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PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

MARCH 28, 2006


1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Chair Balen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair Balen and Commissioners Perry, Meatzie, Milligan, Power, Cutter and Streeter answered the roll. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Ron Caramella addressed the Commission regarding perceived incorrect data in the Municipal Code and zoning maps. He suggested that a moratorium be put on any major development in the area until those errors can be corrected, and suggested that the Commission perform a thorough review of the code.
3. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Commissioner Cutter stated that it was nice to see a number of attendees at the meeting, and suggested that the audience continue to take an active role in public hearings.
4. MINUTES: The Commission considered the minutes from the February 28, 2006 meeting. Commissioner Cutter moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Meatzie seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
  Chair Balen moved up item 7A on the agenda. Mr. Lewis gave a brief review of the Dream Harbor application, noting that the Commission had voted for tentative approval with some suggested changes. Two of the primary changes were to increase the width of the proposed street to 28' and to restrict parking to the access drives. Commissioner Cutter moved to approve the Findings, Conclusion and Final Order for Case File #1-PD-PC-06. Commissioner Milligan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: The letter from L. Sproul was noted. Commissioner Perry stated that the Downtown Project will address the condition of the highway through the downtown area.
6. PUBLIC HEARINGS: Chair Balen asked for any declarations of bias, conflict of interest or ex parte contact for any of the three public hearings. Commissioner Streeter noted he was acquainted with members of the audience who may be opposed to the Guptill zone application. Commissioner Milligan indicated she had been the listing agent for the property on which the proposed condominiums were to be built, though she had no financial involvement now, as the property had been sold. No objections were made to any of the Planning Commissioners participating in the public hearings.
  A. Guptill Zone Change Application, Case File 1-ZC-PD-06:
  Staff report: Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report, noting the request was to rezone a piece of property from R-1 to R-3. The City had received one letter prior to composing the meeting packet, and three additional letters had be subsequently received and distributed. Commissioner Cutter asked if the Planning Commission was just making a recommendation to the City Council, Mr. Lewis confirmed.
  Applicant’s Testimony: Bert Guptill addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that he was concerned about the environment and a community activist. He had bought the lot with a large house on it that had recently had a fire. They would be rebuilding that house. He had thought about putting his "dream home" in the back lot, and wanted to have a 35' building height, which was why he was applying for the zone change. He felt that the zoning was probably incorrect, and showed some photos of the affected area, noting that the character of the area has changed. Mr. Guptill indicated that he would like to settle the issue with the Port of Alsea in regard to the location of the MHHW line.
  Public Comments: The following people addressed the Planning Commission: Zelda Carter, Hank Horlings, Katie McNeil, Sherrie Smolen, Trish Nielsen. Concerns were expressed about the correctness of the lot dimensions, proposed building height and the potential uses allowed by the rezoning.
  Rebuttal: Mr. Guptill responded that the lot dimensions were approximate, and included part of the vacated portion of Commercial Street. He noted that he might want to put in a two-story duplex rather than a single home, and reiterated that the reason that he wanted the rezoning was because of the height limitation. He indicated that he did not have any plans to tear down the house and erect multi-family units, but felt that the property had been erronously zoned.
  Deliberations: Chair Balen closed the Public Hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberations. Discussion ensued. Commissioners Balen, Streeter and Cutter expressed concerns about spot zoning. Commissioner Cutter asked why the applicant had not gone for a height variance rather than a zone change. Commissioner Milligan felt that there was already a potpourri of zones in that area, and was not opposed to changing the zone on this property. Commissioner Meatzie felt that dividing the lot might be a better solution, and Commissioner Perry agreed, noting that the applicant could have divided the property into up to three lots, and then applied for a height variance. He felt that there was clearly a rationale for the R-1 zoning in that area, and was not compelled by the applicant’s argument. Following further discussion, Commissioner Cutter moved to recommend that the City Council deny the zone change request. Commissioner Streeter seconded. The motion carried, with Chair Balen and Commissioners Perry, Power, Cutter and Streeter voting "Aye", Commissioners MIlligan and Meatzie voting "Nay".
  B. Alsea Views Condominiums Planned Development, Case File #2-PD-PC-06: Chair Balen opened the Public Hearing.
  Staff Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed the staff report, noting that there had been a geotech report, traffic impact report, and a survey identifying the MHW and MHHW lines. With the density computed on the gross land area, a maximum of 19 dwellings could be allowed on the property. With a Planned Development application, they could ask for a reduction in the building setbacks and a building height up to 50% higher than the zone allows. Mr. Lewis noted that the plan identified the riparian setback. ODOT had responded to the traffic study with some concern, indicating that they could not make a determination at this time on the approach, and would need additional information. Central Oregon Coast Fire and Rescue District had also submitted concerns regarding access and the proposed height of the buildings, and asking that an elevator be installed that can accommodate a guerney. They also recommended sprinklers for fire suppression and noted the need for adequate water flow for fire protection. Commissioner Meatzie noted that this was in the Southwest Lincoln Water District and Mr. Lewis confirmed, indicating that water is available but currently only a 2" line which would need to be upgraded to a 6" line. 
