ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
September 11, 2018
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
||Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
|Troy Brown, Jr.
||Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the City Council delayed the Second Reading of the Wildfire Mitigation Ordinance. Council requested additional background regarding interviews with local insurance companies. Council also wanted to know the staff resources needed to implement the ordinance. Testimony on a provision that relaxed hard surface for new construction and the 5-foot non-combustible requirement would be addressed at a different meeting. The Wildfire Ordinance was on the agenda for the City Council meeting September 18, 2018. Council would have a Public Hearing for the Transit Triangle Ordinance September 18, 2018 as well. At the Council’s first Study Session in October, staff would provide an update on the Regional Housing Strategy draft. Southern Oregon University would soon solicit requests for proposal to update their ten-year plan. It will ultimately be adopted as a technical document in the Comprehensive Plan for the University.
AD-HOC COMMITTEE UPDATES - None
1. August 14, 2018 Regular Meeting
- Approval of Minutes
2. August 28, 2018 Study Session
Commissioner Norton made a correction to the minutes for the meeting August 14, 2018. On the bottom of page 3, the discussion following the motion regarding Election of Officers, first sentence should read,
“Commissioner Norton had gone back and looked at the periods other Chairs had served. One had served for three years and all the others had served two years.”
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve the minutes of August 14, 2018 as amended. Commissioner Mindlin abstained. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 4-0.
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve minutes of August 28, 2018. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Spoke to Ashland expending its quality of life due to development, design and climate change.
Louise Shawkat/Ashland/Noted the wildfires had overshadowed the current drought. She distributed a document to the Commission on calculating water usage and submitted cover copies of three books on moving towards renewable energy, sustainable cities, and energy wise homes.
The item was inadvertently left out of the packet and postponed to the next meeting.
- Approval of Findings for PA-T2-2018-00001, 449-459 Russell Street.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. PLANNING ACTION: PA-T1-2018-00011
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 294 Skycrest Drive
APPLICANT/OWNER: Brian Smith & Diane S. Steffey-Smith / Piper Von Chamier for KenCairn Landscape Architecture
APPELLANT: Mary Jane Chilton
DESCRIPTION: The Planning Commission will consider an appeal of the Staff Advisor’s approval of a request for a Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit to construct a 2,760 square-foot residence in Hillside and Severe Constraints Land. This application includes Tree Removal for two trees (one Black Oak and one Madrone) in or near the building footprint, a Variance to surpass the allowed lot coverage because of the existing flag driveway that serves the property to the North, and a Minor Modification to build the garage partly outside of the originally approved building envelope to minimize the driveway length and disturbance. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low-Density Residential; ZONING: RR-.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E05DC; TAX LOT: 2802
Chair Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Mindlin, Dawkins, Norton, and Thompson declared no ex parte and one site visit. Chair Pearce had no ex parte but drove past the site.
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation on 294 Skycrest Drive. Staff had approved the application July 27, 2018 with conditions. He addressed the context and creation of the lot and easement issues raised in the appellant’s original letter.
The Tree Commission recommended approval as presented. The canopy on a large black oak tree had started dying and rot was evident in tree as well. The applicant would plant mitigation trees to replace the lost canopy. The garage would come to the edge of the black oak tree. The setback was originally five feet. The applicant changed it to six-feet in the application.
The appellant, Mary Jane Chilton based her appeal on four issues. Mr. Severson addressed each one:
Land use approvals were not based on building permits and were typically approved prior to issuing a building permit. The appellant might have thought the lot was not legal. Partition Plat #P-48-2006 in Planning Action #2005-01476 was signed by staff May 24, 2006 and recorded by Jackson County.
- The 2018 decision to grant a P&E permit is not valid as it is based on a previous building permit that expired years ago.
In general regulations applied uniformly throughout the city and Variances and Exceptions were allowed. A Variance considered code provisions not accounting for specific or unique physical circumstances of the site irrespective of taxes paid. The approval criteria for a Variance included consideration that the code did not account for special or unique physical circumstances. Lot coverages were set by zoning districts as a percent of the lot size. Individual zoning districts had a minimum lot size requirement.
