Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

MARCH 12, 2002

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Mike Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present are John Fields, Marilyn Briggs, Mike Morris, Colin Swales, Russ Chapman, and Ray Kistler. KenCairn was absent. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Maria Harris and Sue Yates.

PUBLIC FORUM

BRENT THOMPSON, P. O. Box 201, talked about Railroad District parking. He wondered about the possibility of re-striping a portion of the streets in the Railroad District. He suggested replacing parallel parking with diagonal parking in certain areas in an attempt to gain the equivalent of a new parking lot without any cost other than the cost of re-striping. He is thinking of the areas of B Street between Fourth and Fifth and Third and Fourth. A couple of other areas could be the streets coming down from Lithia Way and the other area would be on A Street before it intersects with Oak Street. He knows a lot of re-striping is done in May and June. He would like the Planning Commission set a public hearing on this issue.

Swales mentioned this to Council. This would have a huge impact on the residential neighborhoods. It's a good proposal and heís heard it would create an additional 40 parking spaces on B Street.

McLaughlin said a few years ago there was a master plan effort done for B Street and they brought up diagonal parking to the neighborhood. The neighbors are strongly opposed to it. They don't want to become a parking lot for the downtown. They are concerned diagonal parking would make the neighborhoods feel and appear much less like a neighborhood. They can, however, put this on the agenda and see if the Commission would like to pursue it.

Gardiner said since parking was such a large part of the Downtown Plan Phase II, wasn't the use of B Street and maybe some other streets incorporated into the parking study? McLaughlin said by using more paid parking in the downtown, care needs to be taken not to force more parking into residential neighborhoods. The next step would be to look at residential parking permits. The attempt is not to lose the residential character by making them all parking lots.

Thompson asked the Commission to pursue this just in general in the Railroad District. He believes the A Street diagonal parking is a "no-brainer". He feels the residents would benefit by having a little more parking.

Gardiner explained we don't do double duty on something that can be tied in with some other studies or if we've already studied it. If it can be wrapped into something or if it should stand alone, he would count on Staff to make that determination on when to bring it to a study session for additional input.

TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING

PLANNING ACTION 2002-020

REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL FOR AN 11-LOT SUBDIVISION, ZONE CHANGE TO PROVIDE FOR A RESIDENTIAL OVERLAY (R-OVERLAY) AND PHYSICAL CONSTRAINTS REVIEW PERMIT FOR A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING OF THE DRAINAGE FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED EAST OF ROGUE PLACE AND NORTH OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS.

APPLICANT: DONNA ANDREWS & KELT REEVES

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.

STAFF REPORT

Harris said proper notice was given to properties within 200 feet of the site and the property owners mailed criteria from Chapter 18.108 for a Zone Change and Chapter 18.88 for Outline Plan approval and Chapter 18.62 for a Physical and Environmental Constraints permit.

Harris showed an overhead of the parcel. The two parcels combined are almost four acres and zoned E-1. She showed the wetlands area. The most significant natural feature is a drainage and it is considered a riparian land drainage on the City's inventory and is also listed on the National Wetlands Inventory.

The proposal is to subdivide two lots into eleven sites. The proposal includes re-zoning to provide an Employment (E-1) residential overlay to the entire site. The lots have been laid out for zero lot line construction. Harris outlined the street system. The alley system goes behind the properties to provide the majority of parking. There are pedestrian connections through the site. One is between Lots 3 and 4 and the other is between Lots 7 and 8 that will connect via a sidewalk through the parking area. There will be a footbridge over the drainage to the neighboring subdivision's open space to provide the pedestrian connection.

On Rogue Place, the proposal is to add street tree wells and sidewalk along that frontage. A half-street improvement will be installed from the end of Rogue Place on the new street to the end, including 28 feet of pavement, a new curb line to the north, street trees and sidewalk on the north side of the street. That will provide for 20 foot travel lanes and eight feet of on-street parking on that side of the street.

