Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

October 17, 2000, 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Council Chambers.

Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.

The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 3, 2000 were approved with amendment on page 3, paragraph 6, fifth sentence, "Fine felt that there was no substantial prejudice that might be done to the applicant,..."

1. Mayor read the Proclamation of Red Ribbon Week.
2. Mayor read the Proclamation of World Population Awareness Week.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Joseph Charter to Forest Lands Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2001.
3. Liquor License Application from Mark Kelly dba Il Giardino.
4. Order denying motion to dismiss Appeal to City Council regarding Oregon Shakespeare Festival Performing Arts Theater and Parking Structure.

Councilor Reid requested item #4 was pulled from the consent agenda.

Councilors Hauck/Wheeldon m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Nolte clarified for the council that the Order is the written formal declaration of the decision made two weeks ago. That order required the appellants to submit, by October 9, 2000, a more specific notice of appeal and whether or not it was done will be determined at the hearing.

Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Public Hearing on Appeal of Planning Action 2000-074, a request for a site review for the construction of a new theater and a conditional use permit to allow the fly tower to exceed 40 feet in height. Project is located on Hargadine Street and east of South Pioneer Street and includes the construction of a parking structure. (Appellant: Swales/Lang, Applicant: Oregon Shakespeare Festival)

Shaw read the guidelines for Land Use Hearing procedures.


Reid noted that she is an owner of a Bed & Breakfast in Ashland, and several of her guests attend OSF plays. She is not a member of OSF, but she has walked through the area many times. She has also read many newspapers articles about the issue. Hanson stated that he had engaged in a conversation with members of the Historical Commission about the issue. Fine stated that in addition to the contacts he noted at the previous meeting, he has also returned a photocopy of a Corporate Rules Judgement to the applicant’s attorney by mail, but did not enclose any correspondence.

Community Development Director John McLaughlin stated that this action was heard at the initial public hearing in July by the Planning Commission. A lot of testimony was received and discussed by the Commission, and a request was made to leave the record open for seven days for additional written testimony, which was agreed upon. The Planning Commission made a decision to approve the Planning Action at the August 8 meeting, by an 8 to 1 vote. McLaughlin explained that the conditions attached to the approval, are included in the council packets.
Senior Planner Bill Molnar explained that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has proposed to construct a new theater and parking structure. The theater will be approximately 33,000 sq. ft, seating 344 people. It is subject to site review approval and the applicable criteria are found in Chapter 18.72 of the Land-Use Ordinance. Molnar explained that the fly tower is proposed to be just over 45 feet in height, requiring a conditional use permit. The proposed building will be located behind Carpenter Hall, utilizing a portion of the current Hargadine Street parking lot. The theater will consume approximately fifty-percent of the parking area, with a roughly 13,000 sq. ft footprint. The main orientation of the theater building is toward South Pioneer Street. East of the proposed building is a new multilevel parking structure, with 140 parking spaces. Molnar stated that due to the location, the project is subject to 150 separate design standards and that the applicant had requested, and was approved by the Planning Commission, exceptions to six design standards. The Planning Commission concluded that the project was consistent with a great majority of the standards recommended and approved the application with thirteen conditions. Staff recommends upholding the Planning Commission’s decision and approval with the conditions.

McLaughlin stated that in the appellant’s 65-page presentation, many of the issues raised, had been heard previously and addressed. He also noted the following new issues that had not previously raised:
1) A proposal for bricks in the sidewalk, and sidewalk standards for poured concrete. McLaughlin noted that staff had added a condition requiring that the sidewalk work be done under the permit and approval of Public Works.
2) Building size requirements. McLaughlin explained that the numbers quoted were based on the architect’s building plan, which is measured from the outside of the building. He further explained that, as is written in city ordinance, the measurements are made from the inside of the walls, and the 44,000 sq. ft building is within the 45,000 sq. ft limit.
3) Building separation, and firewalls. McLaughlin stated that one solution is to attach the theater to the parking structure, which would alleviate a few building code issues, but would also exceed the square footage requirement. An alternative solution, would be to create a firewall, which was also considered by the architects in the building department. Staff recommended adding a condition ensuring that the buildings are noncontiguous.

