DECEMBER 12, 2005
CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room of the Community Development and Engineering Services building located at
Commissioners Present: John Fields, Chair
Absent Members: Dave Dotterrer
Council Liaison: Jack Hardesty, present
Staff Present: Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director
Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Mike Franell, City Attorney
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
ANNOUNCEMENTS – There were no announcements
APPROVAL OF MINUTES AND FINDINGS
Chapman/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes of the November 8, 2005 meeting. Voice Vote: Approved.
Findings - Planning Action 2005-00084,
COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, said there are a number of items of interest on tonight’s agenda and he expressed his disappointment that there was not better public notification of the change in date and place of this meeting. He has not had time to review the files on these actions.
MARGUERITTE HICKMAN, Ashland Fire Department, introduced Shawn Branaugh, the new Fire Inspector. He will be representing the Fire Department at some of the meetings.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
PLANNING ACTION: #2005-01674 (CONTINUED)
OWNER/APPLICANT: Ron & Carrie Yamaoka
DESCRIPTION: Request for a Site Review approval for a three-story, mixed use building comprised of restaurant space, office space and two residential units for the property located at
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - No new site visits were made by the Commissioners.
This Planning Commission directed the applicant to go back to the Historic Commission and work with them on several issues that had been raised at the last meeting. The Historic Commission recommended approval of the revised design. The northern panel of the building has been stepped back so it is out of the vision clearance. The applicants have offered two alternate site plans. The building design is the same in each, but the difference is in the public realm in the sidewalk area. The alternate plan shows a planter that extends out into the sidewalk area and the ramp for wheelchair access is pushed further up
Harris showed the revised front elevation. The archway and four paneled window have been reintroduced since the last meeting. The building design from the front is very similar to the original design the Commission reviewed. Staff has recommended approval of Revised Site Plan (not the alternate). It maintains the six foot width of sidewalk from the back of the tree well to the face of the building in a continuous plane. The Historic Commission thought the sidewalk needed to be simple and very linear and the Revised Site Plan was more in keeping with the rest of downtown. Also, not many ground level planters of this type are typically seen in the downtown. The Historic Commission also asked that the sidewalk scoring match whatever is on either side of the proposed building. They also recommended that the six inch high planters be removed and have a more common entry that is more in the context of downtown. The Engineering Department felt they could work with the design. A Condition has been added suggesting the applicant revise their final ramp improvement and that it meet Engineering specifications and they have a final look at it. Harris noted that a bench is depicted in the bay, but the applicants have indicated they weren’t proposing to put a bench in that area.
Emerson addressed the differences in the front of the building. He showed the bench because the bay area is almost calling for seating. Emerson explained both of the alternate plans. He noted the sidewalk has an existing slope. The planter allows for the ramp to have a curb on both sides still leaving a flat area. The planter is low and looks better. In the other plan he put the planter to create a buffer for pedestrians. It would keep people from walking directly to the corner and out into the alley.
Giordano added that there are planters in the downtown and it is somewhat appropriate to have planters. It also helps to channel pedestrians. He would choose the alternate. Emerson said in the alternate design, the whole area is flat, however the length of the ramp is greater. He explained if the bay is used for a bench or table and chairs, a flat pad could be made.
Harris said the Historic Commission raised some safety concerns with the low level planters. Fields believes the applicants understand the curb/planter issue. He suggested deferring to Staff. Either would work. Molnar said since the sidewalk improvement happens after construction of the building, it would be prudent for Staff, Engineering and the Historic Commission to see how the building is relating to the sidewalk, then they might get a better idea how the sidewalk/planter area would work.
COMMISSIONERS DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Harris said Condition 27 can be deleted. Also, Modify Condition 25 - The final design of the ramp will be reviewed by Staff, Engineering and the Historic Commission.
Dawkins/Black m/s to approve PA2005-01674 with the attached Conditions, including the deletion of Condition 27 and modification of Condition 25, as noted above. Roll Call: Unanimously approved.
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01833
OWNER/APPLICANT: Jerome White, Kerry KenCairn BSR, LLC/Spur Rail, LLC
DESCRIPTION: Request for Subdivision approval to create seven parcels including six pad lots and one common area for the property located at
Site Visits or Ex Parte Contacts
Morris, Black, Chapman, Dawkins, and Douma had a site visit. Fields did the infrastructure and the original subdivision and was responsible for the applicants purchasing the property about four years ago. He has not been involved in the design and has no economic interest in it.
