Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

APRIL 27, 2004

Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Commissioners Present: Russ Chapman, Chair
Mike Morris
Dave Dotterrer
Kerry KenCairn
Colin Swales
Marilyn Briggs
Absent Members: John Fields
Ray Kistler
Cameron Hanson
Council Liaison: Alex Amarotico - present
High School Liaison: None
SOU Liaison: None
Staff: John McLaughlin, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Assistant Planner

McLaughlin introduced Derek Severson, recently promoted to Assistant Planner.

Some recent issues have surfaced where some clarification has been needed, primarily dealing with definition.

Swales noted that all the points noted tonight seem to be points that surfaced during the DeBoer hearing. That hearing is still pending with the Findings yet to be approved. Swales is an appellant and he is concerned it will muddy the water.

McLaughlin said it would not affect the DeBoer action because it would be several months before any changes would be effective. Tonight will be an opportunity to see if the Commissioners even want to pursue this. If so, revisions will be made and brought to another study session and then it would go through the ordinance adoption process.

Swales said, considering all the other important things we have to discuss (other housecleaning items), why all of a sudden has this become so urgent? McLaughlin does not find this problematic. These are issues that have come up. They are relatively straightforward revisions. Swales is concerned with his conflict with the DeBoer application.

KenCairn said it is a re-definition rather than a clarification. It was her understanding they were going to look at clarifying what is already in place. Some of the issues came up during DeBoer where it was unclear what the intent was - what does a half-story mean? It follows naturally that it would come up from DeBoer. She does not see where there is any conflict for her.

Chapman asked for those in favor of continuing the meeting. Everyone favored continuing the meeting except Swales who stated he would be more comfortable deferring the discussion.

McLaughlin said it is common among communities to have a definition of one kitchen or cooking facility. A range with a sink or a certain size gas line or 220 electric can constitute a kitchen. Over the years, if people had anything that could look like a separate unit, we have had property owners sign an agreement to prevent a separate unit with a separate kitchen.

Briggs wondered from McLaughlin's memo of 4-27-04, under proposed language, "independent housekeeping unit" if as she ages, needs help and hires a live-in worker, that doesn't necessarily seem like an independent housekeeping unit. A lot of people her age have their divorced children come home to live. McLaughlin said while it may not an independent unit in her instance, the next owner of the property could make it independent. Briggs wondered if that is so terrible if we are trying to have affordable housing. McLaughlin said that is the purpose of the accessory residential unit.

The language proposed may not be ideal language. They will want to look at the occupancy of the household.

Fields said it is tricky. If you have kitchen separated on different levels, you have potentially two separate units. Can you ever pin this down? There are richer people moving here and there are so many people that want wet bars and extra kitchens, that we have to allow that and regulate it through complaints if it is more than one dwelling. McLaughlin said we are trying to define this by occupancy by one household. How do you define what's inside?

Bill Street commented on the process. Citizens observe how you don't honor what you have previously said as a Planning Commission are higher priorities.

Cate Hartzell wondered why we want to regulate single family zoning. What do we want to have happen? What kind of activity do you want to have in a particular area? What shifts it from being single family to an entertainment center or business center? Have we defined the number of bedrooms?

Eric Navickas said h believes the definition as it is, is best. We shouldn't be promoting lots of automobiles in a neighborhood. Single family neighborhoods are not set up for entertainment.

Morris said he was approached by a woman who lives in a house on an R-2 lot and wants her 80 year old mother to live with her. She wants her mom to have her own kitchen. Adding another unit involves parking, street trees, sidewalks, and all that goes with it just to have her mother live there and just because it is in an R-2 zone.

McLaughlin asked if people entertain and use outdoor cooking facilities, does that constitute a kitchen? Is the kitchen the defining part of a single family occupancy? We want to look at "is there one family living in the house?" We can find different ways to word it.

Briggs said we have to allow for many combinations of families and she doesn't see using one kitchen as the right idea. She doesn't like "one kitchen" nor "independent housekeeping unit". If it's going to annoy the neighborhood, maybe it should be based on the traffic and the cars.

McLaughlin said it is good to have a basis for a complaint.

Dotterrer said once you have defined "dwelling unit" then you could go into the code and allow a certain number of dwelling units because it will have a certain impact on things like parking. He has a little problem with the word "independent".

McLaughlin said Staff can look for additional language and bring back a series of options.

Swales wondered why can a mother-in-law live in the basement but she can't live in the garden shed? If we are taking out the single kitchen, how many kitchens are you allowed?

What constitutes a household?

Staff has created some language to try and make it fair. It will be measured from where the roofline meets the wall, not the end of the eave. The mass of the house starts decreasing as you get to the peak.

Swales suggested measuring from the inception of the wall and the ridge and omit "gable" and add "pitched roof".

McLaughlin said they might do a drawing to show what the wording means.

The definition proposed has been taken from "The Illustrated Book of Development Definitions."

Briggs said if dormers are on the low side, Floor Area "A" would increase in size. Would that throw the formula out? McLaughlin said it could. They could reverse the diagram. Instead of "intersection of roof and wall face," it should be "intersection of ceiling and wall face."

Look at the maximum house size and make sure there is some kind of continuity.

There currently is no definition of basement. Staff has taken wording from the Building Code. A basement is a space having a floor above, and a ceiling not more than six feet above grade for at least 50 percent of the perimeter.

Swales said what doesn't come through in the definition is that you can't count as a basement anything that is higher than twelve feet to any point from the grade to the floor. Is it appropriate to have 12 foot high walk-out basements in residential? Should it be counted in the square footage? Perhaps in residential it should be 10 feet high.

KenCairn said perhaps the wording could say the floor of the basement must contact existing grade.

Briggs would like a drawing included.

SECTION 18.62.030.R. SLOPE
McLaughlin said it has come up in the past and it has come up recently - what do we do with disturbed areas? How do you apply the ordinance after human intervention on the site? Does it apply to manmade slopes? The Hillside ordinance seemed to be designed to look at more natural sites. What constitutes the site prior to cutting or filling of it? He said it would be based on the best information to be found such as photos, topography maps, etc.

It was suggested the word "original" be used rather than "natural". Or, take out the word "natural", leaving "…the surface prior to disturbance…"

What if someone wanted to bring a piece of land back to its original state making it better than what it is currently? Does that stop good things from happening?

The article in the packet discusses protecting local restaurants and the community by limiting the number of formula (chain) restaurants. In Ashland, it would be interesting to see what the community thinks about this. It is exactly the same as our drive-up window ordinance.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Yates, Executive Secretary

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