- Codes require that RR-.5 standards be adhered to by all taxpayers without differential treatment for tax lot size and variances according to taxes assessed and paid by existing neighbors.
The applicant was responsible for maintaining access easements that were in place prior and post construction. Part of the approval required a construction plan for staging and storing materials. The Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) regulated construction noise. Excessive noise would be subject to Code Compliance. Two experts provided geotechnical analyses and recommendations that adequately addressed code requirements and minimized impacts or potential hazards.
- As a neighbor, she will be subjected to the inconvenience of noise and intermittent blockage of our driveway. She was also concerned about the steep embankment to the building site. These and other conditions are cause for anxiety and hence diminish her quality of life.
The appellant’s lot was more than one acre but nearly all undeveloped areas had slopes that exceeded the 35% requirement. It would require an Exception to the Development Standards for Hillside Lands. If Ms. Chilton pursued an Exception, she would receive the same consideration as the applicants of this planning action.
- The appellant also asks that she be granted “the same consideration for Variances that may be required in order for us to create a buildable tax lot that would benefit the city revenue base.”
Staff continued to support the application and recommended the Planning Commission deny the Appeal.
Questions of Staff
Mr. Severson addressed a question in Ms. Chilton’s letter that her access easement would be negatively impacted. With the construction staging plan in place he was not sure how it would adversely affect her. Additionally, he did not know if she had direct access to Grandview Drive.
Another question regarded the criteria in altering the original building envelope. Mr. Severson explained the approval criteria for creating a lot was not supposed to disturb areas that were not considered buildable like a slope more than 35%. An Exception looked at whether that outweighed the impact additional site disturbance and tree removal farther down the lot would have. This was the minor alteration to the original land use action.
The square footage showed 23.4% in one section and 23.7% in another. Staff approved 23.7% at 4,356 square feet (sq. ft.) for the Variance. The minimum coverage was 4,350 sq. ft. for the zone.
Piper Von Chamier/KenCairn Landscape/Spoke to the application. Ms. Von Chamier submitted driveway exhibits into the record. The square footage for the proposed new paving was 1,560 sq. ft. The driveway area required for access was 860 sq. ft. The housing foot print was 2,305 sq. ft. Total increase was 18% minus the 860 sq. ft. There was 150 sq. ft. of miscellaneous pavement that included a small patio. Total square footage minus the 860 sq. ft. of access pavement was 3,315 sq. ft. or 18.1%.
The last exhibit showed Parcels 2, 3, and 4. They were originally one parcel that was separated. At one point, Parcel 4 was created as a gift to the City. If Parcel 4 was divided between Parcel 2 and 3, it would provide sufficient square footage for the lot coverage they were proposing.
The Variance for the lot coverage was the standard procedure for a smaller lot that was under half an acre. They moved the house closer to the existing driveway to minimize the lot coverage by avoiding a longer driveway. They were still over by a small amount.
Questions of the Applicant
Ms. Von Chamier addressed Exhibit E2 of the exhibits submitted into the record. The calculation showed 3,515. It was their understanding they needed to build an additional parking space for a flag lot. The corner of the garage was 50-feet from the street. Kerry KenCairn of KenCairn Landscape further explained they did not need the space. It was part of an earlier application and they thought it was required. It was not part of the existing proposal. Mr. Severson clarified it was paved and used by the neighbor.
Ms. KenCairn addressed the decision to go outside of the original building envelope. The original building envelope was proposed twelve years ago. It would have created more land disturbance. Moving the building would facilitate less alteration of the existing property. Ms. Von Chamier added the farther away it was from the driveway, more of the lot was covered by pavement or building.
Ms. Chilton was not present at the meeting.
