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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Minutes

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The regular meeting of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 5:40 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present
Michael Zarosinski, Chair             
Robert Tull, Vice Chair   
Bill Christie         
Bill Mansfield    
David McFadden             
Commissioners Absent
Norman Fincher, Excused Absence         
Patrick Miranda, Excused Absence          
Alec Schwimmer, Excused Absence        
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Senior Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, Transportation Manager
Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Praline McCormack, Planner II
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
Desmond McGeough, Planner II
Aimee Staton, Intern
Tracy Carter, Planner I
10.          Roll Call
20.          Consent Calendar/Written Communications. 
20.1        LDS-14-051 Final Order of a request for tentative plat approval for Silky Oaks Phase 3, an 8-lot residential subdivision on a 1.90 acre parcel located on the north and south sides of the Katie Mae Drive alignment, approximately 140 feet west of Silky Oaks Lane within a SFR-10 (Single-Family Residential – 10 units per acre) zoning district.  (Ron Horton Et Al, Owner; Scott Sinner Consulting, Inc., Agent).
Motion: Adopt the consent calendar.
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden          Seconded by: Commissioner Christie
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 5-0.
30.          Minutes. 
30.1        The minutes for August 14, 2014, were approved as submitted.
40.          Oral and Written Requests and Communications.  None. 
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, read the Quasi-Judicial Statement.
50.          Public Hearing. 
                New Business
50.1        DCA-13-090 Consideration of an ordinance amending Land Development Code, Sections 10.764, 10.1010, 10.1022, 10.1100, 10.1200, 10.1300, 10.1400, 10.1410, 10.1500, 10.1510, 10.1600, 10.1610, 10.1700, 10.1710, 10.1800, 10.1810 regarding electronic message signs to provide brightness standards and a method for measuring brightness, adding definitions for new terms and revising definitions for existing terms, housekeeping revisions, prohibiting specific sign effects, and in commercial and industrial zoning districts reducing the size by half; creating new Section 10.1140 pertaining to standards and regulations of all signs, and creating new Section 10.1150 pertaining to standards and regulations of all electronic message signs in the City of Medford, including: brightness, rate of message change, transition types, prohibiting blinking flashing types of lights, requiring photocells, requiring greater setbacks and reduced height at signalized intersections, and requiring existing signs to comply with all new regulations except location and size within 180 days.  (City of Medford, Applicant).
Praline McCormack, Planner II, stated staff placed at the Commissioners places this evening a revised project description, a letter from The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County requesting a continuance and submitted into the record as Exhibit Q.  Also, there was an error on page 68 of the agenda packet that referred to Code Section 10.1150 (A-F).  It should read Section (A-E)   Ms. McCormack presented the background, proposed revisions, process to date, approval criteria, conclusions and recommendation. 
Commissioner McFadden referenced page 53, section E Creating New Sections for Sign Standards for all districts.  Under that section it talks about the Oregon Department of Transportation permit requirement.  Commissioner McFadden stated that section does not elaborate that it is only on state controlled roadways within the City of Medford.  Is there another section that elaborates on that?  Ms. McCormack stated that it is on page 67 of the agenda packet, Section 10.1140 (B).    
 Vice Chair Tull stated that he did not hear anything in the presentation about efforts to control content on signs.  Ms. McCormack stated that the City is not allowed to control content. 
Vice Chair Tull stated that concern has been expressed about signs that became advertising for businesses that were not in any way related to the location of the sign.  How does the City deal with that?  Ms. McCormack replied that staff cannot address that without getting into the Federal law regarding content.  Mr. McConnell stated that there is no way to address that issue without running into constitutional issues. 