McLaughlin explained that pages 1 through 25 is information that the appellant provided as was requested by council. He stated that staff had not made a determination as to whether this information had met the requirements and that there was no new information presented by the appellants. He felt that the issue was mainly that the appellants did not agree with the Planning Commission decision.

Craig Stone, Consulting Urban Planner representing OSF, requested that the full Planning Commission record be included into the record of this proceeding. He stated that in the proposal before the Planning Commission, there was envisioned a 3-_ ft separation between the theater building and the parking structure, which was sufficient to make neither structure exceed the size regulations of the code. After approval by the Planning Commission, discussion ensued in the more detailed architectural design and building code processes that raised the desire to connect the buildings. Stone explained that to do so would violate Ashland building codes and in order to comply with both the land-use and building codes, the applicant is willing to build a firewall. He stated that the applicant will also comply with the City’s conditional requirement regarding sidewalk construction.

Thomas Hacker, architect representing OSF, voiced the desire to build a theater that is the best in the world, attracting actors, directors, and playwrights from around the world, whereby stimulating the economy. He explained that it is the Festival’s desire to create a building of strength and character and noted the number of dedicated people who have worked for two years, and eighteen public meetings during the design of this project. He explained that by creating a parking structure, parking is provided without impeding on Carpenter Hall. Hacker described the design elements, including the aesthetic advantages. He explained that a firewall is constructed of either concrete, concrete block, or brick masonry, which vary in thickness, and is rated by the number of hours it would take for a fire to burn through the wall. He indicated on the model where the firewall would be constructed, explaining that the firewall would protect the building from burning situations from outside.

Hacker explained for the council that the trees already existing on the site are planted directly into the earth, not just in planters. Project Manager Pam Brown explained for the council that vines will be planted around the perimeter, and trees along the southeast and southwest corners. She stated that any vegetation on the top deck would need to be irrigated, which will be provided. Hacker explained that planting of 20-foot tree wells would significantly alter the design structure, which would increase costs, and as a result is not planned at this time. He clarified that drainage systems are not being included for residential use, but could be added later at no risk to the structure and that drainage does exist for rainfall.

City Administrator Greg Scoles explained for the council that at the time of the lease, there would be no preclusion for the building of restrooms, and added that there was no preclusion for building another story either. Laws stated the council did not require restrooms, and as a result they were not included in the design. Hacker explained that restrooms have not been precluded, and could be installed after the construction. Scoles stated that if the council wanted to make this a condition, it could be added. In conclusion, Stone stated they have attempted to address all of the criteria, including issues brought forth by the opponents.

Dan Thorndyke/369 Granite/
Read a letter into the record from Ted Mularz. (The letter is attached to the permanent record located in the City Recorder’s office). Thorndyke noted that he is an OSF board member. He stressed the number of compromises that have been made throughout the progress of this project. The process has been a balance of desires both by OSF and by community members. He urged the council to refrain from underestimating the care and concern by OSF members regarding the value of the new theater. He requested that the council approve the application.

Paul Mensch/451 N Main/Feels there is a need to provide a quality product, and noted his involvement in tourism. The building should "stand on its own" and reflect the style of what will be performed in the theater. He feels it is time to move on, and not dwell on what might have been thought of in the past and rejected. He noted there are other non profits in the city, just like OSF, who enjoy an exemption from property taxes. He stressed that this is a replacement theater. He concluded by encouraging the council to approve the application.

Duane Smith/2165 West Jackson Rd/Noted that when he came to Ashland, the town was not much, but it did have a theater, setting it apart from all the other little towns. There was a struggling college, not expected to survive, in fact the Festival was not expected to survive. The town has grown into a unique cultural experience. Some day, the City of Ashland will be judged on decisions made now. He feels the problem is not the Festival, but the traffic pattern.

Tom Knapp/820 Iowa/He explained the issues brought forward about the decision to replace the Black Swan with a new theater, noting the need for actor accessibility, seating capacity, and fly height within the theater.