Questions of the Appellant - None
Bob Hilton/Ashland/Explained he owned the adjoining property to 294 Skycrest Drive. He originally protested the applicant’s site location because it would have impinged substantially on the use of his downstairs two car garage. The new location would minimize that impact. He no longer opposed the application.
Rebuttal by Applicant - None
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Norton m/s the dismissal of the appeal of the PA-T1-2018-00011 and upholding the original decision from staff. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawkins noted the grade change was part of the reason the Black Oak tree was dead. Commissioner Mindlin was concerned about the change to the building envelope but was willing to let it go since the neighbor no longer had an issue with the location. Commissioner Thompson agreed with Commissioner Mindlin. Chair Pearce’s concern was the contradiction in square footage. Roll Call Vote: Commissioner Norton, Dawkins, Mindlin, Pearce, and Thompson, YES.
Motion passed 5-0.
B. PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2018-00002
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 880 Park Street
OWNER/APPLICANT: Tudor Properties, LLC/Kistler Small + White, LLC
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a 15-unit apartment complex consisting of six apartment buildings, a separate 221 square foot laundry facility and a 30-space parking lot for the property at 880 Park Street. The application includes requests for Exception to the Street Standards to retain the existing asphalt multi-use path along Siskiyou Boulevard and to construct a meandering sidewalk along the subject properties Park Street frontage rather than installing new city standard sidewalks and parkrow planting strips, and for a Tree Removal Permit to remove five trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.)., including two Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), one Modesto Ash (Fraxinus velutina), and two Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) including a multi-trunked cluster with five trunks of diameters ranging from eight- to 14-inches d.b.h. Note: An existing approximately 895 square foot shop building on the southeastern portion of the property would be demolished as part of the proposal. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E39 1E 15AD; TAX LOT: 3402.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Mindlin, Thompson, and Norton declared no ex parte and one site visit. Commissioner Dawkins had no ex parte and no site visit. Chair Pearce declared no exparte but drove past the site often.
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation on the application. The request was for a site design review to construct a 15-unit complex consisting of six apartment buildings, a separate 221 square foot (sq. ft.) laundry facility, and a thirty space parking lot.
There two Exceptions to the Street Standards. One would retain the asphalt multi-use path on Siskiyou Boulevard. The second would construct a meandering sidewalk along the subject property’s Park Street frontage. This would accommodate the replacement of existing power poles instead of installing new city standard sidewalks.
The application would remove seven trees one of which was a Redwood tree with a multi-trunked cluster eight to 14-inches in diameter.
Two story buildings would front Siskiyou Boulevard with a basement by City code creating three levels. Mr. Severson described the location of the buildings, entrances, the recreational area, laundry facility, the trash enclosure and parking lot. The applicants would use a retention pond for storm water with a control structure that would meter stormwater into the ditch along Siskiyou Boulevard.
Units would consist of four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. Each apartment could rent bedrooms individually. Similar to the quads used at Southern Oregon University. City code considered them four-bedroom apartments.
Tree removal was one of four key issues. The Tree Commission considered the application and looked closely at the Redwood tree removal. They did not think it would survive the excavation for the basement and supported removal. A positive gain was increased canopy for the site. The Tree Commission requested less than half the street trees be something other than Raywood Ash. The Raywood Ash tended to tip. The trees also needed to be watered twice a week. Staff would address these conditions in the Findings.
The second issue was the project base density was 14.88 units and the applicant proposed fifteen. It required a 1.46 density bonus. The applicant would address this with additional recreational space.
The third key issue was the multi-use path on Siskiyou Boulevard. The applicants wanted to retain the mutli-use path instead of installing standard frontage improvements. There was a letter from Sue Newberry supporting improving the path and bringing it into line with the standard. Mr. Severson noted there were several cracks in the path but nothing that altered or impaired the asphalt. Staff talked to the Electric Department about installing longer arms for the street light poles. Staff concurred with Ms. Newberry’s letter that meandering sidewalks were not the best treatment for people with strollers or who were visually impaired. If the arms could not be put on the light poles, then curbside sidewalks should be installed.
