Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

MAY 13, 2003

Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Mike Morris, Kerry KenCairn, Colin Swales, Cameron Hanson, John Fields, Dave Dotterrer, Ray Kistler and Marilyn Briggs. Staff present included John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Maria Harris, and Derek Severson.

Fields/Hanson m/s to approve the minutes from the April 8, 2003 hearings board meeting with an amendment to page 3, where Chapman had asked Swales to exempt himself from the item if it came before the full commission. The minutes were approved as amended.

Kencairn/Hanson m/s to approve the minutes from the April 8, 2003 regular meeting. The minutes were approved as presented.

Fields/Kistler m/s to approve the minutes from the April 22, 2003 hearings board meeting. The minutes were approved as presented.

Fields/Kistler m/s to approve the findings for the Stott applications, PA #2003-023 & PA #2003-025. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Fields/Kistler m/s to approve the findings for the Van Vleck, PA #2003-018. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Swales/Kencairn m/s to approve the findings for the Webster Street SOU application, PA #2003-032. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Michael Donovan/110 Westwood Street distributed the Ashland Woodland Trails Association (AWTA) newsletter to commissioners along with an announcement of the upcoming National Trails Day events. He explained the background of the AWTA organization, and discussed its vision to create a necklace of trails and open space around Ashland. He pointed out that they raise money and seek grants to this end, and that they are working to build partnerships. He discussed several current grants, and asked all interested to join the AWTA in Lithia Park on Saturday for National Trails Day.

Chapman read an explanation of land use public hearings for audience members unfamiliar with the process.


Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Dotterer noted that he had made a site visit since the last discussion of this development, and he added that he had not attended the previous meeting. Kistler noted that he had a conflict of interest and exited the meeting.

Senior Planner Bill Molnar presented the staff report. He stated that this meeting was a continuation of the original hearing held March 11th and he recognized the amount of information involved. Molnar added that he would not be restating items from the previous hearing, but that he would be addressing some of the finer details of the current proposal.

Molnar explained that one issue that had come up previously had to do with solar access. He went on to note that the original application had asked for a large scale waiver of the city's solar ordinance for this development. He reported that both staff and the commission were concerned with granting that level of waiver and as such they had asked for additional submittals more in keeping with the city's solar ordinance. Molnar added that Dick Wanderscheid, director of the city's Electric Department had since submitted a memo underlining the importance of preserving solar access.

Molnar presented a color-coded site plan in order to clarify applicants' current request. He explained that they were proposing three scenarios: 1) lots with right-of-way, including alleys, to the north would comply with city solar access standards for class B lots; 2) single family, detached homes, with an east-west orientation, away from Greenway Drive and having a narrow north-south dimension would shadow no more than four feet high on the south facing wall of homes to the north AND would be allowed north facing upper story dormers that would be exempt from this shadowing requirement along a maximum of thirty percent of their east-west dimension; 3) townhomes and attached houses, where separated, would be considered class B lots and allowed a sixteen foot shadow height. Molnar suggested that with fifteen to nineteen feet between units, the actual shadowing would likely be in the nine to twelve foot range. Molnar discussed the severe, west facing slopes as a difficulty in meeting solar ordinance requirements as the western edge of a building winds up well above natural grade.

Dotterer questioned how much effect a dormer had on shadow height, and Molnar responded that it could shade windows if they were directly aligned. Dotterer questioned why city has two solar standards in the form of A and B lots. Molnar explained that when the solar ordinance was adopted, there was an understanding that there are a variety of lots in Ashland, and a stricter solar standard would render some of these lots, such as those with a narrow north-south dimension or those with a north slope, un-buildable. He added that the hillsides that are all around the city would render many more lots unbuildable.

Chapman asked whether a variance was being requested. Molnar clarified that because this proposal is part of an outline plan submittal, the applicants are allowed to request what amounts to solar performance standards. He explained that this allows for more leeway in the siting of buildings, and he stated that while in a sense it amounts to a variance, it serves to allow the applicant more flexibility. Molnar stated that the main concern from staff's perspective is with the exemption for upper level dormers as the staff does not feel that there is an adequate justification in the applicants' submittal. Molnar referenced page three of the staff report which cites approximate house sizes of one thousand fifty to thirty one hundred square feet based on current city solar standards, and he noted that the applicant proposes to allow an increase to sixteen hundred to thirty five hundred square feet and with the additional allowance for dormers to seventeen hundred to thirty six hundred fifty square feet. Molnar suggested that staff finds the allowance of a 4' shadow with a sixteen hundred to thirty four hundred square foot house size to be satisfactory, and he reiterated that the allowance for dormers is not recommended. Molnar further explained that this would still allow for second story living space although it would likely need to be south facing. Molnar recognized that there were topography issues for the red areas on the site plan to justify the use of solar standard B, especially given the higher density allowed under this zoning. He suggested that there needed to be a balance between design and the envisioned density, and he clarified that some relaxation of the solar standards was needed. He emphasized that without specific design details from the applicant, staff had to rely on their own estimates.

