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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Minutes

Minutes
Thursday, February 27, 2014

The regular meeting of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
 
Commissioners Present                                 Staff
Michael Zarosinski, Chair                               Jim Huber, Planning Director
Robert Tull, Vice Chair                                   Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director
Bill Christie                                                    Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Norman Fincher                                             Lori Cooper, Deputy City Attorney
Bill Mansfield                                                 Larry Beskow, City Engineer
David McFadden (arrived at 5:35 p.m.)         Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Patrick Miranda (arrived at 5:38 p.m.)          Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Alec Schwimmer                                            Sarah Sousa, Planner III
Paul Shoemaker                                            Kathy Helmer, Planner IV
                                                                      Desmond McGeough, Planner II
           
10.       Roll Call
           
20.       Consent Calendar/Written Communications.  None.
           
30.       Minutes. 
30.1     The minutes for January 23, 2014, Kelly Akin, Principal Planner stated that at the Commissioner’s places is a letter from Kathy Fennell requesting that the minutes be amended to reflect her verbal testimony, item o, page 13, of the January 23, 2014, minutes.  Staff has reviewed what Ms. Fennell submitted and feels that the substance is there and also she testified in writing.  She also noted that her name was misspelled.  Staff recommends the correction of her name otherwise the minutes accurately reflect what she submitted.  Lori Cooper, Deputy City Attorney, commented that Ms. Fennell probably wants it to be on the record.  She may not understand the distinction between the minutes and the record.  Her written material is in the record.  The Commission approved the minutes for January 23, 2014, with the correction of Ms. Fennell’s name.  
           
30.2     The minutes for February 13 2014, were approved as submitted.
           
40.       Oral and Written Requests and Communications.  None. 
           
            Lori Cooper, Deputy City Attorney, read the Quasi-Judicial Statement.
           
50.       Public Hearing. 
            Old Business
50.1     PUD-13-119 Consideration of a request for revisions to Cedar Landing PUD, a mixed-use development on parcels totaling 114 acres on the north and south sides of Cedar Links Drive, west of Foothills Road within an SFR-4/PD (Single Family Residential – 4 units per acre / Planned Development) zoning district. Revisions include name changes, phase re-numbering, and lot reconfiguration.  (Cedar Investments LLC, Applicant; Dennis Hoffbuhr, Agent).
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts.  None were disclosed.
           
Sarah Sousa, Planner III, stated that at the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2014, the Commissioner’s reviewed this application for the Cedar Landing Planned Unit Development revision and also the associated land division for Sky Lakes Village, Phase 7.  Request was made to keep the record open for both applications for seven days.  The Commission closed the public hearing and allowed the public record to remain open for seven days for written public testimony followed by a seven day rebuttal period for the applicant.  Written comments were received during both the seven day public hearing period and the seven day applicant rebuttal time.  Ms. Sousa gave a full staff report on January 23, 2014, so she will summarize the application and briefly go through the public testimony.  Ms. Sousa reminded the Commissioners that the public hearing has been closed and would go directly into deliberations.
           
Commissioner Fincher asked what portion of the property is the other party stating should not be part of this application?  Ms. Sousa replied that it is Phase 8, approximately a six acre portion.  Commissioner Fincher asked is the portion owned by the original applicants changed under this proposal?  Ms. Sousa replied no.      
           
Motion: Adopt the Final Order for approval of PUD-13-119 per the Revised Staff Report dated February 20, 2014, including Exhibits A through T.
           
Moved by: Commissioner Mansfield      Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
           
Commissioner McFadden asked if the City Attorney’s office is fine with the related legal side issues.  Ms. Cooper replied yes.  Ms. Sousa summarized what the issues are and the City’s response.   
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0-1, with Commissioner Christie abstaining.
           
50.2     LDS-13-121 Consideration of a request for tentative plat approval to create Sky Lakes Village Subdivision Phase 7, a 16 lot residential subdivision on approximately 4.33 acres located on the north side of Cedar Links Drive at the southerly termini of St. Francis Drive and Farmington Avenue, and nine reserve acreage tracts totaling approximately 94.57 acres, within Cedar Landing PUD, generally located on the north and south sides of Cedar Links Drive at the termini of Wilkshire Drive, Farmington Avenue and Callaway Drive, and on the west side of N. Foothill Road at the terminus of Normil Terrace within the SFR-4/PD (Single Family Residential – 4 dwelling units per gross acre/Planned Development) zoning district.  (Cedar Investments LLC, Applicant; Dennis Hoffbuhr, Agent).
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts.  None were disclosed.
           
Sarah Sousa, Planner III, stated as with the previous item this application for Sky Lakes Village was reviewed at the January 23, 2014, Planning Commission meeting.  The public hearing was closed but the record was allowed to remain open for seven days for written public testimony followed by a seven day written rebuttal period for the applicant.  Ms. Sousa gave a condensed report since she gave a full staff report at the January 23, 2014, Planning Commission meeting.  Ms. Sousa reminded the Commissioners that the public hearing remains closed and would go directly into deliberations.
           