Rick Nagel/290 N Main #18/Spoke as a representative for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. He stated that the Chamber of Commerce is supportive of the application, and noted the care and sensitivity that have gone into the plan.
Kathryn Breslauer/305 Randy Street/Voiced her support of the proposed building and how the system is addressing the requests of the actors.

Chris Sackett/645 Glenwood Drive/
Stated that the benefits contributed to the community by the new theater is substantial and hopes that the plan stays intact.

Michael Donovan/110 Westwood/Spoke in favor of the application and disagreed with the appeal. He noted the proposed parking structure is integral to the transportation plan. This process has been a long time coming, and there are significant reasons why it is a benefit to the festival. Great efforts were taken to bring the public into the development of the new theater. Great care was taken to cause as minimal an impact on the community as possible throughout the construction of the proposed theater and parking structure.

City Attorney Nolte clarified for the appellant, that the issue regarding conflict of interest, as presented in a memo at the beginning of the hearing had been satisfied.

Phillip Lang/Believes the appellants’ case has more than enough findings, based on ordinances, to sustain the appeal and terminate the proposed project. Some of the raw injections, standing alone, are sufficient to do so. A lot of material was submitted originally, and more subsequently. He urged the council to review all the material, written and oral.
Colin Swales/Presented a detailed slide-show which illustrated various views of the proposed site. The main wall of the proposed building is 38 feet tall and faces north, which will block the sunlight along the walkway, and noted that the fly tower is 56 feet tall. He voiced his concern with the lease and property line. Although the new theater does not fall within the hillside step-down ordinance, it does abut a neighborhood that does. He agrees that the Black Swan should be replaced, however, this plan does not replace it, but keeps it and builds another theater as well. Swales compared various other fly towers in the city, noting how they block surrounding views. He noted the lack of protection for pedestrians in regard to traffic, such as garbage trucks, business parking, emergency vehicles, and other traffic. He identified the mature trees, which will be removed and replaced with screens. He concluded by noting that the contiguous groups of buildings exceed the gross sq. ft limitation of 45,000 ft by more than 1.7 times, and this is without taking into consideration the fact that the buildings are contiguous with Carpenter Hall.

Lang noted that the Planning Commission approved a design that does not work, and as a result, long meetings ensued between the Planning Department staff, and the developer to try to make it work. He stated that a different plan was developed to make the buildings contiguous, but that it does not work either. He felt that the applicant was again coming up with another plan. He does not believe it is prudent to approve a site design and series of elaborate plans that turn out to be defective, which are then patched, and then are in violation of code. He stated that the site plan and proposal are defective and they need to go back to the drawing board.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Voiced his concern for the need of another Bowmer Theater and noted other urban areas that have developed large convention centers, and the detriment they caused.

Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/
Passed around a map for the council to inspect. It was her intention to speak about the architectural compatibility with the impact area, and the scale and bulk. She addressed the "sense of entry," stating it does not meet the standards of the City of Ashland, as it is too close to Carpenter Hall. The cornice rough of the new theater overlaps the rafter tails of Carpenter Hall and that when the Planning Commission approved the application, they did not know where the property line was at the time. She stated the drawings and the models do not meet the words of the developers. The sense of entry is described as having columns, but in the model and drawings there are no columns, but 4 x 4 shaft instead. A column has a base, a shaft, and a capital. In addition, the trellis does not provide protection when it is raining. Her criticism is the entry, and she feels it needs to be reworked.

Billie Hicks/190 Vista/
Is a Shakespeare supporter, but he has strong concerns about the practical concepts. He lives in the theater neighborhood and the issues of traffic and parking has not been addressed and it is inappropriate for the council to pass the proposal until a study is done.