Hanson asked to what percentage of the maximum density this development was being built, and Molnar discussed the density allowed given the presence of three zoning overlays over sixteen acres. He explained that there were 5.71 acres with a base density of twelve units per acre, 1.44 acres zoned for 5 units per acre, and 4.24 acres envisioned for 3.6 units per acre. He went on to note that the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan (NMNP) states that proposed density must fall between seventy five and one hundred ten percent of the base density. He pointed out that the base density here, between the three overlays, allows for ninety one units, and he added that this means the proposal is at eighty seven percent, well within the allowed range. Molnar also reported that 2.3 acres within the development are zoned neighborhood commercial with a base density of twenty units per acre, but he clarified that the neighborhood commercial zone is not bound by a minimum density. He explained that those 2.3 acres could go to 46.2 units, and he emphasized that the applicant is only proposing thirteen units here. Molnar also pointed out that if the commercial uses were converted to residential, there would still be only twenty four units where the zoning would allow for forty six.

Swales asked for clarification that no density was being taken from the flood plain area. Molnar stated that while the application included discussion of some density transfer between overlays, none of these transfers were out of the flood plain. Molnar pointed to 1.4 acres slated for an R-1-5 density of seven to eight units while the applicant proposes twelve units, which is more than one hundred ten percent. He emphasized that staff was looking for the overall planned density of the development here, and he recognized that this area is flatter and easier to build.

Briggs asked whether staff's unit calculations were based on one dwelling unit per lot. She pointed out that the applicant was requesting accessory residential units to be associated with some of the residences. Molnar stated he believed he had included these in the calculations, and he added that in either case the proposal is within the allowable density allowance. Molnar clarified for Briggs that the thirteen units above the commercial spaces are not subject to density standards, whereas the seventy nine residential units fall within the standard. McLaughlin emphasized that the applicant could propose one hundred thirty seven units with the forty six commercial and ninety one residential. Molnar reiterated that there was no transfer for the floodplain area, and McLaughlin pointed out that accessory units are not included within base density calculations as the city's intent is to encourage accessory residential units.

Molnar discussed some grading concerns with the neighboring development. He noted that the staff proposes a condition thirteen that at the final plan stage, the grading plan will be submitted to ensure appropriate transitions for the extension of streets to the south. He added that staff feels they will have an idea of how the development to the south will be laid out by that time.

Molnar raised the issue of potential wetlands on the site, and he discussed one potential wetland area at the northeast corner of the site. He noted that the proposal has three streets penetrating that wetland, and he added that this would likely trigger a Division of State Lands (DSL) permit. Molnar added that rather than trying to preserve a smaller area between these three streets, staff feels it is more appropriate to mitigate their removal offsite within the floodplain in the water quality detention area for storm water run-off. Molnar stated that this detail is shown on the utility/storm water layout in the large, spiral-bound packet from the March meeting.

Molnar noted the requirement that natural features such as trees and wetlands must be identified and incorporated into the development. He stated that the applicant had identified this wetland and would incorporate it into the open space at the floodplain. Molnar stated that a wetlands ecologist employed by the applicant has found that the site in question is not a significant wildlife habitat, does not serve a role in flood control, and does not preserve water quality. Molnar concluded that the commission can condition approval on the applicant receiving the appropriate state permits or can make the finding to require that the applicant incorporate this wetland into the project where it was originally located. Molnar noted that this would have consequences to the street layout.

Molnar discussed the five hundred fifty foot section of Nevada Street that is proposed as unimproved street, and he added that this creates a concern for staff given the size of the development. He reiterated this concern, and stated that it was especially important without a traffic study from the applicant. He noted that dust control was also an issue. He pointed out that fire and other emergency vehicle access could be another concern given the amount of development occurring. Molnar reported that staff was therefore recommending a condition twenty six to require that this section of Nevada Street be paved from Greenway Drive to North Mountain Avenue. Molnar pointed out that staff has discussed this issue with the applicants, and he noted that the applicants may be eligible for systems development charge credits given that the Transportation Systems Plan includes this section of Nevada Street and proposes upsizing it to collector status. Molnar explained that he had discussed this matter with the Public Works Director and the Director of Community Development, and the consensus was that the main concern is with getting this section paved. Molnar clarified that at this point, the question was to decide whether this section should be paved, not when or how that could be accomplished.

Molnar noted that since the March meeting, a neighboring property owner Kelly Quinn has submitted a proposal for an alternate street layout. Molnar stated that this was on a legal-sized sheet in the packets, and he pointed out that Quinn had been involved in the NMNP process. Molnar stated that Quinn's concerns came out in response to the Nevada Street relationship. Molnar explained that staff finds this proposal to be more consistent with the adopted plan and that it would not require the proposed major plan amendment. He suggested that staff had felt it was worthy of being presented to generate a response from the applicant.

Molnar recapped the major points he had cited: solar, grading, the wetlands, and the street improvements to Nevada Street. He added that based on the March meeting, he felt the solar issue might be the major point of discussion. Molnar concluded that staff has prepared twenty seven suggested conditions, and he added that a twenty eighth might be needed to address revised solar guidelines.

Chapman raised the issue of Mat Mar's question about the percentage of open space proposed in the plan as two percent versus the required five percent. Molnar noted that in the NMNP the increased density was offset by floodplain donations to develop the greenway and all other open space required was identified in the NMNP. He emphasized that staff feels that the project complies with the NMNP's identified open space. He added that staff had not given the applicants any suggestion that five percent open space was required.

