Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, February 08, 2005



FEBRUARY 8, 2005



I.              CALL TO ORDER

Chair Russ Chapman called the Ashland Planning Commission meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. on February 8, 2005 at the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.


Commissioners Present:      Russ Chapman, Chair

                                                                Mike Morris

                                                                Kerry KenCairn

                                                                Marilyn Briggs

                                                                Allen Douma

                                                                Olena Black

                                                                Michael Dawkins

                                                                Dave Dotterrer

                Absent Members:                  John Fields

Council Liaison:                   Jack Hardesty – present

Staff Present:                        John McLaughlin, Planning Director

                                                Bill Molnar, Senior Planner

                                                Maria Harris, Senior Planner

                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary



In lieu of a study session, there will be an open house on February 22, 2005 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Council Chambers to give an update to the Riparian Ordinance and Local Wetland Inventory.   


The second Downtown Plan meeting will be held February 23, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers.   


Douma requested a time the Planning Commission could work on goal setting as well as longer range topics for study sessions in the future.  Chapman suggested using the retreat usually held in late April or early May for that purpose. 


The Planning Commission “Chat” will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on February 22, 2005 at the Community Development and Engineering Services building.



Black amended the minutes of January 11, 2005 meeting.  Under VI.A., Council Goals, should read, “…reassess our ‘street grid in relation to’ traffic…”  Under VI.B., Miscellaneous, should read, “Douma would like the Planning Commission to be informed…”  KenCairn/Chapman m/s to approve the amended minutes.  Voice Vote: Unanimous.


Black/KenCairn m/s to approve the Findings for 2004-150, Unitarian Church.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous.


Briggs/Morris m/s to approve the Findings for 2004-161, 968 Garden Way.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous.


IV.           PUBLIC FORUM

COLIN SWALES, 1282 Old Willow Lane, noted citizen participation was the number one goal of the Council last year and it is the number of Statewide Planning Goal.  He expressed his concerns regarding the Planning Department not making available in a timely manner current agendas and packets.  He would like the Commission to give some direction to Staff or the Council about how to get this information to the public in a timely manner, particularly with the large and important items.  He believes many other citizens are frustrated with the difficulty in getting information. 


McLaughlin explained the Planning Department is working on how to put the packets on the website.  Most of the information that goes into the planning packets is not in an electronic format, but a paper form and has to be scanned.  The scanning equipment has been ordered.  The Department is working on solutions to this priority problem and hopes to see some progress very soon.


ANNOUNCEMENT:  Chapman announced the project at 593 Crowson Road has been pulled from the agenda and will not be heard tonight due to a noticing problem. 


V.             OTHER

A.             Recommendation to vacate the right-of-way on Placer Run

Harris said the street vacation action was initiated because a building permit application was submitted on the parcel to the north that is currently vacant.  The street ended up getting built with a turnaround that led to the private drive that has been installed to the south and serves the parcel to the south and west.  The request is to vacate the top half of the cul-de-sac.  The Comprehensive Plan policies specify that pedestrian and bicycle access be maintained if a street right-of-way is vacated.  The half of the circle doesn’t go anywhere so it doesn’t lose pedestrian or bicycle access.  Staff is recommending the vacation and is asking the Commission to make a recommendation of approval to the Council. 


Black/Douma m/s to recommend to the Council vacation of the Placer Run portion of the cul-de-sac that is not functioning as a street.  Roll Call:  Unanimous.



A.             PLANNING ACTION 2004-141




Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Site visits were made by all.  Black stated she lives in the vicinity of the property and travels by the property daily. 

KenCairn has to leave the meeting by 9:00 p.m.



Molnar said Staff’s recommendation, as outlined in the Staff Report, is to continue this action.  Additional information is required in order to make a decision.  He showed photos of the property. 


The proposal is to construct 130 units on 64 lots on the ten acre parcel.  The housing mix on the proposed multi-family zoned parcel will consist of 26 single family residences, 24 duplex structures, and 14 fourplex structures.   There are two access points to the property, one at the south and one at the north end of the property.  The northerly connection would ultimately connect to Bud’s Dairy.  There is a series of alleys, providing access to the rear of the duplex units as well as access for surface parking areas associated with the fourplex units. 


