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Planning Commission Minutes
Thursday, March 26, 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:
David McFadden, Chair
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair
Chris MacMillan, Excused Absence
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Senior Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Carla Paladino, Planner III
10. Roll Call
20. Consent Calendar/Written Communications. None.
30.1 The minutes for March 12, 2015, were approved as submitted.
40. Oral and Written Requests and Communications. None.
50. Public Hearing.
Chair McFadden stated that tonight’s meeting will be conducted as a legislative hearing. There will be no statement from Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney. Mr. McConnell confirmed the statement.
50.1 DCA-15-014 Consideration of a Class ‘A’ legislative code amendment to amend Chapter 10 of the Municipal Code to provide provisions for beekeeping in the city limits. (City of Medford, Applicant).
Carla Paladino, Planner III, reviewed the approval criteria, background on the amendment, proposed language and compliance with applicable criteria.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked what constitutes one hive in the Langstroth hive. Ms. Paladino replied that it is the entire structure.
Commissioner McKechnie asked what distance the water source has to be. Ms. Paladino stated no more than 15 feet from the hive.
Commissioner Pulver asked is if bee hives are allowed in the County. Ms. Paladino reported they are.
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given.
a. Scott Allison, 891 Beswick Way, Ashland, Oregon, 97520. Mr. Allison has been a beekeeper for three years. It is important for the City to support this amendment. Bees provide pollination for a major portion of the food source. Honey bees are pretty docile.
b. Jesse Boten, 210 Fordham Court, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Boten commented that hive boxes shown in the staff presentation were exceptionally large; they typically get no taller than waist high. The proposed amendment is a good way for Medford to be at the leading edge.
c. Sharon Schmidt, 4601 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix, Oregon, 97535. Ms. Schmidt is from the honey festival. There is a problem of keeping bees alive. Anything they can do to increase the bee population will be time well spent.
d. Ryan King, 555 North 5th Street, Jacksonville, Oregon, 97530. Mr. King did his graduate work at SOU and worked with the City of Ashland to do a similar amendment. Part of his thesis at SOU was to set up a beekeeping program at the University. There is a lot of fear associated with bees, especially with children. It would be great for Medford to approve this amendment.
e. Dolly Warden, 255 Colver Road, no. 88, Talent, Oregon, 97540. Ms. Warden stated that it is essential that these bees keep living. We need to make sure there is an ordinance for honey bees in the City of Medford.
f. Dean MacEanis, 1312 Spring Street, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. MacEanis reported that bees are very docile. Neighbors near his bee hives are excited that their gardens have flourished. This amendment is a great idea. He appreciates the City considering this amendment.
g. Vicki Ryder, 2105 Dellwood Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Ms. Ryder does not want bees next door to her or in her backyard. She does not want to worry about her grandchildren being stung by bees. She does not want bees.
h. Bob King, 3436 Creek View Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9625. Mr. King stated that we get 35 percent of our food from bee pollination. The bees are non-aggressive unless they are disturbed. Many cities allow bees: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. There are many wild colonies along Larson Creek. Local honey is good for combating local allergies. He hopes that the Planning Commission will approve this amendment.
i. Ellen Wright, 97 Pine Street, Ashland, Oregon. Ms. Wright wanted to make sure that a letter from Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association was in the record. They are a regional branch of the State beekeepers association. The Association strongly supports the effort to allow urban beekeeping.
Chair McFadden asked in regard to Ms. Ryder’s concerns if the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association feels that registration is adequate or would the Association recommend stronger action. Ms. Wright stated that the Association would recommend the registration over requiring hearings. It is important for the City and neighbors to know where the hives are. Ash-land uses the registry.
Vice Chair Miranda asked whether there were guidelines in the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association documentation that states how small or large a hive can be. Ms. Wright answered that twelve stacks would be very unusual. She does not believe there is any reason to restrict it. The only reason it would get tall is if there was a phenomenal honey flow coming in.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if it was true that it is a small percentage of people with that are allergic to honey bees. Ms. Wright confirmed the statement. Ms. Wright will look that up and submit the statistics.
Vice Chair Miranda asked how population in the hives is controlled. Ms. Wright reported by beekeeper management practices.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Pulver stated that his understanding of the nuisance abatement is that if there was a complaint, the City deemed that the offender needed to correct it, and if not, the City would take action with an associated fine. Ms. Paladino confirmed. There is no specific language on how the City would extract the hives if there was an issue. That may be something to consider when forwarding it to the City Council.