With regard to the Nevada Street bridge issue, Molnar suggested that property owners would sign in favor of a local improvement district (LID) for the bridge. He recognized that the applicants were opposed to this required condition eight. Molnar reported that staff did not have problem with the removal of this condition, and he noted that if the city council felt an LID was needed it would likely extend well beyond the area of this development. He clarified that the intention behind the improvement would be to reduce congestion from Oak Street and the North Mountain Avenue area, and he recognized that it would be challenging to identify all of those who were benefited. Chapman clarified that the issue before the commission is to decide whether commissioners feel requiring a signature in favor of an LID is appropriate.

Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshall Dave Hard stated that his understanding of the bridge issue had changed since the March meeting. He went on to explain that the bridge had been scheduled for construction in 2008, but that it had since been bumped out to 2009 as a part of the budget process. Hard added that he had spoken to the Public Works Director and been told that the bridge construction could well be moved out as far as 2011 due to budget issues. He stated that most of the bridge costs would be paid out of SDCs, and he pointed out that the city is not hopeful about receiving an ODOT grant given that this bridge is not major relative to the ODOT system in Ashland. Hard suggested that the options are: 1) to live with the possibility of bridge construction being delayed until 2011; or 2) to find another way to address the issue here. Hard stated that he could live with a five year construction timeline for the bridge assuming that the development would be built out in three years, but he emphasized that budgetary concerns could push the bridge five years past full build out of the development. He added that during that time, there would very likely be other developments in the area. Hard recommended that the Planning Commission require a specific deadline to require participation in the LID or require that the developer build the bridge in exchange for SDC credits. He stated that at this point, he would suggest setting a deadline on the bridge at 2008.

Swales asked if it would help to require fire sprinklers in all residences. Hard responded that it would limit some demand for fire vehicle response time, but he emphasized that the bridge would be a secondary access and that sprinklers would delay fire spread. He pointed out that residential sprinklers do not address attics or exteriors and that sprinklering would not control fires outside of living areas. He restated that residential sprinklers would help, but he added that they would not address concerns for emergency medical service vehicle response needs. He emphasized that North Mountain Avenue is the primary access and it falls well within the response time needs for this development.

Fields asked to clarify the details of how SDC credits would work relative to building the bridge. McLaughlin clarified that cost recovery would be through SDCs for other projects, as well, city wide.

Bob Foster/Agent for Applicant, 431 Ash Street, Medford, OR 97504 and Kevin Nering/535 Ridge Way, Central Point, OR 97520

Foster noted that he was present along with the owner, civil engineer, and attorney. He stated that they had prepared several exhibits on the issues, but they felt that Molnar had done a stellar job in explaining the issues and as such they felt it might be better to address the staff's proposed conditions systematically. Foster directed commissioners to the conditions beginning on page eight of twelve in the staff report.

Foster stated that the applicants were agreeable to the first condition, and would work with the Tree Commission to identify appropriate street tree species as required in the second condition. He stated that the applicant would be consistent with city requirements for naming streets as required in the third condition.

Relative to the fourth condition, Foster recognized that there had been some concern expressed at the March meeting with the proposal for PVC fencing. He responded that the applicants found that chain link fencing with slats would be more appropriate for the construction boundary and he stated that this fencing would be removed at an appropriate time. He emphasized that the applicants were not trying to cordon off the development but simply to screen construction. He added that all fencing would be removed at an appropriate time as adjacent development occurred. He clarified that some fencing might be retained for front yards, but that construction fencing would be removed as adjacent improvements occur.

Foster stated that the applicants were in agreement with the fifth and sixth conditions. He went on to note that while the applicant could accept the seventh condition, it specifies a twenty two foot width and curbs on both sides whereas the twenty sixth condition requires twenty two to twenty four foot travel lanes at the top of page twelve. He stated that the applicants would like to have this clarified. He explained that the present right of way is sixty feet, which consists of ten feet for sidewalks, twenty four feet of driving surface, twelve feet of bike lanes, and fourteen feet of planting strips along the street. He suggested that if the right of way requirements are to change the applicants need to know. McLaughlin clarified that the street width would be twenty four feet and staff would clarify this in the seventh condition.

Foster requested that the eighth condition addressing the bridge be removed, and he elaborated that this bridge would be a city-wide facility. He pointed out that other nearby developments were not held to this requirement. He stated that this condition would not stop the project if it were not removed, but he stated that it would create an item on each parcel's deed and could cost an additional $30,000 per house. He emphasized that this would greatly affect sales without affecting any other developers. He added that an LID would affect the existing neighbors.

Foster agreed that the developer would provide a draft copy of the CC&R's as required in condition nine, and he stated that the developer could accept the street tree spacing identified in the tenth condition. He added that the applicant could accept the easement and plat requirements of the eleventh condition.

Foster discussed the twelfth condition which addresses street standards, and explained that they saw some problem here as they were looking at special designs which would be narrowed due to the presence of hillsides in order to get into severe slope areas without stacking the houses. He suggested that the condition could read as it is except at the end of the first sentence, where he would add "or as indicated on plans submitted." He emphasized that the applicant would conform to the NMNP and city standards or the subdivision plan as submitted. Staff responded that they would prefer to identify the specific streets involved and make specific note of those for consideration at the final plan stage.

