Council will ponder fate of 189-seat lodge eatery

    The Ashland City Council again will take up the issue of whether to approve a lodge-style restaurant across from Lithia Park, and if so, under what conditions.

    Jon and Esther Phelps are proposing to tear down a small, run-down building at 85 Winburn Way and replace it with a 189-seat restaurant with a basement, two full above-ground floors and a third floor observation deck covered by a triangular glass roof.

    They are requesting a zone change that would allow the restaurant to be built there. No additional parking would be required, unless the City Council decides to add conditions to address parking issues.

    Council members also have to decide future allowable uses for the building if it ceases to operate as a restaurant. So far, they have indicated support for some uses, such as professional office space or a theater, but have opposed other uses such as lodging.

    Oak Knoll wall

    Also on Tuesday night, council members will consider whether to waive a $1,878 land-use application fee for Oak Knoll area neighbors who would like to build an 8-foot wall to separate their homes from nearby Interstate 5.

    The 2010 Oak Knoll fire started on the west side of I-5, jumped the freeway, then destroyed 11 homes on Oak Knoll drive. No one was killed, and the neighbors have been rebuilding nine of the homes.

    They believe a wall would help protect their homes from fire and any I-5 vehicles that went out of control.

    City staff members have recommended waiving the land-use application fee for the wall.

    The neighbors also are asking for about $35,000 in city planning fees for home reconstruction to be waived.

    City staff have recommended that those fees not be waived, arguing that most home insurance policies cover planning fees when a homeowner rebuilds. Waiving the fees also would set a precedent when other houses in Ashland burn and have to be rebuilt, according to a staff memo to council members.

    Also on the agenda

    On another meeting agenda item, council members will decide whether to approve a $94,020 contract for Medford-based Straus & Seibert Architects to create a design and develop cost estimates for a proposal to remodel The Grove as a new home for the Ashland Police Department.

    The Grove, located across a parking lot from the police department and council chambers on East Main Street, is used for community classes and other events.

    In 2010, a Public Safety Bond Committee found that the most cost-effective way to meet the police department's space needs was to remodel The Grove for police uses.

    The city will pay for the architectural firm's design services using money it saved from consolidating dispatch services, city staff said.

    To view the complete agenda, and for details on each agenda item, visit

    Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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