The drainage area that is preserved as open space ranges from 20 feet to 70 feet. That parallels a drainage area on the property. A footpath improved to three feet in width and graveled will parallel the existing footpath. It will extend to the southern end of the property. Also included is a landscape drainage swale along the parking area to slow down the runoff from the parking area and also to filter out pollutants from the drainage off the parking lot.

There is water and sewer available in Rogue Place. There is also a storm drain facility in Rogue Place. The application states it will direct the storm the drainage to Rogue Place. It is not clear how much runoff will be directed to what location.

There are 93 off-street parking spaces and 26 on-street spaces included in the proposal. Parking calculations are based on one space per 525 square feet of building area and eleven residential units.

Staff has three main areas of concern with this application. Staff does not believe there is enough information provided concerning the natural features as required for Outline Plan. The full length of the drainage is not shown on the site plan as well as the significant trees. In addition, potential things that could effect the drainage that cannot be evaluated at this point are not shown, such as potential cut and fill within close proximity to the drainage. Outline Plan also requires the applicant show areas of flooding that have not been provided. Staff believes not enough information has been provided to make a decision.

The Division of State Lands was informed of the application because it is on the National Wetlands Inventory. They requested a wetland delineation. They sent a revised comment that said they do not need a wetland delineation if it is just a zone change. Harris believes there was some confusion on the part of DSL regarding what the application was for. They get involved if there is any cut or fill of a wetland. They typically ask for a delineation. She believes it will require a wetland delineation.

The second concern is the location of the new street. Harris said an Outline Plan requirement is that the street standards are met. One standard states you have to preserve natural features through placement of the street. It specifically states that streets should be located between private parcels and the natural features and calls out drainages in particular. The applicants have lined up the road as shown in the Railroad Master Plan draft until it turns at a 90-degree angle. The plan shows the street coming over further, about 40 to 50 feet, and then coming down at a more obtuse angle connecting to the new street going over to Mountain Avenue. This illustrates that the applicants are trying to locate the street close to the natural feature rather than to meet the street standard. The applicant submitted a packet of information dated March 11, 2002. They have a drawing of what this would look like if the street came down and followed the line they have proposed. Staff's concern is if the north-south section of the street is located as proposed, then the width of the open space would be doubled. This is a large area and the ability of the City to acquire the open space will be made more difficult if the area is made larger because of the street moving to the west. It shifts the open space burden onto the property owner to the south. In addition, the change in street location will impact the truck route. It is designed to have as few turns as possible and have turning radiuses that accommodate large trucks.

Another concern is the nature of the housing types proposed and also the affordable housing proposed. In the original application it was not clear how many units would be provided, what kind of units they would be and how many would be affordable. The applicant is arguing as part of the zone change that one of the reasons a public need is being met is because they are providing affordable housing and a different housing type. In the new information submitted on March 11th, they state one of three units on each lot will be affordable under the City's program. Does that mean that if one unit per lot is developed, is that unit affordable or is three per lot the point where affordability would kick in? It is somewhat vague.

Other issues that need to be addressed are landscaping installation and maintenance. It is not clear on the plan where the common areas are and the timing of the landscaping installation of those areas. Storm drainage capacity of the facilities in place has not been discussed. Staff has suggested the off-street parking calculations are based one per 400 square feet which is closer to the retail office standard than the warehouse standard. Additional detail is needed for the pedestrian bridge. These points have all been added in the Conditions, should the Commission decide to approve the application.

Harris said the application does not demonstrate there is a public need for a Zone Change and the proposal does not meet several criteria for Outline Plan approval. Staff recommends the application be continued to give the applicant time to provide more information addressing Staff's concerns. If the Planning Commission does decide to approve the application, Staff suggests the area be included in the Detailed Site Review Zone as well as getting the residential overlay. There are 18 Conditions suggested.

Site Visits or Exparte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.

