Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 08, 2007



MAY 8, 2007


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

Dave Dotterrer

Tom Dimitre


Cate Hartzell, Council Liaison, absent


John Stromberg

Pam Marsh


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris


Derek Severson, Associate Planner

Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Olena Black


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Absent Members:  None














ANNOUNCEMENTS – Southern Oregon APA, Spring Training for Planners will be held Friday, May 18, 2007 in Medford.  The Planning Commissioners are invited to attend.



Dimitre/Marsh m/s to approve the minutes of the April 10, 2007 Hearings Board, the April 10, 2007 Regular Planning Commission meeting and the April 4, 2007 Special Study Session.  Voice Vote:  Approved.


PUBLIC FORUM – No one came forth to speak.




SUBJECT PROPERTY:  479 Russell Street

OWNER/APPLICANT:   Russ Dale & Darren LeComte 

DESCRIPTION:  Request for Site Review approval for a two-story, mixed use building located at 479 Russell St., comprised of retail and office space on the ground floor and five residential units on the second floor.  The proposed building is approximately 7,762 square feet in size.  The property is located in the Detail Site Review Zone, and is also subject to the Large Scale Development Standards.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  Employment; ZONING: E-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 39 1E 09 AA; TAX LOT: 2803.


This item was continued from the April 2007 meeting to allow submittal of additional landscape details by the applicants.  The public hearing will be reopened to allow testimony in response to the newly submitted materials. 


Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts

Black missed the prior meeting and she did not watch the video.  She stepped out of the room during this hearing.  Fields saw Black at the site but they did not discuss the application.  Dawkins had a site visit since the last meeting.  No one else had an additional site visit.



Severson reported that the applicant has presented additional information addressing the Commissioner’s concerns from the last meeting.  The applicant is showing additional larger stature trees along the riparian corridor.  Landscape bays have been added along the front of the building to soften the plaza and the building presentation to the street.  The landscape detail is in this month’s packet.  The applicant’s submittals have addressed the concerns from the last meeting.  The Tree Commission has reviewed the landscape plan and did not have any recommendations to add.  A final decision needs to be made on this action by June 29th. 



KERRY KENCAIRN, 545 A Street, gave a history of the riparian corridor.  The plantings there now have been planted as per the Division of State Lands (DSL) approved plan.  They will move some of those plants into the riparian zone.  They are going to move the vegetation into a tighter parameter which means they will grow fast and shade the creek.  There can’t be any trees at the northern end because of possible flood problems.  They’ve added some large shrubs to block some of the view from the Tuneberg’s house over Lot 5, added four evergreen trees at the base of the retaining wall to shield parking for neighbors across the creek, added two shade trees to the south end, and they will replace some of the trees that aren’t doing well.  The nine evergreen trees proposed to border Lot 5 are not going to happen.  They are doing everything they can to make a creek where there was only a ditch.  She believes the neighbors are happy with the solution for the rest of the subdivision.


DARREN LECOMTE, 1110 Gateway Park, Central Point, spoke with Janet Tuneberg last week and Staff and it appeared to him there wasn’t anything they could do to shield them any better.  It seemed any action on their part would be faced with a reaction (from Lot 5 property owner, Donna Andrews). 


Severson commented there are written agreements between the applicant and the neighbors in the packet.   


CHERYL BRIGGS gave her time to another neighbor.


A letter was read into the record from SURYA BOLOM, 470 Williamson Way.  She is opposed to the opening up of Lot 5 for construction site parking during the building on Lot 4.   There appears to be ample room to park on Russell Street. 


ARLEN GREGORIO, 474 Williamson Way, wants to make sure there have been no changes to Condition 23.  Severson responded no changes have been made.  Gregorio agreed there is ample parking on Russell Drive.  He believes the parking of construction equipment would be much more appropriately parked on Russell Street, not on Lot 4. 


Gregorio is concerned that their neighbors, the Tunebergs have not gotten their needs met.  The Tunebergs were asking for deciduous trees that would provide shading during the summer and light during the winter and the request seemed reasonable.


Gregorio asked the Commissioners to note the e-mail from Doug Kent that arrived today.    


JANET TUNEBERG, 327 Starflower Lane, said that after last month she expected to see larger stature canopy trees shown on the landscape plan to shield her property.  What is there now is small.  She showed photos that she took this afternoon.  From looking at the new plan, there are five Fremont Silk Tassels (shrubs).  How large are shrubs trees?  She has not seen a size specific list.  The four additional trees mentioned on the plan do not look like canopy trees to her.  She is hoping whatever goes in the riparian zone will help with noise coming from the paved areas inside her home. 