Motion: Adopt the Final Order for approval of LDS-13-121 per the Revised Staff Report dated February 20, 2014, including Exhibits A-1 through Q.
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Miranda
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0-1, with Commissioner Christie abstaining.
           
            New Business
50.3     LDS-13-137 Consideration of a request for tentative plat approval of Stonegate Estates Phase 2, a 94 lot residential subdivision on approximately 31.73 acres, within Stonegate Estates PUD, generally located on the north side of Coal Mine Road and east of North Phoenix Road within the SFR-4/SE/PD (Single Family Residential – 4 units per acre/Southeast Overlay/Planned Development) zoning district.  (Louis Mahar / Mahar Brothers Holdings, LLC, Applicant; Richard Stevens & Associates, Agent).
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts.  None were disclosed.
           
Sarah Sousa, Planner III, read the land division criteria and gave a staff report.  Ms. Sousa pointed out that there several handouts before the Commissioners.  There is a Public Works Report labeled Exhibit I-1 to be added to the staff report.  The City Engineer, Larry Beskow, has also provided an email on the front page telling the changes that have been made to the Public Works Department Report.  Also, there is a revised Medford Water Commission report labeled Exhibit K-1 to be added to the staff report. 
           
Commissioner McFadden stated that it appears there are two bridges required to get access in and out of this project.  Is that correct?  Ms. Sousa replied yes.   
           
Commissioner McFadden asked they both will be built before the subdivision is started?  Mr. Sousa replied yes.  It is a condition of Final Plat.
           
Commissioner McFadden asked is the width on Stanford substandard at this point?  Ms. Sousa deferred the question to Larry Beskow, City Engineer.  Mr. Beskow replied that at the current time Public Works is requesting that the applicant dedicate half plus twelve, per the Code, on Stanford along the easterly boundary and constructs half plus eight.  The half plus eight construction would give twenty-two feet on one side and eight feet on the other for a total of a thirty foot roadway.   That is adequate in the interim.     
           
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given.
           
a.  Clark Stevens, 201 West Main Street, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Mr. Steven reported that he is present tonight representing Mahar Brothers Holdings, LLC, the applicant.  The project before the Commission this evening is Phase 2 of this project and as staff mentioned, the applicant is proposing sub-phases within Phase 2.  Each sub-phase a, b and c will be required to have a bridge.  There are some right-of-way restrictions currently at this time.  The applicant has been in contact with the neighboring owners and is anticipating that will get easements and/or right-of-way to build a bridge.  Along with the bridges each sub-phase will also have riparian and greenway improvements.   This has all been approved and reviewed by the Parks Department with a conditional use permit in 2004. Prior to final plat and final plan the applicant will have to be in compliance with the conditional use permit that was approved before this project.  The applicant has reviewed the record and the record includes the applicant’s findings of fact and also the staff report.  Regarding the revised Public Works Report labeled Exhibit I-1, on page 10, item number 5, Greenway Dedication, within the conditional use permit the Parks Department needed to accept their Greenway Plan and Landscaping Plan that needed to be improved and built for the entire greenway project that are identified as separate tracts within the Stonegate Estates.  The timing, as far as prior to Final Plat, the applicant would like to have amended to reflect that it is prior to acceptance of the Parks Department which will then be adopted by the City Council at that time.  It is a timing issue at this point.  It is premature to have it done at Final Plat.  They want to make sure it is perfectly clear that the applicant is not dedicating to the City when they record Final Plat.  It will have to be accepted by deed or some other transfer upon the applicant’s completion of improvements to the greenway at that time.  Phase 1 is completed.  The Riparian Corridor improvements, the bike path, planting of vegetation that was required by the Parks Department and ODFW and a sprinkler system were installed.  Then it is only maintained for up to a five year time frame.  Whatever survives beyond the five years is established as natural and can survive the next twenty to thirty yeasrs as natural riparian vegetation.  Each incremental phase of the sub-phases will also go through that same process.                                 
           
Commissioner McFadden asked that through that time period it will be maintained by the City Parks Department?  Mr. Stevens replied no.  It will be maintained by the property owner Mr. Mahar.  The applicant is required to maintain and irrigate it as a natural feature within the greenway.  Commissioner McFadden asked at what time does it revert to the property owners to maintain it?  Is it when Mr. Mahar sells off a certain percentage of lots?  Mr. Stevens replied no.  There is no homeowners association with this.  It is going to be directly transferred to the City of Medford.  It is strictly the developer’s responsibility at this point in time.  He has purposefully maintained ownership of that because of the bridges and the bike paths that they have to use to go across the creeks.  
           
