Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Electronic Planning Commission Special Meeting

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021
I.             CALL TO ORDER:
Chair Haywood Norton called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Commissioners Present:                              
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Haywood Norton
Kerry KenCairn
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
Lisa Verner    

Staff Present:
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Development Services Coordinator
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Community Development Director Bill Molnar issued the following announcements:
  • At the March 9, 2021 meeting there are two public hearings scheduled: 1) an 8-unit subdivision at Mountain Meadows and 2) the Walker Elementary project. Mr. Molnar clarified no decision is expected to be made on the Walker Elementary application as the applicants are still in discussions with the Parks & Recreation Commission on circulation issues.
  • Paula Hyatt has been appointed as the new Council Liaison to the Planning Commission.
III.          PUBLIC FORUM – None
A.  PLANNING ACTION:  PA-T2-2020-00025
SUBJECT PROPERTY: Tax Lot #600 on the newly constructed Independent Way
APPLICANT/OWNER: Rogue Planning & Development Services/IPCO Development Corporation.
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review approval for the construction of two new commercial/industrial buildings on Tax Lot #600 adjacent to Independent Way, the newly installed public street between Washington Street and Tolman Creek Road.  Both buildings would be part of the IPCO Development Corporation service building complex, and would share driveway accesses, parking areas and landscaped areas.    The first building is proposed to be 10,919 square feet and would be constructed adjacent to Independent Way.  The second proposed building would be 17,859 square feet and would be near the south property line.  The application includes a request for an Exception to the Site Development and Design Standards (AMC which call for a ten-foot wide landscape buffer between the building and the street.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  Employment; ZONING: E-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 391E14BA; TAX LOT: 600. NOTE: The Public Hearing & Record have been closed for this item. Tonight’s meeting will be limited to Planning Commission deliberations and decision.

Chair Norton read aloud the rules for electronic public hearings. He clarified the public hearing and record have been closed and tonight’s meeting is limited to deliberations and decision.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Dawkins conducted a site visit. No ex parte contact was reported.

Staff Report
Senior Planner Derek Severson noted the memo submitted into the record while it was open. He stated the eight parking spaces the applicant has indicated are necessary to serve the building is accurate, and there is no excess parking that could be removed. 
Deliberation and Decision
Staff was asked to clarify the new materials submitted into the record by the applicant. Mr. Severson stated staff received revised findings as well as a letter from Amy Gunter on behalf of the applicants, but no modifications to the proposal were submitted.
Commissioner Pearce commented that the information from the applicant was not new, just a reiteration that they do not want to meet the 10 ft. landscaping standard and that during their negotiations with the city understood that this would not be required. He stated the application does not meet the criteria for the exception and he does not believe the exception would result in a positive contribution to the streetscape. Commissioner Verner agreed with Pearce’s statement.
Commissioner Thompson requested clarification on how to address the exception. Mr. Severson commented that the Commission could choose to deny the exception but approve the application and require the proposal be modified for building permit submittal. Commissioner Harper stated he does not believe this is feasible as it would have a domino effect on too many other components of the application.
Commissioners Pearce/Verner m/s to deny planning action PA-T2-2020-00025 for failure to meet the Site Development & Design Standards for a 10 ft. wide landscape buffer. DISCUSSION: Commissioner Pearce stated it is unfortunate that the applicants did not understand that this criteria would need to be met. Commissioner Dawkins stated he will support the motion but stated he is disappointed that these misunderstandings with the city occurred. Commissioner KenCairn stated she does not feel good about issuing a denial, but the application does not meet the standards and she does not believe they can approve it as proposed. Commissioner Norton voiced his discomfort with the parking layout between the two lots, even if it were done with easements, and requested this element be addressed if the applicants choose to bring a modified proposal back for reconsideration. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Pearce, Verner, Dawkins, KenCairn, Harper, Thompson, and Norton, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
A.  Draft Duplex Code Amendments to Address State of Oregon Middle Housing Requirements.
Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a presentation on the Duplex Code Amendments. She explained this amendment is needed due to the Middle Housing bill that was passed in the 2019 Oregon Legislature session which requires cities the size of Ashland to allow duplexes on all residentially zoned lots that allow detached single-family homes. She added the bill outlines that the approval process for duplexes cannot be more restrictive than those applied to detached single-family homes, and in Ashland, most single-family homes only require a building permit and do not require land use approval.
Ms. Harris explained the definition of a duplex is two attached units on one lot, or two units on one lot in any configuration. She reviewed the difference between “building type” and “type of dwelling” and provided examples of different styles of duplexes. She also shared staff’s concerns with having a different approval process for detached vs. attached units.
Ms. Harris provided an outline of the proposed code amendments, which include:
  • A 2nd unit (duplex) is permitted on any residentially zoned lot than can develop a detached single-family home.
  • 2nd units can be in any configuration, in either attached or detached structures.
  • Duplexes will replace Accessory Residential Units by providing an option to add a 2nd unit.
Ms. Harris explained the next steps in the adoption process will be a developer round table, taking the proposed language to the city’s advisory commissions, and another Planning Commission study session. In May 2021, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and issue their recommendation, and in June 2021 the City Council will hold their public hearing and issue a final decision. Ms. Harris added by state law, the city must be done with the amendment process by the end of June 2021.
Commission Norton commented that this will be a major change for Ashland, as well as all of Oregon, and recommended staff outline the full code amendments so the public can get a good understanding during this early stage in the process. Ms. Harris concurred and provided a review of the amendment details (Attachment A).
Public Input
Amy Gunter/Rogue Planning & Development/Commented that ARUs within existing structures are easier said than done and noted some of the common constraints property owners face. Ms. Gunter voiced support for making second units easier to get approved and encouraged Ashland to consider providing sets of pre-approved plan designs available for purchase, similar to what Grants Pass and Medford have done.
Commission Input
  • Comment was made that regulations regarding ARUs were not changed by the recent house bill and the city cannot remove these from the land use code; Applicant’s will have to decide whether they are applying under the duplex standards or ARU standards.
  • Ms. Harris noted staff’s desire to make the process simple and straightforward for property owners to navigate and clarified both a single-family home with an ARU and a duplex require two parking spaces.
  • Recommendation was made for staff to contact the State for clarification regarding whether they need to retain separate ARU standards.
  • Mr. Molnar commented that there are existing lots with single family homes that pre-date the city’s parking requirements, and if they keep the ARU standards the question becomes do they need to increase the parking. He added under the duplex standards, two spaces would be needed.
  • Senior Planner Brandon Goldman read aloud the public input received from Robert Kendrick (Attachment B). Commissioner Norton commented that this goes beyond what they are being asked to do by the State measure, but it could be considered in the future. 
Commissioner Norton encouraged the public to pay attention and participate early in this process.
Meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Development Services Coordinator

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