ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
JULY 8, 2003
CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order by Chair Russ Chapman at 7:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Dave Dotterrer, Mike Morris, Ray Kistler, Cameron Hanson, Colin Swales, Marilyn Briggs, John Fields and Kerry KenCairn. Staff present were John McLaughlin, Bill Molnar, Mark Knox, Maria Harris, Brandon Goldman and Sue Yates.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS:
The minutes of the June 10, 2003 Regular Meeting were approved.
The Findings for PA2003-047 (Rogue Place near the railroad tracks, Russ Dale) were approved. The Findings for PA2003-040 (1271 Ashland Street, Mobil Station) were approved.
ERIC NAVICKAS, 711 Faith Avenue, noted the Planning Commission has allowed three variances for allowing buildings to exceed the floor-area ratio in the Railroad District. There is a real opportunity through the variances to the FAR to allow exceptions if they include affordable housing or we allow a large public space in that area. Unfortunately, there are no incentives to create public space by doing affordable housing.
BRYAN HOLLEY, 324 Liberty Street, complimented Russ Dale for providing affordable housing in his most recent upcoming project on Clay Street. He challenged the rest of the development community to see what Dale has done and see if they could duplicate this in any other large projects.
TYPE II PUBLIC ACTIONS:
PLANNING ACTION 2003-052
REQUEST FOR OUTLINE/FINAL PLAN AND SITE REVIEW APPROVAL FOR A SIX-UNIT, MULTI-FAMILY DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION. THE APPLICATION INCLUDES A VARIANCE TO THE REAR YARD SETBACK REQUIREMENT AS WELL AS A VARIANCE TO THE MINIMUM DISTANCE REQUIRED BETWEEN BUILDINGS.
55 CALIFORNIA STREET
APPLICANT: NEIL STEWART
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.
The Staff Report outlines the history of the application. Knox reported the applicant is proposing to subdivide the parcel into seven parcels and construct five new common wall condominium units. The existing duplex will be retained on its own parcel. There is an existing driveway on the north side of the property. The applicant is proposing to close that driveway and will use the shared driveway to the south.
The applicant is requesting two Variances to the Site Design Standards. One Variance is a setback Variance to the rear yard. The rear yard is not a very usable space for the tenants and they are proposing to orient the buildings where the rear yard faces the park, creating a much more usable yard area. They are proposing no fencing, but the yard area will open up to Garfield Park. The second Variance is for a distance between buildings of ten and one-half feet. The small house has an old addition that is used as a utility room that could be removed in order to meet the requirement, however, the tenants like having a utility room. The room now acts as a visual buffer from the interior space to the outside space. The applicant could attach the buildings, but Staff believes it is better to have some separation between buildings.
The property has a number of trees. The sycamore tree in the rear will be saved. There is a large 30-inch cedar tree adjacent to the driveway. It was always planned that a sidewalk would extend along that side of the drive, meandering around the tree. Condition 6 addresses the cedar tree. In the event the tree might possibly be impacted, the Planning Commission can request the sidewalk be installed along the north side of the property. Knox said there is already a sidewalk on the other side of the driveway that should meet the need for pedestrian movements on and off site. The area of separation between the old house and the new building would be an ideal location for an access point to the north.
Add to the end of Condition 15: "All recommendations noted in the arborist's letter be incorporated into the project development".
The applicant has handed out a one-page response addressing the concerns of the neighbors that include tree removal, adequate landscape requirement, driveway access and fire access.
Knox noted the applicant is requesting an exception to the Street Standards parkrow design. At the front of the property, should the various shrubs and trees be allowed to be retained and the sidewalk installed next to the curb? Or, should the shrubs be removed and a five-foot sidewalk with seven-foot parkrow be installed? The Tree Commission is supporting the applicant's request. Staff would prefer removal of the shrubs and installation of a sidewalk and parkrow. The parkrow is consistent with the design that has been created on the rest of the street.
Swales wondered if there is anything inherently wrong with the requirement for distance between buildings. McLaughlin said the purpose of the ordinance was for large buildings. We are seeing relatively small buildings now in multi-family. Staff is looking at bringing an amendment of the ordinance to the Commission that is based on the size or number of units.
NEIL STEWART said the Variance to the setback would limit them to four units that would be larger and more expensive. He planted the trees in front a long time ago. The laurels can be trimmed to chest height. Everyone he talks with likes the hedge. He would prefer an interesting, meandering sidewalk instead of a sidewalk that ends abruptly..
KenCairn said that though mulberry trees are beautiful, they are not approved street trees. Even though she likes sidewalks next to curbs, there are so many kids on California Street, she would rather have the sidewalk separated by the parkrow.
Briggs favored removing the sagging utility room, allowing pedestrian space in between buildings for a sidewalk. Stewart responded that the result of removal of the utility room would mean relocating the hot water heater and recycling area, and eliminating the laundry sink. He believes the utility room is important and should be retained.
