Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

June 11, 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.
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:
Michael Dawkins
  Stefani Seffinger, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Commission would have a Special Meeting June 25, 2019 for a public hearing on the Trails Master Plan.  There were two public hearings scheduled for their meeting, July 9, 2019.  During the Retreat June 10, 2019, the Commission discussed using Study Sessions for additional site visits.  Chair Pearce noted the City Council passed the amendment to the Housing Element at their meeting June 18, 2019.
A. Approval of Minutes
  1. May 14, 2019 Regular Meeting
  2. May 28, Study Session
Commissioners Thompson/Brown m/s to approve the minutes of May 14, 2019 as corrected. 
DISCUSSION:  Chair Pearce made a correction under CALL TO ORDER changing Chair Pearce to Vice Chair Melanie Mindlin.  He was not at the meeting.  Chair Pearce abstained from the vote.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed.  
Commissioners Brown/Thompson m/s to approve the minutes of May 28, 2019.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed. 
Mark Brouillard/Ashland/Read from a document (click here) submitted into the record opposing the current building plans for 160 Helman Street.
Steven Crowthers/Ashland/Read from a document (click here) submitted into the record regarding road connectivity for the proposed Cowan Ranch development.
Sheri Cellini/Ashland/Spoke against the Cowan Ranch development citing traffic issues and pedestrian safety.  She wanted crosswalks, sidewalks and the school zone requirement of 20 miles per hour extended.
A.  PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2019-00009SUBJECT PROPERTY: 158, 160, 166 and 166 ½ North Laurel Street
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Laurel Cottages, LLC/Kim Locklin & Vadim Agakhanov
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval to allow the construction of a 924 square foot duplex at the rear of the property, the conversion of 372 square feet of a 704 square foot garage into an apartment, and the creation of a duplex from the existing single-family residence for the property located at 158, 160, 166 and 166 ½ North Laurel Street.  There are currently four units on the property including one studio; the proposal would add four units including one new unit in the existing house fronting on Laurel, a 372 square foot apartment in the garage, and two units in the duplex.  The application also includes a request for a Conditional Use Permit to exceed the maximum permitted floor area (MPFA) in a historic district by 24.8 percent. (The MPFA for the property is 4,888 square feet.  The existing floor area on the property is approximately 5,175 square feet, and as proposed the site would have 6,099 square feet of floor area.)   COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density, Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04CC; TAX LOT: 3400.
Chair Pearce read the public hearing rules.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Brown, Mindlin and Harper declared no ex parte contact.Commissioner Thompson and Norton had no ex parte and one site visit.Chair Pearce declared no ex parte and that he drove past the site.
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation (click here) that described the proposal.The applicants would pave the lawn area to accommodate a driveway from the alley.Staff recommended a Condition that would ensure the transition from the alley into the garage met City code.Staff supported the action with several Conditions.
Questions of Staff  
Mr. Severson addressed the transition from the alley to the garage.  The Condition would remove a four-inch raise of bricks between the alley and driveway to create a standard flat transition.  Commission comment thought the Condition should be very clear.
Condition 13(e) would require the applicants to repair any damage to the alley from construction in front of the subject properties.  Changing the traffic flow in the alley was under the purview of the Transportation Commission.
There were two existing parking spaces currently at 166 ½ that backed out to Laurel Street with another space that would back out into the alley. 
Applicant’s Presentation
Kim Locklin/Laurel Cottages/Amy Gunter /Rogue Planning and Development Services/Ms. Locklin represented Vadim Agakhanov who was unable to attend the meeting.  They addressed the Commission regarding the project and described the proposal.  Ms. Gunter noted possible financial ramifications due to the Historic Commission’s recommendations in Condition #6.  One was using HardiePlank® instead of cottage lap siding.  There might be asbestos under the vinyl siding and abatement would be expensive.  The owner thought the cost was unreasonable considering the previous state of the property, the proposed renovation and other improvements they would make.
Another concern was the Historic Commission’s recommendation to replace the patio doors with full glass swinging doors instead.The applicant’s proposed to replace the patio doors with sliders. There were issues with the patio doors involving leaking and sagging.The sliding doors would not be visible to the public and would not inhibit unit space.
The final concern was adding windows to the bedrooms on the north and south side elevations.It would impact privacy.There were parking spaces for other units by the bedrooms as well as noise, odor and glare.The south windows would create additional heat as well.
The proposal would grade and maintain the alley for vehicular access to the garage.The applicants would also install a French drain if needed.
They understood the neighbor’s concerns with transportation and density.
