ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
JUNE 11, 2002
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chair Mike Gardiner at 7:15 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Alex Amarotico, Russ Chapman, Mike Morris, Marilyn Briggs, John Fields, Ray Kistler, Kerry KenCairn, and Colin Swales. There were no absent members. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Mark Knox, Maria Harris and Sue Yates.
Gardiner announced PA2002-052, 2275 Siskiyou Boulevard, has been postponed indefinitely and a new notice will be mailed when a hearing is scheduled.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
Swales moved to adopt the minutes of the May 14, 2002 Hearings Board. The motion was seconded and the minutes were adopted. Chapman moved to adopt the Findings for 1250 Ashland Mine Road. The motion was seconded and the Findings were adopted.
KenCairn moved to approve the minutes of the May 14, 2002 Regular Meeting. The motion was seconded and the minutes were approved.
Amarotico moved to approve the Findings for PA2002-058, the Railroad Street Dedication Map Change from the May 14, 2002 meeting. Fields seconded the motion and the Findings were approved.
KenCairn moved to approve the Findings from today’s Hearings Board, PA2002-051, 1380 Romeo Drive. Swales seconded the motion and the Findings were approved.
PUBLIC FORUM- No one came forth to speak.
TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2002-020
REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL FOR A 13-LOT SUBDIVISION, ZONE CHANGE TO PROVIDE FOR RESIDENTIAL OVERLAY (I.E. 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- KenCairn is the landscape architect on the project and stepped down from the hearing. Site visits were made by all.
Harris showed an aerial view of the property. She said the proposal has changed quite a bit since it was heard in March. The original proposal was for 11 lots. It is now 13. The mix is now six lots between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet, one lot at 8,500 square feet, and the remaining lots between 10,000 and 17,000 square feet.
The applicants have moved the street adjacent to the drainage as required by the street standards. The open space area has remained the same dimension. The north edge has increased from 20 to 25 feet.
Harris showed the grading and drainage plan. There is a detailed description in the packet and Staff Report. The drainage and protection of the corridor were issues raised at the last meeting. A representative from the Division of State Lands has visited the site and determined there are no wetlands associated with the drainage. The large trees have been located at the southern boundary of the property. The applicants have come back with storm drain calculations. The applicants have put forth a plan to detain the water and meter it out to bioswales. The water will be detained in the parking lot and slowly metered out to the bioswales, which will then slowly meter out to public systems.
The applicants have requested two exceptions with regard to the design of the street. Instead of making the sidewalk tree well area the recommended minimum width of 13 feet, they are asking 12 feet be allowed. They are asking to shift the additional foot to the travel lane of the actual street, making it 38 feet curb to curb. They are requesting on the north/south section of the street, adjacent to the drainage, that a curbside sidewalk be used rather than the standard curb tree wells and then sidewalks.
Harris said in terms of the zone change, Staff believes that a public need can be justified and a finding made. The Housing Element, Economic Element, and the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan all have policies that encourage mixed use. The housing types that are produced in mixed-use zones tend to be smaller, as well as rentals. Mixed use provides opportunities to make trips on foot, bike, or public transportation. It is also helpful to make the transition from this area and the residentially zoned lands to the north and east of the property.
Staff has two areas of concerns. First, are the drainage corridor and the issue of providing an adequate buffer to protect the corridor. The Physical and Environmental Constraints Chapter requires a ten foot clear area from the top of the bank of any riparian area. From the pedestrian crossing to the north, the top of the bank has not been identified. A Condition has been added that at Final Plan, the top of bank be identified to ensure they have maintained a ten foot corridor as required. The other area of concern is that on the bottom portion of the plan, the edge of the street is right at ten feet from top of bank. The applicant does not discuss what will happen at the edge of street. It either needs a retaining wall or toe of fill. It gets more ambiguous from that point from the crossing to the north. The building envelope is shown very close to what Staff believes is the line. The bioswale in the northern portion could potentially intrude into the ten foot buffer. A Condition has been added that at Final Plan the engineering include a detailed grading plan and that none of the deposition of materials from the street, the future building or bioswale can intrude into that area once it is clearly delineated.
The storm drainage area is an area of concern. A bioswale is identified between the front of the lots and the sidewalks. One of the basic Site Review standards is that the front entrances of buildings are connected the public street and public sidewalk through a pedestrian walkway. How will that happen? A swale is usually a six inch to one foot drop. A Condition has been added that at Final Plan they submit some materials that show how that standard can be met.