Chapman asked about the mediation document to be terminated on May 15, 2002. McLaughlin said there was a long process in 1988 outlined in the Staff Report. Back then, the E-1 zone allowed apartments as a Conditional Use. At the time, there was an application filed for that and it caused quite a bit of concern and ended up being a neighborhood and citywide issue. In order reach agreement, the application went to LUBA and finally ended up going into mediation with adjoining property owners, neighbors, the developer and city staff. They ultimately reached an agreement that divided the property up. Part of the property would be Employment and other parts could be developed in residential. That was the agreement made back then with the expiration of May 2002.

Kistler wondered why the agreement was to be terminated in such a short time for such a long-range issue. McLaughlin said if the City didn't move forward with the Zone Changes, then that set a timeframe for that. The City did, however, move forward.

PUBLIC HEARING

TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, agent for the applicant, introduced Donna Andrews and Kelt Reeves. In this proposal, they tried to provide some flexibility in the way someone could develop the land. They established where the street would go and what the street would look like. It is more urban looking. He believes it is better suited to street trees with no parkrows.

They did recognize the wetland open space area that is there. It is a drainage easement. As shown in the aerial photo, the big willows are not on this property. There are only two trees on this property. They would protect the wetland area by using the bioswale concept. A specification sheet has been provided. The wetland is pretty well defined, as is the pedestrian path. They met with the homeowner's association to the east of the project to see if they wanted the pedestrian path. They did. They also supported a mixed-use development. That makes a nice transition to the residential area. They are set back slightly more than 50 feet from the residences.

Giordano said they have defined where the wetland is located. He has talked to the Department of State Lands (DSL) staff person and she amended her report. They can still have the Zone Change without having the delineation. She also said they could get Outline Plan approval and have the delineation done prior to Final Plan approval. He feels they need a larger park buffer on both sides to help protect the willows and drainage area. He also believes the street system works better, especially where the intersection of the future Clear Creek Drive is located.

Giordano addressed the housing concern. The type of second floor housing that is secondary to the primary use, as they are proposing, is almost by definition affordable. The primary use will be Employment. Thirty-three percent of the housing that is built would be affordable; that is per lot. If someone builds only two residential units, they would not have to comply with the affordable guidelines, but if they build the third unit, they would have to comply. Someone could theoretically buy two lots and develop as one project.

Giordano said if someone wanted to have more office/commercial activity and they needed extra parking, they have shown where additional parking can be added.

Briggs wondered if they had thought of putting the street very near the east boundary, close to the waterway so that there would be more property to the west side of the road and more open space. Giordano said there would be more asphalt because the road would be longer. The primary area of that wetland is south of the property.

Gardiner asked if the bioswale feature is before the natural drainage. Giordano said it is within the drainage corridor. He noted the landscape plan shows where the bioswale is located. The bioswale will help filter pollutants from getting into the drainage area and also recharge some of the ground water. Swales thought if they were going to do some type of filtering, they would need a series of small ponds because of the steep grade. Giordano said the specifications show where the impervious surface is on the right hand side of the drawing as well as the tire stop and curb. It is important there are breaks in the curb every so often so the water can drain through.

Giordano said they are asking for approval tonight. They feel the R-overlay could be approved tonight. He believes adding a Condition that every unit over two or 33 percent would be affordable. Also, he believes approval can be given subject to delineation of the wetland.

Gardiner realizes a master plan for any area needs to be adjusted. However, he believes that Giordano's project versus the master plan appears to kick the open space into someone else's property just for his convenience. Gardiner's concern is that as we go away from the master plan, someone has to adjust future plans of their property based on the action taken on this project. He is not comfortable with the explanation of the drainage and why we can't follow the master plan.

Giordano said the majority of the real wetland is south of their property. He feels that is where they need the buffer. Gardiner said it appears that the street positioned by the drainage corridor leads to open space possibilities and takes the pressure off the drainage in the master plan.

Gardiner read a letter from William and June Holmes, Starflower Lane, into the record.

MERA GAGNON, 466 Williamson Way, said her property is the only one affected by this project. She is located where Williamson Way. The back and side of her property will face the development. Drainage and flooding is her concern. She knows special drainage passageways were put under her ground to handle flooding. Heavy water and rainfall would affect her property. She is concerned about wetlands. There is a family of red-tail hawks and other birds living in that area. The empty field is also where the birds find their food. Has an impact statement been done?

