ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
JULY 9, 2002
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Acting Chair Russ Chapman at 7:00 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Alex Amarotico, Mike Morris, Marilyn Briggs, Ray Kistler, Kerry Kencairn, and Colin Swales. John Fields arrived late. Mike Gardiner was absent. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, and Derek Severson.
Chapman announced that PA #2002-052 for 2275 Siskiyou Boulevard had been postponed at the applicant’s request, and he added that a new notice would be mailed when this item was again scheduled for public hearing.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
The minutes of the June 11, 2002 Hearings Board were approved as presented. The minutes of the June 11, 2002 Regular Meeting were approved as presented.
Chapman moved to adopt the findings for Steve Hoxmeier/485 A Street. The motion was seconded and the findings were adopted.
Amarotico moved to adopt the findings for Donna Andrews/Kelt Reeves on Clear Creek Drive. The motion was seconded and the findings were adopted.
No one came forth to speak.
TYPE III PLANNING ACTION
PLANNING ACTION 2002-086 is a request for an Ordinance modifying Chapter 18.108 and 18.106 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, regarding approval standards for zone changes and annexations.
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
Public hearing opened at 7:03 p.m.
Senior Planner Bill Molnar gave background relative to the consideration of recent zone change requests, such as that for the Croman property, wherein the justification of the zone change was in part because it would provide affordable housing. Molnar explained that in the case of the Croman project, the applicant had met with the Housing Commission to identify target households, but had never reached an agreement. Molnar stated that while no agreement was reached, those discussions brought about a consensus on the part of staff that affordable housing needed to be better defined in the ordinance.
Molnar further explained that this action was motivated by the need to get public benefit in exchange for the value imparted to a property when it is brought into the city. He stated that the proposed changes effect both zone changes and annexations as part of an inclusionary strategy intended to increase the city’s supply of affordable housing. Molnar added that the intended result was to make the public need for affordable housing an optional criteria, and he stated that by defining affordable housing and providing specific targets it would make it easier for applicants to meet criteria.
Molnar emphasized that the proposal includes a provision that would guarantee the affordability of these units for 60 years. Molnar clarified that the ordinance would apply to zone changes where residential density was increasing and to those where commercial, industrial, or employment zones were being changed to allow a residential use overlay as this amounts to an increase in residential density.
Molnar noted the existing criteria, and explained that staff was proposing to delete B, the need to correct mistakes, as it is difficult to prove. Molnar discussed the remaining criteria (A, C, and D) and he noted that the intent was that they remain in place with some minor changes. Molnar pointed out that criteria were proposed to address the need to adjust to new conditions; to promote the general welfare; and to address the public need to provide affordable housing - either with 25% of units to be offered to those at 80% of the median income, with a density bonus of 1 market rate unit per affordable up to 15% above the original density or with 15% of the units to be offered to those at 60% of the median income families. Molnar added that developers would also have the option of transferring a percentage of the land to a non-profit such as the Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation or the Ashland Community Land Trust.
Molnar clarified for Chapman how the density bonus program would work, with one additional market rate unit allowed for each affordable unit up to 15% above the originally allowed density. Molnar presented slides with some hypothetical examples.
Molnar reiterated that these criteria would apply for those areas requesting the addition of a residential overlay, and he added that there would also be a required finding that the project would not negatively impact inventory. Molnar cited the Croman project as an example.
Molnar added that there aren’t a lot of programs to use as examples in Oregon. He emphasized that staff is trying to move ahead with the affordable housing work begun in the 1990’s. Molnar pointed out that in 10 years, the existing affordable housing provision has produced 33 units, and he noted that the cities land use policies limit zone changes and annexations. Molnar stated that the impact of this proposed modification would be limited, but he emphasized that units created would be required to remain affordable for 60 years, which improves on the current program.
Molnar concluded that staff recommends adoption of the proposed modification, and he added that if it was approved tonight it would then go to the City Council for formal adoption in August.
Chapman introduced Nancy Richardson, chairperson of the City’s Housing Commission. She noted that the 60% and 80% affordability numbers were tied to funding mechanisms for local non-profits. She noted that these numbers work for developers, and she cited Russ Dale and Habitat for Humanity as examples. Richardson also discussed the requirement for affordability to continue for 60 years, and she suggested that this will become a major issue somewhere down the line. Richardson pointed out that nationally 2,000 units of affordable are lost per year.
