Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Study Session-Sign & Tree Amend.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005




MAY 24, 2005



Chair John Fields called the study session to order at 8:05 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, OR.


COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:            John Fields, Chair

                                                                                Michael Dawkins

                                                                                Mike Morris

                                                                                Olena Black          

                                                                                Russ Chapman

                                                                                John Stromberg

                                                                                Allen Douma

                                                                                Dave Dotterrer

                                                                                Kerry KenCairn

                ABSENT MEMBERS:                            None

                COUNCIL LIAISON:                             Jack Hardesty

                STAFF:                                                   John McLaughlin, Planning Director

                                                                                Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

                                                                                Mike Reeder, Assistant City Attorney

                                                                                Sue Yates, Executive Secretary




McLaughlin has reviewed Brent Thompson’s letter of May 8, 2005 regarding revisions to the Sign Regulations ordinance referring to signs on business entrances.  The Council asked for clarification. The code requires there has to be a public entrance wherever there is a sign.  Staff began by looking at how to make more attractive entrances, but that becomes very discretionary.  Sign permits are currently issued over the counter without land use approvals.  If we start adding discretion about an entrance meeting a certain standard, we would then have to provide public notice for sign permits. 


It seemed most prudent to delete the wording from 18.96.080 Commercial-Downtown Overlay District (C-1-D) A.1 and 18.96.090 Commercial, Industrial and Employment Districts A.1., “and no building shall be credited with more than two business frontages.” 


It is appropriate to allocate a sign to a separate business frontage that has an entrance.


Staff disagreed with Thompson’s provision about allowing signs on blank walls.  


McLaughlin explained that it was assumed a building would have a front and a back.  What we are finding as old buildings are rehabilitated and new buildings are built, there are entrances on corners and one building can have several public entrances to different businesses.  The size of the sign will still be based on lineal building frontage.   Even if a large frontage is broken into smaller businesses, the overall sign square footage would remain the same. 


Morris does not have a problem with the ordinance change.  He is concerned with someone merely pulling a building permit to install an entrance.  McLaughlin said we don’t have any design standards for adding an entrance. He will add wording linking the sign code language to the Site Review Chapter. KenCairn wouldn’t want that trigger in every situation.  Dawkins would like to see some review, but not necessarily a planning action.


McLaughlin said the timeline for approving this ordinance will be lengthened by adding site design language. 


Fields took a straw poll and the majority favored doing the lesser alteration to the sign code at this time (deleting designated wording in Sign Regulations), knowing it will be reviewed by the consultants. 


Black abstained from the straw poll because she is concerned she has not been given enough information nor enough time to review the information received at tonight’s meeting.  She requested for now and in the future, more time to review materials. 




McLaughlin referred to the memo to the Tree Commission/Planning Commission dated May 24, 2005 concerning the Tree Ordinance and how it applies to building permits.  This means construction can occur without needing a planning action.  One of the concessions in writing the ordinance was to allow owners of individual lots and single family homes to cut trees on their property.  It is not a regulated activity.  However, the ordinance contradicts itself.  Under 18.61.200 Tree Protection reads “Tree Protection as required by this section is applicable to any planning action OR building permit.” 


Staff took this conflict to the Tree Commission and asked for their input on clarifying both regulated activities and tree protection applying to only activities involving planning actions, not building permits.  The Tree Commission agreed and recommended that we provide an educational component with building permits and building permit reviews and let people know they should install tree protection during construction on their property. 


The other option would be to require tree protection and regulate tree removal especially those associated with construction for single family residences.


McLaughlin said it has been the Planning Department’s experience that most people want to protect their trees but may not know how to protect their trees. 


The recommended wording for the ordinance change under 18.61.200 Tree Protection would read as follows:  Tree Protection as required by this section is applicable to any planning action or building permit associated with a planning action. 


Bryan Holley, Tree Commissioner, said they’d always hoped to have an educational component to go hand in hand with the ordinance to let people know how they can protect their trees during construction.  The Tree Commission and Planning Staff will put together the educational piece.  Trees will have to be shown on the plans and a verification visit. 


One problem that could arise is that oftentimes the contractor comes to the office to pull a permit and Staff does not always deal directly with owners.  The contractors don’t have as much a vested interest as a homeowner.  How can this be remedied?



This will be discussed at the next meeting. 



The Land Use Ordinance will be reviewed by a consultant in the next few months.  If the Commissioners have any items for the consultant to review, e-mail the item to Sue Yates (


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


Respectfully submitted,


Susan Yates



Online City Services

Pay Your Utility Bill
Connect to
Ashland Fiber Network
Request Conservation
Proposals, Bids
& Notifications
Request Building
Building Permit
Apply for Other
Permits & Licenses
Register for
Recreation Programs

©2023 City of Ashland, OR | Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A




twitter facebook Email Share
back to top