Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013
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
Richard Kaplan
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Mike Morris
Community Development Director Bill Molnar issued the following announcements: 1) the commission will hold discussion about a potential Keeping of Animals ordinance at the March study session, 2) at the April 9 regular meeting the commission will hold a public hearing for a new commercial building downtown, and 3) the City Council took testimony on vacation home rentals at their last meeting and directed staff to look at a number of sections in the Ashland Municipal Code and to work with the Planning Commission on making vacation rentals a permitted use in the multi-family zone.
Commissioner Dawkins voiced his disappointment that the Council did not place a limit on the number of vacation rentals that would be permitted and believes it was unfair for the Council to place restrictions on what the commission can consider when this returns to them. Commissioner Kaplan commented on the materials that were included in the City Council’s meeting packet and stated that was the first time he had seen the meeting minutes and the final recommendation from the commission. He stated the commission should have taken a vote on each of the issues and does not believe what was presented to the Council accurately reflected the position of the Planning Commission. He added after listening to the public testimony from the Council meeting he is more sensitive to the R-1 issue and stated the commission did not thoroughly consider potential options for single room rentals in the R-1 district.  
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1.  February 12, 2013 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
Alexa Voelker/1401 Oregon St/Stated she is a student at Southern Oregon University and presented her proposal to use bioremediation at the Croman site. She explained the soils at the Croman site have low levels of chemical contamination and recommended the City consider using living microbes to break down the hazardous waste. She commented that even low levels of chemicals could be hazardous to humans and stated the soil must be decontaminated before building can occur.
A.    Unified Land Use Ordinance – Part 4: Site Development and Design Standards.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the commission reviewed the first four sections of Part 4 at their last meeting and tonight they are reviewing the public facilities chapter. She noted most of the changes were just reorganizing, but stated there are a few proposed amendments and provided an overview of the recommended changes.

  1. Signing in Favor of a Local Improvement District. The requirement to sign in favor of a local improvement district when a request is made for a building permit has been deleted. Any project that would have an impact on the transportation system requires planning approval and this requirement would be addressed through a planning action condition of approval.
  2. General Street Requirements. A section on street names, street signs, and streetlights was added for clarity.
  3. Updates to Connectivity Standards. Language was added on connecting to existing and future streets on adjacent lands, intersection angle, physical site constraints, and traffic calming.
  4. Neighborhood Street Connections and Extending Existing and Future Streets. Language was added requiring developments to provide for neighborhood street connections, requiring streets on adjacent properties to be extended into new developments, and for new streets to be stubbed out to serve adjacent vacant and redevelopable parcels.
  5. Nonconformities Created by Street Dedication. The language in the existing Dedication of Property for Public Use has been carried forward and revised for clarity.
  6. Connection Between Required Street Dedications and Development Impacts. The language regarding the requirement of dedication of land for streets or greenways was revised to reflect more recent case law which requires dedications and improvements to be roughly proportional to the impacts of the development.
  7. Sanitary Sewer and Water Service Improvements.  A section was added addressing the requirement for new development to connect to the city’s water and sanitary sewer system.
  8. Storm Drainage and Surface Water Management Facilities. A section was added addressing the requirement for new development to provide adequate provisions for storm water management.
  9. Underground Utilities. A section was added addressing the undergrounding of utilities in new development.
Commission Comments and Questions:
  • A request was made for staff to bring back revised language on the phasing of subdivisions and for the commission to consider a modified requirement of 24 months for the first phase of the subdivision to be approved.
  • Staff was asked to clarify the use of the terms “adjustments” and “variances” in the proposed code language. Ms. Harris explained the model code uses these terms, however the commission can modify this if they choose. The commission discussed and agreed to use the terms “exceptions” and “variances” in the code.
  • Minor correction was noted on page 4-7, the language on item #7 should read: No-Parking signs shall be consistent with the street design approved with the development by the approval authority.”
  • Concern was expressed regarding the name of a street changing as it moves across town. Ms. Harris stated this is not part of this project, but she could forward these concerns to the Public Works Department.
  • Comment was made regarding the change in tone of the unified code due to the inclusion of the Street Design Standards handbook. Staff agreed with this observation and stated it is because they are combining the older code language with some of the newer requirements, which are more form based.
  • Comment was made voicing concern that the Connectivity Standards language may make it more difficult for pedestrian access neighborhoods to development. Ms. Harris clarified the pocket neighborhood piece will come back as part of the green development evaluation. Mr. Molnar added there may be ways to expand the criteria for exceptions to include certain development types.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

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