Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission

Tuesday, February 09, 2010




February 9, 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

Dave Dotterrer

Pam Marsh

Debbie Miller

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.


Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Maria Harris, Planning Manager

Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner

Richard Appicello, City Attorney

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant





Absent Members:


Council Liaison:



Eric Navickas, absent



Commissioner Marsh announced the vacancy on the Planning Commission and encouraged interested citizens to submit applications to the Mayorís Office.


Commissioner Rinaldi provided a brief update on the Economic Development Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). He stated the TAC has completed the Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats analysis and recommended they ask Project Manager Adam Hanks to come and provide a full presentation on the status. Commissioner Marsh asked staff to schedule this on a future agenda as soon as it is feasible.



A.      Approval of Minutes.

1.  January 12, 2010 Planning Commission Minutes.

2.  January 26, 2010 Planning Commission Minutes.


Commissioners Morris/Blake m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 8-0.



No one came forward to speak.



A.         PLANNING ACTIONS: #2009-00726
SUBJECT PROPERTY: 720 Grandview Drive
APPLICANT: McDonald, Lynn & Bill
DESCRIPTION: Appeal by Bonnie Brodersen of the Staff Advisorís decision to approve a request for a modification of a previously approved Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit (PA-2006-01784) for the property located at 720 Grandview Drive. The original approval was for development in the Wrights Creek Floodplain and Riparian Preservation Lands for the improvement of a portion of existing driveway, re-grading the transition of the driveway to Grandview Drive, the installation of a private storm drain and the extension of utilities to serve a new single-family residence. The proposed modification involves alterations to the approval already in place in order to accommodate changes in vehicular access. A request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove two dead poplar trees is also included. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-10; ASSESSORíS MAP #:39 IE 05 CD; TAX LOT: 500.

Per the Applicantís request, the public hearing was postponed to a future meeting.



A.      PLANNING ACTION: #2009-01292
APPLICANT: City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION: A request to amend the Ashland Land Use Ordinance (ALUO) creating a new Chapter 18.53 Croman Mill, to amend the multiple chapters of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance to provide consistency with the new Chapter 18.53 Croman Mill (ALUO 189.08, 18.12.020, 18.61.042, 18.68.050, 18.70.040, 18.72.030, 18.72.080, 18.72.110, 18.72.120, 18.72.140, 18.72.180, 18.84.100, 18.88.070, 18.106), to amend the Ashland Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map to include the Croman Mill District, and to adopt the Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan as a supporting document to the Cityís Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioner Marsh noted there are members from the public who wish to speak and stated she is willing to re-open the public hearing on this action.


Staff Report

Planning Manager Maria Harris and Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a review of the issues that came up at the Commissionís January 12th discussion.


Ms. Harris noted the Memo included in the meeting packet presents two options regarding whether the property located at 650, 700 and 750 Mistletoe Rd. should be included in the Croman Mill District. Option 1 retains the current M-1 industrial zoning, but changes the Comprehensive Plan designation to Croman Mill, and brings the front portion of the property into the Detail Site Review Zone. The other option is to include the front portion of the site in the Croman Mill Zoning District. Ms. Harris stated staff is recommending Option 1 since it addresses the pre-existing uses, current planning approvals and addresses the property ownerís concerns regarding the change in zoning; and by including the front portion of the property in the Detail Site Review Zone, future development of this property (aside from the current planning approvals) will be required to meet a similar level of site planning and building design as the other buildings along the central boulevard.


Ms. Harris explained that staff conducted a review of the approved projects at 650 and 700 Mistletoe Rd and compared the approved site plan and building designs to the proposed requirements for the Croman Mill District. Ms. Harris stressed that as long as the property owner has a current approval, they can still build their projects as planned regardless of whether it is included in the Croman Mill District. She explained based on staffís analysis, the existing planning approvals for 650 and 700 Mistletoe Rd. largely meet the proposed requirements of the Croman Mill District, however inconsistencies were identified in the following areas: 1) Manufacturing and retail uses, 2) On-site surface parking limitation, 3) Minimum number of stories, and 4) Minimum floor area ratio. Ms. Harris reviewed the options outlined in the Staff Memo and stated staff is recommending the Commission expand the special permitted uses in the Office Employment zoning overlay to include manufacture of food products, and revise the automobile parking standard so that a higher percentage of the required off-street parking can be constructed as surface parking until a parking management plan is established and retaining the 50% requirement once the plan is in place.


