Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Special Meeting

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24, 2008

Commission Chair John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street.

Commissioners Present: -- Staff Present:
John Stromberg, Chair Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Michael Dawkins Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Mike Morris Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Michael Church Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Pam Marsh April Lucas, Administrative Assistant
Melanie Mindlin
Tom Dimitre
Dave Dotterrer
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
Debbie Miller, excused Cate Hartzell, (arrived at 9:00 p.m.)


Commissioners Dimitre/Morris m/s to approve agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.


1. Sign Code Changes (18.96)
Stromberg announced Mayor Morrison would be assembling a task force to address concerns regarding the City's sign code, the regulations for placement of items on City right-of-way, and the downtown parking ordinance.
2. Factoring Sustainability into the Comprehensive Plan
Stromberg indicated he would like to place this item on the next Planning Commission agenda and requested members contact him if they are interested in helping with the preliminary work.


1. PLANNING ACTION: 2008-00766
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 165 Lithia Way & 123 North First Street
APPLICANT: Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market
DESCRIPTION: Request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the operation of an outdoor farmers market on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during the months of May through November. The proposed market would be held in a portion of the existing parking lot for the property located at the Northwest corner of First St. and Lithia Way, and would be limited to 25 vendor booths. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 09 BA; TAX LOTS: 90000, 90001, 90002, 90003, 10100, 11601 & 11701
Stromberg read aloud the public hearing procedures for Land Use Hearings.

Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Morris and Church report no ex parte contact. Commissioners Dimitre, Dotterrer and Dawkins performed site visits, but had no ex parte contact. Commissioner Marsh performed a site visit and read the article in the Daily Tidings. Commissioner Mindlin performed a site visit and read the headline of the article in the Daily Tidings.


Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson explained this is a request for a conditional use permit to allow for the operation of an outdoor farmers market every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during the months of May through November. Mr. Severson stated the market would be held in a portion of the existing First Place subdivision's parking lot and would be limited to 25 vendor booths. He commented on the parking requirements and stated the applicant has indicated 40 parking spaces would be available on site and 10 additional spaces would be available at the Elks parking lot for vendors and customers.

Mr. Severson provided a brief history of the site and clarified staff is anticipating a building permit to be issued in the upcoming months. He explained the applicant is proposing to use a portion of the already constructed parking lot for the vendor booths and noted the applicant submitted an alternate site plan, which addresses how the layout would be modified should the building be completed prior to the end of their season.

Mr. Severson provided an overview of the conditions proposed by staff, and noted Condition #3 requires the applicant to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate a permanent Saturday market after their first full season. He clarified the construction area would be fenced for safety and noted staff has proposed an additional condition to restrict vendors from driving over the sidewalks. Mr. Severson said from staff's perspective this is a good location for an outdoor market and stated it is likely to generate spill over business to the surrounding commercial establishments.

Applicants Presentation
Mary Ellen DeLuca/7725 Wagner Creek Rd, Talent/Stated she is the market manager and noted their membership includes growers, crafters and food processors. Ms. DeLuca noted the Rogue Valley Grower's & Crafter's Market has 160 vendors and they host two other markets in the Rogue Valley; one in Medford on Thursdays and one at the Ashland Armory on Tuesdays. She voiced her support for this proposal and asked that the Commission approve their request for the downtown Saturday market.

Steve Frey/8657 Wagner Creek Rd, Talent/Provided some history of the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market. He stated the market has been in existence for 21 years and he personally has been involved for 18 years. Mr. Frey noted the different locations the market has occupied in Ashland, including their current location at the Ashland Armory every Tuesday. He stated many people are not able to attend the Tuesday market because they are working and noted the community's desire for a Saturday market. He commented on Russ Dale's offer for them to use his property and voiced his support for this market being part of the downtown core.

Wendy Siporen/300 W Main St, Talent/Stated she is a consultant with the Growers Market and was brought on as part of a USDA Farmers Market promotion grant to locate permanent sites in Medford and Ashland. Ms. Siporen commented on the survey that was conducted and stated there was a lot of support for a Saturday market in Ashland. She noted the armory site is not available on Saturdays and downtown Ashland was identified as most preferable location in the survey. Ms. Siporen noted they had received a letter from the Rogue Federal Credit Union offering an additional 10 spaces in their parking lot. She stated the market is an asset to the community and stated the zoning code classifies this as a conditional use. She suggested the Planning Commission consider making this an outright permitted use in this zone.

Ms. Siporen requested the conditions not specify the number of allowable booths and that they limit the market to the 5,000 sq. ft. instead. She clarified they estimate being able to fit 25 booths at this location; however, they will not know for sure until they go in and set things up. Ms. Siporen requested the alternate site plan be considered for approval and clarified they would use this plan should the proposed building be constructed prior to the end of the 2009 season.

