Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission

Tuesday, January 26, 2010





January 26, 2010



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


Commissioners Present:


Staff Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris


Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner

Richard Appicello, City Attorney

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant





Absent Members:


Council Liaison:

Dave Dotterrer

John Rinaldi, Jr.


Eric Navickas, absent



Commissioner Marsh announced the vacancy on the Planning Commission and encouraged interested citizens to submit applications to the Mayor’s office.


Community Development Director Bill Molnar noted a review of the City’s 2007 Economic Opportunities Analysis has been completed and the report is now available on the City’s website. Commissioner Marsh requested this report be distributed to the Planning Commission at their next meeting. She also noted Commissioner Rinaldi is a member of the Economic Development Technical Advisory Committee and he will be providing an update at a future meeting.



No one came forward to speak.



A.         PLANNING ACTION: #2009-01610 (Part 1)
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION: Public Hearing regarding amendments to the Ashland Land Use Ordinance (ALUO) chapters 18.108.070 and 18.112 concerning timetable tolling.

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman stated the Planning Commission previously reviewed this, however the following revisions have been made to the ordinance that is before them: 1) the appeal tolling period will be equal to the exact number of days the project is under appeal (not to exceed 24 months), 2) to obtain a tolling period extension an application must be filed, and 3) there are three conditions that must be met in order to receive the extension. Mr. Goldman elaborated on the three conditions and stated an extension can only be granted if the Staff Advisor determines that the following conditions are met: 1) a one time extension no longer than 18 months is allowed, 2) the Staff Advisor shall find that a change of conditions for which the applicant was not responsible prevented the applicant from completing the development within the original time limitation, and 3) Land Use Ordinance requirements applicable to the development have not changed since the original approval; however an extension may be granted if the requirements have changed and the applicant agrees to comply with any such changes. Mr. Goldman clarified applications that would need substantial changes to bring them into compliance with current code requirements would not be eligible for an extension. He also clarified the extension application will be deemed complete (pending application review) at the time it is submitted.


B.         PLANNING ACTION: #2009-01610 (Part 2)
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION: Public Hearing regarding amendments to the Ashland Land Use Ordinance (ALUO) chapters 18.108.070 and 18.112 concerning timetable extensions.

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the two proposed ordinances address the same sections of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance, however the recession extension is an extension that applies to planning applications approved during a specific timeframe. He stated the most recent revisions to the ordinance language include: 1) the recession extension period is for a maximum of 18-months, 2) an application shall be filed for the extension, and 3) the same three conditions (listed above) as the tolling extension apply. Mr. Goldman clarified in order to be eligible for the recession extension, the planning application approval has to be currently valid.


Mr. Goldman stated the Commission has two options in terms of which applications will be eligible. Option 1 allows all current planning applications approved up to the effective date of the ordinance to be eligible, while Option 2 allows current applications approved prior to July 1, 2009 to be eligible.


Mark Knox/485 W Nevada/Stated under typical economic times, the proposed emergency extension ordinance would not be necessary; however these are not ordinary times. Mr. Knox voiced his support for the proposed ordinance and stated the vast majority of applicants that would be impacted by this are average citizens, not developers. He commented on the local land use process and stated not only do applicants have to deal with various City departments, the Planning Commission, and neighbors; they also have to contend with banks and private consultants. Mr. Knox asked the commissioners to put themselves into an applicant’s shoes and stated what is going on is very much out of the control of the applicants and stated recommending approval of the ordinance is fair.


Commissioner Marsh noted the article that was passed out at the beginning of the meeting from Colin Swales titled “Myriad ideas to fill void of empty lots.” She also read aloud the written testimony submitted by Mark DiRienzo and Philip Lang. Marsh stated all three documents will be added to the record and forwarded to the Council.


Commissioners Morris/Miller m/s to recommend the City Council approve the timetable tolling ordinance. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.


