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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Minutes

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The regular meeting of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present               
Tim D’Alessandro            
Norman Fincher              
Chris MacMillan               
Bill Mansfield    
David McFadden             
Patrick Miranda               
Jared Pulver      
Alec Schwimmer             
Commissioners Absent
Mark McKechnie, Excused Absence
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Senior Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Alex Georgevitch, Acting City Engineer
Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Aaron Harris, Planner II
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
Desmond McGeough, Planner II
10.          Roll Call
10.1        Election of Officers
Commissioner Mansfield nominated Commissioner McFadden to serve as Chair for 2015.  Commissioner Fincher seconded.
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
Commissioner Mansfield nominated Commissioner Miranda to serve as Vice Chair for 2015.  Commissioner Fincher seconded.
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
10.2        Chair McFadden appointed Commissioner Schwimmer to the Site Plan and Architectural Commission for 2015.
Chair McFadden appointed Commissioner D’Alessandro to the Joint Transportation Subcommittee for 2015.
20.          Consent Calendar/Written Communications.   
20.1        E-14-059 Final Order for an Exception to allow for the reduction of required street dedication along a northerly section of Cedar Links Drive adjacent to Cedar Landing Planned Unit Development within an SFR-4 (Single Family Residential – 4 units per acre) zoning district.  (Cedar Investment Group LLC, Applicant; Hoffbuhr and Associates, Agent).
Motion: Adopt the consent calendar.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda          Seconded by: Commissioner D’Alessandro
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
30.          Minutes. 
30.1        The minutes for January 22, 2015, 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-14-133 The Planning Department proposes an ordinance amending Land Development Code, Sections 10.250, 10.294 and 10.031 to allow revisions to Conditional Use Permit and Site Plan and Architectural Review approvals. The proposed code amendment provides criteria to identify circumstances in which permit revisions shall be allowed. The proposal aims to simplify the land use process by allowing applicants to modify permits without having to start the application process from the beginning.  (City of Medford, Applicant). 
Aaron Harris, Planner II, presented background, outlined the proposal, explained Site Plan and Architectural Commission’s recommendation and read the Land Development Code amendment approval criteria. 
Commissioner MacMillan asked staff to give an example of a minor modification to a conditional use permit.  Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that a couple of years ago, an existing church that had a Porte-cochere share that they wanted to enclose to make a vestibule.  It was floor area that did not increase capacity of the facility.  There was no relief from the conditional use permit requirement because it added gross floor area to the structure. It was approximately 350 square feet.      
Commissioner Pulver asked what does open space mean as opposed to landscape?  Mr. Harris commented that green space is on the site plan.    
Commissioner Pulver asked that if a minor change is received by the Planning Director and the result is of his decision is opposed, who do they appeal the decision to?  Mr. Harris stated that because it is a ministerial decision they would have the option of a full review.    
The public hearing was opened and there being no testimony, the public hearing was closed.
Motion: Based on the materials presented in the staff report dated February 2, 2015, the Planning Commission adopts the findings and conclusions that all of the approval criteria are either met or are not applicable and forwards a favorable recommendation for adoption to the City Council per the staff report dated February 2, 2015, including Exhibits A and B.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda       Seconded by: Commissioner Pulver
Commissioner Schwimmer stated that this agenda item was presented to the Planning Commission at a study session and the Planning Department did a nice job correcting some of the substantive problems with making sure these were clearly objective criteria.  The issue that was raised at the Site Plan and Architectural Commission level, were concerns raised by several of the professional architects and it had to do with the architectural element.  The concern was that if there was a general purpose or architectural element that needed to be changed, that change could take place and it would not be subject to Site Plan and Architectural Review but allowed by the Planning Director.  He supports the motion.  
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
50.2        LDP-14-132 Consideration of tentative plat approval for a three lot partition on approximately 11.9 acres located on the west side of Crater Lake Highway and the east side of Grumman Drive approximately 400 feet south of Burlcrest Drive within an I-L/AR/RZ (Light Industrial/Airport Radar Overlay/Restricted Zoning) zoning district.  (Lithia Real Estate, Inc., Applicant; Maize and Associates, Inc., Agent).
