Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

MARCH 10, 2009

Chair Michael Dawkins called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.

Planning Commissioners Present: Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins
Larry Blake
Tom Dimitre
Dave Dotterrer
Pam Marsh
Deborah Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Mike Morris
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant
Absent Members: Council Liaison:
None Eric Navickas
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the March Study Session has been moved to March 31 in order to accommodate individuals who will be out of town for spring break.
A. Approval of Minutes
1.   February 10, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting
2.   February 24, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting
B. Letter of Support for City of Ashland Transportation and Growth Management Grant
Commissioners Marsh/Mindlin m/s to approve the February 10, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Commissioners Dotterrer/Marsh m/s to approve the February 24, 2009 Planning Commission minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a brief overview of the Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) Grant and explained several of the City's appointed and elected bodies are being asked to sign letters of support to accompany the grant application. Commissioner Marsh expressed disappointment with the letter and stated she would have preferred for the language to be stronger and clearer.

No one came forward to speak.
A. Exit 14 and 19 Aesthetics Advisory Committee Update
Commissioner Dawkins stated he is a member of the Exit 14 and 19 Aesthetics Advisory Committee (AAC) and provided an update on the proposed bridge designs. Dawkins passed around the initial design concepts and stated most of the Committee members preferred a clean look to the bridges. He noted the design for Exit 14 will include a bicycle lane and sidewalks across the bridge; he also noted the proposed railing and banners. Dawkins shared his concern with the amount of funding the State would provide for this project and suggested the City may have to pay a portion of the landscaping materials and installation.

Commissioner Dotterrer stated it was his understanding that the State viewed Exit 14 as an entry into the Oregon and they were willing to spend the money to make it look nice. Dawkins indicated the State has not provided a budget, so the AAC is unsure about the amount of funding available for this project. Mr. Molnar stated after the AAC comes up with a few options there will likely be an assessment of the State's budget. Then the Committee will be able to make a final decision based on the total costs and funding available.

Mr. Molnar commented briefly on the concept of flying banners on the bridge and clarified the City has a permit process for placing banners on public right of way and this would not conflict with the City's Sign Code.

Commissioner Miller voiced her support for an attractive bridge design. She stated the preliminary designs are lovely and hopes the State will spend the extra money to make the bridges look nice.

B. Planning Commission Input to Council Goal Setting - Discussion of Priorities

Transportation Planning
Commissioner Marsh provided an overview of the Planning Commission's role in the Transportation System Plan (TSP) update and incorporating a planning vision and active participation. She noted the Commission's goal of updating the Ashland Comprehensive Plan and stated you cannot do land use planning without transportation planning, and vice versa. Marsh commented on the recent formation of the Transportation Commission and noted she has had conversations with Mayor Stromberg, Michael Dawkins, and Bill Molnar about how the Planning Commission can specifically be apart of the TSP update process. She recommended there be an official delegate from the Planning Commission to the Transportation Commission and stated they should define an arrangement and obtain the City Council's blessing.

Commissioner Dawkins voiced his support for a Planning Commission liaison. Dotterrer suggested the two commissions consider exchanging liaisons and they would participate as an active member on issues related to the TSP update. Mr. Molnar noted he had spoken with Public Works Director Mike Faught and Mayor Stromberg about how to have more interaction between the two commissions and they have discussed bringing the two commissions together every four months or so. Commissioner Blake recommended staff provide the Transportation Commission's agendas so they are aware of when they are meeting and what is being discussed.

Marsh restated her recommendation for the Planning Commission to formalize a role in transportation planning in the form of joint Study Sessions and possibly a dedicated liaison. Dotterrer noted the motion regarding the recommended goals from the previous meeting and felt this adequately captured the intent.

Mr. Molnar clarified the Council goal setting is scheduled to take place on April 11 and staff would prepare a statement on behalf of the Commission and bring it back for their review at the March 31st Study Session. Comment was made questioning if the Planning Commission Chair could attend the Council goal setting and present the Commission's recommendations in person. Council Liaison Navickas voiced his support for this idea and encouraged Commissioner Dawkins to speak with the Mayor about this possibility.

Commissioner Mindlin provided an overview of the sustainability goal. She commented on the completion of the sustainability inventory by the Sustainability Work Group and stated when people were asked "What does sustainability mean to you?" some of the main answers were: protecting the environment, wise use of resources, food security, local economic resiliency, and communications. Mindlin stated the second phase of this project is to determine what other communities are doing to promote sustainability, and stated a starting point might include researching sustainability plans, how citizen groups are interfacing with local governments, and local economic development. She stated her hope is that the City Council will support the Planning Commission's ongoing research into this subject. The Commission voiced their support for continuing this research.

Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan
Commissioner Morris commented on the Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan. He stated this is the last big chunk of available land and voiced his support for adopting a master plan before it gets divided up and developed into smaller parcels. He noted that he does have some questions and concerns with the Draft Plan, but overall supports moving this forward.

Clarification was requested on what the City Council has directed the Planning Commission to do, and whether this Plan has already been adopted. Mr. Molnar explained the City Council did not adopt the Plan, but rather directed staff to initiate the planning for creating the Croman Master Plan. He stated the direction from the Council is for the Planning Commission to start hashing out the details and clarified the Commission would be able to incorporate some flexibility. Comment was made questioning if the Commission would be able to make substantial changes to the Plan. Mr. Molnar indicated they would need to consult with the Council on any major changes. Council Liaison Navickas stated the basic overlay was endorsed by the Council and they have forwarded it onto the Planning Commission to work out the details.

Several commissioners shared their preferences on how this land should be developed and some voiced frustration that the Planning Commission was not given the opportunity to review and issue a recommendation on the Draft Plan before it went to Council. Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the City Council has directed staff to begin the process to implement the Draft Plan, which includes creating new ordinances and zoning overlays. She stated the Council did not adopt the Plan, but rather directed staff to work with the Commission on moving this forward. She noted the lengthy public involvement process that went into creating the Draft Plan and stated this public involvement will continue. Ms. Harris commented on the upcoming outreach that will take place as the Commission moves forward, and stated while some may disagree with elements in the Plan, it is important to respect the work that the community has put in thus far. She added it does not mean the Plan cannot be massaged, but it also should not be ignored.

Council Liaison Navickas commented on ways the Plan could be expanded on or changed and provided some examples.

Commissioner Marsh commented that it is clear the Croman Plan should be on their list of goals. She noted the dissenting opinions and stated they will have plenty to talk about as this moves forward. Commissioner Dimitre requested staff provided an analysis of how this Plan fits in with the expressed goals, which included workforce housing and sustainability.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant


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