Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

May 8, 2018
Vice Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Roger Pearce
  Dennis Slattery, absent  
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained at the City Council approved PA-2018-00154 for the annexation at 601 Washington Street at their meeting May 1, 2018.  Testimony from a staff person at the Oregon Department of Transportation thought the street cap for the area was necessary.  There was no objection from the applicant so Council included the cap in the approval.  Council would review PA-2017-02129 for 475 East Nevada Street at their meeting May 15, 2018.  The primary change in the request currently was the applicants were no longer working with Habitat for Humanity.  They would construct the four affordable housing units themselves.  Habitat for Humanity had raised some issues regarding the term of affordability and requested a 30-year term instead of 60 years.  Staff was looking at the Commission’s Study Session in May to discuss the Transit Triangle Overlay amendments.  In June, they were tentatively scheduled for the Wild Fire Ordinance amendments at the Commission’s regular meeting.  The City Council would have an overview of the amendments at their Study Session May 21, 2018.
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.  April 10, 2018 Regular Meeting
2.  April 24, 2018 Special Meeting
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approved the minutes of April 10, 2018, Regular Meeting and April 24, 2018, Special Meeting.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 5-0.
Louise Shawkat/Ashland/Described conventional and unconventional natural gas deposits and how unconventional gas deposits affected the climate.   In order to reduce the impact of climate change, society had to address methane and carbon dioxide emissions.  Approximately 25% of the global warming experienced today was caused by methane emissions.  Ashland had a Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) with an implementation committee and a goal to reduce greenhouse gases.  She did not understand why the City did not charge citizens the cost to dig up the streets to install gas lines.  She wanted the Commission to consider charging for that service.  It would make money for the City and discourage people from getting natural gas.

Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Wanted 20 mile per hour speed limits in Ashland.  All accidents involving cars should be the motorist’s fault.  He also wanted Your Speed signs everywhere.  Many bike and walking injuries were not reported.  Emergency responders and Emergency Room attendants should be required to file reports on accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists with cars.  All roofs should be redone to point south. Natural gas heat should be replaced with electric. Electricity was the only way to combat climate change.  Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) did not have the capacity to meet future electricity needs.  The 10x20 ordinance would not work unless it cost more.  The 10x20 needed to be accomplished within the city limits.
  1.    Approval of Findings for PA-2018-00429, 469 Russell Street
The Commission had no ex parte contacts regarding the matter.    
Commissioners Thompson/Norton m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2018-00429.  Voice Vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed 5-0.
  1.   SUBJECT PROPERTY: Public Right-of-Way at the end of Terrace Street
OWNER/APPLICANT:  City of Ashland Public Works Department
DESCRIPTION:  The Planning Commission will consider a request to vacate a portion of the Terrace Street right-of-way between 110 Terrace Street and 9 Hillcrest Street, and make a recommendation to the City Council.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single-Family Residential and Rural Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5 and RR-.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP/TAX LOT: Between 39 1E 09BC 8000 & 39 1E 09BD 15200.
Senior Planner Derek Severson explained the property was approximately a 2,600 square foot unimproved section of Terrace Street Right-of-Way (ROW) between 9 Hillcrest Street and 110 Terrace Street.  It was an unused spur of Terrace Street with two sections of driveway.  The section proposed for vacation extended almost to the driveway.  The Public Works Department managed the vacation process governed by the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).  The process involved obtaining signatures from surrounding property owners with a certain number agreeing to the vacation.  The vacated ROW was typically dedicated to the adjacent property owners proportionally.  For this request, the requisite petition signatures were received.  The Public Works Department needed a recommendation from the Planning Commission.  Following that, they would notice the newspapers, sign the property and have two City Council hearings to discuss the vacation.  Staff was seeking a recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council supporting the vacation.
An additional ROW to the north of Terrace Street was vacated in 1947 precluding future street or pedestrian connectivity.  The section was not identified in the Transportation System Plan (TSP).  The slopes were in excess of what was allowed for a public street under the current standards.  The Public Works Department was requesting the City retain a public utility easement in the section.  The property owners were related.  Instead of splitting the ROW between the two properties, it would go to the property owner at 9 Hillcrest Street.  This property will be responsible for the utility easement and any access needed to serve 110 Terrace Street.
Staff recommended the Planning Commission forward their support of the vacation to City Council and retain a public utility easement.
Commissioner Thompson noted the lack of supporting documents and wanted to understand the rationale behind the request.  She was also interested in the possible impact on the surrounding properties.  Mr. Severson responded the land was owned by the City and at one time was intended to extend through to Glenview Drive.  The portion vacated in 1947 was now privately owned.  This was a remnant piece of right of way.  The ORS stated this was a City Council decision.  A local procedure had it come to the Planning Commission prior to ensure the requisite neighboring properties were consulted and agreed to the vacation.  The Commission also looked into whether there was a basis to require retaining a trail or pedestrian connectivity even though the vehicular connection was going away.  There was a $250 fee to file the petition.  He thought the reason for the vacation was that it was appropriate to have the ROW go to the owners instead of sitting as unused City property. 
Vice Chair Mindlin added there was an advantage for the City to be released from the liability and responsibility for the land.
Commissioner Dawkins further added there had never been a trail on the right of way and the land was steep.  The vacation would provide a clean title for the families involved.
Commissioner Thompson thought asking the Planning Commission to make a recommendation without the supporting documents or explanation put the Commission in an odd position.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Comprehensive Plan had a specific element related to street vacations.  Part of the street vacation process involved the Planning Commission when providing a recommendation to the Council.  The Commission would also consider the potential for retaining some form of bike and pedestrian connectivity.  In this case, the City relinquished part of the ROW 60 years ago and due to steep grades, it was not appropriate to retain.  It was the responsibility of Planning staff to look at the Comprehensive Plan policies.  Staff was in agreement the connectivity was not appropriate. 
Vice Chair Mindlin suggested including the utility and access easement for 110 Terrace Street in the recommendation to Council.
Commissioners Norton/Dawkins m/s to approve the recommendation of vacation to the City Council recommended by staff with the inclusion of the easement for 110 Terrace Street.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed 5-0.
  1. Planning Commission Recommendation for Accessory Residential Unit Ordinance Amendments
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the ordinance to City Council.  There were two main pieces.  The ordinance changes where staff had added comment boxes to any changes made during the April 24, 2018 meeting.  The other was the Planning Commission Report that encapsulated the Commission’s decision. 
Commissioner Thompson had suggested a modification to page 13, under the new C. RR Zone that referenced  It should be  It stated in the RR Zone an applicant needed to meet the requirements in for the R-1 Zone as well as the RR Zone.  The new section C. RR Zone should read “In addition to the standards in subsection, accessory residential units in the RR Zone shall meet the following requirements.”  The same change would apply to the section below D. R-2 and R-3 Zones, the second sentence should read, “In subsection…”
Staff made changes on pages 12, 13 and 20, to make the language consistent.  On page 20, Table – Automobile Parking Spaces by Use, Single-family Dwellings, replaced “the primary” to “detached” to read
 “2 spaces for detached dwelling units and the following.”
On page 29, the new definition for Parking Area or Lot, deleted “…except that parking spaces serving a single-family home or accessory residential units are not considered a parking area or lot.”   The definition now read, “Any area inside, under, or outside of a building or structure, designed and used for parking motor vehicles, including parking lots, garages, or structures.”  The term parking area was used throughout the code to refer to many single family situations.  On page 25, staff exempted the landscaping parking lot standards by adding to 7. Landscaping, “In all zones, except single-family zones…”  Page 29, Section, added language that the screening requirements would not apply to accessory residential units.
Commissioner Thompson had relayed her concern to Ms. Harris regarding Section  She thought the new language, “Single-family dwellings and accessory residential units are exempt from the requirements of subsection,” might represent a substantive change with respect to single-family dwellings.  It was not clear that single-family dwellings were exempt from these requirements.  It was determined not to be a substantive change to say the single-family dwellings were not subject to the parking lot landscaping and screening requirements.  Vice Chair Mindlin clarified the parking requirements were not changing, they were not requiring site design review.   Commissioner Thompson had a similar concern whether there was a substantive change at the bottom of page 27 on what was subject to site design review.  Specifically, Section Exempt from Site Design Review, deleting “…but are required to comply with the applicable provisions of part 18.4 Site Development and Design Standards.”   She was concerned they were not somehow substantively modifying these requirements to make the applicable provisions no longer applicable.  Staff assured her this was the status quo and did not represent a substantive change.  It was part of making the code internally consistent. 
Ms. Harris noted other changes were numbering references. 
In the Planning Commission Report, there was one change to the first sentence on page 2.  The sentence, “Additionally, the small ARUs are exempted from the landscaping, open space and parking requirements for multi-family housing,” should move to the third paragraph.  It applied to all sized accessory residential units (ARUs), attached or detached.
Commissioner Thompson noted for the record she had some confusion regarding the application of Overlays.  She had shared a concern with Ms. Harris regarding ARUs having to meet the requirements of the underlying zone.  The language needed to ensure that any applicable Overlay requirements applied.  She was concerned it was not specifically stated although it was stated in other areas of the code.  This concern stemmed from environmental constraints.
Commissioner Norton confirmed meeting minutes were attached to the information packet going to City Council.  Staff did not typically include study session minutes.  Commissioner Norton suggested linking the study session minutes to the attachments section on the Council Communication.  Commissioner Brown agreed.  The study session covered pros and cons discussed by the Commission.  Commissioner Dawkins suggested adding a footnote indicating several issues were discussed during the study session.  Ms. Harris would add the Planning Commission had a substantive discussion during the study session and link the minutes in the Council Communication.  She would make the code revisions and forward it all to Council.
  1. Letter of support for the Transportation Growth Management (TGM) grant
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the Public Works Department was submitting an application to the State’s Transportation Growth Management (TGM) program.  They were requesting funds for an implementation plan based on the results of the Downtown Parking Plan and Transportation System Plan (TSP).  Commission letters of support helped the application. 
Planning staff had reviewed the grant.  It would consider a variety of issues that came from the Downtown Plan. Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained it would expand on what the Downtown Beautification Committee identified.  Commissioner Dawkins added it would also include unfinished work done by the parking plan.
The grant was for $110,000 with the City providing a match in staff time and a small amount of Public Works funds.  It was a competitive process throughout the state.  The Commission supported sending the letter. 
  1. Annual Retreat dates
Vice Chair Mindlin suggested having the retreat June 22, 2018 where she would be the only one unable to attend.  The retreat time would be 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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