Severson did not know of any standards that control construction staging.


Rebuttal – KenCairn said the shrubs that are buffering the Tunebergs are eight feet tall and eight feet wide.  They are five big elliptical evergreen shrubs. 


The public hearing is closed.



Morris/Dotterrer m/s to approve PA2006-10787.


Stromberg asked to add to Condition 28:  That the applicants shall execute a contract “with the City of Ashland”… . 


Marsh believes it was worthwhile bringing this application back.  It is apparent the applicants have been working diligently with the neighbors to have a workable plan for everyone.  A lot of positive changes have occurred since this first came to the Planning Commission.


Stromberg called for the question.  Mindlin seconded.  Roll Call:  The vote was unanimous. 



SUBJECT PROPERTY: 443 and 455 Dead Indian Memorial Road


DESCRIPTION:  Request for Site Review approval for an internal addition to add office space to an existing hangar building and the construction of a new building consisting of a commercial hangar and office space at the Ashland Municipal Airport at 443 and 455 Dead Indian Memorial Road. The request includes a Variance to the 20-foot height limitation within the Airport Overlay Zone in order to allow an approximate 24-foot building height, and an Administrative Variance to the Site Design and Use Standards’ to allow the proposed construction without required landscaping, parking lot landscaping, or parking lot trees due to the proximity to operating aircraft.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Airport; ZONING: E-1/Airport Overlay Zone; ASSESSOR’S MAP & TAX LOT: 39 1E 12 301, 307, 308, 309, 310, 312 and 39 1E 13B 2001


Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts - Stromberg had a site visit but did not see anything to report.  Black had a site visit and reported she had participated as an observer during an open house at the airport for the Airport Master Plan several years ago. Morris, Dimitre and Fields had a site visit.  Mindlin, Dimitre, Marsh and Dawkins did not have a site visit.



Severson said there are four components to this application:  1) Site Review for an interior addition adding a 19x35 foot space inside the existing hangar to create office space.  The work began without permits.  2) Site Review to add an additional hangar with two-story office space (6000 square feet) along with 22 parking spaces.  3) An Administrative Variance to the Site Design and Use Standards to allow the proposed construction to occur without the required landscaping, parking lot landscaping, or parking lot trees due to the proximity to operating aircraft.  4) Variance to the Airport Overlay Zone regulations limiting the maximum height of all structures to 20 feet.  The applicants are requesting to have a heated space.


Staff has added a Condition asking the applicants to provide additional landscaping off-site.  There is some landscaping near the entry that could be upgraded. 


Staff believes the heating unit complies with building code.  Staff is recommending approval of the application with the attached Conditions.


Severson believes with regard to the Tree Commission recommendation, the applicant would prefer to install landscaping rather than paying into a fund.  He also did not think the Airport Commission would be interested in taking a fee and having to manage the fee.  There is not a fund in existence currently. 


With reference to Condition 2, last sentence, Stromberg asked is we can delegate our approval authority to another commission.  Severson said the Airport Commission oversees development at the airport.  They won’t have a role in the quasi-judicial part of this. 



JOANNE KRIPPAEHNE, Madrona Architecture, 340 A Street, #106, is the applicant’s representative and design professional.  She spoke to the Variance requests.  They respectfully disagree that they are applying for a Variance from the general landscaping requirements because they contend that the airport complies with the 15 percent requirement as a whole.  It currently has over 40 percent of the 94 acre campus or 39.2 acres naturally landscaped.  A sizable portion of the landscape (well more than 15 percent) cannot be removed because of riparian, wetland or because it is in the “no-build” zone relative to the runway. 


They won’t contest Condition 2 (the area Staff is requiring to be landscaped) that amounts to 1350 square feet. 


Brim Aviation is aviation for hire consisting mostly of helicopters. The owner has to meet very strict FAA requirements for his aircraft. He carries passengers. He does everything from law enforcement support, rural and wildfire fighting support, wildlife tracking to transporting passengers.  His business is expanding and provides significant living wage employment in this area.  By providing the second hangar and the office space, he’ll continue to expand his employment base in the area.  This is a benefit. 


