Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28, 2017
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson   
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Troy Brown, Jr.   Dennis Slattery
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the City Council passed the second reading of the cottage housing ordinance at their November 21, 2017, meeting.  The ordinance will go into effect December 21, 2017.  The Planning Commission would present an annual report to the City Council December 5, 2017.  An unsolicited letter in the record supporting the cottage housing ordinance came from 1000 Friends of Oregon.  The Council asked staff to report back in a year on how it was working.  A Public Open House on the Transit Triangle would happen December 11, 2017, at the Ashland Senior Center to provide an overview and draft amendments.
  1. Accessory Residential Unit Development Standards
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained staff had refined the ordinance further based on information from the October 24, 2017, Study Session.  She provided the following information:
Legislative History
  • 1991:  ARUs allowed in Single-Family Zones (R-1)
  • 2002:  ARUs allowed in Rural Residential Zones (RR)
  • 2008:  ARUs allowed in the Multi-Family Zones (R-2 & R-3)
  • 2015:  ARUs changed from conditional to permitted use.
  • 177 ARUs approved since 1991
  • Last ten years (2007-2017)
  • 65 units approved
  • 35 units less than 500 sq. ft.
  • Household sizing is decreasing
  • 2012 Housing Needs Analysis
  • Greatest need is rental studio units
  • Second need is one-bedroom rental units
Staff focused on single-family zones.  They chose not to change the standards for R-2, R-3, and RR due to parking and the higher densities allowed.  There were some exceptions.  These zones did not have as much available on-street parking.  Also, multi-family had multi-family development potential outside of the ARU provision.  A single-family home in the R-2, R-3, and RR zones could add a second unit under the existing multi-family zone regulations.  As long as it was less than the minimum lot size for two units they could build a 500 square foot (sq. ft.) ARU.  If it was the size required for two units or more, they could do multiple units.
Ms. Harris provided examples where ARUs were added to houses, converted garages, and within the existing footprint of a house.  ARUs less than 500 sq. ft. attached or within an existing home would not require planning approval site design review.  It would be a building permit.  In addition, it would not require off-street parking. 
For an ARU in an existing home at least five years old, the owner could make the existing residential units 75% of the primary residence.   It changed the percentage from 50% of the primary residence to 75%.
Another example was a 400 sq. ft. unit built above a garage.  The home itself was 2100 sq. ft.  Under the draft ordinance, this would require a planning approval because it was detached.  Any detached ARU would require planning approval and off-street parking.  New to the ordinance was if an application was submitted for site design review, staff excluded some of the standards that applied to multifamily development and tried to limit that scope.  This was something for the Commission to consider.  Staff looked at other communities’ standards and added the requirement when there was outdoor living space, like a balcony, it should be directed towards the interior yard. Another consideration was making the door to the accessory secondary or subordinate to the main entrance of the house.  These were possible incentives for people to utilize the existing footprint rather than having additional physical disturbances of the lot. 
The ordinance changed the parking standard when required to one space for less than 800 sq. ft.  If the unit was between 800 sq. ft. and 1000 sq. ft., it required two spaces.
In the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Applicability (C)(2) staff indicated R-1 and R-1-3.5 zones.  R-1 served as an umbrella for R-1-5, R-1-7.5, and R-1-10 zones.  It was also consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. 
In 2008, the code was amended to allow ARUs in R-2 and R-3.  AMC Residential Development (C)(1) was a repeat of language under AMC Accessory Residential Unit (A) R-1 Zone.  For AMC (C)(2), the language was moved to a numeral because it was becoming lengthy. 
The process reflected the current code.  It was the same for R-2 and R-3 in site design review to add an ARU as it was to add a second unit.
When it was put into the ordinance in 2008, undersized R-2 and R-3 lots were not big enough to add a full second unit.  It would allow the same accessory to the single-family dwelling as R-1 zones.  If it was not big enough under the densities of R-2 and R-3, someone could still do an ARU that was 500 sq. ft. or less.
Under AMC Accessory Residential Unit (C)(1), the Commission wanted to remove the second sentence, “Lots meeting the density standards in section for two or more units are not eligible for an accessory residential unit.”
