The public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on February 14, 2023. The meeting will be televised on local channel 9 or channels 180 and 181 for Charter Communications customers or will also be available live stream by going to rvtv.sou.edu and selecting RVTV Prime.
Written testimony will be accepted for the public hearing agenda items via email to PCfirstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “02/14/23 PC Hearing Testimony” by 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 13, 2023. Written testimony will not be accepted on findings because the record is closed. If the applicant wishes to provide a rebuttal to the testimony, they can submit the rebuttal via e-mail to PCemail@example.com with the subject line “02/14/23 PC Hearing Testimony” by 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2023. Written testimony received by the deadlines will be available to the Planning Commission before the meeting and will be included in the meeting minutes.
Oral testimony will be taken during the electronic public hearing. If you wish to provide oral testimony during the electronic meeting, send an email to PCfirstname.lastname@example.org by 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 13, 2023. In order to provide testimony at the public hearing, please provide the following information: 1) make the subject line of the email “02/14/23 Speaker Request”, 2) include your name, 3) specify the date and commission meeting you wish to virtually attend or listen to, 4) specify if you will be participating by computer or telephone, and 5) the name you will use if participating by computer or the telephone number you will use if participating by telephone.
If you would like to watch and listen to the Planning Commission meeting virtually, but not participate in any discussion, you can use the Zoom link below to join the meeting as an attendee.
February 14, 2023
I. CALL TO ORDER:
Vice Chair Lisa Verner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
Commissioners Present: Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins Brandon Goldman, Interim Community Development Director
Haywood Norton Aaron Anderson, Senior Planner
Lynn Thompson Michael Sullivan, Executive Assistant
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
Interim Community Development Director Brandon Goldman made the following announcements:
Commissioner Knauer asked if the points of contention for the 1511 Highway 99 North appeal had been made public yet. Mr. Goldman responded that they are not, and that the applicants had been given 21 days to file as an intervener for the appeal and had not done so. Therefore, the applicant will not participate in the appeal unless they operate in concert with the City attorney. Mr. Goldman added that the City does not typically provide comment on planning actions to LUBA, and that that burden lies with the applicant.
III. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Approval of December 13, 2022 Minutes
Commissioners Dawkins/Thompson m/s to approve the consent agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
IV. PUBLIC FORUM – None
V. TYPE II PUBLIC HEARINGS
- The City Council approved the first reading of PA-L-2022-00014, regarding the Middle Housing Land Divisions (MHLD) ordinance that the Commission had approved at its November 22, 2022 meeting. The Council will have a second reading of the ordinance at its February 21, 2023 meeting.
- The Council will review the Food Truck code amendments that were recommended for approval by the Commission.
- The Council approved an appeal of PA-T2-2022-00037, 165 Water Street, which had been denied without prejudice by the Commission at its April 12, 2022 meeting. The Council approved the appeal with conditions relating to setbacks, and the condition that three of the buildings have a wall-plate height of no greater than 10ft to accommodate maximum ceiling height.
- The Council will review a proposal for a mural on the side of the Elks Lodge building by the artist John Pugh, which was recommended for approval by the Public Arts Commission and the Historic Commission.
- The Butler-Perozzi Fountain in Lithia Park needs to undergo restoration, a process which was approved by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission.
- PA-T3-2022-00004, the annexation 1511 Highway 99 North, was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) by Rogue Advocates.
- The final meeting of the Housing Production Strategy (HPS) ad hoc group resulted in a recommendation to forward the draft HPS to the Commission, the Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee, and the Council. Beth Goodman of ECONorthwest and staff will present the draft HPS to the Commission at its February 28, 2023 meeting.
PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2023-00038
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 2308 Ashland Street
APPLICANT & OWNER: MCA Architecture / Les Schwab
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Design Review approval to modernize and expand the existing Les Schwab tire facility. The proposal includes remodeling the existing overhang/work area and replacing it with a vestibule addition and new façade enhancing the Ashland St. Frontage. Additionally, the breezeway between the two main buildings is proposed to be enclosed creating two new Bay doors and warehouse space to the rear. In addition, there is proposed site work to install ADA / Pedestrian access to the intersection of Tolman and Ashland. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1; MAP: 39-1E-14-BA; TAX LOT: 1100
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported. Commissioner Herron conducted a site visit. Commissioner Dawkins stated that he was part of the planning process when the development was first approved in 1972 and that he is familiar with the site.
