Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Joint Study Session

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014
Mayor John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
City Council Present:   Planning Commissioners Present:
John Stromberg, Mayor
Pam Marsh
Mike Morris
Rich Rosenthal
Dennis Slattery
  Melanie Mindlin, Chair
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Richard Kaplan
Debbie Miller
Tracy Peddicord
Staff Present:   Absent Members:
Dave Kanner, City Administrator
Dave Lohman, City Attorney
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
  Greg Lemhouse
Carol Voisin
A.   Discussion and Prioritization of Future Planning Initiatives.
Mayor John Stromberg provided some background on this item. He explained on December 17, 2013, the City Council discussed the draft list of future planning projects compiled by staff and recommended that a joint meeting with the Planning Commission be scheduled so that the two bodies could prioritize the list of projects.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar provided a brief summary of each of the projects, which are:
  • Review Zoning Around Downtown
  • Winburn Way Corridor Analysis
  • Vertical Housing Development Zones
  • Housing Element Update
  • Croman Mill District Plan
  • Railroad Property Master Plan
  • North Ashland Gateway Overlay
  • Assessment of Approach to Master Planning
  • Airport Plan
  • Infill Strategies
Mayor Stromberg asked each Planning Commissioner to identify their top priority. Commissioner Miller and Commissioner Brown selected assessment of approach to master planning; Commissioner Mindlin selected infill strategies; Commissioner Peddicord selected vertical housing development zones and infill strategies; Commissioner Kaplan selected vertical housing development zones; and Commissioner Dawkins selected the Railroad Property Master Plan.
City Administrator Dave Kanner called attention to the regional problem solving process and reminded the group that Ashland declined to add any land to its urban growth boundary and did so with the promise that Ashland would adopt innovative infill strategies to accommodate future growth. Mr. Molnar indicated staff has the resources to take on two significant projects within the next 12-18 months, and this would leave some room to take on any minor projects that may arise.
Mayor Stromberg asked for the Planning Commissioners second choice. Commissioner Kaplan selected the Railroad Property Master Plan; Commissioner Brown selected the review of zoning around downtown followed by vertical housing development zones; Commissioner Miller selected the review of zoning around downtown; Commissioner Peddicord selected assessment of master planning; Commissioner Dawkins selected infill strategies and vertical housing development zones; and Commissioner Mindlin selected the Housing Element update.
Mr. Kanner updated the group on the status of the railroad property. He explained the owner of the property came forward with a plan to clean up the property; however they proposed cleaning it to DEQ standards and not to the City’s standards. He stated cleaning to DEQ standards would leave quite a bit of contamination on the site and the property owners decided to re-evaluate their options and whether they want to clean the property to the City’s standards, which would enable them to have a much greater development potential.
The Planning Commission and City Council held general discussion on the potential projects. Councilor Marsh recommended they pursue infill strategies, downtown planning and circulation, and the approach to master planning. She added the master planning item is more of a discussion and evaluation than a long range project and believes all three can be addressed with the given resources. Councilor Morris stated with the exception of a few, most of the projects are inter-related and agreed that the approach to master planning needs to be looked.  
Councilor Rosenthal asked staff which project they would choose. Senior Planner Brandon Goldman stated vertical housing development is a concrete project that could be completed within a short timeframe and provide outcomes; and it also relates to the vision for the City to provide workforce housing and would fold in well with staff’s workload. Planning Manager Maria Harris stated infill strategies is a project that touches on almost all aspects of planning and hits on transportation, jobs, housing, and also looks at fulfilling our regional obligation. Community Development Director Bill Molnar selected infill strategies and stated this project moves beyond land use planning and will require an inter-department approach to the issue. Associate Planner Derek Severson also selected infill strategies. He noted he was the staff member who represented the City of Ashland at the regional problem solving meetings and advocated for this concept.
Mayor Stromberg asked for the group to provide any final feedback to staff. Comment was made that it is clear citywide infill strategies has been identified as a priority. It was noted that Winburn Way Corridor Analysis, Review of Downtown Zoning, and Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Study, which is already in progress, should be combined and made a top priority. Additionally, it is clear that master planning should be looked at. The Mayor recommended that the Airport Plan also be included on this list and requested Mr. Kanner put together a proposal to move these items forward. Mr. Kanner acknowledged this request and stated he would meet with staff, determine what resources can be dedicated to these projects, and bring forward a proposal.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

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