She spoke with several of her neighbors. They are concerned about the height of buildings to be built, noise, industry, smells and the preference is for businesses that do not disturb the neighborhood.

MALENA MARVIN, 107 Alida Street, believes this application barely meets the standards, which arenít high enough to begin with. It is important when looking at development like this to look at long-term and big picture. She does not believe the developer has adequately addressed this.

Marvin noted there is a project that has been submitted by the Lomakatski Restoration currently being worked on by the Wilderness Charter School. It involves a more comprehensive wildland park around the ancient willow trees and big leaf maples in the area of this planning action. They hope to develop an outdoor learning center. She believes the southwest corner of the property will have a huge impact on a potential park in that area. She does not believe the way it is planned now gives adequate support to a potential wildlife corridor through there. She does not believe the swale, as proposed, is sufficient nor is it appropriate to have the parking located where it is shown. She would encourage the Commissioners not to approve the plan as it is submitted. She is hoping there will be enough time to have some dialog about this with the developer. It is important to bring more wildlife back into urban areas. As we plan the whole railroad development, that should be a priority. We need to pay special attention to how we integrate residential and natural areas. She said she would not put a big chunk of pavement on the corner no matter where the road is. The applicants obviously are unaware they are putting a park in that area. Her comments are noted in the appendix of the railroad master plan. Marvin said their parks proposal will be going through the city. The students are currently doing wildlife and bird surveys.

PAUL MACE, 345 Clinton Street, said he owns an office building that used to be at the end of the cul-de-sac at 400 Williamson Way. The land has an interesting history and illustrates the importance of patience, foresight, written agreements and a lesson in the varying pressures between residential development and commercial development. When he first built his office building in 1987, there was no interest in E-1 land at that time. Over the last 12 years, there has been a lot of successful development and E-1 has been a very successful enterprise for the city. Job development has been a success story. It takes time. The pressure for residential development is unrelenting. Commercial is cyclical. Once the Commission grants a residential overlay, he is not sure what restrictions will apply. He is not clear how these lots would turn out in reality.

PAUL KAY, 1234 Strawberry Lane, talked about water. He is neither in favor nor opposed to this development. He wants our built environment to have restorative, enhancing, or at the very least, benign impacts on our watershed system. He does not see enough information on how the water system relates to the larger water system to be able to make an intelligent decision. In addition to putting into perspective the physical environment, there is also the social environment. How are we going to relate in our built environment to our water environment? Ashland needs to respond appropriately to National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Phase II for storm water management. Bioswales are a part of that. He would, however, like to see the water treated before it enters the wetland zone rather than taking a part of the existing wetland. If it is outside the wetland, it has a chance of being benign. Also coming is the Water Quality Management Plan for the Bear Creek Watershed. He encouraged the Commissioners to the upcoming meeting so they might understand the guidance document that will give us options on how we are going to meet water quality standards. The Bear Creek Water Assessment is under study and will be coming out this spring. The City of Ashland is working on the riparian ordinance.

Kay said there is a trade-off of space and energy. The smaller the treatment system is, the more energy that needs to be imported to effect the services of that treatment system. Whatever the functions and services provided by this wetland, if those are given a bigger job to do, then there needs to be energy input either in the form of labor, electricity or external treatment. He doesn't want to see named or unnamed streams become a sacrifice zone. We have fish and they need cold, clear water. As the temperature, sediment, and bacteria standards come into play, and the built environment is increasing, it becomes critically important to protect our riparian areas.

Fields said there is an existing ordinance in place. With regard to the swale and design in draining the parking lot, is there a quantitative thing we are asking them to provide in terms of managing parking lot water? Kay does not see enough information to make an intelligent recommendation. The scope is not big enough. He does not see how this system ties in with the rest. His general recommendation would be that things that provide shade (cool) and filtration before it gets to the existing area are going to be better than using a portion of the area for those services.