With regard to the overlay zone request for Variance, Krippaehne referred to the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.  There is a special section in the code that refers to aircraft hangars and heating in hangars.  Their intention is to heat the new facility as is done in the existing hangar with radiant heat.  She handed out materials explaining the heating systems. Radiant heat is cost effective and energy efficient.  The purpose of the Variance is to give them some flexibility for placement of the radiant heater that will be suspended under the peak.  Until the building is engineered, there is no way of knowing what their structural need will be. She noted there are at least two other buildings on the airport campus that exceed the 20 foot height limit.


Krippaehne said with regard to the parking lot landscaping Variance, they are concerned about aircraft and pedestrian safety.  They would like to propose as Condition 2 that they re-visit the safety issue with the Airport Commission and work to develop a pallet of materials that would meet their safety needs and at the same time meet the coverage requirements as articulated in the Condition (1350 sq. ft.). Instead of locating the landscaping remotely, install it in the vicinity of the project.  She believes the Tree Commission’s concern is that there is no plan in place.  However, it is unlikely in a year a plan will be in place.  There is no funding mechanism in place to either collect or administer money, eventually have it designed and implemented.  If Brim is going to provide landscaping, he would like it to reflect on his own facility and buildings.  They would still be requesting a Variance because they would be asking to not meet the standards in the code for landscaping.  They don’t believe large canopy deciduous trees would be feasible, but they would like to work with others involved to develop a feasible plan.


ALAN DEBOER, 2260 Morada Lane, Airport Commissioner and BILL SKILLMAN, 635 Oak Knoll Drive, member of Airport Board of Commissioners both testified.


DEBOER said Brim Aviation has been a great addition to the airport and has been there for some time and his business has benefited the City economically.  They would like approval of the Variances.  He would recommend removing Condition 2 and look at the airport as a whole.  The airport is one lot. The City just built a large group of hangars and there was no landscape requirement by the City.  Trees and the airport just don’t mix well.  In the future, they will be asking for airport landscaping standards.  With regard to the height requirement, there are airport standards that have to be met.  He is asking for approval of the Variances and to remove Condition 2 and recognize the 41 percent landscaping that currently exists.


SKILLMAN said it does not make sense to impose the landscaping requirements for most of the City on an area that is as specialized as the airport use.  Their concern is safety.  He also recommends approval of the Variances.  They don’t want the Planning Commission to have to approve the same Variances for the airport over and over again every time a new applicant wants to build a hangar.


Marsh asked if the airport is doing some type of master plan.  It appears there are areas near the entranceway that could be better landscaped.  Are the fees for landscaping figured into the cost picked up by the City?  DeBoer affirmed.


DeBoer said there is a long-term plan for landscaping but they are short of funding.


Severson said the airport will provide a common receptacle for recycling/garbage.  Bike racks are required but can be placed inside the hangar.


Skillman noted that most citizens don’t realize how much commerce comes through the Ashland Airport.  It provides a significant economic impact to the City.


Severson had re-worded Condition 2 to state:  That the applicant shall install 1350 square feet of landscape material in the vicinity of project site to meet the 15 percent landscape requirement in the E-1 zone.  The landscape plan with plant selections and locations shall be prepared for the review of the Tree Commission and Airport Commission with final approval of the Staff Advisor to avoid potential conflict between landscape material and operating aircraft.  No trees shall be required.



Mindlin/Dotterrer m/s to approve PA2007-00578.  Eliminate the requirement for parking lot landscaping and trees, approve the variance for the height and all other Conditions.  Remove Condition 2.  The overall landscape requirement is met by the City owning the entire property.   Planting trees in the parking lot does not seem appropriate.  Dotterrer would rather leave the entire landscape issue to the Airport Commission. 


Roll Call:  The motion carried unanimously.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS – Adoption of Findings, Orders & Conclusion

PA2006-01787, 479 Russell Street, Russ Dale & Darren LeComte       

Morris/Dotterrer m/s to approve the Findings as corrected to reflect tonight’s decision.  Voice Vote:  The Findings were unanimously approved.


PA2007-00578, 443 and 455 Dead Indian Memorial Road, Brim Aviation

Morris/Black m/s to approve.  Voice Vote:  The Findings were unanimously approved.




Molnar did a PowerPoint presentation as outlined in his handout.  The Planning Commission heard a presentation in January from Bob Parker, ECONorthwest on the EOA.  The primary goals of the project are to identify factors that affect Ashland’s economy, forecast employment and corresponding land needs over the next 20 years, and identify prospective industries and site needs.  They also want to use the analysis to create a foundation for an economic development plan and identify simple changes to the existing Plan policies and ordinances.  The draft EOA is essentially complete.  The final draft should be available soon.