Questions of the Applicant
Ms. Gunter clarified they would install a garage door for the one car garage and it would face the alley.The applicant proposed a gate on the walkway next to the carport to access the recycling enclosure.The tenants would roll the recycling and garage carts out to the street on pick-up days.Recology could provide commercial pick-up but the hours were not conducive to residential living due to early collection times.The preferred method was tenants rolling the carts to either Laurel Street or the alley for pick-up service.She confirmed the enclosure would include recycling and trash.Ms. Locklin further explained trash can placement.There was enough space adjacent to the carport to have numerous cans.
Ms. Gunter explained there were four recommendations from the Historic Commission the property owner thought would cause financial and design ramifications.Ms. Locklin asked the Commission to change three of the Conditions.They were the conditions to use HardiePlank® siding, the full glass swinging doors instead of sliding doors and the window recommendations on the south and north walls.The cost of installing HardiePlank® siding would impact unit interior space.Ms. Gunter clarified the conditions of approval were tied to Historic Design Standards.These buildings were non-contributing historic buildings.
The rationale for windows on the south wall was it would add cohesiveness.The wall was highly visible.The applicants were changing the room into a bedroom.The windows would increase heat during the summer.
Ms. Locklin clarified the sliding doors were in smaller units and would help preserve space.Both doors faced the back of the property.For the window on the south wall, Mr. Agakhanov wanted larger oversized windows in the front with a solid wall on the south for privacy and the bed wall.
Mr. Molnar provided procedural guidance.The CUP promoted compatible building volume and scale in the Historic District.In addition to the CUP criteria, it referred to the application of Historic Design Standards.In the Historic Commission’s recommendations, they cited the specific standards for each request.Mr. Molnar understood the applicant’s argument regarding sliding doors since it was not on the primary façade or street facing side.The applicant made the argument that the sliding doors were difficult to view.
He reviewed the code requirement for HardiePlank® siding that replacement would match the exterior finish.However, this was a non-contributing historic structure currently with plastic or vinyl siding.
Commissioner Thompson commented on CUP 3(c) regarding the architectural impact in the area.The tradeoff with the MPFA access was improvements to the neighborhood since the frontage would be upgraded.
Public Testimony
David Campbell/Ashland/Explained his back property abutted the proposed property line.  They would have the duplex, trash enclosure and parking behind them.  He supported the Historic District Code as written.  He opposed the project because of the variance to increase the MPFA that the existing buildings already exceeded.  It would have a negative impact on the quality of life.  He wanted the parking closer to the alley.
Regina Ayers/Ashland/Owned property almost across from some of the existing buildings.  She sent an email (see packet materials) to City Staff and the Commission Chair regarding three concerns.  One was damage to the alley and who was responsible for repairs and maintenance.  The second was parking and removing green space to accommodate the parking lot.  The third was providing public space for the tenants.  She had suggested one-way traffic flow down the alley and noted there were two intersections on the alley for Bush and Central.  There would be additional traffic generated from the project.
Haylene Campbell/Ashland/Noise was already a concern.  The bicycle parking, vehicle parking and trash was close to her backyard.  Her backyard was lower than the subject property and she was concerned about rain runoff from the asphalt.  Parking on Laurel Street could be tedious.  She supported development but had concerns it would infringe on her quality of life.  Her salon was on the corner of the property.  Eventually she and her husband would live there and it was too close to the subject property. 
Mark Brouillard/Ashland/Was told by the Street Department to come to the Planning Commission about the alley.  He wanted the alley regraded correctly.  It used to be decomposed granite but the City had changed to grounded asphalt that created potholes.  The City had built up 17-inches of grade over the years.  He wanted the alley brought back to its original grade.  He opposed changing the traffic flow in the alley to a one-way lane.  He went on to confirm that Recology did pick up trash and recyclables in the alley.
Rebuttal by Applicant
Ms. Gunter clarified it was a CUP and not a Variance and the CUP criteria included quality of life.The project had two less units that decreased impact to quality of life.They were required to provide 1,600 sq. ft. for open space.The applicants exceeded that requirement with 2,584 sq. ft. that included decks, patios, garden and lawn areas.
Regarding the concern of storm water and flow onto adjacent properties, all new construction connected to the City’s stormwater facilities.All parking areas were required to have impervious surfaces to address those standards with onsite detention or catch basins or something similar.
There was adequate space for eight trash cans in the trash/recycling enclosure area.There was enough space for 16 cans in the covered bike area with a one-foot wide walkway.In the area behind 160, there was the potential to house 4 to five cans.
