Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission

Tuesday, June 12, 2007





JUNE 12, 2007



Chair John Stromberg 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

Michael Dawkins

Dave Dotterrer

Tom Dimitre


Cate Hartzell, Council Liaison, present


John Stromberg

Mike Morris


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin

Absent Members:


Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Brandon Goldman, Housing Specialist

Olena Black


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Pam Marsh
















Dave Dotterrer reported that at the June 5th Council meeting, the Council ran out of time to discuss the proposed changes to the Planning Commission Roles and Responsibilities.  They are schedules to discuss Roles and Responsibilities at their June 19th agenda.  Stromberg offered to step in for Dotterrer if he is unable to attend. 


Stromberg handed out an agenda with some proposed changes to it along with the times allotted for each item.  He asked if the Commissioners would approve of allowing unstructured public input from the audience on tonight’s agenda. 



Item:  Public Hearing Format – Stromberg suggested taking input from the Commissioners, and then he and David can jointly revise it and bring back a suggested final version to the Study Session on July 26th. 


The Commissioners approved of the agenda. 



o                   Dimitre/Fields m/s to approve the March 27, 2007 Joint Study Session minutes.  Voice Vote:  The minutes stand approved as written.

o                   Dimitre/Mindlin m/s to approve the April 24, 2007 Study Session minutes.  Voice Vote:  The minutes stand approved as written.

o                   Mindlin/Dotterrer m/s to approve the May 8, 2007 regular Planning Commission meeting.  VoiceVote:  The minutes stand approved as written.

o                   Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to approve the May 8, 2007 Hearings Board.  Voice Vote:  The minutes stand approved as written.



COLIN SWALES, 461 Allison, talked about the project on North Main & Glenn Streets recently approved by the Planning Commission and subsequently appealed by the Council.  Swales had a problem with bias expressed by Commissioner Mike Morris.  He believes this introduces some ethical issues. The Commission might want to become better acquainted with how the legal workings of the appeal process work.


ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower, handed out “Glenn Street Development Appeal, Helman Springs Dev. Hearing” and discussed the appeals procedure and “Improving Procedural Integrity.”  He noted the following points: 

  1. Put documents online as they’re scanned, not at the last minute.
  2. Send notice to all parties to the Outline Plan.
  3. Make the findings decision on hearing night.
  4. Schedule findings earlier in the session.
  5. If there’s a 7-day record extension, schedule decision for study session, not the next month.



Stalheim presented the Land Use Procedures Proposed Changes in a PowerPoint presentation (Attachment “A” of the meeting minutes).  The changes would involve eliminating the Staff Permit procedure and combining it with a revised Type I hearings process and moving some Type II’s to Type I’s.  The purpose of the changes would be to streamline the process and allow for staff efficiencies. 


After hearing the presentation, some of the Commissioners supported the general direction of the changes, felt this was a good first step and wanted to keep the process and discussion moving forward.  There was general interest in involving interested parties including developers of large and small projects and others who would have valuable input regarding the impact of the changes.  Stromberg asked that between now and the time this is brought to the Commission again, input can be sent to him.


The following items were noted that need further discussion and clarification.

Input on Planning Actions:

1.       100 foot width and length issue

2.       Cost of appeal – currently free

3.       Fiscal impact to citizens for appeal process

4.       Note:  distinction between “call up” process vs. public hearing

5.       Evidentiary Hearing – ramifications to record

6.       Trigger points – residential transition, other?

7.       Trust, monitoring?

8.       Reconsideration process – think about ramifications about public process

9.       Notice area and standards (distance, signs, etc.)

10.    Why on the record vs. de novo?

11.    Length of time

12.    Staff net cost in terms of time efficiencies

13.    Which projects would fall into different categories – expedited land divisions, evidentiary hearings

14.    Appeal vs. reconsideration vs. call up


1.       Distinction between existing process and new is not great (i.e. Hearings Board)

2.       Public input (developers, citizens, etc.) – invite stakeholders

3.       Next time would be a public hearing

4.       Public input would be on a proposal written in a user friendly format that focuses on the changes, not on the final ordinance – flow charts, etc.


(Secretary’s Note:  A motion and vote were taken regarding the procedural changes at the end of tonight’s meeting and can be found near the end of the minutes.)  



