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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, March 10, 2014

The study session of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 12:00 p.m. in Room 151 of the Lausmann Annex on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners:  Norman Fincher, Bill Christie, Alec Schwimmer, David McFadden, Paul Shoemaker and Bill Mansfield.
Staff:  Jim Huber, Bianca Petrou, Suzanne Myers, Kelly Akin, Terri Rozzana and John Adam.
Guests:  Megan LaNier, John Thiebes, Kathy Fennell, Chris Hill and Tom LeShay
Subjects:         1.  CP-13-032 Internal Study Areas (ISA) Staff recommendation.
Jim Huber, Planning Director, stated that John Adam, Planner IV, will present staffs recommendation of the Internal Study Areas.  The material to be discussed is in the Planning Commission agenda packet for Thursday, March 13, 2014.
John Adam, Planner IV, stated that after two hearings, staff has prepared a recommendation based on the qualitative criteria that were developed with the Planning Commission last fall and based on some of the ideas from the January 23, 2014, and February 13, 2014, testimony.  The task of the Planning Commission at this point is to select the Proposed Amendment Locations out of the group of Internal Study Areas.   There is the possibility of meeting most if not all the UH and UM need within the existing urban area.  If all the CM areas are found to be suitable to both the Planning Commission and the City Council, it would satisfy only a third of the commercial land need.    
The technical analysis did not reveal any major problems in the study area.  Changes could be made without significant upgrades to sewer and water services.  The unknown factor is transportation, which will have to be comprehensively addressed in the combined internal GLUP changes and external expansion. 
Realizing that the ISAs could not easily be reduced to a smaller group of candidates based on the technical analyses, staff and the Planning Commission developed a set of qualitative factors in the fall of 2013 that rated residential ISAs on a scale of one to five .  These qualitative factors were not intended to be deterministic on their own, but to serve as guides for the Planning Commission in creating a recommendation.  Staffs approach in coming up with a recommendation was to balance the qualitative scores with testimony, and after taking a closer look at on-the-ground conditions in the internal study areas as feasibility checks. 
Beginning with the qualitative scores, the top candidates for changes are higher-density residential (such as ISAs 540 and 250) were retained and set aside.  The bottom candidates were either dropped or pulled aside and closely examined to see if modifications made sense. 
         ISA 140 V Recommendation V retain as modified: delete some developed lots on eastern             edge.
         ISA 211 V Recommendation V delete.
         ISA 212 V Recommendation V retain as modified: reduce area of UH and change part to UM.
         ISA 213 V Recommendation V retain as modified: reduce area of UH.
         ISA 214 V Recommendation V retain as analyzed: CM.
         ISA 215 V Recommendation V retain as analyzed: CM, UR, UH.
         ISA 216 V Recommendation V retain as analyzed: CM.
         ISA 240 V Recommendation V delete.
         ISA 250 V Recommendation V retain as analyzed: UM
         ISA 310 V Recommendation V delete.
         ISA 930 V Recommendation V recommend land owners modified suggestion of approximately 11 acres of UM (in two spots) and approximately 13 acres of CM (in two spots) in the southeastern corner at Hillcrest and Foothill Road.
         ISA 940 V Recommendation V retain as modified: shift CM to north lot and reduce UM to smaller area at the northwest corner of the south lot.
         ISA 950 V Recommendation V retain as modified: reduce UM.
Mr. LeShay commented that on ISA 950 it is going to create a bad safety hazard if allowed to construct apartments.  There is so much foot traffic on Spring Street and there are no sidewalks.  He feels that staff should take ISA 950 out and keep it as SFR-4 and SFR-6.  Berkeley needs to run all the way through to McAndrews.  The City needs to improve Spring Street.  
         ISA 750 V Recommendation V retain as proposed. 
         ISA 540 V Recommendation V retain as modified: change north UR strip to CM; remove UM from CM lot at north end; change part of UM to UH; add small lot at southwest as UM.
         ISA 620 V Recommendation V delete. 
         ISA 640 V Recommendation V retain as modified: reduction in CM and adjustment of CM.
         ISA 670 V Recommendation V retain as modified: reduce UM and retain UH.
         ISA 718 V Recommendation V retain as analyzed with modification: include all of north UH lot and change south lot to CM.
         ISA 740 V Recommendation V retain as proposed.
         ISA 760 V Recommendation V retain as proposed. 
         ISA 730 V Recommendation V retain as proposed.  This is the Beatty/Manzanita neighborhood.  It is fully developed.  A change would render little in the way of new UM capacity given that it is already developed, but the change may provide an incentive to redevelop V aided perhaps by an urban renewal district with the power to assemble land for redevelopment.  This area is too well situated to remain UR.