Briggs questioned the legality of the inclusionary use of affordability as a criterion. Molnar confirmed that this does not run afoul of state law. He clarified that the city cannot condition permit approval on affordability, and he added that because affordability is one of four criteria it is acceptable under state rules. Molnar discussed the emerging legal opinion that zone changes and annexations may be considered differently anyway because they are requesting a voluntary act. Molnar emphasized that this opinion had not yet been tried in court.
Briggs questioned the density bonus provision. Molnar responded that these are usually private developments purchasing property at market rates. He explained that going after the lower level of affordability can be more costly for the developer, so the density bonus provision provides some incentive to offset this cost. Molnar added that some parts of the proposal were modeled after other ordinances with voluntary provisions, and he emphasized that neither staff nor the Housing Commission are attached to the specific details.
Briggs inquired as to the developer’s responsibility relative to size and quality of the affordable units. She suggested that there needed to be a requirement to build within a certain percent of the size of the other units in the development, and that the affordable units be built to a required level of quality and durability. She emphasized that the density bonus provided gives profits which should subsidize and protect the affordable units.
Molnar noted that some discussion relative to quality had occurred, but the feeling had been that the building code already requires that units be built to a certain level of quality. He added that size was discussed to some extent, but no requirement had been set. He pointed out that it would be easy to word the ordinance so that the affordable units could be no less than 80% of the size of the average market rate units.
McLaughlin noted that in some cases, affordable units have been common wall houses placed on corner lots, with two half-sized affordable units that fit the scale of the hood.
Kencairn noted that there are standards for size that could be tied to what size of family can live there comfortably. Kencairn discussed these minimum American standards for unit size determined by number of family members. Molnar noted that developers are usually cognizant of the necessary blend of unit size and quality as they do not want to draw down the market price of their other units. Molnar noted the Land Trust’s experience in Chautauqua Trace relative to affordable unit compatibility.
Fields cited the Habitat for Humanity guidelines and noted how limited they are. He stated that under the proposed ordinance, the finer details are left to the developer. Fields questioned whether some sort of site review would be required concurrently with a zone change to address details. Molnarnoted that this likely would be the case, but he pointed out that integration versus clustering of affordable units is not addressed. Molnar cited examples where this had been done both ways. Fields questioned the land exchange option, and Molnar confirmed that the land exchanged must be within the project proposed.
Fields questioned how guidance and equity would be handled. Molnar explained that, as written, these would be addressed at the staff level and thus not tie the creativity of the developer by setting forth further restrictions in ordinance form.
Fields clarified that the criteria are only one hoop, in addition to the site review and a whole range of others items that must be addressed including: required public facilities, design standards, traffic impacts and trees. Fields added that he felt the land exchange would be the easiest option for developers and thus the most frequently chosen.
Swales expressed his concern with the current prevalence of R-2 zoning. He questioned how the proposal would treat an up-zone to R-3. He emphasized that this would amount to almost doubling the density and would affect neighbors. Molnar discussed the fact there is a limited amount of R-2 and R-3 land with infill potential. He suggested that the actual net density increase would probably be smaller because of parking requirements and other uses that come into play. Molnar confirmed that this had been considered, but he stated that the impact was not seen as significant.
Swales asked how this would have affected the Butler property. Molnar stated that it probably could have gone from the 22 units approved to 34, but he added that the site review process would address negative impacts. Swales questioned whether having to meet only one criterion would amount to allowing a zone change "slam dunk."
Briggs inquired about abuses of the program in Chautauqua Trace, such as units purchased under the program being used as rentals. Molnar stated that staff was not aware of abuses occurring. He noted that of the 88 units in the development, 22 were affordable. He added that several owners had opted to pay a penalty and remove their homes from the affordable housing program. Molnar recognized that a significant number of the market rate units were in use as rentals, resulting in higher traffic generation. Molnar explained that under the affordable housing program, buyers sign an agreement to reside on the property. These agreements are recorded and could result in legal action if owners were found to be non-compliant. Briggs stated that she would like to ensure that those intended to benefit are the ones who actually wind up living in the units, and she suggested that the ordinance was not strong enough in that area. Molnar explained that this is not typically something that is codified, but he stated that further measures could be developed at the staff level to address this.
