Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Tuesday, June 28, 2011




June 28, 2011



Chair Pam Marsh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way.


Commissioners Present:


Staff Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

Pam Marsh

Melanie Mindlin


Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Derek Severson, Associate Planner


Absent Members:



Council Liaison:

Debbie Miller


Russ Silbiger, absent



Associate Planner Derek Severson provided a brief overview of the project that is underway to revise Ashland’s Historic District Design Standards and introduced J. Todd Scott who is the project consultant.


Mr. Scott provided a presentation to the Commission on the proposed revisions to the Design Standards. He commented on why it is important to revise the standards, and listed the areas of key interest as: additions, imitations, and height. He presented pictures of several historic district structures, and listed what elements were successful and where he would have recommended changes to the design features. Mr. Scott reviewed the proposed revisions to the Design Standards, and recommended the City develop brochures that cover what kinds of things you should and should not do with historic buildings. 


Mr. Molnar asked how Mr. Scott would address a second-story addition in the downtown, on a block such as the one where the Columbia Hotel is located. Mr. Scott discussed the need to protect the historic integrity of existing single-story buildings, noting that additions to single-story volumes can be more problematic than on taller, multi-story buildings. In general, he suggested the best way to protect the historic integrity of the building would be to set the second-story addition well back from the existing façade line.



Commissioner Marsh commented on public education being a key component to all of this. She noted the ideas put forward are counter-intuitive to most people, including that windows and new materials should not exactly match those of the existing historic structure. Mr. Scott agreed and stated you want to be able to tell what portion of a building is new. He discussed the educational component of this project, which could involve fact sheets to act as handouts to supplement the Standards document. He discussed the sample fact sheet he prepared for windows, and noted that these could be prepared for a number of other relevant topics.


Commissioner Marsh spoke to the issue of driveway and garage placement in historic districts and stated this can have a big impact in how a block feels. There was a general discussion of how development patterns have changed over time to address the role of the car in American life, including the evolution from narrow, long lots to lots that are wider than they are deep. Additional comments were made regarding the need to address how pedestrian access from the sidewalk to a home is treated.


Commissioner Marsh noted her concern of the how Floor Area Ratios are calculated and suggested they consider revising this.


Mr. Severson commented on the next steps in the process and explained the consultant will take the comments and suggestions presented tonight and make his final refinements to the Standards, which will then be presented to Council for review in August. If the City Council is supportive of the revised Standards, staff will move forward with drafting an ordinance and formal public hearings will be held before the Historic Commission, Planning Commission and City Council.



Commissioner Marsh commented on the membership of the Planning Commission and noted Commissioner Rinaldi has resigned and they are now down to five members. She encouraged the current members to solicit persons they feel would be a good fit on the Commission and invite them to submit an application to the Mayor’s office.


Commissioner Dawkins asked about the Planning Commission’s Retreat schedule and recommended they hold this at the same time each year either in the spring or summer.  


Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

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