Foster stated that the thirteenth condition was acceptable. Briggs asked for information on the neighboring development. Foster stated that the same engineer was working on both projects. Briggs stated that she would like to see this confirmed in writing for the record. Briggs added that she would like an agreement from the south property owner relative to the property lines. Foster responded that there are still some issues around the boundary lines.

Foster questioned the fourteenth condition relative to boulevard level improvements to North Mountain Avenue. He asked if the staff was requiring that the applicant to finish both sides of street to full standard. Do not show any curbside parking on plans given proximity to E Nevada. Have only shown 1 space on Nevada/Mountain. Molnar noted that Fair Oaks at Mountain Meadows was shown with crosswalks and was simply formalizing that. Applicant reiterated only 1 parking space here. Would like rewrite to clarify

Foster stated that the applicants had no problem with condition fifteen, relative to Fire Department requirements, and he agreed to condition sixteen as well.

Foster explained that no street-fronting garages were proposed where there were alleys, and as such he agreed to condition seventeen. He also agreed to condition eighteen and nineteen, and he stated that the applicants would include a statement in the CC&R's as required in condition twenty. He accepted the requirement for site review on attached housing and mixed use units as noted in condition twenty one, and the requirement for a physical and environmental constraints permit as required in condition twenty two.

Foster discussed condition twenty three, and the "Hollywood driveways" issue, as well as the proposed Quinn alternative.

Foster accepted condition twenty four, and agreed to redo the design for unit sixty nine/lot sixty four in number twenty five. He accepted conditions twenty six and twenty seven, and he discussed condition twenty eight. He noted that the applicants would agree with a four foot shadow on the building wall to the north and a B-standard on attached housing, and he added that the applicants would like to include the dormers proposed. He pointed out that they have not completed design work yet, and suggested that some compromise might be acceptable. He reiterated that the applicants would like dormers at the very least for the units on Greenway Drive.

Kencairn questioned the sixteen foot shadow allowance. Molnar noted that his estimate of an eight to twelve foot shadow as based on a sixteen foot fence on a flat property line. Kencairn asked whether this was less of an issue than the dormers. Molnar explained that it was due to the west-facing slopes. He noted that the focus of this aspect of the applicants' submittal was on the Greenway Drive properties. Foster added that it only occurs in three places.

Nering pointed out that the applicants could simple attach the whole block, but he added that they would like to have open spaces between units. He explained that this spreading apart of the units necessitated the solar standard B. Nering discussed topography as trimming to the west and the north, and he stated that some areas may have fallen under the B standard anyway.

Swales questioned the street orientation. Foster responded that this was necessitated by the slope, as it isn't possible to build directly down the slope without switchbacks. He noted that he had tested and tried to match the NMNP, but the access did not work. He also stated that the park is a key feature in the plan, and he noted that the Quinn submittal eliminates this park. He reiterated that in the applicants' proposal, it is a one hundred fifty by fifty foot, very significant feature.

Briggs asked if units fourteen through seventeen could have been aligned east-west with no solar issues, and twenty one and twenty two put side-by-side, east to west and rotated ninety degrees so that there would be no solar issue even with a larger house. Nering responded that they had needed to face homes to Greenway Drive as the most prominent street. Briggs suggested that the end houses could wrap-around to ease the solar issues. Briggs asked about a tear drop shaped island and questioned whether it could be narrower to give more room around lots in the area of number twenty one and twenty two. Foster stated that they would love to have done this, but he added that this was counter to the requirements of the NMNP and he felt it was a major element.

McLaughlin pointed out that removal of the island would be a modification of the NMNP; he agreed that the island is a rare feature, but he noted that it is a shame that features like this are not designed more as it adds more to creating a sense of place and may balance the solar modifications. He suggested that the island is a greater advantage than the potential room gained by narrowing it.

Briggs suggested that the applicant could have reduced the number of lots from five to four at units twenty one to twenty five, and gained wider lots. Foster stated that the applicants were trying to follow the NMNP. He agreed with Briggs that this was an option, but he suggested that greater density was needed in order to preserve the urban growth boundary. He added that they could also have proposed bigger backyards without alleys, but he explained that the alleys were a feature of the NMNP.

Nering presented information relative to the dormer proposal. He suggested that the proposed dormers improve the architecture and give the homes a more balanced feeling. He also stated that they are a great benefit to the smaller homes, and he added that the thirty percent proposal was the minimum needed to make the dormers usable space on the smallest homes.

Swales suggested that the cost of a thirty six hundred square foot unit might be counter to the applicants' hope to appeal to a larger cross section of the market. Nering agreed that fifteen hundred square is more appropriate for most buyers, with the thirty four to thirty five hundred square foot units aimed more to the upper end of the market.

Chapman questioned how the applicant would respond to a 2008 requirement for a Nevada Street bridge. Foster stated that the applicants would have a problem if they were required to build the bridge by 2008, and he added that he was not sure what the response of the citizenry would be to the formation of a local improvement district (LID). Chapman responded that it was not up to the planning commission to decide who would pay for what, or when, but he emphasized that the Fire Department's need for a bridge had to be addressed.