b.  Linda Rose, 3773 Creekview Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Ms. Rose stated that she and her sister Kathleen Fox own a home in Stonegate the development, Phase 1.  She read the memo that she submitted into the record and offer some verbal comments at the closing.  Eighteen residents have signed the memorandum with Ms. Rose who have direct line of sight on the Greenway as it now exists on the north side in the current development.    “We are residents of Stonegate Estates, Phase 1, developed by Mahar Brothers Holding and have concerns about plans for ongoing maintenance of the Greenway included in the present design for the referenced Phase 2 project.  The applicants Findings of Facts, Exhibit H, page 179 states: Once the Greenway improvements have been completed and are acceptable to the Medford Parks Department, these areas will be donated/gifted to the City of Medford. (bold added).  “A similar tact was taken by Mahar Brothers Holding related to the Greenway on the north side of Larson Creek and part of Phase 1.  It is our understanding that money was paid to the City to sustain the condition of the Greenway in the future.  In reality, the condition of the Greenway has deteriorated to be more like a pasture than a useable space for residents to enjoy with their families.  No benches, picnic tables, or new promising trees exist.  The current sprinkler system is non-operational.  Even dogs won’t venture off the asphalt path because of the weeds.  Each growing season increases the encroachment of weeds and the demise/death of trees for lack of attention.  In each of the past three summers it was necessary to report serious overgrowth as a fire hazard to even get the Greenway mowed down to a four inch height – still far from a condition doing justice to the developer’s improvements and the City’s image.  We ask that either (1) the City of Medford Parks Department be held accountable to fulfill its responsibilities to properly improve and sustain the usability of the Greenway on both the north and south sides of Larson Creek in Stonegate Estates or (2) Mahar Brothers Holding be required to develop an alternative approach to assure proper future care of the Greenway on both north and south sides of Larson Creek in Stonegate Estates.  The Eastgate Estates development may have similar concerns but they are not addressed here.”  Ms. Rose added that their primary concern is that if the Planning Commission thinks that they are creating a park that is far from the reality of the experience in Phase 1.  Whether that is recourse through the developer or the Parks Department is beside the fact when you are a homeowner that is looking at this obscene unusable space across the street that at least twice a year requires mowing because it is a fire hazard.  Mahar Brothers Holding does an excellent maintenance of their entry point into the Stonegate establishment which raises the question of why can’t these greenways be retained and maintained by the developer as well.  Both because they serve as an entry point and an image for potential homeowners who are interested in becoming a part of that development and because Mahar Brothers Holding has the capacity which the Parks Department has proven they do not.  It was purely by coincidence that she noticed this hearing tonight and asked that all the residents that are on the memorandum including herself receive from the Planning Department any future notices of any subsequent plans to develop anything that potentially effects them in Stonegate Estates.              
           
c.  Elizabeth Powell, 2333 Hempstead #4, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Ms. Powell is not a resident of this development but she has questions.  What would be the projected dollar amount that the annual burden would fall on the City of Medford to care for the park lawn maintenance?  Where are these funds being allocated from?  Chair Zarosinski replied that tonight’s meeting does not address Ms. Powell’s questions.  Ms. Powell could contact the Planning Department directly or go through her City Council Representative and ask her questions.    
           
Mr. Stevens addressed Ms. Rose’s testimony stating that she is correct that this is not a park.  This is greenway.  It is typical of what one would see along Bear Creek Greenway.  This was not designed or established to be for park purposes along the road frontages.  In 2002 and 2004 the Parks Department was looking at purchasing some of the lots within Phase 2 to create benches and park areas in the northwestern locale.  As of recent, none of those discussions have been made but they were applicable in 2004.  When they go through the landscaping plans those discussions may be revived once again.       
           
Commissioner Miranda asked that since the Phase 1 portion of this is older than the five years, has it reverted to the Parks Department?  Mr. Stevens replied no because the developer is going to request all five phases of this project be completed so that they can transfer all the greenways to the City at one time.    
           
Commissioner Miranda asked that as it stands right now the land owner is responsible for their maintenance?  Mr. Stevens replied correct as far as mowing the area twice a year is the responsibility of the land owner.  As far as what survived as the trees and landscaping is beyond the five year time frame of what ODFW and the Parks Department requested.    
           
Ms. Rose stated that in terms of who is currently responsible to maintain that property including mowing it Ms. Rose has talked to the Mahar brothers and has been told by them that it is a City responsibility and not their responsibility.  It is totally contrary to what Mr. Stevens just indicated.   
           
Ms. Akin stated that in response to what Ms. Rose just stated as far as the City is concerned the City does not have the responsibility for that property.  That property has not yet been transferred.  So the responsibility remains with the property owner.  
           
Ms. Akin responded to Ms. Powell’s question stating that when the Southeast Plan was established there was a special funding system set up for all those greenways within the Southeast Plan area.  They have a special parks fee that they pay that is elevated above the rest of the City resident’s fee.  Those funds are used to maintain the greenways within the Southeast Plan area.    
           
Commissioner McFadden asked that since the property has not transferred yet and it is over the five years, are those people already paying for things they are not receiving?  Ms. Akin replied she is not sure but assumes so.  She assumes that would be part of their regular utility billing.  She is not certain but assumes that is the case.  There are other areas in the Southeast.  There is a park on Cherry Lane that those funds would go to.     
           
Mr. Beskow stated that the Engineering Department did not have a problem with the applicant’s request to make that change to their report. 
           
The public hearing was closed.
           