BRYAN HOLLEY, 324 Liberty Street, is representing the Tree Commission. The Tree Commission is supportive, in general of meandering sidewalks throughout town. The Tree Commission likes to support applicants who like to preserve trees. The applicant has said he will try to do everything he can to try to protect the mulberries and black locusts and laurel during any kind of sidewalk construction, regardless of where the sidewalk will go.
WILLIAM HEIMANN, 59 California Street, said he favors the meandering sidewalk, believing it will add to the ambience of the neighborhood and the value of the property. He would not favor taking out the trees for a parkrow and sidewalk. Heimann has concerns during construction. He wants to make sure the current residents have access and emergency access. Entrance to the driveway is a problem now and he would like to see the curb marked yellow. Sight distance is a problem. He likes the idea of the sidewalk between the existing house and the new units. He has some concerns about public access from the park through the development because of the increased opportunity for crime. He would suggest a gate system.
Stewart plans to store building materials in the parking lot area but he will not encroach upon the 22-foot turnaround. He does not want heavy machinery moving up and down the driveway. They will be using the driveway on the other side.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Chapman noted the additional wording to Condition 15.
KenCairn supports the distance between buildings and the retention of the utility room on the existing duplex. There is no reason to make a passageway larger. She believes the Variance is appropriate.
Chapman does not object to sidewalks meandering around significant approved trees, but would we be setting a bad precedent by allowing a sidewalk to meander around plantings not allowed by the City? Hanson noted the planting pre-dated the approved street tree list.
Dotterrer believes the sidewalk on the south side is enough. He does not believe there needs to be another one. What is gained by having access between units to the park when someone can walk about 20 more feet on a public sidewalk and get into the park?
Knox said the walkway would extend either between the house and the new building or along the north side.
KenCairn wondered about deciding against an alternate walk. McLaughlin said it could be considered internal to the project.
Dotterrer doesn't think the project needs another sidewalk. Why should we take the space between Lots 1 and 2 with sidewalk?
By not requiring a sidewalk on the cedar tree side of the drive, KenCairn said, all of the pedestrian traffic will come from California onto the development. A sidewalk would give an access point to the park from California Street.
Swales would like to see the sidewalk moved. With five units, there should be some kind of paved pedestrian access from the front doors to the street without having to cross the parking lot or the driveway shared by ten units. He would like to see a sidewalk meander to the north of the cedar tree, if possible.
Chapman believes Condition 6 should be left as it is.
Hanson moved to approve PA2003-052 with the changes to Condition 15 as stated above and leaving Condition 3 and 6 as they are. Swales seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
PLANNING ACTION 2003-068
REQUEST FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT TO OPERATE THE LITHIA FARMERS MARKET, A 40-BOOTH OUTDOOR MARKET WITHIN THE "SKATING RINK" PARKING LOT ADJOINING WINBURN WAY ON TUESDAYS FROM 7:30 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M. THE 25 PARKING SPACES WITHIN THE "SKATING RINK" LOT WILL BE UNAVAILABLE DURING THE MARKET'S HOURS OF OPERATION. IN ADDITION, THE MARKET REQUESTS THAT VENDORS BE PERMITTED TO UTILIZE 20 PARKING SPACES ALONG WINBURN WAY DURING THE PERIOD OF TIME THE MARKET IS OPEN. APPLICANT: JANET BOUCHER
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all. Swales communicated with Staff about parking issues in general. Swales' letter was distributed to the Commissioners.
Harris said the Commissioners need to pay particular attention to Conditional Use Permit Criteria 3 when making a decision on this request. The Commissioners need to evaluate the impacts compared to the target or allowed uses in the zone. Is there an adverse impact caused to the public parking compared to allowed uses in the zone? Staff has provided some statistics about the impact of the proposal. The applicants are requesting use of about one-third of the parking spaces in the Lithia Park area. Staff believes this is a significant impact. The market is looking at using the parking during a peak time (11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) when 80 percent of the parking is occupied. The park is a prime parking area. It attracts visitors to the downtown as well as downtown employees that use the unlimited parking. There is significant impact from lunch, dinner and theater traffic. Parking is a resource.
If the Commission wishes to approve the application, Staff asked if the Commission would ask if the applicant would consider operating on Monday. The Oregon Shakespeare Theater and some of the downtown business don't operate on Monday. There are no specific statistics for Monday parking, but it appears to be used less than other days of the week. Staff has suggested six Conditions. Six letters were submitted opposing the proposal.
Swales asked if we are looking at this application compared to the target
use of the zone - two houses on that lot, or are we looking at it with regard
to parking. McLaughlin said Staff is recommending the Commission look at
the application as compared to a park's use. The Council has asked Staff
to come up with a zoning classification for public facilities. Swales said
the skating rink's current use is questionable whether it is serving the
general public or whether it is an all-day parking lot for downtown employees.
