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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, August 25, 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:  Robert Tull, David McFadden, Bill Christie, Patrick Miranda, and Bill Mansfield.
Staff:  Bianca Petrou, Kelly Akin, Kevin McConnell, John Adam, Praline McCormack and Aimee Staton.
Subject:   1.   C-B Overlay: Outline of amendment steps.
Praline McCormack, Planner II, briefly outlined a revised sequence of amendments regarding the C-B Overlay.  These will be done in phases.   
Phase 1 will be to amend the C-B Overlay zone boundaries.  The C-B Overlay Zone boundaries will be amended to coincide with the City Center (CC) General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Map boundaries.         
Commissioner McFadden stated that it is his opinion that everything south of Jackson Street should be included.  For example, The Commons is almost within the boundary and the original planned area for The Commons extends to 3rd Street whenever that gets completed.  John Adam, Senior Planner replied that it would take amending the Comprehensive Plan map to take the City Center out to a new boundary.    
Commissioner Mansfield asked if staff predicts any resistance or objections from the respective parties to this amendment?  Ms. McCormack replied that staff hopes to convince them this is a good move.  Mr.  Adam stated that it does not take away any of their permitted uses.   
Phase 2 will work with the downtown stakeholders to create design standards for the downtown, including street standards. 
Phase 3 for the first part will be removing the Downtown Parking District from the zoning map.  The second part of Phase 3 would be to create a new downtown mixed-use zone and apply it to all of the properties within the C-B Overlay then repeal the C-B Overlay zone as well as all underlying zones.  
Vice Chair Tull asked if this will have a lot of grandfathered in situations as the proposed changes take place?  Mr. Adam stated that is something that is dealt with almost on a daily basis.  By default in some respects they are grandfathered in for their parking standards.  If there is a change of use the question now is how staff going to treat those.   
Vice Chair Tull asked if a property owner wanted to do significant renovations or expand into vacant land next to them, how does staff manage that?  Do they operate under the same standards they have been under or do they come into new standards? 
Commissioner Miranda stated that if a property owner wanted to do an expansion onto undeveloped land they would have to come up to the current standard.  If they were in an area that previously did not require parking and they are going to expand onto undeveloped land then it is his opinion that parking would be a part of the expansion. 
Vice Chair Tullís concern is whether the changes will be a damper on the continued redevelopment of Downtown. 
Mr. Adam reported that there are certain areas that have standards that the parking is controlled by the availability or proximity to structured parking that is provided by the public.  If a business is within a certain distance they would not have to provide parking.  That is a tool available to examine.  There are some contingencies in the planning department to expand the parking district to cover a larger area.  They want a mixed-use downtown district where people park on the street because that is how it used to be.  Staff is struggling to make it a place where you do not need to drive to enjoy downtown.     
Ms. McCormack stated that regarding creating more non-conforming uses she believes the design committee would take into account what is already downtown.  The standards are not going to be so different that there will be different looking buildings in the future.  Staff should be looking at the impacts of the business rather than the use.   
Commissioner Christie asked if the focus was less driving downtown and more mass transit?  Creating more parking is an incentive for people to drive to the Downtown.  A lot of the parking issues are going to be driven by the type of business locating downtown.   
Vice Chair Tull asked would the proposed changes determine who decides the business downtown is good for the downtown?  Deciding to relocate to a downtown location is going to involve compliance with some other non-compliance things that will cost them money they will probably not relocate in the downtown.    
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated that this is a big project and to be patient with staff.   
Commissioner Christie commented that the proposal is worthwhile. He would like to see things get a little looser.  Allow businesses to move around in the community. 
Mr. Adam reported that last Thursday evening the City Council was presented with the Temporary Portable Storage Containers.  The City Council passed the amendment with sun setting in June 2015.  If there are good results from this winter then it can be continued or lesson learned and adjusts it to get better results the next holiday season.  They also passed the Transportation Facility proposal on Lozier Lane.  Testifiers were asking to keep both their driveways. 
Commissioner Mansfield commented that he was reliably informed that the Planning Commissionís Chair, Michael Zarosinsk,i is planning to run for a City Council position. 
Commissioner Mansfield asked if the City Council was moving forward on replacing Paul Shoemakerís position on the Planning Commission?  Ms. Akin replied that they are recruiting and had at least one applicant. 
The meeting was adjourned at 12:35 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary


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