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Appellants' aim was off

Opponents of the cottage housing development proposed for 476 N. Laurel St. lost their appeal of the project because their aim was off.

The neighbors raised objections to several aspects of the project. But in every instance, developer KDA Homes LLC had complied with the relevant ordinances and restrictions. In some cases, the appellants criticized the developer for going above and beyond city requirements in an attempt to reach out to opponents.

The traffic study completed by the developer was inadequate, they said. But city rules did not require any study at all; the developer did one anyway at the neighbors’ request.

The developer met only once with neighbors, they said. But the developer wasn’t required to meet at all, doing so at the city’s suggestion.

Opponents argued the project would create a traffic jam in case of a wildfire evacuation, and one off-street parking space for each unit was inadequate. In both cases, the project meets city requirements, and the fire marshal found no problem with the plan. The traffic engineer said daily trips on Mountain View Drive would average 475, on a street already capable of handling 1,500.

The opponents couldn’t defeat the proposal on its merits because they were really objecting to the cottage housing concept itself, zoning rules the city adopted in 2017. This project will be one of the greenest in the city, with solar panels, a pollinator garden and a pesticide ban.

If it succeeds, Ashland residents should prepare to welcome more.

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