Commissioner Mansfield contested Mr. McConnell’s information as inaccurate.  The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled that to restrict off premises signs do not violate the constitution of free speech provisions.  Commissioner Mansfield cited two Oregon Court of Appeals cases, Outdoor Media Dimensions, Inc.  v. State, 150 Or App 106 (1997) and Media Art Co. v. City of Gates, 158 Or App 336 (1999).  Commissioner Mansfield suggested respectfully that the advice that Mr. McConnell has been giving to the Planning Commission is simply inaccurate.  Legally the Planning Commission can address content and not violate the constitution.  At a later date Commissioner Mansfield is going to approach that and urges the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council that the City makes distinctions and outlaw non-premise signs.  Mr. McConnell reported that he would review the cases.      
Vice Chair Tull asked does the recommendation address the use of these signs as election endorsements?  Ms. McCormack replied that the City does not regulate content on any sign whether it is electronic message signs or a static sign.   
Commissioner Mansfield explained that he is not suggesting that the City has general power to control content of signs.  He is only suggesting that under the constitutional requirements the City does have the power to examine the content of signs to determine whether or not it is advertising on-premise activities or off-premise activities.  That is the only thrust of his position.  Ms. McCormack stated that ultimately that would be a policy decision for the City Council.  
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given. 
a.  Rob LaGrone, 135 Silver Lane, Suite 230, Eugene, Oregon, 97404.  Mr. LaGrone works for CBS Outdoor.  Outdoor advertising is his industry.  He is glad to see these regulations being proposed because they are needed.  Digital LED signs are the next phase in the on-going modernization of outdoor advertising.  The benefits of this next phase in outdoor advertising is that there is a smaller environmental footprint, the signs have a multiplier effect, advertising becomes more feasible for more organizations especially for short-term events, and amber alerts and other emergency notifications are suitable for these signs because they can be programmed remotely so quickly to respond.   He is worried about his industry being stuck in the past as LED becomes popular.  He likes these regulations but one problem is the size restriction that he is concerned about.   The second issue is the non-conforming issue.  He asked the Planning Commission to consider recommending to the City Council to treat the upgrade to LED’s as if they were another change of ad copy.  Mr. LaGrone submitted studies for the Commissioners to review.      
Vice Chair Tull asked if Mr. LaGrone’s industry make a distinction between signs on a highway where motorists are traveling 50, 60, 70 miles per hour and signs that are in the city with motorists traveling 35 to 45 miles per hour.  Mr. LaGrone replied that for the most part the answer is no but when the advertising client is working with his graphic designer to create the ad on a freeway location a smart graphic designer is going to tailor the ad to higher speed traffic.   
Ms. McCormack pointed out that on page 68 of the agenda packet Section 10.1150 (H) states: “The conversion of an existing non-conforming ground or wall sign to an electronic message sign is prohibited”.  This language effects Mr. LaGrone’s ability to upgrade or modernize his signs.      
Commissioner McFadden asked Ms. McCormack if there was flexibility by developing a conditional use permit approval within the Code so that non-conforming signs could be addressed without affecting the entire Code?  Ms. McCormack replied that at this point staff is not ready to answer that question but if this hearing is continued staff could come up with language.    
Mr. McConnell reported that he has reviewed the cases cited by Commissioner Mansfield earlier and he is going to agree with him.  He believes he is correct.  
The public hearing was closed.
Motion:  Continue this public hearing to Thursday, September 25, 2014.
Moved by: Commissioner Mansfield      Seconded by: Commissioner McFadden
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 5-0.
Motion:  That Staff be instructed to prepare material relating to the possibility of recommending legislation that would restrict and prohibit off premises signs in the City of Medford.  He is asking that the hearing be enlarged to include that issue.  
Moved by: Commissioner Mansfield      Seconded by: Commissioner Tull
Roll Call Vote: Motion failed, 2-3, with Commissioner Christie, Commissioner McFadden and Chair Zarosinski voting no. 
50.2  CUP-13-081/E-13-082 Consideration of a request for modifications to a Conditional Use Permit related to landscape buffering and sidewalk placement for Hawthorne Park located on the south side of East Jackson Street, the north side of East Main Street, and the west side of Hawthorne Street within a C-S/P (Commercial – Service/Professional) zoning district.  (City of Medford, Applicant; CSA Planning Ltd, Agent).
