Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 13, 2015
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
Lynn Thompson
  Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Mike Morris
Planning Manager Maria Harris announced the new land use ordinance goes into effect on January 17 and stated staff is in the process of printing new copies of the code for the Commission. She added there were a few amendments that were not adopted and will come back to the Commission for additional review, including cottage housing and residential buildings that are part of a multiple building development in commercial zones.
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.     November 25, 2014 Special Meeting.
2.     December 9, 2014 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Miller/Mindlin m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously. [Commission Brown abstained from the approval of November 25, 2014 minutes]
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Highway 99/Spoke regarding global warming and asked the City to stop adding more buildings and homes and to put a moratorium on growth.
  1. Approval of Findings for PA-2014-01956, First Place Subdivision (Lithia Way & First Street)              
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioner Mindlin noted a correction to page 4 of the Findings (Section 2.3); the word ďvacationĒ should be changed to ďvacant.Ē
Commissioners Miller/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings with the noted correction. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Thompson, Peddicord, Miller, Mindlin and Kaplan, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Accessory Travelerís Accommodations in Residential Zoning Districts (Short Term Rentals)            
Commissioner Mindlin left the meeting due to a potential public perception of conflict of interest. 

Planning Manager Maria Harris presented the staff report and draft ordinance to the Commission. She reviewed some of the key provisions of the ordinance, which include:
  • The operator of the accessory travelerís accommodation must be the property owner, and the property must serve as the property ownerís primary residence.
  • There is a limitation on the size of the operation. Only one accessory travelerís accommodation is permitted. The accommodation can be up to two bedrooms with no kitchen facilities, but it must be made under one reservation.
  • The ordinance does not require the accommodation to be within the footprint of the primary residence.
  • No more than five people can be on the site at one time (including the property owners).
  • The property must have two off-street parking spaces.
  • The property must be located within 200 ft. of a boulevard, avenue, or neighborhood collector.
  • Approved accessory travelerís accommodations would require a review and renewal of the conditional use permit within 24 months.
Ms. Harris clarified this is a draft ordinance and the Commission can edit or change as they see fit. She added depending on how the discussion goes, the final ordinance could come back before the Commission for the public hearing on February 10, 2015.
Commission Discussion
Commissioner Thompson asked if there is anything in the ordinance that would prohibit property owners from renting out the entire house when they are not there, and recommended the presence of the owner be required.
Ms. Harris clarified kitchen facilities are defined as having stove/cooking facilities, and Commissioner Dawkins recommended 220 volt outlets not be allowed in accessory travelerís accommodations.
Staff was asked about the limit of five individuals. Ms. Harris clarified this language mirrors the requirements of all other single family residences.
Staff was asked why this has come back to the Commission again. Ms. Harris explained the City Council is interested in looking at an ordinance that makes small scale short term rentals a possibility in single family zones. Commissioner Kaplan added the Commission needs to put forward an ordinance that lays out appropriate requirements, but stated it is also appropriate for the Commission to weigh in on whether these should be allowed at all in single family zones.
Commissioner Kaplan recommended the Commission have more discussion on the draft ordinance language before they take public comment.
  • C-1: The operator of the accessory travelerís accommodation must be the property owner and the property must serve as the property ownerís primary residence during operation of the accessory travelerís accommodation.
Recommendation was made for staff to revisit this language to make it clear that absentee owners would not be permitted, and to perhaps establish a limit on the number of hours the property owner can be off site.
  • C-2: The property is limited to having one accessory travelerís accommodation unit, covered under a single reservation and consisting of two or fewer bedrooms, not including bathrooms. Kitchen cooking facilities are not permitted with an accessory travelerís accommodation, with the exception of kitchen cooking facilities for the primary residence.
Comment was made questioning if it is necessary to state that bathrooms are not included.
  • C-3: The total number of residents and guests occupying a dwelling unit with an accessory travelerís accommodation must not exceed the number allowed for a family. See definition of family in part 18-6.
Ms. Harris commented on how this requirement has been applied in the past and stated it usually comes up with roommate situations. She added she would check with the Cityís legal department to see if there is another option instead of relying on the definition of family. Suggestions were made to establish a limit on the number of guests or limit the number of vehicles.
  • C-4: The property must have two off-street parking spaces.
Ms. Harris clarified if the two parking spaces were located in the garage, this would still satisfy the requirement.  Comment was made that adding additional parking could change the lot and the character of the neighborhood.
  • C-5: No signs shall be permitted in conjunction with the operation of an accessory travelerís accommodation.
No concerns were expressed with this requirement.
  • C-6: A home occupation is prohibited with an accessory travelerís accommodation.
No concerns were expressed with this provision.
  • C-7: When accessory travelerís accommodations are approved, they require a review of the original land use approval within 24 months of the initial decision. The review requires renewal of the Conditional Use Permit under chapter 18.5.4.
The Commission discussed whether the property owner should have to go back through the conditional use process after two years, and if there are alternate ways these properties can be reviewed. Ms. Harris clarified this would be a one-time renewal and after that it would be compliant driven. The group discussed and voiced support for keeping this language as written.
Recommendation was made for staff to revisit the wording in Section 3 to make it clearer to understand. Staff was also asked to remove ďnot including bathrooms.Ē
Commissioner Kaplan asked for the groupís input on the 200 ft. rule. He stated the intent is to direct traffic onto higher order streets, and asked if this was a valid consideration. Commissioner Brown commented on the desire to get visitors out of their cars and walking, and stated if you want to maintain low car usage these accommodations need to be closer in. Comment was made that higher order streets in the R-1 zones can be quite a ways from downtown and this provision may not stop people from driving. Commissioner Thompson commented on keeping the more restrictive requirements in the R-1 zone; however, if it were her decision she would not allow these accommodations in the single family zone and would remove the distance requirements in the R-2 and R-3 zones.
