Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11, 2015
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
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Lynn Thompson   Greg Lemhouse
Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the upcoming Planning Commission training opportunity on September 24, 2015 in Bend and asked interested members to contact staff. On August 30, 2015, the city commissioner appreciation event will be held at Oak Knoll Golf Course and members are asked to RSVP with City Recorder Barbara Christensen. Lastly, Mr. Molnar stated staff is anticipating a busy schedule over the next few months with four Type II actions coming before the commission.
Commissioner Dawkins commented on the Downtown Parking and Multi-Modal Circulation ad hoc committee. He stated the group is concentrating on parking and stated there are no major updates to report.
  1. Approval of Minutes.
1.     July 14, 2015 Regular Meeting.
2.    July 28, 2015 Special Meeting.
Commissioners Miller/Dawkins m/s to approve the July 14, 2015 Regular Meeting minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
Commissioners Norton/Pearce m/s to approve the July 28, 2015 Special Meeting minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 4-0. [Commissioners Brown and Miller abstained]
Joseph Kauth/482 Walker/Read aloud the City’s proclamation of culture of peace and expressed concern about development.
  1. PLANNING ACTION: PA-2015-00422                   
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  600-640-688-694-696 Tolman Creek Road, 2316 Hwy 66
APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
OWNERS:  Independent Printing Company, Inc., IPCO Development Corp.
AGENTS:  CSA Planning, Ltd.
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review, Exception to Street Standards, Property Line Adjustment, Limited Use Permit/Water Resource Protection Zone Reduction for Construction in the Water Resource Protection Zone, Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit for Floodplain Development, and Tree Removal Permit approvals to allow the construction of a new public street “Independent Way” between Washington Street and Tolman Creek Road and associated changes to the lane configuration and on-street parking on Tolman Creek Road to its intersection with Ashland Street. (The proposal also includes the review of driveway locations and associated circulation to allow the coordinated initial grading and utility installation on the adjacent private property in conjunction with the new street installation, however the development of the adjacent private properties will be subject to future Site Design Review as individual buildings are proposed.) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Employment; ZONING: E-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 14BA; TAX LOTS: 500, 600, 601, 700, 800, 900 and 1000. (Continued from July 14, 2015 Planning Commission Meeting)
Commissioner Mindlin 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 reviewed the issues raised last month at the commission’s initial hearing:
  • Impacts to Tolman Creek Rd: Mr. Severson stated the applicant’s have submitted revised materials and this issue has been resolved. He explained the revised submittals include a 48 ft. parking bay on the new street to off-set some of the lost on-street parking on Tolman Creek Rd.
  • Independent Way Pedestrian Corridor: The applicant’s revised submittals address this element as well. The materials reflect the 13 ft. north side pedestrian corridor recommended by staff, incorporate an 8 ft. sidewalk and 5 ft. tree planting wells, and using structural soil to support the street tree canopy. The revised submittals also reflect a city standard sidewalk and parkrow installation on the south side where a crosswalk connection will be provided to the north side sidewalk. He noted the one exception that remains is the sidewalk section next to the existing IPCO building; however should this area redevelop in the future, there is adequate right of way to incorporate city standard sidewalks at that time.
  • Tree Removal and Rough Grading: The revised grading plan and cross section drawings submitted by the applicant clarify the trees which were of greatest concern to the Planning Commission (#14, #15, #22) will be protected and preserved.
Mr. Severson briefly reviewed the revised conditions of approval, listed on pages 10-12 of the staff report. He added additional minor modifications the commission may wish to discuss and incorporate include: 1) Condition #4: Modify to read “No hardscape parkrows shall be required in the area of the bridge crossing…”, 2) Condition #14: Modify to include a requirement for the landscape mitigation plan to include detail of the landscape materials to buffer the retaining wall as viewed from Washington St., and 3) Condition #17: Mr. Severson stated staff believes the current language which states “Development of the site shall be subject to full review under the applicable standards at the time each building is proposed” is sufficient, but if they feel it is necessary the commission could choose to modify this wording.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked when the management plan identified in Condition #12 is due and who reviews it. Mr. Severson responded it is required prior to the final approval of the creek corridor plan and it is reviewed by staff. He added the commission could modify the condition to make this clearer if they felt it was necessary.
