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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Regular Meeting

Tuesday, July 10, 2007




JULY 10, 2007


CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Stromberg 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

Mike Morris


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin

Olena Black


Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Derek Severson, Associate Planner

Pam Marsh


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary











ANNOUNCEMENTS – There will be a special meeting of the Planning Commission on July 31st at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers to begin discussing the Land Use Ordinance revisions and the Siegel amendments.  This will be just the first of several opportunities for the public to comment.    


Stromberg said, as an experiment, he will be sending a consent agenda to the Commissioners about a week in advance of the regular meeting so the Commissioners will have an opportunity to either add or take things off the consent agenda.  For example, if there are no changes to the minutes, they could be left on the consent agenda and everything on the consent agenda can be passed at one time. 


Stromberg said he will be trying at tonight’s meeting to hold all the speakers to the applicable criteria.  He asked the Commissioners to intervene if he starts to get too rigorous with it.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA – Voice Vote:  Everyone favored the agenda as it stands.   



Marsh/Dotterrer m/s to approve the minutes of the May 29, 2007 Planning Commission Study Session.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

Dotterrer/Marsh m/s to approve the June 2, 2007 Planning Commission Retreat minutes. Voice Vote:  Approved.

Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to approve the minutes of the June 12, 2007 Hearings Board meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved.

Dotterrer/Morris m/s to approve the minutes of the June 12, 2007 Planning Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  Approved with Black and Marsh abstaining.

Dimitre/Marsh m/s to approve the minutes of the June 26, 2007 Planning Commission Study Session.  Voice Vote:  Approved.


PUBLIC FORUM – No one came forth to speak.



PLANNING ACTION:             PA2007-00455

SUBJECT PROPERTY:         247 Otis Street

OWNER/APPLICANT:           Sage Development LLC

DESCRIPTION:     A request for Final Plan approval under the Performance Standards Options Chapter 18.88 for an 18-unit residential subdivision, including one lot containing the existing home and swimming pool structure on the site, for the property located at 247 Otis Street.  The application was preliminarily approved by city staff on May 24, 2007.  Prior to the administrative approval being finalized, a public hearing was requested on June 4, 2007.


Ex Parte Contacts/Bias/Conflict of Interest – Dawkins had a site visit.  Black had a site visit.  She did not feel she could judge this action objectively and chose to step down and left the room.  No other Commissioners had additional site visits.



Harris explained the approval criteria for Final Plan as referenced in the Staff Report.  Final Plan was administratively approved on May 24, 2007 and a request for public hearing was received on June 4th, 2007.  Since Outline Plan, the only changes have been to the open spaces that are in direct response to the Conditions of approval attached to Outline Plan.  There were two open spaces and there are now four in Final Plan.  Condition 3 has been added reconfiguring Lot 14 to include a flag pole connection to the new street in the subdivision, eliminating the driveway access and eliminating the flag pole connecting to Randy. 


Final Plan identifies six trees for removal. 


The easement for the water was a requirement for Outline Plan and the applicants have provided language for it.  Also, the Division of State Lands (DSL) approved the wetland delineation as reflected in the Final Plan.  


Harris handed out suggested changes to Conditions 14 and 15.  Staff is suggesting deleting the last sentence of Condition 14 and it will say “Wheelchair ramps shall be provided on both ends of the off-street multi-use path adjacent to the wetland open space and through the tree park open space.”  Condition 15 requires the path through the treed open space be paved and eight feet in width.  The standard for a multi-use path is six to ten feet and is required to be paved.  Besides the requirement, in the findings for Outline Plan, the path through the open space was found to be an important transportation connection so that people can get from the middle of the subdivision on the south side of the subdivision to the corner, out to the Randy Street sidewalk.  The Findings state specifically “pedestrians and bicyclist.”  Paths need to be designed for all kinds of users. 


Dimitre understood we wanted a letter from the Oregon Water Resources Department about the permit.  Is a letter from the applicant adequate verification that no permit is required?



Devian Aguirre, Sage Development, 190 Clover Lane, introduced Kerry KenCairn, landscape designer and Mike Thornton, civil engineer.  Aguirre said they have met the Conditions of approval for Outline Plan.  They have succeeded in being approved by the State for the wetlands review.  She said she would prefer using a permeable surface on the path between the newly formed Drager and Randy.  She would like to make it handicap accessible, but permeable.  With regard to water rights, there is information from Harold Center, a certified Water Rights Examiner. KenCairn contacted the Water Master and found there is no requirement for a water right for the stated use. 