Chair McFadden inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, read the land division criteria and gave a staff report.
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 his client Lithia Real Estate, Inc.  This application is fairly simple.  It is dividing the land into three parcels for three separate auto dealerships.  The applicant has submitted findings that show that this partition meets the criteria for a land division.  They are agreeable to the conditions proposed by City staff and requests that the Planning Commission adopt those findings and approve this application.  
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Adopt the Findings as recommended by staff and adopt the Final Order for approval of LDP-14-132 per the Staff Report dated February 5, 2015, including Exhibits A through M.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda       Seconded by: Commissioner MacMillan
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
50.3        PUD-14-074/LDS-14-091/ZC-14-103  Consideration of a request for a Planned Unit Development consisting of a Preliminary PUD Plan for Rockland Place and Tentative Plat for a 31 lot single family subdivision and a zone change from County RR-5 (Rural Residential – 5 acre minimum lot size) to SFR-10 (Single Family Residential – 10 units per gross acre) on two parcels totaling 4.61 acres located on the south side of Harbrooke Road, approximately 385 feet east of North Phoenix Road, within an SFR-10/S-E (Single Family Residential – 10 units per gross acre / Southeast Overlay) zoning district. The zone change pertains only to 371W34 Tax Lot 1600.  (Richard & Leslie Lovett Trust, Applicant; Richard Stevens and Associates, Agent).
Chair McFadden inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, stated that the land division criteria had previously been read.  She read the planned unit development and zone change criteria and gave a staff report.  Ms. Sousa addressed the two letters that staff received and emailed to the Planning Commission and placed at their seats.  These letters will be submitted into the record as Exhibits X and Y.
Mr. McConnell wanted to make sure that staff was addressing the proper criteria.  On page 54 of the agenda packet under Planned Unit Development Section 2(a) it mentions Section 10.235(C)(1)(a-e) and Ms. Sousa mentioned 10.235(B).  What is the proper criterion?  He wants to make sure the staff report is addressing the proper criterion before they move forward.  Ms. Sousa replied that it is Section 10.230.  Mr. McConnell asked if the staff report addresses Section 10.230?  Ms. Sousa shook her head yes.   
Vice Chair Miranda reported that on Exhibit X that the regard line reads PUD-14-074, LDS-14-091 and ZC-14-013.  It should be PUD-14-074, LDS-14-091 and ZC-14-103.
Commissioner MacMillan stated that one of the proposed modifications is elimination of the 7 foot parking lane.  Does staff anticipate that people will still park along both sides of the road and if so, will they still have room for 2-way traffic?  Ms. Sousa replied that they would not have enough room to maneuver with cars on both sides.  She does not know if there will be no parking signs.        
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if these were all City streets?  Ms. Sousa replied yes, they are all public streets.   
Commissioner Pulver asked if the applications were a package or could they be split up?  Ms. Sousa replied that the zone change is a must.   
Mr. McConnell reminded staff and the applicant that there are a lot of criteria with these applications to address.  He recommended that staff address the issues raised in Exhibit X.  For instance, one of the issues is that the staff report says that the application meets the requirements of the Southeast Circulation Plan and the creator of Exhibit X states it does not.  This is right for an appeal if not addressed.  Each one of the issues will need to be addressed at some point tonight before the Planning Commission makes a decision tonight.  It is a lot of material.     
The public hearing was open and the following testimony was given.