McLaughlin added that staff has not seen any widespread abuse of the program. He also noted that the current program is aimed at people who are at or below 130% of the median income, and who therefore may have other housing options available. He emphasized that at the 60-80% income levels, there are few, if any, other options available.
Briggs asked what factors are considered, and explained that she wanted to ensure that the program is targeting those within the community.
Richardson noted that local non-profits have their own criteria and would oversee administration of the program. Molnar noted that there are requirements in the Ashland Community Land Trust that set limits on liquid assets for participants and require that they have resided or been employed in Ashland for at least 6 months. Molnar also clarified that the income levels rise annually, and take into account the number in the family. He added that the numbers are set and published by HUD.
Kistler questioned why the city would compromise and accept 60-year affordability rather than making it perpetual. Richardson responded that the feeling had been that few developers would buy into a perpetual affordability requirement. Kistler stated that he would like to see perpetuity back on the table. Kistler emphasized that he would like Ashland to be the community to push the envelope in placing affordability requirements on annexations.
Kistler suggested requiring fire sprinklers for units throughout development. Molnar stated that there could be a limit on the number of contiguous units. Briggs agreed. Kistler noted that other communities have a 12 month minimum residency or employment requirement. Kistler also cited the "liquid assets" limitation as a loophole. He suggested that there was a need to address real estate that someone might own as well.
Kistler suggested that the building code does require a minimum quality level, and he added that presently that is all that is being built. He stated that he was unsure whether the ordinance should address unit size.
Kistler questioned if there were any other ways to mitigate affordable units besides providing a density bonus. Molnar noted that density was a natural carrot for an ordinance to address situations of limited impact. Molnar emphasized that the action plan which is to come forth in September will go beyond the ordinance. He emphasized that this document would likely suggest a greater commitment by the city and other entities to get to a significant number of affordable units. Molnar suggested that the commission could look at the degree of density increase.
Swales asked if any developer feedback had been sought. Molnar stated that staff had received some feedback from Larry Medinger and Russ Dale; Molnar stated that both had indicated that the current ordinance with the 1-for-1 density bonus makes it more profitable to build market rate units at the base density and to include more amenities. Molnar emphasized the need to get beyond this to provide a further carrot.
Chapman asked whether members wanted staff to rework the areas of the ordinance discussed and bring it back for further discussion, or if they would prefer to make a recommendation to include the concerns raised. Molnar suggested that staff would like to see some idea of consensus. Members expressed general consensus to have staff rework the ordinance and bring it back for further discussion.
Chapman noted that no audience members had submitted requests to speak on this item, and he asked if anyone present wished to speak. No speakers came forth.
Public hearing closed at 8:09 p.m.
TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2002-062 is a request for a Zone Change from Single Family Residential (R-1-5) to Low Density Multi-Family (R-2), and Site Review to construct a 19-unit senior housing apartment structure at the rear of the property located at 631 Clay Street. The proposal also includes converting the existing detached classroom building into a single-family parsonage. Existing Comprehensive Plan Designation: Single Family Residential: Zoning: R-1-5; Assessor's Map #: 39 1E 14 BB; Tax Lot: 1300.
APPLICANT: Clay Street Community Church of God
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts
Fields stated that he had no conflicts and had not made a site visit. All others present indicated that they had made site visits.
Molnar gave background for the proposed zone change and site review, and discussed the subject property and the zoning designations of the surrounding properties. He also noted nearby sites, including the park located Northwest of the subject site. Molnar noted that the site is currently zoned R-1-5, and he stated that the current use is for a church and includes a classroom building built on-site within the last three years.
Molnar explained that the proposal includes an addition to create a parsonage for the church and a two-story apartment structure on the back half of the parcel, to provide affordable housing for very low income seniors who are at 30-60% of median income. Molnar noted that certain government agencies are assisting in this proposal, and he added that part of that assistance requires that the property remain affordable for 51 years. Molnar added that there would be 19 units, with one parking space required per unit. He explained that 10-11 spaces would be provided in a daylight basement structure at the northside of the structure, with the rest of the spaces picked up by reconfiguring the existing asphalt parking area.
