when.  Erosion control plans were triggered on larger parcels or when subject to physical environmental constraints.  This parcel was not very large and the areas of disturbance were under 25%.  A grading plan was not submitted.
 
There was recreation space on the property.  Between the decks was a yard area to the side of the existing single-family home that was flat and usable.  It was less than one-tenth of a mile to the Talent Irrigation District ditch trail and Hald Strawberry Park.  It was half a mile from Lithia Park.
 
The ARU, conditional use permit and the variance request were in substantial conformance with the standards and could comply with the imposition of conditions of approval.   The Rogue Valley was in the midst of a rental crisis.  The City was actively seeking to modify the code to allow for additional dwelling units.  The Housing and Human Services Commission recommended making ARUs an outright permitted use.  It allowed a property owner to downsize their home and not have to leave the area. 
 
Questions of the Applicant - None
 
Appellant’s Presentation
Chris Hearn/515 East Main Street/Represented Patricia Zoline in the appeal.  Her lot was west of the subject property on a steep hillside.  He referenced minutes from 2001 that highlighted the debate on allowing ARUs in the RR zones and whether it was appropriate on hillside slopes and in wildfire areas.  Issues with ARU size included:
  • 500 sq. ft. ARU does provides affordable housing rental.
  • 1,000 sq. ft. ARU provides market-rate rental housing that will be a more expensive rental than a smaller unit.
  • It the applicant moves into the ARU and puts the primary residence on the rental market, it would not affect the affordable rental market. 
 
Neighbors had several issues with the application and Mr. Hearn wanted to focus on lot coverage and the maximum slope issues.  Lot coverage issues included: 
  • Site Design & Use Standards must comply with lot coverage provisions of the zone (20%) 18.5.2.050.A.
  • ARUs shall comply with overall maximum lot coverage requirements of the zone (20%), 18.2.3.040.A.4.
  • CUP in the RR Zone:  Criteria to be considered in light of residential use developed at zone density, 18.5.4.050.A.5.a.
  • Zoning RR-.5 = .50 acres (21,780 sq. ft.)
  • 232 Nutley Lot Size = .20 acres (12, 632 sq. ft.)
  • Max Permitted Lot Coverage:  20%
  • Lot Coverage in 1993:  22%
  • Lot coverage after 2003 Expansion:  34%
  • Lot Coverage after 2017 Expansion:  43%
 
Mr. Hearn had an expert that would debate the slope was 24.4%.  For lot coverage, they had estimated 43% and staff’s estimate was 42%.  It was over double the maximum lot coverage allowed.  The lot coverage in the 1990s was 22% and after Ms. Henigson’s expansion, it was 34% and with this application, it would be 43%.
 
There was a discrepancy on the square footage of the house between the Jackson County Assessor’s office and what the applicant indicated. For the adjacent properties, lot coverage ranged from 9% to 25% for an average of 15%.  The subject property would be much higher than the average.  The decks were not originally counted as lot coverage.  Under the old code, driveways were not counted but currently were under the new code.   The property consisted of the original house, the lean-to area, the playhouse, and the barn.  The prior remodel was nonconforming and not legal according to the code at the time.  They thought the lot coverage at that time was 22% or more. 
 
Mr. Hearn explained the disturbance area around the new ARU would be more than what the applicant stated.  Any site disturbance to properties and soils over 25% slope meant it was a “dead” project and would not happen without a variance.   They thought reasonable site disturbance would exceed the actual footprint of the ARU especially with the excavation and the basement.  The plan provided November 7, 2017, still showed a bathroom in the basement.  They were predicting substantial site disturbance outside the footprint area of the ARU.
 
Limiting the ARU to 500 sq. ft. made it much more affordable and was recommended by staff.  He thought the applicant was reaching beyond what was reasonable or conservative.
 
Deborah Vincent/PO Box 4606/Medford, OR 97501/Represented Greg and Allison Koenig in the appeal.  She addressed the supplemental letter written by the applicant November 7, 2017.  She clarified Greg and Allison Koenig lived in Ashland full time.  Mr. Koenig worked in the area and Ms. Koenig was retired from Rogue Community College.  Both served the community as volunteers.
 
In 2012, Ms. Henigson had a pre-application conference with City staff for the same ARU.  The City’s written comments at that time were the slope of the subject property was greater than 25% and staff required a slope analysis. They also stated the applicant would have difficulty meeting a few of the standards including the width of Nutley Street that was less than the 20-foot minimum required.  Ms. Vincent questioned how five years ago the application was not going to make it to approval and now the slope analysis was not required and the slope was less than 25%.
 
