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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Special Mtg

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 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
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson arrived at 7:03 p.m.
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Dennis Slattery
Community Development Director Bill Molnar anticipated two possible Type I appeals coming before the Commission in October. The affordable housing bus tour would occur Wednesday October 11, 2017.
  1. Housing Element Update
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Housing Element needed to be in compliance with the statewide goal for housing.  It set the vision for the community regarding housing and was ambitious and hopeful.  It helped the City allocate resources for different areas of housing.  The Housing Element had evolved to include potential financial strategies and identified the relationship to other planning efforts in the City.  It was not independent approval criteria for judging a land use application.  However, it should be considered when evaluating legislative changes or programs.  
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid suggested reviewing the Section 6.10 Goals and Policies first.  Staff incorporated changes based on feedback from the Planning Commission and the Housing and Human Services Commission.  They anticipated more changes from the public hearing process.  Staff would add some drawings to the narrative section illustrating housing types in Section 6.05.  They were also working on the Residential Land Supply Table that would replace the estimated Land Needs Table in Section 6.6 and in 6.7.  Staff would post draft policies on the city website for public comment with a public hearing process to follow.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the R-2 zone had a density of 13.5 units per acre.  Often in the Railroad District, smaller lots had a two-unit potential.  Larger R-2 properties were developed at a higher density.
Planning Commission suggestions included the following:
  • Include the strongest language possible for Policy 7 to protect historic neighborhoods. 
  • Have staff look at how the language for Policy 14 affected the future. 
  • Better definitions for multi-family and mutli-family housing.
  • Include methods for rezoning lands for most of the housing types.
  • Page 21, the first sentence of the first complete paragraph, change, “It is expected…,” to “It is hoped…”
  • Page 23, Goal 2, Policy 9, remove the word “decent.” 
  • Page 5 to 6, remove the last sentence, “Undoubtedly, this accounts for…”
  • Page 17, remove “new lands” from the second full paragraph, “The new lands within the Urban Growth Boundary…” 
The Commission would forward additional changes to Ms. Reid.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  PA-2017-01421
APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION: Legislative amendment to the Ashland Land Use Ordinance chapters 18.2.2, 18.2.3, 18.2.5, 18.3.4,18.3.5, 18.3.9, 18.4.3, 18.4.8, and 18.5.2, to establish standards to permit cottage housing developments within single family residential zones.
Commissioner Pearce called the Public Hearing to order.  Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a presentation on the proposed ordinance:
Cottage housing would apply to the following Single Family Zones:
  • R-1-5
  • R-1-7.5
  • Normal Neighborhood
  • North Mountain Neighborhood
Not Applicable
  • Low-density single family zones
  • Multi-Family zones
  • Suburban Residential Zones
Land Availability
  • Mapped:  Single Family zoned properties within the City and Urban Growth Boundary, that had the potential for cottage housing development of 4 units or more.
  • Additional capacity for small 3-unit cottage housing developments on oversized lots.
Size of cottage housing developments dependent on lot sizes:
  • R-1-5, NN-1-5 with a maximum cottage density of one cottage dwelling per 2,500 square feet (sq. ft.) of lot area could have a minimum of 3 cottages and a maximum 12 cottages.  The minimum lot size for the minimum number of cottages would be 7,500 sq. ft. with a maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.35.
  • R-1-7.5 with a maximum cottage density of one cottage dwelling per 3,750 sq. ft. of lot area could have a minimum number of 3 cottages and a maximum number of 12 cottages.  The minimum lot size for the minimum number of cottages would be 11,250 sq. ft. with a maximum FAR of 0.35.
Cottage Housing Standards allows for variation in unit sizes:
  • 75% of cottages shall be less than 800 sq. ft. in size.
  • Maximum size:  1,000 sq. ft.
Cottage Housing Standards
  • Setbacks from neighboring properties: Same as in existing underlying residential zones.
  • Building Separation:  6’ separation between cottages or two cottages attached.
  • Lot Coverage:  Same as in existing underlying residential zones with 10% allowances for pervious materials.
  • Solar access for rooftop solar panels.
  • Design Standards - Existing Site Review Standards, street facing orientation and facades, the cottage design architectural standards in the prior draft have been eliminated to add design flexibility.
Open Space
  • Cottage housing to be located around a usable central open space, or multiple open spaces available to all occupants.
  • 20% of the total lot area is required as open space.
  • Private yards for each unit of at least 200 sq. ft. (porches and decks count).
Parking Requirements
  • Cottage Floor Area of 800 sq. ft. or less - 1 parking space per unit.
  • Cottage Floor Area of greater than 800 sq. ft. and less than 1000 sq. ft. – 1.5 parking spaces per unit.
  • Existing homes greater than 1000 sq. ft. – 2 parking spaces per unit.
Floor Area Ratio Exemptions
  • Existing Homes:  The ordinance newly proposes that the habitable floor area of an existing single family residential structure in excess of 1000 sq. ft., would not contribute to the maximum floor area permitted.
  • Homes pre-existing the adoption of the Ordinance.
  • Existing garages attached to a single family home do not count toward the maximum FAR.
  • New garages for cottages would count toward maximum FAR.
  • Surface level carports in lieu of garages.
Floor Area Ration Exemptions – Table
  • Existing Homes:  Example 2400 sq. ft. home where the entire floor area counts against the maximum FAR.