Molnar noted that the footprint is 8200-8300 square feet, with a gable height of 23 1/2 to 24 feet and a 28 1/2 foot height at the ridge. Molnar stated that there was drainage beyond the East property line continuing down into the park. He added that this area is protected from disturbance under ordinance, but he explained that the proposed building is 25 feet from the back property line and the second story is stepped back an additional 4 feet.
Molnar pointed out that the main justification for the project on the part of the applicant is the public need for affordable rental housing. Molnar cited the recent Housing Needs Analysis as having identified the need for apartments. Molnar also stated that the current buildable lands inventory indicates that in order to build apartments there would need to be either an annexation or a rezone of existing R-1 land to a higher density. Molnar emphasized that this project is targeting very low income seniors, with 100% of the units proposed as affordable.
Molnar discussed the distances to neighboring properties and how the impacts of the structure’s size could be mitigated for these properties. He noted that the property was situated as far to the north as possible to associate it with the larger neighbors while allowing for the creation of a large community garden area to the south. Molnar cited the location on the lot, the setbacks and the materials used as factors in mitigating the impacts on neighboring properties.
Molnar stated that staff agrees that the need for affordable housing is well documented, and he added that the proposal was an attractive one to staff. He pointed out that the Jackson County Housing Authority had agreed to provide management for 30 years. He also noted that traffic impacts would be less than the current zoning as the units would be smaller, senior apartments. Molnar explained that if the back of the property were developed with single family homes, staff would expect 7 home sites to produce about 70 vehicle trips per day; with the senior housing it would likely generate only 40-50 trips. Overall, Molnar stated that in terms of affordability, siting, and the proximity to existing multi-family zoned property with existing larger buildings, this proposal was well put together and he reiterated that staff is generally supportive. He noted that staff had suggested 13 conditions that staff would recommend as conditions of approval.
Briggs questioned how the letter of agreement from the Jackson County Housing Authority to provide management for 30 years would work with the 51 year covenant for affordability. Molnar emphasized that a project like this needed to be managed by a group familiar with affordable projects of this size.
Kencairn asked if condition #8 had to do with providing adequate storm water conveyance within the neighborhood. Molnar explained that it was not a capacity issue, but the city was anticipating improvements through an LID for Clay Street from Ashland Street to Siskiyou Boulevard within 2 years and suggested that since significant amounts of runoff would be going into the open ditch until then, the applicant should look at landscaping to slow run-off and reduce the need for maintenance on that ditch. McLaughlin confirmed that this is a TID ditch, and Molnar added that the vast majority of run-off would be going to the ditch adjacent to Clay Street.
Swales questioned the relatively thin details in the packet, especially relative to parking. He noted that he could not identify any ADA parking, or the front entry. Molnar noted that at site review staff was looking at numbers rather than details, and he added that greater detail would be addressed in the building permit review. Molnar noted that no initial concerns had been expressed by the Building Division. Molnar emphasized that Medinger Construction was very familiar with the requirements they would be facing through their work at Mountain Meadows. Molnar pointed out the disabled access spaces on the plan.
Molnar clarified for Swales that the plans were not drawn by an architect. McLaughlin clarified that there were no requirements for an architect to draw plans at the land use, beyond the requirement for landscape plans. He added that if there were any requirement addressing this it might be at the state level.
Molnar noted that staff had told the applicant that this level of detail is not typically looked at in a zone change, and as such the applicant had intending to provide further detail at the site review. Molnar emphasized that the conditions address this.
Kistler asked if staff had seen a floor plan. Molnar stated that they did not have one in record. Kistler questioned the plans, noting that the walls as shown were typical of hotel construction rather than residential.
Public Hearing opened at 8:44 p.m.
John Hassen, attorney for the applicant, 717 Murphy Road, Medford/Hassen noted that Larry Medinger had a previous commitment out of town and was unable to attend on behalf of the applicant, Clay Street Community Church of God. Hassen noted that the applicant is hoping to devote the project to low income seniors who could not otherwise afford housing in Ashland. He added that the project would be funded through Oregon Housing and Community Services, and he noted that Debbie Price of Oregon Housing and Community Services was on hand to answer questions, but could not advocate for the project. Hassen also introduced Scott Foster from the Jackson County Housing Authority, who was on hand to answer questions relative to the Housing Authority’s management of the project.