Public Testimony
Ellen Campbell/120 Gresham/Stated lodging businesses do not belong in single family neighborhoods and asked why the City would break face with the residents who invested in homes and want to live in neighborhoods. Ms. Campbell asked if the City could draft an ordinance that protects long term housing stock and expressed concern that this would invite more illegal rentals in single family neighborhoods. She spoke to the 200 ft. rule and stated this likely works well in R-2 and R-3 zones, but the R-1 zones are further out and guests will drive if they are going more than five blocks.
Adam Lemon/451 North Main/Stated he is the owner of Abigailís Bed and Breakfast and during their analysis of the purchase they came across AirBnB and it became clear Ashland was struggling to handle this issue. Mr. Lemon stated the Cityís code officer has been making strides, but does not see any proposal to increase the size of the compliance department.
Lois Van Aken/140 Central/Stated she is the owner of two single reservation travelerís accommodations in the R-3 zone, and is also president of the Ashland Lodging Association. Ms. Van Aken stated they are opposed to travelerís accommodations in the R-1 zone and stated the financial gain to a few does not mitigate the effects that will be felt citywide. She added no matter how detailed the ordinance is, it will be impossible to enforce and monitor in the R-1 zones.
Francesa Amery/860 Ashland/Commented on the lack of long term rentals in Ashland and stated she wants to live in a residential neighborhood and work in a commercial neighborhood. Ms. Amery noted the noise impacts of travelerís accommodations and stated she does not want strangers staying next door.
Barbara Hetland/985 East Main/Stated this should not be done lightly and recommended this be taken to a vote of the entire City. Ms. Hetland stated the impact would be huge and there would be unforeseen circumstances. She added no one has proven there is a need for this, and asked why the City would change neighborhoods if there is no real need.
John Baxter/831 Liberty/Stated he operated a short term rental until he learned this was not permitted in his zone, and now has a long term renter. Mr. Baxter stated he did not receive a single complaint when he was renting short term and the long term renter has a much greater vehicle impact. He stated the 200 ft. rule is arbitrary and recommended it be removed, and stated the conditional use permit process is sufficient for each neighborhood to decide for themselves if a short term rental is appropriate for their neighborhood.
Laura Westerman/252 Timberlake/Stated her short term renters never generated a compliant, but she has received several complaints now that she is renting long term. Ms. Westerman stated her rental was 4 blocks from downtown and most visitors would never use their car and feels the 200 ft. rule is arbitrary. She voiced support for a 24 month review but recommended the fees be reduced.
Katy Repp/514 Siskiyou/Voiced her support for Commissioner Thompsonís stance and voiced concern with registered sex offenders who are not required to register if they live in a place less than 30 days. Ms. Repp asked if this moves forward that property owners be required to reapply every 12 months, which is the same requirement as business licenses.
Steve Richie/1481 Windsor/Voiced his support for Ashland Lodging Association and stated he is opposed to travelerís accommodations in the R-1 zone and any expansion into the R-2 and R-3 zones. Mr. Richie stated he owns two vacation rentals in the commercial zone. One is up and running, but has been vacant much of this month, and the other is on hold pending decision of this group and the City Council. He stated he does not want to invest if they are going throw the gates open and allow this everywhere in town. He stated the City should keep the status quo and not do any further expansion.
Commission Discussion
Commissioner Kaplan clarified the charge of the Commission is to make a recommendation to the City Council on if accessory travelerís accommodation are allowed in the R-1 zones, what would the requirements be. He stated they can only make a recommendation and the final decision lies with the Council. Commissioner Dawkins commented that last time this went to Council the Commission did not make a recommendation on whether this should occur, and this needs to happen this time. Commissioner Kaplan stated he does not agree with the notion that if there are legal accommodations in the R-1 zone that this will spawn more illegal activity. He added making this legal with restrictions would be a more controlled circumstance. Peddicord agreed and stated she has three main issues: 1) maintaining the neighborhood character, 2) whether it is their responsibility to preserve the investment of people who are operating legal rental accommodations and reducing competition, and 3) whether this would have more impact than those operating a home business in the R-1 zone. Commissioner Thompson restated her position that travelerís accommodations should be not allowed in single family zones. She stated aside from the fact that there are people out there who want to do this and have financial motivations, she does not see this step is warranted. She added she would support removing the 200 ft. rule from the R-2 and R-3 zones but not allow any rentals in the R-1 zone. Commissioner Kaplan asked staff if there is a way to have a periodic review that does not trigger the full Type 1 process and fee. Commissioner Dawkins noted when the bed and breakfasts were first permitted a lot of these same discussions occurred and they also had a review period. Ms. Harris concurred and clarified there was an annual review each year for the first three years. Commissioner Brown stated they can create an ordinance if that is what they are asked to do, but he does not agree with allowing accessory travelerís accommodations in the R-1 zone.
Commissioner Kaplan announced there will be a formal hearing on this issue, and while the City Council will want to know how many agree and disagree with this, they also need to put forward an ordinance and provide input on the 200 ft. rule in R-2 and R-3 zones.
  1. Planning Commissionís Annual Report
Commissioner Kaplan was thanked for presenting the Commissionís annual report to the City Council.
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor



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