Applicants Presentation: Scott Reiter, Architect, addressed the Planning Commission. He indicated that the primary reason for going with a planned development was make the building more compact by asking for a height variance. The lot coverage will only be about 25% of the total site area, which would help them to develop within the riparian and other setbacks. He displayed the plan, noting that the parking would be under the building and not visible for the most part. The traffic access analysis recommended that they work with the property to the south (Hilltop Store) for access, and ODOT had recommended joint access as well. Commissioner Balen asked if they would have to widen the highway to provide a left-turn lane, and Mr. Reiter responded that this application would probably not require this, but if it were necessary they would do so. The building materials would consist of shingle, lap siding, board and batt. Commissioner Power noted that the geotech recommended piers or piles in bedrock, and wondered how deep they would have to go. Mr. Reiter responded that according to the recommendations and conclusions it was 25' to 35' deep. Commissioner Power stated that hard silt was not bedrock and Mr. Reiter responded that this was typical of most areas along the coast. Commissioner Balen asked how drainage would be dealt with and Mr. Reiter indicated that a detailed plan had not been done yet, but he anticipated that there would be a strip drain to prevent water from coming into the parking area. Commissioner Perry noted that the buildable flat area is maybe slightly more than 50% of the lot. Commissioner Balen wondered about revising the code to remove the inclusion of the beach area, though that would have no impact on the current application. Commissioner Perry asked how the piers would be installed, whether drilled or driven, and Mr. Reiter indicated that they had not yet been designed, but they would be working with the engineer after the application had been approved. Mr. Reiter noted that the first level of the building would be concrete, and they may decide to build the entire building out of concrete and steel rather than wood. They were also not sure of the roofing material at the present time. Commissioner Cutter asked about the outfall for storm drainage and Mr. Reiter indicated that he had met with staff and explored some options but no firm plans were in place yet. He also noted that an environmental impact study had not been done as historic use of the lot had not triggered the thought of it.
  Public comments: John Johnson, Chair of the Port of Alsea, addressed the Commission. He noted that the Port has discussed the project in detail and is strongly opposed because it will have a negative visual impact on the community. They were also concerned about the structural integrity of a project this size at the edge of the bay, and the potential for traffic problems. As adjacent land owners, there was a concern about the possibility of the structure ending up on their property in the event of a landslide or other disaster. Ronald Caramella, adjacent property owner, addressed the Commission and provided a graphic display of the impact the proposal would have. Dave Jones, owner of the Hilltop Market, stated that he felt this project would have an extremely detrimental impact on his business, especially if the traffic has to be rerouted. Carrie Caramella distributed a copy of her testimony to the Planning Commission, and asked that the hearing remain open for 21 days to allow for additional response and documents. She indicated that the application did not meet the Statewide Planning Goals, and was also a potential archaeological site. She also noted that there was a rumor that the property would be sold as a destination resort. Lynette Sproul mentioned she felt that the proposition was inappropriate both visually and economically.
  Rebuttal: Mr. Reiter noted that it was anticipated the majority of the property would be owner-occupied, it was not being sold as a resort. He felt that there would be only minor impact on traffic, as this was a residential use. He reiterated that the reason they were asking for the planned development was to allow for the variance on height and setbacks, and noted that development would not be halted by public sentiment as building could still take place within the parameters of the code. Mr. Reiter indicated that if the record was held open, they could provide additional rebuttal if necessary.
  Deliberations: Chair Balen closed the Public Hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberations. A lengthy discussion ensued. Concerns were expressed regarding the size and height of the proposed project, traffic considerations, drainage, seismological and geological issues, ingress and egress for emergency response, and impact on the environment. Discussion then ensued regarding deferring the decision and leaving the record open to allow the applicant to address those concerns. Commissioner Cutter moved to deny the application. Commissioner Streeter seconded, and the motion carried, with Chair Balen and Commissioners Power, Cutter and Streeter voting "Aye", Commissioners Milligan, Meatzie and Perry voting "Nay".
  C. Proposed Development Code Amendment - Downtown District Zone: It was explained that the revisions had been done at the direction of the City Council, to create a downtown district that provided opportunities to increase density, promote mixed uses and generate a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. The Planning Commission had been working on this project for over a year. Mr. Lewis explained that the boundaries of the district were basically along Highway 101 from the bridge to the seawall, and down Highway 34 to Alder Street.
  Chair Balen opened the Public Hearing. He then read the description of the proposed zone. Discussion ensued regarding parking, traffic speed and other issues. Consensus of the Commission was to leave the hearing open to the next meeting due to the lateness of the hour, and to allow the public additional time to read the proposed language.
7. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:
  A. Consideration of Findings of Fact, Conclusion and Final Order for Case File #1-PD-PC-06, Dream Harbor: Previously addressed.
  B. Planning Report: The Commission determined it was not necessary for Mr. Lewis to review his report, they would peruse it at their leisure.
  C. Other Issues: None.
8. ADJOURNMENT: At 10:02 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted,
Reda A. Quinlan, City Clerk
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 25th day of April, 2006.
SIGNED by the Chair this 25th day of April, 2006.
Samuel Balen, Chair