Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

January 8, 2019
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:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
    Dennis Slattery, absent  
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Transit Triangle Ordinance would go into effect January 18, 2019.  The Findings for 188 Garfield Street would be approved at the next Council meeting, January 15, 2019.  Scott Fregonese would return to discuss establishing the vertical housing zone.  It was an overlay that would allow up to a 20% tax exemption for second, third, and fourth story residential.  Staff recently kicked off a housing planning project funded through the state to look at what could be done to encourage multi-family housing.
  1. Approval of Minutes
1.  December 11, 2018 Regular Meeting
Commissioners Thompson/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Norton abstained.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 6-0. 
  1.    PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2018-00006
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 476 N Laurel Street
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Clover Living Trust; Dave Clover, Trustee; Dorothy Clover, Trustee/ KDA Homes, LLC
DESCRIPTION:   A request for Site Design Review for a 12-unit Cottage Housing development and a Performance Standards Subdivision Outline Plan for a 13-lot subdivision located at 476 Laurel St. The application includes an Exception to the Street Standards to either install a curbside sidewalk or to reduce the required parkrow width to 3.7 feet on the Mountain View Dr. frontage of 478 Laurel St. The application includes a request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove a 12” diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) apple tree and a 12” dbh walnut tree. The application includes the demolition of the existing home and two accessory buildings located at 476 Laurel St. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single-Family Residential ZONING: R-1-5; ASSESSOR’S MAP & TAX LOTS: 39 1E 04CB 8800.
Chair Pearce read the public hearing rules.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Mindlin and Harper had no ex parte.  Commissioners Dawkins, Thompson, Brown, and Norton declared no ex parte and one site visit.  Chair Pearce had no ex parte and was familiar with the site. 
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation on the application and described the project.  The cottages would be Earth Advantage Platinum/Net Zero, and designed for Life Long Housing certification to help occupants age in place.  Open space would include a pollinator garden.  The applicant would also install a sidewalk beyond the frontage on Mountain View Drive to complete a pedestrian system for the block.  Staff recommended approval with conditions.
Questions of Staff  
Mr. Severson addressed the drainage issue.  There was an agreement with the previous development to allow drainage onto the property.  It was never memorialized with an easement.  The applicant was willing to provide lateral on the property and easements if neighbors wanted to connect to the lateral.  The applicant would not install the actual connections for the neighbors.  
Applicant’s Presentation
Mark Knox/Laz Ayala/KDA Homes/Rick Lindemann/Lindemann Design/Spoke to the application. Mr. Lindemann explained the architecture mission and rationale for the design.  Mr. Knox further explained how they were intentionally respectful of the neighbor’s views and privacy.  It was an innovative development and relevant to current issues regarding housing affordability, housing demands, and the Climate Energy Action Plan.
Other than the Exception for the sidewalk, they were not asking for any Exceptions or Variances.  They would complete the sidewalk.  The primary concerns involved traffic and street widths.  They hired Alex Georgevitch Consulting to conduct a traffic impact analysis that concluded the streets had the capacity to accommodate the development and met the City standards.
He described potential changes to the project they were considering due to housing market concerns. 
Mr. Ayala added the application would provide small entry level housing for families with children, single people, and retirees.  It would be Earth Advantage Platinum with a pollinator friendly garden that prohibited chemicals.  He understood the neighbor’s concerns but emphasized the value it would bring to the area.
Questions of the Applicant
The applicant would install pipe in a rectangular shape that sent out laterals to the property line where neighbors could easily connect for drainage at any time.  Their engineer would size it correctly. 
Public Testimony
Kerry Hofsess/Ashland/Expressed concern about emergency responses to the area.  There were potential difficulties evacuating the neighborhood due to the narrow width of North Laurel Street, Mountain View Drive and Parkside Drive.
James Berge/Ashland/Spoke to fire concerns increasing due to the added density.  An additional concern was the street width on Orange Street.
Barbara Harmon/Ashland/Read a letter from Ted Garten and submitted it into the record.
Robert Lane/Ashland/Was concerned about evacuating the neighborhood in the event of a fire.  The cottage housing development would create another bottleneck.  He was also concerned about construction affecting trees he had along his property line.
Greg Clevenger/Ashland/Read proposed changes and exceptions he had prepared and submitted them into the record.  He requested the record remained open for 7 days.
Drew Baily/Ashland/Spoke to concerns regarding increased traffic impact.  He wanted additional stop signs on North Laurel Street and Mountain View Drive.  He also wanted the Ashland Police Department to monitor the construction traffic.
Terry Martin/Ashland/Read from a letter submitted into the record earlier by Patricia Potter.
Kim Miller/Ashland/Reinforced the testimony his neighbors had provided and added his concern regarding traffic. 
Caleb Doyle/Ashland/Spoke in support of the application.  It was a model development aligned with the City’s code and presented housing opportunities for people of various ages and income levels.
Casey McEnroe/Ashland/Biked 2.5 miles in the neighborhood to get to school.  The street was not wide.  He requested no hedges on the driveway because it could block views of the street.  He did not support a cement parking lot around the houses.
Rebuttal by Applicant
Mr. Knox agreed with Mr. McEnroe’s vision clearance issue and would look at not having hedges at the base of the driveway.  He would also meet with the landscape architect regarding tree protection for Mr. Lane’s trees. 
He went on to address Mr. Bailey’s testimony and explained they could not promise additional stop signs.  The Planning Commission could make a recommendation to the Transportation Commission.  Mr. Knox was unclear on the need for the Ashland Police to monitor construction traffic.  He thought that might be an issue for the Transportation Commission as well.
Mr. Knox spoke to the traffic concerns.  Ashland streets were intentionally narrow.  The streets in the project area met City standards.  The design complied with the standards.  He emphasized with the neighbor’s concerns and wanted them to understand they were trying to meet City standards and address social and economic issues facing young home buyers.
Deliberations & Decision
Chair Pearce closed the Public Hearing and left the public record open.
Mr. Severson explained the Fire Department had not added any additional comments regarding the application other than the applicant had to provide adequate fire access.  The existing curb to curb width on the street met the standards. Fire Access Standards were based on the Street Standards.  The width was in the standard that allowed on-street parking on both sides of the street.
North Laurel was a collector street and not considered a queueing street.  An issue had been raised regarding the Laurel Street LID.  The line was bumped out to reduce the width about 2-feet from 446 North Laurel up to the Helman Elementary School.  It was less than the standard neighborhood collector street and that meant by code they could not ask for an on-street parking credit along that frontage.  The applicants were not asking for on-street parking.  The street should accommodate two lanes of traffic and parking on both sides of the street.
The Commission discussed keeping the record open for three one-week periods.  The first week would allow any party to submit relevant evidence.  The second week any party could submit rebuttal in response to comments submitted during the first week.  The third week would allow the applicant to submit a final argument.
Commissioners Harper/Brown m/s to adopt three one-week comment periods.  The first ending January 15, 2019 for additional testimony.  The second week ending January 22, 2019 for responses on the first comment period.  The third week ending January 29, 2019 for applicant and legal argument.  Responses for each period must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. the last day of each comment period.  Voice Vote.  ALL AYES.  Motion passed 7-0.   
Mr. Severson would include information on the Variances and Exceptions regarding parking in the meeting packet for the Planning Commission meeting February 12, 2019.
Meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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