Hassen emphasized that this is really an affordable housing project, and he added that detailed architectural plans are not complete at this stage due to the cost. He explained that the project cannot complete the application for funding until the zone change is granted. He further noted that in order to get the application into the current funding cycle, they must have application in by August 16th. Hassen noted that he was present tonight to request the zone change, and he confirmed that the conditions proposed by staff were satisfactory.
Hassen presented a typical apartment design to be included in the record.
Hassen stated that the application meets 3 of the 4 criteria for a zone change, and he added that these criteria are set forth in the applicant’s findings, and are supported by the record and the staff report. Hassen highlighted the application, noting that the applicant was requesting a zone change to build this project in order to allow the church to fulfill one of its missions. He reiterated that the deed would include a restriction to maintain affordability for 51 years, with regulation by the county and the state. He also stated that if the agreement with the county were not renewed at 30 years, other companies would take over management of the project.
Hassen noted that the Clay Street improvements had been addressed by Molnar, and he emphasized that traffic impacts would be less than the current zoning. Hassen stated that the applicant anticipated the Clay Street improvements, and he added that if the zone change was granted approval the project plan includes sufficient funds to pay the property’s LID share. Hassen added that these funds would be deposited into an account so they would be available for the LID.
Hassen explained that the setbacks and the landscaping planned are greater than required, and he noted that the one mature tree on the property was to be preserved. He stated that additional trees can be added for screening as desired.
Hassen noted that the applicant would accept all conditions recommended by staff, but he noted that #7 relative to fencing should be amended to 6’ from 3’ 6" on the west property line at a neighbor’s request. Hassen noted that Medinger Construction representatives and two members of the Church were also on hand to answer questions. Hassen emphasized that parking was to be redesigned around the Church, with an elevator in the building to give access without the need to use stairs.
Hassen noted the time constraints involved, and he stated that it would be appreciated that if record were going to be left open for seven days at the request of a speaker tonight, he would like to schedule the continuation of this meeting for the date of this commission’s next regular study session to meet the application time frame for the project.
Kencairn questioned whether the apartments must remain both affordable and available only to seniors for 51 years, and she also asked what would occur after that time had passed. Hassen stated that in 51 years all housing would change and he did not feel that was a concern. He noted however that after 51 years had passed, the CC&R provision for affordability could be removed or changed. Kencairn noted that if the parking were laid out for seniors, more parking would be needed if it were changed to non-senior housing in 51 years. Kencairn stated that she would like to see some way to carry this through over time.
Hassen stated that he did not feel that perpetual affordability could be addressed here. Chapman questioned whether the only item before the commission was the zone change; McLaughlin responded that the application includes a site review as well.
Chapman explained that site review approval standards require the commission to consider city services, and he expressed his concern with approving a large project on a substandard street with improvements that are at least two years in the future. Hassen emphasized that the current zoning would allow about 70 trips per day whereas the proposed zoning, through the design and age limits, will generate significantly fewer trips for 51 years. Chapman responded that this only addresses vehicles, and does not consider issues such as pedestrian amenities. Hassen stated that the applicant could put in sidewalks and a half street, but he emphasized that the applicant believed that city staff would prefer a commitment to participate in the coming LID. Chapman clarified that any application before the commission would require a finding of adequate transportation, and he added that the 2-3 year window on the LID being carried out was a problem for him. Hassen stated that there is no moratorium on construction and he indicated that the street in question has adequate capacity to accommodate the proposed trips.
McLaughlin clarified for Hassen that the commissioners may not be satisfied that there are adequate pedestrian facilities in the application.
Hassen responded that the applicant could provide pedestrian improvements along the property frontage, but he noted that the applicant did not have funds to provide these improvements all the way to Ashland Street. He stated that he did not feel that the commission should make pedestrian improvements all the way to Ashland Street a project requirement. Hassen noted that in his experience it would be normal to either require improvements along the frontage for the project or to require that the applicant pay a portion of future improvements.
McLaughlin suggested that the issue comes down to whether the area is right for this development, at this level, now, or if it would be more appropriate to wait for the street to develop. McLaughlin went on to state that the issue then was whether the 2 year time frame for the local improvement district could be deemed appropriate, and he concluded that the commissioners need to decide on this issue. McLaughlin noted that while some nearby subdivisions were required to improve only along their frontage, others were required to sign in favor of future improvements, and the issue was the level and nature of development proposed.