Hanson suggested that the bridge was not up to the developer. Dotterer suggested that condition eight could be removed and the bridge issue left up to an LID. Chapman questioned whether the application included traffic counts, and Foster responded that the application relied on the traffic figured in the NMNP. McLaughlin added that the proposed development would not be moving North Mountain Avenue beyond its capacity, but he noted that the traffic study had assumed there would be a bridge or the use of Eagle Mill Road. Chapman stated that this commission could only pass on the recommendation to council to accelerate the bridge's priority in the capital improvement plan (CIP). McLaughlin stated that this could not be made as a binding condition on the applicant. He added that staff's concern would be with a five-year build out of the development with no bridge, there would be no way to enforce a future bridge requirement and owners could not be asked to vacate. Chapman stated that the bridge was an essential piece that needed to be installed in a timely manner. McLaughlin suggested that this might be better as a discussion point after completion of the public hearing. He added that if the bridge was seen as a key point, then the application should not be allowed to go further without addressing it. He stated that the commissioners might also see the existence of two access points and the CIP timing and make the decision that the bridge installation would only be a matter of time.

Kencairn questioned the placement of the bio-swale in the floodplain, and she asked for some additional square footage to mitigate the removal of the wetland. She stated that while she would like to see more done here, she had no problem with the condition as written.

Lee Bowman/554 Mountain Meadows Drive discussed the condition relative to street lighting as a concern, because the electroleres used in the past have proven a poor choice. He stated that these lights throw light everywhere except where it is wanted, and he suggested that the city look to finding a better standard. He also suggested that the architecture of the commercial center and clock tower are a concern. He explained that the plans isolate these buildings from others in the area, and he added that they are difficult to see relative to the grading of North Mountain Avenue or the Mountain Meadows buildings across the street. He suggested that the context is important, and that they need to better relate to their surroundings.

Larry McKennon/863 Plum Ridge Drive explained that the intersection of North Mountain and Fair Oaks has an impact on the residents of Mountain Meadows. He pointed out that the forty five units on the west side generate pedestrian traffic to the clubhouse. McKennon stated that a pedestrian in the crosswalk cannot see the roof line of a car approaching from the south, and he suggested that the impact on the intersection necessitates the continuation of the west side sidewalk to the crossing; he also suggested a three- or four-way stop to break up traffic and further minimize the impact of increased traffic. He added that he would like to see these changes prior to the construction project beginning.

At Chapman's request, McLaughlin identified the area McKennon was talking about on the map and indicated how the sidewalks discussed related to the project. McLaughlin added that there is a new street lighting standard that is night sky friendly and that should address Bowman's concerns.

Rita Free/920 Mountain Meadows Drive stated that she would like to give her time to the next speaker.

Carlton R. Merrifield/987 Golden Aspen Questioned bridge and how costs would be distributed among Ashland citizens. Specifically, when would assessments begin? MAC If LID formed would assess after improvements. Mayerfield asked if any discussion of clock tower. Chapman will be discussed. A number of residents feel it will be inappropriate to the area, aesthetically.

Molnar added that the discussion tonight is to subdivide property; other structures commercial & attached will be given further site review.

Georgia LaLande/918 Mountain Meadows Circle stated that she was not prepared to fund new roads.

Fran Tolson/904 Mountain Meadows Circle stated that she was opposed to this project being built

F. Shirley Arnold/735 Meadowlark Way noted her objection to the city requiring North Mountain residents to pay more to use North Mountain, when they have already paid their share. She suggested that having to pay twice was unfair.

Mary Lou Killeen/838 Pavilion Place questioned how Mountain Meadows would benefit from the creation of a local improvement district.

Catherine V. Hayes/750 River Rock Road emphasized that she did not want to be taxed again.

Viola M. Gahr/917 Mountain Meadows Drive indicated that she was not in favor of this application.

S.P. Arnold/735 Meadowlark expressed objections to the building of the road here.

Charlotte Rising/621 Nepenthe stated that she has lived in Ashland for thirteen years, and for the last five years has been a North Mountain neighborhood resident. She emphasized that she was eighty years old with limited income, and that she had already paid for North Mountain improvements. She suggested that the developer of this new project should pay for all costs and pass them on to new residents as was done in the first North Mountain project.

Rickie Dines/969 Golden Aspen opposition to North Mountain property owners being assessed for a new bridge.

Walt Bergstrom/919 Mountain Meadows Circle expressed his concern with the assessment of a local improvement district on North Mountain neighborhood residents.

Judith Craig/859 Stony Point distributed a petition from NM residents and cited the three main issues addressed therein: 1) the clock tower, which is out of character with the community and makes the entry very commercial; 2) the bridge, which neighbors agree should be done as soon as possible for emergency access and to ease traffic, but which they feel should be paid for entirely by the applicants; and 3) the fact that the North Mountain neighborhood residents feel they have already paid their share for access to North Mountain, and that the bridge is needed because of this new project.

Hanson questioned whether anyone besides the developer would be considered under a local improvement district (LID). McLaughlin responded that if an LID were formed, a district would be formed by those benefited in the area. He clarified that this would probably include the North Mountain neighborhood and properties backed by Hersey and Mountain. McLaughlin emphasized that the decision to form an LID was ultimately up to the council and was not an issue on the table tonight. Swales clarified that proposed condition before commissioners tonight would be for properties within this development to sign in favor of a future LID. Hanson added that in the Capital Improvement Plan, the LID is not a factor for putting in the bridge. McLaughlin added that the LID would be a way to accelerate the bridge installation with additional funding. Swales asked whether a percentage of those benefited need to sign in favor of the LID. McLaughlin responded that the council can form a district even if there is strong opposition.