Harris also noted that the 46 spaces requested by the applicant do not account for customers of the market.
JANET BOUCHER said most cities consider the parking impact minor when taking into account the valuable economic advantage to the business community. She handed out economic statistics provided by Oregon State University Extension Services over the last five years in Oregon. The findings indicate 49 percent of market shoppers also shop outside the market at neighboring businesses, spending an average of $18,400 per month. The parking impact is minimized by the fact market hours overlap most business hours by about three hours, one day a week on Tuesday. Tuesday is historically a low sale day. She felt the downtown employees could use parking they would use in the winter. She was agreeable to meeting the Conditions of approval. Any event that encourages people to walk around who want to spend money and time is going to create a positive business atmosphere for permanent business and market vendors.
Chapman has reservations about this application. He referred to Tom Foster's remarks. Foster said, by using the park, it denies the park of its use. There is a very minimal overlap area.
KenCairn believes having the market in the downtown is great. However, Monday is a slow day for our downtown. Could they consider switching to Monday? Boucher said Tuesday is the second slowest shopping day. The community is accustomed to Tuesday. It is very difficult for farmers to participate in a market on Monday. Sunday is their family day or a day set aside for religious reasons.
GRIFF WILDER, 2140 South Stage Road, Medford, OR 97501, favors locating the market in Lithia Park. He is a small grower and believes competition is good for having two markets. It did not matter which day of the week the market occurred, but he did not believe one day a week would create a terrible impact.
JOHN TANNACI, 14431 Old Westside Road, Grenada, CA, said it is more convenient as a farmer to bring the goods to the customers. They are used to Tuesdays. It would decrease traffic by locating in neighborhoods. He believes the Planning Commission should decide if it is favorable to have a market downtown.
ERIC NAVICKAS, 711 Faith Avenue, said it is unfortunate that the downtown is a tourist destination. This market can promote integration. Parking should be the lesser priority. In Portland, where parking is not the highest priority, they removed a parking structure and added Pioneer Square. It is one of the most viable places in Portland.
RYAN NAVICKAS, 711 Faith Avenue, is a grower. He is speaking for customers. The market is for Ashlander's, not tourists. It fits in our pedestrian oriented community and encourages pedestrian traffic. In is on a bus line. He realizes parking is a big issue, but the benefits would far outweigh the loss of parking. Ashlander's will find places to park and he believes this would be good for downtown businesses.
Swales asked Navickas how he has been affected by going from the church property on Hersey to the armory on East Main? How would the Monday market work for him?
Navickas said their customers will always follow them wherever they go. They are doing okay at the armory. Having the market on Monday is a serious issue. Many of the farmers are Christians or rely on Mexican laborers and many of them keep Sunday as a holy day.
MARK POUND, 33 North Central, Suite 416, Medford, OR 97501, said he is the interim manager of the Rogue Valley Growers Market Association. They have been getting tremendous community support at the armory location. He questions whether the market would draw people to the downtown and whether there could be a loss of parking and revenue to the retailers. He is supportive of unifying the two markets. He would encourage the Commission to vote "no" until they are provided with more information.
MARCUS SCOTT, 202 Roy Street, Talent, OR 97540, said there is already an existing farmer's market. He said the market has been through a difficult year. Their location at the armory is centrally located. There is a lot of parking. They have about 70 vendors - about the same number they had at the church location. He would encourage the other vendors to come back. He asked for denial of the application to help them unite their organization.
PAM HAMMOND, 632 Walnut Street, owner of Paddington Station and board member of Ashland Chamber of Commerce read the letter from the Chamber of Commerce (part of the record) opposing the CUP for the Farmers Market in Lithia Park.
Boucher said it seemed parking is the biggest issue and she would reference points she made earlier and look at the benefit of having the market in the downtown.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Briggs said the park use is what we have to consider. It has been historic that the park has not been used for commercial events. She would rather not break that tradition.
Swales agreed with Briggs. He noted the merchants have paid for parking in the downtown. He believes the problem is employees parking in the parking lot all day downtown. The applicant has not provided findings to justify approving a CUP showing the market would not cause an impact.
Chapman said he opposes this application not just in defense of parking for downtown employees but for those who just want to use the park.
Kistler said the park is a community benefit but a farmer's market is at least something downtown that is a draw for the residents of Ashland.
KenCairn would love to see the Hargadine parking lot area used for the farmer's market, just not in the park location.
Dotterrer moved to deny Planning Action 2003-068. Briggs seconded the motion and it carried with Kistler casting a "no" vote.
