ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 12, 2008
CALL TO ORDER
Commission Chair John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
|Commissioners Present:||-||Staff Present:|
|John Stromberg, Chair||Bill Molnar, Community Development Director|
|Michael Dawkins||Derek Severson, Associate Planner|
|Mike Morris||Angela Barry, Assistant Planner|
|Debbie Miller||Richard Appicello, City Attorney|
|Pam Marsh||April Lucas, Administrative Assistant|
|Tom Dimitre (Arrived at 7:25 p.m.; joined the meeting after the first public hearing at 9:45 p.m.)|
|Absent Members:||Council Liaison:|
|None||Cate Hartzell, absent|
Community Development Director Bill Molnar reminded the Commission there is a Study Session scheduled for December 18, 2008. He also introduced Mike Faught, the City's new Public Works Director.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioners Dotterrer/Church m/s to approve Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
|A.||Approval of Minutes|
|1.||October 14, 2008 Planning Commission Meeting|
|2.||October 28, 2008 Planning Commission Meeting|
|B.||Approval of Findings for 281 Fourth Street, PA #2008-01526|
Church noted an error on the October 14, 2008 meeting minutes [under Planning Action 2008-01526, Ex Parte Contact]. He stated Dotterrer is not listed and he is listed twice.
Commissioners Miller/Dotterrer m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dawkins, Dotterrer, Church, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Morris, and Stromberg, YES. Motion passed.
No one came forward to speak.
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
Stromberg read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
|A.||PLANNING ACTION: 2008-01318|
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 2200 Ashland Street
APPLICANT: Coming Attractions Theatres
DESCRIPTION: Request for Site Review approval to redevelop the existing 5,418 square foot, single-story office building located at 2200 Ashland Street into an 18,791 square foot, three-story office and retail building. The property is located within the Detail Site Review Zone and the development is subject to the Additional Standards for Large Scale Projects and Ashland Boulevard Corridor Design Standards. Also included are requests for: Administrative Variance to the Site Design and Use Standards and Exception to Street Standards relating to the reconfiguration of off-street parking between the building and Ashland Street and to Ashland Street improvements, and Tree Removal Permit to remove six trees greater than six-inches in diameter-at-breast-height.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 14 BB; TAX LOT #: 300.
Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
Public Works Director Mike Faught came forward and introduced Marc Butorac with Kittleson & Associates Transportation Engineering. Mr. Faught clarified Kittleson & Assoc. was hired by the City to review the application, findings, and traffic studies for this planning action.
Mr. Butorac addressed the Commission and noted the Transportation Impact Analysis and Access Management Review Memo that was submitted to the Commission at the beginning of the meeting. He explained the intersection of Clay and Ashland has site distance issues and operational safety issues, and stated they concur with the need to restrict left hand turning movements. He commented on where the existing south bound left turning movements from Clay Street would be diverted to if the median were installed, and noted their concern of vehicles making u-turns on Ashland Street without sufficient site distance. He also indicated traffic coming from I-5 would also need to turn around in order to access the proposed development. For this reason, they are recommending a raised median be installed between Clay and Faith Streets which would enable vehicles to make their u-turn at the Faith. He stated this is consistent with the City's Transportation System Plan and recommended a reimbursement agreement between the City and the Applicant.
Tom Dimitre arrived at 7:25 p.m. and indicated he would wait in the lobby until the next hearing.
Mr. Butorac commented on the need for an east-west connection between Tolman Creek Road and Clay Street, and stated this connection would minimize the number of u-turns on Ashland Street. He recommended the City review this possibility separate from this application. Mr. Butorac noted the commercial uses in the area and clarified larger vehicles, including buses, moving vans and semi-trucks would not be able to turn around at Faith Avenue due to the width of the street.
It was clarified vehicles would still be able to make left hand turns from Faith Avenue onto Ashland Street. It was also clarified it is not possible to restrict left hand turns from Clay Street, but allow left hand turns into the project site because Ashland Street is not wide enough to accommodate the vehicle storage space that would be needed. Comment was made questioning if there is an alternative to the u-turn at Faith. Mr. Butorac stated the ideal alternative is the east-west connection, which would significantly reduce the need for making a u-turn at Faith. He clarified the volumes on Ashland Street are not an issue; it is the reduced site distance caused by the overpass that are creating these issues. Church commented that the site distance at the Faith and Ashland intersection is also an issue, and if you add in u-turns that could significantly affect this intersection. Mr. Butorac noted the vehicles making u-turns at Faith have plenty of site distance since they are looking at opposing east bound vehicles, but acknowledged Church's concerns and stated the site distance issue affects both ends of the overpass.
