Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Electronic Planning Commission Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

December 14, 2021

I.   CALL TO ORDER: 7:01 PM via Zoom
Chair Haywood Norton called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

Commissioners Present:                                  Staff Present:
Michael Dawkins                                                   Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Haywood Norton                                                  Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Roger Pearce                                                         Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Kerry KenCairn                                                      Derek Severson, Senior Planner
Lynn Thompson                                                    April Lucas, Development Services Coordinator
                                                                                Michael Sullivan, Administrative Assistant

Absent Members:                                              Council Liaison:
Lisa Verner                                                          Paula Hyatt (Absent)

Chair Norton informed the Commission that per the applicant’s request, the public hearing for PA-T2-2021-00035 has been postponed until the February 8, 2022 Planning Commission meeting.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar made the following announcements:
  • Mr. Molnar thanked Planning Manager Maria Harris for her years of service to the City of Ashland. She will be retiring at the beginning of January 2022.
  • At the City Council Business Meeting held on December 7, 2021, the City Council unanimously approved the Planning Commission’s proposed Annexation Code changes with a minor language adjustment.
  • The Planning Commission will not hold a Study Session on December 28 and will reconvene in January.
  • Mr. Molnar reminded the Commission that a preliminary pre-application for development of the Croman Mill Site had been received and the applicants were considering changes to the plans that would likely require a legislative amendment to move forward. The applicants plan to come before the Planning Commission and discuss the plans further and are also planning a public outreach event in January to communicate directly with the public.

A.   Approval of Minutes
      1.  November 23, 2021 Study Session

Commissioners Pearce/KenCairn m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. 5-0.


A.   Approval of Findings for PA-T1-2021-00159, 329 Granite.

Ex Parte Contact:
Commissioner KenCairn noted that she is part of the design team for this project. 

Commissioners Pearce/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-T1-2021-00159. Voice Vote: Commissioners Pearce, Thompson, Dawkins, and Norton, YES. Commissioner KenCairn abstained. Motion passed 4-0.

B.  Approval of Findings for PA-T1-2021-00158, 351 Walker.

Ex Parte Contact: 
No ex parte contact was reported. 

Deliberations and Decision
Commissioner Pearce commended the Staff’s findings but expressed a concern that they did not adequately address the appellants main point of contention, mainly the potential property devaluation caused by the view of the proposed cellular tower. He stated that the Staff’s position that this concern was outside the scope of the Commission was not conveyed clearly in the findings and proposed the following language: “Appellant’s evidence regarding adverse effects to livability were focused on concerns about the potential for adverse health effects from exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation from the proposed cellular facility. As discussed below, the consideration of those types of concerns are preempted by federal law and may not be considered by the Planning Commission.”

Commissioner Thompson also suggested an edit to the Findings for clarity. On page 8 in the second paragraph, three specific points are listed but points two and three are not enumerated. Commissioner Thompson requested that these be more clearly marked.

Commissioners Pearce/Dawkins m/s to approve the Findings for PA-T1-2021-00158 with the stated amendments. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.

C.  Review of Draft Findings for PA-L-2021-00012.

Commissioners Pearce/Thompson m/s to approve the Findings for PA-L-2021-00012. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.

A.      PLANNING ACTION: #PA-L-2021-00013
APPLICANT:  City of Ashland
ORDINANCE REFERENCES:   AMC 18.2.3 Special Use Standards
                                         AMC 18.2.6 Standards for Non-Residential Zones
                                         AMC 18.3.13 Residential Overlay
REQUEST:  The proposal includes a series of amendments to the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Title 18 Land Use to the residential standards for mixed-use development in the Commercial (C-1) and Employment (E-1) zones.
Chair Norton reminded the Commission that its role is to make a recommendation to the City Council, who will then make a final decision regarding the amendment to the Ashland Municipal Code.

Ms. Harris provided a presentation for the Commission that detailed the core change in the proposed ordinance, that mixed use buildings could be 65% residential on the ground floor (up from 35%) if they meet three criteria: 1) are two or more stories, 2) are less than ten acres in size, and 3) are located outside of the Downtown Design Standards overlay. Ms. Harris explained that other proposals had been made, including temporarily allowing up 100% Residential within the E-1 zones, but found that such a change would be difficult to enforce. After consultation with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) it was decided that this would also constitute a significant change and require an update to the Economic Opportunity Analysis. 