Motion: Direct staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of LDS-13-137 per the Staff Report dated February 20, 2014, including Exhibits A through V, with the revised Exhibit I-1 and including a change in the Public Works requirement dealing with the acceptance of the greenways to say the City can accept that at time of Parks & Recreation Department acceptance of the improvements. 
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Christie
           
Friendly Amendment made by Commissioner Miranda: To include the revised Water Commission report labeled Exhibit K-1.
           
Commissioner Mansfield stated that he is troubled by this perhaps because of his inexperience of being on the Commission but when one or more of the members of the Commission who favor this tell us why we should pass this when Ms. Rose’s comments seem to quite important and cogent to him.  He would like to hear some discussion on it.  His concern is Ms. Rose’s testimony on the lack of maintenance that she has to view a poorly maintained scene daily.  He does not know what the solution is.  He is troubled by it at this point.         
           
Commissioner Miranda stated that he understands Commissioner Mansfield’s concerns but his point of view is that the land owner and project developers have maintained and fulfilled their agreement.  If this land has been transitioned over to the City he does not see how this Commission should challenge something that is not within the land owner’s control right now. 
           
           
Commissioner McFadden replied that if Mr. Stevens is correct that the property is going to revert to the City at one time at the end of all the phases then the applicant is responsible for the proper maintenance and safety of surrounding properties for the maintaining of that area up until that time period. 
           
Commissioner Miranda stated that according to what he heard the applicant is responsible for maintenance of those greenways for five years. 
           
Motion: Reopen the public hearing at this point.
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden     Seconded by: Commissioner Miranda
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7-2, with Commissioner Christie and Chair Zarosinski voting no.
           
Mr. Stevens referred to Exhibit R, page 211 of the record regarding correspondence from ODFW in the last paragraph it states the ODFW recommends that any riparian plantings be done between November and February and that plants that die be replaced for 5 years.  ODFW recommends that the plants be watered during the dry season and that competing vegetation be removed as necessary for up to 5 years.   The 5 year plan is for the shrubs, trees, over story trees and under canopy trees.  The mowing of the grasses twice a year is the responsibility of the land owner until it is fully transferred to the City of Medford.   Mr. Stevens stated that he would meet with Ms. Rose after the meeting and work with her.
           
Chair Zarosinski stated the he has always interpreted the 5 year establishment period is to be done for permitting requirements through Division of State Lands and he believes the question he is hearing is that it has to do more with the buffer areas.  From the path up to top of bank in that area where there seems to be some confusion about who is maintaining it and at what point does that get transferred.  Mr. Stevens reported that the greenway in its entirety is from the street right-of-way to top of bank.  That is the 50 feet within those boundaries.  In Phase 1 the developer did not put in a street side sidewalk along the frontage of the riparian corridor because they used the bike path as a dual purpose for pedestrian purposes for the pathway within the greenway and also for the right-of-way.  Everything south of the right-of-way of Creek View to the creek is the greenway.  That entire area will be maintained.          
           
Chair Zarosinski asked whose responsibility is it today, to take a lawnmower out and cut the grass?  Mr. Stevens replied the property owner today, which is Mr. Mahar. 
           
Chair Zarosinski stated that will go to the City once all the phases are complete.  Mr. Stevens replied that is correct.  It will be transferred to the City adopted by the City Council.  Then the Parks Department will be responsible for that maintenance from then on.     
           
Commissioner Tull stated that taking this back further than what has been discussed this evening when the foundation concepts were being laid down for the Southeast Project one of the questions was who will be responsible for the development of the Riparian Corridors and the greenway amenities that can be built into that thousand acre system.  The decision was made by the formation committee that the developers would take responsibility for developing the amenities on or across their property; the greenway, the riparian corridor, etc. and then turn it over to the City rather than having the developers dedicate appropriate acreage to the City and the City have to marshal the resources, equipment and all the rest of it to develop those amenities.  Part of the concern was that if the developers turned the property over to the City who knows when those amenities might be developed.  If the developers took the responsibility for the paths, streets, sidewalks, riparian corridor they could time those so they were attractive to homeowners that were looking to live in there.  It could all be taken care of while there was construction activity on that particular property.  Then it would be turned over to the City with the expectation that the City with the special funding recycling back into the project, the City would be able to maintain it.  As the committee was discussing it they knew they were talking about a different approach.  This was not the ordinary way of doing things.  The whole notion that somebody with 50 acres of land would not consider the development complete until the greenway, riparian corridor and mitigation steps had been taken and then it would be turned over to the City.  He is convinced it was a fundamentally important decision to make and it got built into the Southeast Project at concept in more optimistic times.  It has been very difficult to meet those standards on the part of the developers, property owners and the City.             
           
Commissioner Shoemaker asked if Ms. Rose could go through Code Enforcement if she feels as though the property owner is not maintaining the property the way it needs to be?  Chair Zarosinski replied yes, she certainly can. 
           