Applicant’s Presentation
Mike Faught, City of Ashland Public Works Director and Brad Barber, Project Manager/City Surveyor addressed the commission. Mr. Faught stated this project is a public/private partnership and the city is working with the landowner to get this road installed. He commented on the revised materials and stated a driveway location has been moved to preserve trees #14 and #15, and two parking stalls have been removed to save the Ponderosa Pine. He stressed that they are not asking for site plan approval and stated the footprints shown represent the maximum size buildings allowed. He added the actual buildings may be smaller, however they wanted to give some certainty for the driveway locations. Mr. Faught stated the revised street design brings them into full compliance and commented on the re-striping plan for Tolman Creek Rd. He also commented on the importance of the south side crosswalk and the hardscape bicycle and pedestrian corridor on the north side of the new street. Mr. Faught stated they listened to the commission’s feedback from the last meeting, met with staff, and have made the requested changes to be consistent with staff’s recommendations.
Questions of the Applicant
Commissioner Mindlin stated the CSA memo, which is now part of the application, indicates the Planning Commission “must conclude that the proposed building pads are located such that future buildings in these locations could feasibly be designed” and wanted to make it clear that this would require site plan review, which the commission has not done.
Mike Thornton, Thornton Engineering, clarified they are not seeking approval for the building pads, only the rough grading plan. Mr. Thornton stated the reason for the grading request is due to the amount of earth moving that is needed to accommodate the road and the future buildings. He added given the fall of the site it makes sense to do this now and gives them a step forward in whatever site plan is ultimately approved.
Mr. Severson stated this is similar to the approval process for residential subdivisions; the building envelope locations are identified, but the applicant still has to go through a separate site review process and receive approval.
The applicant was asked if it is possible to preserve more trees on the site. Mr. Faught explained they were able to preserve three additional trees and more trees will be added as the site builds out, including street trees, water resource trees, and landscaping trees. Mr. Faught added the end result will be a net increase of trees on the site than what is there now.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Zach Brombacher/1370 Tolman Creek/Stated he has been working with the city on this plan for the last four years and shared his desire to bring more businesses and jobs to Ashland. He pointed out that this is an employment zone and stated they have worked hard to develop a plan that provides for the new road and also takes into consideration the future of the site including parking, landscaping, etc. to make sure it can comply with city standards.
Commissioner Mindlin closed the record and public hearing at 8:00 p.m.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve PA-2015-00422 with the modified conditions of approval outlined by staff. DISCUSSION: Dawkins clarified this motion includes staff’s modifications to conditions #4 and #14 and stated this connection is an essential link in the city’s transportation system and he is pleased that staff and the property owner have been able to work this out. He added it is clear they are not approving new buildings, that will come later in the process, and stated the future plan for the area with the trees and landscaping will be far better than what is there now. Brown stated the clarifications provided by the applicant really helped and he is looking forward to seeing this completed. He stated tying the two streets together is absolutely necessary and he is 100% in favor of this project. Mindlin stated she is also supportive, but wants to make sure the findings reflect their understanding of what they are approving, and noted page two of CSA’s memo include statements she does not agree with. Mindlin explained the following two statements are not accurate: “In order to approve the grading and utility plan as proposed, the Planning Commission must concluded that the proposed building pads are located such that future buildings in these locations could be feasibly designed to comply with the Site Plan Review criteria that pertain to building locations” and “At its essence, approval of the building pads means that the Planning Commission finds that the proposed locations of the building pads are appropriate to site future buildings under the City’s code”.
Commissioners Mindlin/Miller m/s to amend motion to include in the findings that the commission is not agreeing with the two identified statements contained in the CSA memo. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
CONTINUED DISCUSSION on motion as amended: Mindlin noted by approving the curb cuts, curbing, and retaining wall locations they are establishing pre-existing conditions that are not self imposed for when the applicant comes back in the future with a development application. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 6-0.
Commissioner Miller stated she would not participate in the next hearing and left the meeting.