Senior Planner Aaron Anderson provided the Commission with a brief presentation on the applicant’s proposal to expand and modernize the Les Schwab tire facility, as well as an historical background on the property. He informed the Commission that the proposal included a shadow plan for the potential development of a three-story building in the future. Mr. Anderson detailed how staff had focused on the following three main issues when reviewing the proposal, the first being the location, and quantity of parking. He stated that staff dad determined that the applicants had made the case for an exception to parking standards be granted due to the nature of the business and the proposed screening element. Second, staff review the Floor to Area Ratio (FAR), and Mr. Anderson stated that both methods for measuring the FAR show the project would meet the current standard or would come closer into compliance with that same standard. Finally, staff looked at required improvements and pedestrian connectivity, and determined that those improvements would not be possible due to future cross-section of Tolman, which will require an additional right-of-way (ROW) on the opposite side of the street (see attachment #1). However, staff will require that the applicant dedicate 7.5ft of the western portion of the property to enable that development in the future.
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Thompson asked if parking requirements were taken into consideration when staff reviewed the shadow plan, and the potential parking needs of a 30,000 sq. ft. building. Mr. Anderson responded that, with the changes to state law that went into effect on January 1, 2023, that a retail building could be developed that would not have any required-parking impact.
Commissioner Thompson asked how many parking spaces are currently on the site. Mr. Anderson responded that there are 36, and there would be a total of 41 spaces after the expansion. Commissioner Thompson noted that there did not appear to be a substantial analysis justifying an exception to parking requirements. Mr. Anderson responded that the business required additional parking spaces due to the rotation of vehicles on the site as they are serviced and then parked aside to await pickup. Commissioner Thompson inquired if staff’s analysis of an exception to exceed parking standards was based on the increase in work bays and stations proposed by the application, and Mr. Anderson responded that it was.
Commission Thompson requested that staff elaborate on the requested exception for a total site-obscuring fence, as required by Ashland Municipal Code 18.2.3.050, which deals specifically with automotive and truck repair sites. Mr. Anderson responded that the installation of a 2ft high hedge is an improvement over the unobscured lot, and would also be better than a 6ft fence along Ashland Street. Mr. Goldman stated that having a clear entryway from the street would increase pedestrian connectivity, while a 6ft fence would undermine that. He added that the City had not required site-obscuring fences for the Oil Stop, or for Ashland Automotive. Mr. Goldman further stated that there is a grade change along Ashland Street, which would be augmented by the proposed 2ft hedge. Mr. Goldman pointed out that the applicant would be moving the bays further back from the public ROW, which will bring the site into greater conformity with the above-referenced code.
Commissioner Thompson inquired if staff would need to look at proportional improvements if the application did not meet current standards. Mr. Anderson responded that, when considering the improvement to the façade and its relationship to the streetscape, staff believed the application met the proportionality standard. He added that applying the complete proportionality standard to the existing site would be disproportionate to the current site.
Commissioner Thompson asked how staff addressed the expansion of a building that was non-conforming, and addressed the requirement that staff review the proportionality of improvements with the expansion. Mr. Anderson responded that the building footprint would not be increasing, and that he found that the application had met the proportional need of upgrading non-conformities. He added that if this application had omitted certain improvements, such as the pedestrian connectivity or ADA ramp, that additional improvements would be required, but that the application had met that standard.
Commissioner Thompson pointed out that subsection G of AMC 18.4.2.040 would supersede subsections A-D with regards to building orientation. Mr. Anderson responded that her point would be reflected in the Findings.
Commission Herron commented that there is a 60ft gap in the hedge and inquired about its purpose. Mr. Anderson responded that the gap will likely correspond with the proposed façade to the showroom, and that the applicant would likely expand upon that during their presentation.
