Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Mtg

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

JUNE 14, 2016
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
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Derek Severson, Associate Planner
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
None   Greg Lemhouse, absent
No announcements were made.
Commissioner Dawkins stated the last meeting of the Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Committee was predominately public testimony and the next meeting will be held Wednesday, July 6.
A.  Approval of Minutes.
      1.  May 10, 2016 Regular Meeting.
A correction was made to page 3 under “Staff Report”; the sentence should read “…with parking spaces at the rear and an openspace play area to the west north.”
Commissioners Thompson/Pearce m/s to approve the minutes of May 10, 2016 as corrected. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
No one came forward to speak.
  1. Adoption of Findings for PA-2016-00209, 25 N Main St.  
Commissioner Mindlin stated she talked briefly with a citizen about the decision but there was no ex parte contact.  
Commissioner Pearce recommended the following modifications:
  • Conditions #3 and #5: delete “where consistent with applicable standards and with final approval by the Staff Advisor.”
  • Condition #13: delete “Such agreement is to indicate that the applicant will be responsible for the removal of the balcony and restoration of the historic building façade at his expense should the city ever need the use of the airspace.”
Commissioners Pearce/Thompson m/s to adopt the Findings for PA-2016-00209 with the noted amendments. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
  1. PLANNING ACTION #:  PA-2016-00684                              
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  Railroad Property located north of railroad tracks and situated between east and west sections of Clear Creek Dr.
OWNERS:  Union Pacific Railroad                        
APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
DESCRIPTION:  A request to change a deed restriction that was required in a 1999 planning approval (PA 99-048) and recorded on the vacant 20-acre site owned by Union Pacific Railroad.  The original deed restriction required that the 20-acre site be cleaned up to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) residential standard before further land divisions or development occur. The proposed revision to the deed restriction clarifies the timing and type of clean up for consistency with DEQ standards so that: 1) before the 20-acre site can be divided into smaller lots or developed, the initial cleanup of the 20-acre site would be to the residential standard and 2) future subdivided lots would have to be cleaned up to the standard DEQ requires for the proposed use of the individual lots: the “occupational” standard for retail, office, or light industrial uses; the “residential” standard for ground level housing. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Employment; ZONING: E-1; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09AB TAX LOT: 6700; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E  09AA TAX LOT: 6200.
Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the public hearing procedures for land use hearings.
Ex Parte Contact
No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Planning Manager Maria Harris provided an overview of the property’s history and stated the request before the commission is to amend a condition that was assigned to the property in 1999, which stated parcel 7 had to be cleaned to the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) residential standards before any land divisions or development could occur.  Ms. Harris stated the city attorney has looked at this and it appears the way the deed restriction was recorded requires that once the initial cleanup is complete and the property divided, it would have to be continued to be cleaned residential standards. The City Council has been working with the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and the DEQ to come up with a plan to clean the property and through negotiations with UPRR they have agreed to do a full cleanup of the property, take the contaminated soil out by railcar, and bring the incoming soil by truck. However UPRR is concerned about the deed restriction and feel the restriction is a barrier to selling the property because DEQ would not require a residential level of cleanup once the property is divided. The proposed modification would change that condition and therefore the deed restriction to require the initial cleanup of the full 20-acre property to the residential standard and thereafter when it is divided and developed any further cleanup would be to the DEQ standard for the proposed use.
Ms. Harris reviewed the process and approval criteria and explained this is considered a major modification. She pointed out their review of this action is limited to the modification request and clarified there are no impending development proposals for this property.
Applicant’s Presentation
Dave Lohman/Ashland City Attorney/Stated he is representing and city and is available to answer any questions. Mr. Lohman stated the staff report covers the situation clearly but offered some additional background. He stated this is a voluntary cleanup and the property is not contaminated enough to warrant a required immediate cleanup, but rather DEQ is only requiring that it be cleaned before it is developed. Mr. Lohman stated the contaminated material will be removed by rail to minimize impact on the community and address safety issues. He added what they did not realize back in 1999 when the restriction was placed what that the restriction stays with the land regardless of how it is used. After many conversation and negotiations, UPRR has agreed to the full cleanup but only if this condition is replaced. He explained the DEQ residential standard for the full 20 acre site would require the owner to take out the worst of the contaminated material and what remains will be based on a risk based standard, which varies depending on the type of development that will occur.