Chair Zarosinski asked Mr. Stevens is there a requirement for a riparian landscape plan and at what stage?  Will it be at each individual phase?  Mr. Stevens replied yes there is and yes within each sub-phase based on the conditional use permit that has been approved.  Their landscape plan for Phase 2A will have to be submitted to the Parks Department as far as the number of plantings, species and the irrigation to ensure the shrubs and over story trees will live for at least five years.  That will be submitted prior to final plat and final plan.  The applicant cannot receive final plat until the Parks Department has signed off that the applicant has completed the Phase 2A greenway and riparian improvements.  Phase 2A will have two pedestrian bridges that is going to be required as part of the greenway prior to final plat.  This is going to be a piece by piece progress to complete the greenway.           
           
d.  John Williams, 3783 Creek View Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Williams stated that the problem they have across the street is that it is kind of a no man’s land.  Originally there were plantings but they never grew.  Some were replaced.  An irrigation system was installed but whenever they mowed it they cut the heads off causing it to never have worked.  Plantings along the creek are nothing but blackberries.  One cannot see the creek on either side except when you cross the bridge.  He does not like the idea of waiting until the very end of this development.  That could be another ten or fifteen years before his section gets turned over to the City.             
           
Chair Zarosinski stated there appears to be a difference in expectation in what is going to be done in these greenway areas.  Has there been a master Planned Unit Development landscape plan that identified what the uses were supposed to be?  Ms. Sousa stated that it was when the conditional use permit came through a number of years ago that there was a plan submitted.  Chair Zarosinski asked that in the future any plantings will go through the same conditional use process?  Ms. Sousa replied they have a conditional use permit now for the entire project.  
           
Commissioner Tull asked, had the conditional use permits been done for the bridges that will be necessary?  Ms. Sousa replied yes. 
           
Commissioner McFadden moved to close the public hearing with Commissioner Miranda seconded.
           
Chair Zarosinski voted no and asked Engineering if they had additional comments.
           
Mr. Beskow clarified that Public Works that there is going to be three bridges on this application.  Public Works is conditioning the developer to extend Stanford north to connect with the Eastgate project. 
           
The public hearing was closed.
           
Motion: Direct staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of LDS-13-137 per the Staff Report dated February 20, 2014, including Exhibits A through V, revised Exhibits I-1 and K-1, with the amendment to Exhibit I-1 that landscape improvements are accepted at the time of Parks Department approval.  
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Miranda
           
Commissioner Mansfield commented that the issue with Ms. Rose and her eighteen neighbors is simply a disagreement as to the expectation of the level of maintenance.  Perhaps Ms. Rose and her eighteen neighbors could get together with Mahar and have a discussion or an agreement as to a different level of maintenance.     
           
Commissioner Schwimmer made some brief comments to Commissioner Mansfield’s and Ms. Rose’s statements.  He believes that the Commission needs to hold the developers accountable for the decisions and commitments that are made when the Commission makes these decisions.  Tonight’s hearing is to decide tentative plat approval for Phase 2.  That is all the Commission is to decide tonight.  This is not the proper venue to decide whether the developer has met or not met Phase 1 conditions.    
           
Commissioner Tull stated that someone suggested earlier in the discussion that a contact with a City Council representative might well be beneficial at this point in bringing together good citizens of the City to find a solution to a difficult situation.  His experience in working with the Mahar’s is that they would be very open to such a meeting and he thinks the City Council representative from the southeast ward would be ready to step up and take some leadership in helping that to happen.  He does not believe they can accomplish more here at a meeting of the Planning Commission.    
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 9-0.
           
50.4     CUP-13-138 Consideration of a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow the construction of a 1425 linear foot multi-use pathway south of Larson Creek and partially within the Larson Creek Riparian Corridor, through 3 lots of approximately 7.31 acres, all zoned SFR-10/PD, located between Highland Drive and Ellendale Drive, approximately 500 feet south of East Barnett Road. (City of Medford Public Works Department, Applicant/Agent).
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts.  None were disclosed.
           
Kathy Helmer, Planner IV, read the conditional use permit criteria and gave a staff report. 
           
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given.
           
a.  Roger Thom, City of Medford Public Works Department.  Mr. Thom reported that they missed adding ancillary items to the application that are normally associated with bike path use such as benches, interpretative signs, etc.  Mr. Thom requested adding accessory items that might be associated with bike path use to the conditions.   The alignment of the path within the riparian corridor has been debated for a year.  Riparian planting is required with this project.  The City has had recent discussions with Pacific Retirement Services regarding purchasing the property that is needed for the bike path.   
           
