Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Tuesday, May 25, 2010





May 25, 2010



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


Commissioners Present:


Staff Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.


Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Maria Harris, Planning Manager

Adam Hanks, Project Manager

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant





Absent Members:


Council Liaison:

Dave Dotterrer


Eric Navickas, absent



Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the City Council will be holding a Special Meeting tomorrow evening to deliberate on the Croman Mill District Plan.



A.      Economic Development Strategy Update.

Project Manager Adam Hanks provided a presentation on the City’s Economic Development Strategy. He provided some background information and noted this process began in January 2009 after the City Council adopted a goal to “Develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy.” Mr. Hanks stated the Council agreed to use the EcoNorthwest Draft Implementation Plan as a starting point and following that decision the Mayor appointed 20 individuals to participate in an Ad Hoc strategy committee. This committee was separated into two groups, the Technical Advisory Committee and the Policy Group, and over a five month period each group met a total of 6 times and developed a draft vision statement and over 50 draft strategies.


Mr. Hanks reviewed the next steps in the process. He stated the draft strategies have been sorted by the Ad Hoc committee and they are ready to begin the public comment stage. He clarified the citizen involvement plan will involve focus groups, public forums and open houses, and an online questionnaire available to citizens via the City’s website. Mr. Hanks stated during this stage staff is hoping to get a lot of feedback from the public as well increased exposure.


Mr. Hanks read aloud the draft vision statement drafted by the Ad Hoc Committee and the draft strategies list included in the packet materials. He answered the Commission’s general questions and provided further information on how the Ad Hoc committee narrowed down their list of draft strategies. He clarified all of the draft strategies (including those not selected by the committee) will be included in the document that goes out for public comment. Recommendation was made for staff to not include the Ad Hoc Committee’s rankings when this document moves forward for public comment.


Mr. Hanks reviewed the next steps in the process. He stated following the citizen involvement and input stage, they will establish the specific actions with timelines, identify the responsible groups/entities and progress measurements, and lastly final review and approval of the document by the City Council. Mr. Hanks stated staff expects this process will be completed by the end of 2010. 

The Planning Commission shared their thoughts and suggestions on the draft strategies. Some of the key comments and suggestions included:

·   Develop a strategy that more adequately addresses the Council goal of supporting the creation and growth of businesses that use and provide local and regional products.

·   Is there a way to identify the types of jobs needed in Ashland to help our under-employed population, and is there a way to tie this into this process?

·   Does the City keep track of lease space stock and occupancy rates, and is there a way to make sure this existing space is utilized?

·   Develop a strategy that speaks to the needs of young families, such as “Sustain the social and educational infrastructure that attracts young families to the community.”

·   Sustainability is a three-legged stool, and currently the “social” component is missing from the equation.


Mr. Hanks thanked the Commission for their input and clarified this will come back before the Commission for additional input as they move through the process.  



A.      Status Update on 2010 Planning Commission Goals.

Commissioner Pam Marsh listed the Commission goals that were selected at their annual retreat and noted the first item has been completed:

1.   Adopt Croman Mill Redevelopment Plan

2.   Transportation Planning – TSP
     • Transit and Pedestrian Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay

3.   Sustainable Land Use Goals
     • Solar Orientation, Green Street Standards, and Stormwater Management

4.   Railroad District Parking Management Plan

5.   Arterial Setbacks
     • Evaluate existing standards for Ashland St, E. Main St, Siskiyou Blvd, and N. Main St


Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a short presentation to the Commission. Staff reviewed the Community Development Department’s long range work plan and the City Council goal projects that involve department staff. The ongoing Planning and Housing projects were also listed for the Commission.


Staff answered the Commission’s general questions. It was clarified the TSP has not started yet and kickoff is scheduled for this summer. Ms. Harris added a number of joint meetings between the Transportation Commission and Planning Commission have been identified in the scope of work for the TSP. Comment was made requesting the TSP meeting schedule be provided to the Commission. Additional suggestion was made for the Commission to have more discussion on the arterial nodes in relation to the TSP.


Commission Marsh asked if staff could meld their work plan into a list that is specific to the Planning Commission. She stated she would like to form a plan that looks forward to the next 3 months and anticipates the actions the Commission will be taking. She added if the Commissioners have any additional thoughts on this to please forward their suggestions to staff, and stated she will meet with staff before their next Study Session to form a plan.


Meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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