Gideon Wizansky/777 North Mountain Avenue pointed out that it seems that the need for a bridge would only be accelerated by this new development and as such the developer should pay the cost. He also asked why the city has solar requirements if they are not to be followed. He suggested that if there were fewer units, they would be able to abide by existing rules.

Thomas Pelzel/710 River Rock Road stated that he was a new resident and he did not know why the community would assume an additional assessment when they have already paid their share. He suggested that all expenses should fall to the developer as the North Mountain neighbors do not benefit and it is the new development which necessitates the bridge.

Mat Marr/955 North Mountain Avenue stated that he had one issue to discuss, made up of four components. Marr thanked his neighbors for their comments, and thanked the commission for taking the time to thoughtfully consider the issues. He discussed the density issue, stating that the initial staff report mentioned seventy to one hundred units and now staff has changed that to seventy nine units for the development. He emphasized that the applicants have the flexibility to change density, and that they could go nine units less and be within requirements. Marr suggested that both staff and citizens have had to make assumptions as there was not enough information in the application relative to the wetlands. He cited a letter he had submitted that included a drawing proposing the road as running parallel to Nevada Street and Fair Oaks, snaking downhill, turning the units to meet solar requirements, putting more space between the units, preserving the units, and gaining open space in the project. Marr questioned the staff assumption that the applicant did not five percent open space. He suggested that the NMNP identifies specific open space areas but does not exempt the applicant from the requirement. He pointed out that one area of green space on the applicants' plan is in fact a parking lot, and he suggested that the applicant should make up this open space elsewhere or fall back to the five percent requirement. He emphasized that the applicants cannot have it both ways by claiming that the NMNP requires the breaking of some rules while asking to be exempted from others. He stated that the issue becomes whether the proposal represents good changes to the plan. He added that the plan requires the protection of natural areas, and here the wetlands are only significant feature and must be preserved. Marr stated that the wetland is a seep and the road bend is from a rock formation which pushes water underground to emerge in a miniature creek. He emphasized that there only a few wetlands here and they must be protected. He noted that freeway run-off and springs also contribute to the wetland. Marr stated the wetland serves as an important filter of the freeway runoff and is the beginning of bio-swales. He concluded that the biodiversity inherent in this wetland cannot be evicted.

McLaughlin concurred that the plan calls for significant natural features to be incorporated, and he suggested that the issue is whether this feature is significant or if its removal could be mitigated through improvements in the floodplain area.

Marr noted that the state's requirements and the NMNP are separate requirements, both of which must be met. He also stated that Quinn's proposal would link the neighborhood and flow into a park in a more comfortable and livable way.

Fire Marshall Dave Hard suggested that the one way to guarantee the bridge's installation would be through funding, and he added that if the developer were required to pay a portion of the cost it would likely solidify the project's place in the CIP and accelerate its priority. Hard stated that if there were an additional charge of $5,000 per lot, it would generate $400,000 as an example. He noted that $10,000 per lot would approach one third of the cost of the project. He concluded that he would suggest making the applicant financially responsible to some degree.

[Five minute intermission until 9:50 p.m.]

Edrel Jaime/2283 Annett's Way, Medford stated that he was a student of planning and that he was confused at how a developer could be required to pay for a bridge that is not a primary access to the development. He questioned how this burden could be placed on a developer.

McLaughlin explained that this is all part of the process of determining if the development has adequate transportation. He added that this was a decision partly up to this commission and partly up to the city council.

Public hearing closed 9:53 p.m.

Foster stated that there request for removal of condition 8 was to remove the LID requirement on this development; he explained that he found this to be a citywide issue rather than one limited to this development. He noted that this development is for sixteen acres, versus eighty six for Mountain Meadows. He added that if the critical issue was one of public safety, he did not know how the financing could be worked out. He reiterated that he was in favor of the bridge does not know how can work out financing. He suggested that if an LID is desired, it is up to the commission and staff to decide how it would be put in place. Chapman clarified that establishing an LID would be a council decision.

Foster stated that the streetlights installed would be to city standards. He noted that the clock tower proposed was to create a landmark focal point for the green space, and he added that the applicants would respond to design concerns during architectural review. He pointed out that the development was designed with the Mountain Meadows development in mind. He stated that colors and textures of materials would be discussed in the design review stage.

Foster went on to note that the intersection discussed in McKennon's comments was something they want to improve to invite Mountain Meadows residents to the commercial spaces. He suggested that improvements could be made, including a temporary sidewalk extension during construction to encourage pedestrian traffic. He stated that stop signs should be left up to traffic engineers but he agreed that they might be appropriate. He agreed to the idea of a sidewalk extension and crosswalk.

Foster discussed the wetland issue relative to Marr's comments. He stated that he felt that there was no issue with the density calculations, as the applicants' numbers have matched city staff calculations three times. He reiterated that he had seen no variation. He suggested that the wetland affects density, and he explained that the applicants are trying to develop according to the NMNP and they feel that there may be a need for a trade off to the Bear Creek corridor. He emphasized that the wetland being discussed is a ditch off of East Nevada Street, and that to save it would cut off street connections to East Nevada while preventing improvements to East Nevada. He stated that mitigation off of Bear Creek would be more appropriate.

