Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

January 8, 2013
Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Richard Kaplan
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
  Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Mike Morris
No announcements were made.
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1.  December 11, 2012 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Miller/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
No one came forward to speak.
A.      Approval of Findings for PA-2012-01414, 180 Nutley Street.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Commissioner Kaplan questioned the accuracy of a statement contained at the bottom of page 3, which reads: “The Planning Commission finds the application does not satisfy the approval criteria 18.100.020.C for a Variance which requires that the circumstances or conditions have not been willfully or purposely self-imposed.”  He clarified his concern is including the terms “willfully” and “purposefully” in the Findings and is worried this may open the document up to challenges. Planning Manager Maria Harris clarified that during the public hearing several commissions stated they believed this was a self-imposed condition, and while they did not specifically say willfully or purposefully, staff assumed the Commission’s determination was that this criteria had not been met. The Planning Commission held further discussion and most felt the Findings accurately represented their decision. Commissioner Kaplan suggested revising the variance criteria to address this issue and the Commission agreed this was something they should look into.
Commissioners Brown/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA-2012-01414, 180 Nutley. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
A.    Unified Land Use Ordinance – Part 5: Application Review Procedures and Approval Criteria.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained tonight’s meeting will focus on Part 5 - Application Review Procedures and Approval Criteria, and provided an overview of the proposed amendments to this section of the code.

  1. Combined Type III and Legislatives Procedures. Ms. Harris clarified this amendment does not change the actual procedures and the intent of combining the two existing categories is to eliminate duplication and provide clarify for use and administration.
  2. Expedited Land Divisions. Ms. Harris explained the Oregon Model Code recommends including a reference to the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) rather than including the four pages of text, and since this provision has not been used in Ashland since its inclusion in 2008, staff recommends deleting this section and adding a reference to the ORS instead.
  3. Effective Date of Type I Decisions. It was clarified the proposed amendment would change the effective date from 13 days to 12 days in order to be consistent with the ORS.
  4. Effective Date of Type II Decisions. Ms. Harris clarified this amendment would change the effective date from 13 days to 10 days. She added a timeframe is not required by state law, but 10 days is consistent with what other jurisdictions do. Commissioner Brown questioned if this is defined as calendar days or working days and recommended this be clarified in the definitions section.
  5. Submitting Information to Complete an Application. It was clarified this amendment would provide applicants 180 days to provide missing information, which is consistent with state law.
  6. Site Review Submittals. Ms. Harris explained this amendment would include requirements for site review applications to include information on pedestrian and bicycle circulation, outdoor lighting, mail boxes and bus stops, and a preliminary grading plan for sites that are ½ acre of larger. Commissioner Mindlin expressed concern with the preliminary grading plan requirement and stated this could be a potential waste of money for the applicant if the site plan is altered. Ms. Harris shared an example where having this information earlier on would have been beneficial.
  7. Final Plat Submission. It was clarified this amendment would consolidate the procedure for final plan submissions and both partitions and subdivisions will receive 18 months.
  8. City Facilities Approval Criteria. Ms. Harris stated the recommended amendment would better clarify the criteria for adequate capacity of city utilities and transportation facilities. Specifically, the language for paved access would be changed to “to and through throughout the development.”
  9. Target Use for the C-1 and E-1 Zones. Ms. Harris explained staff is recommending increasing the target use in C-1 and E-1 zoned properties to .5 FAR. She elaborated on how this criteria is applied to conditional use permit applications and stated this adjustment would reflect the recent updates to the Detail Site Review Zone requirements. Commissioner Mindlin expressed hesitation about adopting a .5 FAR blanket comparison for all conditional use applications in the C-1 and E-1 zones, but none of the other commissioners expressed concern with this change.
  10. Variance Criteria. Ms. Harris clarified staff is suggesting two new approval criteria for variance applications that were taken from the Model Code. One addresses the minimum necessary to address the special circumstances of the site, and the other requires consistency with all other applicable regulations.
  11. Issuing a Building Permit for an Approved Variance. It was clarified this amendment would allow the issuance of a building permit on the effective date of the decision, which will insure the local appeal period has passed and the decision is final.
  12. Chapter 18-5.6 Modifications to Approved Planning Applications. Ms. Harris explained this new chapter is based on the Oregon Model Code and uses thresholds to distinguish major and minor modifications. Commissioner Dawkins expressed concern with applicants reverting to previous approvals and cited the Helman Baths and the development at Siskiyou and Bellview as examples. Ms. Harris explained the proposed changes would not influence the situations described by Dawkins. In regards to Helman Baths, she believes his concerns relate more to the performance standards options for subdivisions; and regarding the development on Bellview, Ms. Harris stated she does not see this as a modification issue but rather how phased developments are treated.
Questions of Staff/Commission Discussion
The Commission offered their final comments and questions to staff regarding this section of the Unified Land Use Code.
  • Comment was made questioning the required widths for flag drives, which varies depending on how many units they serve. Ms. Harris stated she believes this is based on Fire Code but would verify this for the Commission. Additional comment was made questioning the requirement for flag drives to be paved. 
  • Comment was made regarding the grading plan requirements and whether they should consider a trigger of .5 acres and a certain amount of slope before this would be required. Additional suggestion was made to add the language “or as deemed necessary by the Staff Advisor”, which may provide more discretion.
  • Comment was made questioning the statement on page 5-55 (B.2) which reads “If a lot is nonconforming to any City standard it shall not be made more conforming by the property line adjustment” and Ms. Harris agreed this is a typo. An additional typo was noted on page 5-32 (B.1). The statement should be corrected to read “…landscaping plans shall be at least one inch equals fifty feet”.
  • Comment was made suggesting the Commission consider expanding the noticing area requirements.
  • Suggestion was made to modify the sentence on page 5-69 (item 4) to read “A change in the type and/or location of vehicle access points or approaches, driveways, or parking areas affecting off-site traffic if the change could cause a significant adverse impact”.
 B.    Input on Council Goals.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the City Council’s goal setting session is coming up and they have asked for input from all the City commissions. The following ideas/suggestions were put forward by the Commission:

  • Continue to develop green building standards and sustainable development standards. Increase the use of alternative energies (including possible requirements for solar panel installation on new developments) to address Tier 2 power demands. Support urban agriculture and farming, and businesses that use and provide regional products.
  • Provide policy direction for infill planning.
A.      Bi-Annual Attendance Report (July – December 2012)
Informational item only. No discussion was held.
Meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.


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