Robin Warren/Geotechnical Engineering & Geologic Consulting LLC/1314 B Center Drive/Medford, OR 97501/Addressed the slope and explained the map provided by the applicant’s surveyor showed elevations at a 10-foot difference over a 30-foot distance.  Based on their survey data, there was a 33% slope.  The soil was highly erosive.  When it was disturbed, it was difficult to plant.  The other issue was retaining walls for the basement.  The footing for the retaining wall was outside the footprint.  The footprint for the excavation would be substantially bigger than the structure being built. 
 
Shawn Kampmann/Polaris Land Surveying LLC/151 Clear Creek Drive/Reviewed the data on the slope and compared it to LiDAR data he collected.  He distributed a document on LiDAR standards.  It was based on the LiDAR Consortium of Oregon.  The accuracy was .3 feet.  National accuracy standards for the slopes was based on half of a contour interval.  One-foot contour maps would have an accuracy of plus or minus half a foot.  LiDAR was based on millions of laser points that were high density for the accuracy.  He prepared a slope analysis map with the GIS data based on Mr. Barott’s map.  Mr. Kampmann drew cross sections.  The north cross-section showed a 28.5% slope.  The south cross section indicated a 32% slope.  When he compared his map to Mr. Barott’s survey map, he came up with similar slope but still over 25%.  He was not allowed to field or ground-truth his LiDAR data. It matched Mr. Barott’s survey as far as contour slope between contours.
 
Ms. Vincent stated based on all the reasons the Commission had heard from the experts and attorney’s arguments, she requested the Commission remand the application back to staff and require the applicant provide evidence that she met all of the criteria.  She had not met the criteria and staff had not required her to meet the criteria.  The hillside land part and environmental constraints mapping requirements had to be met on this type of soil, on the hillside.  The entire slope had to be considered.  She requested to keep the record open so they could address the testimony in writing.
 
Questions of the Appellant
Commissioner Brown wanted clarification on whether the entire slope needed to be considered or just the excavation area.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Commission only had to look at the area going to be excavated.  His understanding of the appellant’s experts was when considering areas outside the building envelope, there was a need to grade to construct the larger structure, that it would hit areas greater than 25%.
 
Mr. Kampmann clarified he calculated the slopes between the east side of the existing building and just barely beyond the back of the proposed building.  The slope analysis showed that most of the slope area was over 25%.  He used the maps provided in the record.  He added color-coded LiDAR data depicting areas at 25% to 35%, one over 35% and another under 25%.  Without seeing the 173 points Mr. Barott referenced, or being able to ground-truth the land, it was difficult to determine the calculation discrepancy he was getting.  If the building area was under 25%, the slopes would be very steep outside of the envelope.
 
Mr. Molnar confirmed the existing cut behind the barn was not included in the slope since it was past the building footprint.  Mr. Kampmann explained the LiDAR map was within 1% of Mr. Barott’s land survey map.
 
Mr. Hearn admitted not requiring a Type I Conditional Use Permit instead of Type II was harmless.  He did not think a permit was issued for the lean-to structure.  The Jackson County Assessor’s office indicated the square footage for the additions and deck were different from the permit history.  The appellants were trying to demonstrate that in order for it to be a nonconforming use, it had to have been legal at the time it was created.  If there were not permits that reflected the actual square footage of the structure being built, then potentially it was not a legal nonconforming use.
 
The City should require a variance and not a CUP under the facts in this case.  Mr. Hearn explained there was a discussion of Ms. Henigson applying for a variance in the early staff memos years before.   The application did request a variance on the final page.  Staff responded in February 2017 that following discussions with the Community Development Director, it could be handled as a CUP instead of a variance.  Changes to the code in 2015 allowed that alternative procedure under certain circumstances.
 
One of the criteria in the CUP was the impact to the adjoining properties.  Mr. Hearn responded it was a livability issue for the neighbors and noise.  Ms. Vincent read from AMC 18.5.4.050 Approval Criteria (A)(1) and (A)(3). Neighbors were concerned about the steepness, traffic, and a large tree by the driveway that would be retained.  Erosion, dust, and drainage of granitic soils currently occurring would worsen with construction.  Other concerns were tree removal.
 
Public Testimony  
Robert Heilbroner/2664 Anderson Creek Road/Talent, OR/Explained he was a friend of Ms. Henigson’s and referred to a letter he submitted into the record.  This had a lot to say about the kind of community Ashland wanted to be.  Remaining affordable, livable, and a mixed community was important and endangered by some of the economic developments.  Having a livable community had to involve poor people, the working poor, professionals, not just wealthy people.  Ms. Henigson was the type of person Ashland needed to keep and provided her history.  On most points, the law consisted of technical issues and not the spirit of the law.  Ms. Henigson had put in a lot of time and money for this project and had done so in a responsible way.  She was ecologically oriented.
 