The other area of concern is the angle of the lots to the street. Staff is not sure how the Site Design standards will be met. In one area, the swale area is 18 feet in width and that is a significant setback from the street.
Staff believes the eleven foot travel lane exception is appropriate. It is probably a good idea because it is a truck route and will allow more room.
Staff felt the criteria for Outline Plan approval, Zone Change, and Physical and Environmental Constraints, have been adequately addressed by the applicants. Staff is recommending approval with the attached 25 Conditions.
Briggs said the street dedication map shows the street plan. Is the applicant obliged to follow that? Harris said it shows the major streets and connections but not the type of street or the exact location. There is some flexibility in design and location.
Swales asked if there is a floodplain on the property. Harris said FEMA does not have a floodplain identified.
Swales said he is concerned we have had the draft Railroad Plan that has still not been adopted. McLaughlin said that should be reviewed in the fall.
Fields is not clear on the City Engineer’s response. He has heard the storm drain system is at capacity. He is not sure how the system works. What is Staff’s opinion and the feasibility of the proposal? Harris said the City’s Engineering Department reviewed the plan based on the square footage of the bioswale provided. They did preliminary calculations and found it to be all right. Fields does not understand the geometry of how the whole system works.
Swales noted that the bioswales have proven difficult in the Old Willow Subdivision. When it runs between the lots, is it private or public space? The impermeable nature of the granitic soil did not allow the water to percolate. What is the City’s experience with bioswales?
McLaughlin said the Elks parking lot bioswale has been very successful. It has been properly designed with the proper plant materials and proper overflow materials. Public Works is saying the storm drain system is at its maximum. Whatever is developed, has to be storm water management on-site with metering into the storm drain systems.
Fields said it is obvious that the project on Washington Street has a swale that is six feet lower than the parking lot. This development is showing the parking lot only two feet lower than curb height. He does not see how this is working.
TOM GIORDANO, 2535 Takelma Way or LAURIE SAGER, landscape architect.
GIORDANO said there is very little landscaping next to the channel. The applicant is making every effort to enhance and protect the channel. The applicants believe moving the street is similar to what is asked for in the Railroad Master Plan. The applicant felt it would be helpful to add an extra couple of feet to accommodate truck traffic on the proposed street.
It was difficult coming up with a residential formula. They decided to comply with the E-1 and residential overlay.
The Commission has the letter from Pieter Smeenk, City Engineer, stating the bioswale system will work. Of course everything has to be engineered and it will have to be done correctly.
Due to the grading constraints, they decided to leave the channel area alone except for the footpath. They decided to put the sidewalk adjacent to the street. The drainage channel is more natural and he feels by providing tree wells further down along the channel is counter to what they are trying to create as a more natural setting.
The applicants will not have a problem complying with the Conditions of approval. They will establish the exact top of bank.
Giordano has been assured that the entrances to the buildings will occur in an acceptable manner.
He would like a change in Conditions 3, 4, and 5. He would rather state "building envelope adjacent to the drainage corridor" instead of using lot numbers.
SAGER addressed the drainage. She read the letter from Pieter Smeenk, City Engineer. Sager explained the form they used to come up with the square footage needed to calculate the runoff is from the Portland Storm Water Runoff Manual. None of the runoff will run directly through these systems. The runoff will first flow into detention basins and be metered in the swales. The swales are vegetated and water will slowly runoff because of the fine grading. The metering into the swales will occur through curb cuts in the parking lot, culvert and fine grading. That will be determined after the preliminary grading. Sager said the recommendation is for a six inch depth in swale. The goal is to have no net increase in rate of runoff. This will slow down the water in a storm event to existing conditions (pre-development). This design has been tested and used in larger cities.
Sager said they intend to stay ten feet from top of bank throughout the project. The swale shown will be ten feet beyond top of bank.
Sager believes that the connection of the roadway and the riparian zone is a key element in the design and a nice element for the community and the residents living adjacent to the property.
Sager said if the lot lines are adjusted and shifted, it would take away from the swales they would need for the project. They intend to design pathways which will go from the front of the property to the sidewalk in a nice way and plans will be available at a future date. There are going to be check dams at 12 foot intervals, or a minimum per swale. It is an opportunity to create connectivity between the property and the sidewalk.
Fields said the property is sloping. The swales are broken up. Will the flow connecting these together run toward the natural drainage? Sager said a portion of the site will flow toward the natural drainage and portion to the storm drains. She said there will be some areas where there will be culverts in each direction.