Molnar said this is a preliminary plat approval for a seven lot subdivision in an E-1 zone. It will lay out six pad lots. The overall lot is a little less than an acre. Each lot has a footprint of just under 1700 square feet. The seventh lot (around a half acre) will encompass areas that are common to the project including landscaping, an access driveway aisle and 18 on-site parking spaces. There are three on-site parking credits included.
The Department of State Lands did not identify any of the three main factors for determining a wetland on the property.
This application is to develop the six pad lots that will ultimately come back with Site Review applications. Molnar’s understanding is that they are planning to develop multi-story mixed-use buildings with commercial on the ground floor and residential above. They show a parking layout, allowing for approximately 7200 square feet of commercial space. The lots have been designed to allow for covered parking at the back of each pad lot should the ultimate mixed-use design incorporate the residential.
The primary orientation of buildings will be toward the street. The alleyway is in private ownership and maintained by the six property owners.
As part of the Clear Creek Subdivision all the utilities were laid in place. There is a public pedestrian bike easement along the side of the alley that will need to be improved when they do the improvements as part of the Site Review. The landscaped areas have been allocated for landscaping but also to allow for storm water retention bioswale systems in order to meter storm water during a bigger event.
Staff has recommended approval with 18 Conditions. Note Condition 15, should read “common area,” not “common are.”
Fields asked about the connecting through with the alley easement. At the end of the private alley, he is seeing when the larger parcel gets developed, they’ll either make more street curb cuts or share the egress. It might mean a parking space will get lost if the egress goes through the curb at the end.
Molnar said, generally as part of land division processes, it gives some authority to look at requiring an easement in order to reduce curb cuts on the roads.
JEROME WHITE, 253 Third Street, KERRY KENCAIRN, 147 Central and BARB CIOTA, Ciota Engineering, 274 Fourth Street, and STUART OSMUS, Terrasurvey, 274 Fourth Street.
White said the above are four individuals with four business and they are looking to develop the property so each can afford to build a business and have their own business in their own building.
KenCairn said they are trying to have a subdivision that allows them create six small buildings. It is a strangely shaped lot. There is only a small part of the lot that is developable. The bioswales will drain to the existing storm drain and will be metered.
White said they have ultimately identified 26 possible parking spaces to be divided evenly between each of the lots. The parking spaces will be assigned.
White explained each building can build to the property line, but they are separate lots and separate buildings. He mentioned they will be way over the landscaping requirement. They wanted to negotiate the easement. Fields owns the property next door. Molnar said though it might not be needed, it might be nice to have the possibility of using another access to the adjacent property.
Stromberg wondered if a condition is needed now to bind them for the future. Molnar affirmed and said the Condition could state that they allow for a mutual access easement to be utilized by the adjacent property, if needed. The adjacent property would not get used unless it was part of the Site Review approval and it made sense for circulation.
White asked about the Condition regarding paving of the bike path. If the property to the east is doing asphalt, will it be odd if they decide to change to another material? Can it just be striped? Molnar thought striping would be acceptable. They just want to be able to differentiate between the bike path and parking stalls. Condition 8 should cover this issue. The contrasting material can be worked out with Staff.
COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, said it seems every application tonight is maxed out with residential. The reason is because the parking requirement for residential is far less than it is for the equivalent amount of space that the commercial would need for its parking requirement. On two occasions last year the Planning Commission unanimously approved to not allow private residential garages in the commercial C-1 and E-1 zones. Swales’ understanding of “mixed use” is that you have a commercial or employment zone where you have a sprinkling of housing in amongst it to create the residential mix. It seems all the developments are getting residential and often high end condominium developments with their private undercover parking, with a sprinkling of commercial on the ground floor in order to comply with the 65 percent requirement. The parcel to the right was denied the mixed use parking allowance. These zones are quite densely commercial where some of the excess can be absorbed into the residential district around them. Are we getting the mixed use that we really want or are we turning the whole of our commercial areas over to the residential condos? It is slowly altering what the zones were intended to be?
Molnar noted that Swales had a good point about the parking. Generally, the projects along
White said the Council minutes stated when this property was rezoned from M-1 to E-1 that they wanted to see the property develop like
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Douma/Chapman m/s to approve PA2005-01833.
Chapman said if this project helps local businesses stay local, he is all for it.