Dimitre asked the applicant about Condition 37.  Aguirre said they do not have a problem with the LID. 


KenCairn said DSL reviewed their delineation of the wetlands and ended up adding a finger of wetland and decided two of the wetlands they mitigated for are not wetlands.  The mitigation requirement is 150 percent and they are way over that percentage.


KenCairn said they would prefer to use a more natural path, but because the path will be a major transportation route through a subdivision they are willing to agree to a paved surface.


CYNDI DION, 897 Hillview Drive, addressed four items.

o                    Storm Drain Detention:  She understands the City is probably going to suggest they have an oversized storm drain detention system to potentially cool the very warm water that is coming out of the spring box.  She is not happy that this has to be heavily engineered.  She would rather have it openly ponded than undergrounded and under the street. How much estimated water will be detained before going down Glendower?

o                    Multi-Use Path:  She is hoping the Planning Commission will consider a pervious surface.  The trees are large maples that require a lot of water.  She would like to see the path six feet wide.

o                    She thanked Staff for recommending Lot 14 to access off Drager.


LIJA APPLEBERRY, 704 Willow Street, agreed with almost all of what Dion has said. She believes they have dealt with the water and spring in a respectful manner and is optimistic that the plan will work. 


ART BULLOCK, 791 Glendower, in addressing the criteria noted what he believes to be the remaining issues:

o                    The major access streets have not been identified and there has not been a commitment or requirement as required by code that the streets be improved to City Standards.

o                    He does not believe the non-remonstrance agreement satisfies the law with regard to the Laurel Street LID.  As soon as the project is approved, the applicant can change her mind, void the non-remonstrance agreement, and not participate in the LID.

o                    The Tree Commission has not considered this application due to their meeting cancellation and lack of quorum.  He wanted them to review 1) impervious surfaces vs. pervious surfaces under the maple trees near the path, and 2) the driveway from Randy Street to Lot 14. 

o                    He believes the water feature uses water, yet the easement document does not satisfy the requirement that the water be protected for the homeowner’s association.  There is no guarantee the water feature will get any water at all. 

o                    There is no document in the file showing the pool must be protected in perpetuity as per DSL. Instead, the Condition says to do it later and let the Legal Dept. approve it.  That robs the public any opportunity to object at a public hearing. 

o                    The Water Master’s letter and details are not adequate to satisfy the Condition.  They need a decision from the Water Master on the rights related to this property. 

o                    There are still too many unknowns concerning the storm drain detention.  He is especially concerned with the heat of the water and the amount of water.


Rebuttal – Aguirre said it is noted in the packet that the water temperature has been tested and is from 80 to 81 degrees.  The storm water detention issues are technical in nature and she is not qualified to deal with it.  That has been left to their civil engineer and the City’s Utility Department. 


KenCairn said they can use pervious paving (pervious concrete, asphalt or other) in the tree protection zones.  She explained that the water that is going to be in the street, underground and detained is just the water off the streets, not any of the wetland or spring water.  She said the water coming out of the ground on this property and going into a swimming pool does not require a permit.   KenCairn explained that the surveyor attempted to create a legal way to create Lot 14 and give it public street presence. 


Thornton said they are happy to follow the Condition regarding storm water detention. 


Aguirre added that she has not had an experience in breaking a commitment after signing a LID.  It is not her decision to improve Laurel. 


KenCairn thought the Condition regarding the mutli-use path should be amended to read “That paving within the tree protection zone shall be pervious paving.” 


It is Aguirre’s understanding that the well is more than capable of supplying adequate water flow to supply the pool and the water feature.  As long as the water flows, it will go one-half to the homeowner’s association and one-half to Lot 18.


Stromberg closed the public hearing and the  record.


Staff Response by Staff and Legal Counsel

Harris said the CC&R’s state the fencing has to be no greater than four feet in height on all the common areas.  The Condition will allow some latitude the way it is written regarding the path and is acceptable because there is a clause “all weather comparable surfaces.”   


Richard Appicello, Assistant City Attorney, addressed the compliance with Street Standards and referred to Page 10 of the Council Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order dated January 2, 2007.  He said Page 11 of the Findings addresses the Laurel Street LID.   The delegation of the easement was also raised before the Council and is addressed on Page 12 of the Findings.


Stalheim said the Tree Commission is an advisory body and is not required to review plans.


Appicello said the letter from the engineer concerning water rights, provided by the applicant, is acceptable.  With regard to Condition 37, the language came from Page 10 and 11 from the Council Findings. 


