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Agendas and Minutes

Historic Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Agenda
Wednesday, October 02, 2002

ASHLAND HISTORIC COMMISSION
Minutes
October 2nd, 2002

CALL TO ORDER

At 7:05 p.m., Vice chairperson Keith Chambers called the meeting to order at the Community Center. In addition to Chambers, members present were Joan Steele, Tom Giordano, Rob Saladoff, Jay Leighton, Terry Skibby and Joanne Krippaehne. Also present were Associate Planner Mark Knox and Clerk Derek Severson. Members Dale Shostrom and Gary Foll were unable to attend the meeting.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Steele moved and Giordano seconded to approve the September 4, 2002 minutes as presented. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.

PUBLIC FORUM

Alan Sandler/1260 Prospect explained that he was seeking input regarding the appearance of the A Street Marketplace. He stated that the tenants are pleased with the space, but that there had been some complaints regarding the exterior. He noted that some feel it appears to be too rundown, and he would thus like to somehow upgrade it while keeping the overall look and feeling. He recognized that this is a major space, and that changes would have an important impact on the area. Sandler went on to suggest that he would like to clean and color the exterior the concrete, and then seal it, followed by adding more decorative touches including plants and some public art. Sandler added that the complaints have implied that the exterior is too raw, and he would like to have the commission start to consider the possibilities for discussion at a future meeting.

Skibby stated that he likes the old look, and he would not want to destroy that. Sandler responded that he wants something more from the outside so that it is not such an old, crumbling factory. He cited Standing Stone as an example of successfully upgrading old concrete.

Leighton questioned the previous discussion of signage where it was stated that the signs would have some continuity. Sandler stated that this was difficult with fourteen different tenants wanting their own signs.

Steele suggested that one issue had to do with the severe contrast between the older concrete's color and that of the newer, brightly colored construction. She also suggested that a plaque explaining the history of the structure might be in order. Sandler responded that drivers rarely read plaques.

Leighton inquired as to whether Sandler had any specific artists in mind for the public art he was proposing.

Skibby suggested that Sandler look at the restoration done with the Peerless.

Sandler asked that this discussion be scheduled on a future agenda.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Planning Action 2002-106
Site Review & Front Yard Setback Variance
916 East Main Street
Ron DeLuca

The public hearing opened at 7:12 p.m.

Giordano noted that he was involved with the project and needed to remove himself from the discussion. He exited.

Knox presented the staff report. He noted that plans were displayed for the commissioners, and he explained the location and the site's history. He pointed out that the site was 9,769 square feet in an R-2 zone, which allows 3 units. He added that by providing affordable units and conservation density bonuses, the applicant was able to increase the base density to 4.07 units. Knox noted that the proposal required two variances, one for the front yard setbacks (10 feet for the porch and 15 for the house) and one for the separation between buildings (which should be 18 1/2 feet but was proposed at 8 feet).

Knox stated that the front yard setback variance was likely not required as the pattern of the adjacent properties was consistent with the applicant's proposal. He also explained that staff had proposed the separate buildings in response to the applicant's initial proposal for one 4-unit building. Staff felt that the separate buildings would break up the streetscape and better suit the context of the neighborhood.

Knox went on to explain that the neighborhood average for building separations is around 11 feet, and he cited newer developments such as Clay Creek Gardens where the separations are nearer to 8 feet. He stated that there was a great streetscape here and noted that staff was supportive of the requested variances.

Knox explained that staff's biggest concern was with the main unit's pediment volume, which is 15 feet from the street. Knox suggested that this is too massive for the context, and he hoped for some direction from the commission to reduce this volume. Knox noted that pony walls might be a solution.

Leighton questioned why several neighbors had called this item up to a public hearing. Knox noted that one of the main concerns cited was with parking, and he emphasized that the applicant was meeting parking requirements. Leighton questioned the parking situation with the alley, and Knox responded that the neighbors parking within the alley right-of-way was illegal. He recognized that use of the alley was important. Chambers agreed that the alley congestion was a concern, but he stated that he was not sure if it was at issue here.

Skibby asked how the alley was being impacted; Knox responded that the alley would be widened at the parking area and there would not be a repeat of the illegal alley encroachment created here. Knox noted that the illegal parking within the alley right-of-way could result in citations being issued.