Staff Response

Harris said because of the trees, you can't really tell where the corner is and where the parking lot will be in relationship to the corner. She showed the aerial photo of the property. They don't necessarily disagree with the applicant, but they don't think there is enough information on the plan to show where the features are. The Railroad Master Plan is based on 1988 aerials so the information showing existing trees, lots, and houses is accurate.

McLaughlin addressed Giordano's comments regarding DSL approving a Zone Change and Outline Plan approval. He cautioned the Commission that if they approve Outline Plan, it locks in the design of the subdivision (road location, etc.). Then the Commission is just asking for the information showing it will be done in accord with that Outline Plan location. Currently, McLaughlin said, the City's standards for a street require the streets be located along drainage areas or open space designs. The proposed plan sets in place a design that will go counter to the street standards and the master plan. At this point, the open space is not considered a park, but rather a common area that would be used for storm water retention and treatment or just a private open area. This is just setting aside a natural feature that will enhance the relationship of the developed area to the more natural area. He disagrees with Giordano that shifting the street will lead to a better design. He believes it will put pressure so the property to the south would want to have the same type of design with the parking lot back against the creek rather than making a larger open space. It is important to delineate the creek area and get the road located, as per the ordinance, and as suggested in the Master Plan.

Kistler wondered if the sample elevations are locked in or is the applicant committed to building the buildings as shown. McLaughlin said this does not lock in the design. The actual review would be during Site Review. What the applicant has provided is appropriate.

Fields said with regard to the street, there is a "Y" intersection that slows and diverts traffic. The terminus corner building that could possibly be built on that corner is a fairly significant design, such as the roundhouse and creates a gateway for the entry. He believes there are serious engineering issues in terms of the capacity of the swale, what its filtration is, weighing volumes and existing pipes that we can divert water into. He needs a conceptual understanding of how the wetland and irrigation and watercourse will be affected. This is tied in with DSL. They haven't talked about reducing the overall right-of-way width. There is a standard in place.

Briggs said when the Planning Commission stood on the site along the drainage, observing how the parking would back onto the drainage, they were all very concerned about debris and oil going into the creek. The swale did not seem quite enough. She agreed with Fields' discussion about the "Y" intersection. If the road did swing a little closer to the eastern boundary, that would give a nice block for the buildings in the southwest corner. She would choose to leave it E-1 and have the whole block E-1. If there is going to be any housing, she would keep it back to back with the current housing. We need jobs for our people here. We don't need to build more residences so people can move here and not have a place to go to work.

Rebuttal

Giordano said along with the bioswale would be an oil separator. They are talking about trading one paved area for another paved area. There seems to be some concern about having pavement next to the wetland. If the street is there, it is pavement. Conceptually, he believes they have enough information for approval. There isn't a tremendous slope on this property. By having mixed use, the buildings will be more in scale with residential. They are not talking about large industrial type buildings. If the Commission feels strongly that the residential overlay should be applied, he would like to get approval for at least that tonight. If the Commission feels there is not enough information on the wetland, he would be willing to go along with a continuation on that aspect of the application.

COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Gardiner believes the applicant is asking for approval of the Zone Change and would be willing to continue the other parts of the application.

Briggs feels because this is a piecemeal application and all of the parts are not here, it would be unwise of the Commission to give a Zone Change and let the rest come in later. We should see the entire picture before we approve.

Fields doesn't have any problem approving the E-1 residential overlay, especially if we attach the Detailed Site Review with it. The quality of what we get is consistent with the rest of the neighborhood. We might want to consider someone applying for apartments on the ground floor.

Fields believes this application is consistent with the master plan.

Kistler said of the three questionable portions of this project, he is most comfortable with the residential overlay. He is trying to imagine what could change in a design that would not allow that and he canít come up with anything.

Chapman agrees with Briggs. He does not like to do things piecemeal. His own gut feeling is that this application came to them about 30 days too soon. Some issues need to be satisfied with Staff as well as the issue of the street location. He noticed the Division of State Lands will be doing a site visit in April. Before he makes a decision on this, he would like to know the result of that site visit. He favors the continuation of the application.