Stromberg asked about the assertion that we don’t know if the storm drain detention will sufficiently cool the water.  Harris responded this is an Outline Plan criteria – there  is adequate capacity of all the public facilities, including storm drains.  She knows that Engineering and the applicant are working on a detention system and they are aware of the concerns.


Stalheim said because the path is a public easement, the applicants need to comply with Americans with Disabilities (ADA).





Fields/Dotterrer m/s approve Final Plan for PA2007-00455 with the amended Conditions 14 and 15 by Staff as follows:  “Wheelchair ramps shall be provided on both ends of the off-street multi-use path adjacent to the wetland open space and through the tree park open space.”  There will be pervious path areas around driplines and protected trees.  Dimitre amended the motion that evidence be presented from the Oregon Water Resources Department that a permit is not required.  And, if a permit is required, the applicants are required to obtain a permit.  The motion died for lack of a second.  Roll Call:  The motion carried with Stromberg, Morris, Fields, Mindlin, Dotterrer, Marsh, Dawkins voting “yes” and Dimitre voting “no.”


Black rejoined the meeting. 


PLANNING ACTION:             PA2007-00990

SUBJECT PROPERTY:         840 Faith Avenue

OWNER/APPLICANT:           Curtis P. Wine

DESCRIPTION:                     A request for Preliminary Plat approval for a nine-lot subdivision for the property located at 840 Faith Avenue.


Ex Parte Contacts/Bias/Conflict of InterestDawkins has had several site visits and expressed his distress that the application is for single family detached residential units instead of multi-family units.   However, he does not believe he is biased and can listen to the testimony and make an impartial decision.  Black had a site visit and noticed a significant amount of impervious surface.  Morris did not have a site visit but his aunt lives on Glendale and he had a discussion with her a long time ago about what he thought was a previous application.  He can be impartial. Dotterrer and Marsh had a drive-by site visit but observed nothing in particular.  Mindlin, Stromberg, Fields and Dimitre did not have a site visit or ex parte contact.  No one stepped forward to challenge. 



Severson explained how the applicant had a pre-application in 2006 proposing to up-zone the property to R-2 and do a 23 lot Performance Standard development, including two attached four-plexes as well as the rest detached homes on small lots.  Staff raised issues about neighborhood housing pattern compatibility, solar, clustering of affordable housing, and R-2 design requirements for separation between buildings.  The applicants met with the Housing Commission and they also met with the neighborhood.  After looking at how to respond to the items, the applicants did not think they could make the project pencil as an R-2 development and still offset the cost of affordable housing and a zone change.


Severson described the site and the project.  The existing church is proposed to be demolished and the lot subdivided into nine lots.  The homes will be 1300 to 1690 square feet designed to meet solar on relatively narrow lots.  The applicants are proposing to remove the locust trees along Faith Avenue in order to install a sidewalk and parkrow.  They have provided a tree removal and tree protection plan.  Staff believes the application satisfies the criteria and is recommending approval with the attached Conditions.  Condition 7 can be deleted because there was no recommendation from the Tree Commission due to their lack of meeting.


Marsh noted a letter from Zane Jones regarding trees on the neighboring properties.  Severson said he added Conditions to address Jones’ concerns.  One Condition asks for an arborist’s report addressing the trees prior to signature of the final survey plat. 


The homes currently meet solar but if the applicants should choose to make changes, they will be constrained by the solar setback and lot coverage.  Because it is a Subdivision they are not constrained by envelopes or the building content.  They are constrained by solar setbacks and lot coverage.



CURT WINE, 895 Neil Creek Road, said the 23,000 square foot building was built in 1951originally for a big meeting place.  The church wants to move from the property. 


RAY KISTLER, 2025 Butler Creek Road, stated this is a straight-forward application with just nine lots.  The applicant did not wish to get involved with any Variances or anything that would complicate the process and give an opportunity for appeal.  They had neighborhood meetings and no opposition to the project was voiced.   The neighbors did express a concern with additional parked cars on Faith. 


HERSCHEL KING, 791 Faith Avenue, said there currently is a traffic and parking problem on Faith.  There is already a problem with parking generated from the newer units at the corner of Siskiyou and Faith.  This development will put more traffic and parked cars on the street. 


LIZ VESECKY, 791 Faith Avenue, agreed with the previous speaker.  However, there will be less a problem than if this was a multi-family development as originally proposed.  There is a lot of congestion at the top and bottom of Faith.  It is unsafe to enter Siskiyou Blvd. from Faith with parking on both sides of the street.  She would like to have the neighbors notified when demolition of the church will occur.   They would like an opportunity to leave if there is a chance toxic materials will be stirred up. 


