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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session-Recon Survey-Pow&Dut-Condo Conv

Tuesday, July 25, 2006



JULY 25, 2006


CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street.



Commissioners Present:




Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Mike Morris

Olena Black


Kate Jackson, present

Tom Dimitre



John Stromberg

Pam Marsh


Staff Present:

Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

Dave Dotterrer


Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Mike Morris


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary




Absent Members:    None






John Fields will take Dave Dotterrer’s place at the August 8, 2006 Hearings Board.



Harris introduced Dale Shostrom, Historic Commission Chair and George Kramer, consultant hired to do the Historic Reconnaissance Survey.  The project was funded by a grant through the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) with a Certified Local Communities Grant (CLG) in the amount of $15,000.  The project is almost complete.  It is the Historic Commission’s charge to inventory historic properties throughout the City. 


Shostrom thought everyone would agree that the four existing historic districts add value to Ashland’s and its character.  We can look at different ways of protecting the City’s inventory by exploring further options.      


Kramer said the four historic districts started out as local historic districts in the late 1970’s and converted to National Register Districts in the late 1990’s.  At that time, when he examined the boundaries of each of the 1500 resources, it became obvious that the boundaries had been fairly arbitrarily drawn.  This is the culmination of continuing the process that was started in Ashland in the 1970’s by looking at everything else outside the historic districts. 


Kramer said they chose the north quadrant (Helman area) with 900 lots.  They came up with approximately 150 resources that are 50 years old or older.  He photographed the properties and the data was platted on a map.  He made some preliminary evaluations based on what the resource looked like and what historic information he had about whether or not they might potentially be significant resources.  The data will be transmitted to the City and Historic Commission by the end of this month.  The study goes to the State and they will also review it.


The vast majority of the resources in this district are built post 1956, post 1961.  There are pockets of very dense development prior to 1940 right up against the Skidmore Academy District.  There are some phenomenal connections to Ashland’s earliest history in this district because it lined the creek. 


It will be up to the Historic Commission to decide the next step.  This was an informational process.  After the public process, the area could become a historic district or we could add onto an existing historic district.


Harris said there is value in having the information for people who want to know more about their property.



Fields sees it as critical for the Planning Commission to know exactly what their role is and what the Council wants from them.  Volunteer commissions generate and contribute ideas, but oftentimes that work just stops or withers.  Better communication is needed between the commissions and Council. 


Dotterrer recommended, based on the input at the retreat, revising and reviewing the roles and duties of the Planning Commission.  Councilor Jackson said the Council appointed a subcommittee (Hartzell, Chapman and Jackson) reviewing all the commissions, comparing their duties to what they are doing and to what they’d like to do.


Dotterrer took the recommendations from the retreat and put together some roles and responsibilities.  He chose not to include the role of the Planning Commission and Citizen Involvement.  Black will need to bring in the work she has been doing on that.  Dotterrer cautioned the Commission to look closely at all the wording, for example “direction” in 1.  Is that the word that is most appropriate?


The Commissioners reviewed Dotterrer’s PLANNING COMMISSION ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (Revised for the July 25th Study Session Discussion)


Under the item, “Do We Drop” is economic planning responsibilities because that is currently listed as one of the Planning Commission’s duties.


Dotterrer wondered if Staff could do more work on “urban renewal agency in lieu of.” 


Was anything missing from Dotterrer’s list?

·        Long-term strategic plan.  If the Comprehensive Plan is being done correctly, is that long-term strategic planning?

·        Coordinated planning with neighboring agencies.  Regional planning – monitoring.

·        The Big Look’ that is, the statewide re-conceptualization of land use planning.  Track or participate.

·        The Commission wants to monitor, review, and coordinate the areas of mutual concern in Jackson County.

·        The role of the Planning Commission concerning enforcement actions.  Example:  approval conditions on applications. 

·        The Planning Commission’s ability to initiate planning actions.

·        Language regarding CPAC (Citizens Planning Advisory Committee) envisions a pretty a close and structured relationship between CPAC and the Planning Commission.

·        All the duties should show up in one document.

·        Adequate housing supply. 

·        If there are ten elements to the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission’s job is to maintain it, monitor it, oversee periodic review and work packages.  (Item 2. is a catch-all.)


Next Step – Dotterrer asked Dimitre to draft a statement regarding his issue (adequate housing).  If others want to add anything, send it to Dotterrer and he will add and contact the Legal Department. 


If there is time, it could be on next month’s agenda (August 22nd).



Fields introduced Alice Hardesty, past Housing Commissioner, and most recent appointee to the Council.  Molnar and Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist, came up with some simple language based on input from Commissioners.  Hardesty said they’ve come up with a voluntary type situation with the idea of protecting the rental properties.  By requiring that 50 percent of converted condominiums remain rentals is doing that; however, we give the purchaser an option to make the whole thing condominiums by imposing affordability restrictions.  If an owner chooses to leave the condominiums as rentals, then they should be affordable at the 60 percent AMI.


Lastly, there is a part of the ordinance identifying tenant’s rights. 


Dawkins said they were looking at creative ways to facilitate the protection of rentals and yet be able to give owners some way out to do something else with the property, but making it tougher to convert. He suggested changing the planning process from a Type I to a Type II because a Type II would allow more discussion to occur. 


Molnar has a concern about requiring the conversion to be a Type II when they are trying to make this a fairly objective ordinance. 


Marsh said an objective ordinance could require an annual monitoring to see how it is working.


Dimitre believes this ordinance isn’t really addressing the real problem.  It seems like we are just going to keep losing ground every year with affordable housing if this ordinance is passed.


AARON BENJAMIN, Housing Commissioner, said the Housing Needs Assessment pointed out the need for 800 rental units for the next ten years (that was five years ago).  There is a real danger that units are being gobbled up.  There is no clear picture of what should be set aside for affordable.  A rental needs analysis is what is needed as soon as possible. 


Hardesty said this ordinance won’t solve the problem by any means, but might slow things down a little.  She mentioned the resolution concerning tenant’s rights that should also slow things down some.


Morris wondered if this ordinance would apply to anyone that owned their property before the ordinance went into effect under Measure 37. 


This ordinance is a good first step to test the waters.


LAND USE ORDINANCE REIVEW COMMITTEE – The next meeting is Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 3:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 


NEXT STUDY SESSION:  August 22, 2006 – Kate Jackson will give a Regional Problem Solving presentation.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary






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