JUNE 28, 2005
CALL TO ORDER
Chair John Fields called the Ashland Planning Commission meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. on June 28, 2005 at the Civic Center Council Chambers,
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: John Fields, Chair
ABSENT MEMBERS: None
COUNCIL LIAISON: Jack Hardesty, present
STAFF PRESENT: John McLaughlin, Planning Director
Bill Molnar, Planning Manager
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
(KenCairn rejoined the meeting after the continued hearing.)
RIPARIAN ORDINANCE UPDATE
Molnar said there have been a few study sessions giving a broad overview of the elements to be considered in the ordinance. Molnar gave a Powerpoint presentation outlining the very rough draft of a new ordinance. A Technical Advisory Committee has been formed. They are trying to address all their water resource issue in one ordinance – floodplain, wetlands, riparian, and storm water.
Comments and Questions from Commissioners
· Does the ordinance provide for treatment of an already degraded system that does not require as rigorous a review? What if someone wants to do something positive to a site?
· There is sometimes a conflict with the City and DSL. DSL requirements are strong for wetlands versus what the City values.
· Some things might change over the years and would be referenced in an appendices that can be changed as science changes. Who is responsible for maintaining the changes to the appendices? Could the Ashland Watershed group be used to monitor? A change might be done through resolution rather than an ordinance change.
· Should there be a prioritization within the Purpose and Intent section? Clarify?
· Do we know how many businesses, conforming, non-conforming will be affected by this ordinance? Staff noted it will be substantial.
· Can the wording of the ordinance be clearer and simpler? Structure it for understanding, not for any bureaucratic requirement. There is a better chance of implementation if people understand it.
(The intent is to have a very clear map that can be viewed to see if there is a wetland, etc.)
· Enforcement – how does it occur? What enforcement is existing? Educational component in the ordinance?
Molnar said they would like to come back to the Planning Commission in August with a more refined draft and in the fall start a more formal public hearing process.
If a Commissioner has comments, e-mail them or get them to Molnar in the next two weeks.
Fields said since this is not a public hearing, anyone in the audience with comments can e-mail them to Molnar.
CONSERVATION DENSITY BONUS ORDINANCE CHANGE
Mac introduced Larry Giardina from the Conservation Department. The City has had the density bonus in place since 1981. It is a long-term approach to resource conservation. This came before the Commission last year asking to change to the Earth Advantage program for the density bonus in the ordinance. The program has been in place for a few months. The proposed ordinance would be in order to achieve the 15 percent density bonus with at least 85 percent of the homes having to comply with the density bonus standard. Eight-five percent gives an escape valve, because many times unusual circumstances occur.
LARRY GIARDINA, City of Ashland Conservation Specialist, stated there is a set of required measures and a set of optional measures to qualify a home. To comply with the density bonus, a specified number of points is required. The builder signs a non-binding agreement that they will participate in the program. The City tests homes and inspects the measures and then certifies the home as an Earth Advantage home. This is a method of rewarding the builder to participate and grants him/her the opportunity for another house. He asked the Commission to look at bonding for each house.
Questions and Comments from Commissioners
· Concerned about increased complexity because the list is longer (Staff response: Allows for increased flexibility and lots of options. Most builders have said they have found Earth Advantage standards are easier to achieve. There is a system in place to address the complexity.)
· What does indoor air quality have to do with conservation? (Staff response: Indoor air quality is a sustainability measure. Not strictly talking about energy conservation, but conserving quality of life, quality of the environment, maintaining the resources of the earth, human health and wellness.)
· Is it a contradiction to conserve energy and build more houses within the same footprint?
· Not clear how we are changing our priorities. Now we are trying to save a lot of things, like indoor air quality. Not sure how much we know about the advantages and disadvantages of each category. How are we shifting our emphasis? (Staff response: Many of the measures are the same in the current density bonus that are required in Earth Advantage. In combination, we are probably achieving very similar energy conservation.
· Enforcement. How will we do it now? (Staff response: There are periodic inspections and adjustments because of the numerous options and flexibility of the program. There is a chance to make corrections as we go along. Modeling the home at the beginning assures that it complies with the standard before a permit is even issued.)
· Hugely instructional. (Staff response: A way to seek information from builders such as product information.)
A hearing date will be scheduled to review the ordinance changes.
LAND USE ORDINANCE REVIEW
McLaughlin said the City has done a request for proposals. The Council has to review the contract. It will be about a six month long process with Planning Commission input initially regarding the focus the consultant should take.
DOWNTOWN PLAN UPDATE
Request for qualifications have gone out to seek a design team. McLaughlin has been getting a lot of calls and requests from consulting firms. The closing date is July 26th.
Fields said he has met with Stromberg and Dawkins a few times and they went before the Council to express their interest in actively participating in the process.
Chapman met with Derek Severson, Assistant Planner and they went through the Planning Commission Citizens Guide for Participation. Severson was going to make a clean copy and distribute it to the Planning Commission and Staff.
Douma reminded the Commissioners of a handout he distributed two weeks ago regarding how we communicate with those outside the Commission and how they communicate with us. He asked the Commissioners to look at the rough draft and think about their own personal experiences how something would have worked better.
Douma said he would like to re-name the study session.
The majority of the Commissioners wanted the study sessions to be televised. McLaughlin will take the Commission’s direction to the Council to look at cost.
Douma/Black m/s to communicate to the Council that the Planning Commission would like to have the second meeting of the month televised. KenCairn said if they are going to do that, the Hearings Board should be televised too.
Stromberg believes it is a big potential public payoff – plays multiple times on RVTV, attracts attention, allows streaming video on website.
KenCairn amended the motion to say all the Planning Commission meetings to be televised.
Morris argued that the study sessions have allowed the Commissioners to work in a more relaxed format. He believes it is a time to generate more ideas. KenCairn said because it is a study session, the nature of the meeting is different and that could override it being video taped.
Douma feels there is a need and the desire to make the Commission more accessible and he would like the meetings televised.
By expanding the hours on TV, Fields believes the quality of our meetings should be elevated, requiring more structure, formality and training.
Stromberg offered to check with RVTV to gather more information on this subject and report back to the Commission.
Douma withdrew his motion.
EX PARTE COMMUNICATION & E-MAIL – McLaughlin said Staff needs to keep an archive of any e-mail communication that goes to the Planning Communication or list serve. At some time in the future, there could be a request for that communication. He said to send a copy of e-mails to him or Sue. McLaughlin emphasized that the Commissioners cannot use e-mail to deliberate.
If there is a quorum of a committee, Staff needs to notify the press.
Black asked how they are to communicate. McLaughlin said they can communicate at meetings. It is really important they are not deliberating.
McLaughlin said they would ask the Legal Department and the City Recorder to come to the next meeting to explain ex parte contacts and e-mail communication.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.