Rebuttal – The applicant chose not to rebut.


Stromberg closed the record and the public hearing.


Staff Comments – Severson said there is a separate demolition permit and review process required under the Demolition Ordinance done through the Building Division.  As part of that process they would be required to delineate what materials they might encounter and how they would be disposed. 


The most recent traffic counts on Faith are 750 vehicle trips per day, including the church traffic.  In this application, the church will no longer cause an impact and there will only be nine residential units.  Faith has the capacity for 1500 average vehicle trips per day.


If the neighbors want to work toward solutions regarding their traffic and parking concerns, they can go to a Traffic Safety Commission meeting and discuss it there.



Dotterrer/Morris m/s to approve PA207-990 with Condition 7 removed.  Black/Fields m/s to call for the question.  Roll Call:  The motion was unanimously approved.



PLANNING ACTION:             PA-2006-01663



DESCRIPTION:  A request for an Annexation, and Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map change from Jackson County zoning RR-5 (Rural Residential) to City of Ashland zoning R-1-3.5 (Suburban Residential) and R-1 (Single-Family Residential) for an 11.64-acre site comprised of five parcels located at  87 W. Nevada St. and 811 Helman St. (Ashland Greenhouses).  The Ashland Comprehensive Plan Map identifies the site for Single-Family Residential development (R-1 zoning).  As a result, the proposal includes a Comprehensive Plan Map Change for approximately 42% of the site to modify the Single-Family Residential designation to the Suburban Residential (R-1-3.5 zoning) designation.  The proposal requires Outline Plan approval to develop the property as a 68-unit residential development under the Performance Standards Options Chapter 18.88.  A Physical Constraints Review Permit is requested to locate a multi-use path in the Ashland Creek Riparian Preservation Area.  A Tree Removal Permit is requested to remove a 36-inch diameter at breast height Oak tree.  Exceptions to the Street Standards are requested to install curbside sidewalks on both sides of one of the proposed streets (Sander Way), for not locating a street adjacent to natural features being Ashland Creek and to use a private drive to access the 24 cottages rather than the required public street.  The application includes a land exchange with the City of Ashland.  The proposal is to dedicate 2.42 acres adjacent of the Ashland Creek Riparian Area to the City for parks purposes in exchange for 1.37 acres of the Dog Park in the area of the access and to the south of the existing parking area. 


Review Process:  The first hearing on July 10, 2007 at the Planning Commission will be an evidentiary hearing in which the application proposal will be described and public testimony will be taken concerning the facts involved in the application.  On August 14, 2007, the application will be continued to a public hearing of the Planning Commission in which the evaluation of the project according to the applicable criteria will be presented by staff, public testimony will be taken on the merits of the proposal, and the Planning Commission will deliberate and make a decision on the application in the areas in which they are the final approval body. 


The decision of the Planning Commission is final for the comprehensive plan and zoning map changes, the outline plan, physical and environmental constraints and tree removal, unless amended by the Development Agreement or annexation approval process by the City Council or by appeal of the Planning Commission decision to the City Council.    The Planning Commission will also forward recommendations to the City Council regarding the annexation, development agreement and land exchange.


Site Visits/Ex Parte Contacts/Bias/Conflict of InterestBlack had a site visit and through reading and conversations learned more about the building and design concepts for this project.  All of the previous information from this action is in the record.  She believes she can make an unbiased decision on this action.  Morris did not have a site visit.  He reported he went to school with Greg Williams.  Fields, Dawkins and Stromberg are familiar with the site but have no particular impressions or prejudices.  Dotterrer drove by and observed the area but has had no ex parte contacts.  Marsh bought some lovely orange cosmos at the greenhouse. No one came forth to comment, challenge or rebut any of the above.



Harris said the application consists of the land use application that requires the following six approvals each with their applicable criteria:

                a.             Annexation

                b.             Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map change

                c.             Outline Plan

                d.             Exception to Street Standards

                e.             Physical Constraints Review Permit

                f.              Tree Removal Permit


The Planning Commission will be making a recommendation to the City Council who will make the final decision on the land exchange.  The applicants have to show evidence of market value of the properties that are proposed for exchange. The overriding question to the Planning Commission is:  Is it in the public interest to get the creek area and relinquish the 1.3 acre portion of the dog park area?  Both the land use application and the land exchange will be bundled together with a recommendation from the Planning Commission and sent on to the Council for their review. 