She addressed the CUP, exterior finishes and meeting the Historic District Standards.The applicant thought there were substantial improvements to the property that exceeded the standards through the installation of new utilities, windows, doors, and new siding and should not require higher expense materials.
For parking lot glare onto the neighboring properties there was an existing 6-foot fence along the north property line.The applicant was adhering to the standard 8-foot separation.The area was slated for a garden bed and Ms. Gunter thought they could plant an additional vegetation screen as well.Commission comment thought the applicant could do landscaping on the edges and possibly add a small fence by the parking spaces.
Deliberations & Decision
Mr. Severson explained the applicant was at 75% coverage.  Commissioner Mindlin questioned if there was a standard to redesign the parking lot to reduce impervious surface.  Mr. Molnar thought it was challenging and the existing structures limited the configuration of the parking area.
Chair Pearce closed Public Hearing and the record.
Commissioners Harper/Brown m/s to approve PA-T2-2019-00009 consistent with the staff report and Conditions and modify the Historic Commission’s recommendations removing the words “smooth HardiePlank®,” and removing the third bullet “Replace sliders with swinging full glass doors,” and add the staff Condition asking for additional vehicular light screening along parking spaces 4, 5 and 6.  DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Mindlin appreciated parsing the Historic Commission recommendations.  She wanted to know if they could verify there was adequate screening.  Commissioner Norton wanted to add a Condition that the trash and recycle plan be submitted to staff for approval. Commissioner Harper suggested “Demonstrate compliance with adequate trash screening for all units.”  Commissioner Norton agreed with the language.  Mr. Severson confirmed the transition to the garage from the alley was included in the
recommended Conditions of staff.  Commissioner Brown did not want to add the amendment regarding adequate trash screening to the motion.  It could become a point of contention.  Additionally, things could change, and it already met City requirements.  Commissioner Norton commented he could not look at the plan and see it was in compliance.  Commissioner Brown understood and still disagreed.  Commissioner Mindlin commented they had enough space for trash.  They were small units and would not produce a lot of garbage.  Mr. Molnar noted the City relied on Ashland Sanitary.  The issue with this project was they were right up against maximum lot coverage.  If they were incorrect and needed to create more space, they would need a modification.  They were probably covered by the current site plan.  They had contacted Ashland Sanitary and identified spaces that would accommodate the need.  Commissioner Harper noted the amendment could not be added because the second had disagreed.  Commissioner Norton withdrew his amendment.
Chair Pearce supported eliminating the requirement for smooth HardeiPlank® board and the swinging glass doors.  Roll Call Vote:  Commissioners Mindlin, Harper, Brown, Thompson, Norton, and Pearce, YES.  Motion passed.

B. PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2019-00008SUBJECT PROPERTY: Map 39 1E 11C Tax Lot #2504 on Engle St/Map 39 1E 11C Tax Lot #2505 on Villard St.
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Housing Authority of Jackson County/HAJC Development/Dan Horton, Architect
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval to allow the construction of a for 60-unit multi-family development on two tax lots (#2504 & #2505) along Villard and Engle Streets as Phase II of the existing ‘Snowberry Brook’ development. The proposal consists of four two-story eight-plex apartment buildings and seven two-story townhouse four-plexes. Units will consist of ten one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats, ten three-bedroom flats, and 28 two-bedroom townhomes. The application includes a request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove one tree, an approximately 24-inch diameter Deodar Cedar (cedrus deodara) which the project arborist describes as posing a hazard. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low Density, Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 11C; TAX LOT: 2504 & 2505.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Brown, Harper, and Thompson declared no ex parte.Commissioners Mindlin and Norton had no ex parte and one site visit.Chair Pearce declared no ex parte and had driven past the site.
Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation (click here) that described Phase II of the Snowberry Brook development.He spoke to road connectivity in the area with a focus on McCall Drive.The Traffic Impact Analysis recommended limiting McCall Drive to bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles.Removable bollards would provide access to emergency vehicles as needed.The connection was identified in the Transportation System Plan (TSP) and the right-of-way was already dedicated.The City would pay for the connection.Staff recommended requiring alley-level improvements for McCall Drive. The applicants would work with the Public Works Department and the Transportation Commission on whether restricting motor vehicles was appropriate.
Mr. Severson described the Tree Protection Plan.A wetland delineation determined there were no jurisdictional wetlands in the study area.Staff recommended approval of the application.
