Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Special Mtg

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

June 25, 2019

Audio Recording
Vice Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   Staff Present:
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Melanie Mindlin
  Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maris Harris, Planning Manager
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant
Absent Members:   Council Liaison:
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Stefani Seffinger, absent


Huelz Gutcheon/Ashland/Spoke about permit forms, climate change and that the City code was no longer good.  He equated climate change to a nuclear war in slow motion.
A.  PLANNING ACTION: PA-T2-2019-00009OWNER/APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
REQUEST:  The adoption of the proposed Trails Master Plan as a supporting document to the Ashland Comprehensive Plan, Chapter VIII, Parks, Open Space, and Aesthetics.
Staff Report
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained this was a public hearing to make a recommendation to the City Council to adopt the Trails Master Plan (TMP) to the Comprehensive Plan.  It would be adopted as a supporting document to Chapter VIII.  She provided history on the TMP and described the 2018 update. 
There were three suggested amendments.  One addressed the areas where the trails went outside City of Ashland jurisdiction and how to work with the county in those situations.  Another amendment would remove the following language on page 4 and 9, “In addition, the 2018 TMP will provide a source of information that may be used to assist the community in the evaluation of local land use decisions.”  On page 12, staff recommended removing, “Trail development should conform to City riparian ordinances and regulations such as erosion control and setbacks.”  Staff recommended approval to the City Council. 
Questions of Staff  
Parks and Recreation Director Michael Black addressed the concern about the Ashland Canal Trail and possibly adding language to make those trails public.  There was language in the TMP that staff would look into any opportunities to obtain easements along the trail to make them public.  There were some sections where property owners had closed the trail to the public.
Ms. Harris added it would take the land use process to get trail connections.  These types of easements were difficult to obtain when it was not a transportation connection.  Also, there was not a land use standard requirement.  It was more staff identifying an opportunity for a trails easement during the Pre-Application process.  In those circumstances, staff would alert the Parks and Recreation Department who would follow up with the applicant.  Mr. Black added the Parks and Recreation Department monitored planning actions as well.  Mr. Molnar explained it was more successful through the planning process to negotiate trails.  Potential developers tended to be interested and open to the idea.    
Ms. Harris addressed why staff wanted to remove the language “In addition, the 2018 TMP will provide a source of information that may be used to assist the community in the evaluation of local land use decisions.”   It was referred to in the Comprehensive Plan but was not part of the land use standard or approval criteria.  In the evaluation of land use decisions, it could be interpreted as a land use standard or approval criteria.  It was referenced only in the Comprehensive Plan.  The Land Use board of Appeals (LUBA) allowed it but it had to be stated in the code.  It also had to have strong language that had clear and objective standards for housing projects.  Otherwise it could get challenged from a legal standpoint. Mr. Molnar added as part of a quasi-judicial system there had to be specific approval standards in the Land Use Ordinance.  Mr. Black thought it was appropriate the way it was currently proposed.  It was a guidance tool.  All the chapters were general except the chapter on the Bear Creek Greenway.   
Public Testimony - None
Deliberations & Decision
Commissioners Harper/Brown m/s to recommend forwarding PA-T2-2019-00009 to the City Council consistent with the staff report.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.  Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 7:19 p.m.
Submitted by,
Dana Smith, Executive Assistant

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