Some of the outreach efforts used to get people at least talking about economic development has included an online web survey (300 participants).  In addition about 50 people attended a public workshop held in March.  Molnar reviewed those findings.  The consultant is drafting an implementation plan that should be ready by the end of this month.  The grant process is not intended at this point to come up with an updated economic element. 


Projects Status & Next Steps –

               Product #1 – Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) – Final draft complete

Product #2 – Implementation Report – potential goals and actions – Consultant drafting stage

Product #3 – Potential Plan and code amendments – Staff draft stage

Grant Closing Date – Products Due – June 30th, 2007


Stalheim has started drafting an Economic Development Strategy taking it from a more global perspective. Only about 25 percent of it involves land use issues.  He at least wants to start the discussion.


Dotterrer commented that he hopes in the long-range planning effort, that plan maintenance is built into the process.  Also, survey other cities to look at their process and greatly simplify the Comprehensive Plan.



The retreat is scheduled for Saturday, June 2nd beginning at 9:00 a.m. (8:30 coffee klatch) in the Siskiyou Room.  The retreat will end at 3:00 p.m.  The Commissioners will leave on a field trip in the morning to look at examples of projects that have been built out.  The Commissioners will let Stalheim know if they have anything they’d like to look at.

Topics Ideas:

It’s beneficial to just talk with each other. 

Discuss process problems – follow-up discussion from the May 29th study session presentation by Paul Nolte. 



Agenda Items will include:  Measure 37 Claims – SOU Student Project along with an update on any legislative activity from Richard Appicello.  Paul Nolte will be giving a training on public meetings and quasi-judicial matters, and Bill Molnar will give an update on the Wetlands and Riparian Code.  Plan to meet until 10:00 p.m.


The Condo Conversion Ordinance will come back to the June Planning Commission meeting.  The Housing Commission will review it at their May 24th meeting.  Michael Dawkins and Tom Dimitre volunteered to meet with the Housing Commission prior to reviewing the Housing Commission reviewing the final draft. 


BINDERS – The Planning Commissioners will be provided with binders to hold their planning packets.  The Commissioners requested the packets be copied double-sided.



Dotterrer nominated and Dawkins seconded the nomination of John Stromberg for Chair.  Dawkins complimented John Fields on a job well done as Chair.  He would, however, like to see the Chair turn over every two years.  Morris nominated Pam Marsh.  Marsh declined as she felt Stromberg had seniority.  Fields nominated himself and Morris seconded the nomination.  Black/Dotterrer m/s to close the nominations.  All voted in favor of closing the nominations.  Show of hands:  Stromberg, Dimitre, Mindlin, Black, Dawkins and Dotterrer voted for Stromberg.  Fields, Morris and Marsh voted for Fields.  Stromberg was elected as Chair.


Dotterrer nominated and Marsh seconded the nomination of John Fields for Vice Chair.  Dimitre nominated and Black seconded the nomination of Michael Dawkins for Vice Chair.  Dotterrer/Black m/s to close the nominations.  All voted in favor of closing the nominations.  Show of hands:  Marsh, Morris, Mindlin and Dotterrer voted for Fields.  Dimitre, Stromberg, Black, Fields and Dawkins voted for Dawkins.  Dawkins was elected Vice Chair. 


Black nominated and Dotterrer seconded the nomination of John Fields for Second Vice Chair.  Morris nominated and Fields seconded the nomination of Dave Dotterrer for Second Vice Chair.  Black/Morris m/s to close the nominations.  All voted in favor of closing the nominations.  Show of hands:   Black and Mindlin voted for Fields and Stromberg, Dimitre, Fields, Morris, Marsh, Dotterrer and Dawkins voted for Dotterrer.  Dotterrer was elected Second Vice Chair.



Marsh (Planning Commission Representative) reported that she and Stromberg (Citizen- at-Large) have been meeting with the Street Financing Task Force.  Though street financing is a pretty dry issue, they are starting to see opportunities in which it could be used to guide how we do development, using it as a tool to set the standards for various streets or how we might recommend imposing additional costs on hillside development.  The street financing mechanism also includes what budget there is for RVTD and perhaps providing an opportunity to get to the wider transportation issues.  The Task Force meets every third Wednesday


HEARINGS BOARD – Stromberg volunteered to sit in for Marsh at the June 12th Hearings Board. 


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary









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