Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014
Chair Richard Kaplan 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
Tracy Peddicord
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Lynn Thompson   Mike Morris, absent
Mr. Molnar announced the first meeting of the Normal Neighborhood Plan working group will be June 19 at 3 pm and the group will meet every other Thursday and report back to the City Council on August 5. The working group members include Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Marsh, Councilor Morris, Commissioner Kaplan, and Commissioner Dawkins. Mr. Molnar stated some of the issues to be discussed are density, the transportation system, open space, how the improvements will be paid for, and maximum building height.
Mr. Molnar also announced the City Council public hearing on medical marijuana facilities is scheduled for June 17; and on July 1 the Council will hear the Planning Commissionís recommendation on short term home rentals.
Commissioner Brown stated the SDC Review Committee is working on the fee structure and their next meeting will be July 8. Commissioner Kaplan provided an update on the Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee meeting and encouraged citizens to complete the online parking survey.
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1.  May 13, 2014 Regular Meeting.
       2.  May 27, 2014 Special Meeting.
Commissioners Miller/Mindlin m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
No one came forward to speak.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  2014-00737                                       
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  Oak Street right-of-way, between Lithia and Main
OWNERS:  Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market
DESCRIPTION: A request to modify the existing Conditional Use Permit approval (PA #2011-153) for the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Marketís closure of one block of Oak Street in the downtown, between Lithia Way and East Main Street, for the weekly Saturday Market. The specific modifications requested are: 1) To allow vendors to sell the same goods as are sold at their other markets in the Rogue Valley, with the exception of hot prepared foods. This would allow the sale of goods grown, produced, prepared or crafted by RVG&CM members who are farmers, ranchers, food processors and crafters.  The vendors are currently limited to fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, meat, eggs, cheese, bread, pasta, dog bones, and  jam, and are not to sell prepared food; 2) To allow the marketís season and hours to mirror their other markets in the Rogue Valley, which run from March through November, and to begin the street closure at 6:30 a.m.  The market is currently limited to a May through November season, and the Saturday closure is from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  3) Alter the market booth configuration to create a sidewalk access point between vendor booths at the entrance to the alleyway on the west side of Oak Street in order to better accommodate pedestrian and wheelchair traffic to adjacent businesses. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial Downtown; ZONING: C-1-D; ASSESSORíS MAP: N/A Ė Right-of-Way; TAX LOT: N/A Ė Right-of-Way.
Commissioner Kaplan read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided an overview of the applicantís request. He explained the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market (RVGCM) currently operates from May to November, 7 am to 2 pm, and under their current approval are limited on the types of products they can sell. The RVGCM has requested a modification to their existing conditional use permit to: 1) allow vendors to sell a wider variety of foods with the exception of hot prepared foods, 2) to begin the street closure at 6:30 and run from March through November, and 3) alter the booth configuration to create a sidewalk access point between vendor booths at the entrance to the alleyway on the west side of Oak Street.
Mr. Severson displayed a photo of the booth configuration that allows access to the sidewalk and explained the RVGCM have been setting up in this manner and staff supports it. He added this modification memorializes what they are currently doing. Regarding their second request to operate from March through November and to begin the street closure at 6:30 am, Mr. Severson stated staff has no issues with this, however staff did receive a letter from a resident who lives in the apartment above Art FX who objected to the earlier start time. Mr. Severson stated the item that will likely get most of the discussion tonight is what products the vendors are permitted to sell. Currently the RVGCM is limited to fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, meats, eggs, cheeses, breads, pastas, dog bones, and jams. The RVGCM has requested vendors be allowed to sell the same goods as in their other markets,  with the exception of hot prepared foods, which would equate to up to 40% of their offerings being crafts and prepared foods. Mr. Severson commented on the potential impacts to existing businesses and stated staff is recommending the market be limited to no more than 25% of booths that sell crafts and prepared foods.