Ms. Harris noted the question that came up at the last meeting about the distinction between major and minor adjustments for street layout modifications. She explained staff is proposing revised language that clarifies a major amendment would be eliminating a street or a transportation facility, and a minor amendment would be shifting a street or transportation facility by more than 25 ft.  


Mr. Goldman reviewed the Green Building bonus and bonding requirements. He stated the purpose of the bond provision was to provide a financial motivation for an applicant to carry out what they stipulated they would do in terms of energy efficiency objectives in order to receive their height bonus; but if this is considered to be an impediment to builders applying for the Green Building bonus the Commission can consider removing the bond and penalty sections. Mr. Goldman added that eliminating this language would not preclude the City from implementing it at a future date if breaches become an issue. He stated the Commission could also consider reducing the performance bond and penalty amounts so that they donít constituted such a sizeable upfront cost.


Mr. Goldman noted the suggestion for a menu of green standards options. He clarified in the current draft Standards VIII-C-8 through VIII-C-12 have been separated into separate standards and made requirements instead of recommendations. However the Commission could consider changing the language to allow applicants to select one or more of the standards.


Ms. Harris reviewed the letter the City received from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that was included in the Commissionís meeting materials. She explained the letter expressed concern with the proposed easement language for Phase II of the central boulevard and ODOT asked that this language be strengthened to be made clear that their maintenance yard property will need to be acquired. Additionally, they also raised questions about their ability to reconstruct the maintenance buildings should a fire or other event occur, and whether they would have to meet the Croman Design Standards. Ms. Harris added the ODOT letter also requests the City update the Transportation Analysis to reflect the phases of the central boulevard. She stated staff is recommending the Planning Commission continue their deliberations on the proposed Croman Plan to their February 23, 2010 meeting so that staff can bring back language modifications that address ODOTís concerns.


Mr. Goldman clarified the Cityís Transportation Commission reviewed the transportation elements of the Croman Plan at their meeting on January 21, 2010. Following their discussion, the Commission issued a recommendation for the Planning Commission and the City Council to allow the Transportation Commission to review the final design of the central boulevard before it is finalized and constructed. Mr. Goldman stated the Commissionís main concern was the cross sections of the central boulevard and for the bike lanes to be addressed further; but because of the minor amendment process they felt this could be accommodated at a later date.


Upon request, staff provided further clarification on Floor Area Ratios (FARs), the Mistletoe property, the Transportation Analysis, and the LEED Certification program. In response to why the Plan does not include a specific energy efficiency standard, staff clarified the solar orientation and building shading requirements will affect the energy use of the building. In addition, it was noted the State of Oregon has increased energy efficiency requirements in the building code and are in the process of drafting the Oregon Reach code which can be used by the City. Staff also provided clarification on the phasing of the central boulevard, the Tolman Creek realignment, and the possibility of a future connection over to Washington Street.


In regards to having drawings prepared that would show what buildings might look like on the site, staff indicated they have been in discussions with individuals who can perform this work and if the Commission feels this is important, staff can move forward this. It was noted it will take approximately 4-6 weeks to have someone prepare this information, but it can be ready by the time the Croman Plan goes before the City Council.


Commissioner Marsh re-opened the public hearing at 8:11 p.m.


Public Input

Zach Brombacher/640 Tolman Creek Rd/Stated he is the owner of the printing company on Tolman Creek Rd. and has been at this location since 1967. Mr. Brombacher noted the spaces he provides for small businesses and stated he would like to continue to develop his 13 acre property. He shared his concerns with traffic impacts and suggested the City consider transferring the traffic to Siskiyou Blvd. He stated the south interchange could be adapted so that the bulk of the traffic is transferred to Siskiyou Blvd. instead of coming up Mistletoe Rd. Mr. Brombacher stated traffic is a big issue and feels the road should be addressed before they develop the Croman site. He also shared his concerns with financing the road improvements and stated he does not want to pay for another Local Improvement District.


