Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Tuesday, January 23, 2007





JANUARY 23, 2007



I.             CALL TO ORDERChair John Fields called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.


Commissioners Present:   


Council Liaison:

John Fields, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black


Kate Jackson, Council Liaison

John Stromberg

Pam Marsh


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

Melanie Mindlin


Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Mike Morris


Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Tom Dimitre



Dave Dotterrer



Absent Members:  None




Council Members Present:

Kate Jackson, Council Liaison to the Planning Commission

Cate Hartzell

Eric Navickas

Russ Silbiger

David Chapman

Alice Hardesty






Bob Parker gave his presentation of the draft Economic Opportunities Analysis.  The Planning Commission and city Council members in attendance had questions regarding the Economic Opportunities Analysis.   



1.            Black:  Isn’t tourism an industry?  Why isn’t that emphasized more, along with fine arts?

2.            Stromberg:  What benefit will industry provide to Ashland’s economy?

3.            Navickas:  Shouldn’t the City protect our employment zones?  The city allows parking and residential uses, which diminishes the actual employment gains.

4.            Dawkins:   Is rail, freight and passenger part of the future?

5.            Dotterrer:  Is proximity to I-5 an advantage compared to other cities in the county?

6.            Jackson:   There is a growing emphasis in the MPO to look at passenger rail.  Central Point and other areas in Jackson County are looked at as the best rail freight location for industry.

7.            Black:  How much is there in home based businesses that take advantage of the internet?

8.            Mindlin:   Ashland has a much higher percentage of employment to population compared to other areas.  Why is that?

9.            Dawkins:  Explain what is meant by certification of property for industry.

10.          Silbiger:  Can we get some information on seasonality of employment?

11.          Hartzell:  Are there examples of industries that are focused around sustainability?  Co-location of these industries.

12.          Dotterrer:  Asked for further explanation about the role of SOU.

13.          Black:  SOU is starting to focus on fine arts and environmental science.

14.          Jackson:  Are we capable of maintaining businesses if they want to expand?  What size sites (how large) do we need?

15.          Stromberg:  It doesn’t sound like we’re talking about economic impact, just development.  Businesses that feed off SPU would have a positive impact.  Downtown plan would talk about the mix of businesses.  Keep the benefits within the community.

16.          Hartzell:  Advantages that we have is that labor force has a higher level of education.

17.          Black:  What is the down side of us being part of a regional economy?

18.          Mindlin:  Is it low-skilled people that commute here or high-skilled?

19.          Colin Swales:  Look at live-work.  Look at incentives for incubators.

20.          Navickas:  Look at incentives.  Would these be low or higher paying jobs?  What about residential uses in industrial overlays?

21.          Fields:  Home based business growing out of their home.  Start-up is linked to the internet.  How does office park relate to employment growth?

22.          Hartzell:  Some people don’t think Ashland will use industrial zone.

23.          Stromberg:  We need to also look at attracting investment capital.

24.          Mindlin:  Some of the assumptions she questions in the report.  If there is a projection of 2,000 employees and only 1,500 population, something doesn’t seem right.

25.          Hartzell:  People want employment that lives here. 

26.          Rebecca Reid:  Economic development doesn’t have to be synonymous with new jobs.  It can mean increasing the standard of living.  What are the strategies to tap high skill workers?

27.          Dotterrer:  We need to address the role of SOU in strategies.



Bill provided a work plan, calendar and update on the riparian ordinance.



A special meeting has been called for February 8th to begin discussion about Planning goals and work plan.


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


Respectfully submitted by

Susan Yates, Executive Secretary




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