Swales feels the fact the applicantís plan has to dovetail with the draft Railroad Plan is unfortunate because the draft plan, he does not believe, has had sufficient feedback from the public with regard to open space. There are a number of unresolved issues. He does not have a problem with the R-overlay but is uncomfortable with some other aspects of the project.

Morris is uncomfortable with the R-overlay. He would like to see the whole package and how it ties together.

Gardiner said if there is an R-overlay, it is still primarily Employment. McLaughlin said 50 percent of the lot area has to be permitted use before there can be residential development. Gardiner would be in favor of the zone change request and look for a continuation of the rest of the request.

Harris said there is no assurance after the zone change has been granted that Outline Plan might not be scrapped.

Chapman wondered, instead of speculating, why not have a complete package?

Giordano said the applicant would grant a 60-day extension to the120 time limit. This action is continued to the May meeting.

Harris said we need more information about the storm drainage. Staff said it would be good to have an estimate of the run-off, how much will be directed where, the capacity of the swale, and the filtration.

Gardiner said to sum it up, the Commission is looking at street location, drainage strategy, tree location (adjacent property), and results from DSL.

Chapman moved to continue PA2002-020, Fields seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

PLANNING ACTION 2002-026

REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW TO CONSTRUCT AN APPROXIMATELY 17,800 SQUARE FOOT BUILDING TO BE CONSTRUCTED ALONG CLOVER LANE AND USED FOR LIGHT MANUFACTURING AND ASSEMBLY. A ZONE CHANGE IS REQUESTED TO APPLY FOR A RESIDENTIAL OVERLAY (R-OVERLAY) TO THE PROPERTY, IN ANTICIPATING THE CONSTRUCTION OF RESIDENTIAL UNITS AT THE REAR OF THE PROPERTY AT A FUTURE DATE.

APPLICANT: BERGíS & BOND PROPERTIES

Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Gardiner said he had an unrelated conversation with the director of Tara Labs. They did not discuss the application.

Site visits were made by all.

Molnar stated this application is to construct an 18,000 square foot commercial building along with a request for a zone change to include the property for a residential overlay. The site is sandwiched between Caldera Brewing Co. to the north and KFC/A&W to the south. The Oaks subdivision is behind this property. The proposal involves the construction of a new home for Tara Labs, a local business since 1986. Their primary business is the production of quality cords for high sound equipment. The building consists of three areas: a single level office area, in the middle is the production area and the larger area is the warehouse facility. Access to the site is through a shared driveway easement between KFC and Tara Labs. The shared driveway would serve as an entrance to KFC/A&W and entrance and exit for Tara Labs. They are proposing between 29 and 30 parking spaces. They donít anticipate a lot of drive-up traffic to the facility. Most of the parking is located to the rear of the warehouse. Bike parking is located to the side of the warehouse. The primary orientation and entrance to the building is towards Clover Lane. There is an employee entrance at the far end of the production facility. In front of the lobby area is some hardscape, seating areas, and a central water feature with landscaping.

Molnar said there is a proposal to construct a public pedestrian walkway from Clover Lane, meandering adjacent to the property line separating KFC and Tara Labs and connecting to the existing six foot wide public sidewalk coming off the cul-de-sac from the Oaks Subdivision. This will link up to the public sidewalk to Highway 66 near Oak Knoll Drive.

The other aspect of this application is putting the property in the R-overlay that would allow for approximately 15 units per acre. At this point, the applicant is anticipating doing approximately seven apartments at the back of the property. Parking garages would be provided. The property would be accessed from Clover Lane through the driveway system and access parking spaces behind the units. While they are asking for the R-overlay at this time, the site improvements are not being considered as part of the application. If the proposal is approved tonight, a separate site review would have to come back at a later date for review. Because this is in an E-1 zone, it is subject to standards of the E-1 zone. A higher shadow for solar access would be allowed. Landscaping is considered as part of the whole property.