Hassen reiterated that the applicant has agreed to deposit their portion of the future LID improvements in an account. Chapman responded that the issue is the timing of the future improvements versus the level of development. Hassen suggested that the commissioners also need to consider the city’s needs for affordable housing.
Kencairn pointed out that other recent subdivisions included opportunities for pedestrian connectivity that do not seem to exist here. Kencairn questioned whether the commission could stall a project for the lack of sidewalks when the applicant cannot change that situation.
Hassen explained that with planning commission approval, the project would become eligible for funding, but the actual building would not be complete for 1.5 to 2 years. Hassen also stated that there could be a connection to the nearby park via a pedestrian walkway from the project parcel.
Kencairn questioned whether the applicant had looked at a plan with less second story volume. Bob Vos, designer for Medinger Construction, noted that the design represented an attempt to maximize the community garden area. He added that the community garden at Mountain Meadows is a very popular feature.
Swales questioned the funding cycle involved. Deborah Price of Oregon Housing noted that the grant and loan cycle occurs twice a year, but she added that funds get tighter and the bar is raised with each cycle. She emphasized that there is no way for the applicant to get a placeholder. Price added that attempts are being made to set aside resources to provide incentives to keep units affordable and to help residents with relocation expenses.
Kistler questioned whether there was a need for an accessible route that does not use the driveway, and that is paved and without steps. Price explained that a state architect would be working with the applicant if the project moves ahead. She added that the architect would attempt to incorporate the most appropriate and successful elements from other similar projects, and she stated that she hoped to come back and work with staff and the commission.
Hassen noted that he wished to reserve rebuttal time on the applicant’s behalf.
William Marschall/678 Glendale Avenue/Noted that he lived behind the project, and that he had spoken before the commission about the application for the school. He also stated that he was familiar with this project. Marschall explained that his experience with the construction of the classroom as a conditional use was disheartening and disappointing because of the level of subterfuge involved. He noted that there were a lot of apologies from the applicant on the grounds that time was a factor, but the construction began as a garage well in advance. He stated that he had spoken to staff and was assured that the building was permitted only as a garage, and then he came to the meeting for the conditional use application and received apologies from staff and the applicant. Marschall urged the commission to be careful as the applicant is the same as before. Marschall emphasized that while the proposal was a good cause the subterfuge had lessened his attitude toward such business. He stated that he felt the presentation was a great idea, but he asked that the record be left open for 7 days at least to allow for further investigation. He added that the proposed design does not consider the lay of the land or the presence of the ditch. He discussed the bridge, and he noted that the applicant had not addressed the southwest corner of the parcel or the presence of a natural spring. He also discussed the flooding experience in 1996-1997. He emphasized that with further paving the site will lose more capacity to absorb runoff. Marschall cited the proximity to the Stratford Apartments and the access to neighboring properties, and he noted that neighbors are concerned with erosion. Marschall expressed his concern that no architectural plans were being presented, and he questioned who owns the property on the deed. He added that he did not believe it was deeded to the church but to a national organization in Indiana that is allegedly under investigation by the SEC. Marschall question who would manage the project, what would be allowed, and whether the 65-year age limitation would be in writing somewhere. He concluded that the commission should be cautious in considering this proposal.
Chapman clarified that Marschall had asked that the record remain open for 7 days.
Marshall noted that the ninety degree curve on Clay Street is a hazard for aged pedestrians due to speeds, and he stated that without a sidewalk there is not much space for pedestrians.
Hassen noted that the proposed setback is to be 25 feet, and that regulation will be by deed restriction for 51 years to be regulated as part of the funding mechanism for use of the residence by people 65 and over. He reiterated that the project would be limited to those 65 and over as regulated by the state, and he added that the property would be managed by the county or another property manager who would see that those regulations were enforced. Hassen asked that if the record was to be left open, that the commission please consider this action again at its next study session, prior to August 13th. Hassen added that the applicant would like 3-4 days after the 7 days passed to make their final submittal.
McLaughlin suggested that the timing and details could be discussed after the applicant’s rebuttal. McLaughlin also noted Marschall had recognized this as a great idea, and he stated that this was a good project to bring 19 very affordable units.
Marschall questioned whether the property would be taxable. McLaughlin responded that this was outside of the criteria that the commission could consider. Marschall stated that he would withdraw his request that the record be kept open if the commission was inclined to approve the application.