Mr. Butorac commented that the City does not have the most desirable street system in this area; however installing a median would diminish the existing safety issue. He stated the system would be aggravated slightly at the Faith intersection, but on a whole, the Applicant is maintaining or slightly improving the current system. However, for future development to occur in this area, he recommended the City create an additional connection between Tolman Creek Road and Clay Street.
David Pyles and Dan Dorrell with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) addressed the Commission and summarized their letter that was handed out at the beginning of the meeting. Mr. Pyles stated ODOT concurs with the Applicant's Facts, Findings and Conclusions in their Traffic Impact Study, which identifies the need for a median at this location. He stated the scale of the identified improvement is in proportion to the proposed development. Mr. Pyles noted there has been development in this area over the past several years that has bumped up the need for mitigation in this area. He also noted the potential future development on the north side of Clay Street and clarified with or without this project, there is development pressure that is creating this issue. Mr. Pyles concluded his testimony by clarifying the two key conditions of approval that they have requested are: 1) the condition for the raised median, and 2) the condition for the legal access permit.
Dan Dorrell commented on why it is not possible to allow a left hand turn into the proposed development. He agreed with Mr. Butorac's assessment and stated there is not enough vehicle storage space. He clarified the concern is that the vehicles waiting to make this left turn could back out into the west bound traffic lane. Mr. Dorrell also provided a brief explanation of what the channelized median would look like and clarified it would be signed appropriately to help prevent driver confusion.
Marsh questioned if this section of Ashland Street would be included in the study being completed for the Exit 14 Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) and asked if the proposed mitigation is consistent with that project. Mr. Pyles stated the IAMP for Exit 14 does not look at an access management strategy west of Tolman Creek Road. However, there may be an opportunity to include this type of system level planning in the final recommendation for the TSP system analysis. Or, it could be done as a follow up, or some type of refinement plan that updates the City's Transportation System Plan. He clarified this type of system level planning is different from the study being completed for the IAMP.
Robin Jokinen/311 E. Hersey Street/Stated she is a small business owner and does deliveries throughout Ashland. Ms. Jokinen explained she has been using Clay Street for 25 years and has never had a problem making a left turn onto Ashland Street. She noted the alternate routes available and explained she does not use Oak Street because of the speed bumps, does not use North Mountain because of the high school and college students, and avoids Walker because of the elementary and middle school. Ms. Jokinen reminded the Commission of the fatal accident that occurred at the intersection of Faith and Ashland and questioned if the proposed development could be accessed from behind the Oil Stop to prevent the median from being installed.
Mr. Knox clarified where the property line ends and where the fencing would be located. Dawkins expressed concern with individuals not being able to connect to the bike path. He stated people will not be inclined to create a new informal path on the slope and stated it would be great if the Applicant could obtain a partial easement for this.
Miller questioned the likelihood of the Applicant getting permission from the Bi-Mart shopping center to access the development site. Mr. Knox noted the informal access that exists today, but clarified they have not yet obtained a legal access from the Oil Stop property. He stated the shopping center is a conglomeration of 17 different owners and it is difficult for this group to come to a decision.
Public Testimony (Cont.)
Helen Leider/321 Clay Street #34/Voiced her concerns with losing access to Ashland Street from Clay Street. She also expressed objection to the noticing that was performed by staff. Ms. Leider stated the proposed median would cause more driving and would affect her quality of life. She noted the upcoming development on Clay Street and stated the City needs more arteries to deal with the traffic.
Elise Thiel/321 Clay Street #19/Stated she is not against to the proposed building, but would oppose this application if it means left hand turns onto Ashland Street would no longer be allowed. She commented on how this proposal would affect the Faith intersection and noted there are a lot of pedestrians who cross at that location. Ms. Thiel voiced her support of retaining the left hand turns from Clay onto Ashland and suggested the City deny any new buildings for this area until an overall traffic study has been completed. She added she hopes the Applicant will be able to gain access to their property from the Oil Stop.
