Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Special Mtg

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012

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

Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Eric Heesacker
Richard Kaplan
Pam Marsh (arrived at 7:30 p.m.)
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar commented on the City Council’s study session on the plaza design. He stated the Council directed staff to consider some of the concepts they presented and to move ahead with a final design. He noted there were some reservations about the type of seating and comfort level, but the overall concept was supported. Commissioners Dawkins noted he had spoken with the councilors and encouraged the use of pavers for the ground treatment, which would allow water to penetrate through and be healthier for the trees.
Mr. Molnar announced the City Council passed first reading of the changes to the wireless communication standards, and will be holding a public hearing for the changes to the drive-up ordinance in August. Commissioner Dawkins noted the keeping of chickens ordinance is coming back to the Commission and the Council asked them to look at including other animals. Commissioner Kaplan expressed concern with poor attendance at a Planning Commission hearing on changes, which is what happened last time. Mr. Molnar noted staff could contact the individuals who participate in the first round of hearings and encourage them to provide input.
No one came forward to speak.
Approval of Findings for PA-2012-00265, Drive-Up Uses Amendment. 

Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioners Brown/Miller m/s to approve the Findings for Planning Action #2012-00265. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Heesacker, Miller, Dawkins, Brown and Kaplan, YES. [Mindlin abstained]. Motion passed 5-0.

B.  Approval of Findings for PA-2012-00575, 1155 East Main Street. 

Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioners Kaplan/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for Planning Action #2012-00575. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Heesacker, Miller, Dawkins, Brown and Kaplan, YES. [Mindlin abstained]. Motion passed 5-0.
Grey Water Presentation by Building Official Michael Grubbs & Plumbing Inspector Rick Hackstock.
Commissioner Mindlin announced the grey water presentation has been postponed.
Manufactured Dwelling Standards/SOU Student Report Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a short presentation on the SOU students’ report on manufactured dwelling standards. She stated the students in the Planning Issues class looked at the City’s manufactured housing standards in the context of affordable housing and provided the following recommendations to the City:
  1. Revise the required size and dimensions for units.
  2. Allow flexibility for siding and roofing materials.
  3. Eliminate the garage/storage building requirements.
  4. In developments, use the setbacks of the zoning district.
  5. Reduce the required deck/patio size in developments.
  6. Reduce the required site size for development.
Ms. Harris explained the students report highlighted the significant advancements in the manufactured housing industry and put forth the following findings: 1) manufactured housing is high quality because it is built to undergo the stress of being transported, 2) there is less construction time and less costs, 3) manufactured homes can be built to be very energy efficient, and 4) there is less construction waste compared to conventional building.
Ms. Harris provided some background data on the City’s issuance of manufactured housing building permits and stated in the past 11 years 22 manufactured home permits were issued; 20 of those were to replace or install new units in existing parks, and two were to place the homes on a standard single family lot. Ms. Harris noted Ashland has three manufactured housing parks: Wingspread, Tolman Creek Park, and the park at Walker Ave/Siskiyou Blvd/Ashland St., and explained state law identifies manufactured housing as a needed housing type and requires jurisdictions to allow manufactured housing in stand-alone lots and in parks in at least one zone.  
Ms. Harris stated staff believes some of the changes recommended by the students are policy changes and questioned if the Commission wanted to incorporate these revisions into the unified code project. She added this seems to fit into the same category of smaller policy changes and could be easily incorporated into the unified code project if the Commission wanted to do this.
Commission Discussion
Staff clarified manufactured housing is currently allowed in R2 and R3 zones; and also clarified the difference between mobile homes and manufactured homes as defined in Chapter 18.08 of the land use ordinance.
Commissioner Kaplan noted he attended the students’ presentation before the Housing Commission and stated they should not be discouraging people who want to use this type of construction.
Mr. Molnar asked Commissioner Mindlin if she has seen manufactured housing being used in cottage housing developments. Mindlin gave her opinion that manufactured housing is not as cost effective as some might anticipate, however she supports looking into relaxing the City’s requirements and stated this is a fairness issue.
Commissioner Marsh commented that they should not care how the house is constructed as long as it meets the established standards.
Ms. Harris asked the Commission if they were interested in incorporating this into the unified code project and received general consensus that this is worth pursuing. Commissioner Mindlin voiced concern with putting this forward as an affordable housing measure, but stated from a fairness standpoint this is a legitimate thing to do.
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m. and the commissioners were invited to stay and watch a short film titled “For the Love of Cities” by Peter Kageyama.
Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

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