Chair Norton joined the meeting via Zoom at approximately 7:30 p.m. He stated that he had no ex parte contact and had not conducted a site visit.
Frank Rudloff detailed the applicant’s main goal is to modernize the existing facility due to shifting operating procedures, as well as how the business merchandizes. These changes would also allow their employees to work indoors, which would also help with employee retention. Fire suppression systems have improved since the building was first developed, so the criteria for fire safety is reflected in the application (see attachment #2).
Mr. Rudloff pointed out that the project site is just outside of the auto-centric area adjacent to the interstate. He stated that there is an intention in the code to make Ashland Street a pedestrian-oriented zone, but that the obscuring fence requirements would undermine that objective. He added that this type of business does not require pedestrian traffic, but that a plaza area will be installed for customers who wish to wait outside while their vehicle is being serviced.
Mr. Rudloff detailed the layout of the site, including the service bays, customer lounge, and support areas. He clarified that the number of service bays would not change, they are just being relocated indoors. Mr. Rudloff stated that the two bays that are being enclosed at the breezeway will be moved forward to create some variation in the building when viewed from the street. Mr. Rudloff stated that there will be trees planted along the street frontage, along with the hedge, to obscure vehicles parked on the site, but that the applicants want the building to be visible from the street.
Questions of the Applicant
Commissioner KenCairn remarked that a 2ft high hedge and 2ft rise would not be sufficient coverage from street. She suggested that the hedge be slightly higher than proposed, but be intermittent. Mr. Rudloff replied that there is room for negotiation. Commissioner Thompson commented that a perforated metal screen had been mentioned in the packet. Mr. Rudloff responded that the application presented the screen as a hedge but that it could be either. Commissioner KenCairn commented that a hedge would be preferable.
Commissioner Thompson requested that Mr. Rudloff address the increase in parking. Mr. Rudloff replied that the applicants are proposing the removal of the canopy, which would increase the parking capacity while also allowing vehicular traffic through the site. Mr. Rudloff stated that there are currently 36 parking spaces on the site, and that the applicants were proposing an increase to 41 spaces. Commissioner Thompson asked Mr. Rudloff to identify the new parking spaces being proposed. Mr. Rudloff detailed how some spaces would be removed to accommodate site improvements, but that three spaces would be installed in front of the building, along with several more in front of the showroom. Commissioner Thompson lamented the lack of a statistical analysis of the site’s parking requirements to justify the exception to parking code standards. Mr. Rudloff stated that the need for increased parking spaces comes down to the nature of the business, but agreed that an analysis could have been included in the application.
Commissioner Herron requested that the applicant identify handicap parking spaces on the lot, and also proposed that the Commission impose the installation of a continuous hedge. Mr. Rudloff stated that the intent was for spaces 1-2, and possibly space three, to be handicap accessible spaces. Chair Norton stated that if the applicants are required to install two handicap spaces, which would each require two parking spaces to accommodate, then the applicants would only be increasing their parking by one space, and the applicants would be near the point where they would not need an exception. Mr. Goldman responded that he would review the Building department code requirements, but that the applicants would be required to provide the requisite ADA parking spaces regardless. He commented that the Commission could require that spaces 1-3 be designated as handicap spaces as a condition of approval, provided the spaces qualify under the Building code. Mr. Goldman added that the ADA accessible parking would only require additional parking space if they were perpendicular to the building rather than parallel. Commissioner KenCairn remarked that only spaces one and three would qualify as ADA accessible parking spaces.
Vice Chair Verner closed the Public Hearing and Public Record at 8:04 p.m.