Fields wondered where all the roof water is going. Sager said it is going into the swales. Fields is still not clear how the system will work. He asked what would happen in a 100-year flood event. Sager said flooding would happen. Fields wondered where that water would go. Sager said according to the national standards, all the storm drain requirements are planned for 25-year storms. That is what they are complying with.
Swales asked if plants can survive the hydrocarbon runoff from the parking lots? Sager said there are plants that can survive and clean up the water. Swales said the climate is different than Portland. Will the vegetation need to be irrigated during our dry season? Sager said some of the plants are drought tolerant.
Swales mentioned street alignment. The actual street angle seems obtuse. Would there be an opportunity to make the streets perpendicular? This would give an opportunity to provide more area in the south lot for riparian area. Giordano designed the streets to accommodate truck traffic.
Briggs said if there is 18 feet of area in the front of the lots, how will one move across it? Giordano said it is 18 feet at its widest point. The walking area can be incorporated into an entrance plaza. The check dams can be like a culvert to minimize the size and to meter the water from one cell to the next. Sager is envisioning a hardscape sidewalk going across the area with plantings and boulders. Kistler thought even a sidewalk going from the sidewalk to the building would be sufficient because it will only be a drop of about four inches.
ARLEN GERGORIO, 474 Williamson Way, said he is reluctant to support this application. He and his wife live at the northeast corner (the lowest point) of this property in Mountain Creek. They have provided a letter and pictures. The bank on their side is very fragile and the drainage seems to flow in this direction. At the top of the narrow area of the creek, the distance between their fence and Mr. Holmes’ fence is ten feet. They are very concerned. This is new technology. They are happy to hear about the swale and hope it will work. But, in the event of a 100-year flood, their stakes are exceedingly high. He is hearing the parking lots are ten foot lakes. Once the water gets above that, the water from the northeast will flow into Mountain Creek. Just in the last rain, because the opening is so narrow, the water rises three feet, even in a modest rain. There is not much space left until it starts eating away at the bank. It has already started eating into the footing of the retaining wall that they have. He looked at the cut and fill map and that is now a major concern. Their backyard is already two feet below the grade of the property on the other side of their fence. With the addition of four feet of fill, that puts cars, RV’s or whatever parks there, looming over their heads. There has been no mention of a retaining wall on the northeast corner next to the fill. He would like to have some type of screening.
CHRIS KATAPOTHIS, 473 Williamson Way, wondered what the timetable is for clean-up of this property. He is opposed to the development without clean-up first.
Harris said there is no contamination on this property. Union Pacific has a clean-up plan approved by DEQ. They have not moved forward with that clean-up plan. Contamination is mainly within the chain link fence area.
MERE GAGNON, 466 Williamson Way, said theirs is the only property adjacent to the development that borders on two sides of the fence. She is extremely concerned about the drainage. The swales sound like a great idea but they are untried in our area. In the summer when it gets very hot, many of her own plants die. Who is going to police the property to make sure the property owner(s) are carrying out their responsibilities? Who will check the health of the swales on a regular basis? There was considerable runoff in their streets after the heavy rain last week. If the swale fails, who does she sue? She is concerned about the fill behind the fences. How much higher is it going to be than her property? All privacy in her backyard will be lost. Will the developers put in a new fence that will give them a decent line of privacy? Her neighbors would like the buildings to be one story.
Gardiner read the comments from William Holmes, 357 Starflower Lane.
ALLEN DOUMA, 83 Granite Street, said that many years ago he designed storm water drain systems. He remembers that when a water source enters a drainage system far downstream, retaining the water going through that system may not be a good thing.
If you delay the downstream stuff from hitting the main tributary, the peak flow gets higher. Retention may be good or it may be bad. The flow patterns need to be looked at.
Harris had additions to the Conditions. The first sentence of Condition 3 should read: That a grading plan, including retaining wall heights and locations, shall be submitted with the Final Plan submittals. Add at the end of Condition 3: That section drawings of the drainage corridor shall be submitted with the grading plan at a minimum of three points at the northern most swale, for the lot adjacent to the drainage corridor.
Condition 5 change Lot 8 to "the lot adjacent to the drainage corridor."
Condition 13 add a sentence at the end: "The storm drain pipes from parking lots to bioswales shall not run through building envelopes." This should cover long-term maintenance of any pipes to the detention areas.
Add Condition 26: That a maintenance covenant for the detention and bioswale system shall be submitted with the Final Plan. The maintenance covenant shall include responsibility of maintenance and inspection of the detention and bioswale system. The maintenance covenant shall be reviewed and approved by the Departments of Planning and Public Works and shall be recorded with the final survey plat.