Questions of Staff  
The Commission asked questions regarding the McCall Drive extension.  Mr. Severson explained the bollards would be where the terminus was now.  Currently, there were two trees preventing traffic from moving forward.  Cars driving to that area would experience the same situation they were encountering now.  The area was signed as no parking but parking was happening.  The Transportation Commission would review the area and determine placement of the bollards and appropriate signage.
Limiting the extension to pedestrians, bicycles and emergency vehicles might help with neighborhood objections but the sense was the neighbors did not want any form of connectivity.  The connection was identified in the TSP as a need.  It would require Transportation Commission and City Council action to abandon the extension.  It would need to be paved to accommodate emergency vehicle access.  The City Street Standards, a multi-use pathway standard was paved but narrower. It allowed two-way traffic for bicycles and pedestrians. 
Currently, no one was enforcing parking.  There were concerns on the setbacks for McCall Drive being 5 feet from two units.  Mr. Severson clarified McCall Drive was planned as part of the development and that included the setbacks.  It was planned and platted to go through.  The Performance Standards did allow an internal setback less than the standard.  Alley Standards at times allowed buildings to be 4-feet from an alley.  It was an alley but functioning as a driveway with a 20-foot width that would be blocked to through traffic with bollards.
Applicant’s Presentation
Ryan Hanks, Director of Real Estate Development/Housing Authority of Jackson County/Don Horton, Architect/Phase I and Phase II/Spoke to the demand for affordable housing in Ashland and shared study results published on the City of Ashland website.  Currently, the wait list for the existing Snowberry Brook was over four years long. 
He described the 60-unit development.The application complied with all the habitable, clear and objective provisions of the zoning requirements.They participated in multiple conversations with Bob Alessandrelli, the president of the McCall Condominium Association.Their primary concern was through access on McCall Drive.The applicants supported the recommendation to bollard off the road.They were also trying to minimize the impact to the surrounding neighborhood.Building height was 27-feet instead of 35-feet.They were allowed up to 65% building coverage and stayed substantially below that at 54%.Landscape coverage was higher at 38%.The density maximum was 68 units and the applicants were proposing sixty.Parking was reduced to 107 spaces.The project met the housing requirements.
Questions of the Applicant - None
Commissioners Harper/Thompson m/s to extend the Public Hearing 30 minutes.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed. 
Public Testimony
Russ Dale/Ashland/Explained he had lived in Ashland since 1975.  He had built over 200 homes in the subject property area.  When he designed his project, he had fought not to have any connectivity and lost.  It was a bad idea.  He thought the use of bollards to dissuade pedestrian traffic was insane.  It had been a nightmare since Phase I was built due to increased pedestrian traffic on McCall Drive.  There was also an increase in trash on McCall Drive that had cost them a lot of money to clean up.  He described his definition of bollards and emphasized they did not want “those people” walking through any part of McCall Drive.  The project would heavily impact 60-70 people.  He went on to speak to his determination to keep the proposal from going through his project.
Kathleen Stiple/Ashland/Was one of the owners of the adjacent project on the southern boundary.  She reviewed the Planning Action file earlier and that allayed a few of her concerns.  She was still concerned with the onsite parking lot noise and lighting.  Another concern was the basketball court that could be loud.  Her last concern was setbacks from her property line.  It looked like Building E was the closest to the southern property line.  She was not sure why there was so much setback from Villard Street. 
Rebuttal by Applicant
Mr. Horton explained the setback for Building E from the southern property line was just over 29-feet.The applicants were proposing a solid wood fence behind the parking area to prevent headlights from shining onto the neighbor’s property.The basketball court was located on the south corner.It was a nice large open space with good solar access.They made an attempt to keep it away from south property line by 20-feet with extensive landscape as a buffer between the properties.
Mr. Dale requested to leave the record open.The record would be kept open for three one-week periods.The first week would allow any party to submit relevant evidence or argument until 4:30 p.m. on June 18, 2019.The second week, any party could submit material strictly in response to the material submitted during the first period ending 4:30 p.m. on June 25, 2019.The third week would allow only the applicant to submit a final argument but no additional evidence by 4:30 p.m. July 2, 2019.
The Planning Commission would make a decision at their meeting July 9, 2019.
Deliberations & Decision
The Commission discussed alternatives to McCall Drive.  There were no other alternatives to consider.   The City did not have an additional right-of-way in the area and the path was in the TSP.  During the TSP discussions, the path was considered problematic.  It was not in the purview of the Commission and would require action by the City Council.
The Commission had no other issues with the proposal. 
Meeting adjourned at 9:22 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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