The fourth issue was the parking lot treatment. Current standards talked about having swales in parking lot medians to reduce microclimatic environmental impacts as well as having some groundwater recharge. The applicants would use permeable concrete and the detention pond at the northwest corner of the site. The slopes on the site would not allow them to use swales.
Staff recommended approval of the application with the conditions noted in the packet.
Questions of Staff
For the multi-use path, based on what was necessary for the Electric Department the Public Works Department was willing to accept the meandering sidewalks. The Public Works Department read and recognized the comments made by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) opposing meandering sidewalks. The Electric Department planned to replace some existing poles. Pole placement had to be precise and in alignment. There needed to be more discussion with the Electric Department, Planning Department staff and the applicants on longer extension arms for the poles. Ultimately curbside sidewalks were ideal although it would place the trees on the applicant’s side instead of the park row.
Mr. Severson did not know the size of the mitigation trees. The main comments from the Tree Commission were how the tree mitigation would achieve an excellent canopy. The standard in the code was 1.5 to 2-inch caliper for mitigation trees.
Part of the meandering sidewalk involved avoiding an electrical cabinet and the detention pond.
The applicants were asking for eight on street parking spaces and were not asking for any credits. There was parking on Park Street but not Siskiyou Boulevard.
There were improvements that could be done to the ditch but the City did not have a standard for bio swale treatment. Some landscaping could occur as long as it was maintained in a way that did not decrease water flow. It was a state right-of-way.
The applicant would speak to trash management and the ability of permeable pavement to withstand a garbage truck.
Matt Small/Kistler, Small & White/Ashland/Introduced team members that were present to answer questions. Housing in Ashland was in short supply. In particular, affordable and rental housing. It had been close to twenty years since a project involving apartments was considered. He read excerpts from the Housing Needs Analysis that emphasized the need for multi-family rental and strategies to provide more housing. A major component of the current Oregon land use laws was promoting density. The subject property was zoned R-3, high density multi-family residential. He addressed the following comments from the Planning Department staff and neighbors:
Tree Mitigation and Street Trees. It was unfortunate the Redwood tree cluster had to be removed but there was no option. Any design change would significantly decrease the number of units. Alternately, it would not survive nine months of construction. The applicants were proposing a significant landscaping plan. They applicants greed to replace Raywood Ash with any tree recommended by the Tree Commission.
Density. The site plan showed 8.2% recreation space and they were requesting an additional unit. They were roughly 307 square feet short. However, there was room in the site plan if they needed to increase outdoor recreation space.
Density calculations were 14.8 units. Mr. Small was recommending that instead of rounding down, the City round up given the housing situation.
Park Street Sidewalk. The plan would remove a pole in the driveway to the parking area. That was the reason for installing new poles. According to the Electric Department, they had to fall in line with the existing poles. The applicant was willing to the move the sidewalk wherever it worked. However, moving the sidewalk next to the street would place the trees under the powerlines.
Siskiyou Boulevard Sidewalk. Bringing the sidewalk to city standards would be disruptive to the whole street. The applicant was willing to address ADA or asphalt issues with the existing configuration.
Proximity Concerns. For comments opposing the close proximity of the project Mr. Small reiterated the housing situation in town. Everything presented in the plan was allowed in the code.
Traffic Study. Typically, a traffic impact analysis occurred when the threshold of peak hour trips reached fifty. Their review of peak hour tips resulted in eight to 8.5 peak hour trips. It was considerably lower than the threshold.
Groundwater. They had a soils report done and there was shallow water on the site. They were addressing it with under slab drain pipe and drain pipe along the footings.
Questions of the Applicant
Mr. Small did not know the current condition of the ditch.He thought the owner would be willing to improve the ditch if it was not too costly.This was an ODOT right-of-way and they would have input as well.He suspected the ditch near the site that was filled in with trees had underground piping.It was expensive and Mr. Small was surprised ODOT gave the permission to plant trees there.
