Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017
Vice Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:02 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
Lynn Thompson   
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Roger Pearce
  Dennis Slattery, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained John and Scott Fregonese would attend the October 24, 2017 Study Session and provide an update on the Transit Triangle.  The City Council would hear first reading of the cottage housing ordinance at the November 7, 2017 Council meeting.  He went to suggest cancelling the Study Session for December 26, 2017. 
Vice Chair Mindlin met with the Wildfire Ordinance group.  Mr. Molnar noted there was a rough timeline and changes to the ordinance that would most likely occur after first of the year.
  1. Approval of Minutes.
  1. September 12, 2017 Regular Meeting.
  2. September 26, 2017 Special Meeting.
Commissioner Miller noted a correction to the September 12, 2017 Regular meeting minutes.  Under Ex Parte for Planning Action 2017-01507, she was a current patient of Dr. Rodden, not a former patient.  Vice Chair Mindlin was not present for the September 12, 2017 meeting and therefore would not vote on that set of minutes.
Commissioners Brown/Thompson m/s to approve the Consent Agenda.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0 on the September 26, 2017 minutes and 5-0 on the September 12, 2017 amended minutes.
Joseph Kauth/1 Corral Lane/Proposed a citizen moratorium on further development in Ashland due to its impact on the environment.  He went on to comment on the global connection of climate change.
Alan Sandler/1260 Prospect/Thanked the Planning Commission and City staff for their efforts when he added the balcony to the old Masonic building.  The project turned out well.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2017-01507, 330 Maple Street.
Commissioner Dawkins, Norton, Thompson, Mindlin, and Brown declared no ex parte.  Commissioner Miller disclosed she was a current patient of Dr. Rodden and it would not create a bias on any of her decisions.  Vice Chair Mindlin added she was not present at the September 11, 2017 meeting when the planning action was deliberated and would not vote on the Findings.
Commissioners Miller/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2017-01507, 330 Maple Street
Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 5-0.  Vice Chair Mindlin abstained.
    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
Vice Chair Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Dawkins, Norton, Thompson, Mindlin, and Miller declared no ex parte or site visits since the last site visit in September.  Commissioner Brown declared no ex parte and a site visit October 9, 2017. 
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the current request was approval of the Outline, Final Plan, and Site Design Review for a seven-lot, six-unit subdivision for Phase II of the West Bellview Subdivision under 18.3.9 Performance Standards Option in the Ashland Municipal Code.  The property was located at 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard.  The application included requests for the following:
  • Modification of the West Bellview Subdivision (PA #96-131) to allow additional units.  The 1996 approval included a condition that the parcel would not develop further.  The property had the density for more development.  If approved, the applicants would go to the City Council to lift the deed restriction.
  • An Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards to allow the placement of two parking spaces between the buildings and the street.
  • A Tree Removal Permit to remove four trees six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) or greater.
The subject property was located at the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Bellview Avenue.  To the south was the original West Bellview subdivision.  West Bellview Phase II was approved in 1996.  It was platted with street and utility improvements in place and construction that occurred a few years before.  The subject property currently had a 2,974 square foot (sq. ft.) house that would be removed to develop the proposal.
The existing multiuse path had a park row with no trees or curb.  It was an approval that was not built as originally approved.  The property owner had worked with the City and replaced the path along the subject property and remainder of the subdivision.  Because of the improvement, the City had not pursued requiring sidewalks in the current application.  However, staff requested the applicant sign an agreement to participate in a future local improvement district (LID) for standard city sidewalks should a coordinated sidewalk project for Siskiyou Boulevard happen in the future.
The proposal would remove the house and shift the driveway to access six units grouped into three pairs.  The units would have open space along the creek bank.  The applicants preserved and protected the floodplain area per the Performance Standards.  The creek was not on the property and had a pond that was piped onto the adjacent property.  Each unit would have single car garages and six surface spaces for the additional parking requirement.
The Tree Commission requested the applicants plant larger stature trees for the street trees and mitigation trees.  Mr. Severson noticed a number of the trees were tagged differently than the current tree protection plan and actually matched the 2008 approval.  He included a condition in the staff report asking for a revised tree inventory.  The applicant assured him the trees tagged from the 2008 inventory were the same trees identified in the plan they submitted. 
Another issue was solar access and ensuring the separation between units 3, 4, and 5.  The applicant’s provided an illustration of a conceptual cross section on how Unit 4 would shadow Unit 5.  They could adjust the roof line and remove the gable to comply with the standard as conditioned if the Commission allowed them to use the Mill Pond standard.  The other issue was ensuring the buildings were separated per code.  They had to be half the height of the taller building and not more than 12-feet apart.  They were currently shown at 11.5 feet apart.  The applicant should be able to comply with the condition.
Staff supported the application.  Mr. Severson thought the solar access should be addressed through a condition requiring the applicants to adjust the roof line and provide calculations demonstrating they could comply with the Mill Pond standard.
Questions of Staff
The condition for solar access was under IV. Conclusions and Recommendations (9)(b) in the Items for Building Permit.  The Mill Pond standard was based on the south wall of the building to the north.  It was in the code under the Performance Standard Subdivision chapter.  It allowed some flexibility in the placement of lot lines and did not have standard setbacks.  Shadowing to the window sill was equivalent to a six-foot fence, six feet from the property line.  In this scenario, the shadow was a Standard A.  It was consistent with Solar variance criteria because it was not shading living space.  Commissioner Thompson was concerned they were allowing an exception without noticing it as an exception and making the Findings consistent.
Mr. Molnar further explained the Mill Pond standard was in Solar Access Performance Standard.  If the lot did not have a standard 21-foot high structure in the middle, someone could do a solar envelope.  This was done through a subdivision process.  Exceptions to a solar ordinance generally occurred when two property owners were not part of the same project.  In this case, one would need the other property to agree to the exception.  In subdivisions, the lots were controlled and created by the development.  The Mill Pond standard was a type of solar envelope used for consideration of a different standard. 
The proposed project complied with the allowance to do a solar envelope.  It was based on a condition that the roofs will be designed so the shadow on the worst case scenario, December 21, would not shade the south-facing windows.  Mr. Severson added in this project they would measure solar setback from the south-facing wall.  There was some flexibility in the performance standards where the property line was placed.  The overall effect of the shadow on the adjacent building was no greater than what was allowed under Standard A.  It provided some flexibility in the 12-feet of property line to move but the shadow between building to building would not change.  The applicants would have to adjust the roofline significantly to meet the standard.
Mr. Severson addressed a question regarding IV. Conclusions and Recommendations (8)(p) and explained the LID would pertain to the entire parcel when the owner at the time recorded the plat.  It would then become a restriction on each parcel. 
Commissioner Thompson expressed concern the City was not requiring the street to be improved.  Mr. Severson explained the City had gradually gotten away from calling for the exception if there were recent improvements on the frontage.  The Commission could request an exception even though the City had accepted a recent improvement that was not standard.  The applicant would participate in a potential future LID.  Alternately, citizens had complained about the piecemeal installation of sidewalks on Siskiyou Boulevard and the vicinity.   Currently, the pathway was asphalt with a park row approximately three feet wide.  There were trees in the park row in 2008 but were in bad shape at the time.  A condition required the applicants to plant street trees in the existing park row.   The Commission could make another condition if they did not think it was appropriate to have the trees in the park row until a full street improvement happened.
There was not a separate walkway into the open space.  It was close to the edge of the parking and the assumption was people would step over the curb.  The Commission could change that as well.
Applicant’s Presentation  
Mark McKechnie/Oregon Architecture/They had reviewed all of the conditions and thought they could meet them.  They were thinking of planting the street trees on the property side and not the park row.  However, if the Commission preferred the park row, they would plant them there.
Questions of the Applicant
Mr. McKechnie explained the delay in hearing the planning action was due to an error in surveys.  The person working on the survey picked the area acreage from the Jackson County website and translated it into square footage without checking other information.  The County records indicated the site was .58 acres and it was actually .55 acres.  They modified the plans to adjust space without removing square footage from the units.  Units 3 and 4 were 40 feet long.  The applicants changed the length to 38 feet and made them 2-feet wider.  
There were two trees by Units 3 and 4 they wanted to keep.  Tree #39 was located in the recreation area and out of the way of construction.  They also planned on saving a tree at the corner of the driveway for Unit 1.  The rest of the trees shown on the plan were dead or dying. 
The tree survey was done when the lot was an empty field.  When the units to the south were built, a fence was installed.  They located two trees in accordance with the fence.  The tree behind Unit 3 was not on the project property.  Mr. Severson clarified it was on the plan because it was within 15-feet of the property line.  The fence was not on the property line but at the south edge of the easement. 
Commissioner Norton thought the 10-feet of driveway for Units 3 and 4 was too short and might block backup space.  Unit 2 had a 12-foot driveway that crossed the walkway.  He thought the driveways should be shorter or longer.
Mr. McKechnie explained there was an access to the open space from the street that ran up to the end of Unit 2.  They could expand the walkway in front of Unit 3 to the parking space identified for Unit 4.  There was enough space to create a 6-foot wide sidewalk that would run along the side of the parking place.  The lot lines could be adjusted so the sidewalk was part of the common area.  It would go past the parking lot and stop.  They had increased the recreation area from 2,143 sq. ft. to 2,315 sq. ft. and moved it closer to the parking spaces.
Public Testimony  
Rex Thompson/911 Bellview Avenue/Expressed concern about the practicality of the garages.  He parked on Bellview Avenue and his wife used the parking provided at their house.  Over time it had become more difficult finding parking within a reasonable distance of the house.  The garages in Phase I were very small resulting in parking on the street and the garages becoming storage space.  He thought the development was trying to do too much in too small of an area.    
Tobe Thompson/911 Bellview Avenue/The tree behind Unit 3 was on her property.  The fence was on the southern side of an easement.  The easement was created to allow Phase 1 residents access to the green space.   The tree closer to Unit 4 was on or close to their property line as well.  The information provided on saving and removing trees was inconsistent.  The new phase was different from their development and would have unfenced, open, shared space.   She had concerns regarding encroachment.  She wanted the Commission to consider moving the easement from 911 and 913 Bellview Avenue to the new development.  The tree behind Unit 3 was on their fence line and protruded 33-inches into the easement and limited passage.  She wanted to reclaim her land and put a fence up at the property boundary.  Other concerns were the topography of the playground and retaining walls in relation to fences.
Staff explained the 1996 approval intended the easement to be a path.  It was fenced on the south boundary.  The easement was 4-feet adjacent to the property line with a tree in the middle.  It was a walkway that spanned out to a 20-foot area at the top of the creek channel.  The easement was on the Thompson’s property but fenced so it looked like it was part of the applicant’s property.  It was now correct in the plans.  Typically, the City would not go back and vacate an easement from a past subdivision that was not part of the current request.  The Thompson’s could add a second fence limited to 4-feet high.  It might be problematic because it would create a corridor.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Mr. McKechnie confirmed there was an easement platted with a 4-foot path between the two lots in the south end of the parcel.  The idea was a pathway to a bridge that crossed Clay Creek to a park.  It never materialized.  The fence was on the south side of the easement and provided privacy for the two homes there. 
The only retaining walls on the property were on the east side next to an existing house, carport, and a fence. They could be adjusted after the new units were developed.  The garages in Phase I were smaller.  In the new development, they made them larger to accommodate storage.  To maintain the grade near the homes at 911 and 913 Bellview, they would put in a low retaining wall if necessary.
Mr. McKechnie agreed to clearly state the property line when it was surveyed so the Thompson’s could add a second fence if they wanted.
Deliberations & Decision
The Commission discussed planting street trees in the park row or on the property side of the asphalt path.  IV. Conclusions and Recommendations (8)(n) had street trees in the park row.  The possibility of Siskiyou Boulevard being improved at some time would impact the park row.  Other comments wanted the survey property line for the neighbors added to the Findings.
Commissioner Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve PA-2017-00406 for 2300 Siskiyou Boulevard, with the following changes:
  • In II. Project Impact Separation Between Buildings & Solar Access (Units 4 and 5), remove references made to Unit 3 in that section and in the Findings.
  • Under IV. Conclusions and Recommendations, (8), add (r) Pedestrian walkways shall be clearly delineated using standard width.
  • Change IV. Conclusions and Recommendations, (8)(n) and remove park row from the second sentence to read as, “All street trees shall be chosen from the adopted Street Tree List and shall be planted on the property in accordance with the specifications contained therein.”
  • The Findings shall include a request to clearly mark the property line along the easement.
DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Brown thought it met all the requirements they were looking for in the property. Commissioner Dawkins agreed.  Commissioner Norton noted any potential for parking confusion was located at the back of the property where parking on the street would not be as viable an option.  He appreciated the larger garage space and would support the motion.  Commissioner Thompson understood the rationale for not requiring street improvements but was disappointed they had not taken advantage of the opportunity to improve the street.  Commissioner Miller liked the drawings the architect had submitted.  Alternately, Vice Chair Mindlin thought the applicant submissions could have been more complete.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Thompson, Dawkins, Miller, Brown, Mindlin and Norton, YES.  Motion passed 6-0.
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  232 Nutley                      
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Leah K. Henigson Trust (Leah K Henigson, trustee)
DESCRIPTION:  A request for a Site Design Review to construct an approximately 999 square foot Accessory Residential Unit for the property located at 232 Nutley Street.  The application also includes a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the expansion of an existing non-conforming development. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  Rural Residential; ZONING: RR-.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E08AD; TAX LOT: 8000
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the appeal hearing for 232 Nutley Street was continued to the November 14, 2017, Planning Commission meeting at the applicant’s request.
Meeting adjourned at 9:04 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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