Applicantís Presentation
Lori Hopkinson/ RVGCM General Manager/4444 W Griffin Creek Rd, Medford/Provided an overview of the RVGCM organization and cited their bylaws, market guidelines, and mission statement. Ms. Hopkinson stated the RVGCM would like to establish an additional sidewalk access point at the entrance of the alley. She stated the proposed wheelchair accessible entrance would easily accommodate pedestrian traffic to adjacent business and would encourage cross over sales. She stated the market is also requesting to modify their season of operation to mirror that of the other RVGCM locations, which would allow for a more coordinated season. Lastly, they are requesting the language in the conditional use permit be changed to allow the same composition of diversity of goods as in their other markets. Ms. Hopkinson stated there is room for all and competition is part of doing business. She explained the market imposes its own rules and policies and stated limiting the marketís goods is based on unfounded fears. Ms. Hopkinson stated 25% is an arbitrary number and remarked that the charm of the market comes from its diversity. She provided a list of the types of products that are restricted under their current approval, and commented that the market brings a lot of foot traffic to the area and draws shoppers to downtown merchants.
Questions of the Applicant
Ms. Hopkinson was asked why the market is requesting a 6:30 am start time and she explained that this would allow vendors more time to set up their product displays.
Ms. Hopkinson stated for the record that she is a part-time clerk for the City of Ashland Municipal Court.
Ms. Hopkinson clarified the marketís bylaws state 60% of the goods are agriculturally related items and 40% are crafts and processed foods, and therefore of their 30 spaces at the Oak Street location 18 booths would be grower spaces and 12 would be crafters and food processors. She clarified food processors include krauts, hummus, ciders, coffee, tea, nuts, and cooking oils. Ms. Hopkinson requested the RVGCM be allowed to operate under their own guidelines and stated it would hurt the diversity of the market if these limitations were imposed.
Public Testimony
Bill Francis/40 Van Ness/Stated he has a small business selling pottery and sells at the downtown market. He stated this business has become his sole source of income and he could not have done this without the RVGCM. He noted he is also a member of the artisans market, however he earns the same selling for four hours on Oak Street as an entire weekend on the Calle. Mr. Francis stated the market is an attraction for both locals and visitors and urged the Commission to support the diversity the market is requesting.
Abby Hogge/1700 Parker/Stated she was last yearís downtown market manager and stated diversity is critical for its success. She stated they need to appeal to a wide customer base and it is a delicate balance of serving both locals and tourists. Ms. Hogge noted the market is required to maintain a 60% ratio of growers and 40% non-growers. She stated hummus, salsas, salts, teas, and sauerkraut vendors are classified as non-growers and under the current conditional use permit are not permitted. She stated of the 30 booth spaces typically only 5 or less consist of crafts and urged the Commission to approve the modifications being requested.
Monica Rey/12310 Ramsay Rd, Gold Hill/Stated she is the current president of the RVGCM and commented that  outdoor markets allow the public to connect with their local food sources and create a positive atmosphere. She stated the market brings in large numbers of people, some of whom spread out into neighboring businesses. Ms. Rey stated the market has been an incubator for many local businesses who have used this venue as a springboard to bigger and better things and encouraged the Commission to approve their request.
Roy Laird/419 Willow/Stated he is the co-owner of the Book Exchange across the parking lot from Oak Street and stated he supports RVGCM; however the current location of the market has had an impact on his business. He explained business is down 10% on Saturdays and expressed concern with how the expanded season will impact his business. Mr. Laird stated the market should be located in a more suitable location that wonít have an impact on the downtown brick and mortar businesses.
Ken Silverman/25 E Main/Stated he is the owner of Nimbus and agreed with the previous speaker. Mr. Silverman stated he supports crafters and attends the Tuesday market regularly, however this is an issue of fairness. He stated the market takes up parking and blocks the Oak Street businesses and it is difficult to get to their stores because it is so crowded. He recommended the market be moved to a different location and noted the difficulties in being a successful retailer in this town.
Jeffrey Compton/1770 Acorn/Stated he is the owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and while he supports the growers market, their numbers are down 30% on the days the market operates. He stated they have had to lay off one of their Saturday employees because of the market and recommended the market be moved to a more suitable location, such as the high school or middle school.
Stacy VanVoorhees/514 Laurel/Stated she is the manager of the Saturday Ashland market and read aloud a scenario depicting a mother shopping with her three children. She stated the market serves the entire community and stated they aim to offer a wide diversity of goods that provide for peopleís needs, both nutritional and otherwise.
