Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

DECEMBER 8, 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
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director (Joined the meeting at 8:15 pm)
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Greg Lemhouse, absent
Planning Manager Maria Harris announced second reading of the Normal Neighborhood ordinance package and first reading of the marijuana ordinance is scheduled for the next City Council meeting.
  1. Approval of Minutes
    1.  October 27, 2015 Special Meeting.
2.  November 10, 2015 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
Larry Roven/2301 Siskiyou Blvd, #215/Stated he is impressed with the degree of work and detail contained in the Normal Neighborhood Plan and complimented the Planning Commission and all those involved.
Joseph Kauth/1 Corral, #13/Expressed concern with the forest resiliency project and requested a moratorium to the activities taking place on Mt. Ashland.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2015-2015-01284, 474 Russell Drive.
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2015-01284. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2015-01517, 209 Oak Street.
No ex parte contact was reported. Commissioner Thompson noted that the commission agreed that no parkrow had to be installed on B Street and recommended item 11(e) be amended to read, “All required street frontage improvements, including but not limited to the sidewalk, parkrow with irrigated street tress spaced at one tree per 30 ft. of frontage, and street lighting shall be installed under permit from the Public Works Department and in accordance with the approved plans, inspected and approved by the Staff Advisor.”
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve Findings for PA-2015-01284 as amended. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2015-02038
APPLICANT:  Carlos Delgado, Architect
OWNER:  Bryan & Stephanie DeBoer
DESCRIPTION:  A request for a Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit for the development of Hillside Lands with Severe Constraints to allow the construction of a single family residence on the property located at 85 Winburn Way. The application includes requests for an Exception to the Development Standards for Hillside Lands ( Hillside Grading & Erosion Control) to allow structural retaining walls along the west side of the property to exceed seven feet in height and for Tree Removal Permits. 18 of the site’s 21 trees are proposed for removal, including three significant trees 18-inches or more in diameter which require Tree Removal Permits. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09 BC; TAX LOT: #3000.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson reviewed the proposal for 85 Winburn Way which includes: 1) a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review permit for the development of hillside lands with severe constraints to allow the construction of a single family residence, 2) an exception to the Development Standards for Hillside Lands to allow structural retaining walls that exceed 7 ft. in height, and 3) Tree Removal Permits to remove three trees larger than 18 in. d.b.h. Mr. Severson provided an overview of the surrounding area and remarked on the on-street parking and pedestrian traffic in this location. He reviewed the applicant’s elevation drawings, site plan, tree removal and protection plan, and commented on the slope and the proposed retaining wall at the back of the property. He explained the applicants have provided a slope analysis and geotechnical report, as well as an arborist report in their submittal materials. Mr. Severson stated the arborists report is clear that due to the health of the trees, their location, and the type of soils found on the site, the trees need to come out. He noted in 2014 one of the Oak trees on the site fell due to a fungus that affected the roots, and shortly thereafter the Parks Department evaluated the trees on the adjacent ice rink property and determined that eight trees needed to be removed. Mr. Severson stated the Tree Commission recommended approval of the application as submitted; however, staff is requesting that trees 13 and 15 be preserved. Regarding the slope and retaining wall, Mr. Severson explained the geotechnical report recommends against terraced retaining walls and stated staff is supportive of this. Mr. Severson stated this is a straight forward application that keeps with the residential zoning of the property, and stated staff is recommending approval with the conditions as outlined.
Applicant’s Presentation
Carlos Delgado, Project Architect/Explained this property is zoned residential and their request for a single family home is an outright permitted use. He stated they are before the commission to request an exception to the hillside development standards for the retaining wall at the rear of the property, which will be 11-15 ft. in height. He noted this is a ministerial decision that could have been made by staff. Mr. Delgado commented on the placement and design of the house and noted this was taken to the Historic Commission for a courtesy review and they were supportive. He commented on the geotechnical report and stated terracing would destabilize the soil and upper properties, and the development of this lot will create a more stable situation for the area.
Brian DeBoer, Property Owner/Commented on his family’s history and personal ties with this location, and stated his intent is to build a home that fits well in this special location. Mr. DeBoer stated this site has some challenges but they have worked hard to create a proposal that is worthy of this space. He stated the landscaping will be very park-centric and they are going to use 4-6” caliber trees to repopulate the site. He noted they have spoken with many of the neighbors and received a positive response, and asked for the Planning Commission’s support of this project.
