Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

FEBRUARY 24, 2004

Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Members present: Russ Chapman, Chair
John Fields
Marilyn Briggs
Colin Swales
Dave Dotterrer
Ray Kistler
Mike Morris
Absent Members: Kerry KenCairn
Cameron Hanson
Council Liaison: Alex Amarotico (present)
SOU Liaison: None
High School Liaison: None
Staff present: John McLaughlin, Director of Community Development
Bill Molnar, Senior Planner
Mark Knox, Associate Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

McLaughlin gave an update of the active appeals to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The National Guard Armory appealed the decision by the Council setting limits on their time, type and number of events they can schedule. The second appeal was just filed last week for 212 East Main Street, Ed and Tanya Bemis for their project behind the Lithia Springs Hotel.

McLaughlin handed out a list of items in the ordinance that either needs re-wording, deletion, or further discussion about content. Some items may need to be pulled for further discussion if they are controversial. The following is a brief review of some of the items.

18.08 - Definitions
18.08.020 Accessory structure or use - Add language to differentiate and define.

Kistler has seen a lot of accessory units approved by the Commission and they meet all of the criteria. The process creates the idea that these can be stopped because they are Conditional Use Permits. He wondered why it is a CUP process. McLaughlin said the City of Ashland was one of the first cities in Oregon to allow accessory units in single family zones. There was a lot of concern among neighborhoods that single family home in a neighborhood would turn into rental areas. That was the original reason for requiring a CUP process. The Affordable Housing Action Plan lists a recommendation to make accessory units outright permitted uses given a clear set of criteria. Swales said it is an onerous and expensive process to go through. McLaughlin said removing the hurdles to create more and smaller rental uses, is a positive thing. Molnar said by leaving it a CUP, it lends a flavor that it could be denied. In the Historic District, they might want to have some control over site review. Cate Hartzell said she would like a way to guarantee affordability. Swales said in an R-1 zone, accessory units are allowed. It might be a good idea to have them in R-2 and R-3. He also noted it might be beneficial to have some flexibility with the rear yard side setback if we want to increase density.

18.08.770 Subdivide Land - Change from four lots to three lots

McLaughlin explained it could be beneficial to have the ordinance work in a way that a lot could be divided into three parcels under a Partition or the Performance Standards Options, allowing more flexibility. There are some instances where a lot can be divided into three or four lots but it isn't appropriate to divide it as a subdivision. Yet there are some parcels that have limited access on the street but are large in the back that would need a private drive and would be more appropriate processing under the Performance Standards Options. We want the definition to match the two options.

Add definitions
Gross floor area

0000000 Briggs asked if the gross floor area is interior or exterior. McLaughlin said to be consistent and measure it as exterior as in the Big Box ordinance. Dotterrer said it would seem the size of the living space would determine how many parking spaces you'd need. Swales said the Big Box has more to do with bulk and scale. McLaughlin said he'd check to see what other cities have done,

Unenclosed porch - minimum dimension - 8'x6'?

Chapter 18.14 W-R
18.14.030.C Private recreational uses and facilities. Exclude RV parks (see 18.16.030.E). Make it clear RV parks are not an allowed use.

18.14.040.A Minimum lot area, Coordinate with Chapter 18.62 Hillside Development requirements - new lots are required to be 35 percent slope or less.

Chapter 18.20 R-1
18.20.040.C Lot Depth. No lot shall have a width greater than its depth - find a different way to do an exception - have some flexibility for partitions.

McLaughlin said there have been some variances over the years for large parcels because they don't meet this requirement. Instead of having a hard and fast variance, look for a different way for an exception.

18.20.040.D Standard Yard Requirements - Change unenclosed porches to 10'? (10' is used in R-1 and R-3)

Molnar said in R-1 you can get as close as 8'. In R-2 and R-3 there is a 10' public utility easement. We should make it the same for R-1, R-2 and R-3. Kistler wondered if the overhang needed to be clarified. McLaughlin said we should add language to clarify there will be no architectural encroachment.

18.20.040.G Maximum Permitted Floor Area - Add size limitation for accessory structures?

McLaughlin asked if we should set a size limitation for an accessory structure. Do we set a minimum yard requirement? The Mayor thought we might be discouraging families moving to Ashland because we have very small private yard spaces. Do we need to set a minimum family yard area because new developments have very small private yards? Perhaps this is a bigger issue.

Chapter 18.24 R-2
18.24.040.D - Standard Yard Requirements - within Historic Interest Area. - for front yard, allow minimum of 15' excluding garages, and unenclosed porches to be 10' from front property line.

McLaughlin said when the Historic District was excluded, they didn't want to disturb the historic pattern in the districts, but have found they have run into more problems and complaints by forcing a 20' setback instead of allowing a more flexible setback. Swales said he can appreciate how another five feet could bring some homes into compatibility. Knox said the Historic Commission has made a conscientious effort not to encourage façade changes to the pattern in the Historic District. He would like to see a Variance or CUP process someone can go through to retain the historical façade. Fields asked if stairs become part of the porch. McLaughlin said they do. Fields said that should be clarified.