Rick Vezie/208 Oak Street #204/Agent for the Applicant cited his familiarity with this project since early 2000. He explained that he had performed the preliminary planning on the project prior to Giordano's signing on to do the final design. Vezie emphasized the difficulty with getting an accurate perspective from a two-dimensional drawing. He explained that the mass that Knox was concerned with would be less of an issue when seen in a three-dimensional context, as the porch would break up the mass in the side elevation.

Vezie provided a photo looking east to the nearby apartment, and he cited the greater mass as an appropriate step down from the apartment to the corner. He emphasized that this design addressed the apartments' proximity well, and he suggested that it would be difficult to accomplish with a single-story as this would make the apartment appear more massive. He stated that the mass here screened the neighboring residences from the apartment, and he reiterated that the front elevation did not do justice to the design in the context of the site.

Vezie noted that the use of knee walls would reduce the usable floor area, and he suggested that dropping the roof would intrude upon the floor plan. He reiterated that the porch projection addresses the mass well while allowing the structure to screen the apartment.

Vezie discussed both variances from an aerial photo, and suggested that both variances benefit the streetscape. Vezie also discussed the history of setbacks in residential zones, and noted that the proximity of homes to the street along B Street add to the sense of it being a neighborhood. He stated that on the site being discussed, there is more to consider because of the bulk and scale involved. He suggested that he would like to see some discretion in the ordinance, and he pointed out that the single-story unit's mass lessens the feeling of proximity. He stated that he felt this to be less of a historic issue than one of appearance, and he noted that the design did a good job of mitigating the proximity.

Vezie discussed the neighbors' requests for this hearing. He noted that the alley makes sense both for access and for parking. He pointed out that the alley was currently gravel, but would be paved to 16 feet thereby better defining its width. He also stated that the back-up dimensions required would widen it further. Vezie emphasized that the design meets the requirements of the ordinance, and he also pointed out that the ordinance provides a limit on the extra parking that can be provided.

At Leighton's request, project landscape architect Kerry Kencairn, of Kencairn Environmental Designs/545 A Street, Suite #3, explained that grass-crete might soften the feeling of the parking lot/alley paving, but she noted that it would look ragged and require a significant amount of maintenance. She suggested that grass-crete was better suited to non-residential lots, and she noted that the maintenance required makes it a resource-depleting solution.

Vezie concluded that he is critical by nature, but he emphasized that he was impressed with this design which he found to be both appropriate to the historical context with the mass scaled down.

Alan Sandler/1260 Prospect stated that he felt this was a great design, though he was a little concerned with the building proximity as it posed a potential fire hazard and lessened the open space between the units.

The public hearing was closed at 7:45 p.m.

Knox agreed with Vezie's comments, but suggested that a dormer might work to further reduce the massing on the front elevation of the main unit. He emphasized that staff was hesitant to value interior space over the massing on a prominent streetscape.

Skibby suggested that ventilation and window treatment might lessen the amount of blank space; he stated that the windows as they were presented, with a lack of trim details, made the design seem heavier.

Saladoff stated that he found the building to be a good-looking one, but he suggested that the roof pitch could be modified from 7/12 to nearer to 5 1/2 /12. He emphasized that if the setback variance were granted it would make the proposed mass an encroachment on the streetscape. He also suggested that the porch height might be altered to allow for changes to the upper window. Saladoff also questioned the big size difference between the 2 units. Finally, Saladoff questioned whether the street trees proposed would encroach into the yard. Kencairn responded that they would encroach, but the encroachment would occur at 30 feet in height to shade the yard.

Krippaehne concurred that the elevation was really massive, and she questioned if something could be done with the gables to lower the 29-foot height. She suggested that the height could be reduced to match the side roofs.

Chambers agreed that the mass could be reduced, and noted that it would be possible to add interest with a hipped roof. He stated that this might require asymmetrical windows. Chambers pointed out that he has seen a similar project improved this way by the same architect.

Vezie agreed that a band and gable details would further reduce the mass, and he noted that the applicant could also look at roof options. He reiterated that there was a need to screen the mass of the apartments nearby.

Steele suggested that the apartments were less important than the scale of this project on this site. She stated that she was concerned with the size disparity between the two units. She noted that there was a need to adjust the roof pitch in order to make the structures seem more related. Steele stated that she found the second unit to be too high.