Add Condition 27: That two grates, according the Ashland Engineering Division specifications shall be installed with all street trees on public streets. Tree grate details shall be included with the Final Plan submittals.
Fields said if the applicants are raising elevations, it seems like a neighborly issue. He is not sure a six foot fence on the back property line is a solution. If the alteration of the existing grade encroaches on the visual screening of the neighbor’s fence, the applicants could give equivalent screening on the new grade level. However, a neighbor may not want that. He can look at it at Final Plan. Briggs wondered if the parking could be dropped a little in that corner. Harris can work up wording for a Condition.
Fields wondered about the impacts of a 100-year flood event. Do we make all the approvals then get to the design and find out the level of compromise? This would be his only concern about approving.
Giordano said KAS Engineering is going to do the civil engineering. The applicant is willing to get a sub-consultant who does bioswales to make sure the work is done properly. The distance from the north property line to the first building envelope is 51 feet. They will conform to solar setbacks. They will meet with each neighbor that connects to the development and see if they want additional screening and landscape it accordingly.
Sager said the grading would be back to the existing grades so the neighbors don’t have to worry about a retaining wall right at the property line. There will be a slope to existing grade and a landscaped buffer beyond the parking areas.
Giordano said the applicants agree with the Conditions and added Conditions. They will have maintenance agreements.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Fields is concerned if there is no city infrastructure to handle this development; we are totally dependent on the detention/swale to remove storm water.
Swales does not think this can be seen in isolation from the rest of the Railroad Plan. He has a great deal of trouble doing this piecemeal when there is no infrastructure to support it.
A new storm drain line will be put in at the corner of Hersey and Mountain.
Chapman said they are going to have to control all their storm water on-site. There is no storm water capacity at this point. City Engineering has to be satisfied with any plan they put forward. Is that right? McLaughlin said that is correct.
Amarotico moved to approve PA2002-020 with the added Conditions and revisions to Conditions. Kistler seconded the motion. The motion carried with Swales casting the only dissenting vote.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2000-130
REQUEST FOR SITE REVIEW TO CONSTRUCT A TWO-STORY, MIXED-USE ADDITION TO AN EXISTING COMMERCIAL BUILDING. THE APPLICATION INCLUDES A VARIANCE FOR DISTANCE BETWEEN DRIVEWAYS ALONG "A" STREET AS WELL AS TO THE CITY’S FLOOR TO AREA RATIO STANDARD.
485 A STREET
APPLICANT: STEVE HOXMEIER
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all. Swales attended the Tree Commission and Historic Commission meetings.
Knox reported this application has had an extensive history. The application is for a two-story, (672 square feet over a 920 square foot food service area) addition to the building at Fourth and A Streets. At this time last year, there was a similar application, but the Planning Commission felt uncomfortable as to what affect that plan would have on future building and how those issues could relate to the design standards, etc. The application was continued. The applicant hired an architect who is here tonight.
Previously, the proposal had a driveway that came in about 40 feet from the property line. On the other side of the property line is the driveway for the Grange Co-op. At the time, Staff was trying to make a long-term comprehensive approach with the Grange. Now the proposal is to have a driveway that straddles the property line and comes back to the parking area. The proposal is also for a vehicular access easement to the Grange over the entire length of the driveway to allow the Grange to eventually close off their driveway and use the one driveway. This requires an Administrative Variance. From a long-term perspective, this is a better approach than having two driveways with a little landscaping in between.
The other issue is a request for an Administrative Variance to the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) standard. This zone has a 35 percent FAR. The applicant is proposing with the existing and proposed building about 18 percent. In the findings, the applicant refers to a future building and plaza space. Staff finds the FAR Variance acceptable.
Knox said the design is much more consistent with the existing building than the previous designs.
With regard to the Tree Commission there were questions about the street trees. The applicant would like to do the future building in the next year to two years. Staff is asking for a change that the Tree Commission has agreed to. Do something consistent with the building across the street; that is, a sidewalk with trees in root barriers surrounded by grates, with a five foot sidewalk behind that. Knox has added a Condition.
The Historic Commission discussed upgrading the entrance to the back building to provide a better sense of entry either through surface details or building design. They felt screening is needed in the parking area and the need for a public plaza space. Staff believes the public plaza space could be an incredible amenity for the corner. It is an issue of timing and detailing of materials and spatial relationship along the sidewalk along Fourth and A. At this point in time, the applicant does not want to do this space. It will function more for the Phase 3 building. Staff would like the Planning Commission to discuss this. Staff is thinking that without that building, it could look somewhat odd. They would prefer to wait for that improvement and have the design elements worked out with the building. They are asking for the space to be deferred. The sidewalk improvement would occur. The parking lot will occur.
