Final approval for Helman Baths proposal?

After already having participating nine public meetings &

five in front of the Ashland Planning Commission and four before the Ashland City Council &

developers of a 17-unit subdivision slated to be built on the Helman Baths property will be back at the planning commission at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers, 1175 E. Main St., seeking final approval.

Although the project has been controversial &

it was appealed by five people to the council after the five meetings before the planning commission &

it is a normal procedure for new subdivision proposals to garner two rounds of approval in the planning process. The project won outline plan approval by the City Council in January. The project is now back before the planning commission for final plan approval.

Senior planner Maria Harris said staff awarded the proposal administrative approval, based on staff's opinion that the project remained relatively static between outline and final approvals. But Art Bullock, one of the five people who appealed the project to the council, asked for the project to be heard by the commission.

Bullock contends that the council committed "several legal errors" when considering the project. "Now would be a good time to improve your procedural integrity," he said in a letter filed with the planning department.

The proposed project would create 17 new single-family homes on 4.34 acres of land on Otis Street. An existing home and covered pool will remain on a separate lot. It includes four open space areas, mostly to protect wetlands on the property. Two open space areas have been added since the outline plan approval process.

The mineral spring that feeds the pool, which was the major bone of contention as the project made its way through outline plan approval, is included in one of the new open space areas. The mineral pool is the site of the historic Helman Baths, a public swimming area in Ashland decades ago. The water, with its signature sulfur smell, was believed to have healing powers.

"The area will be landscaped and includes a water feature that is supplied by water from the well and associated spring," according to the staff report.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 226 or . To post a comment on this story go to .

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