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were disclosed.  
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 IV, read the conditional use permit criteria and gave a staff report.
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given. 
a.  Craig Stone, CSA Planning, Ltd., 4497 Brownridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173.  Mr. Stone stated that he was present tonight on behalf of the City of Medford Parks and Recreation Department.  Mr. Stone stands on the written materials that they have submitted.  Also, staffs report that the Planning Commission just heard further supports the proposed amendment.     
Commissioner McFadden finds that sometimes backing out with a big rig in places is difficult with square in parking.  Was angled parking In the design of this parking lot explored?  Mr. Stone replied that he was not the actual party to the design.  That was between the three municipal departments.   
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Approve the Final Order per the Staff Report dated August 21, 2014, including Exhibits A through C.
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Christie
Commissioner McFadden stated that it is his opinion that the undergrowth of shrubs would obstruct views.  It is an admirable plan.  
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 5-0.
50.3  LDP-14-058 Consideration of tentative plat review for a two lot partition on a 4.65 acre parcel located at the western terminus of Annapolis Drive and the northeast side of Normil Terrace approximately 700 feet east of Foothill Road within an SFR-4 (Single-Family Residential – 4 dwelling units per acre) zoning district.  (E. J. and Marjorie Fordyce, Applicants; Maize & Associates, Inc., Agent).
Chair Zarosinski inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were disclosed.  
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, read the land division criteria and gave a staff report.
Vice Chair Tull asked that at this point there are no approved plats for this property, it is un-platted?  Mr. McGeough replied that is correct. The two previous tentative plats were approved in 2006 and 2008 and are now expired.  It is starting from scratch.         
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given. 
a.  Jim Maize, Maize & Associates, Inc., P. O. Box 628, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Mr. Maize stated that he was present tonight representing the Fordyce family in the partition application.  The only issue that was involved is that the subdivision plat shows to follow through with the plat as it was originally proposed and constructed to bring the sidewalk adjacent to the curb.  The applicant’s findings made it obvious to why when one looks at the slope together with the fact that it was approved in 2008.  The subdivision was subsequently constructed based on that approval.  However, the final plat was never approved.  The Planning Commission should be seeing that subdivision, as far as the plat, come before them very soon.  The Planning Department and Public Works endorsed the application regarding the sidewalks.         
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Direct staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of LDP-14-058 per the Staff Report dated August 21, 2014, including Exhibits A through G.
Moved by: Commissioner McFadden      Seconded by: Commissioner Christie
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 5-0.
60.          Report of the Site Plan and Architectural Commission. 
60.1        Chair Zarosinski stated that the Report of the Site Plan and Architectural Commission will be presented under agenda item 80, Report of the Planning Department.
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, introduced Tracy Carter.   Mr. Carter is working in the current Planning section as a Planner I.  Mr. Carter came from City Business License Department.
The Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday, August 15, 2014.  They heard two different items.  They heard an addition for the Police Department property control facility at the City Service Center.  That project was approved.  The Site Plan and Architectural Commission also heard an application to add approximately 12,000 square feet to the Surgery Center of Southern Oregon on Barnett Road.  The Planning Commission will see a follow up application on this one. 
The Planning Commission’s next study session is scheduled for Monday, September 8, 2014.  At this time there is no business scheduled but that could change.  Staff will keep the Planning Commission informed.
90.          Messages and Papers from Chair of Planning Commission. 
90.1        Chair Zarosinski apologized to Commissioner Mansfield for not allowing discussion on his second motion.
100.        Remarks from the City Attorney.  None.
110.        Propositions and Remarks from the Commission.  None.     
120.        Adjournment. 
                The meeting was adjourned at 7:04 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:  September 11, 2014               

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