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Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session-Citizens Guide-Roles&Duties-DT

Tuesday, February 28, 2006




FEBRUARY 28, 2006


The Commission recognized and thanked Kerry KenCairn for her years of service and on the Commission. 


CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR.


Commissioners Present:



Absent Members:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins



Mike Morris


Council Liaison:

Russ Chapman


Kate Jackson, present

Olena Black


Staff Present:

Allen Douma


Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

John Stromberg


Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Pam Marsh

Dave Dotterrer


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary



Chapman said he’d like to see the guide put on the City’s website before he leaves in April.  He noted a typographic error on page three, paragraph four.  The sentence should read:  “A citizen can request a public hearing on a particular land use application by requesting it in writing.” 


Other minor items to change or add:

·        Clarify the reason for the rebuttal.  The reason for rebuttal is to rebut testimony, not to bring up new information.

·        Clarify language regarding meetings on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays and the 5th Tuesday.

·        Add contact information:

Community Development Dept. address

Phone Number

E-mail Address

·        How to send a written message to the Commission.

·        City Recorder and Legal will review the guide.

·        Add web links. 

·        Add a process flow chart.

·        Staff to work out any other items.

·        Highlight changes that are made.


There was a discussion concerning reading items aloud at the meeting that are turned in after the packet has been distributed.   The Commissioners decided that the Citizens Guide should state that written materials need to be submitted seven days prior to the public hearing.  Staff will make additional copies of materials not included in the packet available at the meeting to members of the public.  Reading letters aloud will be left to the discretion of the Chair. 


COLIN SWALES commented because the Staff Report is not required to be completed until seven days prior to the meeting. the window of opportunity to respond to the Staff Report is short.



Molnar said the architectural firm that has been charged with designing a remodel for the Council Chambers has asked for each Commissioner’s feedback.  If anyone has any comments, they can be e-mailed to Bill Molnar. 


Ideas & Suggestions

  • Go back a couple of years and find the list of fundamental changes that were made by Bill Street and Ann Seltzer that would facilitate both the television and live audience and how testimony is presented. 
  • Can the architect show the Commission several options?
  • There is a problem with availability of the room.  Look at finding a second meeting place.
  • Would the City consider purchasing a collection of mobile equipment?
  • Identify what the problems really are before trying to fix anything.



Out of respect for the Council, Molnar is waiting for the final draft from the Council before presenting them to the Commission. 



A.            Downtown

Stromberg reported that the City has received a work program from Crandall Arambula outlining the process for Phase II of the Downtown Plan.  He explained the process the consultants would use to get to an end product.  The consultant’s estimated cost for the project s in the neighborhood of $227,000.  (For further information regarding Crandall Arambula’s presentation and methods, see the Downtown Plan Meeting notes dated January 26, 2006.)  At the end of the process, the community will have come to an agreement on what they think the future vision of the town is in a very concrete way (specific properties, specific uses and how traffic is handled, etc.)  There will be explicit guidance for the changes that need to be made to our Land Use Ordinance.  Additionally, they will provide us with an explicit strategy for how to roll out all the major capital projects, both public and private and the funding sources.  The cost for re-writing the design standards and public improvement standards would cost between $40,000 to $80,000.


The consultant will be giving a presentation of Phase I to the Council probably in May.  The Council will be evaluating the financial strategies to fund a project of this size.  The current Downtown Committee, an official committee of the Planning Commission, will finish Phase I.  Crandall Arambula discussed a steering committee for Phase II.   The Council will have to figure out who to appoint to the steering committee.  Molnar has talked to the Mayor and he thought it likely in Phase II, the Council will solicit a broad based steering committee.


B.            Roles & Duties

Dotterrer said he had provided a menu of roles and duties to the Commissioners a couple of months ago but has not received any feedback.  He will send it out again.  However, after reviewing the Zucker report, one cannot talk about the Planning Department without talking about the Planning Commission.  What are the roles and mission of the Planning Commission?  What is the Planning Commission’s purpose?  He envisions the Planning Commission doing more long range planning.  Dotterrer asked for discussion of an idea he has.  He sees the Planning Commission’s role as providing the direction and focus to the City planning program.  He believes the City’s planning goals should be initiated from the Planning Commission.  He will send out recommendations for a mission statement.  He asked the Commissioners to take a look at the more specific things about the role of the Planning Commission in relationship to the Comprehensive Plan, Citizens Planning Advisory Committee, citizen involvement, and the processes themselves.  He believes the process comes first.  He would not recommend spending any money on any resources or do any reorganizing until we figure out what the process is. 


Councilor Jackson asked Dotterrer to investigate state statutes.  Dotterrer said the State gives the Planning Commission a wide array of what they can do.  Jackson noted that the Planning Commission is advisory to the Council.  Dotterrer meant the Council would be well served to use the Planning Commission.    


Douma would like to be presented with options of roles and duties along with the risk/benefits/costs of each option.  In making their recommendations to the Council, the Planning Commission should give their reasons for their recommendations and let the Council come to their own conclusions.


The idea of a hearings officer can be discussed at the retreat. 


Councilor Jackson said if anything the Commission is doing would have a budget impact based on the Zucker report, bring it to the Budget Committee through Molnar.   



C.            Citizen Input

Black said she met with two other citizens and they reviewed the chapters of the Comprehensive Plan.  The purpose and direction of the analysis was to look at each section of the Comp Plan and identify data that would not support, or is in question, of the underlying assumption.  They tried to see if the goal had been achieved, not achieved or if the data was current.  They are in the editing process.  When it is complete, Black will send her document to Staff and it can be distributed from there. 


D.            Ordinance Amendments

The Land Use Ordinance Review will be presented to the Council by the consultant, tentatively, on April 18, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.


E.            Communications

In addition to the Citizens Guide, the committee is trying to define what specifically does the Commission want presented to them when trying to make decisions about a project, policy or plan, particularly as presented to them by Staff.  He would suggest they be given the authorization to go forward and create a simple template or checklist.



Suggested topics:


Hearings officer

Should the Commissioners do a tour of past projects?


The retreat has been scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2006.  Let Staff know if this date is a problem.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary



























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