Questions of the Applicant
Several commissioners questioned why future residential cleanups would be an impediment (or necessary) if the initial cleanup is already done to residential standards. Mr. Lohman stated the initial residential cleanup standard is an average, and an average over 20 acres is different than an average over 3 acres. UPRR will take out the worst contamination, but there may be areas remaining that would require additional cleanup measures. He added a residential use or a playground for example would likely require a second round of cleanup, whereas an office building or a new street would not.
Mr. Lohman was asked if he felt comfortable that UPRR will complete the work they have agreed if the city does not have a contract with them. He responded “yes” and added he has no concerns with UPRR not following through. He explained UPRR is ready to move forward as soon as they get some assurance from the city that the condition will be modified. They have money budgeted for the cleanup and it is not in their best interest to keep this property on their books. Additionally, it is not is the city’s interest to have this property sitting empty either.
Public Testimony
James Jarrard/1072 Clear Creek Dr/Spoke in favor of this action and the cleanup but urged the city to watch and monitor this carefully. Mr. Jarrard stated the contamination goes very deep and recommended the excavation go the full depth of the pollution. He submitted a handout (see Exhibit #1) and stated his primary concerns are the quality of information being presented to the city and he is worried the railroad will take the cleanest spots and sell them off and leave the most heavily polluted areas.
Mark Knox/604 Fair Oaks/Stated he has an ownership interest in the adjacent property and is excited to see the city, UPRR, and the DEQ working this out and cleaning up the property. Mr. Knox stated market forces will address the prior speaker’s concern and stated he is very supportive of the request.
Rick Harris/190 Oak St, #1/Voiced his support for the cleanup and stated it is appropriate to do it in this fashion. Mr. Harris agreed with the prior speaker and stated market forces will take care of the cleanup. He stated in order for the railroad to sell these parcels buyers will demand that they perform the cleanup to the corresponding DEQ standards. He stated this action will get the property to the level where UPRR can begin to market it and then each individual parcel will have an environmental cleanup aspect to it and they will not be able to pass that on to the new buyer.
Questions of Staff
Commissioner Mindlin questioned if the cleanup is averaged out, can the UPRR sell the good pieces and leave the others? Ms. Harris stated it is difficult to imagine the hotspots not getting cleaned up. She stated the contamination is on the ends and a big part in developing this property is getting the streets and utilities through it. She added it would be very difficult to divide up the land by developable and not developable areas.
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Dave Lohman/Stated DEQ has a lot of expertise in this area and noted there will be additional public meetings to solicit input before the final remediation plan is approved. Regarding the question of leaving the worst contaminated areas, Mr. Lohman stressed that UPRR will have to clean up the worst areas before they can do anything else.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Pearce/Dawkins m/s to approve PA-2016-00684. DISCUSSION: Pearce commented that what has been proposed will help the property along and is pleased with the high standard for the initial cleanup. He added what they are being asked is a very narrow question and voiced his support for the request. Thompson stated it is clearly in the public interest to get a significant portion of this area to developable land. Brown agreed that this is a very narrow issue before them and commented that the proposal will serve the community best and allow this land to be cleaned up and developed. Miller commented with the change to the deed restriction she will expect appropriate oversight. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
  1. PLANNING ACTION #:  PA-2016-00230
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  188 Garfield Street                      
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Rivergate Assembly of God Church of Ashland                                   
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review and Conditional Use Permit approval to construct a new church for the property located at 188 Garfield Street. The application involves demolition of the existing Rivergate Assembly of God church building and the construction of a new approximately 4,978 square foot/100-seat church building near the corner of Garfield and Iowa Streets.  The application also involves:  a Solar Setback Exception to allow the proposed church to cast a greater shadow on the lot to its north (also under church ownership) than would be cast by a six-foot fence on the north property line; an Exception to Street Standards to retain the existing curbside sidewalk and street trees; a Tree Removal Permit to remove one tree greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height, and a Property Line Adjustment. The Planning Commission approved this action subject to conditions at its May meeting including a requirement that the driveway be relocated from Iowa Street to Garfield Street.  At its June meeting, the Planning Commission will consider modifications in response to those conditions including the relocation of the driveway, modifications to proposed parking and the removal of two additional trees prior to adoption of findings. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING:  R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 10CB; TAX LOTS: 2100, 2101.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Norton stated he had a brief discussion with the applicant about the meeting but there was nothing said that is not already in the public record.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson noted this application was reviewed and approved by the commission last month with a number of conditions. As a result, the applicants have prepared a revised proposal with the following modifications:
  • The driveway access from Iowa Street to the parking lot has been removed and a shared access for the parking lot, and any future development, has been added for access to Garfield Street. This access will be aligned with the alley on the opposite side of Garfield.