Mr. Severson clarified required density as 80% of the base.
Ona Williams, would be the manager of the proposed apartments and currently managed the apartments adjacent the subject property.They had a ten-yard dumpster emptied once a week.A smaller dumpster would fit in the trash enclosure for the new complex.It would be dumped once a week as well.They used four recycling containers at the property she managed that were emptied once a week without issue.The new site would most likely have three recycle containers.Two for co-mingled items and one for glass.Ms. Williams confirmed Recology came into the apartment complex she currently managed and emptied the recycling containers without issue.
Mr. Small had several conversations with the Electric Department to resolve the issue of replacing the light pole.They did not specifically discuss arm extensions but the applicants were open to that option.
He did not support bringing the multiuse path on Siskiyou Boulevard to Public Works standards.It would create an anomaly along that stretch of road.Mr. Severson clarified it was a Public Works maintenance standard and not a full curbside sidewalk.An example would be filling cracks in the asphalt path.Mr. Small thought the applicant would be willing to maintain the path to that standard and look into ADA standards for slopes and cross slopes as well.
Virginia Dugan/Ashland/Her fence was immediately south of the property. She wanted to know what the applicant might do with the fence. She researched a tree they were planning to plant. It would grow 80-feet high and 60-feet wide, blocking her view. The roots would go into her property. She did not want the trash enclosure next to her property. Other concerns were traffic, density, and noise.
Colby Morgan/Ashland/Was concerned with the dormitory style apartments. He wanted the tree protection plan to include his trees because of their proximity to the site. Dormitory style apartments would create a significant impact on parking. He suggested a traffic study, on street parking and reducing the number of units to create more parking.
Taylor York-Morgan/Ashland/Spoke to noise, trash, and lighting. She supported a more substantial fence. She lived next to the existing apartment complex and commented on loud music and being harassed by tenants in her own backyard. She wanted the trash enclosure moved from her property line and better tree protection.
Susan Williams/Ashland/Wanted 3.5-inch caliper trees planted instead of 2-inch caliper. She showed a photo/illustration of what the building might look like from the street. It would affect the quality of life. She agreed with a suggestion to reduce the number of units from 15 to 12 and how that could significantly change the view.
Janet Robbins-Turk/Ashland/Requested a 7-day continuance. She was very concerned about the proposed building, the level of density and building height. She understood the need for housing. She read from a traffic flow study. The ability to rent out individual bedrooms would have a detrimental effect on parking, increase traffic congestion, and create safety issues.
Tim Turk/Ashland/Continued reading Ms. Robbins-Turk’s study. The proposed development fell below the threshold of traffic impact study because it was based on 15 units, not quad style apartments. They objected to the sidewalk development along Park Street. The meandering path would not be good for strollers or people with disabilities. They requested Tree #7 be preserved. He described groundwater issues, flooding and noted the detention pond itself would flood during heavy rain.
David Hall/Ashland/His backyard was next to Tudor Square apartments and he had issues with people tossing liquor bottles into his yard. The new project would be in front of his place. The corner was not perpendicular. There were groundwater issues. Negotiating Park Street was difficult for children because people drove 35 mph. He demanded a sidewalk and a street light at the corner and a seven-day continuation.
Jared Cruce/Ashland/Agreed on the need for housing. The argument was how to do it and preserve the quality of life and the intersection at Park Street. Dorm style apartments would increase parking. The applicant did not answer questions on trash or the condition of the ditch. Park Street was a major artery for Linda Avenue and Terra Avenue. He wanted a study and a continuance.
Ken Morrish/Ashland/ People sped on Siskiyou Boulevard and Park Street. The project could result in 60 additional cars. There were issues getting onto Siskiyou Boulevard. It was unsafe. People would lose property value, and six to seven homes would lose the view of Grizzly Peak. He suggested having two stories and reducing the number of units.