In looking at the Site Review, Staff is pleased with the design. It is a great business to have in town. It meets the large scale development standards. Staff is appreciative that the public walkway has been incorporated into the plan. It is nice to have the connectivity between the commercial and residential through the developments instead of going around on Highway 66.

ODOT was asked to respond to this application to see if they would concur with their past observations. There is a letter in the packet stating this was anticipated in the past study and they are not suggesting further evaluation of the traffic impacts. The updated report from Hardey Engineering. They re-ran Hardey Engineering's numbers given the operation of Tara Labs and came up with a similar traffic generation. Staff has concluded that though the intersection is not perfect, this is pretty much the last large vacant parcel along Clover Lane to build out.

Molnar said they concurred with the points in the applicantís findings with regard to the zone change and in terms of the potential benefits of having residential at the back of the property. They felt a residential use or apartments at a future date would be a nice buffer between the Oaks Subdivision and loading facility and parking area of Tara Labs. They are encouraged that they are proposing rental housing versus town homes. Tara Labs anticipates hiring 17 employees.

Staff has recommended approval of the application with the attached Conditions.

The Electric Department has asked for a Condition 18 that would primarily have to do with a 15-foot wide utility easement, staggering the property line. There has been discussion about bringing in another transformer to serve future uses.

Fields asked about the sidewalk. Molnar said the curb opening is around 25 feet. The intent is for cars going through the drive-up to stay on the right side and go to the parking behind KFC. Employees going to Tara would use the same entrance. He is not sure what the anticipated grades are. The walkway dumps out in the entry driveway. They are proposing a scored concrete pattern. Generally, people like to walk in the most direct path. Staff and the applicants are open to possible suggestions.

DAVE RICHARDSON, project architect, said they anticipate a ten foot setback on the first floor for the apartments and another ten feet on the second floor. They might be staggered back. They struggled with the walkway. They did the pattern because it seemed safer and gave a different visual appearance than the driveway.

Richardson said the idea would be to separate the apartments somewhat to give them some privacy. They will plant some fairly dense trees.

Briggs said it looks like there is no way for water to run off on two sides without hitting the back door of the building.

Swales asked about the grading. Richardson said the property slopes in a northeasterly direction. They are working with a surveyor to check the grades. The building will be a little lower than grade level. Swales thought it would be good to berm up the landscaping to the rear of the building, between the proposed apartments and the building to create a buffer.

KenCairn wondered if a Condition could be placed on the apartments to make them rentals. Since it is a zone change, it is an opportunity for us to get something extra from this. Molnar said the applicantís findings with regard to the zone change, touched on issues about change in conditions and a public need. Since the zoning was established, the community as a whole finds mixed use desirable, in part because of 24-hour security. It is close to transit and I-5. As a public need, they bring up a need for rental housing. If the Commission felt rental housing is a public need, they could add a Condition.

Richardson said there is an existing electrical junction box that has been installed about five feet inside of the mutual access easement. The Condition is that the owner pays for moving this box. The City should have looked at the plat map to see this is where the driveway should go. The owners would rather not pay for this. McLaughlin said the Electric Department is going to move it. The Condition will be removed. By removing the Condition we are not saying the applicant/owner is not responsible.

Gardiner thought the rental condition seemed like micro-managing. Fields said seven units are all you can put back there. If they wanted to bring a proposal for seven townhomes, they are going to be affordable whether they are for ownership or rent. KenCairn said it is more about whether it is affordable.

Fields thought the pedestrian lane is probably fine. McLaughlin believes the key is that it connects to another walkway. Swales would like to see a stamped crosswalk where the handicap unloading bay is located. That would seem a natural place to cross.

Briggs moved to approve PA2002-026 with the attached Conditions, excluding Condition 12. Chapman seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

OTHER

A day long retreat is scheduled for Saturday, May 4th for the Planning Commissioners. The Commissioners should let McLaughlin know if they want to discuss any particular topics.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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