  • Four additional off-street parking spaces have been provided.
  • An additional Sweet Gum tree and a Leyland Cypress tree are proposed to be removed to accommodate the above changes.
  • The previously proposed play area has been reduced.
  • The previously request solar setback exception is no longer required.
Mr. Severson stated staff is recommending the commission reopen the hearing and address the minor modifications before they adopt findings. Mr. Severson concluded his presentation and stated staff feels the applicants have adequately addressed the approved conditions.
Applicant’s Presentation
Ray Kistler/Stated the modifications are exactly what the commission requested.

Public Testimony
Eric Hamilton/1273 Iowa/Voiced concern that the development is proceeding piecemeal and stated his two main issues are the future development to the north and the playground. Mr. Hamilton stated a potential two or three story development would create privacy issues, obstruct views, and cause a depreciation in property value; and he asked the developer to consider retaining the existing playground space on the church property as greenspace.
Rick Harris/190 Oak St, #1/Spoke in favor of the modifications and adopting the findings this evening so the project can move forward. Mr. Harris stated the church is being downsized and moved to the corner, and the future development proposals will come before the Planning Commission for review when that time comes. He noted this is the largest piece of undeveloped R-3 land in the city and downsizing the church as using the land as identified in the comprehensive plan is the best use of the property.
Mary Scott/1274 Iowa/Commissioner Mindlin read aloud the written comments from Ms. Scott. (See Exhibit #2)
Applicant’s Rebuttal
Ray Kistler/No rebuttal was given. Mr. Kistler noted the new driveway will align with the alley across the street.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Brown/Pearce m/s to approve PA-2016-00230. DISCUSSION: Brown commented that the applicants have sufficiently addressed the conditions. Pearce cited the public input on potential developments and clarified this is a standalone application and when future proposals come forward those will be appropriately noticed and reviewed. Norton voiced his support that the play area was moved and is now totally on the church property. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
Adoption of Findings for PA-2016-00230, 188 Garfield St. 
Mr. Severson clarified the findings reference language from both the original application but also the proposed (now approved) modifications.
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve the findings for PA-2016-00230. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
  1. PLANNING ACTION #:  PA-2016-00617                              
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  601-691 Fair Oaks Avenue
OWNERS:  Ayala Properties, L.L.C.
DESCRIPTION: A request for Site Design Review approval, Property Line Adjustment and Modification of Planning Action #2013-01506 for the property located at 601 Fair Oaks Avenue within the North Mountain Neighborhood Plan area. The original approval allowed for a mixed-use building with commercial space and parking on the ground floor and residential units on the two upper floors. The modifications proposed here include changes to the building’s exterior design, adjusting a property line, and adding an exterior elevator. No changes are proposed to the previously-approved density, parking allocations or landscaping.    COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: North Mountain, Neighborhood Central Overlay; ZONING:  NM-C; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04AD TAX LOTS: 700 & 800.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioner Norton conducted a site visit. Commissioner Thompson was approached by a citizen who wanted to discuss this project but she referred them to staff.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided a brief history of the property and displayed the vicinity map, site plan, elevations, and floor plans for the site. He explained the proposed modifications would:
  • Change the building’s exterior design
  • Dissolve a property line
  • Add an exterior elevator that would serve tax lots #700 and #800
Mr. Severson clarified no changes are proposed to the previously approved density, parking allocations, or landscaping; and stated staff is supportive of the application as submitted.
Applicant’s Presentation
Mark Knox and Mark McKechnie/Mr. Knox stated the changes are due to a new architect for the project and explained they realized most of the units in the original plan would face Interstate 5 and they would like to change this so they face Mt. Ashland instead. Mr. Knox stated he is excited to be a part of this project, which will consist of a community center, diverse housing, affordable housing, and a design similar to the plaza without the intensity. He added they have no issues with the conditions of approval recommended by staff. Mr. McKechnie commented that they have worked hard on this project and there will be small-scale shops on the ground floor and residential units up above. He added it will look like four separate buildings built at slightly different times and by different architects.