a.  Clark Stevens, Richard Stevens and Associates, P. O. Box 4368, Medford, Oregon, 97501-0168.  Mr. Stevens reported that he is present tonight representing Richard and Leslie Lovett for the Rockland Place Planned Unit Development which includes a change in zoning from RR-5 to SFR-10 and a subdivision tentative plat.  Staff has presented a complete report which includes the staff report and the applicant’s findings which has addressed applicable criteria.  With the applicant’s application there were three modifications proposed.  Staff has represented those modifications correctly.  One of the questions raised by Commissioner Pulver was whether or not there was going to be parking on one side.  Stonegate Estates has no parking on both sides.  The applicant is going to try and match exactly what is proposed for Stonegate Estates.  They would be in agreement to have no parking on both sides of the street.  The important factor is to provide the second sidewalk because of the pedestrian access going both north and south.  The future residents in this subdivision and to the north would have access to the Larson Creek Greenway through Stonegate Estates and into the future commercial district.  Providing safe pedestrian traffic is why they are making this proposal onto Rutherford Drive.  As far as the alleys for lots less than 50 feet in width there is no place to put an alley.  The applicant is proposing several lots that are less than 50 feet in width which is justification for the side yard setback modification.  They originally requested a 4 foot setback across the board.  The applicants are in agreement to go the 5 foot setback.  The purpose for this is that they do not have the garage as the dominant feature along the streetscape.  Six foot setbacks are very limiting to what they can provide for a front door and front entry when the garage is in the front.  They are in agreement to go with the 5 foot setbacks versus what they proposed at 4 foot and what Planning staff is recommending at the 6 foot setbacks.  They would like to have Exhibit A Discretionary Conditions changed to 5 foot setbacks, if possible.  Also, in Exhibit Q the Parks Department recommended different street trees.  They applicants are in agreement with all of those.                          
Mr. Stevens addressed the letters that were received this afternoon.  Ms. Peterson’s comments made three comments regarding vehicle access, setbacks and street designs.  Her recommendation is to create wider lots.  This project cannot provide for wider lots and still meet the minimum density.  The applicants are proposing 31 lots within this project.  The minimum density of this area is 30.  All three of Ms. Peterson’s arguments are to make the lots wider.  That is not practical or feasible to meet the density.  Mr. Knecht’s letter is requesting that the applicant’s relocate Rutherford Drive as it terminates into Harbrooke.  The only thing that Mr. Stevens can say about that is this is the purpose of why they have the neighborhood meetings.  The meeting was full disclosure of what they were proposing.  He had full opportunity to bring his concerns to that meeting.  At the eleventh hour he requests the street be moved.  The applicants have done the preliminary storm drain plan with this alignment.  If he wanted to propose his own development he will be required to do a Planned Unit Development.  Therefore, he has that opportunity to take those modifications if they were offset 6 foot and he has to have a shorter lot that does not meet the Code, those modification requests are available to him at that time.  The applicants would like to keep the design and alignment as proposed for this project.         
Chair McFadden asked whether the section north of Sydney Way is not a residential lane designation with park strips?  Mr. Stevens reported that it is a minor residential 55 foot right-of-way.  Chair McFadden asked if Mr. Stevens would be amendable to those types of alignment changes or at least some alignment change if the City was to give exception to allow the street to be moved within the right-of-way so that he would end up with less park strip on one side versus the other side of the street.  Would that be something that could be designed to accommodate?  Mr. Stevens stated that his answer to that would be as long as it is not a major modification to the Planned Unit Development that they would have to make a reapplication or re-plat with this or final plat.  He would defer that to staff and the engineers.  He would be interested in discussing it if they wanted to reduce the planter strips a few feet maybe on the north side to make it match. 
Mr. Stevens reported that the property is within the Southeast Medford Overlay and a Planned Unit Development is required.  Being in the sub-area 15 the SFR-10 zoning is the appropriate zone for the district.  They support staffs recommendation for approval of the Planned Unit Development, subdivision and zone change with their one request for a 5 foot side yard setback compared to the 4 foot they originally proposed or the 6 foot proposed by staff.    
b.  Theresa Peterson, 3636 Creek View Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9128.  Ms. Peterson stated that this is not a creative or imaginative project that preserves natural features or does something special for transit or creates any open space.  The purpose and intent is lacking a little bit.  There is nothing special here.  In summary, she is looking for compliance with the standards, wider lots or structure design that fits lots that are there and sidewalks on both sides all the way through as indicated in the Southeast Circulation Plan.  She does not like narrow streets.  She asked the Commission to approve the zone change, deny the setback request and deny the Planned Unit Development with the requested exceptions.     
Mr. Stevens stated that the Planned Unit Development is required for being in the Southeast Overlay.  This is a standard subdivision looking type project.  There are a few requirements for being within the Southeast Overlay such as alleys that they requested the modification because it is not practical with their development.  Ms. Peterson mentioned green space and open spaces.  If they provide such as that they will lose a lot and density is an issue.  Larson Creek is a block away for the green space. Public Works mentioned that the current standard for a residential lane is no parking on one side of the street for Rutherford Drive south of Sydney Way. 