Kencairn pointed out that the applicants cannot go into the floodplain anyway, or trade off density using floodplain areas. She added that while this wetland is odd, it is a natural feature and there are ways to allow interaction. She suggested that a squashed culvert with its terminus to a bio-swale would be appropriate. Kencairn stated that she was inclined to look at saving the wetland, possibly with a culvert and a sidewalk at the curb.

Foster recognized that this could be made a condition if other commissioners agreed. Nering stated that this would impact the development of Nevada Street. He discussed the impact on Nevada Street, and the need to transition with curbs and et cetera. He stated that preserving the wetland would certainly impact this. Dotterer asked if lots 64, 40 and 41 could somehow be used to mitigate this issue. Kencairn suggested that the origin in groundwater and springs makes this special and a significant feature.

Swales/Briggs m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Briggs questioned the area identified as open space on the applicants' map which Marr had suggested was a parking lot. Nering explained that the area would eventually include a half-street improvement at forty feet. He noted that there was some additional open space around the octagonal building. McLaughlin identified the wetlands on the map, and indicated where the road was shown as stubbed in as it was in the original NMNP. Briggs questioned whether there was enough open space, and McLaughlin responded that the application follows the requirements of the NMNP.

Chapman suggested that the discussion begin with condition 8 relative to the bridge. He explained that whether or not property owners sign in favor of an LID, the decision to form the LID is ultimately up to the council. Hanson stated that he would like this condition to be removed, as the LID had not been formed and when it was, other areas would likely be involved. Chapman suggested that the Fire Marshall pass on his concerns to the city council. Dotterer agreed with Hanson that this condition should be removed and the decision left to council. Fields stated that there has been a general policy to incorporate this issue into planning approvals as a way to warn future owners. He suggested that as long as the city has LIDs, there should be some warning to future property owners. Kencairn agreed with Fields, and she noted that all projects seem to have some level of LID involved and she felt better in providing a heads up. She suggested that this condition would take some of the heat off of the council. Chapman stated that it is still an unknown whether there would even be an LID. Fields suggested acknowledging the possibility and placing the condition on all further or future developments in the area. Hanson noted that the NMNP encompassed Mountain Meadows and other areas. Kencairn noted that more developments are coming. Chapman asked if all future applications should have to identify necessary future improvements. Chapman asked if this project amounted to a hanging cul-de-sac. Fields emphasized that the bridge was going to be needed. Chapman questioned whether there should just be a note that at some future point a funding mechanism for the bridge will be enacted. Fields stated that the sign in favor agreement is the standard mechanism in place to do that. Dotterer stated that he was uncomfortable with that, even if it is how things have been done in the past. He reiterated that he would like to remove condition #8.

Briggs asked Fields and Kencairn how to keep water from the original wetland area. Kencairn explained that it can simply be piped away. Briggs emphasized that she would like to keep natural features in place, but she noted that there were no drawings of how to get water from the original site to the new bio-swale. Kencairn stated her feeling that the wetland was a natural element that should be preserved, and she suggested that it would be a positive element within the development. She recognized that it would be more efficient to relocate the wetland, but she added that this would be a loss. Fields pointed out that wetlands are always unwanted where they occur naturally and that this is why millions of acres of wetlands have been lost. He noted that the wetland, if preserved, would grow trees, attract wildlife, and provide water for both, whereas if piped away the water would be lost in the sand. He suggested that unless the Division of State Lands says that this wetland was not here one hundred years ago, he feels it is an actual advantage to the project and merits modification of the building envelopes. He recognized that this may come down to the nine lots that take the project to its minimum density and address the solar issue. He noted that the commercial units may offset this, and added that it may provide maximum benefit by balancing against the residential issues. He concluded that he was not convinced that the wetland could not be preserved.

Chapman stated that he would like to see a design solution. Briggs added that a condition may be needed to require preservation. Dotterer noted that the preserved wetland might not be in its pristine form. Kencairn responded that it was necessary to preserve the character of the wetland, and the water source. Fields noted that mitigation would require some improvement. Hanson questioned how the slope would come into play. Kencairn stated that this is part of what makes this wetland rare, and she added that it could be moved, widened and directed under the road. Briggs asked for a straw vote on keeping the wetland by preserving its character with enhancements and mitigation efforts. There was general consensus to this end, and it was suggested that the applicants may need to modify the sidewalk behind the curb to allow space for the wetland.

Kencairn/Chapman m/s to extend the meeting to 11:00 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Chapman questioned whether the solar issue was only a concern with the dormers. Fields stated that it was not, and he questioned whether the commission wanted attached housing. He asked staff what was intended in the NMNP. He added that prior to abandoning the intent of the plan, he would like to look at the standard B section. He questioned whether there was some way to offset units to share solar gains by staggering them. He also questioned whether a good design might be found for attached housing, such as some East Coast-designed row houses. He reiterated that he would like to look at how the buildings relate to one another, and to see an effort made to orient the buildings with the solar ordinance in mind.