Chambers restated his preference for a hipped roof. Saladoff concurred with the need for a hip roof and/or a change in roof pitch.

Vezie noted that the setbacks determined the placement of the buildings on the lot. He suggested that a hip roof with a gable or dormer would reflect the porch and reduce the mass.

Chambers agreed and noted that the applicant could retain the current pitch by using a hipped roof.

Knox suggested that these revisions could be approved by the review board and staff, with the commission accepting the project tonight with the understanding that the would be some re-working of the design in order to mitigate the mass of the second story's front façade. He emphasized the need to let the applicant address this reduction without micro-managing the project.

Chambers summed up discussions, noting that the commission had an issue with the mass of the second story but could accept the space between the unit, the tree removal, and the size of the smaller unit.

Leighton stated that she found the variances to be self-imposed, and that she felt the applicant could get by without the variance if they were not trying to build 4 units.

There was discussion of how affordable housing income requirements would be monitored on the affordable units if the project were later converted to condominiums. Knox explained the city's affordable housing requirements.

Leighton reiterated that while the project may fit city requirements, the variances were self-imposed. She added that she likes the overall design.

Steele moved and Skibby seconded to approve this planning action with the proviso that the two-story unit be redesigned to lessen its bulk and bring it into scale by reducing the roof pitch or using a hipped roof to address the mass and scale. Voice vote: Chambers, Steele, Saladoff, Skibby and Krippaehne, YES. Leighton, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Planning Action 2002-115
Site Review and Conditional Use Permit
340 Oak Street
A Street Marketplace LLC

Assistant Planner Brandon Goldman presented the staff report, and he noted that the conditional use permit requested was for the conversion of the open-air area into a theater, nightclub or bar. He explained that all of these uses require a conditional use in this zone due to their potential impact on the neighborhood.

Goldman added that staff has evaluated the application based on the area remaining open, and it could be used as such unless something arose to require closure. Goldman noted that the applicant has discussed the possibility of enclosing the space with either galvanized metal or c.m.u. block. Goldman pointed out that the block seemed to be the preferred option because of the desire for sound mitigation, and because the metal could create glare.

Goldman noted that the issue of the enclosure by itself would only require a few considerations, and he stated that the parking was already accounted for. He added that the only issue with the enclosure would be the need to relocate the required bicycle parking. He also stated that staff has requested a parking plan be submitted prior to issuing any permits.

Goldman stated that staff was also concerned with the proposed continuous wall without any openings, which he pointed out was counter to the city's Site Design and Use Standards. He noted that at least 20% glazing is required. He stated that this was not addressed in the applicant's submittal, but he added that a previous submittal included the required glazing and would be acceptable. He suggested that if that were not acceptable to the applicant, then a variance would need to be applied for.

Goldman discussed recent changes in the pavilion that had relocated the sidewalk to the outside.

Skibby questioned why the applicant would enclose the space, and Goldman responded that it would facilitate the future conversion to offices. He also explained that if there were openings allowing public access it would make additional signage possible. Goldman noted that there were already doors providing required egress. Goldman concluded that if there were no conditional use permit, there might be no need to enclose the pavilion to reduce noise.

Knox further explained that the requirement for 20% fenestration was to provide pedestrian interest and to reduce massing.

Public hearing opened at 8:17 p.m.

Alan Sandler/1260 Prospect asked for clarification about the windows.

Goldman responded that the windows needed to be pedestrian scaled to add interest. Giordano added that he thought that in a previous meeting with the review board it had seemed that doors broke up the wall more.

Sandler explained that there was an issue with sound, and that this would make doors impossible. He stated that windows would work.

Giordano suggested using artificial doors for the time being. Knox noted that this would be similar to the Mojo building. Knox added that windows would be acceptable, assuming that they were dropped to pedestrian level or additional windows were added.

Chambers emphasized that the issue for this commission was with harmony and historic compatibility, and he suggested that a recommendation against an unbroken wall would be sufficient. Sandler stated that he was agreeable to this and could work with the planning staff to resolve this issue. Knox suggested a conceptual approval with the added condition that the final design be reviewed to ensure that it met the 20% fenestration requirement.

Leighton clarified that the high windows could be left and the applicant allowed to address the 20% requirement. Sandler responded that he could handle it with two additional windows where the doors were shown on the conceptual drawings.

