Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August 8, 2017
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced staff would attend a study session with the Council in September regarding the cottage housing ordinance.  A commissioner would attend the meeting as well.
Chair Pearce announced the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) issued the decision in the McMonagle vs. Ashland appeal.   LUBA overturned and remanded the City’s decision.  Mr. Molnar would forward copies to the Commission.
Commissioner Mindlin noted the Wildfire Mitigation Commission would address the wildfire mitigation ordinance soon.
A.   Approval of Minutes
1.  July 11, 2017 Regular Meeting.

2.  July 25, 2017 Study Session.
Commissioners Dawkins/Norton m/s to approve the July 11, 2017 meeting minutes.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed.  Commissioners Brown and Thompson abstained.
Commissioners Mindlin/Thompson m/s to approve the July 25, 2017 Study Session minutes.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed.
A.  Adoption of Findings for PA-2017-01059, 1068 East Main Street.
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained staff formulated the Findings for open space on page 7 and 8 so the condition was a response to the plans and not a statement of precedent.  The Commission wanted to look at it further in a study session. 
At Chair Pearce’s suggestion, the Commission agreed to the following changes to the Findings:
  • Page 4, change Section 2. Conclusory Findings to Section 2. Findings and Conclusions
  • Page 8, change the first sentence in the last paragraph from “The Planning Commission finds that the use of the term “open space” appears to be used inconsistently throughout the Land Use Ordinance,” to “The Planning Commission finds that the term “open space” appears to be used in different contexts in different sections of the Land Use Ordinance.”
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2017-01059, 1068 East Main Street.
DISCUSSION:  The Commission declared no ex parte regarding the matter.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed.
A.      PLANNING ACTIONPA-2017-01199                                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  707 Helman Street                         
DESCRIPTION: A request for preliminary subdivision plat approval to create an eight-lot subdivision for the property located at 707 Helman Street.  The application also includes a request for an Exception to Street Standards to install curbside sidewalks along the full frontage of the property where city Street Standards would typically require that a park row planting strip with street trees be installed between the curb and sidewalk.  The application also includes a Tree Removal Permit to remove one significant tree (#33) an 18-inch diameter Ponderosa Pine.    COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single-Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04BC; TAX LOT #: 100.
Commissioner Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Dawkins, Thompson, Pearce, and Norton declared site visits. Commissioners Brown and Mindlin drove past the site.  Commissioner Miller attended the site visit and drove past the site on several occasions.  No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained this was a Preliminary Subdivision Pat Approval that would create an eight lot subdivision.  The application was being processed under the subdivision chapter instead of the performance standards options.  It looked at whether the proposal met the dimensional requirements of the zoning and access in utilities, not the base densities and open space requirements.  There was also an exception to the street standards to install five-foot curbside sidewalks along the frontage of the property, instead of having a seven foot parkrow between the curb and sidewalk.  A tree removal permit was issued to remove a Ponderosa Pine tree. 
The subject property was at the corner of Randy Street and Laurel Street despite the Helman address.  It was 1.14 acres or approximately 49,901 square feet with a 1,971 square foot house slated for demolition.  The current driveway circulated through the property.  The applicants wanted to remove 41 trees on the property.  In residential zones, only significant trees required a tree removal permit. 
The applicant requested a sidewalk exception due to the slope at the edge of Laurel Street that wrapped around Randy Street.  A park row would push sidewalk improvements 12 feet back from the curb into the hillside.  Having a five-foot sidewalk would lessen the amount of retaining wall needed for installation.
The Building Department approved the house demolition pending Commission approval of the redevelopment plan.  The application included a drainage and draining plan with storm drainage detention on site.  The utility plan was included.  The applicants added solar envelopes illustrating potential eave heights and the setback needed to comply with Solar Standard A in the solar ordinance.
The Tree Commission supported the tree removal request.  They wanted a tree protection plan to ensure the trees on neighboring properties were protected particularly during the bioswale installation.  The Tree Commission also wanted street trees planted behind the sidewalk if there was not a park row.  Another request would maintain the trees in perpetuity in lieu of street trees in a park row.  The Commission hoped landscaping for the eight lots would mitigate the removal of the 41 trees.