  • Existing Homes: Example 2400 sq. ft. home where only 1000 sq. ft. of the floor area counts against the maximum FAR.
Cottage Housing Examples:  R-1-7.5 zoned property
  • 17,000 sq. ft. lot.
  • 4 units:  Existing home = 2,000 sq. ft., 2 units at 800 sq. ft., 1 unit at 500 sq. ft.
  • Parking:  5 spaces on site, 2 spaces for existing home, 3 spaces for the three individual cottages, consolidated sparking area.
Cottage Housing Examples:  R-1-5 zoned property
  • 30,000 sq. ft. lot.
  • 12 units:  2 units at 1000 sq. ft., 2 units at 800 sq. ft., 8 units at 500 sq. ft.
  • Parking:  12 spaces on site, 1 on-street parking credit, consolidated parking.
  • Common Building for residents.
Next Steps
  • Housing and Human Services Commission Review September 28, 2017.
  • City Council – First Reading November 7, 2017.
Commissioner Miller advocated that all cottages were 800 sq. ft. or less, and R-1 was one dwelling per lot.
Mr. Goldman explained in the current requirement for R-1-5, up to 50% of the site could be covered with building footprints, sidewalks, and concrete.  For a 30,000 sq. ft. lot it would be 15,000 sq. ft.  Under the 10%, it increased to 16,500 sq. ft. with non-landscape areas. That additional 1500 sq. ft. had to be pervious materials.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar added it was different than increasing the lot coverage for the zone by 10% and was in response to a potential need for additional internal pathways connecting to parking spaces and open space.
Mr. Goldman addressed a concern on moving houses to allow for cottage housing units.  Currently, there was no prohibition on someone dividing a lot and moving an existing house to accommodate the change.  It would most likely apply to cottage housing as well. 
Staff would add “such as” language to 3. Access, Circulation, and Off-Street Parking Requirements (b.) Driveways and parking areas. (iii) to include that individual one car garages may be attached to an individual cottage.
The Commission discussed garage space being part of the FAR, and their views on carports and shared parking spaces.  Staff considered a FAR allowance for each garage up to 200 sq. ft.  The ordinance was structured to allow for exceptions.
Chair Pearce thought the language in 6. Common Buildings, Existing Nonconforming Structures and Accessory Residential Units, (c.) Nonconforming Dwelling Units should be rewritten to address FAR in regards to basements, attics, or non-habitable floor area.
The Commission wanted the code definition of open space referenced in the cottage housing ordinance.  
Public Testimony
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Agreed in general with cottage housing in that it tried to get more affordable housing.  Ashland at Home strived to keep senior citizens in their own homes and he thought cottage housing could provide that opportunity.  Reducing the distance between buildings to six feet made these developments denser.  He wanted to see some kind of conformity.
The Commission discussed the definition of what counted as floor area in terms of an 800-1000 sq. ft. house.  Staff measured the gross floor area from the outside of the structure.  In the ordinance, they measured the total floor area of the whole project as 0.35.  In terms of unit size, they measured it as habitable floor area.  Chair Pearce wanted to ask the city attorney how the Planning Commission should interpret the gross floor area ratio.  Comment clarified measuring from the outside surface was a rough estimate and overhangs did not count.  Staff should look at the concept of the FAR that included outside walls and livable unit space measured to the inside walls.  Mr. Molnar explained there was one definition for gross floor that could apply to the FAR and then the gross habitable area that applied to the livable square footage.  He would confirm ordinance language regarding both.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Mindlin supported allowing garages.  Commissioner Brown commented the code would allow garages or not depending on the development layout.  The way it was written leaned towards carports because a garage counted against the FAR.  Requiring cars to be parked in the garage was not enforceable.  He supported leaving it the way it was written.
Mr. Molnar explained the proposal was up to a certain size lot to allow someone to double the density.  The trade-off was keeping the FAR low and not including garages to increase the amount of green space.  Multi-family allowed 65% to 75% lot coverage.  The housing cottage ordinance held to the single-family lot coverage of 50%.  Commissioner Mindlin clarified she was speaking to common parking being garages, not individual garages.
Commissioner Norton suggested reviewing parking after 2-3 projects were completed.  If it was not working, he supported 200 sq. ft. garages instead of carports.  If someone wanted a larger garage for extra storage, it could come off the FAR of their house.
Chair Pearce referred to 6. Common Buildings, Existing Nonconforming Structures and Accessory Residential Units, (c.) Nonconforming Dwelling Units, and suggested changing the language from existing attached garages to non-habitable square footage.  The existing house would only count as 1000 sq. ft. against the FAR.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s approve, as is, PA-2017-01421 Cottage Housing with the correction to the nonconforming dwelling paragraph.  DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Brown thought it met all the requirements.  Commissioner Dawkins concurred.
Commissioner Mindlin/Norton m/s to amend the motion to change the section on garages to be 200 square feet per unit that will be exempted from the FAR for garages.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Mindlin, Norton, and Miller, YES; Commissioners Pearce, Thompson, Brown, and Dawkins, NO.  Motion failed 4-3.
Roll Call Vote on main motion:  Commissioners Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Brown, Thompson, Mindlin, and Pearce, YES.  Motion passed 7-0.
Meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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