Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014
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
Tracy Peddicord
Lynn Thompson
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
    Mike Morris (Left meeting at 7:10 pm)
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the Normal Neighborhood Plan public hearing has been continued to the May 20th City Council Meeting. The Planning Commission’s report on short term home rentals will also be presented to the Council on May 20. Commissioner Brown commented on the recent Building Appeals Board hearing and Commissioner Dawkins provided a short update on the Downtown Beautification Committee meeting.
A.   Approval of Minutes.
       1.  April 8, 2014 Regular Meeting.
       2.  April 22, 2014 Study Session.
Commissioners Brown/Peddicord m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. [Commissioner Miller abstained from approval of the April 8, 2014 minutes]
No one came forward to speak.
  1. PLANNING ACTION:  2014-00307                                       
OWNERS:  Martha Howard-Bullen       
DESCRIPTION: A request for a Physical and Environmental Constraints Review and Water Resource Protection Zone Reduction Permit approval to construct a new 3,414 square foot, single-story single family residence. The application also requests a Conditional Use Permit approval for a 615 square foot Accessory Residential Unit for the property located at 777 Oak Street. The property is subject to the Physical Constraints and Water Resource permits due to the location of the proposed development within the adopted floodplain for Ashland Creek. The existing approximately 720 square foot residence on the site is proposed to be retained and added onto with the new construction. The application includes a request to remove 13 trees on site. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-5; ASSESSOR’S MAP/TAX LOTS: 39 1E 04CA 2707.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Miller, Dawkins, and Kaplan declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter explained the applicant’s proposal to construct a new 3,414 sq.ft. home within the Water Resource Protection Zone and Ashland Floodplain Corridor does not clearly meet the approval criteria, which is why this hearing has been scheduled. She reviewed the application, which also includes the removal of 13 trees and the construction of a 615 sq.ft. accessory residential unit, and stated the property is located on a flaglot and the majority of the site is within the Ashland Floodplain Corridor. Ms. Gunter reviewed the site plan and provided a description of the subject property, and called attention to the code provision that states to the greatest extent feasible structures should be placed outside the Floodplain Corridor. She explained the applicant’s findings indicate the existing 720 sq.ft. residence will remain on the site and will be added onto with the new construction, however current building standards require the finished floor elevations to be two feet above flood elevations and staff questions whether the existing structure will be able to remain. Ms. Gunter stated the applicant’s position is that the existing non-conforming structure is their reason for the choice of placement, but this would place the structure completely within the Ashland Floodplain Corridor and also encroaches into the Water Resource Protection Zone (WRPZ).
Mr. Molnar clarified there are two different areas of land use code that apply to this proposal, floodplain development and water resource protection. The floodplain protection language was adopted in 1989 and is primarily for protection of public, life and safety, and the protection of city infrastructure; and the water resource ordinance is primarily for the protection of the riparian area, including vegetation and topography.
Ms. Gunter elaborated on why staff does not believe the existing house can be part of the new structure. She stated there would be a substantial amount of work to bring the structure up to current construction standards. She noted the applicants have proposed to change the roof line, and the existing slab on grade foundation is not permitted and will have to be raised to meet the requirement for the finished floor elevation to be two feet above the base flood elevation.
Staff was asked if they have any objections to the proposed accessory residential unit and Ms. Gunter stated No. She added the structure is outside the Floodplain Corridor, is the correct size, and provides the required parking.
Applicant’s Presentation
Carlos Delgado/Stated this proposal is for a single family replacement structure on a flaglot and provided a revised site plan that shifts the location of the structure 15 feet to the east.
Steve Asher/Stated the property owner searched many properties before purchasing this one, and noted the owner’s desire for a single family residence where she can age in place and walk to downtown. He stated they talked with staff before purchasing this property and asked if they could remove the structures and at no time were they informed this would affect their ability to build. He added it was not until they held the pre-application conference that they heard staff’s concerns about the placement of the new house.
Mr. Delgado stated the revised proposal places the residence outside the FEMA 100 year floodplain line and outside the Water Resource Protection Zone and he read aloud their revised findings statements (Exhibit #2014-04).
Mr. Delgado was asked to clarify the differences between the site plan in the packet materials and the new plan presented tonight. Mr. Delgado stated the residence has been shifted 15 feet so it is now outside the Water Resource Protection Zone and the only issue that remains is that the structure is still within the Ashland Floodplain Corridor. Commissioner Mindlin commented that by moving the structure it supports staffs claim that the applicants are not really incorporating the old structure. Mr. Delgado stated building officials allow you to keep a single wall standing and stated this is a viable and legal means to do a renovation. Commissioner Brown stated this is a stretch, especially since the floor will need to be raised. The Commission posed additional questions, including why didn’t the applicant change their plans after the pre-application conference, and how do they meet to the maximum extent feasible criteria.
Public Input
Gina Heckley/135 Morninglight/Read aloud the letters of support provided in advance from herself and Carolyn Allman.