The Council recently reviewed the modified ordinance and they decided they wanted to achieve the goal of rentals and particularly affordable rentals in Ashland.  They asked City staff to re-write the condo conversion ordinance.  An ad hoc committee made up of two Planning Commissioners (Tom Dimitre and Michael Dawkins) and the Land Use subcommittee of the Housing Commission (Bill Smith, Bill Street, Regina Ayars and Alice Hardesty) met to make changes.  The Housing Commission reviewed the substantive changes at their meeting on May 24th.  In this latest version, three options would be given to an applicant that is outlined in the memo dated June 12, 2007 from Brandon Goldman, Housing Program Specialist.  Staff developed a sliding scale so the larger the complex size, the greater percentage of rental units had to be maintained.  (There are exceptions.) 


Commission Comments:

1.                   What percentage of units is non-conforming?

2.                   Not enough information.

3.                   Would like to see more affordable units.

4.                   After Legal reviews the ordinance, it could change everything again.

5.                   Like the general concept of this ordinance.

6.                   Less concerned about affordable rentals than losing rentals.

7.                   How do you motivate the private sector to do affordable housing?

8.                   Do we want to socially engineer housing?

9.                   The options and formula provided are reasonable.

10.                We won’t be seeing any new apartments built – only condos.

11.                We have the sense this ordinance will gain us something, but we don’t really know the outcomes.

12.                This is a complicated and complex subject.

13.                Disallow condos and only allow rentals.

14.                The only way to get more apartments is to subsidize them.

15.                There are two companion goals that start to compete with each other.  To get affordability you have to do it by incentive.  If you take away all potential incentives, by protecting every single rental unit at market rate, what can you offer as an incentive?  There is a trade-off between protection and creating incentives.    

16.                Build an ordinance addressing just condominiums.

17.                We have only a limited number of apartments that will convert because all new construction will be built as condominiums and no one will ever build a new apartment again.

18.                Wary about layer of government that is involved and the amount of regulation this ordinance might take as well as the cost to regulate it.

19.                Rental Needs Analysis has shortcomings.  Survey did not include those who carry cell phones. 

20.                The market is challenging for low income individuals.

21.                No other examples of condominium conversions we can draw from in the State of Oregon even though many other communities are facing the same problems.



AARON BENJAMIN – The basic objective is to preserve as many affordable rentals from the threat of condo conversations in as fair a way as possible.  Believe Goldman’s formula presents something that they believe will work.  The market is changing. 


COLIN SWALES – He said “condominium” is an ownership type.  It is not “for purchase” as implied in the title of the ordinance.  Condominium conversion is a conditional use. What is a use and what isn’t a use?  Conversion of an ownership type to condominium ownership is not a use.  A use is still residential.  Owner occupied is a different kind of use than rental occupation.  No conversions from multi-family zoning to condominium ownership. 


Stalheim said we have no regulation on condominiums. There is no process under state statute that requires the City to have a process other than the City surveyor. 


Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m.  Voice Vote:  Approved.


Stromberg wanted Staff to summarize this for the Council.  He recommended the Council members view the last 45 minutes of tonight’s video. 


Due to the growing complexity of trying to resolve this ordinance, Fields moved not to adopt the current ordinance as it has evolved.  Dotterrer seconded the motion.  Mindlin suggested an amendment asking the Council to gather more information on how this will work.  Fields said the proposed ordinance as it has evolved has gotten more complex without having enough corroborating data or outcomes or knowing the general net affect of it.  As a result, we are not willing to support the ordinance changes this time.


Roll Call:  Morris, Dotterrer, Mindlin, Fields and Dawkins voted “yes.” Dimitre and Stromberg voted “no.”  The motion carried.


Hartzell said as someone who has watched this evolve, she would ask the Planning Commission to step forward and help with this problem. 



Stalheim is requesting a motion to initiate the changes to the code and to go through the public process. 


Stromberg felt reluctant to move to do this because there has not yet been a meaningful discussion on tonight’s changes. 


Fields/Morris m/s to discuss the revision to the Type I and Type II's  to streamline the process in our ordinance.  He’d like to see staff carry it forward and start articulating it in the form of an ordinance.  Roll Call:  Fields, Mindlin, Dimitre, Dotterrer, Dawkins, and Morris voted “yes” and Stromberg voted “no.” 


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m. 


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

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