Lanita Witt/658 Shale City Rd/Stated she represents Willow Witt Ranch and stated they have been selling their meat products at the market for six years. She stated she supports buying and eating local and does not understand why other businesses oppose the market.
Elizabeth Bretko/103 SW Fourth, Grants Pass/Stated she is a tea brewer and also farmer and seasonal food processor. Ms. Bretko stated the Ashland Saturday market is a crucial part of her business and accounts for 60% of her total sales. She stated the market has been a springboard for her to open a brick and mortar business in Grants Pass and voiced her support for the marketís downtown location. 
David French/176 Meadow View, Phoenix/Stated he owns Griffin Creek Roasters and understands the challenges that brick and mortar retailers have. He stated it is a symbiotic relationship between the City, vendors, and patrons and stated the Ashland community supports the market incredibly well. He stated the market brings people into the downtown core and stated the marketís request to create sidewalk access to the local businesses is a sign that they want to be good partners. He added from a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to have the same starting and ending dates as the other markets.
Jo Cullumbine/837 Tyler Creek/Voiced her disappointment to hear that this market is in jeopardy and that certain crafters may be excluded even though those that are permitted also compete with nearby businesses. She stated the market draws visitors to town and they explore streets and shops that they may have otherwise never seen, and asked the Commission to do the right thing and accept the modifications.
Jerry Painter/940 SW Sixth/Stated he is a food vendor with the RVGCM and is unable to participate in the Ashland Saturday market. He questioned the downtown businessesí resistance and stated the City of Medford requested that the market set up downtown. Mr. Painter stated studies have shown that markets downtown help the businesses, and while business may be down, the general poor economy is to blame not the location of the market.
Ruby Painter/940 SW Sixth/Voiced support for the market and noted the importance of having diversity so that young people can get ideas of what is possible.
Angelika Curtis/14356 Highway 62, Eagle Point/Stated she is the owner of the Oregon Bistro and Wildbee Honey Farm, and they are growers, farmers, beekeepers and crafters. Ms. Curtis stated she has been full time with the market for 17 years and is one of the vendors prohibited from selling at the Saturday market. She stated they have an eight acre farm, country store, hundreds of beehives and bottling facility, and have lots of expenses just like brick and mortar businesses. She stated the vendors act as greeters and direct a lot of people to local businesses and services, and she does not believe there is any direct competition between her beeswax candles and the other nearby businesses.
Alex Amarotico/101 Oak Street/State he is the owner of Standing Stone Brewery and fully supports the market on Oak Street and their requests to modify their conditional use permit. He stated the market gives them a direct link to local products and adds great vitality. He agreed that this comes with inconvenience to some, but the benefits outweigh this. He added he would welcome prepared foods and craft beers, even though this would be in direct competition with his business.
Laruel Alexander/2862 Griffin Creek, Medford/Sated this is her twentieth year with the market and she sells bedding plants. Ms. Alexander stated she has been to many markets and the most vibrant ones are located downtown. She stated she sells to both locals and tourists and often holds plants for people while them shop and eat downtown. She agreed that parking in Ashland can be difficult, but hopes they can continue to be good neighbors with the downtown businesses.
Applicantís Rebuttal
Lori Hopkinson/Stated the market only operates 26 Saturdays a year and they are only there a fraction of the time compared to the existing businesses. She stated they bring a lot of foot traffic and business to the area and believes this is a great walkable location for patrons. Ms. Hopkinson stated the majority of their products are related to agriculture and are made by farmers, and only a small percentage are crafts.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked how they arrived at the 25% to 75% ratio for goods. Mr. Molnar stated 25% was used as a starting point for discussion. He stated the City has been a longtime supporter of the market, however staff has received several calls and letters expressing concern and stating sales have gone down since the market started operating at this location. He stated the City is essentially the landlord because of the marketís location in the right of way, and so staff felt they had an obligation to take those issues seriously.
Staff was asked whether the Commission has the ability to change the marketís location or day of operation. Mr. Molnar stated this is not under their purview this evening and would need to be dealt with through a different hearing.
Mr. Severson highlighted the eleven items that were clearly articulated in the marketís original application. He added at that time there were a lot of assurances made by RVGCM to the downtown merchants when that application was first approved.
Commissioner Kaplan closed the record and the hearing at 8:35 p.m.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioner Dawkins shared his concerns with the market selling items that are not food based and selling goods that compete with the businesses that are already there. Commissioner Peddicord commented that some of the most prominent businesses downtown are restaurants and questioned why they would prohibit crafts when food would remain. Dawkins pointed out that no hot food would be allowed. Commissioner Brown remarked that when the RVGCM first came to downtown there were negotiations made with the City and the businesses, and he sees no reason to change the conditions of their original approval. Commissioner Miller voiced support for modifying the other elements of their request (the months of operation, 6:30 am street closure, and pedestrian sidewalk access). Commissioner Mindlin commented that this is a complex issue and they need to find a solution that works for everyone. She stated the market wanted to be in that location and it has worked out very well for them, but it seems that it is having a negative impact on the surrounding businesses. She suggested that perhaps there is a better location that should be considered, but noted that this is not under their purview. Mindlin agreed with Miller and supports the approval of the other requested modifications and stated she would be comfortable with a compromise that permitted the sale of food items but keeps out the crafts. Commissioner Peddicord stated if the Commission is concerned with competition then they should be concerned about extending the marketís season. Commissioner Brown agreed and added that an earlier start time would be an inconvenience to apartment renters. Commissioner Kaplan stated it is not clear whether the applicants and the City were on the same page when the original list of items was approved. Mr. Severson commented that he is not sure if the current board and management are aware of all the outreach that was done by the previous RVGCM manager. He clarified that list of items was intended to be a definitive list of the goods that would be sold and was offered as assurance to the neighboring businesses. Commissioner Dawkins noted his desire to find an appropriate balance and suggested limiting the market to goods that are food/agriculturally based. It was suggested that the group separate out the requested modifications and handle each item individually.
Commissioners Miller/Dawkins m/s to approve the alteration of the market booth configuration to create a sidewalk access point between the vendor booths to allow easier access. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Mindlin, Peddicord, Miller, Dawkins and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
Commissioners Miller/Dawkins m/s to allow the marketís season to mirror their other markets in the Rogue Valley, which run from March through November. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Miller commented that this would bring more people to the downtown earlier in the season. Commissioner Dawkins agreed and stated a consistent season would help the market with their advertising and felt this was a reasonable request. He added the market typically starts slow at the beginning of the season and he does not believe this will be a big impact. Commissioner Brown disagreed and stated this would be a huge impact to the current businesses. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dawkins, Miller, Peddicord, Mindlin and Kaplan, YES. Commissioner Brown, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Commissioner Miller motioned to allow the street closure to begin at 6:30 am. Motion died due to lack of a second.
Commissioner Mindlin/Dawkins m/s to allow vendors to sell the same variety of goods sold at their other markets in the Rogue Valley, with the exception of hot prepared foods and crafted goods. This would allow the sale of goods grown, produced, or prepared by RVGCM members who are farmers, ranchers, and food processors. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Mindlin stated her intent is to strike a balance and stated she would be open to an amendment that would include more agricultural products.
Commissioner Mindlin/Dawkins m/s to amend previous motion to state ďThis would allow the sale of goods grown, produced, prepared or crafted from locally grown agricultural products by RVGCM members who are farmers, ranchers, food processors and crafters. The prohibition on hot prepared foods will not be modified.Ē Roll Call Vote on motion as amended: Commissioners Peddicord, Dawkins, Miller, Mindlin, and Kaplan, YES. Commissioner Brown, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Commissioners Mindlin/Dawkins m/s to approve Planning Action 2014-00737 with the modifications to the conditional use permit with the parameters just adopted and to not include the change of the opening time from 7:00 am to 6:30 am. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Mindlin, Peddicord, and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  2014-00734
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  1163 Iowa Street
APPLICANT:  Ayala Properties, LLC
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Review and Outline Plan approval under the Performance Standards Options Chapter 18.88 for a four unit, five lot multi-family developments for the property located at 1163 Iowa Street. A Tree Removal Permit is requested to remove three trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height on the site. The existing single family residence on the site will be incorporated into the development as Lot #1. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSORíS MAP #: 39 1E 10 CB; TAX LOT: 5500.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Miller, Kaplan, Dawkins and Brown performed site visits; no ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioners Peddicord/Dawkins m/s to extend the meeting to 10:00 pm. Voice Vote: all AYES.