The Commission reviewed this application in November of 2006.  It was continued.  A review of the site description and Outline Plan is in the Staff Report along with the summary of changes from the original proposal.


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


The wetland delineation was submitted to the Division of State Lands (DSL) and approved May 22, 2007.  The wetland area is close to the creek corridor.  Harris had a map showing the floodplain corridor and another showing the riparian corridor.  In the cottage development and the town home development area, the storm drainage is proposed to be collected and drained to the existing City wetlands.  The eastern portion of the project will be collected through open swales and then a new set of treatment wetlands will be built and that water will be directed into those. 


With regard to the Land Exchange Proposal, the area shaded in green on the map is the piece the applicant is proposing to dedicate to the City (2.5 acres).  In exchange they are requesting a portion of the City Dog Park property (approx. 1.3 acres). 



GREG WILLIAMS, 744 Helman Street, property owner, along with his wife, are owners of the Ashland Flowershop and Greenhouses.  They want to build a project to be used as an example for future generations to show how to build and live in an environmentally sound community.  Since the November meeting, they have refined their proposal to eliminate any requests for Variances and to only ask for Street Standards Exceptions and the majority of those will be to provide a natural method of storm water conveyance.


Due to the land swap, their project has gotten more complicated than originally anticipated.  The land swap would improve the ability to treat the storm water in a more natural way.  The Comp Plan change allows the project to build different types of sustainable homes.  The purpose of the proposed multi-use path is built just as the Master Trails Plan had envisioned.  They feel the annexation of this land is the best use of the land.


ALEX FORRESTER, 545 A Street, gave a detailed explanation of the project.  Highlights of the presentation:

--The existing dog park access will become the development’s main entrance. 

--The traffic engineer recommended making the major entry just opposite Helman Street, connecting it to Almeda.

--They want to do certified sustainable development.

--There will be public access along the creek, weaving the path in and out of the very top edge of the riparian area as determined by the biologist.

The multi-use path (shown on the map in purple) is included in the land exchange. 


CHRIS HEARN, 515 E. Main Street, got involved because of certain complexities, mainly the land swap.  The City suggested for this unique project that we consider drawing up a Development Agreement.  Development agreements were created in the early 90’s to provide a tool kit for more creative and more complex projects that would otherwise be stifled by restrictions of the City code, and to go through the process in a bundling affect.  The project still has to comply with the Land Use Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan.  He has made up a document that is a basic flexible draft, but with the standards all in one place.  Hearn discussed the land exchange and its benefits.


Black/Morris m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m.  Voice Vote:  Approved.


Marsh/Fields m/s to continue the public hearing to August 14th at 7:00 at the Council Chambers. 


Commission Comments & Questions for next meeting:

·                     Additional information about the design and workings of the detention water systems along the street. 

·                     Additional information concerning sustainability and home sizes.  Maximum sizes on some units and suggested sizes on others.  How is that being conditioned?

·                     Delineate the usage of the open space.  Is there a community garden, play area?

·                     Clarifications about requirements for parking lots in certain zones?  What are the specific uses and how are they managed? 

·                     Is there a partition plat with lines defining an open space plan, common ownership areas, and private utility easemen

·                     Is City responsible just for the major streets?  Is everything else private except for the pedestrian path? 

·                     The application is very complex.  It doesn’t fit any zoning, making it difficult to re-zone.  Would like better understanding of zone change in relationship to adjacent neighborhoods.  This is almost like a master plan.

·                     Provide a very clear map showing what everything is (a general schematic).  Take some of the other things off the map. 

·                     Why is sustainability a reason for annexation?  There is considerable vagueness in the application as to what extent proposals of the applicant are conditions.  The applicants discuss features in the development that they not expecting the City to require.  Needs to be further clarified.   



PA2007-00990, 840 Faith Avenue, Curtis P. Wine - There were no ex parte contacts.  Dotterrer/Dimitre m/s to approve the Findings including striking Condition 7.  Roll Call:  The Findings were unanimously approved.


PA2007-00455, 247 Otis Street, Sage Development, LLC. – There were no ex parte contacts.  Marsh/Dotterrer m/s to approve the Findings reflecting the changes to Conditions 14 and 15.  Roll Call:  Morris, Fields, Dimitre, Stromberg, Mindlin, Marsh, Dotterrer and Dawkins voted “yes.”  Black abstained (stepped down and left the room).  The Findings were approved.


At future meetings, the Commissioners will attempt to combine the approval of the planning actions with the adoption of the findings for actions that warrant it.


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


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary.







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