Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Wednesday, April 04, 2007





APRIL 4, 2007



I.             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, Ashland, OR.


Commissioners Present:        


Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black

Tom Dimitre


Cate Hartzell, Council Liaison, present


John Stromberg

Pam Marsh


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris


Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Richard Appicello, Assistant City Attorney

Dave Dotterrer


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Absent Members:  None














Planning Process Efficiencies

Stalheim introduced Adam Hanks, newly appointed Permit Manager.  Hanks explained the Planning Process Efficiencies – Day-to-Day Land Use Planning Efforts of the Current Planning Group.  He reviewed changes to the following processes:  1)  Preapplication Conferences, 2)  Planning Applications, 3)  Building Permit Reviews, 4)  General Tasks – Front Counter/Phones, etc.



Stalheim gave a presentation of a revised potential planning framework and reviewed his handout dated March 2007 to the Planning Commission. 

Options for more efficiencies might include:

                              Moving more land use actions to staff approvals

Hearings Officer

Design Review Board

More Efficient Meetings

More Meetings

Move land use policy to different process, such as CPAC


Stalheim reviewed his recommendations and their impact.  Those items would include:

Saving of staff time

Still respecting public process and input

Hearings Board could be cancelled

Planning Commission items might be removed if some Type II permits lowered to Type I

Remaining Type II and all Type III permits would remain with Planning Commission as it now exists.



  • Dotterrer is leery of having a Hearings Officer.  Consider moving the less complicated Type II’s to the Hearings Board and anything that would involve interpretation, policy, etc. to the Planning Commission.  He would like to see additional discussion concerning the Hearings Officer and possibly revising the duties of the Hearings Board.
  • Dimitre asked that by implementing the changes suggested, how much Staff time does Stalheim anticipate saving.
  • Mindlin would not favor bypassing the Planning Commission and Council to take an action to LUBA.
  • Black is concerned with losing valued citizen input if we had a Hearings Officer.  Possibly use a Hearings Officer temporarily.
  • Stromberg commented that to the extent we take decision-making out of the process, we have to be very thoughtful about what decisions we retain.  If we do that, perhaps we won’t lose citizen input. Start involving the public in the process now so when the time comes for the public hearing to adopt these changes, the public will feel they are a part of the process. 
  • Dotterrer suggested inviting a cross-section of recent applicants and get take their input.
  • Marsh would like to eliminate the Hearings Board.  It seems to take a tremendous amount of staff time and she does not believe it is a good use of the Commissioner’s personal volunteer time either.  She lived in another city where a Hearings Officers worked very successfully.  There was always an appeal process built in.
  • Dimitre was opposed to charging a fee to request a public hearing. 


NEXT STEP:  Stalheim will work on more specific procedures and will start making recommendations to the Commission by the time of their retreat.  His recommendation tonight would be to leave the Hearings Board in place, but not to use it. 


The Power Point presentation will be available on the website.


IV.           NEXT STUDY SESSION - April 24, 2007, 7:00 p.m.


V.            ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary














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