Leighton confirmed that the proposed sand slurry finish would be as much like concrete as possible while remaining distinguishable.

Knox suggested that the applicant might wish to pre-engineer the window spaces to accommodate doors in the future. Sandler responded that he would rather deal with additional costs later than compromise the design now.

There were no speakers wishing to address the commission on this application. The public hearing was closed at 8:30 p.m.

Skibby concurred with Leighton's comments relative to the windows and concrete, and stated that it would be good for the applicant. He suggested that the applicant might want to consider doors to allow for increased signage.

Leighton moved and Krippaehne seconded to approve Planning Action 2002-115 with the addition of conditions that the finish used be c.m.u. block and that 20% fenestration be added as discussed relative to Staff Exhibit A. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

It was clarified that the applicant would need to bring their final design back to the hearings board to verify compliance with these conditions.

Planning Action 2002-113
Site Review and Conditional Use Permit
340 Oak Street
A Street Marketplace LLC

Public hearing opened at 8:33 p.m.

Goldman presented the staff report and noted some recommended modifications on the part of staff. He concluded that staff recommended approval of the conditional use permit application with the addition of conditions to establish event sizes, with small events to be allowed with the marketplace remaining open, and large events requiring the marketplace to closed to address the need for parking. He added that this would maximize the uses based on the parking demand and the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

Steele questioned how this application concerned the Historic Commission. Goldman recognized that the application did not propose modifications of the building and was only a change of use, but he explained that it was a Type II application within a historic district.

Giordano concurred with Steele that this application was beyond the commission's purview. He suggested that the commission simply pass it on to the Planning Commission without further review. Both Chambers and Skibby agreed.

There was discussion that the proposal was compatible. Knox suggested that a decision to approve was more appropriate with some sort of note explaining these feelings to the Planning Commission. Giordano reiterated that he could not say that this application was within the commission's purview.

Skibby moved and Giordano seconded to approve Planning Action 2002-113 as being a compatible use with no historic implications. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed. 

Planning Action 2002-117
Site Review
180 Lithia Way
Archerd and Dresner

Public hearing opened at 8:42 p.m.

Knox presented the staff report, and he noted that the commission had seen this application at last month's meeting. Knox stated that this was a great project as both the applicant and the designer were in tune with the standards and had presented a design fitting of the downtown core.

Knox discussed the proposal to add additional square footage on the ground floor in addition to two more floors, resulting in 4,500 square foot first and second floors and a 3,800 square foot third floor. He stated that the design was a traditional, symmetrical, balanced one with an overall sense of strength. Knox stated that the first floor featured brick veneers, with the second and third floors being plaster with brick midsections. He added that there were two entries, and that retail space was proposed for the front portion of the first floor.

Knox explained that only one variance was proposed, to allow a recessed third floor. He added that this exception to city standards was proposed in order to make the living area on the third floor more enticing which breaking up the third story volume and thus making the building a more compatible fit to the Lithia Way streetscape.

Knox emphasized that staff supported the project, and he added that the exception illustrated in the Site Design and Use Standards booklet was very similar to what was proposed here. He added that the site plan shows four new trees, new sidewalks, and an enclosed drive narrowed to one-way in the exit alley, with seven parking spaces to remain and increased landscaping. He also stated that the applicant would formalize the design with landscaping between the building and the curb, and a widened area near the city parking lot with a sidewalk down the middle connecting to the Key Bank pedestrian easement.

Knox stated that a public plaza was required in the detailed site review zone, and he stated that there was some plaza space here relating to the sidewalk with a sitting wall. He emphasized that the applicant had worked to make this more of an amenity, and he added that staff was proposing conditions to bring out more detail of this plaza design prior to issuance of a building permit.

Knox reiterated that staff was very supportive, and he added that the building was exemplary and a very positive addition to the downtown. Knox clarified for Skibby that the balcony was a courtyard for one of the residential units, and he added that the first floor was proposed as office space and retail, with offices and residential units on the second and third floors. He added that the residences could change uses.

Evan Archerd, Applicant/120 N. Second St. and Jerome White, Architect/253 Third St. White clarified for Steele that he was designing a bathroom for the third floor residence, and he stated that the window design would depend on how the space was used.