Hanson asked why the applicants could not just meet the existing standard. Fields noted that this push the application down to the minimum density. He added that he was unsure of how to address the solar issue, short of granting a blanket waiver to allow shadowing to four feet above floor levels. He pointed out that it was unclear if the variances being sought were flowing from design efforts to maximize solar access.

Dotterer asked whether it amounted to a variance to simply grant a B standard to all lots. McLaughlin explained that the application was asking for increased flexibility to build taller units on lots that fall under the A standard. He added that the applicants were requesting this consideration based on the NMNP design, the desired density, lot layouts, topography, and an underlying design already prescribed without looking at solar issues. He reiterated that the applicants were asking for the flexibility to meet the NMNP design. He added that the process being conducted here allows for this, but as part of that process commissioners must agree that it is in the city's best interest to allow different solar standards. McLaughlin went on to clarify that there is some conflict between ordinances and the goal is to find a balance for maximum benefit to all. He emphasized that the decisions made will affect lot layout and density. Fields stated that he would be much more comfortable if there was more detail on building envelopes, designs and shadowing. Kencairn offered to accept a variance to shadow only garage walls.

Briggs asked about the request to allow dormers. She stated that she would like to start with this issue before moving on to look at others. She stated that she liked smaller houses along the creek and that she could accept a four foot shadow allowance on the walls. She noted that she would like to begin by looking at the "orange zones" of the request, and to eliminate the accessory units over garages. She clarified that this would address only the areas identified as orange, and would allow no dormers, no gables, and no accessory units. There was general consensus here to allow four foot shadowing and to disallow dormers in the orange areas only.

Fields asked if the commission could craft something that would work for the applicant. He added that the attached houses could be dealt with in the site review application. Fields noted that the degree of variance might only create an issue for one month of solar access annually, but Kencairn added that solar access for the use of solar power was at issue as well. Kencairn pointed out that the one month of solar access at issue was the one month when it would be most needed.

Dotterer stated that he was now looking at units 38-41 and 45-54 on Mountain View Court. Kencairn noted that the commission could condition approval on solar gain. Hanson concurred. Kencairn suggested that a B standard be allowed in red zones if some solar gain was provided. Fields noted that if the solar request was denied, it could result in all attached housing with no control of the design. He questioned whether detached housing with limited solar was better than smaller homes or attached housing. He emphasized that it was difficult to design in commission. Kencairn asked whether it would be appropriate to ask for a percentage of solar gain. Dotterer stated that only seven homes were at issue here, and he added that some would be oriented or connected so as not to be impacted. He identified the lots as numbers 39, 40, 41, 42 and 47, 51, and 53 off of Fair Oaks. He reiterated that in any case there were only a handful of lots where solar was at issue, and he noted that the effort is being made to gain density on the slope. He suggested that this was why standard B was created. He emphasized the need for flexibility to find balance.

Fields suggested that the options were to down-zone the area to grant space, or to meet the density in aggregate for the development. He indicated that the density might well be in the wrong place in the plan.

Kencairn and Hanson suggested looking for a percentage of solar gain and allowing the applicant to meet solar that way. Fields asked whether it would work to simply allow shadowing to four feet above finished floors here, too.

Fields noted that the applicants could relocate density or lessen the total lots by nine units. Staff confirmed for Fields that the applicants are given ten percent latitude between outline plan and final plan for density. Fields suggested that the required density would not work on these steep slopes, and he stated that the final plan density could be lessened to meet requirements.

Briggs and Swales stated that they favored allowing shadowing to four feet above finished floor. Swales stated that he was opposed to variances.

McLaughlin suggested that the commissioners look at whether a motion could be reached or whether a continuance was necessary. Briggs suggested that members could vote now if solar was allowed at a four foot shadow above finished floor for the entire project as a condition 28, and a condition 29 to require altering the design to accommodate the wetland, and keeping condition 8 relative to the LID. She reiterated that condition 8 should remain, solar should be at a standard of four feet shadowing above finished floor, and the wetlands should be incorporated into the project design. She suggested that other issues could be addressed at site review.

Kencairn/Swales m/s to approve the application, with: a) condition 8 retained requiring owners to sign in favor of a future local improvement district for the bridge; b) solar requirements modified to allow shadowing to four feet above the finished floor level of shadowed units throughout the development; c) the incorporation of the existing wetlands into the final design; and d) other issues to be addressed through the site review process. Roll call vote: Morris, Kencairn, Chapman, Swales, Fields, Dotterer, Hanson, and Briggs, YES with Kistler abstaining. Motion passed.

PLANNING ACTION 2003-047 is a request for modification of a previously approved Outline Plan, involving a reduction in the total number of lots from 13 to seven for the property located southeast of Rogue Place and north of the railroad tracks. The application includes Final Plan approval for a seven-lot subdivision under the Performance Standards Option and a Physical Constraints Review Permit to allow development within the regulated area adjoining an identified drainage way (i.e. floodplain corridor lands). Comprehensive Plan Designation: Employment; Zoning: E-1; Assessor's Map #: 39 1E 09 AB; Tax Lots: 6400 and 6401.

This item was continued to the next meeting (June 10, 2003) and commissioners were advised to retain their packet information for that meeting.

McLaughlin noted that the May 27, 2003 study session would be to discuss the issue of a maximum house size ordinance.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m.

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