Questions of Staff
Staff was asked to comment on the process and whether the applicants were given misleading information. Mr. Molnar stated any action on this property would require a land use decision with public notice and he has a hard time believing staff would have provided a definitive recommendation at the counter. He added the requirements were clearly addressed in the pre-application report the applicant received.
Staff was asked about the applicants claim that it is legal to replace the building, when none of it will be staying. Mr. Molnar stated the building code language states the building official can determine what types of upgrades will be needed, however this body has full discretion to make a determination on whether this is an addition or whether it is a reconstruction.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Carlos Delgado/Stated that adding onto the structure and bringing it up to current standards is a safer situation for property owners downstream. He commented on the intent of the ordinance and stated because the site is flat, making changes to the building location to move it further from the floodplain corridor would not change the risk. Mr. Delgado stated the property owner has the right to utilize the area where the previous structures were located and they believe this is a very reasonable proposal.
Martha Howard/Noted her investment in the community and stated she found this property after years of searching. Ms. Howard stated they received some assurances from staff that they could build on the existing footprint and noted they are well outside the FEMA 100 year floodplain. She stated it is unreasonable to ask someone with a one-acre lot to build next to the dirt easement and stated they were hoping to have some front yard space.
Mr. Molnar suggested the Commission consider continuing this hearing, which would allow both the Commission and staff adequate time to review the applicant’s new proposal. Mr. Delgado was asked if they would be willing to grant a 60-day time extension of the 120-day clock and he agreed.
Commissioner Mindlin closed the record and the hearing at 8:30 pm.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioner Kaplan voiced support for continuing the hearing so that staff can provide an updated staff report on the applicant’s new proposal. Commissioner Brown agreed and stated he would like a revised staff report that addresses the questions that have been raised this evening. Commissioner Peddicord questioned if there are other site constraints that impacted the chosen location of the residence and stated this information would be helpful.
Commissioner Mindlin announced this action will be continued to the May 27, 2014 Planning Commission Meeting.

PLANNING ACTION #:  2014-00539                     
DESCRIPTION: A proposal to amend the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Chapter 18.08 [Definitions], Chapter 18.32 [C-1 Retail Commercial District], Chapter 18.40 [E-1 Employment District], and Chapter 18.52 [M-1 Industrial District] regarding the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries.
Staff Report
Planning Manager Maria Harris stated in March the State Legislature granted local jurisdictions the authority to establish local restrictions for medical marijuana dispensaries and the City Council directed staff to fast track an ordinance that establishes regulations for the City of Ashland. She noted the City Council passed a temporary moratorium in April that prohibited dispensaries in the C-1-D and E-1 zones, however lots in the E-1 zone that front boulevards were not subject to the moratorium. Ms. Harris stated the ordinance before the Commission is based on several study sessions held by the Planning Commission and would allow dispensaries as a special permitted use in the C-1, E-1, and M-1 zones and must meet the following standards:
  • Property locations must be on a street classified as a boulevard.
  • Hours of operations are between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Dispensaries must be enclosed in a permanent building with no outside storage of materials.
  • Modifications to the site or exterior of the building must be consistent with the Site Design and Use Standards, and security bars are prohibited on the windows and doors.
  • Drive-up uses are not allowed.
  • Dispensaries must provide for the secure disposal of any marijuana remnants.
  • Dispensaries must conform to the state requirements and must be registered with the state.
Ms. Harris clarified under the proposed ordinance dispensaries would not be permitted in the Downtown Design Standards Zone. She also commented on outdoor use and clarified the Ashland Police Department confirmed that this would be considered public use and is illegal. Ms. Harris stated the Commission’s recommendation will be forward to the City Council hearing on June 10, where they will make the final decision.
Public Input
William Clary/460 Williamson Way/Thanked the Planning Commission and staff for their work and stated the proposed ordinance offers a solid balance between those who need access to this medicine and residential concerns, and encouraged them to recommend approval.
Linda Stickle/492 Rogue Place/Thanked the Planning Commission and staff for their work and stated her neighborhood feels the proposed ordinance is just what is needed. Ms. Stickle stated it is a practical approach and keeps dispensaries on the main roads and away from neighborhoods, and strongly encouraged the Commission to vote Yes.
Carol Kim/422 Rogue Place/Agreed with the previous speakers and stated this is a great proposal. Ms. Kim stated this will put dispensaries in the best locations with easy access for patients and away from neighborhoods. She noted the petition included in the record of those that support this ordinance and encouraged the Commission to vote Yes.
Nola Katopothis/473 Williamson Way/Stated she is not against medical marijuana but there are certain locations that are more appropriate for dispensaries and voiced her support for keeping them away from neighborhoods and children.
Commissioner Mindlin closed the public hearing at 9:10 p.m.
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Thompson/Miller m/s to recommend the City Council’s adoption of the ordinance as drafted. Roll Call Vote: Commissioner Brown, Dawkins, Kaplan, Miller, Peddicord and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Submitted by, April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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