The applicants are showing an open space area and biofiltration swale on the east side of the property.  Approximately 50 percent of the property will be covered by impervious surfaces, allowing for 50 percent landscaping. 


Annexation – The property is contiguous with the City Limits.  The proposed zoning conforms to the Comprehensive Plan.  Nineteen units, or 15 percent, of the units will be affordable to families at 60 percent of the area median and will be designated for a term of 60 years for affordability.  The affordable units will be scattered amongst the fourplexes.


Public Improvements – Staff is recommending additional significant off-site improvements and would like to see a larger plan view of the area and identify off-site improvements including sidewalk, curb, gutter and storm drain facilities.  The traffic study estimates approximately 1000 trips generated by this project, or a doubling of the current traffic loads.  Staff is concerned about safe pedestrian refuge along Clay Street and assuring there is a minimum sidewalk on one side or the other to allow pedestrians to get out of the travel lane from Ashland Street to East Main Street.  Staff is recommending in addition to what is required, additional sidewalk improvements be extended through the five acre parcel to the north, connecting the sidewalk and street improvement system at Bud’s Dairy.  Where the Wingspread street improvement ends, that curb, gutter and sidewalk will be extended to the intersection and a right hand turn lane installed.  This would allow the two turn lanes, travel lanes and bike lanes to be well defined with curbs and minimize some of the cutting of the elbow on Clay. 


A new wetland inventory is close to being approved by the Division of State Lands.  A wetland runs north to south and they have identified a small narrow finger that could come onto the project property.  Staff needs to tie down the location of the wetlands because it could determine where the northerly street plug would be located.  Staff would like at least a 20 to 25 foot buffer from the wetland.  The applicant has filed for formal delineation approval.


Potential Street or Multi-Use Path Connection to Tolman Creek Road – Staff would like to have the applicant investigate further the possibility of an east/west connection to Tolman Creek Road to take the load off some key intersections.  The northerly section of the project is an open space water detention area.  Are there opportunities to set up a multi-use bike and pedestrian path that would someday feed out of the proposed neighborhood, go across the northerly section of the YMCA soccer fields and then out through an existing 24 foot wide driveway already existing along Tolman Creek Road?  Or is there a possibility for a minor vehicle connection?  This would require negotiating with the Parks Department and a property owner for easements and dedications. 


Trees  The Tree Commission recommended the Planning Commission direct the applicant to seek the advice of an independent arborist to evaluate the health and structural soundness of the cottonwoods and determine if there is an opportunity to retain any of the cottonwoods in the project.  Of the 12 trees slated for removal, nine have been identified as hazard trees.  Staff is endorsing the Tree Commissions’ recommendation.  Over the years, the Planning Commission and Tree Commission have raised concerns over cottonwoods because of their tendency to drop limbs.  Staff’s only concern if an independent arborist’s report is required is not only the arborist report the health and soundness of the tree, but whether changes to the site plan need to be made in order to incorporate one or more of these trees into a common area.  Staff would like the arborist’s report to comment on the appropriateness of retaining such a tree where there would be activity.  Would that provide a safe environment for a common area?


Molnar said an issue was raised regarding the public posting of the sign.  It was posted just yesterday.  Staff believes that can be remedied through a continuance of the application.   Those present tonight will be given the opportunity to testify.  The hearing will remain open for additional testimony; the site will be re-posted with the new date and will allow others to participate at the next meeting.  The Commissioners decided a continuance was in order.


Briggs said the application discusses the Buildable Lands Inventory from 1998/1999 and they show a chart of those properties that have been developed since then.  Molnar said Staff’s figures agree.  For a five year supply, we look for eight to ten acres of R-2 property within the City Limits.  The ordinance isn’t clear whether or not that five year supply means land that is approved for building but not yet built out and occupied.  Even if you add Barclay Square into the inventory, it is still only five acres of land available within the City Limits, less than the eight to ten acres we look for. 



TOM GIORDANO, 2635 Takelma Way, stated the applicants don’t have a lot of wiggle room to alter the design.    Giordano handed out a letter in response to the Staff Report. 


Giordano addressed the following issues:

Street Improvements - They will comply with what City’s request, including the sidewalk improvements up to Ashland Street. 