Acting Chair McFadden stated that, in his opinion, changing the designation to UM would change the character of the neighborhood. 
Mr. Adam reported that the City Council would like to have some infill standards for medium density that are developed close on the heels of this process.  There is no schedule or guarantee when that would be done.  
         ISA 810 V Recommendation V retain as proposed. 
Mr. Adam stated that after putting its recommendation together staff preformed a development capacity analysis on the lots in the proposed areas to determine how much of the Citys 20-year land need could be satisfied by the proposed changes.  The categories of buildable land and the assumptions used to determine capacity are as follows: 
         Developed V The lot area was zeroed out, unless larger than 0.5 acres, in which case an estimate of capacity was made using aerial photos.
         Partially Developed Residential (PDR) V As described in the Buildable Lands Inventory, a quarter acre was removed from each lot with this designation
         Redevelopable V Using the guidelines from Table 28 of the Housing Element, the redevelopable lots were reduced by their probability that they would redevelop in the planning period. 
         Vacant V No adjustments were made.  The entire lot is considered developable. 
Commissioner Fincher stated that Mr. Adam started out saying that the transportation portion was not part of this process.  Mr. Adam responded that it was but the problematic aspect was that the way the analysis was designed did not give any differentiating results.  Staff analyzed traffic City wide.  The results from that are going to have to wait until there is a growth scenario that combines whatever is intensified inside or changed with whatever expansion area goes outside and see what that tells in terms of need of improvements to the infrastructure of streets.  There is also the discussion of what is the level of service the City is going to have in the future.  That will effect what projects are necessitated by growth.       
Commissioner Fincher asked if any of the proposals left acreage out on an island where transit would never reach the higher density proposals?  Mr. Adam replied that some of the medium density proposals would not have close access to transit whereas it is better as you move closer to Crater Lake Avenue, Table Rock Road, and Main Street out Stewart Avenue back to Main and to Jacksonville.  The weakest transit is on the east side. 
Commissioner Schwimmer asked how will the process go at the Thursday, March 13, 2014, Planning Commission meeting?  Mr. Adam reported that Chair Zarosinski will allow some general discussion and then go through numerically to get opinions of in or out and the reason why.  He does not know if it can all be done in one meeting.  Then it will be put together as a single recommendation.  
Commissioner Fincher asked if this item on Thursday, March 13, 2014, Planning Commission meeting would be an open public hearing?  Acting Chair McFadden replied that the record on this item has been closed as far as the Planning Commission is concerned.  The next open public hearing will be with the City Council.   
Mr. Adam briefly went through requests that were received since the last meeting and were included in the Thursday, March 13, 2014, Planning Commission agenda packet.  There was a request to change GI to commercial.  In ISA 215a there was a request to change from GI and low density residential to commercial.  There is property by the Carpenter property that is currently half commercial and half high density residential.  The request is to make it all commercial.  North on Lone Pine near the substation there is a request to change it to heavy industrial taking advantage of the proximity to the substation.  On the southwest portion of the City in the area of Garfield and Kings Highway there are two pieces of property that are mostly vacant and their request is to change them from low density residential to commercial.  Mr. Adam received a call regarding Mr. Woerners request at the January 23, 2014, Planning Commission meeting regarding an empty parking lot to include in this process and change it to service commercial.  Mr. Adam is bringing this up now because Mr. Woerner did not submit anything into the record at the January 23, 2014, Planning Commission meeting.  He showed the map.  When Mr. Adam was putting together these requests he did not have the physical piece in front of him and forgot to include it.  It is not in the staff report.       
Commissioner Mansfield stated that in his opinion staff has done a great job of analyzing, the recommendations and clarity with which they are passing on to the Planning Commission.  He wanted to commend staff.  Also, he wanted to commend the Carpenter Family for their responsible conduct in making a rational counter proposal.  He is not nearly as impressed with the number of the east Medford citizens, one of those who seemed to be interested in continuing what he calls an economic parte for the City.  He probably will have more to say about that at Thursday, March 13, 2014, Planning Commission meeting.  He is disappointed in the attitude that needs to compartmentalize social economic groups into certain areas of the City.  That is what he read from the multitude of testimony in the hearings.         
Acting Chair McFadden stated that staff did an excellent job.  He likes solving problems without having to add more regulations.    
Commissioner Schwimmer reported that he is happy that staff has taken the opportunity to respond to the public comments about particular lots.  To take that consideration and look at the fact that in addition to the public comments and opposition there were other factors that make those lots not as beneficial to this process and did not waste any more time evaluating them.  Staff did a great job.   
The meeting was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary

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