Deliberation and Decision
Commissioner Knauer inquired if the minimum parking requirement changes that went into effect on January 1, 2023 also affected commercial buildings. He added that this type of business is not explicitly defined by the code, and requested clarification on the calculations used to determine a business’ parking requirements under the new guidelines. Mr. Goldman responded that the parking requirement changes affected both residential and commercial buildings, and that it is based on the square footage of use. He added that the new guidelines impose a maximum number of parking spaces based on a business’ square footage of use, which the proposal would exceed. Mr. Anderson stated that the calculated parking demand for the site is 38 spaces, but that the applicant’s calculations for its business model places that number at 43, of which they are only asking for 41. Commissioner Knauer pointed out that the Albertson’s and Shop ‘N Kart grocery stores have extensive parking lots, and asked why the extra spaces on the subject site would not be acceptable. Commissioner Thompson stated that it is incumbent upon the applicant to successfully argue that their business constitutes a unique or unusual aspect of the proposed use. Commissioners Knauer and KenCairn stated that the business does constitute a unique use of the site.
Commissioners KenCairn and Knauer agreed with Commissioner Herron that the hedge should run continuously around the site.
Commissioner Dawkins expressed disappointment with the lack of a landscape plan in the application, and that the ponderosa pine trees currently on the site should be removed. He conceded that it was too late to require a landscape plan as part of the application, but suggested that the applicant be required to make the current landscape more amenable to the power lines along the street. Commissioner KenCairn agreed. Commissioner Thompson asked if the trees shown in the applicant’s presentation were part of the proposed landscape, and Mr. Rudloff responded that the presentation depicted existing trees.
Vice Chair Verner reopened the public hearing at 8:15 p.m.
Mr. Rudloff responded that the presentation depicted existing trees.
Commissioner KenCairn remarked that applicants should be required to specifically identify what is being proposed, citing the confusion over whether a hedge or fence was being proposed. Chair Norton pointed out that an entirely new development would have been required to submit a landscape plan, but that the proposed hedge is not part of a landscaping plan, and is instead there to fulfill the fence requirement. Therefore, the applicants are not required to submit a landscape plan. Commissioner KenCairn reiterated that applicants should be clear on what they are proposing.
Vice Chair Verner closed the Public Hearing at 8:17 p.m.
Commissioner Herron asked staff why a hedge was not proposed along the Tolman Creek Road side. Mr. Anderson responded that the applicant had not proposed one. He stated that staff spoke with the applicant at their pre-application conference about the proportionality of non-conformities, and that the applicant returned with this proposal. Vice Chair Verner pointed out that staff had requested a dedication of the ROW along Tolman Creek Road, and that it did not make sense to require landscaping along there if it was going to be removed in the future. Commissioner KenCairn agreed. Commissioner Thompson asked if the hedge is part of the proportionality analysis, or whether it is a separate requirement. Commissioner KenCairn stated that pedestrians should not be looking directly at parked cars on the site. Commissioner Thompson responded that the proportionality comes down to the non-conformity of the site, and that any proposed improvements might need proportional upgrades to the landscaping. Commissioner Herron commented that the new parking spaces proposed along Ashland Street necessitate the inclusion of a sight-obscuring barrier. Commissioner KenCairn agreed, but stated that she does not want a 6ft tall fence along the street.
Chair Norton stated that the precedent for not requiring sight-obscuring fences at the Oil Spot or Ashland Automotive is not justification to not require one here. Regarding parking the parking exception, he cited the applicant’s designation of their business as vehicle-centric, but that the code is unclear on what constitutes a vehicle-centric business. He suggested that the code should be clarified in the future.
Commissioner Thompson reiterated that an exception is not required under subsection G of AMC 18.4.2.040 for the sites circulation between the building and the street.
Vice Chair Verner stated that the hedge should be a minimum of 3ft tall. Commissioner KenCairn agreed, stating that the hedge should be a type of evergreen, to be approved by staff, and be a minimum of 3ft tall.
Commissioner Herron reminded the Commission that there were additional conditions suggested by staff.
Commissioner KenCairn/Dawkins m/s to approve the application with conditions of approval recommended by staff, and removal of the two ponderosa pine trees to be replaced with street-trees from the Ashland Street-Tree list, and a continuous 3ft tall, sight-obscuring, and evergreen hedge along the whole frontage of Ashland Street. Roll Call Vote: All AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Michael Sullivan, Executive Assistant