Archerd noted that he could not imagine the third floor veranda not being used as a residence, as this use was intended in the design. White added that the second floor also had a deck/balcony for the residential unit, and he added that the variance proposed was to allow the residents a view of Grizzly Peak.

White confirmed for Chambers that there had been no changes in the design since it was presented to this commission last month.

Chambers concurred with staff that this was an attractive and prominent structure with a significant presence on the street.

White noted that the cornice shown, which he noted some commissioners found "heavy-handed" last month, was shown at 16" but would actually be 12", and he clarified that the drawing shown in the commission packets was more recent than the one on display.

Steele stated that she actually preferred the third floor windows asymmetry; White agreed and stated that the window design would come down to the room function. Skibby added that the windows balance the design by providing elements of modernity.

Public hearing closed at 9:00 p.m.

Giordano agreed with the positive assessments of the design.

Skibby stated that the third floor recess did serve to reduce the mass.

Leighton applauded the retaining of one wall of the Gen Kai structure; White responded that it would likely be kept a similar texture but a slightly different color to distinguish it, although this would depend on the condition of the wall.

Saladoff agreed that he liked the asymmetry as an echo of the third floors design, but he stated that he did not like the center element's design as he found it to be reminiscent of Safeway. He emphasized that this was the only element that he did not like. Leighton and Knox concurred.

Giordano suggested that the center element provides a new context. Skibby added that awards have been given to structures with similar centerpieces. Giordano recommended adding a date to the centerpiece. Chambers added that a plaque to recognize the structure's historic past might also be appropriate. White agreed that a plaque might fit well in the stairwell area.

Archerd pointed out that a Mr. Hanby was proprietor of this structure in the 1940's, and he noted that he now resided in a home that was Hanby's as well.

Krippaehne stated that she was troubled by the heavy-handed cornice, but she added that the plans and design were excellent. Chambers stated that he loved the cornice. Krippaehne stated that she liked the asymmetry; Skibby concurred and noted that the downtown plan requires a cornice/cap.

Giordano moved and Steele seconded to approve Planning Action 2002-117 as presented with the recommendation that a historic plaque be added on the ground floor of the tower. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed. 

OLD BUSINESS

Review Board - Following is the October schedule for the Review Board, which meets every Thursday from 3:00 to at least 3:30 p.m. in the Planning Department:

October 3rd

Skibby, Krippaehne and Steele

October 10th

Skibby, Steele and Chambers

October 17th

Skibby and Giordano

October 24th

Skibby, Saladoff and Leighton

There was discussion of changing the date of the Halloween Review Board, with Skibby, Leighton and Saladoff stating that they could attend if the meeting were October 30th.

Project Assignments for Planning Actions

Saladoff agreed to be assigned the A Street Marketplace actions (2002-113 & 115).

Members volunteered Shostrom to be assigned to Archerd's Lithia Way project (2002-117).

Election of Council Liaison

It was clarified that this person would receive agendas and attend council meetings when necessary to address commission concerns with specific projects. It was noted that meeting attendance was rarely required. Saladoff agreed to serve as liaison.

Election of Planning Commission Liaison

Giordano agreed to fill this role.

Discuss meeting date to Invite Todd Sorrenson back

After discussion expressing some concerns but indicating the desire for future discussions of new building materials, Knox suggested that he and Shostrom could discuss the possibility of a fair and open-minded presentation with Sorrenson over lunch.

ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA

It was noted that the new sign on Oak Street across from the old Cantwell's parking lot had been reported to Code Compliance; Skibby provided a photograph for staff reference.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Knox stated he would be attending the upcoming Saturday workshop in Jacksonville, and stated that he could drive anyone who needed transportation.

Leighton discussed the Oregon Cultural Trust (http://www.culturaltrust.org), an Oregon trust to fund historic preservation, the arts and humanities. She explained that the trust gathered and distributed funds in a number of ways, including via a cultural grant, via distribution through other providers, and by matching grants. She emphasized that about $13,000 was available in Jackson County, and that this amount would grow each year. She explained that funds came from donations, the sale of land, and through license plate sales, and would build for ten years and then distribute investment proceeds. She explained the tax benefits available to donors.

Next Meeting Date

November 6th at 4:00 p.m. in the Shakespeare Room of the new Community Development/Engineering Services Building.

ADJOURNMENT

It was the unanimous decision of the Commission to adjourn the meeting at 9:40 p.m.

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