Mr. McKechnie clarified the recessed area between the buildings will serve as a light corridor to provide sunlight to the middle windows. He also commented on the corner unit and noted the importance for a building this size to have an anchor on the end.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioners Dawkins/Brown m/s to approve PA-2016-00617. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
  1. PLANNING ACTION #:  PA-2016-00847                                                                           
SUBJECT PROPERTY:  252-256 B Street
OWNERS:  Maura & Kathleen Van Heuit 
APPLICANT:  Jerome White of Kistler + Small + White Architects
DESCRIPTION:  A request for Site Design Review and Conditional Use Permit approval to allow a remodel and 1,664 square feet of additions to the three-unit building located at 252-256 B Street. A Conditional Use Permit is required because the proposal exceeds the Maximum Permitted Floor Area in a Historic District by 13.6 percent. The application also includes a request for an Exception to the Site Design and Use Standards’ Historic District Design Standards ( which directs that “Additions on the primary façade or on any elevation that is visually prominent from a public right-of-way, and additions that obscure or destroy character defining features” are to be avoided.  The proposal will remove the existing decorative gable and rake details on the front street-facing façade and reapply them to a second-story gable on the proposed addition. The gable will be raised approximately eight feet to accommodate the second story. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-2; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09BA; TAX LOTS: 5700.
Ex Parte Contact
Commissioners Miller, Mindlin, Norton, Pearce, Dawkins, and Thompson declared site visits. No ex parte contact was reported.
Staff Report
Associate Planner Derek Severson reviewed the proposal to remodel the existing three-unit structure and add 1,664 sq.ft. He reviewed the site plan, landscape plan, solar access, elevations, and floor plans. He also noted the Historic Commission reviewed the application and recommended approval but asked for the new siding to match the existing siding and for the windows to have three inches of frame between one another. Mr. Severson stated given that the Historic Commission was supportive and recommended approval with only two items to be addressed, staff is supportive of the request and recommend approval with the conditions outlined in the staff report.
Questions of Staff
Concern was expressed about the potential for the one-bedroom units to be converted to two-bedroom units. Mr. Severson stated one of the conditions of approval states that if the use intensifies the applicants must address the parking requirements. He added the commission could consider adding a deed restriction to regulate this. Staff was asked if there is any place for the applicants to add parking in the future and Mr. Severson responded there are on-street credits available as well as the potential for additional parking at the rear of the property.
Applicant’s Presentation
Jerome White/Maura Van Heuit/Kathleen Van Heuit/Mr. White stated they have no interest in creating two extra bedrooms and explained it has been Maura and her mother Kathleen’s dream to live in the railroad district. He stated this is currently a three-unit apartment and there will be two homeowners moving in. He noted the Historic Commission’s unanimous approval and pointed out that the proposed height is 5 ft. below the maximum permitted and will be the same as the Pelton house next door. Mr. White stated the size does not exceed what is typically found in the neighborhood and stated 48% of the homes on the south side of the street are two-story homes. Regarding the demolition, he stated 78.5% of the house will remain and therefore a demolition permit is not needed. Mr. White spoke to the conditional use permit and stated they are not asking for the full 25% but only what they need, 13.6%. He added 200 sq.ft of that added space is needed to get a stairway to the second floor. Mr. White stated they have no issues with the conditions of approval and asked for the commission’s support.
Deliberations and Decision
Commissioner Brown commented on the deed restriction and felt this was a good idea. He commented that things change overtime and would like to make sure if any interior changes are made to add additional bedrooms, this goes through the appropriate approval process.
Commissioner Brown/Norton m/s to require a deed restriction to limit the units to one bedroom each. DISCUSSION: Norton commented that this would alert future buyers of this specific condition of approval and would be more effective for staff if this ever became a compliance issue. Pearce commented that the zoning of the property may change over time and questioned if it was appropriate to freeze the zoning in place for all time. Mr. Severson commented staff could include a condition of approval that states if additional bedrooms or other modifications are made that would require additional parking, site review approval would be required. Thompson noted the law already requires applicants to come back and obtain proper approval. Brown commented that some modifications are more obvious than others and this would be an easy change that could go unnoticed. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown and Norton, YES. Commissioners Dawkins, Miller, Pearce, and Mindlin, NO. Motion failed 5-2.
Commissioners Thompson/Dawkins m/s to approve PA-2016-00847 with the conditions of approval presented by staff. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Brown, Dawkins, Miller, Norton, Pearce, Thompson, and Mindlin, YES. Motion passed 7-0.
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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