Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session-Findings-RPS

Tuesday, August 22, 2006




AUGUST 22, 2006


CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR.


Commissioners Present:           


Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black


Kate Jackson, present

John Stromberg

Pam Marsh


Staff Present:

Bill Molnar, Interim Planning Director

Melanie Mindlin


Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Mike Morris


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Tom Dimitre

Dave Dotterrer



Absent Members:



No absent members





 Molnar said each Planning Commissioner received an e-mail from Art Bullock, Ashland resident, discussing the issue of ex parte contacts.  Molnar spoke with Mike Franell, City Attorney, and Franell said a decision is not final until the findings are adopted and signed.  Any type of communication of information that is gleaned after the public hearing but before the findings are adopted is technically an ex parte contact and therefore should be disclosed.  The public is allowed at that point to challenge the ex parte contact and what impact it would have on the Commission’s ability to adopt findings.  Molnar and Franell recommended if the Commissioners had any ex parte contacts, that they avoid using that information to make any changes to the findings.  If any changes are made, it should be based on information already heard as part of the past four Planning Commission meetings and prior to the closing of the public hearing.



Ex Parte Contacts – Morris talked to Kerry KenCairn about donating time to a Habitat project.  None of the Commissioners felt that Morris’ ex parte contact biased his decision and he was allowed to vote on the findings.  No other Commissioners had any contacts.  Fields stepped down for this vote.  Marsh/Dotterrer m/s to approve the findings.  Voice Vote:  Unanimously approved.



Ex Parte Contacts – Stromberg had no ex parte contacts and did not remember reading the newspaper article.  Dimitre had a discussion with Art Bullock about whether he was going to come to the Planning Commission meeting, but they did not exchange any information.  Black read the newspaper article after the hearing was closed stating there was a spring under the pool.  She had been quite concerned about the water rights during the hearings process.  Black had a conversation with Dimitre about the wetlands explaining to him two children in her family died in springs and this is a big issue for her.  The Planning Commission is approving findings allowing unfenced wetlands in neighborhoods where we want children to live and she believes it is hazardous.  However, she does not think it affects her ability to adopt the findings.  She had a conversation with Art Bullock asking him if he was going to be doing something about this and he said they could talk about it after the findings.


ART BULLOCK questioned the ex parte contacts.  No one has disclosed the ex parte contact.  They have new information relevant to this application.  Specifically, water enters the pool through holes in the bottom of the pool.  According to the newspaper article, the Commissioners got that information from the reporter, Bob Plain.  What have they learned relevant to water entering the pool?


Dotterrer did not read the article.  Since reading Bullock’s e-mail, he has seen new information that water bubbles up from underneath the swimming pool.  As far as he is concerned, the evidence is hearsay. He won’t make a decision based upon that information.


Stromberg heard from someone that it has been asserted that water comes up through the bottom of the swimming pool.


Dimitre read the article too that water bubbles up through the bottom of the pool but he did not read Bullock’s e-mail. 


Morris read Bullock’s e-mail, but not the newspaper. 


Fields read the article and said if water is bubbling up, it is irrelevant.


Dawkins and Marsh had no comments.


Black read an article showing the size and the shape of the Helman Baths.  It was considered a Federal Natural Wetland and it seemed a lot bigger on the map than the Commission was led to believe. 


ART BULLOCK came forward to respond.  He requested the newspaper article that was referenced be placed in the record.  He asked that Fields disclose his ex parte conservation he had with Bullock at the end of the last hearing.  Bullock put it in the packet so it would be in the record.


No one else from the public came forward to speak concerning approval of the Otis Street findings.


Commissioners’ Discussion of Findings for 247 Otis Street

Stromberg read from the Performance Standards Options, Section 18.88.030C.  The springs can’t just be identified as “features” but as significant features.  Harris said Section 2.7 refers to the wellhead as a significant feature. 


Dimitre asked about referring to the wellhead and associated spring together.  Harris said when she went through the findings and tried to be consistent throughout the findings in using the terms.


Dimitre asked if it seems appropriate to use wellhead and associated spring in Condition 33.  Harris said she can include it, but it is not really accurate.


Dotterrer referred to Section 2.6 that refers to a conservation density bonus.  Harris said the applicants agreed with the Condition that all the housing will be built under the density bonus energy conservation housing.  It sets the stage for future development of Lot 18 if someone chooses to do that.


Dawkins/Morris m/s to approve the Findings for PA2006-00078.  Voice Vote:  Dotterrer, Morris, Dawkins, Fields, Dimitre, Marsh, and Stromberg voted “yes” and Black abstained.



Jackson said this is the time for a round of public input on the proposed Regional Plan.  The Regional Plan will be a framework for regional growth, both housing and commercial and industrial lands that cities may choose to bring inside the Urban Growth Boundary to inside the city limits. 


Jackson said by agreeing where each of the cities will grow within the region will enable the preservation of agricultural lands, put transportation planning on a longer timeframe and insure the region as a whole is thinking about the major issues the State requires cities to address in doing any Urban Growth Boundary amendment and in the process, address all the appropriate State planning goals.


The proposed growth areas have been identified by the individual cities.  The City of Ashland went through the process two years ago and decided not to propose any new growth areas. There is a packet of information on the City’s website under “Council Business” with the minutes from the meetings, goals of the project and a variety of other documentation. 


The regional level documentation will be compiled and submitted to the State to make sure it satisfies the State’s requirements.  Everything will depend on the population projections.  The population projections depend on looking at the past and assuming the past will continue into the future. 


Jackson said growth is going to happen, but the question is if we are going to try to grapple with it in advance.  At the rate Ashland is growing, the population is expected to grow to 26000 in 2046.  The plan can be updated as we go along.


For more documents and information, go to  The citizen input meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 7th at the Talent Middle School Library at 6:30 p.m. 



Fields said we have some new members on the Commission and he would like to have a review by the City Attorney of ex parte contacts at the next study session. 



Stromberg wanted the Planning Commission to request that the City Council direct the City Attorney to issue a written ruling on the legality of the “non-remonstrance” condition typically attached to projects where the applicant agrees to sign in favor of a future LID.


Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to support Stromberg’s proposal to obtain a legal opinion by asking the City Council to request a ruling from the City Attorney.  Voice Vote:  Unanimous.



City Administrator Martha Bennett would like to meet with the Planning Commission to discuss the hiring of the Community Development Director and would like their input on the interview process.  Staff will arrange the meeting. 


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 P.M.


Respectfully submitted by,

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary




















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