Steve Case/Ashland/Lived on Park Street since 1978. There was a hidden driveway that made it difficult. He agreed with everything stated. The four bedroom fifteen-unit complex should be called 60 one bedroom units instead. Parking concerned him.
Craig Breon/Ashland/The average apartment size supported 1-3 bedrooms, not four bedrooms. He commented on traffic and noise. It was not conducive to potentially have 60 students living in this location. He questioned the 8 peak hour trips. He suggested reducing the buildings to two, having only two stories and 3 bedrooms instead of four.
Commissioner Dawkins/Thompson m/s to continue the meeting. Voice Vote ALL AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
Rebuttal by Applicant
Mr. Small explained four bedroom apartments could accommodate four individuals or families.It created different scenarios.Three-bedroom units would require the same number of parking spaces as four bedrooms.
Testimony cited issues with existing traffic problems.It was not incumbent on this project to correct existing issues.
The applicant would address questions raised regarding trash and the ditch.
He clarified the image of street frontage along Siskiyou Boulevard would not be flat.There would be porches, steps, and decks added to intentionally create an interesting street frontage.The buildings would be considerably shorter than the building to the south.The height was roughly 9.5 feet shorter than what was allowed.
For the location of the parking lot, it was difficult to access parking from Siskiyou Boulevard.There needed to be a separation from the driveway and streets.It was important to place the parking to the back of the lot.
The Landscape Plan called for 1.5-2-inch caliper trees.The applicant was open to increasing the caliper.
He was not sure what the parking requirement was for dormitory style parking.The applicant would address the fence along the south end of the property and replace it if necessary.
Water drainage coming onto the site would be captured at the top and diverted through underground pipes.The project would improve the water condition on the site.
Questions of the Applicant
Mr. Small explained the porous concrete of the parking lot would allow the water to percolate through to the surface below. There it would be gathered and taken into the pond on Siskiyou Boulevard and Park Street.
Jim Higday from Marquess & Associates and the civil engineer on the project addressed the slopes being too steep for a drainage swale. A swale needed a flat slope. They looked into putting a swale parallel to Park Street. Under the current code of Rogue Valley Sanitary Sewer (RVSS) and the City, the street and existing slopes were too steep to qualify as a swale. They looked into what could happen in the parking lot to address water, storm quality, and percolation.
There was not enough planter area in the parking lot for detention and proper water quality. As a result, they went with the pervious pavement instead. It allowed the water to percolate first into clean drain rock then into a pipe system where it was piped down to the pond at the intersection.
Mr. Higday clarified there was not an issue with trash trucks driving on pervious pavement. He confirmed this was the only solution due to the existing slopes and the street. There was a requirement in Pretreatment to cool the water on the surface. One of the options was planting trees to shade the asphalt. There was not enough coverage to do that with this location so they used concrete. He provided detail on how drainage would work. The pavement drainage system would account for groundwater three feet below the surface. A Geo technical conducted a report.
Mr. Small addressed light spill into neighboring properties. The property was approximately 8-feet lower than the property to the east. There was an existing fence along the property line. The applicant was willing to improve the fence to prevent light spill.
Deliberations & Decision
The Commission discussed continuing the hearing to a day certain or holding the record open for people to submit additional evidence. Commissioner Norton wanted to continue the hearing to the first meeting in October.
Commissioner Norton m/s to continue the hearing to the first meeting in October. Motion died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Dawkins/Thompson m/s to continue the meeting. Voice Vote: ALL Ayes. Motion passed 5-0.
Commission comment wanted to know the code on dorms as apartments. There was concern about Park Street and potential safety issues.
The Commission decided to keep the record open until September 18, 2018, 4:30 p.m. for all comments. A second comment period would subsequently occur until September 25, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. This would allow people to submit comments on what was submitted the week prior. A third comment period would happen the week following September 25, 2018. It would close October 2, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. This allowed the applicant to respond to all comments received September 12th through the 25th. Comments would be posted on the website or emailed as a PDF document upon request.
Meeting adjourned at 10:09 p.m.
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant