Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Special Mtg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 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:
Michael Dawkins
Richard Kaplan
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Tracy Peddicord
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.   Mike Morris, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced next Tuesday’s council agenda includes first reading of the Unified Land Use Ordinance and the recommendation from the Normal Neighborhood Plan Working Group. He noted the Planning Commission’s annual presentation to the Council is scheduled for December 16 and stated all commissioners are welcome to attend.
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.  November 12, 2014 Regular 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:  #2014-01837                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  95 Winburn Way (Ice Rink parking lot)
OWNER/APPLICANT:  City of Ashland, Ashland Parks & Recreation
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Review approval to place a canopy over the Ice Rink, a recreational facility within Lithia Park, located at 95 Winburn Way. The application includes requests for Exception to the Site Design and Use Standards (IV-C) and for a Variance to allow the canopy structure to be placed within the required ten-foot side yard setback along Winburn Way. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09; TAX LOTS: Part of Tax Lot #100 (Lithia Park lot).
Commissioner Kaplan read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Dawkins declared a site visit; no ex parte contact was reported.  
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided a brief review of the application and stated staff is supportive of the request with the conditions of approval in the findings document. He added the draft findings presented to the Commission are reflective of the staff report, however the Commission is not bound to this language and are free to make changes if they choose to support the application. Mr. Severson reminded the Commission at the initial hearing on November 12 the applicant agreed to meet with the neighbors directly impacted by this proposal and develop a landscape plan that was agreeable to them, and that plan has been submitted into the record for their review (Exhibit P-23).
Applicant’s Presentation
Michael Black/Ashland Parks & Recreation Director/Clarified they met with the neighbors at 94, 98 and 102 Granite whose property abuts the ice rink property and were able to work out a landscaping plan that would provide the screening necessary to alleviate their concerns. He noted one of the property owners was concerned with the slope and potential slope failure. He stated the Parks Department staff evaluated this concern very closely and determined this is not an issue, however agreed to plant eight Cedar trees to reinforce the slope and soil, and provide additional screening. Mr. Black stated the agreed upon Yew trees are 9-9.5 feet in height and will be planted on the City’s property and will provide immediate screening for the neighbors, and cited the email submitted into the record from John Spillman which expresses his satisfaction with the planted trees and voices his support for the ice rink canopy. Mr. Black stated they feel they have successfully mitigated the neighbors’ concerns regarding the canopy and asked for the Commission’s approval.
Questions of the Applicant
The applicant was asked to address the removal of the Maple trees on the site. Mr. Black explained these trees had exposed roots and posed a hazard. He added the fear of falling trees prompted them to take care of this issue, and clarified they worked with a certified arborist and received the proper tree removal permits from the City.
The applicant was asked to comment on the requested five month operating season for the ice rink. Mr. Black explained it is their desire to operate from November 15 to March 15, but they would like an additional week at the tail end of the season to continue operations if weather permits.
Public Input
Devon Dicker/451 Williamson/Questioned why this hearing did not occur last year before the canopy was purchased and put up, but expressed his support for the ice rink and canopy and stated it is an important asset for Ashland.
John Joynt/1949 Crestview/Voiced his support for the canopy and stated he is here tonight on behalf of a number of friends and family who also wish to extend their support.
Claudia Everett/140 S Pioneer/Read aloud her written statement in opposition to the application (Exhibit O-4).
Barry Peckham/315 Oak/Spoke in favor of the canopy and noted a large number of people and children enjoy skating at the rink. Mr. Peckham recommended the Commission not reduce the rink’s season and commended the Parks Department on their good faith efforts to work with the individuals who had concerns and resolve their issues.
Lincoln Zeve/2710 Siskiyou/Stated he skates nearly daily when the rink is open and stated it is a great asset for our community. Mr. Zeve questioned why there is not a permanent roof and stated this would offer even more protection and would allow this space to be used for community gatherings or music shows in the warmer months. He stated he skated last Friday in the rain and it was very unpleasant, and expressed his support for the canopy.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Mr. Black clarified the lights underneath the canopy are pointed downward, and the canopy material and thickness is different from the previously used canopy and captures much of the light within the cover. He added the rink is open to 10 pm most nights, however he will look into turning off some of the lights during the half hour it takes to shut everything down. In terms of noise, he asked that they be held to the same standards as everyone else and adhere to the City’s noise ordinance. Mr. Black encouraged the Commission to adopt the findings tonight, if possible, and explained the Parks Department would like to erect the tent after the appeal period ends and have the rink functional in time for the Christmas holiday. He stated they have already shown good faith in planting the trees and noted the Parks Department did go through an approval process before the canopy was purchased and installed last year; however, it was determined later on that it was not the correct approval process which is why they are here tonight.
Questions of the Applicant
Recreation Superintendent Rachel Dials clarified when the rink is not staffed, it is still open to the public and they can skate for free until there is staff on site. Mr. Black stated they will address the neighbor concern about early morning noise and can post notices discouraging hockey playing before the rink opens. 
Regarding the light and glare concern, Mr. Black clarified the canopy captures much of that light and the mitigation will resolve the rest of that issue.
Mr. Molnar commented on the approval procedures and stated the Parks Department approached staff and did everything they were asked to do when the replacement canopy was purchased. He stated when it became clear that the canopy was larger than the old one, and due to the code changes that occurred in 2008, it was clear that a site review public hearing was required. That is when staff notified the Parks Department that there was an error in the procedures and before they erected the canopy this year it would have to go through this process. 
Commissioner Kaplan closed the record and the hearing at 7:45 p.m.
Deliberations & Decision
The commissioners shared their comments on the application. Commissioner Miller commented that this appears to be the best way to protect the rink and noted the height is necessary to withstand the load. She added the entire rink was not covered before and the new canopy provides additional protection. Commissioner Peddicord stated the cover is relevant to the functioning of the ice rink and they are not here to decide if the rink should exist. Commissioner Dawkins agreed with Peddicord. He stated the old cover was minimal and functioned, but not as well as it could. He stated the glare and noise is reduced with the thicker canopy, and the canopy’s height is necessary to accommodate snow load. Commissioner Kaplan noted the public testimony indicating there is less debris on the ice with the canopy and stated having the canopy protects the city and the users from potential injury. Commissioner Miller stated the benefits to the community outweigh the impacts, and if the applicant can mitigate the impacts to the few people who are impacted, than this is a win-win situation. Commissioner Kaplan noted this application went before the Historic Commission and their approval is included in the record.
Commissioners Dawkins/Peddicord m/s to approve Planning Action #2014-01837 with the conditions of approval recommended by staff. DISCUSSION: Comment was made questioning if they should include a condition about the early morning noise. Kaplan commented that the applicant has been very responsive to the neighbors’ concerns and he trusts them to follow up on this concern. He added it may be cleaner to include this provision in the findings rather than the approval motion. Mr. Severson agreed and stated because the applicant made this stipulation during their testimony, the Commission can require it to be adhered to. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dawkins, Miller, Mindlin, Peddicord, Thompson, and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2014-01837, 95 Winburn Way.
Commissioner Kaplan reviewed the findings document with the proposed changes. Commissioner Thompson questioned if the group is comfortable with how they are interpreting the law as far as the conditional use permit requirement. Mr. Molnar stated he discussed this application with the City Attorney and he was comfortable with the way this was interpreted for this application. He added a similar action could come before the Commission and they have the ability to make a different finding. Commissioner Mindlin requested the following changes to the findings: 1) strike the term “proper” from the first sentence on #6 and add include that two notices were done, and 2) strike the term “ridge” from the third paragraph on page five and insert “elevation change”.
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings with the changes outlined. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Thompson, Peddicord, Dawkins, Miller, Mindlin, and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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