Amy Munro/570 Nyla Lane/Was also a friend of Ms. Henigson.  She agreed with Mr. Heilbroner’s testimony on the irrelevance of who will live in the ARU.  She thought the idea of traffic issues was ludicrous. She also agreed the opposing side was straining and hoped the Planning Commission would see through that.  She had never seen such contentious behavior as she was witnessing here.  It was a shame.
 
Lisa Odegaard/2664 Anderson Creek Red/Talent, OR/Felt sad for the contentiousness and straining.  She questioned whether it be so bad to have Ms. Henigson build this house.  What would it really be like for these two neighbors?    Ms. Henigson could age in place.  But she did not have a lot of money.    She asked whether the neighbors could see the positive and work in a way that drew everyone together and not look for petty things.
 
Rosa Henigson-Kann/345 Alta Avenue/Explained she was Ms. Henigson’s daughter.  She read from a letter she wrote noting the housing crisis.  It was painful to know how many resources were used to prevent Ms. Henigson from renting her home to a family.  She grew up on Nutley Street and it was the community of Ashland that developed her sense of duty to give back to those less fortunate.  It steered her career in social services.  She shared her experience as a social worker. 
 
William Potts/365 Strawberry Lane/Supported the applicant and proposal.  The structure currently on the site was an eyesore and needed to be removed.  He trusted the City Planning Department and the Planning Commission to do what was right for the community.  As long as the regulations were upheld, he supported the proposal.  He hoped the City and the Commission would not be swayed by people who could afford good counsel and expert testimony. 
 
Christine Abbott Stokes/215 Nutley Street/Agreed with Mr. Potts testimony.  She supported replacing the barn in a way that would serve the applicant and meet the standards.  One of the dangers on the street was how steep it was.  Allowing cars to go through the property to Alnutt Street would avoid the possibility of issues with her driveway. 
 
Rod Farmer/196 Nutley Street/Explained his concerns were not personal with their neighbor and had two issues regarding the proposal.  One was lot coverage.  The lot was narrow and several structures seemed “squeezed” in on the property.  Coverage access allowed for future applications in the same vicinity to be increased by City staff.  The hillside was fragile and needed to be protected from over development.  The 500 sq. ft. proposal from 2012 and the geotechnical evaluations seemed reasonable yet was not included at this time.  The lot disturbance issue was the primary focus for him.    
 
Lyndi Farmer/196 Nutley Street/Reiterated this was not personal.  They would have looked at these issues no matter who was presenting the project.  The Planning Commission’s decision would set a precedent for the neighborhood.
 
Tricia Acheatel/2670 Takelma Way/Commented that everything that needed to be said was said.
 
Susan A Hunt/220 Nutley Street/Lived directly adjacent to 232 Nutley Street and down the slope.  Her property was heavily impacted by the ARU.  It would be a three-story structure looming over her home.  It would increase lot coverage to over 40%.  It was far beyond what should be allowed.  She was concerned about erosion.  The proposal did not come close to meeting the requirements.  It would set a precedent and endanger the neighborhood’s character.
 
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Ms. Gunter explained the slope of the area of disturbance was based on ground-truthing provided by an Oregon licensed surveyor.  Not based on offsite data taken from airplanes and topographical maps.  The rental was not per code affordable but provided an affordable option for the property, the owner, and the neighborhood.  All the additions including the playhouse were permitted.  A neighbor called and had a stop work order placed on the playhouse during construction. 
 
She addressed the slide submitted by the appellant regarding lot coverages.  They did a similar analysis.  On 162 Alnutt Street, the paved driveway was not included in the Jackson County Assessor’s data of the property coverage.  The lot alone as one acre was 1200 sq. ft. over lot coverage if the paved driveway was included.  The precedent for lot coverage over 20% in that neighborhood already existed with the property at 162 Alnutt Street.
 
The variance to roadway width was included in the application.  Ms. Gunter clarified only one tree was proposed for removal and another one that may need removal.  The applicant was trying to preserve as much as possible.
 
Drainage plans were required for building permits.  All new construction was required to be connected to the City’s storm drain system and reduced the amount of runoff.  There were continuous sidewalks throughout the neighborhood.  The square footage discrepancies were minimal and easily remedied through minor modifications.  The unit was not proposed as 500 sq. ft. because there was a 25% difference in cost between a 500 sq. ft. structure and one a 1,000 sq. ft.  It would not be a three-story structure.
 
Chair Pearce discussed keeping the record open with Mr. Severson.  Ms. Vincent withdrew the request to keep the record open.
 
Commissioners Dawkins/Miller m/s to extend the Public Hearing meeting to 10:00 p.m.  Voice Vote.  ALL AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.
 
