Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Tuesday, May 26, 2009




MAY 26, 2009



Chair Michael Dawkins called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.


Planning Commissioners Present:


Staff Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

David Dotterrer

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris


Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Maria Harris, Planning Manager

Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant




Absent Members:


Council Liaison:

Tom Dimitre


Eric Navickas



Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted that two Open Houses on the 1-5 Bridge Redesign project have been scheduled for May 28, 2009. He stated the meeting information has been posted on the City’s website and the Oregon Department of Transportation will be leading the events.



A.         SOU Pedestrian Mapping Project

SOU Professor Pat Acklin explained she had previously met with City staff to develop a student project which would encourage people to walk by providing information on how far pedestrians have to travel to get to key locations within the City of Ashland. Ms. Acklin explained that tonight she is joined by the students from her class to present the information they have gathered.


Students Matt Warnke, Alex Mattick, David Maynard, Serena Rittenhouse-Barry, Treasa Cordero, Helena Peterson, Chris Austin and Danny Fry  addressed the Commission and provided their presentation titled “Encouraging Pedestrians: A Walking Distance Table of Ashland Destinations.” The students presented a brief summary of their mission and the methods used to determine the points of interest and intersections identified in the Walking Distance Table. They explained GPS tracking systems, pedometers, Google Earth and Google Maps were used to gather the information and noted some of the issues that might affect the measurements include route choice, elevation changes, and physical abilities.


The students presented the Walking Distance Table and issued the following recommendations to the Planning Commission:


1)       Increase the number of water fountains, benches and shade trees.

2)       Publish the Walking Distance Table on maps of bus routes, bicycle routes, and parks.

3)       Post the Walking Distance Table on the City’s website, the OSF website and the Chamber of Commerce website.

4)       Make the Table available in hotels, motels, and as table tents in restaurants.

5)       Post the Table at bus stops.

6)       Continue to establish nodes of commercial development to serve dispersed neighborhoods.

7)       Consider adding van routes connecting to bus lines to increase the use of buses.


The Commission questioned if walking times could be included in the table. It was also suggested that the distance between bus stops be incorporated as well as putting the information into a map format.  


Professor Acklin and the SOU students were thanked for the work they did. Ms. Acklin noted the Distance Table was produced for the City and they are free to edit and distribute it as they see fit.


B.         Planning for Public Health – Staff Presentations

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman gave a presentation on the connection between land use planning and public health. Mr. Goldman provided several statistics on U.S. public health, including:

·         30% of U.S. adults are obese, 65% of Americans weigh more than is healthful, and one in five children and one in three teens are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.

·         Asthma affects 15 million Americans; 5 million of those are children. The number of asthma cases has more than doubled since 1990. Mr. Goldman noted a recent study which indicates that tree lined streets may be healthier for children’s lungs than streets without trees.

·         Between 1994 and 2004 the prevalence of diabetes increased more than 50%, and one of every ten health care dollars spent in the U.S. goes towards diabetes and its complications.

·         The leading cause of death for women and men in the U.S. is heart disease. In 2003, 685,089 people died of heart disease, accounting for 26% of all U.S. deaths.


Mr. Goldman explained one of the strategies to combat these health issues is through land use planning. He commented on addressing environmental conditions, providing recreational opportunities, access to quality local food, and access to health care. He indicated they have the ability to influence individual health behaviors by planning for neighborhood walkability, planning complete streets for multi-modal transportation, providing neighborhood parks, providing affordable housing and healthy homes. Mr. Goldman commented on neighborhood connectivity and the benefits of a “traditional” neighborhood pattern (gridded street system). He explained that complete streets reduce injuries and residents are 65% more likely to walk in a neighborhood if it has sidewalks. He added in Portland, Oregon, a complete streets approach resulted in a 74% increase in bicycle commuting from 1990 to 2000. Mr. Goldman also commented the amount of population that does not drive and how reducing vehicle traveling speeds can have a significant impact on pedestrian fatalities.



A.         Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan – Land Use & Street Framework Refinements

Mr. Molnar provided a brief introduction and emphasized that while this plan will layout the conceptual ideas, as the area builds out they will need to factor in a degree of flexibility. He added the final ordinance will likely allow minor component shifts to be done administratively; however major changes to the plan will trigger a land use action and will come back to the Planning Commission and/or City Council.


Planning Manager Maria Harris began her presentation by providing a recap of the process to date. She explained in 2006 the City received a grant to do an Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA), which is a required analysis that addresses Statewide Planning Goal 9. Ms. Harris stated the EOA requires the City to make employment projections for at least the next 20 years and identify the acreage needed to accomplish that projection. She stated the City’s EOA was completed in April 2007 and it identified the Croman Mill site as an important resource to meet the City’s future employment needs. Ms. Harris stated in December 2007 the City received a TGM grant to complete the draft master plan for the Croman site and she provided an overview of the 12 month public process that took place throughout 2008. In December of 2008, Ms. Harris stated the City received the Draft Master Plan from the consultants.


Ms. Harris noted that during the public workshops, issues and concerns expressed by the community were incorporated into guiding principles that are included in the plan. In addition, several options were presented and voted on by the community until a refined hybrid option was finally selected. Ms Harris stated the preferred option identified both light industrial and office space to be included on the Croman site, as well as a neighborhood center. Ms. Harris stated they are now in Phase II, which is developing the package of Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code amendments that will implement the draft plan.


Mr. Harris provided two plans that identify the original layout of land uses and the proposed revisions by staff. She explained the original layout in the draft plan has an east-west configuration, while the proposed plan adjusts the land uses to a north-south layout and converts a couple of areas to a mixed-use designation. Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a further explanation of the potential redistribution of land uses. He commented on the potential to include mixed-use areas next to Hamilton Creek and the existing residential areas and noted this modification would include a slight increase of open space area. Mr. Goldman also provided a chart which outlined the proposed acreage by land use.


Mr. Goldman explained that a revised street framework plan has also been proposed to address grade, physical constraints, and rail access issues. He provided images of the possible framework and indicated where the adjustments are proposed.


Ms. Harris concluded the presentation by reviewing the Land Use Outline included in the Commission’s packet materials. She asked if the commissioners had any questions or comments and asked for their feedback on the elements reviewed in tonight’s presentation.


Commissioner Dotterrer questioned if the adjustments proposed by staff would be acceptable to the Council. Council Liaison Eric Navickas voiced his support for what has been put forward and stated these are the types of revisions the Council was looking for. Several commissioners echoed Navickas’ statement and voiced their support for the adjustments proposed by staff. Commissioner Mindlin shared her comments on preserving the railroad spur and asked about sustainability issues and received clarification regarding at what level these could be incorporated into the plan. Several other commissioners also voiced their preference to maintain access to the railroad spur. Comment was made questioning if the industrial traffic would be kept separate from the other traffic. Staff clarified a truck route that could be added if they didn’t want these vehicles to use the main boulevard; however it was noted the central boulevard has been planned to accommodate the industrial traffic. Comment was made questioning the feasibility of ODOT vacating their property. Mr. Molnar clarified ODOT has shown interest in possibly moving their location; the issue is finding a suitable replacement. He added ODOT has indicated that long term their current location may not be the best option. Commissioner Mindlin expressed concern about certain types of industrial uses that are being precluded, specifically sorting yards. She asked that if this is not allowed at the Croman site that the City make sure there is a place in town that allows for this.


Mr. Molnar thanked the commissioners for their input and stated if they have any other concerns or comments to contact staff.



Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant


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