Mr. McConnell stated that in this ordinance he does not see where the City could take extraction action. It needs to be discussed and language needs to be included explaining how the City could take action.
Commissioner Schwimmer asked Mr. McConnell if the property owner has a civil cause of action based on a nuisance standing in order to enforce the abatement of the bees. Mr. McConnell confirmed this, but pointed out that civil legal action is a long and expensive process. People who complain will want the City to do something about it.
Motion: Based on the findings and conclusions that all of the approval criteria are either met or are not applicable, the Planning Commission initiates and forwards a favorable recommendation for adoption of DCA-15-014 to the City Council per the staff report dated March 19, 2015, including all Exhibits, with Exhibit A amended, plus revisions regarding nuisance abatement to be worked out by staff.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda Seconded by: Commissioner McKechnie
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if the language would be sent back to the Planning Com-mission for review or go to the City Council. Mr. McConnell replied that it would go to City Council.
Commissioner Schwimmer stated that the City drafted legislative changes based on compel-ling city interest for a public good. There has been testimony tonight that there are reasons why the City should approve this ordinance. There are health issues related to the enactment of this ordinance. The City has to weigh the benefit against that. The City has taken steps to mitigate that by placing height limitations, restrictions on setbacks and making sure there is water. The Deputy City Attorney has expressed concerns regarding the abatement process and how the City would have the power to step in and remove bees when a resident com-plains because the bees do not behave. This enactment will allow better control of the bees. It is his position for the City to enact this ordinance.
Commissioner Pulver stated that it is important for the City to have the ability to take action in a clean and expedited fashion. Whatever language that needs to be added to make that clean should be done. He struggles with the front yard option for location of hives. He also struggles with these in a commercial and industrial setting. He does not see those settings as being favorable for having hives.
Vice Chair Miranda reported that he thinks this will be good for the City and the citizens.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he is comfortable with the 20-foot front yard setback. It is his opinion this is good for Medford. He supports the idea in case there is a problem with a hive a neighbor has a reasonable remedy to address that without having to go through a long list of items. He is in favor of staff working with the City Council to make it more straight forward.
Mr. McConnell stated that the nuisance abatement is there in case there is a need. As far as determining what bees were causing the nuisance, the City would have to be able to do that before taking anyone’s hives. There is a due process. The City would have to prove its case by preponderance of the evidence. If the City could not make the case the bees that were causing the problem came from the neighbors hives then the hives stay.
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, March 20, 2015. They approved the final order for In-N-Out restaurant. They heard consideration of plans to construct a 972 square foot addition to an existing 1,200 square foot shop building, situated at the northwest corner of a 2.09 acre lot, on the west side of Crater Lake Highway between Commerce Drive and Coker Butte Road. The applicant requested relief from installing three street lights. Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, stated an exception would not be necessary in this case as the applicant made a Nolan-Dolan argument regarding proportionality. He said there may be a nexus here but not rough proportionality. He added there is no Nolan-Dolan analysis in the Public Works Department Staff Report so based on that this Commission could accept the applicant’s request for an exception to the street lights requirement. The Commission approved the exception of the street light requirement stated in the Public Works Department Staff Report.
70. Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee. None.
80. Report of the Planning Department.
80.1 Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that the Planning Commission’s next meeting is Mon-day, April 6, 2015. This is a special study session that will be on the Urban Growth Boundary testimony that they heard on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Staff is supposed to get direction from the Planning Commission on how to proceed for the hearing that will follow.
There is business scheduled for the next two months for the Planning Commission. Those meetings will take place on Thursday, April 9, 23, May 14 and May 28, 2015.
Last week the City Council approved the text amendment allowing administrative revisions to Site Plan and Architectural Review and Conditional Use Permit approvals.
Chair McFadden inquired who was going from the Planning Commission to the APA Conference in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Akin replied that Commissioner Schwimmer would be at-tending. Chair McFadden asked whether the approval allowed for two Planning Commissioners to attend. Ms. Akin replied that the approval allows for two Planning Commissioner’s to attend the APA Conference. Vice Chair Miranda stated that he was supposed to attend but found out that he would be in Arizona during the dates of the Conference.
90. Messages and Papers from Chair of Planning Commission. None.
100. Remarks from the City Attorney. None.
110. Propositions and Remarks from the Commission. None.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m. The proceedings of this meeting were digitally recorded and are filed in the City Recorder's office.
Terri L. Rozzana
Planning Commission Chair
Approved: April 9, 2015