Fields said he believes they don’t want to lose parking due to the easement. He doesn’t know how there can be an easement if it isn’t specific.
Molnar’s wording for Condition 19 is: That a mutual access driveway easement be dedicated along the driveway aisle for use by the adjoining property to the west. The adjoining property may only exercise use of the easement upon Site Review approval that incorporates use of the access for circulation on the approved site plan.
Mike Franell, City Attorney said Fields should recuse himself because he owns the adjacent property and cannot vote.
Stromberg/Douma amended the motion to add Condition 19 using Molnar’s wording above and adding wording about accommodations for a couple of parking spaces. Roll Call for the amendment: Douma, Chapman, Stromberg, Dawkins, Black and Morris voted “yes” and Fields recused himself. The motion carried unanimously.
Roll Call to approve PA2005-01833: Douma, Chapman, Stromberg, Dawkins, Black and Morris voted “yes” and Fields recused himself. The motion carried unanimously.
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01673
OWNER/APPLICANT: KIRT MEYER
DESCRIPTION: Request for Site Review approval of a mixed-use commercial and residential development to be located at
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts
Douma, Fields, Dawkins, Stromberg and Morris had site visits. Black did not walk the site but she noticed traffic issues when she tried to get out of the driveway from a neighboring business. Chapman had a site visit and noticed the interesting shed on the property.
Harris read the applicable approval criteria. The site is about 1.6 acres, comprised of two parcels. There is an existing shed on the property. There are 36 trees on the site, six inches diameter and greater. The proposal is to build two, three-story mixed-use buildings. In both buildings, the ground floor consists of retail or office and residential units on the first, second and third floors. The front building facing
The water and electric will go out to
Harris showed the Tree Protection Plan. The primary clusters of trees to be preserved are on the western an eastern boundaries.
The standard setbacks have been met. The proposal has two plaza areas proposed with one in front of Building 1. The arcade is 20 feet from the front property line. A plaza is proposed in front of the building where there is hardscape and planters to create a sense of enclosure. The other plaza is between the two buildings. Both buildings’ architectural style is similar to the Fire Station – brick, plaster and cast stone.
The homes facing
Because of the Large Scale Development Standards, the buildings are required to be separated by the height of the tallest building. The tallest building is 35.6 feet. The separation varies from 22 ½ feet to 39 ½ feet. Fifty percent meets the standard and 50 percent does not. For the portion under 35.6 feet, an Administrative Variance is required.
Harris suggested the Commission first decide if there is agreement to continue the hearing. If there is, focus on three issues: 1) The Commissioners’ interpretation of the residential use and mixed-use provision in the ordinance, 2) the Administrative Variance for separation between buildings, and 3) access management issue raised in the Staff Report.
1) The residential use and mixed-use provision interpretation is part of the C-1 code that requires when there is an R overlay where residential uses are allowed that 65 percent of the ground floor of a building be in a permitted or special permitted commercial use or 50 percent of the total lot area if there are multiple buildings shall be designated for permitted or special permitted uses. Staff has raised this issue because although the Commission discussed it extensively in the Northlight application, there was never really a decision made or a vote made on what the direction the Commission decided to go. At this point, the interpretation has to be made on this application. If the Commission decides on the 50 percent, what does the 50 percent mean? Does it mean just square footage of the buildings? Does it mean accessory uses such as plaza or parking?
Molnar said there is some overlap in the accessory spaces between residential parking spaces.
2) The Administrative Variance is discussed above.
3) With regard to the access management issue, the applicant is showing two driveways that go around the site. They have provided a traffic impact study to evaluate the trips generated by the site during peak hours. There is specific language in the Off-Street Parking Chapter requiring that when an applicant goes through a planning action, the number of driveway intersections with the street shall be minimized by using shared driveways with adjoining lots where feasible. Staff is concerned because this proposed driveway system is the only option the applicants have put forward. Any discussion of an alternative scenario has not been addressed. The Transportation Element and Transportation System Plan both have a very specific standard that addresses having a multi-modal corridor that all kinds of users can use from pedestrians to automobiles. It can be a capacity and safety issue. The more driveway intersections there are with a street, the greater the impact there is on the capacity of the street to carry traffic. Overall, how does this plan affect the feel the transition of
Should the Commission decide to approve this application tonight, Staff has suggested 30 conditions of approval. Staff is recommending continuance of the application.
Harris said the Commission has to decide if it is acceptable to have the front section one foot below the sidewalk elevation. Or, should it come up to the same level as the sidewalk.
