Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017
Chair Roger Pearce 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 Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Debbie Miller
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson arrived at 7:02 p.m.
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Melanie Mindlin
  Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted the annual volunteer celebration on Sunday, September 14, 2017. The Planning Commissioner Training registration deadline was extended to September 15, 2017.  The cottage housing discussion originally slated for the September 18, 2017 Council Study Session was moved to the September 19, 2017 regular Council meeting.  Staff will issue the building permit for the Rogue Credit Union this week.  The groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for September 21, 2017.
  1. Approval of Minutes.
  1. August 8, 2017 Study Session.
  2. August 22, 2017 Regular Meeting.
Commissioner Thompson noted a correction to the August 8, 2017 minutes.  Page 4 of 5, second paragraph, the word “caliber” should be “caliper.” 
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda as amended.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
Shaun Hoyem/625 Elkader Street/Provided background regarding a one-hundred-year-old tree on his property that was damaged during a neighbor’s house rebuild.  The tree was dying as a result of the damage incurred.  Removing it will cost $2500.  The removal impacted another tree that would require trimming.  Total cost for both trees was $4800.  The owner of the project property would not take financial responsibility.  Mr. Hoyem was seeking direction and help from the Planning Commission.
Chair Pearce was sorry for the loss to the property and explained this was not within the Commission’s jurisdiction.  He suggested Mr. Hoyem contact the City’s code compliance officer and a private attorney.  Mr. Molnar would talk to the City attorney regarding the issue as well.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2017-01199, 707 Helman Street.
Senior Planner Derek Severson revised Condition #2 and removed aspirational language the Tree Commission had included as a condition.   Mitigation was addressed in Condition #3.
Commissioners Miller/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2017-01199, 707 Helman Street as amended.  DISCUSSION:  The Commission declared no ex parte regarding the matter.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 6-0.
  1. PLANNING ACTIONPA-2017-00406                                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  2300 Siskiyou Boulevard                    
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Jake Hayes & Angie Renick-Hayes
DESCRIPTION: A request for Outline Plan, Final Plan and Site Design Review approval for a seven-lot/six-unit subdivision as Phase III of the West Bellview Subdivision under the Performance Standards Options Chapter (AMC 18.3.9) for the property located at 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard.   The application includes requests for:  the modification of the West Bellview Subdivision (PA #96-131) to allow additional units, an Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards to allow the placement of two parking spaces between the buildings and the street, and a request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove four trees six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) or greater.    COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low-Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 14CA; TAX LOT #: 7800
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the applicants had requested a postponement due to a discrepancy with property lines.  The planning action will be heard at the October 10, 2017 Planning Commission meeting.
  1. PLANNING ACTIONPA-2017-01507                                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  330 Maple Street                    
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Maple LLC/Rettinger & Associates, Inc.
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a new 29,400 square foot mixed-use building consisting of basement parking, medical suites on the first floor and two residential units on the second floor for the property located at 330 Maple Street.   The application includes: a request for Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards to allow automobile circulation between the building and the street to allow a patient drop-off area from Maple Street; a request for an Exception to Street Standards to allow a smaller than typically-required separation between driveways; and a Tree Removal Permit to remove two trees six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) or greater.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Health Care; ZONING: HC; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 05DB; TAX LOT #: 2000
Commissioner Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Norton and Dawkins, and Chair Pearce declared site visits and no ex parte contact.  Commissioners Thompson and Brown declared no ex parte contact or site visits.  Commissioner Miller declared a site visit and disclosed Dr. Rodden was her neighbor and she was a current patient.  She did not think this would create a bias on any of her decisions.
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the application was for a site design approval to construct a new 29,400 square foot (sq. ft.) mixed use building.  The structure would have basement parking, medical suites on the first floor and two residential units on the second floor.  The application included a request for an exception to the site development and design standards to allow automobile circulation and parking between the building and the street for patient drop off on Maple Street.  Staff had noticed the request as an exception to street standards to allow a smaller separation between driveways on Maple Street.  After a discussion with the Community Development Director, they realized they had not treated it as an exception because it was an existing nonconformity that was not expanding and did not merit an exception.  A tree removal permit would remove two trees six-inches in diameter at breast height or greater.
The subject property was 330 Maple Street at the corner of Maple Street and Chestnut Street up from the Ashland Community Hospital.  The zoning was Healthcare Services District (HC).  Immediately behind the property, the zone was R-2.  Zoning across Maple Street was R-1-7.5 Single-Family Residential.
The existing building was formerly a nursing home currently boarded with the parking lot chained to prevent access.  Sidewalks were narrow on Maple Street and Chestnut Street and the existing catch basin was not functioning sufficiently.  The applicants planned to work with the Public Works Department on improvements.
Basement parking would accommodate all parking for the building with the exception of one bicycle parking credit and a credit for the mixed use offset for the two penthouse units.  The applicants were not requesting any on-street parking credits.  The vehicular entry was off Chestnut Street.  The circular drop-off area would be on Maple Street and use the existing driveway curb cut above to access the patient drop-off and a service corridor on the west side of the project.  Combined with the topography, it provided more than the standard six-foot separation between the property and residential above. 