Mark DiRienzo/700 Mistletoe Rd #106/Stated he owns three tax lots along Mistletoe Rd. and is concerned about how this Plan will affect his property. Mr. DiRienzo stated by including his property in the Croman Mill zone he would have to obtain an exception to gain an access to his southern lot. In addition, he would also have to get a special permitted use for the planned distillery on the site. He stated these requirements can scare prospective tenants away and adds road blocks to the process. Mr. DiRienzo shared his concerns regarding the safety of the road and stated an engineer needs to look at this now and determine whether the angle is going to be safe. In regards to the bond issue for LEED, he voiced his concern that financial institutions will not offer a bond to developers and suggested the City make building LEED buildings as simple as possible. Mr. DiRienzo clarified by including his property in the Detail Site Review Zone he will now have to apply for a Type II Planning Action and go before the Planning Commission for approval which adds uncertainty to the process. He shared his concerns with the FAR requirements and also questioned at what point he would have to transition to the Croman Mill zone.


Commissioner Marsh questioned if Mr. DiRienzo could list any other specific elements in the proposed plan that he believes would make it cost prohibitive to develop on the Croman site. Mr. DiRienzo responded that the design of the street (infrastructure costs) as well as the some of the green standards (cited pervious concrete) could make it expensive to build. He stated he supports green building, but encouraged the City to promote it and provide a menu of options rather than making this a strict requirement.  


John Kruesi/148 Greenway Circle, Medford/Ashland Warehouse Partnership/Stated they own the property at 695 and 697 Mistletoe Rd. and shared his concerns regarding the phasing of the central boulevard. Mr. Kruesi stated the plan shows this road going through their property and asked how they are suppose to plan for the future when they do not know what the City is going to do. He questioned why they would create an industrial park without having the main road complete and noted if the Croman Plan is successful they will have a lot of large trucks coming in and out.


Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/Questioned why the City was moving towards strip zoning and why they are not promoting infill. Ms. Briggs stated there is a lot of office space available in town and voiced her opposition to allowing office space on the Croman site. She stated this should be light industrial space where people can earn a sustainable living wage. Ms. Briggs also voiced her concern with the southern end of the boulevard going through the existing farm and trailer park and stated they should stay with the existing Mistletoe Rd.


Commissioner Marsh closed the public hearing at 8:53 p.m.


Marsh noted the record will remain open and staff will be presenting options at their next meeting in regards to ODOTís issues. She recommended the Commission make their final recommendations at the next meeting and asked if anyone had any last questions. Commissioner Dawkins voiced his support for moving forward with this at tonightís meeting.


Commissioner Dawkins motioned for the Commission to move forward with a vote. Motion died to lack of a second.


Commissioner Mindlin noted the annexable land at the south end of the Croman site and questioned if staff considered leaving this as an E-1 designation when it is annexed instead of including it in the Croman Mill district. She stated by changing the underlying zone it may give the impression that the City has discussed this and deemed the Croman Mill mixed use zone to be the most appropriate use when this property is annexed. She suggested if they left this unchanged it may provide more flexibility later on.


Commission Dotterrer asked how the City will deal with the ODOT property and asked what their options are to make sure Phase II happens. He also noted the public input regarding development costs and asked if there is any analysis that can be done to ensure this plan will pencil out. 


Commissioner Rinaldi asked if staff could provide further information regarding the access to Mr. DiRienzoís property. Ms. Harris clarified if the Commission decides to leave Mr. DiRienzoís property outside the Croman district, all of this becomes a non issue and he would not be subject to the Croman access requirements.


Commissioner Miller shared her concerns with the central boulevard, including ODOTís access, the boulevardís width and the cost to build it. She also asked if upgrading Mistletoe Rd. could accomplish the same effect.


Commissioner Marsh announced this public hearing will be continued at their February 23, 2010 meeting.


Meeting adjourned at 9:30p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Assistant

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