Another proposed amendment would remove residential density limitations to encourage the construction of smaller and more affordable housing over larger and more expensive buildings (See attachment #1). Ms. Harris did suggest one change to her proposal, which was an issue brought to her attention by Commissioner Thompson. Under the current amendment the shift in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) standards would be applied too broadly, so staff suggested removing the FAR standards from non-residential land before moving forward. With that amendment in mind, Ms. Harris recommended the Commission approve the ordinance and forward it to the City Council for review. Commissioner Thompson asked for additional clarification regarding the new proposed FAR standards and was concerned that they would apply unintended restrictions on smaller buildings. Ms. Harris assured her that smaller buildings would not be affected by the FAR changes, and that a restraint would in fact be removed.

Commissioners Pearce/Thompson m/s to recommend amendments under PA-2021-00013 to the City Council and include staff’s recommendation to amend table to FAR standard. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Dawkins, KenCairn, Pearce, Thompson, and Norton, YES. Motion passed 5-0. 

A.      PLANNING ACTION: #PA-T2-2021-00035
OWNER/APPLICANT:  Heidi Leverenz
DESCRIPTION: A request for a Land Partition to split a 1.08 acre property into two parcels. The application indicates that the two resultant parcels will include a 0.34 acre parcel which contains the existing residence, and a 0.73 acre parcel situated to the south and accessed by a flag drive. The request includes a variance to the number of lots accessed from the private driveway and an exception to street standards to not install sidewalks to current standards where there are existing curbside sidewalk improvements. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-10; MAP: 39 1E 08 DA; TAX LOT: 1300.
Chair Norton reiterated that PA-T2-2021-00035, 233 Granite St. would not be heard tonight and requested the Commission continue the public hearing to February 8, 2022.

Commissioners Dawkins/KenCairn m/s to continue the public hearing to February 8, 2022. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.

B.       SUBJECT PROPERTY: Public Right-of-Way adjacent to 39 1E 05AD Tax Lot #502
OWNER/APPLICANT:  City of Ashland Public Works Department
DESCRIPTION: The Planning Commission will consider a request to vacate a portion of the Otis Street right-of-way north of Map 39 1E 05AD Tax Lot #502 near 388 Otis Street and make a recommendation to the City Council. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single-Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-5-P; ASSESSOR’S MAP/TAX LOT: 39 1E 05AD Tax Lot #502.
Senior Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation on the request to vacate a portion of Otis St. due to the cul-de-sac existing on a now through-road. He stated staff is recommending approval with the following conditions: 1) the applicant be required to install a new continuous curb, 2) adequate right-of-way or a public pedestrian access easement to support future curbside sidewalk installation should be retained, and 3) the applicant sign-in favor of a Local Improvement District (LID) for future street improvements (See attachment #2). With these considerations Staff recommended the Commission recommend approval to the City Council. 

Commissioner Thompson asked if there was a sidewalk that would connect from the opposite side of the cul-de-sac, to which Mr. Severson replied that there was not. He elaborated that the section in question was not part of the West Village subdivision and that a sidewalk would not be required at this stage unless the City Council believed it merited one. He added that there are currently trees and other obstructions that would need to be addressed before a sidewalk could be installed.  

Commissioners Pearce/KenCairn m/s to recommend Council’s approval of the request to vacate 388 Otis with the conditions recommended by Staff. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0. 

Chair Norton referenced the annual report given to the City Council on December 7, 2021 which described the work that the Community Development Department and the Planning Commission did throughout the past year. Also outlined in the report were future plans for the Housing Production Strategy meeting and the Croman Mill site development. Chair Norton asked that Mr. Molnar distribute the report with the Planning Commission meeting packet for January 11, 2022.

Senior Planner Brandon Goldman informed the Commission that the applicants for the proposed Croman Mill site development intend on holding a public open house prior to the January 25, 2022 Planning Commission Study Session where they will be presenting their concepts to the Planning Commission. This would be to gather feedback from neighbors and the public at large before the applicants come before the Commission with a formal application. The Commission briefly considered attending the open house but decided against it to avoid unintentionally achieving a quorum outside a Commission meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.

Submitted by,
Michael Sullivan, Administrative Assistant


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