Comment was made questioning if staff had the ability to perform an assessment after the 2009 season instead of requiring the applicant to re-apply for a conditional use permit. Mr. Severson clarified staff has the ability to perform a review on a compliance level, but any adjustments would have to come back to the Planning Commission. Comment was made expressing concern over requiring non-profits to come back for CUPs year after year and the expense this entails. Staff clarified the Commission could decide to not require such a review. It was noted that if parking is the concern, staff would be continuing to look at this issue as the individual lots within this subdivision develop.

Public Testimony
Art Bullock/Stated he supports this project, but voiced concern with the fencing and parking issues. Mr. Bullock displayed several pictures of the site. He stated putting a farmers market on a construction site could be potentially dangerous and stated the plastic fencing currently on the site is inadequate. He also commented on the parking availability and stated most of the parking spaces near this site are already full of parked cars on Saturday mornings. He added if more than 25 vendors are permitted, additional vendor parking spaces would be needed.

Russ Dale/230 Wilson Rd/Stated he is one of the owners of this property and stated he has always envisioned accommodating a farmers market on this site. He commented on how the farmers market would be accommodated as the site develops and noted the benefits of having the market there before the building is built. Mr. Dale noted the fencing issue and stated the fencing would be replaced in the next few weeks as the landscaping goes in. He commented on the timing of the new building and stated it was not a relevant factor for this season. He noted all of the parking availability in the areas surrounding the site and stated he would like to see the market become a permanent fixture at this location.

Tracy Harding/334 Bridge St/Noted she uses her bicycle as her primary mode of transportation and sees this market as an opportunity for people to shop without their cars. Ms. Harding stated she conducted her own parking survey last Saturday morning and at 8:30 a.m. there were 149 spaces available. By 11:30 a.m. there were 58 empty spaces. She encouraged the Planning Commission to approve this application and stated there are a lot of working people who cannot participate because of the hours of the Tuesday market. She also noted the majority of the merchants downtown favor this application.

Ryan Navickas/711 Faith Ave/Stated he is a member of the growers market and voiced support for this application. Mr. Navickas expressed concern with the over prioritization of parking and felt this market would vitalize the downtown.

Rebuttal by the Applicant
Wendy Siporen/Stated the downtown commercial zone is the best place for this type of activity and noted they would be shortening the operating hours compared to their other locations. Ms. Siporen also re-stated the offer of 10 additional parking spaces from the Rogue Federal Credit Union.

Advice from Legal Counsel & Staff
Comment was made questioning if Condition #3 could be changed so the applicant does not have to come back and re-apply for another conditional use permit at the end of their 2009 season. Staff indicated the Commission could allow for greater flexibility or could decide to eliminate the condition completely. Mr. Severson noted every lot within this subdivision that develops would have a site review and staff would be looking at parking as part of that process. It was also noted that the Commission could limit the applicant to stay within the 5,000 sq. ft and the applicant would only need to return to the Planning Commission if they violated one of the other conditions.

The Commission briefly discussed the possibility of deleting Condition #3. Staff clarified if the review were scheduled as a Type I, it would still require a fee. Mr. Molnar commented on the process for requesting a fee waiver and stated there have been a handful of non-profits that have been granted waivers from the Council over the years.

Mr. Severson clarified he used the formula for retail uses when calculating the parking requirement. He also clarified the 5,000 sq. ft. of usable space figure includes not just booth space, but also space for customer circulation.

Deliberations & Decision

Commissioners Dawkins/Dotterrer m/s to approve PA #2008-00766 with the following modifications: 1) eliminate Conditions #3, #6, and #7, 2) add a condition that reads, "Vendors exiting the vendor parking areas on Lots 5 and 6 shall not drive over the sidewalks, and that bio-bags or another approved means to limit sedimentation into the storm drain system shall be in place around on-site storm drain inlets adjacent to the vendor parking area during market operations", and 3) add a condition that indicates the approval is for 5,000 sq. ft. of outdoor market space and incorporates the applicant's alternate site plan. DISCUSSION: Staff clarified this motion would grant permanent approval to the applicant and this will not come back to the Commission unless the application changes substantially. Morris voiced his support for the application and does not think parking is going to be an issue. He also voiced confidence that Mr. Dale will address the fencing issue. Dawkins also voiced his support and stated the Commission should not be placing so much emphasis on parking. Stromberg voiced support for Commissioner Marsh's previous suggestion to keep Condition #3 and encouraging the applicant to apply for a fee waiver with the City Council. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Church, Dawkins, Dimitre, Dotterrer, Marsh, Mindlin, Morris and Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 8-0.


1. Ashland Land Use Ordinance - Annexation and Zone Change Amendments
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman introduced Housing Commissioners Regina Ayers and Aaron Benjamin and invited them to join the Planning Commission in this discussion.

Mr. Goldman presented the staff report and stated the purpose of the proposed annexation and zone change amendments are to address the issues related to affordable housing. He provided the following timeline for this process: 1) legal review of the proposed ordinance will occur in June, 2) the Housing Commission will review the ordinance in July, 3) in August, the Planning Commission will review the ordinance and it will go before the City Council during their Study Session, 4) the Council will conduct first reading in September, and 5) the ordinance should be adopted by October.