Evan Archerd/2200 Ashland Street/Commented on the importance of supporting local businesses, but stated approving this application with the median installation would cause harm to those who live and work in that area. He stated the issues that have been raised by the traffic engineers are accurate, but stated he does not agree with Kittleson & Assoc.'s conclusions. Mr. Archerd commented on safety and stated there have only been 5 accidents at the intersection of Clay and Ashland in the last 5 years, and 2 of them were on his property and had nothing to do with the intersection. However, there have been 2 fatal accidents at the Faith and Ashland intersection and voiced his objections to diverting traffic to that intersection instead. Mr. Archerd commented on the traffic counts, and stated the traffic study was based on approximately 120 new units on Clay Street; however that development has been reduced to 60 units. Therefore the actual vehicle trips on Clay Street will go down, not up from what was listed in the study. He also noted the proposed development has a much lower number of vehicle trips than the hardware store that previously occupied the site. Mr. Archerd stated the proposed median is not necessary and recommended the Commission approve the application without this condition.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 S/Commented on the driving route he uses daily and stated denying left turn access from Clay onto Ashland Street does not make any sense. Mr. Roth stated he uses Clay Street everyday, but if the median goes in, he will have to use Walker instead, and noted the two schools on this road. He stated it would be in the Bi-Mart shopping centers best interest to provide the easement and stated the existing steep driveway would be impassible in the winter. Mr. Roth encouraged the Commission to decouple this application from the median issue.
Russ Dale/230 Wilson Road/Noted the many properties he has been involved with in this area and strongly encouraged the Commission to approve the proposed development. However, he stated the median is a disaster and stated the Clay/Ashland intersection works fine without any new impediments. He recommended they approve the project, but remove the median condition.
Alan DeBoer/2260 Morada Lane/Noted he is the former owner of the property and voiced his support of Coming Attractions building their headquarters at this location. Mr. DeBoer agreed with the previous speakers that diverting vehicles to make u-turns at Faith is not a good solution, and stated the proposed median would increase vehicle miles traveled. He recommended the Commission approve this application without the median requirement, have the Applicant sign in favor of participating in future improvements, and then direct staff to work on an overall plan for this area.
Dawkins read aloud the written testimony submitted by Donald Abel/566 Faith Avenue/The email stated the traffic consequences caused by the proposed median have not been adequately considered, and the fact that he was not notified as an affected party to this change indicates that the larger ramifications were not considered. It stated u-turns are slow and dangerous and take up both lanes. It also indicated these u-turns will interfere with the traffic on Ashland Street, but will also interfere with cars turning either right or left off Faith. Mr. Abel urged the Commission to look at this issue more closely and if necessary do an actual traffic study that addresses the reality of the situation.
Church read aloud the written testimony submitted by Colin Swales/The email questioned whether 4 lanes on Ashland Street are needed at the Clay intersection, and whether 3 lanes with a central turn lane would be better. It questioned whether pedestrian crossing and bicycle turning movements were considered in the traffic study, and asked how the median would affect the intersection of Faith and Ashland. It asked what the traffic impacts would be when all of the Clay Street properties are developed to their maximum potential and whether ODOT has considered installing a roundabout at this junction to make turning movements more efficient. It also questioned whether Ashland Street complies with the recently approved changes to the Street Standards in regards to sidewalk width and protection for pedestrians.
Stromberg closed the Public Hearing and the record at 8:50 pm. He also announced the Vista Planning Action would not be heard tonight and would be continued to the December 9, 2008 Planning Commission meeting.
Advice from Legal Counsel and Staff
Church questioned the possibility of severing the requirement for the median from this planning action. Mr. Faught clarified this is an ODOT facility and it is their jurisdiction, and they are requiring this median. He added staff has looked into this and concur with the need for the median. Mr. Butorac stated they have a study before them that indicates this intersection is deficient of site distance; if they defer and any issue (such as a crash) occurs, it puts ODOT, the Applicant, and the City in a very tenuous situation.
Miller noted this site has already been in use, and if the proposed development is built as planned, it will have less traffic than the previous uses. She questioned why these traffic mitigation efforts need to be installed now. Mr. Butorac clarified when this intersection was originally designed, the standards were different. He added this Applicant is required to comply with the current standards.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Dotterrer/Miller m/s to amend motion to remove Condition 3(L) and Condition 6. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Church, Dawkins, Mindlin, Miller, Dotterrer and Stromberg, YES. Commissioners Morris and Marsh, NO. Motion passed 6-2.
DISCUSSION on Main Motion as Amended: Marsh suggested they ask the Applicant to pursue the extension of the bikepath through their property. Comment was made questioning whether they could legally require this since it would have to cross the railroad tracks. Mindlin voiced her support for asking the Applicant to have a future access in the event legal access is granted.