Harris said most of the bike parking is incorporated into the stairwells of the building. Staff is asking for more detail on how that will work. Bike parking spaces need to be within 50 feet of a well-used entrance. In Large Scale Development, a pedestrian and bicycle circulation plan is required that specifically calls for lighting and figuring out the routes that bicycles and pedestrians take.
Giordano stated filed a response to the Staff Report today, addressing each one of the issues Staff discussed tonight. He said the project narrative discusses the creation of a pedestrian environment and a multi-modal environment. Secondly, of importance was the protection of the perimeter trees around the property. The main concept was to create a front plaza with the sidewalk wider than required.
The finished floor and the existing floor are the same. They tried to break up the portion of the building that will be seen by the neighbors. There are trees and shrubs on the terraced portion, softening the impact of the building on the existing residences.
Giordano said they showed a number of different locations for bike parking. They will comply by showing all the bike parking before getting a building permit. The bus shelter has covered bike parking as well as a bench, encouraging the multi-modal concept. He was unable to get a response from RVTD about whether or not they wanted a bus stop.
Giordano said they are compensating for the drop in grade of Building 1 by creating the front entrance plaza, compensating for the one foot loss between the sidewalk elevation and the building elevation. The building is set way back and it cascades down the property.
With regard to the bike and pedestrian circulation, Giordano explained the points where they have access to the property. They talked to the neighbors but they can’t force people off their own property to provide an alley system in the rear. They would be happy to sign a letter in favor of future improvements to an alley system in back. They granted one of the neighbors an easement.
Giordano believes one accessway (in and out) would be a disaster. In site planning, he learned you try to have multiple exits. They conform to the requirement of driveway entrances more than 100 feet apart. If a road went through the project, it would destroy the pedestrian environment.
Stromberg understood Staff to say they wanted the applicant to make a provision for shared accessways through other properties.
Giordano said on-site bike and pedestrian circulation as discussed in his response letter.
Giordano referred to his letter of October 7, 2005 referencing the separation between buildings. In the past, they were able to average the distance between buildings in order to create a pedestrian environment. Fifty percent of the space complies or exceeds and 50 percent does not. The two buildings have varying heights.
With regard to mixed use, Giordano said they are looking at the project as one lot.
DAVID INGLES, 671 Morton Street, (his office is at
Giordano is asking for a decision tonight because the Planning Department took the full 30 days to review the application and then made a noticing error causing a delay for the applicant.
TIM BRANDY, 490 Lit Way, said there is a lot about this project he appreciates – the emphasis on bike and pedestrians, the setback on the north end, leaving trees on the west side. However, he has some concerns. He walks along
Brandy described his Parker Street residential community as a 1950’s development that is made up of smaller homes that he wants to see preserved as affordable. He realizes they will be looking out the back at terraced buildings and that will help the visual impact. But, the auditory (noise in the parking lot) is a concern. He hopes that a significant wall can be erected to help with the auditory. On the side lot, there is the church parking lot and if there was a wall there to direct traffic back to
If economically feasible, Brandy wishes the back building was two story with the top story removed, mitigating the number of people and the visual and auditory impact on their neighborhood.
RICK HARRIS, 190 Oak Street, represents the church that owns the lot next door. Currently, there is an existing flag drive that serves the back portion of the lot. Harris pointed to the three access points and they have consolidated it to two. If traffic got dumped on
This project will have a built-in clientele for the shops that are there and people are more likely to walk and ride their bikes. It makes for a better community for those who live there. If the project has one-way traffic, that would cause a lot of traffic backed up. He likes the circular pattern.
COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison Street, said the Purpose and Intent of the zone is commercial use. The residential should just be the icing on the cake. The project is driven by the parking requirement which is far less for residential. Can the applicant tell how much of the percentage of the total floor area is in commercial? There is an imbalance in the commercial developments. He thinks a mixed use building in this area is good because it is on a bus route with residential surrounding it. If the back building could be just two stories, the balance changes. It seems all of these projects are being market driven.
Black moved to extend the meeting to 11:00 p.m. Everyone favored.