Landscape/Open Space/Bioswale - Even though this is a very dense project, at least 50 percent is in landscaping or open space. The common open space is five percent or 22,000 square feet, not including the bioswale buffer area that is a passive recreation area.   The bioswale area is 3.4 percent of the project.  Chapman asked that any diversion of water to the north property be shown on the site plan. 


Wetland – The applicants feel pretty confident there is not a wetland on the property.  In order to accommodate any potential wetland to the north, they can move the street plug either to the east or west.  The applicant is willing to go through the process with the State to find out if there is a wetland or not.


Multi-Use Path - They don’t have a problem with the multi-use path system across their property to connect with the soccer fields to Tolman Creek Road.


Trees - The trees are spectacular.  The applicants weighed their use.  They are classified as hazard trees in the City’s Recommended Street Tree Guide.  If they retain the trees, they will need a 108 foot radius around them and would end up losing approximately eight dwelling units.  They plan to replace the trees with almost 300 additional trees in private areas and common landscaped areas.


 JOHN GALBRAITH, Galbraith and Associates, 145 S. Holly Street, Medford, OR  97501, said he felt if the radius was tighter than 108 feet, gradually the tree would die.  The three poplars protect each other.  They are over their normal size.  Once they start infiltrating that area, it starts affecting how the trees get water. The trees have been very well maintained.  In the wild, the trees never would have lasted this long.    As a professional, Galbraith said he cannot recommend saving the trees.  It takes one slip-up in maintenance (for example, trees improperly pruned) and a child might be killed if a limb falls. 


Dawkins has not heard any reason to annex the property.  He is concerned with our water supply, loss of agricultural land and bringing land into the City Limits when we already have inventory available.


Giordano said the property is within the Urban Growth Boundary and surrounded by the City on three sides.  It is very developable because it is flat and the community can gain residential densities to help meet the housing needs.  One would have to conclude there is a need for R-2 housing.  He believes the proposal meets the criteria for annexation,


KenCairn would like to see the fourplexes (affordable housing) more integrated on the site.  Giordano said they provided common open space between to soften the area.


DOUG IRVINE, 495 Emigrant Creek Road, said he wants the project to be a benefit to the community and they are open to suggestions and recommendations.


Briggs said the alleys are going to be used as a street (Briggs coined the word “stralleys”).  She has a problem with the criteria “traffic to and through the development”.  She is suggesting the alley heading north is designated a street.  Why not make it wide enough to allow parking and call it a street?  Giordano said by adding another street with parking, it will have to be at least 28 feet in width.  It might affect the design layout.  Briggs commented, if it is not a street, it is a humungous city block and the “through” aspect is lost. 


ROBERT KORTT, Transportation Engineer, 3350 Green Acres Drive, Central Point, OR  97502, said he was referred by ODOT to the traffic recorder located south of Talent for a seasonal adjustment.  There are not very many automatic counters in Jackson County.  He feels the count is representative. 


Those speaking tonight will be allowed to speak at the next meeting.


GLENN COOPER, P. O. Box 948, Novato, CA  94948, owns the five acre parcel to the north.  Concerning the wetlands and drainage, he would like assurance that the excess water will not be channeled onto his property.   The wetland is a system that straddles a lot of properties and it seems it is being dealt w/piecemeal.  He reiterated he does not want a negative impact on his property due to the proposed development.    


ALLISON WILDMAN, 420 Clay Street, read her statement.  She is concerned with increased traffic, preservation of privacy and density.  Concerning privacy, the proposed architecture for the home built adjacent to her property, greatly compromises their privacy.  A solution might be to consider a larger buffer between properties.  She would like to see one-story homes and alter the design to change rooflines and dormers, allowing for more privacy. 


COLIN SWALES, 1282 Old Willow Lane, discussed the Buildable Lands Inventory.  There is plenty of R-2 land closer to the city center than the proposed development, particularly in the Historic Districts.  There is a lot of buildable land that is not on the inventory.  The Commission needs to look at what is available and is being carved up into smaller pieces all the time.  There is a whole load of parcels in the R-2 zone where there is one single family residence on a large parcel and the house is a fixer-upper.  Those should be on the Buildable Lands Inventory.  The Commission can’t look at the annexation under the criteria for lack of redevelopable land inventory until it is updated to reflect the current market value and the actual value that exists in the current housing stock in Ashland.