Chair Zarosinski stated Mr. Thom mentioned ancillary items such as benches, signs, etc. and lighting came to his mind.  What is the process that Public Works goes through that will then cause the Planning Department to say no, that is beyond the scope of this permit?  Mr. Thom replied that lighting is beyond the scope of what they are requesting.   
           
b.  Brian McLemore, Pacific Retirement Services, 965 Ellendale, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. McLemore stated that they are the sole corporate member and managers of Rogue Valley Manor.  This project has had a long history and they have worked on it for many years.  They are very supportive of the concept of the path.  They think it will provide a benefit to this area.  However, they have a few concerns that they think need to be addressed.  Their biggest concern is the location of the path where it meets Ellendale.  They have allowed for 50 feet in this area and now the path has moved outside that 50 foot riparian area.  To them it makes little sense to have both projects, with the creek improvement going on at the same time, they are going to be tearing each other apart.  They would like to see the creek project be done first and then hopefully have the ability to move that path 15 feet to the north.  The other policy decision the City should consider is that they think it is bad policy to try to do these on an easement basis.  What they would like to do since they are supportive of the project is to work with the City to move the path slightly to the north on the Ellendale side.  They have started to create a tax lot to be able to eventually, what they hoped to, donate that land to the City for the path.  They propose a lot line adjustment and create a tax lot that all of the corridor can be given to the City.  The Manor does not want to be in a position where they have an easement where they own both sides of the path with no control over who access the path and get into all the maintenance issues that the Commission heard about earlier tonight.  It is their opinion this makes a much cleaner project it they were to create a tax lot the entire length of the path.  The City would end up having from the middle of the creek to the edge of the path.  That would be a riparian way that Rogue Valley is prepared to work with the City to donate that land to the City as part of the project.  That is something they would like to work with staff on to see if they can come up with a little bit of movement to the north.  The other issue that the Commission should be concerned about is the security and safety.  Someone mentioned lighting.  This is going to be a very dark area at night until it gets developed on either side. 
           
Commissioner McFadden asked if Mr. McLemore was asking the Planning Commission to delay action on this application so all those issues can be solved with the City?  Mr. McLemore stated that what he is asking is that the Planning Commission conditions the project approval while working with them to get the tax lots developed so that they can donate the land to put the path within.    
           
Commissioner Mansfield stated that in terms of result he sees no difference in whether the City holds it in fee simple or by way of an easement.  Legally he knows there are differences.  He does not get Mr. McLemore’s point.  Mr. McLemore replied that the point is they do not want the liability of the path being on their property with no control of who goes on it.  They would own both sides of the path in that case.  Commissioner Mansfield stated that if it is an easement, they do not control either.  Mr. McLemore replied that they own the property under the easement.  If they develop a tax lot then the entire corridor is the City’s.  You would not have a path with ownership on both sides.  Commissioner Mansfield stated that he does not see the difference.          
           
Mr. Thom stated that the City is acceptable to a condition that would stipulate that the property be transferred to the City as opposed to the easement.  Relocating the path at the east end is a tight spot.  The Fish Passage project pushes the bank of Larson Creek south.  There are also grade issues coming up to the existing sidewalk at Ellendale.  The only way to bring it in within the riparian corridor is likely to build a bridge over the top of the removed embanked area.  They could look at it to see what possibilities there are to move it slightly to the north but their hands are really tied with flood type issues associated with the fish passage work.
           
Commissioner Fincher asked what was the reason that the City decided to do the work at the same time of the Fish Passage project?  Mr. Thom replied that there is no coincidence.  The Fish Passage project was intended to be built two to three summers ago.  They had a difficult time getting permits through the Corps of Engineers from being shut down for weeks.  The scenario now is the bike path will be constructed mid-summer and the Fish Passage project will be completed late September of 2014.  
           
Commissioner Tull stated that he is unaware of the stipulation or agreements that determine exactly where the path is going to go and what the Commission does here determines whether it goes further north or whatever.  What criteria is the Public Works Department using as they ask the Commission to make that decision?  Mr. Thom stated that they are placing it where they feel it is the best fit.  Mitigating property owners expectations of land Pacific Retirement Services wants to use and on the other side what Fish and Wildlife sees as appropriate closeness of the path to the riparian corridor.  Commissioner Tull stated that the question in his mind is on what basis should a decision be made as Mr. Thom is asking, as to the exact location?  He does not think they want to get into an argument with the Manor as to what shall happen on property they are ready to give to the City.  He does not think they want to get into an argument with the fish and wildlife people as to how best to develop Larson Creek into the natural asset that it can be and used to be and can we help it along.  He would hope Mr. Thom as the applicant would come back to the Commission with a proposed solution saying we could do it this far but certainly no further based on their priorities.  Maybe the Commission needs to hear from somebody from Fish and Wildlife stating the reason they objected.  Commissioner Tull does not feel he has a basis for deciding what Mr. Thom is asking.  Mr. Thom replied to make it more clear what Fish and Wildlife would desire is the path to be completely outside the riparian corridor.  That is their request.  Commissioner Tull responded that is standard.  Mr. Thom stated that they are stuck trying to decide where is the best place to put the path.  Commissioner Tull stated that the other side of this is the possibility of Public Works amending their application to say this is what meeting Fish and Wildlife’s standards would mean to them.  Then Commissioner would have something to decide.  Mr. Thom addressed Commissioner’s statement stating that the pathway in some places is in the riparian corridor and some places it is outside the riparian corridor.  If the Commission would like it ODFW’s way then tell Public Works to move the path outside the riparian corridor.  That can be done.  They can relocate it further south at the high expense of valuable commercial property that the City will need to pay for.                             
           
Ms. Cooper asked if there is a requirement on a Manor PUD that there be a bike path?  Mr. Thom stated they would have to look up the specifics of the 1998 approval.  He believes it is clear that there was an understanding in 1998 that there was going to be a bike path in this vicinity.  Ms. Cooper asked if that was in addition to the 50 foot setback from the top of the creek bank?  Mr. Thom stated it is not associated with the 50 foot setback.       
           