  1. PLANNING ACTION: PL-2013-01858
APPLICANT: City of Ashland                
LOCATION: Normal Neighborhood District Boundary
REQUEST: To amend the Comprehensive Plan, Comprehensive Plan Map, Transportation System Plan, and Ashland Land Use Ordinance to implement the Normal Neighborhood Plan. (Continued from July 28, 2015 Planning Commission Meeting)
Staff Report
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided overview of last meeting and stated tonight’s meeting focuses on the items identified for additional discussion. He explained based on the commission’s previous discussion they may wish to include the following recommendations to the city council:
  • To allow greater flexibility for cluster housing within the NN-1-5 single family zone, amend Table Land Use Descriptions to list this as “Permitted” under NN-1-5, and amend the Normal Neighborhood plan framework housing type descriptions under “Pedestrian-Oriented Clustered Residential Units” to include NN-1-5 as a zone that permits this use.
  • At the last meeting the commission discussed wording in the framework document that indicates the use of alleys and rear lanes reduces pavement and questioned if this wording should be stricken. Mr. Goldman stated one section has already been removed, and stated the commission could recommend eliminating “The narrow street section of rear lanes reduces the extent of impervious surfaces in the Normal Neighborhood and supports wetland and stream health” from page 28.
  • To broaden the applicability for shared streets, the commission could recommend amending the Shared Street description in Ordinance #2 to read, “Provides access to residential uses in an area in which right-of-way is constrained by natural features, topography, or historically significant structures. Shared streets may additionally be used in circumstances where a slower speed street, collectively shared by pedestrians, bicycles, and autos, is a functional and preferred design alternative. The design of the street should emphasize a slower speed environment and provide clear physical and visual indications the space is shared across modes.
  • To expand on the minor amendment process for alterations to the Open Space Network Map to reflect a DSL approved wetland delineation, the commission could recommend the following language be added to
                   “5.  Conformance with Open Space Network Plan
New developments must provide  open space consistent with the design concepts within the Greenway     and Open Space chapter of the Normal Neighborhood Plan Framework and in conformance with the         Normal Neighborhood Plan Open Space Network Map. The open space network will be designed to support the neighborhood’s distinctive character and provide passive recreational opportunities where       people can connect with nature, where water resources are protected, and where riparian corridors and   wetlands are preserved and enhanced.
               a. The application demonstrates that equal or better protection for identified resources will be ensured through restoration, enhancement, and mitigation measures.
               b. The application demonstrates that connections between open spaces are created and maintained providing for an interlinked system of greenways.
               c. The application demonstrates that open spaces function to provide habitat for wildlife, promote environmental quality by absorbing, storing, and releasing stormwater, and protect future development from flood hazards,
               d. The application demonstrates that scenic views considered important to the community are protected, and community character and quality of life are preserved by buffering areas of development from one another.”

Mr. Goldman concluded his presentation and stated the commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the city council for consideration on September 1, 2015. Mr. Molnar noted the city’s Public Works Director Mike Faught is present and can answer any questions the commission has regarding the transportation system or city water supply.
Mr. Faught addressed the commission. He explained when a development proposal comes forward for this area with the applicant wanting to connect to East Main St, the city will require a 250 ft. transition in either direction that will be a three-lane configuration on East Main St and will also require a bicycle and pedestrian connection for the full length. He added any additional development to the area will likely trigger the full length of East Main St to be improved. Regarding the railroad crossing, he explained any development on that end of the project area will trigger the need to change this from a private to a public crossing and the installation of a traffic signal at Normal Avenue and Ashland Street.
Mr. Faught was asked to comment on the testimony the commission received about the potential impact development will have on the city’s water supply. Mr. Faught stated the current water master plan includes the assumption that the city will have a drought every few years and if the city continues to grow at 1% per year, the water supply is good through 2038 and up to 2060. He noted the city is getting started on a new master plan and they will run new assumptions to confirm the estimates are accurate, and stated they can make adjustments if necessary once the city starts receiving proposals for this area. He added while this is a large area to be developed with 450 potential units, it is not likely this will be built out very quickly.
