Expansion of Ashland Street building revisited

The Planning Commission will once again entertain a building expansion proposal by Coming Attractions Theatres at its Wednesday night meeting.

At the 7 p.m. Civic Center meeting, the commission will likely decide whether to allow the developers to go through with the project, which would convert a one-story house on Ashland Street to a three-story office building and small café. The Ashland Emergency Food Bank occupies the one-story building now.

The project, per state Department of Transportation requirements, would extend the median on Ashland Street toward Clay Street, which would prevent left turns from Clay Street onto Ashland Street.

The new building would serve as Coming Attractions Theatres' headquarters. The company owns the two movie theaters in town, in addition to dozens in other Oregon cities and in Northern California.

At their Oct. 14 meeting, commissioners raised questions about the reconfiguration of Ashland Street, which will force Clay Street residents to backtrack or do U-turns on Ashland Street to head the opposite direction.

Although no one spoke in opposition to the expansion at the meeting, the commission voted 6-3 to continue the hearing to this Wednesday, at the request of developer Evan Archerd, who is working on a development nearby and wanted to have time to look over the theater company's project and make comments.

After the decision, Archerd and two Coming Attractions Theatres executives got into a heated argument over the postponement, because the company didn't want the project to be delayed.

Commissioners Michael Dawkins, Dave Dotterrer and Mike Morris voted against continuing the public hearing.

After the October meeting, city officials conducted a traffic study to see how long it would take residents who live off of Clay Street to travel to common destinations like Shop 'N Kart and Albertsons if they were no longer able to turn left on Ashland Street.

It would take residents only a few seconds longer to get to Albertsons, but about two and 1/2; minutes longer to get to Shop 'N Kart, according to the report.

"In staff's assessment, the actual impact of the median installation to travel times is relatively small when viewed in light of the fact that the median addresses a long-identified safety concern at the intersection of Clay Street and Ashland Street," the report states.

The city sent notifications to nearby residents alerting them to the issue and the Wednesday meeting, according to the report.

City officials recommend in the report that the planned entrance into the new building be shared with neighboring businesses: Oil Stop, Shop 'N Kart and Bi-Mart, if arrangements can be made with the companies.

Condos on Siskiyou

The commission will also vote on whether to approve the construction of 13 condos at 2300 Siskiyou Blvd.

A house, which is used as a medical office, sits on the property now. The condo plans, submitted by Ashland builder Steve Asher, call for demolishing the existing structure and constructing five buildings around the perimeter of the property.

City staff recommends the commission green light nearly all aspects of the condo development plans.

"Overall, staff believe that the subject property presents a number of unique opportunities in that it is a relatively large prominent corner lot with well-established trees near Clay Creek and a future neighborhood park," the staff report states.

Also on the commission's Wednesday agenda is a proposal by Kerry Ken Cairn to create a new lot on Vista Street near Glenview Drive, where a home could eventually be built. The lot does not have access to a paved street and would be accessed from Glenview Drive.

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