Hartzell thought the more we start to let people build toward a street, the more it takes away from the comfortable feel in the neighborhood. McLaughlin said the special setback for East Main was about widening. Hartzell believes we need to examine the assumption about what people want to live in. It is a quality of life issue. McLaughlin said this might be a bigger issue. Dotterrer suggested Staff bring language back with a couple of options.

18.24.040.E Special Yards - Distance Between Buildings. Delete 1 and 3, keep 2.

McLaughlin said it has been awkward. Development has changed. This ordinance was set up to be used to get some separation between buildings in a large, massive multi-family complex. Today, the difficulty is the building of one or two units and the units are required to be separated by greater distances than would be required in a standard subdivision. He said they are looking at getting rid of distance between principle and accessory buildings based on height. Instead, require an inner courtyard between dwellings. Or, dwellings that have five or more units would have to be separated by certain distances. Swales thinks this could apply to the six foot side yard setback. Palo Alto has a volumetric shape they can use. The higher you get, the more you have to narrow down the building.

18.24.040.I and J Maximum Permitted Floor Area - Specify that multi-family subdivisions creating units on individual lots cannot use the standard for single family dwellings (I), but is required to use the standard for multiple dwellings on a single lot (J).

McLaughlin said when people try to create a single family lot in a multi-family zone, they get the benefit of much larger structures than they would in a single family residential zone. There is a standard in the maximum house size ordinance for multi-family development in multi-family zones, limiting the size. That standard needs to apply even if you are creating individual lots. The language needs to be clear.

18.28. R-3 - See Chapter 18.24

Chapter 18.30 NM
18.30.050 Neighborhood General Overlay - NM-R15, change R15 to R-1-5. Add lot coverage (addressed in NM-C and NM-MF)

18.30.060 Neighborhood Edge Overlay - NM-R17.5. Change R17.5 to R-1-7.5. Add lot coverage (addressed in NM-C and NM-MF)

Chapter 18.32 C-1
18.32.025.D Residential uses. Address surface parking in garage/carport - is it permitted and how is it counted in the gross floor area?

McLaughlin said they originally thought people would put small apartments over commercial buildings and share the commercial parking with the parking in the back. Now people want garages in the commercial buildings where they live. Is that the intent of the ordinance? This may be a bigger issue.

Chapter 18.40 E-1
18.40.030.E Residential uses. Same as C-1 above.

18.40.040 Conditional uses. Add temporary uses. This is mentioned in the Procedures Chapter.

Chapter 18.61 Tree Preservation and Protection
18.61.020.D Diameter at breast height or DBH. Add "If a tree splits into multiple trunks above ground, but below 4.5 feet, the trunk is measured at its most narrow point beneath the split."

18.61.042.B Tree Removal - Verification Permit. This should be expanded to include tree protection measures - so that the Planning Dept. inspects trees to be removed and that tree protection is in place according to plan prior to site work.

18.61.200 Tree Protection. "Tree protection as required by this section is applicable to any planning action."

Street Trees - Having a separate permit is confusing to most people and it would be better to have one permit for all tree removal.

Chapter 18.62 Physical and Environmental Constraints
18.62.050.A.4 & 5 Floodplain Corridor Lands. Add "top of bank" for 20'/10' setback measurement.

18.62.080.D.3 Tree Conservation in Project Design. Coordinate with Chapter 18.61 size requirements.

18.62.080.D.4 Tree Protection. Coordinate with Chapter 18.61 requirements.

Chapter 18.68 General Regulations
18.68.010 Fences. Add a maximum height of 3.5' to 4' for fences along walkways, multi-use paths and open spaces. Bring the fences into more pedestrian scale.

18.68.303 Access. "Each lot shall abut a minimum width of 40 feet upon a public street." Add "or private drive." The last sentence is in conflict with the first sentence.

18.68.90 Nonconforming Uses and Structures. This section has been problematic in several ways.

00000 • Add "provided the addition or extension meets all requirements of this Title, " to end of section 3.
• Specify that one can rebuild exactly the same size and same use? with a building permit.
• If adding onto nonconforming structure, but new addition meets setbacks, one would need only a building permit.
• If extending the nonconforming feature, he/she would need a CUP
• Don't allow a CUP to violate rear yard setback for a second story.

McLaughlin said he would find what other cities have written for nonconforming uses.

18.68.140.D side and rear yard reduction for accessory buildings. Exclude uses for residential units - this may take care of if accessory building/unit definition is changed.

McLaughlin said most accessory buildings are out buildings used for storage or studios. Rarely are they fully occupied. There is a reason for larger setbacks for houses and occupied residential uses. We want to be clear if it is residential, as there is a larger distance.

Chapter 18.72 Site Design and Use Standards
Detail Site Review, II-C2a)1)
outside historic district, allow maximum of .85 FAR or eliminate maximum.

McLaughlin said this is a larger issue. The FAR should be a public benefit if it is increased.