Initially, staff was concerned about giving R-2 and R-3 the same exemption as R-1.  In R-1 zones there tended to be more on-street parking available.  Off street parking was more of a demand because of mixed use in the R-2 and R-3 zones.  The lots also tended to be narrower with less street frontage.
AMC Accessory Residential Unit (A)(5) was exempted from the flag drive requirements. At the least, they could make it conform to what a single-family home would be required to do.  Commission comment suggested a minimum that included “except for the minimum of a 9-foot driveway width.” 
Commission comment also thought parking should not be exempted in areas where it was only allowed on one side of the street. In new subdivisions, street width was reduced with parking on one side of the street.
AMC Accessory Residential Unit (A)(2) spoke to ARUs not being subject to the minimum lot area requirements of the zone.  The Commission could determine if they wanted it to be that limited or if the intention was to encourage smaller 500 sq. ft. units. Ms. Harris clarified it did not increase density.  It was a different way of calculating the density for the performance standards options.  Mr. Molnar added since the later 1980s, most of the subdivisions and single-family zones were done under the performance standards. It eliminated many developments from building ARUs that brought up the question of revisiting the provision.
Chair Pearce read from a new state statute that required. “… a city with a population greater than 2500, shall allow, in areas zoned for detached single-family dwellings, the development of at least one ARU for each detached single-family dwelling.  Subject to reasonable local regulations relating to siting and design.” He noted it did not relate to density.  There was some confusion on the statute that would be clarified in the future by the state.
Ms. Harris explained limiting conversions to houses in existence for 5 years was an attempt to make the ordinance more timeless rather than locking in the existing housing stock at the time it was adopted. 
The Commission suggested striking the language in AMC that stated a lot had to have access to an improved city street paved to 20-feet in width with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.  To date, no lot in the RR zone complied with the requirement.
AMC (B)(1) prohibited any land disturbance on lands with 25% slope or greater.  Chair Pearce thought the physical constraints ordinance for hillside lands covered this and it was not necessary for this ordinance.  Commissioner Mindlin suggested allowing ARUs in all of the situations as long as it was under 500 sq. ft.  It would encourage the smaller units the city needed and would have less impact.  They suggested striking AMC (B)(1) and (B)(2).
Chair Pearce addressed AMC Residential Development (B)(1) and wanted it made clear that only the following standards from Chapter 18.4.2 applied.  Mr. Molnar clarified they would still be required to have 50% or 45% of the lot landscaped depending on the zone.
Commissioner Norton expressed concern of the cumulative effect of allowing ARUs in subdivisions.
The Commission thought windows should be removed from AMC so that just exterior doors and outdoor living areas on the second story were oriented towards the interior of the property. 
Commissioner Dawkins noted a tree on B Street that had protective fencing around it during the construction of three big buildings.  The tree died from lack of water.  He suggested adding watering to the tree protection requirements. 
  1. Community Development Department Housing Program 
Community Development Director Bill Molnar gave an overview of what Housing Specialist Linda Reid presented at the November 21, 2017, City Council meeting.  The City had been committed for almost 30 years to housing and made various contributions from updating the land use ordinance to fee waivers and staffing.  Other achievements included annexation requirements for mandatory affordability.  The City had 172 deed-restricted units in the program.  Staff would provide an update in the future on the regional housing strategy.  Another item was informal discussion regarding the Croman Mill property and a residential development on the southern part of the property near Siskiyou Boulevard. 
The railroad clean up would occur spring 2018.  There was a possibility of having some additional housing in the area.
A new bill passed that would provide 1% loans to cities to purchase property for affordable housing.   
Meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

Online City Services

Pay Your Utility Bill
Connect to
Ashland Fiber Network
Request Conservation
Proposals, Bids
& Notifications
Request Building
Building Permit
Apply for Other
Permits & Licenses
Register for
Recreation Programs

©2023 City of Ashland, OR | Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A




twitter facebook Email Share
back to top