Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Tuesday, May 29, 2007




MAY 29, 2007


CALL TO ORDER – Chair John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main Street.

Commissioners Present:        


Council Liaison:

John Stromberg, Chair

Michael Dawkins

Olena Black

Tom Dimitre


Cate Hartzell, Council Liaison, present


Staff Present:

David Stalheim, Community Development Director

John Fields

Pam Marsh


Bill Molnar, Planning Manager

Maria Harris, Senior Planner

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris


Sue Yates, Executive Secretary

Dave Dotterrer



Absent Members:  None














Pat Acklin, Associate Professor of Geography, introduced her students who presented the research they conducted for the Planning Department on six properties that have filed Measure 37 claims with proximity to the City of Ashland. 


The properties include: 

1.            The Gerber and Billings properties at the far northwest end of the City.  The presenters were:  Whitney Vonada, Josh McPhearson, and Gustavo Monteverde.  

2.            The Maddox and Pearson claims that are just north of the City.  The presenters were:  JoJo Mickey, Lyndsey DeWitt and Kate McGuire.

3.            The Saunders and Provost claims at the southeast end of town.  The presenters were:  Diane Lightman and Terry Eubanks.  Brianna Bergman worked on the project but was unable to attend tonight’s meeting.


Each group gave a short presentation giving a description of each property, lot area, and zoning, history of the ownership, site description, slope, and soils along with the potential for development.  They will give the research data and a full report and CD to the City Planning Department.  Acklin said she’d make herself available for questions, clarifications or methodology.


Stalheim thanked the students for their hard work.  The idea of doing this was a way to start the discussion that we might want to have as a City and a Commission about the Measure 37 claims.  Stromberg said the Commission will need a briefing in the near future in order to get our bearings on what our role is concerning Measure 37 claims.


WETLANDS & RIPARIAN ORDINANCE UPDATE – Presented by Bill Molnar, Planning Manager 

Molnar discussed the four parts of the program and the initial template for an ordinance.  They are:  1) Conduct a local inventory of wetlands and riparian (approved by the state in 2007), 2) Adopt inventory into the Comprehensive Plan, 3) Revise and update existing ordinances, and 4) Public education and outreach. 


Mike Morris is the Planning Commission committee member.  Molnar said they’ll be make planning revisions to the draft in the next month and bring it to a Planning Commission study session. 


Molnar gave a more detailed explanation of the finer points of the draft ordinance as outlined in his PowerPoint presentation.  Depending on how long the approval process takes for the ordinance, we might come forward and adopt the inventory. 


PUBLIC MEETINGS AND QUASI-JUDICIAL MATTERS TRAINING – Presentation by Paul Nolte, League of Oregon Cities

Nolte gave a PowerPoint presentation briefly explaining the legislative process.  His overriding reminder to the Commissioners is to ask themselves “What Would a Judge Do (WWJD)?  He then reviewed the quasi-judicial decision making and the strict procedures required from noticing, public access, reading of a script, and the opportunity to be heard to providing an impartial decision-maker, and in certain circumstances, allowing a continuance of a hearing or leaving the record open for more evidence or argument.  A decision is made that is supported by findings.  A record is kept of the hearing and there is notification of a final decision. 


Nolte reviewed ex parte contacts.  His advice to the Commission was to avoid ex parte contacts.  A judge would never allow ex parte contacts.  Difficulties arise when ex parte contacts occur.  A Commissioner’s decision has to come from the facts presented to them by the parties that appear before them.  That evidence has to be publicly disclosed.  Anything in the public domain has to be made part of the record.  It is problematic and he would discourage a Commissioner from doing his/her own research.  Let the applicant bring information to you.  If you do your own research, it must be disclosed.  Don’t forget:  the burden of proof is on the applicant.  Bringing one’s own general knowledge to the meeting is acceptable.


With regard to bias, he would strongly discourage Councilors from attending quasi-judicial hearings.  He would discourage Planning Commissioners from serving on other commissions or attending other commission meetings if they plan to discuss anything that would come before the Planning Commission.  If a Commissioner does attend other commission meetings, they need to make a full disclosure before the Planning Commission.


When it involves trusting someone that comes before the Commission, unless it’s clear on the record that what is being said is incorrect, you can’t use that against them.  Nolte said bias is very hard to prove at the appellate court level. 


Nolte said the Commission can decide how they want to elicit bias challenges.  The Planning Commission can decide to require a bias challenge in writing or verbally, with or without time limits. 


Nolte discussed conflicts of interest.   



Stalheim went over the tentative agenda and Molnar reviewed the site tour.  Stromberg asked each Commissioner to think about possible goals. When they talk about how they work together, Stromberg would like to have each person spend a couple of minutes talking about their background and what brought them to the commission.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m. 


Respectfully submitted by,

Sue Yates, Executive Secretary







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