The Mobius is scheduled to make its case to the Ashland Planning Commission tonight for a conditional use permit. The concert venue and recording studio doesn't have the proper permit to host live music or large crowds at its Fourth Street location, and a conditional use permit would satisfy that requirement.




"The theater use is currently functioning without land use approval," according to a staff report. "A building permit was approved in 2002 for an interior remodel of the building to a video and audio production studio."




Ashland Fire and Rescue has warned the Mobius staff, in a letter, that it is not allowed to host concerts under its current permits, or any events that draw more than 49 people. The Mobius is also seeking a variance from parking requirements that stipulates it needs some 30 parking spaces for the venue. It has seven spaces and, in a letter to the planning department said, "We are prepared to take more cars off the streets of the Railroad District for evening performances."




Although the Mobius has included letters from some neighbors stating that the venue is allowed to use their parking facilities, Community Development Director David Stalheim said these are not legally binding.




"One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the parking issue," he said.




Stalheim also said that neighboring businesses, such as the Peerless Restaurant, have submitted letters complaining about concerts at the Mobius, which will weigh against the venue.




"Clearly there are other issues with operating a concert venue in that neighborhood," Stalheim said. "The CUP addresses the livability of the neighborhood."




In its submission to the commission, Mobius personnel said, "We have great relations with our neighbors, are active participants in Railroad District associations and have never had a problem with parking for any events we have held."




Planning staff has recommended the commission not approve its request.




"Due to the large number of outstanding issues, planning staff is unable to recommend approval of the project as proposed," the staff report said. "The applicant has declined to address the variance criteria or the conditional use criteria in detail."




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