KenCairn wondered if there was any way to put include a time when the third phase will happen. If that building doesn’t occur for 20 years, it could defeat the whole purpose. Knox said it is hard to force the applicant to do something the market is not ready to bear. Taking into consideration the history of this application and knowing there are opportunities in the future to better the space, and have it relate better spatially with the existing building and the sidewalk, his feeling is to wait for a good space in the future.
Briggs asked if there is a three-car parking bay on A Street, is there enough room to do the tree wells and the sidewalk? Knox said there is enough room for a 4' x 4' tree well with a grate and behind that a five foot sidewalk.
Knox said there will be a parking lot, the addition, the improvements in front of the addition, bike parking, sidewalk that wraps around from Fourth to A, street trees, easements and the parking bays. The street improvements are to be done by a civil engineer.
Knox said the maintenance agreement is not reciprocal. It dedicates one-way for the Grange. The City Attorney has said that if one benefits by utilizing a public access easement, there is equal responsibility for maintenance.
Fields said there is no handicap accessible route from the building. Knox said the parking area has handicap accessible routes. He suggested asking the applicant to respond. The Historic Commission wanted some access provided through the public plaza at this phase. It would be more temporary in nature but gets you from the corner to the back of the building. Knox has added a Condition for that as well.
Fields said there should be a dedicated utility space and in a way that can relate properly to the future building envelope.
JOANNE KRIPPAEHNE, Madrone Architecture, 520 Terrace Street, said she is representing Steve Hoxmeier. They are trying to test and commit to a future development in the front of the proposed addition to the existing building so they can support the development with something that will enhance the site and acknowledge the importance of the site.
By using access shared with the Grange, they believe this will allow a meaningful building and a meaningful public plaza amenity on this corner. They have put in a minimally dimensioned parking area. They came back another five feet to provide a sidewalk along the front parking bay. Starting from the street side and working back, they ended up with a 24 foot deep building. It is pretty minimal to be commercially viable, but she believes it can work.
Krippaehne believes they can work with the Tree Commission and their recommendations. They might have to take another foot out of the building but that should be acceptable.
They are amenable to looking at upgrading the entry design requested by the Historic Commission. Her client would prefer minimizing any rework and not develop an expanded public plaza at this time.
The applicant is interested in committing to the final phase in the next one to two years.
The proposed footprint for the future two-story mixed-use building is outside the current utility locations.
With regard to handicap access to the building, she is confident she can work that out after the final survey. With the grades they can achieve access to the existing building by way of the new two-story addition.
Amarotico moved to extend the meeting until 10:30 p.m. Chapman seconded the motion and it was approved.
Swales wondered if there would were a chance the bike path easement will ever be used. McLaughlin said the Bike Commission does not yet want to abandon it.
Knox added the following Conditions:
Condition16 - That at the time of building permit submittal, the applicant shall submit a revised landscaping plan that identifies the street trees along "A’ Street to be within the sidewalk with a minimum 4’ x 4' tree well. Tree grates, meeting the specifications of the Ashland Public Works Department, shall be placed within the tree well for each tree. The sidewalk behind the street trees shall be a minimum of five feet.
Condition 17 - That at the time of building permit submittal, the applicant shall submit information pertaining to the screening of the parking lot area from "A" Street. The screening is a temporary measure until Phase 3 is developed.
Condition 18 - That at the time of building permit submittal, the applicant submit revised information identifying a stronger sense of entry for the rear restaurant area. This may be achieved by surface detailing or building design enhancements. If a surface detail(s) approach is preferred, the improvement may be considered temporary until Phase 3 is developed.
Condition 19 - That at the time of building permit submittal, the applicant shall submit a revised site plan identifying an approved handicapped access path from the corner to the south elevation’s new entry. The improvement may be considered temporary until Phase III is developed.
Knox proposed Condition 5 pertaining to the public plaza space be deleted. In the future, the applicant will have to go through another Site Review. He will have to identify the FAR requirements and meet all the other regulations.
Krippaehne said her client would accept the Conditions.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Swales moved to approve the application with the additional Conditions and deletion of Condition 5. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
McLaughlin announced at the June 25, 2002 Study Session will be the initial joint meeting with the City Council on the amendments to the "big box" ordinance. It will begin at 7:00 p.m. They will identify what they want to do.
ADJOURNMENT- The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.