City land-use forum tonight

The Ashland Community Development Department will host a public forum about proposed changes to the city's land-use ordinances.

The meeting is at 5 p.m., in the council chambers, 1175 E. Main St. This is the second meeting on the proposed amendments. The first one was before the Ashland Planning Commission on July 31. Tonight's meeting is hosted by planning staff, not the planning commission. It is billed as an informal opportunity for residents to ask questions about the proposed changes.

"The idea is to go through what is being proposed and go through any questions people might have," said David Stalheim, director of community development. "Hopefully, it will help people to participate a little more."

In July, the planning staff suggested the city make numerous changes to its land-use ordinances. Stalheim said the changes will make the laws easier to read and easier to interpret. This, in turn, will help free up his staff to do more long-range planning.

"These are issues we deal with every day and spend a considerable amount of time on," Stalheim said at the meeting. "We're trying to present all the staff recommendations we think should be addressed by the city."

Some of the issues Stalheim has highlighted include setbacks, lot coverage, vision clearance and residential uses on the ground floor in commercial and employment zones. Other changes include more decisions made by staff, rather than the planning commission, and instituting a fee to appeal decisions either by staff or the planning commission.

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