Bill Street/180 Mead/
Spoke to the conditional use permit approval criteria, Section C, #1 "similarity in scale, bulk and coverage," and #3 "architectural compatibility with the impact area." He referred to a response from Craig Stone Associates, page 5 from the document sent to the Ashland Planning Commission on July 25, 2000, in response to the land use application, and siting the Clark v. Jackson County 1992. The case affirmed the local government’s interpretation of an ordinance, unless LUBA determines that the local government’s interpretation is inconsistent with expressed language of the ordinance or its apparent purpose for policy. He questioned the purpose of the big box standard (45,000 sq. ft limitation) in the downtown area. Street noted that there would be no parking structure without the theater, and in essence they are symbiotic. In response to Mr. Hacker’s earlier statements, Street believes that without the courtyard, the new theater is really just a large warehouse. He questioned whether it fits the standards of the City, and asked the council to deny the application.

Council preferred hearing staff response after applicant rebuttal.

Craig Stone clarified that the conditional use permit will not produce a greater material adverse effect upon certain qualities in comparison to the target use. A commercial zoning district (shopping centers, department stores, etc.) has a floor area ratio of 1.0, and with a loose interpretation of what that means, it would be over 100,000 sq. ft. The second issue regarding the size of the two buildings, because they are two separate structures, there is no violation of the 45,000 sq. ft standards. He stated that the design plans were as detailed a set of plans as the City has ever seen, but that there are details that remain to be worked out. He explained that these details will be worked out in a way that does not violate the City’s land use ordinance or its building codes. Regarding the entrance architecture, experts and non experts alike disagree on what constitutes good architecture. The Planning Commission elected to keep the architecture, but added vegetation to the top level of the parking structure. Storm drainage has been examined and can be dealt with. Stone clarified for the council that ODOT does not require a traffic study, and no study was done.


Reid noted that it was never decided that the downtown area was not ever going to have contiguous buildings. McLaughlin clarified, noting when the ordinance was written, that all buildings constructed prior to 1992 were exempt. Reid stated that when the committee made the ordinance, it was not the intention to destroy the ambience of the downtown area, which is filled with contiguous buildings. McLaughlin clarified that as the ordinance is written, if buildings are touching, they are contiguous. If the buildings are not contiguous, they must be separated by a distance of 60-ft or a distance equal to the height of the building. McLaughlin clarified that, target use of a zone, means similar uses in the downtown district with a floor area ratio 1:1, meaning for every sq. ft of building for every sq. foot of lot area. The residential area across the street has a different target zone. He also responded to the council’s questions regarding landscaping requirements in that a tree is required for every 800 sq. ft of plaza area. Trees are planned throughout the site, and not just in the new brick area. In addition, the open-air public space was proposed by the applicants as part of the equation, but there was no square footage requirement.

McLaughlin addressed concern regarding traffic from the parking structure, and explained that the Traffic Safety Committee could consider making the alley one-way at any time.

Nolte explained that the building code would dictate whether the buildings can encroach onto the adjacent property, and that this is more of a building code issue than a planning issue. McLaughlin explained that the applicants have stipulated that they will do a boundary line adjustment as necessary. He continued by clarifying that the city ordinance defines a height of a building, not from the peak of the roof, but is based on the average height of the peak and the eave. He explained that code issues, involving the building of the structure, would be resolved through the building permit process.

McLaughlin corrected his earlier statement regarding plaza space, and clarified that there is a minimum requirement of one square foot of plaza space for every ten square feet of gross floor area, which the applicants have met with 95,000 sq. ft of plaza space.

Reid stated that she prefers contemporary rather than duplicative architecture, and that in the future, people would be able to appreciate the style set for today, not a duplicate of the past. Although she might want to make a few changes, she feels it is not her place to redesign the building, and felt that the council should deny the appeal.

Laws stated that there are a variety of things he does not like about the building, but he also feels that the criteria have been met. He felt that the council has an obligation to base their decision on the criteria and that the requirements for the conditional use permit and the site review are adequately satisfied.

Fine agreed that the aesthetics were not in accordance with his own tastes, but that this was not the issue. He felt that there is sufficient compatibility with the architecture on the impact area. Regarding the ordinance limitation of 45,000 sq. ft, he feels that within the interpretation of the ordinance, this project is not a contiguous group of buildings of over 45,000 sq. ft. Fine requested that staff consider redefining the ordinance and felt that had the ordinance previously and consistently been interpreted to include adjacency, this project would be more than 45,000 sq. ft in a contiguous group of buildings. He stated that the applicant had met each of the land-use approval criteria.