Staff Comment – Molnar said the issue of access management was raised at the pre-application level. Staff believes the applicant started with the minimum standard of creating at least 100 feet of spacing, but Staff felt there might be some alternatives. They never discussed the alternative of circulating through the plaza space with Staff. Molnar does not think it is a good alternative. The burden is on the applicant to show how accommodation for bike and pedestrian traffic has been identified. The City now has authority over
MARGUERITTE HICKMAN, 455 Siskiyou Boulevard, said it would be preferable to have two ingresses and egresses but can’t answer whether they would need more than one ingress or egress. She would have to check further.
Harris said the more automobiles entering and exiting the street affects the flow of the street and increases the points where accidents can occur.
Black wondered why the traffic study was done in August, not taking into account the students from the nearby schools.
ROBERT KORTT, 3350 Green Acres, Central Point, said the site for the automatic traffic counter is done as a commuter oriented traffic strip and used for this type of arterial strip. The manual counts were turning movement counts (Appendix B). It would be nice to have school traffic but they didn’t want to wait until after school started to get data. They were looking at driveway uses, not really pedestrian traffic, though they did note the pedestrian counts.
Fields asked if there is an auto safety benefit of having another access point. Kortt said there should be only a minimal effect on capacity. The access points are spaced far enough apart that turning movements should be able to be made without interference from another driveway. They would like the second driveway for circulation and emergency vehicles.
Rebuttal – Giordano said one exit is unsafe. Both lots had curb cuts and one was mysteriously paved over when they did the improvement. On the west entrance/exit, they are willing to provide some of the restrictions Staff has included in their report to control the turning movements.
They are putting residences against residences (referring to
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Concerning egress, Fields asked what if there was a longer street frontage and what if there was one access and a more conventional parking lot. Is this the best design? He does not like the asphalt moat around the project.
Chapman believes this is too large a project to be serviced by one driveway even if the fire code allowed it.
Interpretation of mixed use – Molnar said the first question the Commission needs to resolve is “50 percent of the total lot area if there are multiple buildings shall be designated for permitted or special permitted uses, excluding residential.”
Does it give any of the Planning Commissioners concern, asked Stromberg, to have a mixed use development with the target use as retail/commercial and the actual building square footage of 75 percent residential? It would appear to him that the subsidiary use was clearly swamping the other use. Does the ordinance have the proper tools to control that? He doesn’t have faith that even if they use the 50 percent method that it would really control the issue of residential from being so big. He thinks the zoning should be re-worked.
Morris said there is a maximum residential density of 30 units per acre that can control the residential. It seems odd that the commercial square footage is not being increased but just reducing the residential. That seems like a waste. The intent of the ordinance was probably not to reduce the amount of residential but probably to increase the percentage of commercial.
Fields believes this level of density seems very appropriate in this location.
Franell said if the applicant does a boundary line adjustment and then they look at two buildings on one tax lot, that would take the Commission back to the 65 percent ground floor requirement. He also said there are several alternatives that could be looked at to meet the 50 percent calculation too.
Morris believes they have met the 65 percent criteria. Black does not have a clear, decisive yes or no. Stromberg still believes the applicant has to meet the burden of proof. Chapman thinks this is a terrific project. Dawkins said each unit is 1200 square feet and that is awfully big. We just constantly keep missing places where we could work with the development community to bring in more affordability. Douma said with regard to affordable housing, firefighters, teachers, etc. who have families may not want something smaller than 1200 square feet. We need to look at the separation of buildings. By forcing a greater separation, it takes away from the sense of the plaza area. Fields said he would be willing on the Variance to accept the varying buildings heights.
Harris said the first sentence of Condition 13 would read: “That four affordable units shall be required.” Change the existing sentence to read: “That the four required affordable units...” Add language to Condition 26: “That a pedestrian and bicycle lighting plan shall be required with the building permit submittals.”
Chapman/Morris m/s to approve PA2005-01673 with the above amended Conditions 13 and 26. Roll Call: Douma, Chapman, Dawkins, Fields and Morris voted “yes.” Stromberg and Black voted “no.” The motion passed.
Douma/Chapman m/s to approve the Variance pertaining to the distance between buildings. It has been met by the applicant because of the varying building heights. Roll Call: Douma, Chapman, Dawkins, Fields and Morris voted “yes.” Stromberg and Black voted “no.” The motion passed.
Fields will be out of town for the January 10th meeting. Dawkins will chair the meeting.
There will not be a study session in December.
HEARINGS BOARD ASSIGNMENTS
January through April
John Fields, however, Douma will fill in for Fields in January
May through August
September through December
New Commissioner (not yet appointed)
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Susan Yates, Executive Secretary