Medford City Council Study Session
March 7, 2013
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Karen Blair, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, John Michaels, Bob Strosser, Chris Corcoran and Al Densmore.
Councilmmember Bunn noted he has a conflict of interest and would be recusing himself from any discussion on this issue but would be attending the study session as his understanding of the history of the ISA process would be helpful when the Council considers expanding the Urban Growth Boundary.
Internal Study Areas (ISA) Project: John Adam, Planner IV addressed the Council regarding the Internal Study Areas and buildable lands inventory. He described how the study areas were identified and spoke to the rationale for the reclassification of the parcels for future development types, ie. residential or industrial. He provided an overview of the existing areas and their relativity to transit lines. Cities undergoing an urban growth boundary expansion are required to look at internal study areas. He identified the identified internal study areas within the City and noted that staff will be asking for Council to initiate a formal process at an upcoming Council meeting. He noted he would like the Council to consider any areas that should be eliminated from the process and questioned the notice area for the process. He stated that the Medford Code requires notification to only the property owners whose land is proposed to be changed. He questioned if the Council would desire some additional notice to be sent such as neighboring property owners or others within a 200 foot buffer around the changing parcels.
Mr. Adam then spoke to the effect of the action on the land needs inventory. Councilmember Michaels requested that the Council keep an open mind regarding the increase in density as this can be accommodated positively dependent upon how density projects are designed. He suggested that the current design standards might need to be reviewed to ensure the end product is what is desired.
Councilmember Gordon questioned how this process intersects with the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) effort. Mr. Adam noted that the relationship to the RPS effort is not the primary factor but that all the cities included in the RPS agreement need to look at increasing density within their jurisdictions. Mr. Adam noted that the process is for the Council to initiate this action which will start the public involvement process. There will then be public hearings at both the Planning Commission and City Council before any change to the General Land Use Plan map is completed.
Councilmember Densmore questioned if this is based on an assumption that the public facilities are adequate to support the density increases. Mr. Adam noted that staff has reviewed this and a formal analysis will need to be done.
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director addressed the Council regarding the level of service (LOS) for the future growth analysis. He noted that the City has received a Transportation and Growth Management Grant (TGM) that is funding the future growth analysis. The consultant is seeking some guidance from the City on how to proceed further with a lowering of the LOS or adjusting the system development charges to provide funding for the improvements to the infrastructure to ensure the current LOS can be met. Mr. Crebbin noted that this issue was brought to Council in 2003 during the update to the Transportation System Plan and the LOS was not modified at that time.
Councilmembers discussed the LOS and potential need to fund additional improvements but expressed concerns regarding raising system development charges which could reduce Medford’s market advantages.
*Councilmember Corcoran left and returned to the meeting.
The Council recommended that the consultant look at a hybrid approach to dealing with LOS and potential modification to the system development charges.
The meeting adjourned at 6:58 p.m.