Laurie Sager, Landscape Architect/Commented on trees 13 and 15 and stated after consulting with their arborist, who is the same professional hired by the city to remove the trees on the ice rink property, he determined that the trunk of tree 15 is too close to the retaining wall and voiced concern that the roots stabilizing the tree would be severed by the construction. Ms. Sager noted tree 13 is a Big Leaf Maple and hopes the commission will agree that this is not the right tree for this location. She noted their proposal went before the Tree Commission and they unanimously approved the application.
Public Testimony
Connie Lynn/74 Granite/Stated her property is kitty-corner from the applicant’s and expressed concern with soil stability and going too far into the slope. Ms. Lynn commented on the character of the area and suggested if the house was scaled down it would better match the rest of the park setting and they would not have to push as far into the slope.
Michael Daole/247 N Laurel/Stated this is a ridiculous place for a residence and the structure will change the flavor of the area. Mr. Daole stated any building that goes into this space should keep with the theme of public and service buildings.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Mr. Delgado stated the Historic Commission reviewed this project and felt it was appropriate and would fit well in this location. He stated this site has been underutilized for decades and reminded the commission that this property is zoned residential. Regarding the stability of the slope, he stated this is of utmost importance to them and they are confident that the structure and retaining wall have been properly designed and engineering.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve PA-2015-02038, including the removal of trees 13 and 15. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Dawkins commented that the architect did a good job and the house blends well with the hillside. Commissioner Brown thanked the applicants for the level of engineering data submitted and stated this property has been an eyesore for a long time. He stated the new trees will restore the tree environment as believes the house will fit well. Commissioner Thompson voiced appreciation for the extensive information provided by the applicant and stated this provided assurance that the slopes will be dealt with appropriately and the stability of the site will be improved. She added the design blends residential and commercial elements and reflects what is going on around it. Commissioner Miller advocated for tree 13 to be retained and stated she is disappointed with the building’s design. She stated she would have preferred something that reflected the Skidmore Historic District. Commissioner Pearce stated this is a nice looking building and it is placed well on the site. Commissioner Mindlin stated they are limited in what they have under their consideration, and stated this is a well-designed and conscientiously planned project. Commission Norton commented that the landscaping will grow and expand and will reflect the park across the street. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Mindlin, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed unanimously.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar joined the meeting at 8:15 p.m.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2015-01856
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  229 W. Hersey St.
OWNER/APPLICANT:  RW Signature Properties LLC
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval to construct 11 multi-family residential units for the property located at 229 West Hersey Street.  Also included are requested for an Exception to Street Standards to construct a five-foot sidewalk and five-foot bio-swale parkrow where a six-foot sidewalk and seven-foot parkrow planting strip are required, and a Tree Removal Permit to remove three trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.). COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04CC; TAX LOT: #9900.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson reviewed the application to construct 11 multifamily residential units, which includes an exception to the Street Standards to construct a 5 ft. sidewalk and 5 ft. bioswale, and a Tree Removal permit to remove three trees greater than 6 in. d.b.h. Mr. Severson reviewed the project’s density, site plan, elevation drawings, and planting plan. He explained the project has significantly less lot coverage and significantly more open space than required, and noted each unit will have its own garage space and private patio. He noted the staff report raises the question of whether an arborist report should be required for the tree removals; however, the Tree Commission did review the application and recommended approval as submitted. Regarding the sidewalk and parkrow, Mr. Severson stated staff is supportive of approving the exception and stated they are recommending approval of the application with the conditions as outlined.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked to comment on the Tree Commission’s review of the proposal. Mr. Severson stated he was not present for that meeting, but stated the commissioners did conduct site visits and did not feel it was necessary to preserve the identified trees. Staff was asked about the alley dimensions and backup space, and Mr. Severson clarified there is a recommended condition of approval that would address this. The condition requires the applicants to demonstrate the alley meets the requirements with their building permit application.
Applicant’s Presentation
Randy Wallace, Property Owner/Stated he won a Historic Preservation Award for his last multifamily project on Coolidge Street and he would like to improve on that project and create another development. Mr. Wallace stated he has spoken with many of the neighbors and by enlarge they were very optimistic. He explained this type of housing is lacking in Ashland and this project will address a demonstrated need. He stated the proposal fits the zoning and the tenants will have very nice units with wood flooring, balconies, views, and open space. Mr. Wallace stated this development will provide more rentals and believes this is a special project that will benefit the city.
