Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 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:
Michael Dawkins
Richard Kaplan
Melanie Mindlin
Tracy Peddicord
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Debbie Miller (Recused due to potential conflict of interest)
  Mike Morris, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar updated the Commission on the travelers accommodation ordinance and stated the City Council will be discussing travelers accommodations in single family zones at their November Study Session.
No one came forward to speak.

  1.     Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan – Final Draft Update.   
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the purpose of tonight’s meeting is for the Commission to familiarize themselves with the Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan. He noted the Transportation Commission is scheduled to review this at their next meeting, and the plan will come back before the Planning Commission at their October 8, 2013. At that time, the Commission will hear from the public and will be asked to provide direction to staff before the plan moves through the formal adoption process.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a presentation that addressed the plan components [See Exhibit A, attached], including:

  • Existing Conditions (Comprehensive Plan land use designations, wetlands and streams, parks and schools, Transportation System Plan)
  • Draft Land Use Framework
  • Draft Streets and Openspace Network
  • Draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Network
  • Draft Street Classifications (neighborhood collector, woonerfs, neighborhood street with diagonal parking option, multi-use paths)
  • Draft Code Amendments.
Commission Questions and Comments
For the benefit of those in the audience, staff was asked to elaborate on how this plan came to be and the background of this area. Staff explained this area is located within the City’s urban growth boundary (UGB) and the 1981 Comprehensive Plan designated this area to be urbanized to meet Ashland’s housing needs. Mr. Goldman noted when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted it was anticipated that this area would accommodate 561 units, but under this plan that number drops considerably to 460 units. Mr. Molnar commented that because this area is already within the UGB and identified in the Comprehensive Plan for higher density use, removing it from that designation would be an extensive process. Mr. Goldman added if this area was reduced in density, there would be a disconnect between the City’s supply and projected demand, and they would need to find other suitable land in the City to accommodate that density. Additionally, the City Council has directed staff and the Planning Commission to bring forward a plan for adoption.
Suggestion was made for staff to present the previous versions of the plan side by side for easy comparison, and Mr. Goldman agreed to include this in the October meeting packet. Mr. Goldman was also asked to include the total percentage for each zone (NA-01, NA-02, NA-03 and NA-OS), and to provide a status report on the identified Capital Improvement Projects for this area.
Public Testimony
Bryce Anderson/2092 Creek Drive/Spoke on behalf of the Meadowbrook Park Estates Homeowners Association and cited his written comments which were submitted into the record. Mr. Anderson commented on the Baptist Church property and stated this will likely be the first to be developed and will have the most impact on them. He voiced his support for the development of this property, but asked that water and sewer service, traffic, and public transportation be addressed more thoroughly in the plan. He concluded by thanking staff for accommodating their concerns about density and applauded the progress that has been made.
Karen Horn/140 Clay Street/Asked for clarification about whether the new homes will be required to connect to the City’s water and sewer system, and if so who bears the cost for this.
Staff clarified as this area develops it will be required to connect to City utilities and the developer will bear the cost for bringing City services in, as well as building the new streets.
Michael Shore/140 Clay Street/Stated while he is still opposed to a plan for this area, he is pleased the residents’ concerns have been listened to and addressed. He questioned what this area will cost the City to operate and maintain once it is developed and within the City limits.
Sue DeMarinis/145 Normal Avenue/Stated she is disappointed to see that the draft plan is completely different from what they did at the charrette. Ms. DeMarinis voiced her opposition to the NA-02 zone being located right next to her property. She also raised concern with the railroad crossing and solar access for her property, and asked whether a commercial residential building like a nursing home would be permitted.
Staff clarified under Oregon state law group homes that serve up to 13 individuals are permitted in single family zones.
Randall Jones/815 Alder Creek Drive, Medford/Stated he is speaking on behalf of the six owners who own 30 acres in the plan area. Mr. Jones stated they have met with two different wetlands consultants and remarked that some of the wetlands will significantly shrink or disappear, and that this will alter the plan. Additionally, he stated he does not believe this area will develop without a local improvement district being formed and the City taking some ownership. He stated they want to be a part of the solution but the City Council will need to step up to the plate because the property owners will not be able to bear all the costs to implement this plan.
Commission Questions and Comments (Cont.)
The Commission issued their questions and comments to staff. The following is an overview of the topics raised:

  • Concern was expressed regarding the language on clustered housing and asking staff to consider small cottages with additional density or larger homes with the same format. 
  • Concern was expressed with mandating alley access and questioning if this is a pattern they want to encourage.
  • The placement of sidewalks on the opposite side of the street from the greenway questioned. Staff commented on the use of woonerfs throughout the area and explained how these shared streets would be used.
  • Staff was asked whether the openspace areas would be under private ownership. Staff explained the Ashland Parks Department would need to purchase these areas for them to become public property. He added while the openspace could remain private and accessible to the homeowners, the woonerfs and crossings would be public.
 Public Testimony
Gil Livni/240 Normal Avenue/Commented on the proposed street network and stated it does not make sense from a developer’s standpoint and does not provide any incentive to develop the area as shown.
Commission Questions and Comments (Cont.)

  • Staff was asked to provide an overlay that shows the individual property lines.
  • Staff was asked to comment on the private railroad crossing. Mr. Molnar explained staff has spoken with ODOT Rail and they have indicated because this is an existing crossing, it could be fully improved without having to take out a crossing somewhere else in the City.
  • Recommendation was made for pedestrian and bicyclists to have easy access to the central bike path.
  • Staff was asked to clarify the allowance for manufactured housing. Mr. Goldman stated individual manufactured housing units would be permitted on individual lots, but manufactured housing developments (parks) are not allowed. 
  • Comment was made suggesting the Commission take another look at the minimum rear yard setbacks in the NA-02 and NA-03 zones.
  • Comment was made expressing concern with the overall hydrology of the site and questioning what can be done to ensure the wetlands are protected.
Commissioners Kaplan/Dawkins m/s to extend the meeting to 10:00 pm. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 4-0. 
  • Recommendation was made for staff to either define or remove “building shading”.
Mr. Molnar asked for a volunteer to serve on the City’s SDC Committee. He stated this group will meet one to three times and the meetings will be held during the day. Commissioner Brown was suggested to fill this role.
Mr. Molnar also suggested an alternate be selected for the Parking Management and Multi-Modal Committee, in the event Commissioners Dawkins or Kaplan are unable to attend. Commissioner Peddicord stated she would serve as the alternate member.
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.


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