Wheeldon requested that the lot line adjustment be addressed and noted her concern regarding the traffic in the alley, and that the alley is not an exit for the parking area.

Councilors Reid/Hauck m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Nolte suggested requiring that the applicant do a lot line adjustment, if necessary under the code, for those two buildings. The applicant could also be required to present the traffic issue to the Traffic Safety Committee for them to determine appropriate egress. Reid stated that she does not agree with Wheeldon’s concern, as traffic patterns are not clear. She is reluctant to add that requirement to the motion without knowing what the professional design came up with regarding ingress and egress. Laws stated that traffic issues would be better viewed after the building is constructed, as there is no way of knowing how traffic will be affected at this point. McLaughlin stated a traffic flow study could be performed at any time. Wheeldon noted her concern regarding the lack of shade for the parking structure.

Councilors Laws/Hauck m/s to approve the application with the following conditions: 1) conditions set by the Planning Commission; 2) that the work is done under the permit process and approved by Pubic Works; 3) ensure that the buildings are noncontiguous; and 4) that if it is found necessary to comply with Building Code requirements, a lot line adjustment process is required. Findings are to be brought back for approval at the next council meeting. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Fine, Wheeldon, and Hanson all YES. Motion approved.

Moved to continued meeting of Wednesday, October 18.

Councilor Laws/Hauck m/s moved to suspend the rules and place Ordinances, Resolutions, and Contracts next on the agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.
2. Designation of voting delegate for Annual Business Meeting at League of Oregon Cities Conference.
Moved to the continued meeting of Wednesday, October 18.

1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution establishing Residential Direct Connect Internet Rates for the Ashland Fiber Network, Re adopting all other rates without change and repealing Resolution No. 99-29."
Councilors Fine/Hauck m/s to approve Resolution. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon, and Fine all YES. Motion Passed

2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Dedicating Property for Open Space Park Purposes pursuant to Article XIXA, Section 2, of the City Charter (Gonzales Property located at corner of East Main and Wightman Streets)."
Councilors Hauck/Laws m/s to approve Resolution. Roll Call Vote: Wheeldon, Hauck, Fine, Laws, Reid, and Hanson all YES. Motion Passed.

3. A motion to approve signing of BPA Power Agreement between Ashland and BPA.
Director of Electric and Telecommunications Pete Lovrovich introduced John Lebens from the Department of Energy Bonneville Power Administration and presented proposed 10 year BPA contract. He explained that the existing wholesale power contract will expire October 31, 2001, and that BPA has been involved in a rate case for many months. He explained that the City of Ashland has been a "full requirement customer" with BPA since 1981 and that this contract offer would continue the relationship through September 2011. Currently, City of Ashland rates are 18% below Pacific Power and Light utility rates, which includes a 25% utility tax. This is partly due to BPA’s 1996 rate reduction of 13.8%. A conservation of renewable energy discount of approximately $75,000 per year will be received, which is due to the purchase of Green Power. Transmission service is included in the contract with a 1.5% increase. Trends are increasing by leaps and bounds and no other provider comes close to the rates offered by BPA. After five years, BPA will reevaluate the rates.

Nolte noted recent changes to the contract: 1) a recital was deleted as the language was confusing and redundant; and 2) clarification was added differentiating mandated and voluntary retail access. The most important change included the rate covenant for the collection of charges. It was important to clarify that there is no rate covenant that must be adjusted for telecommunication revenues to protect purchases of electric power and BPA has agreed to this stipulation.

Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to approve signing of BPA Power Agreement with amendment to contract that it includes adding Green Power for the next budget year. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Hanson, Fine, Wheeldon, Hauck, and Laws all YES. Motion Passed.


Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m. to continued meeting at 12:00 p.m. on October 18, in the council chambers.

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