In regards to the extension ordinance, Commissioner Marsh re-stated their two options. Commissioner Miller asked how soon an applicant might know whether or not they are going to receive funding. Mr. Goldman noted the upfront costs that are required and stated most applicants would want some assurance that funding is available, however they don’t really need to be approved for funding until they are ready to break ground. Mr. Molnar agreed and stated most applicants would want a commitment from a bank during the initial design states, but it varies.


Mr. Goldman commented briefly on the two options and stated under Option 1, 41 applications would be eligible; and under Option 2, 35 are eligible. Commissioner Marsh voiced her support for the ordinance with Option 1. Commissioner Morris agreed and stated the financing rules have changed and many applicants did not know this going in.


Commissioners Morris/Blake m/s to recommend the City Council approve the timetable extension ordinance with Option 1. DISCUSSION: Mr. Molnar clarified this is currently scheduled for a Council Hearing on February 16, 2010 and if approved the ordinance will likely have an effective date in April. Commissioner Dawkins stated he would have felt better about the ordinance if it had addressed extensions as a whole. He stated everyone knew that a bubble was being created and does not support making another rule because people invested and it didn’t turn out well. Commissioner Miller voiced her hesitancy with the ordinance and stated she would be more supportive of Option 2. Commissioner Marsh acknowledged the suggestion to look at extensions in general, but stated granting this extension is the least they can do. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Morris, Mindlin, Marsh and Blake, YES. Commissioners Miller and Dawkins, NO. Motion passed 4-2.



A.      FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Modernization.

Assistant Planner Amy Gunter and Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a presentation on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map modernization. Ms. Gunter listed the six FEMA recognized flood plains in the City (Ashland Creek, Bear Creek, Kitchen Creek, Neil Creek, Clay Creek and Hamilton Creek) and stated this flood map modernization project has been going on for many years at the federal level and reexamines the flood zones to develop detailed digital flood hazard maps. Ms. Gunter stated FEMA recently released revised preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps (DFIRMs) for the City of Ashland and these preliminary maps reflect current flood risks in areas of recent growth. She noted the existing maps are 27 years old and are no longer accurate, and the new maps will provide property owners with up to date, reliable and internet accessible information about their flood risks. 


Ms. Gunter explained the City of Ashland is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program and by being a participant citizens are able to purchase federal flood insurance which is mandatory if you live in a flood zone. In addition, the City participates in the community rating system which qualifies citizens to receive a 15% discount on the standard insurance rates. Ms. Gunter stated the most challenging part of this process is that it is out of the City’s hands, and if Ashland does not adopt the revised maps within the established timeline, it will cause a suspension of insurance for the entire community and Ashland citizens will lose their discount.


Mr. Goldman stated the modernized maps include some areas that were not previously included in the 100-year flood plain and explained how this may impact property owners in terms of the City’s land use code and building code. Staff clarified all property owners that will be impacted by the new maps will be informed and invited to participate in the public hearing process. The timeline for this process was briefly outlined and it was noted the final maps will be available later this spring and the Planning Commission and City Council will hold public hearings in June and July.



Mr. Molnar explained the Commission’s 4-2 vote on the timetable extension ordinance is not valid because of a provision that states a majority of the members on the commission (5) need to agree in order to issue a recommendation to the Council. He stated this provision is in the process of being removed and is not included in the updated Boards and Commission ordinance currently before the Council. Mr. Molnar explained the Commission has two options: 1) to reconsider their vote and see if there are five members that are willing to agree, or 2) bring this issue back in March when the recommendation provision is no longer relevant.


Commissioners Blake/Mindlin m/s to reconsider the vote. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.


Commissioners Mindlin/Blake m/s to recommend the City Council approve the timetable extension ordinance without specifying which option is best. DISCUSSION: Dawkins indicated he is not willing to change his vote. Miller indicated she would switch her vote, but urged applicants to think before they act and felt this ordinance was abetting people to not be very responsible. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Blake, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin and Morris, YES. Commissioner Dawkins, NO. Motion passed 5-1.


Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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