Alex Georgevitch, Transportation Manager/Acting City Engineer stated that currently it does not look like there is no parking on one side of the street on Rutherford Drive but it is a requirement per the Code.  Public Works will be placing “No Parking” signs on one side of the street.  In their staff report they recommend that it is built per the Code.   
Chair McFadden asked Mr. Georgevitch about the alignment of Rutherford Drive at Harbrooke.  Will there be alignment variations that could be explored at that intersection?  Mr. Georgevitch reported that staff would have concerns moving the street within the existing right-of-way and not shifting the center line.  They require that the center of the road line up with the center of the right-of-way.  The six foot jog anticipated will work.  It does not appear to preclude future development.     
Mr. McConnell stated that Mr. Stevens addressed several issues raised in the letter regarding the wider lots.  They cannot have wider lots because of the minimum density requirements.  Ms. Peterson made an argument in her letter regarding alleys as to why one cannot do a minimum access easement.  Mr. McConnell does not think that concern has been addressed.   
Chair McFadden stated that it is his opinion that the answer to wider lots and alleys is based around density.   
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Adopt the Findings as recommended by staff and direct staff to prepare the Final Orders for approval of PUD-14-074, LDS-14-091 and ZC-14-103 per the Staff Report dated February 5, 2015, including Exhibits A through Y.  On Exhibit X, the typographical error in the regard line and on the grid there was an accidental omission on 1(d), should read as no.  The proposed 5 foot setback is reasonable from the applicant. 
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda       Seconded by: Commissioner Pulver
Commissioner D’Alessandro made a Friendly Amendment: Parking only on one side of Rutherford south of Sydney Way and sidewalks on both sides of the road.
Commissioner Pulver spoke to the motion stating that sidewalks that lineup with Stonegate Development to the south is appropriate.  He does not think the parking is appropriate given the width of the street and having sidewalks on both sides.  The density requirement is causing a challenge making it hard to address all concerns.  A setback in the 5 to 6 foot range is realistic.  The Commission should accept the modification of the alleys since it is not feasible with the product they are dealing with.  
Commissioner Schwimmer stated that he is struggling with the modifications.  The modifications are necessary for the Planned Unit Development to move forward in order to meet the density requirements.  It is his opinion that the subjective altruistic goals in Section 10.230 are not met.   
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 6-2, with Commissioner Fincher and Commissioner Schwimmer voting no.
50.4        PUD-14-116/LDS-14-117  Consideration of a Preliminary Planned Unit Development Plan, including proposed modifications to Land Development Code standards pertaining to specific lots including: 1) modification of minimum lot area, width, depth, coverage, and frontage standards, and 2) implementation of private streets to be utilized as shared driveway easements; and consideration of a tentative subdivision plat to create 41 residential lots and two common area lots on an 8.16 gross acres located on the east side of Thomas Road, approximately 800 feet north of Sunset Drive, within the SFR-6 (Single Family Residential, 6 dwelling units per gross acre) zone district.  (Stella Real Estate Investments, LLC, Applicant; CSA Planning, Ltd., Agent). 
Chair McFadden inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose.  None were declared.
Desmond McGeough stated that the planned unit development and land division criteria had previously been read and gave a staff report.  Mr. McGeough stated that staff received revised exhibits from the Public Works Department and the Fire Department and a letter from Judy Hogue that were distributed to the Planning Commission by email and placed at their seats.  Those will be labeled Exhibits C-1, E-1 and L and submitted into the record.
Chair McFadden asked if there was a City policy of crossing wetlands. Do they have to be crossed?  Could the eastern portion of this property not be crossed since they are planning to development it later?  Mr. McGeough reported that they have to be mitigated.   He does not believe there is a policy.    
Commissioner MacMillan asked if the applicant had gotten a permit for discharge into the wetlands from the Army Corps of Engineers?  Mr. McGeough deferred the question to the applicant.     