Mr. Molnar clarified it is against the law to use water supply as a growth regulator. He explained if you want to limit growth due to lack of a public facility, the city would have to go through the process to enact a moratorium and are required to create a plan on how you are going to work your way out of it. He added each city needs to accommodate their fair share of the growth and Ashland has already made the finding through our master plans that we have the supply. He noted the city’s growth projections used in the master plans have been conservative and actual growth is quite less. Mr. Faught stated the city can do a better job in updating their master plans if they know what it going to be in these areas in the future. He added if this plan is approved he will turn it over to his engineers for more analysis and it will assist them in future master planning.
Public Testimony
Bryce Anderson/2092 Creek Dr/Stated 1,000 ft. of the East Main St area to be improved fronts Ashland Middle School and stated 35%-45% of the total cost will be allocated to them. Mr. Anderson stated unless the developers pay for this section this plan does not adequately provide for the improvements. He added the East Main Street improvements should be completed before any development is approved.
Randy Jones/815 Alder Creek Dr, Medford/Stated he represents several property owners in the plan area and they would like to create workforce housing that is affordable to teachers, fireman, etc. He voiced his appreciation for the compromises that have been made and for the flexibility that has been built into the plan. Mr. Jones stated the working group worked very hard and encouraged the commission to look closely at the amendments brought forward by the working group and talk with those members before they make any modifications.
Sabra Hoffman/345 Scenic Dr/Stated the 2011Buildable Lands Inventory states 1,800 buildable lots are available and stated this in addition to the 450 proposed units would need to be factored into the downturn of the city’s water resources.
David Hoffman/345 Scenic Dr/Stated he does not believe the Buildable Lands Inventory has been considered as nothing in the record for this plan speaks to it. He questioned why they are proposing to add 450 new units when there are already 1,800 sites available within the city limits.
Howard Miller/160 Normal/Commented on urban agriculture and stated there is more and more interest in this. Mr. Miller stated there are very few areas in the valley that are better suited for urban agriculture than this area and once this land gets paved over it will be too late. He stated this plan is a mess of assumptions and complexities and stated without clarity he does not think this plan has a future.
Deliberations & Decision


Commissioner Dawkins was asked to comment since he participated on the working group. Dawkins responded that he is comfortable with the plan with the four recommended amendments outlined by staff. He added the plan only establishes the framework and the final road locations and details will come into play when a development plan is submitted. Commissioner Brown also expressed his support with the proposed master plan. He stated they are still on the same page that the East Main St. and railroad crossing improvements need to be done, and stated it may take 20-30 years before this whole development is completed. Commissioners Pearce and Norton also expressed their support. Commissioner Mindlin questioned if the criteria used to determine whether a proposal provides adequate transportation is sufficient. Comment was made that adequate transportation is different from adequate connectivity. Mr. Molnar agreed and stated adequate transportation is evaluated when a proposal comes forward based on the number of units, etc. Mr. Faught commented that the city’s standpoint is clear that there needs to be a connection to Ashland St. as soon as possible and the framework document identifies the importance of this connection. Dawkins added the working group was clear that the railroad crossing is critical.

Support was voiced for the two housing amendments outlined by staff. 

Open Space: Commissioner Mindlin suggested they recommend the major amendment process to alter the Open Space Network Map, but if the city council chooses to stay with the minor amendment process recommend the additional criteria language outlined by staff. Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, and Norton agreed. Commissioner Pearce stated he would be okay with the minor amendment process, but would support this as well. Commissioner Mindlin commented that it seems the working group did not fully vet this issue as it was only discussed at the last couple meetings.
Commissioners Brown/Pearce m/s to recommend city council’s approval of the three ordinances with the recommended changes outlined in the staff report addendum and discussed by the commission. DISCUSSION: Brown voiced his support for the master plan and stated it lays out the appropriate parameters but still allows for some flexibility. Dawkins commented he agrees with a lot of the public testimony they have received, but that is not relevant to what this plan is about. He stated by doing this they at least get to establish some parameters, and without the plan it can get developed however the landowner chooses, including developing over wetland areas. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Pearce, Norton, Dawkins, Brown, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 5-0.
Meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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