Mr. Goldman noted this is the first time the Commission has seen the changes in code format and stated it would be beneficial if the Commission could provide input on the following areas: 1) the cash in lieu of fees provision, 2) the equivalency value concept, and 3) the construction standards and comparable unit size.

Cash in Lieu of Fees
Mr. Goldman provided a brief overview and stated staff has some concerns and would like direction from the Commission. Dawkins stated he is familiar with this concept and shared his concerns with this type of provision. Mr. Goldman clarified the ad hoc committee agreed to drop this language, but staff needs to know if the entire Commission feels the same. The majority of the group recommended eliminating this language.

Equivalency Value
Mr. Goldman provided a brief overview and stated the primary question is whether affordable rental housing units targeted to households earning 80% the area median income should qualify as meeting the standard. Council Liaison Cate Hartzell shared a recent conversation she had with the regional HUD director, who felt that as a result of the current housing market, there will be increased pressure on rentals. Comment was made that if this provision encourages rentals, they should include it. Alternate comment was made that Ashland is lacking diversity in ownership units and affordable ownership units would be more beneficial than near market rate rentals. Stromberg conducted a straw vote and the majority of the Commission favored this provision.

Comparable Unit Size
Mr. Goldman explained the minimum one-bedroom unit size set by the State is 600 sq. ft.; however, the City's ordinance allows for a reduced density calculation for units that are 500 sq. ft. or less as well as a reduced parking requirement for units 500 sq. ft. or less. As such, staff believes that changing the one-bedroom minimum unit floor area from 600 sq. ft. to 500 sq. ft. has merit and should be considered for inclusion in the final ordinance. Mr. Goldman clarified if a developer submitted an application for units 500 sq. ft. in size, they would be ineligible for state funding. Several comments were made voicing support for retaining the 500 minimum sq. ft. size for one-bedroom units.

Commissioners Dotterrer/Church m/s to extend meeting to 10:00 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.

Comment was made questioning how to ensure the mix of units that are built as affordable echo the market rate housing. Suggestion was made for comparability between affordable and market rate exterior and interior amenities.


1. Request by staff to re-open the record for Planning Action #2008-00359 - Applicant: Lithia Arts Guild.
Mr. Molnar stated the applicant has requested the record be re-opened so that they can submit new information.

Commissioners Mindlin/Church m/s to re-open the record for PA 2008-00359, Lithia Arts Guild. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.


1. Continued Public Hearing - Water Resource Protection Zones Ordinance
Royce Duncan/1065 Paradise Ln/Stated he is very uncomfortable with the ordinance and feels it does not address the stated goals. Mr. Duncan suggested the Commission send this back to an advisory committee for further study and stated the current ordinance was poorly crafted and very cumbersome.

Clair Duncan/1065 Paradise Ln/Stated she had difficulty correlating the requirements in the ordinance with the intended goals. Ms. Duncan recommended the science behind the requirements be included in the ordinance and suggested they provide stakeholder education and resources in advance of the ordinance being adopted. She also recommended the proposed ordinance go back to committee for further study.

Chris Chambers/City of Ashland Forest Resource Specialist/Clarified he is speaking as staff and shared his concerns with the ordinance's potential conflicts with the City's weed abatement ordinance and the removal of invasive species in riparian zones. Mr. Chambers commented briefly on the weed abatement ordinance and expressed concern that the proposed ordinance would preclude certain areas to be kept clear and stated this could pose a significant fire hazard. He noted the issue with the invasive species and recommended a provision be included that would allow for the management of invasive species no matter how big they are.

Stromberg suggested the Commission arrange for additional site visits to help them gain additional insight on this issue. He noted staff is prepared to set this up and offered to video tape the visits for the members that are unable to attend. Comment was made noting the suggestion to send this ordinance back to committee. Stromberg voiced his support for keeping this at the Planning Commission level since they are the ones who will be voting on it. It was clarified the Commission has not yet had the opportunity to deliberate on this issue.

Commissioners Church/Dimitre m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.

The Commission discussed whether they wanted to send this back to committee or to continue researching and discussing this at the Planning Commission level. It was noted that staff is being urged to have something ready for Council by September and if the Planning Commission does not feel this is possible they need to relay this information to the Council. Planning Manager Maria Harris clarified staff has prepared the draft language and now need input from the Commission to find out whether they are on the right track. Comment was made voicing support for hearing staff's presentation and then moving towards deliberation. Suggestion was made for the Commission to continue this discussion at their next meeting. Additional suggestion was made to obtain samples from other cities and to possibly ask a representative from the Department of Land Conservation and Development to provide input.

Stromberg recommended they continue this to their next meeting and asked the Commission members to communicate their ideas and concerns with staff before they meet again.

Commissioners Dotterrer/Dimitre m/s to continue the Public Hearing to the July 22, 2008 Study Session. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.

Meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant


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