Staff supported the request.  The project would develop eight new earth advantage platinum homes, sidewalks, and limited driveways to two.  The project benefited the neighborhood and met the approval criteria with the conditions recommended in the report.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked if widening the sidewalk at the corner across from the school to create a refuge area was considered.  Mr. Severson Derek responded they had not discussed widening that area.
Mr. Severson explained a curb cut with a truncated dome was the thermal plastic piece installed at the curb cut of a crosswalk for ADA access and blind people.  This would go in at the southwest corner where the sidewalk crossed to the school.
Applicant’s Presentation
Amy Gunter/Kyle Taylor/Ms. Gunter explained the property was at the northeast corner of Randy Street and Laurel Street.  The 707 Helman Street address was remnant from a larger track when the property was Cherry Knoll Dairy.  The knoll consisted of sandstone and granite soils, with rock not far below.   A survey slide of the property showed the trees, the existing structure, powerlines and existing driveway.  The plan addressed storm drainage down to the square footage of each structure.  One change removed the tapered flare at the Randy Street side of the driveway.  They did solar envelopes for each lot due to the topography of the site.
Certain lots would have onsite detention for storm water that would drain to Laurel Street and others would drain to Randy Street.  The Tree Commission expressed concern for a small deciduous tree located on a neighboring property where lots 3 and 4 came together.  An existing six-foot-tall fence protected the tree and eliminated the need for additional protective fencing.  Engineering for the bioswale was not developed to the point of knowing if it would require excavation or retaining walls and fill.
Street trees were planted to shade the street.  Due to the property’s topography, street trees would be planted several feet above the actual street.  A landscape architect will work with the property owner on each building permit to address the street tree planting standard. 
They would install a 14-foot standard residential street light at the intersection of Laurel Street and Randy Street.  Some of the hill would be scraped off to address the grades. 
Ms. Gunter spoke against widening the sidewalk at Randy Street to create a refuge for children to cross to the school.  A mid-block crossing was dangerous and a crosswalk at that location would not be approved.  Widening the sidewalk at Randy Street would require public pedestrian easements or right of way dedication as well as additional retaining walls. 
The front yard setback for lot 6 was on Laurel Street.  It was 15 feet with a side yard setback of 10 feet.  Lot 7 had 15 feet due to the bioswale and potentially two front yards.  The official setback was 10-foot.
Sidewalks would be installed prior to the survey plat.  Typically, street trees went in the park row and were planted during the street improvements.  In this circumstance, the street trees would be in the front yard area.  Due to construction disturbing the trees, the applicants were requesting to have trees planted and irrigated on each lot prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for each unit.  That allowed the owner to pick their own trees and possibly plant more.
Commissioner Dawkins wanted to add a requirement that street trees were planted sooner, were consistent, and closer to the sidewalk.  The applicant could use small caliper trees. 
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained generally sidewalks with a park row were often in the right of way and trees were planted at the same time and water metered.  These street trees would be on the private property of each home.  Irrigation was an issue.  The Commission could require the applicant’s to initially install a common meter to irrigate the trees and have it removed once the homes were built.  Another issue was grading the sites for each home.  He was not sure they could identify space for a street tree or know how grading would affect the tree.
Mr. Taylor addressed the continuous bioswale and explained there will be joint access and private easements granted for the facility.  Ms. Gunter added they will have mutual access easements and maintenance agreements.  Owners will purchase an agreement requiring them to keep the street trees alive, and maintain the bioswales and driveways.
Public Testimony
William Zentner II/134 Cypress Circle/He did not have a problem with the development.  He wanted to know if there was a grading setback from the property line or if the developers could create up to the property line.  Would blasting be involved to remove the rock?  He opposed the taller street light.  These were proposed single story homes but lot 2 and 3 had 7-foot grade drops between the driveway and the back of the house.  He wanted to verify the sidewalk wrapped around the entire property.  If the existing fence was replaced, would it be a privacy fence or an open one?  What types of street trees would be planted and was there a specification?  He wanted to know about fence protection while the common swale was under construction.  Also, how close would the grading come to the property line.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Ms. Gunter explained blasting was not allowed in the city.  She was not aware of a grading setback requirement.  There will be daylight basements on the backside of both homes on lots 2 and 3.  By code they were single story structures and the basement would adhere to basement code.  The subdivision would use 6.5-foot privacy fencing with possible deer wire.  Street tree placement could dictate grading and possibly require small tree protection fences.  The timing of planting the trees could also inhibit construction and storing materials on the property.  On Laurel Street, the trees would be near the houses on top of the hill.