Public hearing closed at 9:37 p.m.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Fields noted that the commission could not pass by this opportunity, but he added that it could not be weighed differently than other projects. He suggested that the commissioners must consider the capacity issue in an unbiased way. He explained that it basically comes down to trusting staff to work out the details through the conditions to be imposed, and he stated that he was willing to support this action and take a leap with staff. He emphasized that there were still issues to be dealt with, such as the driveway, retaining walls, and the need for an architect and engineer.
Kistler noted that applications typically go deeper into civil engineering issues, and he added that this application also has underground parking. He stated that these are primarily technical issues, and added that he was willing to support the application with staff looking at the conditions.
Fields stated that there were real obstacles to be resolved, and he suggested that the commission might need to decouple the zone change and site review. McLaughlin stated that the commission could decouple these items, and continue the site review to a later date. Price stated that this was acceptable from a funding perspective. Fields suggested that the commission could grant the zone change and see the site review again down the road when some more of the details were worked out.
Kencairn stated that she was supportive of this suggestion.
Swales agreed with Fields’ proposed compromise, and stated that he felt the zone change could be approved whereas the site review information was very thin at this stage.
Kencairn stated that there was a need to conditionalize the zone change upon the approval of the intended use.
Morris stated that he could support approval of the application with staff to work out details.
Briggs indicated that Fields’ proposed decoupling made a lot of sense. She recognized that the commissioners were familiar with Medinger’s track record, but she stated that she would still like to see more details.
Kistler stated that he liked project; he questioned whether a sidewalk through the park connecting to another sidewalk would resolve the pedestrian facilities issue. He added that he was okay with the city working out the details at the staff level as most of the issues were primarily civil engineering. Kistler concluded that he would like to require that affordable units remain that way for perpetuity because the application involved a zone change.
Chapman stated that affordable units were greatly needed within the city, but he added that he gets defensive with an applicant bringing forth their application subject to their time constraints. He emphasized that he would not allow his decision to be swayed by government funding cycles. He added that the application needed to be weighed against the city’s ultimate goals, and he stated that as such he could approve the zone change and let the application come back for site review. Chapman confirmed that condition #7 would come back with the site review.
McLaughlin recommended a vote on the zone change and then a vote on continuing the site review to come back at a later date.
Fields/Kistler m/s to approve the zone change proposed in Planning Action #2002-062. Discussion: Swales asked whether the motion should be linked to the future approval of the proposed project. Fields and Kistler indicated their intent that the approval of the zone change be conditioned upon the future approval of the affordable senior housing project proposed in the application. Roll call vote: Morris, Briggs, Chapman, Swales, Fields, Amarotico, Kistler and Kencairn, YES. Motion passed.
McLaughlin questioned whether the commissioners wished to further discuss the site review. He added that it could either be continued to a future date or there could be further discussion and a vote.
Fields/Briggs m/s to continue consideration of the site review application to a future date to allow the applicant to address the concerns raised in the discussion. Roll call vote: Briggs, Chapman, Swales, Fields, and Amarotico, YES. Morris, Kistler and Kencairn, NO. Motion passed 5-3.
Staff indicated that they would work with the applicant to address the 120-day rule.
McLaughlin clarified that if the proposal fell through, some sort of enforcement action would be needed to keep the units affordable or there would need to be a request from the applicant for a modification of their approval.
TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2002-084 is a request for an Ordinance modifying Chapter 18.16 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, allowing accessory residential units as a Conditional Use in the RR-.5 zone.
Kencairn moved to extend the meeting to 10:15 p.m. The motion was seconded and passed by unanimous consent.
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts- None.
McLaughlin noted that there had been a number of study sessions on this issue, and requests from property owners. He clarified that the areas in question were primarily steeper areas in the hills, and he added that they were intentionally left out of the ordinance in the past because the half-acre zoning was intended to limit density as these areas were more remote and applicants were less likely to walk or bike to their destination. He emphasized that some of the points raised by property owners are compelling from their benefits. He indicated that the allowance of accessory units in the R-1 was successful, and he stated that he would propose a few changes here to prevent accessory units on lands that were over 25% slope, and to require fire sprinklers and improved streets for these accessory units. He also stated that there would be no on-street parking credits. McLaughlin stated that staff recommend approval.
