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Beach Creek housing development passes first reading

Ashland City Council approved the first reading Tuesday, Oct. 19, of an ordinance annexing nearly eight acres of property into the city for a new 52-unit single-family residential housing development with eight affordable housing units directly northeast of the intersection of North Mountain Avenue and the railroad tracks.

The Planning Commission approved a request for development of the subdivision, which does not go into effect until the council approves annexation, according to Community Development Director Bill Molnar.

If approved, 7.9 acres of a 10-acre property will be annexed with single-family residential zoning. The remaining 2.1 acres of the parcel adjacent to North Mountain Avenue are already within the city, according to senior planner Derek Severson.

The proposal, submitted by developer KDA Homes, includes 52 units, eight common areas and eight units guaranteed affordable to those making 80% of area median income — consistent with the city’s annexation code, Severson said.

Between May 2021-May 2022, income limits by family size are capped at $38,300 for one person, $43,750 for two, $49,200 for three and $54,650 for four people to meet 80% AMI for affordable housing, according to the city.

The proposed development includes a limited activities and uses permit to install a bridge over Beach Creek, to provide street connectivity through the subdivision from North Mountain Avenue to neighborhoods due east, Severson said.

A permit to remove four of 25 trees on the property — approved by the Tree Commission — does not include a 60-inch diameter black oak tree or large Ponderosa pine considered significant to the parcel, he said. A planting plan for the subdivision includes 138 new trees.

The Transportation Commission found that the development application meets criteria for adequate transportation by automobile, bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit, Severson said.

KDA Homes proposed partnering with Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity to complete the eight affordable units, connect utilities and provide site work. The units will be comparable in construction, bedroom mix, material details and energy efficiency, Severson said.

The proposal features four cottage-style affordable units clustered in the southeast corner with access from Orchid Street and four single-family affordable units distributed throughout the subdivision.

The proposed subdivision’s street connections include Village Park Drive, Kirk Lane, Old Willow Lane, Orchid Street and Rose Lane. Severson said a traffic engineer found that 80% of site trips will use North Mountain Avenue, 10% will use Orchid Street to access the cottages, and the remaining 10% will be distributed among other street connections.

The city’s Public Works Department has initiated a capital improvement project to improve North Mountain Avenue by filling sidewalk gaps, calming traffic and improving the bike path, accessibility and storm drainage.

KDA agreed to share the cost of necessary riparian restoration along Beach Creek abutting Ashland Village Homeowners Association property on the north boundary, according to Ashland Village HOA co-president Beth Jandernoa.

During the public hearing, Jandernoa asked for city partnership addressing intense water flow, erosion and debris issues in the Beach Creek channel.

“We are concerned that if this is not addressed during the development stage, it could place the future Beach Creek HOA in a difficult position of making corrections affecting the safety and health of the areas downstream,” said Sue Whiteman, Ashland Village homeowner.

Per conditions set by Public Works, subdivision development must not add to stream impacts compared to the vacant property baseline, KDA land use planner Mark Knox said, and KDA is prepared to employ a stream impact mitigation strategy.

Neighbors will receive notice when a final plan is submitted with engineered drawings and can request another hearing in front of the Planning Commission if they believe KDA’s proposed measures are inadequate, Severson said.

Councilor Stephen Jensen made a motion to “direct staff to prepare written findings for approval of the proposed annexation, incorporating the Planning Commission’s decision and the staff recommendations, for Council adoption on Nov. 2.”

“Getting these islands eliminated and incorporated into the city is an essential part of infill,” Jensen said.

Councilor Paula Hyatt, supporting the motion, said in addition to the thorough planning process behind the project, the bedroom mix in affordable units includes sizes conducive to large families. The motion and advancement of relevant ordinance adoption to second reading passed unanimously.

“I think we’re moving forward on several of our goals as a community in this development and I’m looking forward to also seeing how those drainage issues are addressed,” said Councilor Tonya Graham.

“I feel like this was a very productive part of our meeting and I’m grateful that we’re moving forward and getting some housing into Ashland,” said Councilor Gina DuQuenne.

Reach reporter Allayana Darrow at adarrow@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497.