Briggs asked if Staff could provide a current inventory.  McLaughlin said the information has been provided.  He believes Swales is asking us to go back and apply a higher land value, assuming home values are not increasing and as a result that it will open up many of the properties to redevelopment.  McLaughlin is not certain this is truly the case.  It is possible to update the inventory in the way Swales has suggested, however, the Commission is basing their decision on the information provided. 


KenCairn left the meeting.


GREG GARGUS, 400 Clay Street, said traffic is his concern.  He believes there should be a light at both ends of Clay.  People use Clay instead of Tolman Creek Road because there is no light on Clay.  The trees have never dropped a branch.  They are not dangerous and should be saved.  The house and barn are probably the oldest in town.  There will no longer be any rural history.  


ROBERT WILDMAN, 420 Clay Street, stated he has concerns about traffic.  They are looking at an increase of 1300 vehicle trips per day with just this development.  With Bud’s Dairy, Barclay Square and the hardware store, that will be a significant increase in traffic.  It is necessary for Clay to have parking on both sides and at the very minimum to have bumpouts.  The elbow bend in Clay is a point of concern.  He does not find the design of the development appealing.  It is a grid pattern and the house design is repetitive.  He’d like to see some different designs and different depths.  Wildman is concerned with privacy.  He is requesting alternatives and a buffer throughout, but specifically for S8 and S9 to become single family residential homes and to change the roofline. He is concerned with the wetlands.


ALBERT PEPPE, 321 Clay Street, Wingspread Mobile Home Park, said he noticed the wetland survey was done in August, the driest season.  The property is a really nice wildlife corridor.  He would like to see the trees retained.  He is concerned about traffic too.    


BRYAN HOLLEY, 324 Liberty Street, thinks the hazard tree might be a cultural concept.  The Tree of Heaven on the Plaza has been carefully maintained to keep it alive.  The Tree Commission does not need to worry about the trees if they are structurally sound.  The Tree Commission recommended an aerial inspection.  He referred to 18.61.080B3 and 18.61.094B. 


McLaughlin asked Holley if he represented the Tree Commission.  Holley said he represented himself but he was at the Tree Commission meeting.


Staff Response

Molnar said Cooper’s (neighboring property owner) concerns are covered by the conditions of approval to review at final engineering.  He is asking that the amount of water draining onto his property from this development doesn’t change unless the developer has his permission. 


Staff wants to make sure on-street parking can be provided on both sides and the 24 foot standard is the minimum for single family developments, but 26 to 28 feet in width is for higher density. 


The trees are identified as hazard trees.  The burden of proof for hazard trees in the ordinance is a little different than a tree removal permit.  One of the recommendations by the Tree Commission is to hire an arborist to find if the trees are hazardous.  If it falls out of being a hazard tree, one or two of the trees could be incorporated.  Staff is recommending an arborist’s review. 



  • Update the Buildable Lands Inventory and additional discussion regarding inventory.
  • More information from Staff about the size of the city block (within the development) because of all the alleyways running through it.
  • Additional information is needed with regard to the trees.  Take a serious look at preserving the trees.  What is a hazard tree?  Is a requirement of 108 foot radius so stringent that we need to provide an acre for just one tree? 
  • Additional explanation about the bioswales.
  • Assurance that Clay Street is built to a standard from East Main Street to Ashland Street that can handle the traffic. 
  • What is the purpose of annexing this land in the first place?  What are the pressures and forces we are responding to in order to say “yes?  Can Staff give a presentation summarizing the reason for annexing?  Why are we annexing something in the first place?  What are pressures and forces we are responding to?
  • What is the water volume of the hydrology if the trees are removed? 
  • A request for a discussion about the CC&R’s and governance issues.
  • The trees and the wetlands are living things that do need to be preserved. 
  • Show a map of how the streets will tie together in the area.
  • Water availability for increased pressure for annexations.  How is it calculated into the mix?
  • Show north/east  access and be more specific as to what relief that could be for traffic.  Size and how much traffic would use it?

McLaughlin restated there is a housing inventory and a Buildable Lands Inventory. 


The hearing will be continued next month, March 8, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers.  No new notice will be mailed but a notice will be posted.


VII.          ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned 9:50 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Susan Yates








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