Amy Gunter, Rogue Planning and Development/Explained the proposal is for a 2-story residence with an attached unit, and 9 one-bedroom units at the rear of the property. She stated there is a shortage of studio and one-bedroom units in Ashland and this project will fill an identified need. Ms. Gunter reviewed the surrounding properties and stated there is a bed & breakfast to the east and multifamily housing directly to the west, south, kitty-corner, and across the street. She commented on the tree removals and stated the two Elm trees are in very poor condition, and tree #6 is rising out of the ground. She stated they are all very unhealthy and noted they will be replacing these trees and planting additional trees as well. Regarding the density bonus, Ms. Gunter stated they could have chosen to build fewer, significantly larger structures, but this would fill an already met need in the city. Regarding the exception to the Street Standards, she stated the exception is merited due to the site conditions, and she requested the commission allow 8 ft. driveway widths off the alley which would allow for greenspace and planting strips in between each access way.
Mr. Wallace commented on the alley and clarified they will be having a boundary survey done, but based on his measurements there is adequate width to meet the requirement. He noted they are providing significantly more open space than required and believes the layout and orientation will provide a passive area that is very beautiful. Mr. Wallace noted Condition 7(g) and asked that this be amended to only require Earth Advantage.
Public Testimony
Jeannie Azzoparchi/279 W Hersey/Stated she does not oppose the project or having more rentals in the neighborhood, but expressed concern with traffic. She stated not many people go the posted speed limit and the traffic has gotten progressively worse and more dangerous. Ms. Azzoparchi stated this proposal will add more traffic to the area and requested speedbumps be installed on Hersey.

Michael Daole/247 N Laurel/Expressed concern with the extreme concentration of traffic at this location. He stated the tenants will likely use the garages for storage and questioned where the cars will park. He stated the alley width is not appropriate for the intensity that comes in and out, and noted the issues that occur on garbage/recycling pick-up day.  
Luca Moschini/259 N Laurel/Stated he fully agrees with the two prior speakers and stated the alley is too small for the traffic that the housing brings in. He stated the proposed buildings are too large for the area and at maximum, 4-5 units should go there. Mr. Moschini agreed that the garbage and recycling bins are an issue and stated this area is not designed to accommodate this many people on this sized lot.
Judy Cangiamilla/247 N Laurel/Agreed with the prior speakers and voiced concern with the alley width and traffic congestion. She stated two cars cannot pass each other in the alley and one vehicle has to reverse out to make room. She stated she is supportive of the property being developed but stated this is too many units for the site.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked whether they considered a condition to require vehicle parking in the garages. Mr. Severson stated the code already states that garages are to provide the required parking and cannot be used for storage, however this could be reiterated in a condition of approval. Regarding the recycling and garage bin issue, Mr. Severson stated this project will have an enclosed recycling and trash area. Mr. Severson also commented on Hersey Street and clarified this is a higher order street intended to accommodate these traffic levels and no traffic study was required. When asked if the commission should consider alley improvements to accommodate two way traffic, Mr. Molnar stated it is not advisable to encourage two-way traffic on the city’s alleyways. He added this has been the long-standing position of the Public Works Department.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Mr. Wallace clarified the garbage and recycle bins will never sit out in the alley. He noted they have met with Recology and believe they have addressed any potential trash issues. Ms. Gunter commented on the alley and noted the city requires developments to take access off the alley if there is one. She noted they are aware that on street parking can be problematic in Ashland, which is why they have a garage for each unit on the site. She added they have no concerns with a condition that requires the garages to be used for parking.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to extend the meeting to 10:00 p.m.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Brown/Dawkins m/s approve PA-2015-01856 with an added condition that states the garages shall not be used for storage. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Mindlin noted the applicant’s requests to remove the Energy Star requirement and to grant a reduction in the garage driveway widths. Mr. Severson clarified the Energy Star bonus is not needed and the applicants meet the density bonus requirements without it. Mr. Brown stated he is sticking with staff’s recommendation to keep the driveways at 9 ft. and stated if there is enough space to accommodate the city standard they should do so. Commissioner Dawkins stated he is sympathetic to the speeding issue raised, however it is not within their purview to require speedbumps. He added he is appreciative that the applicants are proposing the types of housing units Ashland really needs. Commissioner Thompson stated her main concern was the alley, but noted this area is zoned R3 and it is required that properties be designed to take access of the alleyway. Commissioner Miller recommended traffic calming measures be installed before anymore density goes into this area. Commissioner Mindlin voiced her support for the motion and stated this project meets a clear housing need. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Thompson, Brown, Norton, Pearce, Dawkins, and Mindlin, YES. Commissioner Miller, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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