Commissioner Dawkins commented on street tree placement.  If there was not a park row, the tree had to be close enough to the sidewalk to shade the street.  Putting the trees up on the slope made them ineffective for street shading.
Trees could grow on steep slopes.
Commissioner Mindlin wanted to know the standard on how far back from the sidewalk a tree could be planted to be considered a street tree.  The Findings could reference the requirement or the Commission could set one for the project.  Mr. Severson thought the slope was rock and it might be difficult to plant unless they used tree wells and had the tree either behind the sidewalk or on top of the retaining wall.
Mr. Molnar addressed the sidewalk refuge and explained the standard for a sidewalk on a residential street was 5-6 feet and the planting strip was 7-8 feet.  The Planning Commission had the authority to choose within that range.  The standard also allowed for seating in park rows in residential areas.  He recommended involving the Public Works Department for having a crossing from the potential refuge.  Mr. Severson added the Public Works Department was hesitant to encourage mid-block crossings but might support one at the intersection of Laurel and Randy.  Commissioner Norton did not think the Public Works Department would support a crossing at the location of the refuge if there was on street parking.  It was mid-block and on a curve.  He would have issues with a crossing there as well.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Brown spoke to IV.  Conclusions and Recommendations 6. k. regarding street trees.  He understood the issues and agreed with Commissioner Dawkins that a tree that far away may not serve the purpose.  A temporary watering system could resolve some of the problems.  He wanted the landscape architect to review planting street trees on the slope.  Commissioner Mindlin wanted to set a standard for tree placement.  Mr. Molnar explained the code required one tree for every 30 feet of street frontage.  Trees behind the sidewalk could not be closer than 2 feet to the actual sidewalk. Commissioner Miller did not want the street trees to interfere with the construction.  Chair Pearce agreed with Commissioner Brown and thought street trees should be planted prior to final approval.  Commissioner Dawkins suggested requiring the street trees to be 3-5 feet from the sidewalk.  He did not think they would interfere with the construction.  Commissioner Brown added the canopy at 15 years must shade the sidewalk.
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve PA-2017-01199 with the additional language to 6.k. that the trees will be no more than 5 feet from the sidewalk and must be trees that will shade the sidewalk.
DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Dawkins liked that the project would build energy efficient units.  Commissioner Brown, initially wanted 6-foot sidewalks, but all the other sidewalks were 5 feet and there was no reason to make it wider.  He also liked the project. 
Commissioner Thompson read #2. In the Tree Commission Findings from August 3, 2017 and thought it should be omitted.  She also questioned whether the last sentence in #2 “These trees shall be maintained in perpetuity in lieu of street trees within the park row planting strip,” was necessary since it was covered in IV.  Conclusions and Recommendations 6. k.  Commissioner Brown thought it was necessary and that it should go into the overall documentation.  Commissioner Thompson suggested adding it to 6.k.  Commissioner Mindlin thought they should adopt the Tree Commission Findings with the Planning Commission modification.  Commissioner Thompson suggested in addition to omitting #2 in the Tree Commission Findings, they should add the last sentence to IV.  Conclusions and Recommendations 6. j. as part of the CC&Rs maintenance of street trees.
Commissioner Dawkins agreed to amend the main motion and delete the first sentence of Section 2 in the Tree Commission recommendation of August 3, 2017 and add the second sentence to IV.  Conclusions and Recommendations 6. j.   
Commissioner Mindlin addressed the last sentence in #2 of the Tree Commission Findings and suggested changing  
“These trees shall be maintained in perpetuity in lieu of street trees within the park row planting strip,” to “These trees shall be maintained in perpetuity as street trees.” The Commission agreed to add it to section 6. j. under IV.  Conclusions and Recommendations.  Commissioner Dawkins accepted the amendment as part of the of main motion.  Roll Call Vote on amended motion:  Commissioners Norton, Miller, Dawkins, Brown, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES.  Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:28 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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