All parking was on site without on-street parking credits except for the mixed use credits for the residential units and one credit for bicycle parking.  The applicants wanted to retain the curbside sidewalk along Maple Street.  Two large park rows with landscape bays will accommodate large tree growth to buffer the neighbors.  A bioswale and larger landscaped area at the northeast corner would add to the buffer as well.
The Tree Commission recommended 3-inch caliper trees for Chestnut Street and Maple Street that would become larger stature trees at maturity.  The Commission wanted staff recommendations incorporated as conditions as well.  It would include an arborist assessment of the trees and a plan.  If the arborist’s assessment called for additional tree removal, it would go back to the Tree Commission. 
Staff supported the planning action and recommended approval with the conditions in the packet.
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Thompson wanted the language treating parking for the penthouse units as a mixed use offset to explicitly imply there were no reserved parking spaces.   
Commissioner Miller wanted to know if the height of the structure would impair the neighbor’s view.  Mr. Severson thought the applicant could speak to it better.  The house was set further up from the project.
Commissioner Brown noted the lot line along the back looked like the houses were blocked by trees.  Mr. Severson explained the house was angled and the trees were by the garage entry.  Commissioner Miller thought the applicants were going to improve the row of shrubs.
Chair Pearce thought the non-conforming location of the driveway was being improved and moved back a bit.
Commissioner Miller wanted to know how the Planning Commission would be notified if more trees were removed.  Mr. Severson explained there was a discrepancy between the application materials and the landscape materials.  The application indicated most of the trees being removed but the landscape plan showed only two being removed.  The applicant wanted to make sure the project was approved prior to investing more money.  That included hiring an arborist.
Applicant’s Presentation
Becky and Mark Reitinger/307 N. Main Street/This was the first major building project in the hospital zone in over thirty years other than hospital projects.   The two major specialties doing surgeries in Ashland Community Hospital were orthopedics and ophthalmology.  The current Retina and Vitreous Center location had terrible parking.  Their patient base was 25% over 85 years-old and 75% over 66 years of age.  She described difficulties patients experienced accessing the present location.
The project tried to balance the interface between the residential and healthcare zones.  Not maximizing the height protected neighboring viewshed.  Patient drop-off was critical.  Alternately, the building needed access for trash, mechanical services, and maintenance.  The drop-off area would provide that access as well.  They would use the hillside for underground parking.   
They were asking for hardscape and grates in the park row to help patients navigate the sidewalk better.  There were only two trees slated for removal.  If they have to remove more, they will go back to the Tree Commission.
Neighbors will be able to see through the residential units.  The hill by the third floor was graded and the adjacent homes were higher than the proposed building. 
Questions of the Applicant
Commissioner Thompson noted the mixed use credit for residential unit parking.  Ms. Rettinger had no objections to the mixed use credit.  The units would not be sold and most likely be used for traveling nurses or the medical community.
Public Testimony
Deltra Ferguson/345 Maple Street/Read from a letter submitted into the record. She lives across from the proposed drop-off.  She had some suggestions on the following and wanted to remain informed before final plan completion:
  1. Lighting – it should be shrouded or directed away from the residential zone
  2. Noise -  where would they locate transformers and outdoor equipment
  3. Landscaping – should enhance privacy and mute lighting
  4. Business after 5:00 p.m. – evening hours should be avoided if possible
  5. Recommended installing a four-way stop at the intersection of Maple Street and Chestnut instead of the current three-way stop
She wanted the project to be successful and appreciated the investment in the community.    
Commissioner Dawkins supported the request for a four-way stop and explained it should go to the Transportation Commission.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Ms. Rettinger supported a four-way stop. They would use night sky friendly lighting.  Mr. Rettinger explained the City had two options for lighting.  One looked antique and the other modern.  They would use the modern version and work with the Planning Department on placement.  Ms. Rettinger added they would use night sky lighting with down shrouding.  For noise, current generators and exterior equipment were quieter than before.  They planned to locate them in a less impacted area.  They were waiting for approval on the drop-off to develop the landscape and ensured it would not obscure view or create traffic issues.  Business would occur occasionally after 5:00 p.m. and during the weekends for emergency situations.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Miller noted the exception for auto use between the building and street.  Chair Pearce wanted to make sure the Findings included facts to support the exception. 
Commissioner Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve PA-2017-01507 with the conditions stated by staff with the addition that in light of mixed use parking credit and the parking constraints in that neighborhood, that no spaces shall be reserved for the exclusive use of the residential units.  DISCUSSION:   Commissioner Thompson and Dawkins supported the project.  Chair Pearce appreciated the underground parking.  He did not think there were be a lot of after hour activity.  Roll Call Vote:  Commission Brown, Miller, Dawkins, Norton, Thompson, and Pearce, YES.  Motion passed 6-0.
Mr. Severson addressed an inquiry regarding PA-2017-00406 at 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard and explained the applicants would provide a revised set of plans for the October 10, 2017 meeting.  The Commission should keep current packet information regarding the matter and he would add an addendum and revised site plans.  Commissioner Thompson voiced concern that the staff report had less analysis in staff conclusion and recommendation.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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