Commissioners Dawkins/Dotterrer m/s to extend meeting to 10:00 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Commissioners Mindlin/Marsh m/s to amend motion to require the Applicant to provide a future connectivity route to what is now the informal pathway, connecting to the bikepath and through the property to sites on southeast side, at such time a legal connection is made. DISCUSSION: Marsh stated they have an opportunity here, and if they do not act on it, once the lot is developed the opportunity for the path is lost. Mr. Molnar clarified this condition would be activated if and when there is a legal crossing of the railroad tracks. Miller noted that if this property were to change hands, this condition would ensure that this future connection happens. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Marsh, Church, Miller, Dawkins, Dotterrer, Mindlin, Morris and Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 8-0.
DISCUSSION on Main Motion as Amended: Mr. Appicello clarified it is the Commission's job to make a defensible decision and noted the criteria requiring adequate transportation facilities. He recommended the Commission provide clear justification for their decision so that staff can prepare findings. He also recommended the Commission address what would happen if ODOT denies the Applicant's approach permit unless the median is installed. Stromberg clarified the Commission is interested in the safety of the entire transportation system for this area, not just one intersection. He noted the lack of a sufficient turn around for larger vehicles at the Faith/Ashland intersection and noted additional traffic would be diverted onto other streets that have their own hazards. He stated the proposed median focuses on one intersection and does not take into consideration the effects it will have at the Faith intersection. He also noted the lack of a model to evaluate Faith Street as stringently as the Clay intersection was evaluated. Mr. Stromberg added it is the Commission's feeling that what is being proposed is not a responsible, safe solution. Mr. Appicello recommended the Commission consider including a provision that states nothing in this approval stops ODOT from granting approach permits with whatever conditions they deem necessary.
Commissioners Dotterrer/Dawkins m/s to amend motion to include that this approval does not preclude ODOT from imposing conditions on the approach permit to the Applicant. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Church, Dawkins, Dotterrer, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Morris and Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 8-0.
Roll Call Vote on Main Motion as Amended: Commissioners Church, Dawkins, Dotterrer, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Morris and Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 8-0.
|B.||PLANNING ACTION: 2008-00911|
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 2300 Siskiyou Blvd.
APPLICANT: Steve Asher
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Review approval to construct thirteen condominium units for the property located at 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard. Also included are requests for a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to allow tree removal and parking space installation on Flood Plain Corridor/Riparian Preservation Lands adjacent to a culverted section of Clay Creek; Tree Removal Permits to remove 36 of the site's 78 trees; and an Exception to Street Standards to not install sidewalks and curbs along Siskiyou Boulevard frontage. (The approval of this application would replace the previous Performance Standards Options subdivision approval from PA #96-131).
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low Density Multi Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 14 CA; TAX LOTS: 7700, 7800, 7801, 7802, 7803, 7804, 7805, 7806, 7807 and 7808.
Declaration of Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Mindlin/Church m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mr. Severson noted this application could have been approved administratively; however, staff felt there were issues that warranted this application coming before the Planning Commission, including: 1) the open space requirement, 2) the location of the surface parking, and 3) the request for an exception to the Street Standards to not install curbs or sidewalks along the Siskiyou frontage. He clarified the Applicant is proposing to install street trees and patch the path that currently exists along the Siskiyou frontage rather than installing a new sidewalk. He stated staff is recommending approval, without the exception to the Street Standards.
Comment was made noting a newer development down the street does not have a sidewalk in front of it, and applying the City's public improvement standards project by project may be causing more problems than it is solving. Additional comment was made questioning the placement of the open space. Mr. Severson clarified numerically, the Applicant meets the standard; however, the Commission must determine whether it functionally meets the standard.
Carol Sunahara/919 Bellview Avenue #3/Stated the application does not meet the approval criteria for Physical and Environmental Constraints and does not think it should be approved. She stated potential impacts to the property and nearby areas have not been considered and adverse impacts have not been minimized. Ms. Sunahara stated the Applicant has not considered the potential hazards the development may create and stated this area of Siskiyou and Bellview is densely populated and there should really be a sidewalk and crosswalk there. She also expressed her concerns with the proposed tree removals and stated these trees are needed to prevent the erosion of Clay Creek.
|C.||PLANNING ACTION: 2008-01517|
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 232 Vista Street
APPLICANT: Kerry KenCairn
DESCRIPTION: A request for a Minor Land Partition, a Type II to Variance to the requirement that the new lot have a paved 20-foot wide access or an unpaved 20-foot wide access with less than 10 percent slope, and a Physical and Environmental Constraints Permit for development and tree removal on Hillside Lands.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR'S MAP #: 39 1E 09BC; TAX LOT: 7500
This item will be continued to the December 9, 2008 Planning Commission meeting.
|A.||Update - APA Legal Issues Forum|
This item was not addressed due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant