Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14, 2018
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:
Michael Dawkins
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Melanie Mindlin
  Dennis Slattery, absent
Senior Planner Derek Severson announced that October was National Community Planning Month.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar provided background on the new City Administrator Kelly Madding.  The City Council had a Study Session on the Wildfire Mitigation Ordinance August 6, 2018.  First reading of the ordinance would occur at their Regular meeting August 21, 2018 with second reading September 4, 2018.  The Planning Commission would consider an appeal of a Type I planning action and possibly a public hearing on one of three large apartment developments in September.  The System Development Charge (SDC) Review Committee concluded with outcomes going to Council late November or December.  Recommendations included raising the 25% discount on Transportation SDCs for smaller units to 50%.  The Committee suggested reducing the SDC charge for cottage style units 25% and a potential 20% reduction for developments along transit routes.  Commissioner Brown’s participation on the Committee was instrumental.
​A.  Approval of Minutes
​1.  July 10, 2018 Regular Meeting
2.  July 24, 2018 Special Meeting
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve the Consent Agenda.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 4-0.
Louise Shawkat/Ashland/The City was not incorporating climate change or water conservation into new buildings. She wanted the City to support and require green construction.
Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Spoke in favor of requiring solar panels and renewable energy for new construction.

PLANNING ACTION:          PA-T2-2018-00001           
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     449 Russell Street and 459 Russell Street
​APPLICANT/OWNER:        KDA Homes, LLC/Laz Ayala
DESCRIPTION:   A request for Site Design Review approval to construct a 22,469 square foot mixed-use building on the properties located at 449 Russell Street and 459 Russell Street, Lots 1 and 2 of the Falcon Heights Subdivision. The application proposes to modify the original subdivision approval by consolidating the two lots into a single property. The proposed building will include a mix of office and light manufacturing space on the ground floor.  The second floor is proposed to consist of ten two-bedroom residential condominiums ranging in size from 814 to 1,094 square feet. The application includes an Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards because the entrances along Russell Street are placed more than 20 feet back from the right-of-way. The space between the building entrances and the right-of-way is proposed to be an outdoor plaza space. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Employment; ZONING: E-1, Detail Site Review Overlay; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09AA; TAX LOT:  2800 & 2801.

Chair Pearce read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Norton, Thompson, and Pearce declared no ex parte.  Commissioner Dawkins declared no ex parte and one site visit.
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation and background on the project.  He described the project and the modification to consolidate the two lots.  An Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards would allow some entrances to be more than 20-feet from the sidewalk to accommodate public plaza space.  Staff supported the application and recommended approval with the conditions detailed in the draft Findings.
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Norton asked for clarification on trash placement.  The application contradicted the location in two places.  Mr. Severson thought the applicant’s intent was to locate the trash away from the residential area.
Chair Pearce asked about the landscaping condition.  Mr. Severson explained the landscaping had been in place since 2006 without the area being occupied.  There were two ownership changes and the landscape languished.  The applicant volunteered to upgrade and maintain that landscaping.  This was added as a condition.  A neighbor emailed requesting the landscape be maintained and suggested planting larger trees.  The condition applied to Lot 1 and Lot 2 only.
Applicant’s Presentation  
Mark Knox/KDA Homes/Ashland/ and Mark McKechnie/Oregon Architecture/Medford/Spoke to the application.  Mr. Knox confirmed the trash enclosure would be on left side of the property.  Inadvertently, the change was not forwarded to the landscape architect.
Mr. McKechnie read a note on the landscape plan that the applicants would refurbish the landscape along the parameter.  Mr. Knox addressed the email from the neighbor regarding landscaping and trees.  The neighbor was approximately 240 feet away.  There would be a similar building in between. The applicant was fine planting trees in strategic locations.
They moved the plaza space to the street.  It would allow others to use the area.  It also broke up the monotony.  The main entrance was on the corner, one foot from the sidewalk.  Other spaces were more than 20 feet from the sidewalk.  All of it would provide a ground floor that could adapt to market conditions over time. 
Questions of the Applicant
Commissioner Thompson asked where the tenant entrances were located.  Mr. McKechnie explained the tenants would have front doors along the plaza with an employee door in the back.  The apartments would have a lobby in the back that would serve as the entrance for the employees as well.  He confirmed they were pedestrian entrances only, there were no loading docks.
Mr. Molnar asked about the four-foot difference in finished floor levels between the ground floor and First Floor North and South.  Mr. Knox clarified he was looking at a previous plan that had since changed.  They initially planned on using the grade change to have an incubator manufacturing space with offices above.   However, neighbors expressed concern about garage doors and noise.  The applicant decided to consolidate the space into one level instead.
Chair Pearce questioned the commercial and light industrial use.  Both had different requirements.  Mr. Knox explained it was the flexibility of the E-1 Zone.  It permitted residential in most cases but allowed a full life cycle of buildings, retail and manufacturing. 
Mr. Severson further explained the applicant had proposed parking for office and light manufacturing.  If it became a retail or medical office, staff would look at the parking based on the uses in place in total.  If it intensified beyond what was proposed, it would have to come back.  Mr. Knox added if it did change to office or light manufacturing, there was enough on street parking to allow that opportunity without major site disturbance.
Public Testimony
Rebuttal by Applicant
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve PA-T2-2018-00001.  DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Dawkins addressed the landscaping.  There had been one building responsible for everything.  Ownership changes occurred and the landscape was changed twice to comply.  He liked the mix of colors and the sky walk.  The look would be consistent.  Commissioner Thompson appreciated the applicant providing a complete packet.  Chair Pearce liked how the new building related to Lot 3 and the plaza.  The bump outs would break up the massing.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Thompson, Pearce, Norton, and Dawkins, YES. Motion passed 4-0.
A.  Election of Officers
​The Commission discussed changing the chair every two years and having the outgoing chair become the vice chair.   Chair Pearce agreed to be chair for another year.
Commissioner Dawkins/Thompson m/s to keep the status quo.  DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Norton had gone back and looked at the periods other Chairs had served.  One had served for three years and all the others had served two years.  One year was not enough.  He supported two year terms as chair.  Voice Vote:  All AYES.  Motion passed 4-0.

Commissioner Dawkins wanted to discuss having a specific date for the Commission’s annual retreat at the next meeting.  Commissioner Thompson suggested the second Saturday in May.   
Meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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