The public hearing was open and the following testimony was given.
a.  Raul Woerner, CSA Planning Ltd., 4497 Brownridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173.  Mr. Woerner reported that he was present tonight representing Stella Real Estate Investments, LLC.  The wetlands have expanded from what was there before and beyond what are shown on the local wetlands inventory.  Mr. Woerner mentioned “duets”.   These are similar to duplexes.  In his research he discovered the Bell View project in Ashland, that shows a cottage like street presence, great curb appeal, individually owned units connected by the garage.   Mr. Woerner presented a housing prototype of a cottage court.  This was submitted into the record. 
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Adopt the Findings as recommended by staff and direct staff to prepare the Final Orders for approval of PUD-14-116 and LDS-14-117 per the Staff Report dated February 5, 2015, including Exhibits A through L, replacing Exhibits C and E with Exhibits C-1 and E-1.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda       Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
Commissioner Schwimmer reported that in his opinion contrary to the previous Planned Unit Development, this Planned Unit Development clearly meets the criteria and subjective intent proposed by the Medford Code 10.230.  This is a very nice use of mixed-use, nice idea preserving the criteria contained in that Code involving preservation of open space and mixed-use of structures. 
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 8-0.
60.          Report of the Site Plan and Architectural Commission. 
60.1        Commissioner Schwimmer reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday, February 6, 2015.   The previously heard agenda item that we heard tonight was a follow-up to the Code amendment that has been approved by the Planning Commission and the recommendation as he previously spoke of regarding the architectural review comments.  There was another application before the Site Plan and Architectural Commission that was approved.  He is unable to pull it up on his iPad and requested Ms. Akin to give the specifics in her report.   
70.          Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee.  None. 
80.          Report of the Planning Department.  
80.1        Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, welcomed the new Planning Commissioners, Jared Pulver.  Mr. McKechnie was unable to attend tonight’s meeting and the next couple of meetings due to conflicts.
The Planning Commission will have a study session on Monday, February 23, 2015.  The discussion will be about the UGBA expansion project.
There is business scheduled for the Planning Commission through April.  The dates are Thursday, February 26, 2015, Thursday, March 12, 2015, Thursday, March 26, 2015 and April 9, 2015. 
On February 5, 2015, the City Council adopted the resolution upholding the Planning Commission’s decision on the zone change near Lewis Park.  They have also been working on updating the Strategic Plan.  Ms. Akin thanked the Commissioners for attending City Council’s study session today. 
Last week the Site Plan and Architectural Commission considered the text amendment that the Planning Commission heard this evening.  The other item they approved was an expansion to an airplane hangar at the airport. 
There is the availability for two Commissioners to attend the APA Conference.  Ms. Akin will send the information to the Planning Commissioner tomorrow morning. 
90.          Messages and Papers from Chair of Planning Commission.  None.
100.        Remarks from the City Attorney.  None.
110.        Propositions and Remarks from the Commission. 
110.1     Commissioner Pulver requested that staff stress to applicants to provide exhibits as clear as possible.  He found some of the exhibits difficult to navigate through and trying to read street names.  Also, at a future study session discuss more in depth the concept of density.     
Commissioner D’Alessandro reported that if the Commissioners that were unable to attend the City Council study session today he could bring them up-to-date if they were interested.  Mike Montero did an eloquent job of presenting transportation options.  He did a good job of putting where the City could leverage them in looking at funding and things down the road.  Mike Baker from the Oregon Department of Transportation gave a presentation about the viaduct seismic study that they have been awarded $3M to just do the study.  They expect to have results later this year to start working on the actual study.  Gary Leaming brought everyone up-to-date on the Phoenix interchange.  What they are going to do when they make closures and how they are going to route traffic getting traffic on and off I-5.  Art Anderson talked about the rest area welcome center that is a point of contention with the Ashland City Council on the water rights and the sunset date for that project looming and requested backup at the next meeting or positive reinforcements at the next Ashland City Council meeting.        
Jim Huber, Planning Director reported that the City Council would like an annual study session with the Planning Commission.  Mr. Huber suggested that the Planning Commissioners and City Council representatives think of topics they would like to discuss during a joint study session.  
120.        Adjournment. 
               The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 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
David McFadden
Planning Commission Chair
Approved:  March 12, 2015         

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