PLANNING ACTION 2003-069
REQUEST FOR OUTLINE AND FINAL PLAN APPROVAL FOR A THREE-LOT DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION FOR THE PROPERTIES LOCATED ADJACENT TO AND WEST OF OAK STREET. THE APPLICATION ALSO INCLUDES A SOLAR WAIVER TO ALLOW FOR THE MIDDLE PARCEL 2 TO SHADE PARCEL 1 IN EXCESS OF THAT ALLOWED BY ORDINANCE.
APPLICANT: ROBERT SCHAFFER/ANITA HIRSCH/CAROLE WHEELDON/DAVID BEAUDOIN
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all. Fields stepped down as he in an affected property owner. (Fields left the meeting.)
Goldman said the three lots proposed for the rear of the property all exceed minimum lot size. All contain a significant amount of land in the 100 year floodplain. The rear parcels will be accessed by a private drive. The applicants propose a 9.75 percent grade with the fire truck turnaround reaching 14 percent. The existing shop on Parcel 3 will be demolished. Staff said the application meets the requirements for a three-lot subdivision served by a private drive.
The applicant is also requesting a solar waiver to allow the home on the center parcel to cast a shadow into Parcel 1. Staff supports the solar waiver. The application states they will include residential sprinkler systems in each of the homes. There will be no alteration of the native vegetation in the riparian area. The significant trees will be preserved. Staff has recommended approval of the action with 18 attached Conditions. Condition 15 should be modified. Instead of "...removed prior to signature of the final survey plat", it should state "...remove prior to issuance of a building permit for Parcel 3".
CAROLE WHEELDON concurs with Staff's comments. The fire truck turnaround ended up where it is because of the grade. Most of the entire length of the drive is at natural grade and very little is going on with cut and fill. They kept it close to Lot 2800 because of the trees.
JACK BLACKBURN, 805 Oak Street, expressed his frustration that the Planning Commission doesn't seem to have much control about how long it takes to end up with a finished home. He would like to see the Planning Commission set limits.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Hanson moved to approve Planning Action 2003-069 with the attached Conditions and modification of Condition 15. Swales seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.
PLANNING ACTION 2003-073
REQUEST FOR OUTLINE PLAN APPROVAL FOR AN APPROXIMATELY 16-LOT SUBDIVISION UNDER THE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS OPTION FOR THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 905 N MOUNTAIN AVENUE, WITHIN THE NORTH MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN AREA.
APPLICANT: MEDINGER CONSTRUCTION
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Site visits were made by all.
Molnar said this is about a two acre parcel directly south of the Meadowbrook subdivision approved a couple of months ago. There is a residence on the property and some smaller out buildings. This application for a 16-lot subdivision follows the North Mountain Plan. The request is to extend the street running north and south through the property as well as the alley systems.
It involves three distinct areas on the parcel. The far eastern portion of the property is the neighborhood commercial area. The applicant will be coming in at a later date for a site review of the commercial buildings. Plum Ridge will extend to the north. The central portion of the project is the higher density residential area in the North Mountain Plan. The third area is six single-family residential tax lots. The only trees on the site are around the existing residences. The trees will stay there until a future date for the commercial mixed use. The only common area proposed is in the middle between the town homes. The project falls within the approved density. The only issue would be timing of public facilities to serve this project. Staff is recommending approval of the application.
Dotterrer asked the purpose of Condition 6. Molnar said it refers to a sewage pump station that gathers sewage and pumps it across Bear Creek. The applicant's findings state there should be adequate capacity, but it is uncertain whether or not upgrading is needed.
Swales wondered, with regard to Condition 17, if it is acceptable to approve with no possible turnaround in the event the project to the south doesn't materialize.
Dave Hard, Fire Marshall, said they would have to complete at least a 16-foot wide lane and the alley in the rear would have to be completed or otherwise the townhouse units (A-I) would not meet the fire code.
LARRY MEDINGER, 115 Fork Street, said he would check the capacity of the sewage pump station. With regard to Condition 7, he has made an agreement with Meadowbrook and will help pay to make the detention pond a little bigger. He would like a recommendation from the Commission that a one-person 350-500 square foot apartment pay an appropriate share of the local improvement district for the bridge.
The project will be phased. It is too preliminary to build any commercial. They are not planning to do North Mountain frontage improvements until the property to the north is developing.
Briggs asked if the existing house to be moved would be going along with the college houses that are being moved. Medinger said he hoped it would go to the Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation and that they could find a home for it.
Molnar said with regard to frontage improvements on North Mountain, Staff does not have a problem modifying Condition 12 that the improvements either occur at the time Meadowbrook constructs or at the time the commercial building receives site review approval. With regard to Condition 7, the water quality detention system is not a problem if it is tied into the system to the north.
COMMISSIONERS' DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Swales moved to approve PA2003-073 with the modified Conditions above. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
Chapman asked for volunteers for the monthly Planning Commission drop-in "chats". Swales and Dotterrer volunteered.
Hanson will be absent for the August meeting.
There will be no Study Session in July.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
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