Ms. Helmer reported that she understands from the Public Works Department that they would feel very comfortable getting ODFW and Pacific Retirement Services together to iron this out and come to a compromise to fine tune technical and money questions in a collaborative fashion.  It might be possible for the Commission this evening, if it works for them, to grant the conditional use permit to build a multi-use path in this area and a condition of approval with them determining the specific pathway.  
           
Mr. Beskow reported that Public Works has no problem working with Pacific Retirement Services and ODFW in getting together and solve the problem area. 
           
Commissioner Fincher asked if the cannot work it out then what happens?  Mr. Beskow reported that City Council has approved eminent domain.  Public Works could use that if it came to blows but Mr. Beskow is not anticipating that.     
           
The public hearing was closed.
           
Motion: With deep appreciation for everybody involved in the project and since the Commission can find that this conditional use permit proposal can be approved under Criteria 2 of the Medford Code and adopt the Final Order for approval of CUP-13-138, as per the Staff Report dated February 19, 2014, including Exhibits A through P, and all conditions of approval (Exhibit A), including giving the City the option to work with all parties involved to adequately locate the specific location.  
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Miranda
           
Commissioner Tull stated that it would be appropriate to add a word of recognition of the Rogue Valley Manor offering to donate this land to the City of Medford so that this project may be accomplished.  Not every land owner would do that.  They are and it is for the benefit of the City.  This should be acknowledged in an approval.    
           
Friendly Amendment made by Commissioner Miranda:  To include ancillary items necessary for a bike path and relief from irrigation requirements.  
           
Commissioner Schwimmer stated that he is in support of the conditional use permit in theory, he likes it and wishes it to go forward he does not believe based on the evidence presented tonight this body should approve the motion at this time.  He thinks more work needs to be done.  He does not think they should be approving the permit in this manner adding so much information.  More work needs to be done in light of the Manor’s offer to grant the property and more work needs to be done with ODFW and the other considerations that should be done.   
           
Ms. Cooper urged the Commission to make sure they look at the criteria and decide whether the application meets the criteria.  The criteria are pretty straight forward.  
           
Commissioner Fincher stated that he finds it interesting that the applicant is asking the Commission to provide an approval for a path somewhere.  It is amazing the Commission is approving that when they do not know where it is going to lay.  He believes that should be factual information that should be before the Commission when they are trying to make this decision.    
           
Commissioner McFadden commented that a lot of details like that are always left up in the air in stuff.  It could be a road relocation it could be realignment of a road.  He finds nothing strange with this at all.  Parties still have to work it out.  The Commission is saying we want to see a path there and this is one of the steps in there to get it moving and let the City staff that is trained to do this negotiate what needs to be done with the parties.  It is almost standard operating procedures that he can see.        
           
Commissioner Miranda concurred with Commissioner McFadden primarily because the Commission is presented with the information and it has been stated on at least more than one occasion that he heard tonight that there is a plan in place.  We may not have those details in front of us but the City does.  In his opinion, that is good enough for him.    
           
Commissioner Christie stated that he supports this project whole heartedly but he really wished they had covered the clear idea of where they were going and how they are going to get there.  He has some problems with this.   
           
Commissioner Mansfield stated that he agrees with Commissioner Schwimmer and Commissioner Christie that the Commission is not ready for it yet. 
           
Chair Zarosinski commented that what might appear to be a blank check they are really talking about moving it ten feet to the north or ten feet to the south and in some areas not move it at all.  He sees the public benefit is there and putting it in the perspective of how much they are talking either way, although it can be a lot in the dollar amount, it does not feel like the Commission is signing up for everything, letting whatever they want happen.  
           
Commissioner Schwimmer asked to have the motion read specifically as the motion is presented now with all the amendments.   
           
Commissioner McFadden reiterated his earlier motion: With deep appreciation for all the parties involved and their work on this both past and future and believing this project complies with Criteria 2 of the conditional use permit requirements with the City of Medford Commissioner McFadden moved that the Commission adopt the Final Order for approval of CUP-13-138, as per the Staff Report dated February 19, 2014, including Exhibits A through P, and all conditions of approval (Exhibit A) and grants relief from irrigation as per Section 10.780 and allowing the authority of City staff to negotiate with Pacific Retirement Services and ODFW to arrange for the proper location to successfully find a specific location to be determined between all the parties and including ancillary additions and requirements to the project that may be necessary for its successful completion of the bike path.   
           
Commissioner Fincher stated that a question that would be appropriate is if this was not the City or if it was a regular developer would we be willing to sign off on it?  Chair Zarosinski replied that he would be more hesitant but you do not have the eminent domain with a private developer as you do with the City.   
           
Commissioner Schwimmer commented that saying no tonight does not mean they cannot get if fine-tuned and come back before the Commission.  It is not a total rejection it is just saying at this time go back and do a little more work on it and come back with it.  Why is it essential tonight that the Commission decide on these things when there are so many open ended issues that are not clear to him to meet the criteria? 
           