Deliberations & Decision
ARU Criteria – no disturbance allowed on any areas in slopes over 25%
The Commission addressed the varying surveyor studies and determined there was insufficient information and it needed to be remanded for more work.
 
ARU in the RR zone – does not abut a street with a 20-foot paved width
The City did not need to meet the street design standards when it built the street. However, it did not meet the ARU criteria and required an exception or a variance.  If the proposal progressed, staff would notice a variance and make a decision on the variance.
 
Mr. Molnar explained the street was approved through a LID process and allowed for an exception due to the topographical constraints.  The relative standard was based on an ARU in a Rural Residential zone that required a 12-foot wide paved surface that did not comply with the subject property.  He suggested re-noticing with a variance. State statute allowed the Planning Commission to grant requests to keep the record open two ways.  The Commission could extend the timeline or continue the proceeding to another date.  It would involve extending the 120-day rule.  He thought the latter applied better to the current situation.  He suggested reopening the hearing to find out if the applicant was willing for a continuance and grant an extension for the 120 days.  If the applicant was not willing, the Commission needed to make a decision.
 
Application Criteria
The CUP and site design submittals were incomplete.  The CUP required building location, landscaping, and a map of natural features.  The Commission needed more information on landscaping and natural features on the site. 
 
Hillside Lands Permit
The Commission needed to know the land disturbance and the limits of construction.  Chair Pearce confirmed that Nutley Street would be the front yard and not Alnutt Street.
 
Driveway Issues
AMC 18.5.2.050 Approval Criteria required paved access to and throughout the property.  An exception was possible. 
Mr. Severson explained the Commission could interpret that two ways.  One, paving the driveway was a requirement or two, not paving was one of the nonconformities covered under the CUP.  One of the nonconformities was the driveway was not to standards in terms of paving or width.  Looking at the modifications the applicant was making, staff considered it a CUP instead of requiring them to come up to standard.
 
An exception was possible.  The applicant had to meet the flag lot standard.  Since they did not, it would be an exception.  Mr. Molnar thought it could be handled in the CUP because the pavement requirement was triggered by the length of the driveway and not the number of units.  Since it was a driveway greater than 50-feet by definition it was required to meet flag drive standards.  Paving was in the flag drive standards.  Mr. Severson added staff had considered making it existing and nonconforming because it was a 9-foot wide unpaved drive.
 
Chair Pearce noted it was now two dwelling units.  AMC 18.4.3.080(D)(1) Driveways and Turn-Around Design stated a driveway serving two units had to be a minimum of 12-feet wide.  Driveways over 50-feet in length had to meet width and design requirements in AMC 18.5.3.060(D).  Commissioner Norton did not think the 9-foot wide driveway would work with a second dwelling unit.  Chair Pearce thought the Commission should review an application and hear a staff report to make an informed decision on the driveway.
 
Parking Issues
Staff did not know parking was 8-feet from the house until this meeting.
 
Conditional Use Permit
Commissioner Mindlin did not think there was anything to discuss regarding the CUP.  The subject property was a residence in a residential zone.  Commissioner Brown addressed the lot coverage.  The Commission did not have to agree to expand it further than it was.  They needed to decide if they wanted to approve a lot that was too small for a coverage that was too large.
 
  • Dawkins/Miller to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.
 
Commissioner Thompson thought the ultimate issue was whether the Commission could approve an expansion of the non-conformity with respect to lot coverage under the CUP process.  Planning staff thought the lot could go to 43% as long as there were Findings under the CUP standards that justified it if they determined the impact of that decision would not have a greater adverse material effect on the livability in the impact area.  There was a possibility it would not be reversed by LUBA and the Commission had the authority to approve the application.  The question was whether the Commission wanted to make that decision.  They were not in the position to make that decision at this meeting because there were so many other problems with the application.  They needed more information.
 
Commissioner Brown had concerns regarding the slope.  There was also a problem with the driveway.  It was 50-feet and regardless of the number of units, it needed to be widened to at least 12-feet, with a 15-foot clear and paved.  Mr. Severson explained the Commission could look at it under the nonconforming of the site that existed now.  However, if the Commission leaned towards paving the driveway, it had to be paved to the flag drive standards or a variance requested.
 
The Commission discussed extending the planning action. Mr. Severson explained the applicants could extend up to 245 days.  They had extended 30 days to date. 
 
Chair Pearce re-opened the record to hear from the applicants.  The applicants were willing to extend the decision period for 120 days.  Chair Pearce closed the record.  The planning action was continued.  Staff would re-notice the hearing when the applicant chose to come back.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:19 p.m.
 
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
 
 
 
 

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