Staff Report
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter provided a summary of the application. She explained this is a single family townhome development with each home on its own individual tax lot, but they will have attached wall construction. Ms. Gunter provided an overview of the project site, existing residence, and surrounding area. She noted there are three trees proposed for removal and clarified the existing single family residence will be incorporated into the development of Lot 1. She stated the new units will face east and each will have an attached vehicle garage and a rear yard patio area; and the applicants have proposed a pedestrian walkway to connect the development to the public sidewalk system on Iowa Street. Ms. Gunter stated the application meets the criteria and staff is recommending approval.
Ms. Gunter highlighted a proposed condition that requires the garages to be for vehicular parking and not for storage.
Applicantís Presentation
Mark Knox/485 W Nevada/Stated this in an infill project in the R-3 zone and noted their desire to maintain a consistent pattern and be sensitive to the existing homes. He stated they will utilize the existing driveway in order to mitigate disturbance to the trees, and clarified that Lot 1 is likely to remain as it is today for some time. He acknowledged this is a contemporary design and stated the intent was to have varying roof heights to break up the mass and give each townhome some individuality.
Questions of the Applicant
Commissioner Brown stated the solar angle depicted on the applicantís rear elevation diagram is to not to scale. Ms. Gunter indicated staff would draft a condition that addresses this concern.  
Public Testimony
Kathleen Taylor/1163 Iowa/Stated she currently rents the home at 1163 Iowa and had several questions about the proposed development including: When will construction begin? Will there be any more meetings on this project? Can the neighbors obtain copies of the plans? Will she receive notice before construction begins? Is there any compensation for relocation? Ms. Taylor stated she was looking for a stable, long term residence when she entered into a lease four months ago and would not have rented this house had she known about these plans.
Applicantís Rebuttal
Mark Knox/Acknowledged Ms. Taylorís concerns and offered to speak with her after the meeting. He clarified there is no start date yet and they will continue to speak with the homeowners on the corner lot to develop a plan for this area and hopefully create an even better project. He stated the building plans are public record and are available to Ms. Taylor, and clarified she will receive notice prior to construction. Mr. Knox stated the intent is to keep this property intact as it is now for the foreseeable year and noted that this is a great location for this development as it is close to schools and will be affordable.
Commissioner Kaplan closed the record and the public hearing at 9:55 p.m.
Questions of Staff
Ms. Gunter suggested a conditional of approval that states ďSolar setback calculations demonstrating that the solar performance standard allowing a shadow of no more than four feet above the finished floor of the proposed residence on Lot 2 shall be provided with the building permit submittals.Ē
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Peddicord m/s to approve Planning Action 2014-00734 with the additional condition proposed by staff. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Miller, Dawkins, Mindlin, Peddicord, Brown, and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Review of Planning Commissionís recommendation to Council on the Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Ordinance.
Mr. Molnar stated the public hearing on the medical marijuana facilities ordinance is scheduled for next Tuesday and what is before the Commission tonight is a summary of their recommendation that will be included in the Councilís packet materials. He noted the City Attorney has researched other communities with similar ordinances and has recommended the City explicitly prohibit dispensaries as a home occupation, and asked whether the Commission would support this inclusion in the ordinance.  
Comment was made that the last paragraph of the Planning Commission Report does not read correctly and recommendation was made for each sentence in the paragraph to be listed as an individual bullet point instead. General support was voiced for this edit.
Commissioners Mindlin/Miller m/s to approve the Planning Commissionís Report with the modification of the last paragraph to list each sentence as a separate bullet item, and to recommend the Council modify the home occupation ordinance to list medical marijuana dispensaries as a prohibited use. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Mindlin, Dawkins, Brown, Miller, Peddicord, and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
Submitted by, April Lucas
Administrative Supervisor


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