Parking Lot Landscaping and Screening Standards, II-D-3) 1) require trees in parking areas to be evenly spaced throughout parking in planters (not solely around edge) - this is covered in 5), but maybe needs to be more specific - something like 3.5% of 7% required must be in interior of parking area? We are trying to clarify some parking lot and tree standards.

Street Tree Standards, II-E-1)1) Change to "Street trees shall be located in the planting strip in the right-of-way except in cases where a planting strip is not available."

Street Tree Standards, II-E-2)b) 25 feet from corner seems like a lot.

Street Tree Standards, II-E-2)f) Coordinate with street standards - tree wells shall be a minimum of 16 square feet.

Swales said there isn't a definition of what "landscaping" is - is it living landscaping or hard landscaping? Is it included within the perimeter of the building or on top of the roof? There is still an inconsistency between the C-1-D in the Site Design Standards and the Land Use Ordinance - one is 10%, the other 0%.

Ashland Boulevard Corridor Design Standards, V-B-3) Eliminate or update to match street standards.

Downtown Ashland and Downtown Design Standards - Consolidate two sections.

Chapter 18.80 Subdivisions
McLaughlin explained this is the old school subdivision standards. There are a lot of items that need to be included back into Chapter 18.88

Chapter 18.88 Performance Standards Options
18.88.020.G Obstructed Street. Change to - a public street, a private drive, or a driveway serving greater than one unit that has been obstructed by a gate or other barriers designed to restrict access.

McLaughlin said this is our language that prohibits gated communities of any sort.

18.88.50 Street Standards.

00000 • Add a new classification to allow driveways in R-2 & R-3 developments to be public streets (22' curb-to-curb, parking one side, flexibility in sidewalks and parkrows) - add limitations such as under 10 units, under 200 feet in length
• Driveways must be staggered on Neighborhood Streets
• Limit use of 22' standards by # of units and length
• Add tree grate requirement
• Clean up language on width of sidewalks on commercial streets - add zones, tree well excluded from parkrow width
• Increase multi-use path width to 10 feet minimum - unless short (100 feet or less?) and two-way traffic not anticipated.
• Max length for alleys
• Include exception language in handbook
• Maximum width for driveway aprons in R-1

McLaughlin said there are a couple of examples of one successful and one less successful private street. Ninth Street Alley is multi-family zoned. It is a private way and has been pretty successful. On the other hand, Birchwood is a private street and the owners don't like it. They want to resurface it. It's allowed in the ordinance because they are multi-family lots. Gas street lights are lit all the time. In all likelihood, they will end up asking the City to take over maintenance of the street.

18.88.060.B On-Street Parking Required. Add .5 of a space requirement for townhome development? Based on size, over 1000 sq. ft.? Require public street if creating lots and will provide on-street parking? Example: Blackberry, people parking on 20' wide private drive.

McLaughlin said we are seeing some problems with on-street parking as on Blackberry. Kistler sees a problem in places like Blackberry because we don't have 20' in front of the garages so people are unable to get into their garages. McLaughlin said they are looking at increasing the distance between the face of the garage and insuring adequate turning movements.

Chapter 18.92 Off Street Parking
18.92.020.B.5 Offices.
Increase medical and dental office parking requirement.

18.92.060.C Mixed Uses. Change maximum reduction to 25%. Existing A St. credits have been around 22% at the most.

18.92.0 Automobile Parking Design Requirements. Add 1) driveway depth requirement so that one car length can park in driveway without intruding into sidewalk, and 2) make it so short that car can't park in front of garage, or 3) and not too long so that 2 cars park stacked, and the second car hangs over the sidewalk. Example: at Chautauqua Trace along Abbot, 2 cars park stacked, one hangs over the sidewalk - if dimension was shorter, 2nd car wouldn't try to squeeze in. Example: Munson Drive - the driveways are short and one car in front of the garage hangs over the sidewalk.

18.92.070.B Driveways and Turnarounds. For garages opposite each other, add minimum setback between structures and garage faces. Example: Some Blackberry Lane units - 11' drive, 13' structure to structure, 30' garage face to garage face - turning radius does not work. Other Blackberry units - 13' drive, 20' structure to structure, 34' garage face to garage face - works.

McLaughlin said we are seeing changes in medical uses and that our parking standards are really low. The number of people waiting is more and there are more employees.

Kistler said the maximum house size ordinance is trying to cover bulk, scale and mass. People are designing homes with 20' high ceilings and it looks twice as large from the street. McLaughlin said they are getting a greater volume even though it is within the allowed square footage. Kistler said that by separating the garage by five or six feet, they can add more square footage. Fields noted someone could build a 3000 square foot garage and 2200 square foot house. Swales said the basement should be cut down to 10' in residential. Kistler said applicants are jumping to the 25% square footage exception right off the bat. McLaughlin said they are breaking new ground with these requests. They will have to take a look at the first few that come in and work through it.

Swales said he is concerned about the Big Box ordinance as it exists now, and still doesn't feel like there is enough protection with our Downtown Standards against incompatible development downtown.

Dotterrer asked to see the old ordinance language, the new language and an explanation of why the change the next time.

McLaughlin encouraged the Commissioners to send him any ideas for changes they might have.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

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