At Briggs suggestion, McLaughlin noted that staff could add the same language in WR zones as well as the RR zones, and then send the item to council. McLaughlin added that the WR zones were usually more restricted. Briggs asked that the WR zones be included as well.
Briggs questioned the wording of item #5 relative to accessory units being attached to the primary dwelling, and she stated that she felt some clarification was needed. McLaughlin stated that this would allow an accessory unit in a basement or by converting a bedroom if the applicant could comply with design standards and locational requirements. He stated that units simply would not be allowed if the applicant were disturbing a new area. Briggs reiterated the need to clarify this wording. Briggs also questioned whether people were converting existing homes to accessory units and then building larger houses as a primary residence. McLaughlin stated that this was potentially possible, and he added that he knew of it being done once on Peachey Road. Briggs asked if there was a need for wording to address these concerns. McLaughlin asked whether others felt this was needed, and there was general agreement to make this more clear in item #5.
Briggs asked how others felt about adding the WR zone as well. Amarotico agreed with Briggs.
McLaughlin stated that with commission approval, the WR zone could be added as well and the item forwarded to council.
Fields questioned whether a conditional use permit would have site specific requirements that allow commission review or discretion to address items such as driveway slope. McLaughlin confirmed that the discretion was still there under the conditional use permit process to address site specific conditions.
McLaughlin confirmed for Morris that the lots involved would typically be 2-5 acres depending on the slope.
Swales expressed concern with the potential for creating servants’ quarters for huge mansions. McLaughlin stated that he did not believe there was a way to regulate who could live in the units.
Kistler asked whether sprinklers were required in the wildfire zones; McLaughlin stated that sprinklers are not required now, but they could be under the Conditional Use Permit process. McLaughlin clarified that sprinklers could not be required in the primary structure.
Public hearing opened at 10:06 p.m.
Karen Darling/490 Strawberry Lane/Darling noted that she had submitted information included in the commissioners’ packets, and she read a statement from Thomas Heuman/585 Orchard Street that was also in the packet addressing the years of advocacy for this action and Heuman’s hope to create an accessory unit on his property to allow for on-site care to address personal health situations. Heuman’s letter asked for accelerated passage of the ordinance, and Darling added that she would like to request accelerated passage as well.
Public hearing closed at 10:08 p.m.
Staff Response- None.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman asked whether commissioners wanted to include the WR zone.
Kencairn/Amarotico m/s to approve Planning Action #2002-084 with the inclusion of the WR zone. Discussion: Morris indicated that he was opposed to accessory units in the WR zone. Fields stated that he did not see a problem given the review involved in getting a conditional use permit. Fields added that the city might catch some of the units that are bootlegged anyway. Morris stated that he was not sure that this was sufficient reason to change the ordinance. McLaughlin noted that this would involve a very small number of units, given the slopes involved. McLaughlin stated that most of these lots are large and have difficult access. Roll call vote: Briggs, Chapman, Swales, Fields, Amarotico,
Kistler, and Kencairn, YES. Morris, NO. Motion passed 7-1.
TYPE III PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2002-085 is a request for an Ordinance modifying Chapter 18.52 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, regarding concrete and asphalt batch or mixing plants.
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts- None.
McLaughlin noted that this item was simply removing concrete and asphalt batch plants from the list of outright permitted uses, and he added that this would make it possible to grant conditions and exercise discretion in their approval. He added that this item was initiated by council action at the request of neighbors of the Croman site. McLaughlin added that staff felt this item to be appropriate.
Kistler stated that he felt neighbors would come out against any application and make getting approval difficult. McLaughlin emphasized that the proposed change leaves the door open to these uses, although he recognized that these applications would be controversial. McLaughlin added that there were two parcels in town that would work for this use, and he pointed out that they might be needed in an emergency.
Public hearing opened at 10:17 p.m.
No speakers came forward.
Public hearing closed at 10:17 p.m.
Staff Response - None.
Rebuttal - None.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman/Swales m/s to approve Planning Action #2002-085. Roll call vote: Morris, Briggs, Chapman, Swales, Fields, Amarotico, Kistler and Kencairn, YES. Motion passed.
McLaughlin stated that the commission does not normally hold study sessions in July, and he noted that he would be out of town for the typical study session date. None of the members indicated an interest in scheduling a study session for July.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:17 p.m.