Commissioner Christie asked Mr. Beskow if they were under a time constraint for the grants?  Mr. Beskow replied that they are with ODOT.  
           
Mr. Beskow wanted to make sure there was not a misunderstanding that the only place that, if he heard Mr. McLemore correctly, is moving the path to the far east, approximately 75 to 100 feet.  The path that has been shown is not being moved.  If the Commission has a problem with approving it tonight he requests that the Commission continue it so Public Works does not have to start all over again.       
           
Motion:  Continue this matter to the second meeting in March.  March 27, 2014.
           
Moved by: Commissioner Mansfield      Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 6-3, with Commissioner McFadden, Commissioner Miranda and Chair Zarosinski voting no.
           
Commissioner McFadden recognized that this will be Ms. Helmer’s last presentation to the Planning Commission in light of her upcoming retirement.  He wanted this Commission to go on record as giving her a big thank you for all of her time and effort that she has spent not only for this Commission but other Committees and Commissions and assignments that she has had with the City over the last few years.  It has been a pleasure to work with her.     
           
Ms. Helmer thanked the Commission for being a great group and she is very proud to live in a City where people like this talk about the projects.  Working with Ms. Akin and Mr. Huber has been a real pleasure.
           
50.5     CUP-13-135 Consideration of a request for a Conditional Use Permit to allow an electronic message sign at a location within 150 feet of a residential zone district on a property zoned C-SP (Service Commercial and Professional Office) at the northeast corner of Barnett Road and Highland Drive.  (People’s Bank of Commerce, Applicant; CSA Planning Ltd., Craig Stone, Agent).
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
           
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts.  None were disclosed.
           
Desmond McGeough, Planner II, stated that Ms. Helmer read the conditional use permit criteria in her presentation so he would not go over them again.  Mr. McGeough gave a staff report.
           
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given.
           
a.  Craig Stone, CSA Planning Ltd., 4497 Browndridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173.  Mr. Stone stated that he did not have much to add to Mr. McGeough’s very thorough and informative presentation.  The staff report went well beyond what was required to meet the burden of proof even speculating on what the impact might be should the dog park be developed for other uses. 
           
Commissioner Christie asked if this was going to be a self-dimming sign?  Mr. Stone stated that he does know the answer to Commissioner’s question. 
           
Commissioner McFadden stated if you look at the Medical Eye Center’s signs north of this site, they are not dimming and at night they are very bright, almost a distraction to traffic.  Mr. Stone might want to recommend that to his client.  Mr. Stone replied that he would pass that on. 
           
The public hearing was closed.
           
Motion: Direct staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of CUP-13-135 per the Staff Report dated February 20, 2014, including Exhibits A through F, based on Criterion 1 of the conditional use permit requirements.
           
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Christie
           
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 9-0.
           
60.       Report of the Site Plan and Architectural Commission.
60.1     Commissioner Miranda reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday but he was out of town at that time.
           
70.       Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee.
70.1     Commissioner Christie reported that the Joint Transportation Subcommittee has not met.
           
80.       Report of the Planning Department.  
80.1     Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that last week the City Council heard the application to de-annex from the City.  It was a two hour hearing ending up in denial of the request.  The City Council found it was not in the public interest to let that property out of the City.  On March 6, 2014, the City Council will approve the final order.  The Planning Department will not have any business for the City Council until April 2014.
 
The Planning Commission study session is scheduled for Monday, March 10, 2014.  Right now there is no business scheduled but will keep the Commissioners posted.
 
As a reminder, the Planning Commission has a joint study session with the City Council on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at noon, in the Medford Room, discussing the West Main TOD.
 
Upcoming business for the Planning Commission is deliberations on the ISAs scheduled for Thursday, March 13, 2014.  There are three other items scheduled for that evening.  There is business scheduled for the Thursday, March 27, 2014, and the Thursday, April 10, 2014, Planning Commission meetings.
 
The Planning Department received a LUBA decision on the appeal of the assisted living facility on East Main Street.  The decision was demolition and reconstruction of that site did not require Site Plan and Architectural Commission review.  LUBA remanded that decision on two points. 
 
Ms. Akin thanked Commissioner McFadden for recognizing Ms. Helmer before she left this evening.  She will be sorely missed.
           
90.       Messages and Papers from Chair of Planning Commission. 
90.1     Chair Zarosinski reiterated the Commission’s thanks to Ms. Kathy Helmer for her work in the Planning Department and best wishes in her future endeavors.
           
100.     Remarks from the City Attorney. None.
           
110.     Propositions and Remarks from the Commission.  None. 
           
120.     Adjournment. 
            The meeting was adjourned at 8:19 p.m. The proceedings of this meeting were digitally recorded and are filed in the City Recorder's office.       
 
 
Submitted by: 
 
Terri L. Rozzana        
Recording Secretary
 
Michael Zarosinski
Planning Commission Chair
           
Approved:  March 13, 2014   
 
 

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