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Planning Commission (View All)

SPECIAL Planning Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, April 06, 2015

The SPECIAL study session of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at noon in the Medford Room 330 of City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners:  David McFadden, Patrick Miranda, Jared Pulver, Chris MacMillan, Tim D’Alessandro, Norman Fincher, and Bill Mansfield.
Staff:     Jim Huber, Bianca Petrou, Kelly Akin, John Adam, Joe Slaughter, Chris Olivier, Planning; Alex Georgevitch, Public Works; Eric Johnson, Water Commission; Brian Sjothun, Parks; and Kevin McConnell, City Attorney’s office.
Guests:  Eric Stark, Joe Brooks, Ramsey Fakhoury, Bonnie & Michael Malepsy, Raul Woerner, Craig Stone, Mike Mahar, Randy Jones, Bruce Bauer, Barbara Gurschke, Greg Holmes, Laz Ayala, Mark Knox, and Chris Hearn.
Subject:  Urban Growth Boundary Amendment (file no. CP-14-114)
Joe Slaughter, Planner IV, introduced the materials received after close of hearing on March 12, and explained what resources staff had available to answer questions the Planning Commission may have. The exhibits in the packet were as follows:
•             Exhibit A: Table of challenges to the land need;
•             Exhibit B: Table and map of inclusion requests;
•             Exhibit C: Table of acreage in Medford urban reserve and the amounts and types in staff recommendation. Adam noted a transcription error in the acres total: it should be 4,480 instead of 2,069;
•             Exhibit D: Memo explaining transportation scoring;
•             Exhibit E: Testimony submitted at the March 12, 2015, Planning Commission public hearing; and
•             Exhibit F: Testimony submitted after the March 12, 2015, Planning Commission public hearing.
Chair McFadden stated that a map of the Southeast Plan showing how MD-4 and MD-5 areas fit in that area would be helpful. Also, review the 175 acres being challenged.

Commissioner Mansfield requested that staff comment on the question of how much acreage should be left in. He noted that Mr. Holmes had had a lengthy written and oral presentation in which he stated the reasons for why some of the land need calculations will not pass scrutiny with DLCD.
Mr. Slaughter reported that the original numbers came out of the adopted elements of the Comprehensive Plan. Staff considered adjusting the numbers in response to challenges, but stuck with the adopted figures pending clear direction: remove them or defend them. So far staff has not seen compelling arguments in defense of the “double-counted” acres and recommends removing the 175 acres.
The challenged 175 acres include recategorizing Oregon State University property of 22 acres in a portion of MD-7 from “developed” to “developable”. The other two pieces are not specific to a parcel of land. They are derived from the land need figures. The first is a double-counting of the ”public administration” land need. It was counted in both the Economic Element and the Housing Element; it amounts to 135 acres. The other is in the public and semi-public land need consisting of 18 acres.

Commissioner Pulver stated that there were questions in the submitted testimony regarding the scoring methods in various areas. He asked if staff felt comfortable with their scoring methods and if they were defensible. Slaughter said believes the scores are consistent. Staff does not see value in changing the scores because they were a starting point and subsequent findings can offset scores. As an example, he noted that testimony regarding the sewer scoring suggests that sewer scores are flat, and so may not differentiate well between potential expansion locations. .

Commissioner D’Alessandro questioned the need to clarify the transportation scoring (in reference to Exhibit D). He asked where the need derived from. Staff said an explanation of the transportation scoring was lacking. Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if, since this clarification was made after the close of the public record, there was any conflict with people who may want to contest the scoring. Slaughter said the clarification does not change the scoring. Also, citizens will have another opportunity to raise questions when it goes before the City Council.

John Adam, Senior Planner, stated that there is no legal need to reopen the hearing. Staff’s job is to help the Commission with building their findings in response to testimony.

Commissioner D’Alessandro’s concern for the entire process is that the Commission delivers to the City Council something that has been vetted at all levels. His concern in the process is the amount of time allotted for people to testify. Three to five minutes for a 20-year result is miniscule. It is hard for him to comprehend how someone can deliver their entire message in that time. Then there is written testimony. It is a lot for the Planning Commission to digest.
Chair McFadden asked what the Commission’s flexibility is. Are there any guidelines for changes that may affect reports? Mr. Huber stated that there are two letters, one from 1000 Friends of Oregon and one from Mike Savage with CSA Planning, arguing different points. The Planning Commission has to make the decision. Staff has concluded that 1000 Friends of Oregon is correct that the land need was over counted. Another change since the meeting was a flattening out of the sewer score. Another component of the decision process is the ESEE analysis. Staff provided an objective analysis; the ESEE is more subjective, as in the question: What really has value to the community over a 20-year period?

Commissioner Pulver asked if the Commission is able to discuss the GLUP map designations associated with properties that are being brought in, or if that were part of their decision process. Mr. Slaughter replied that it should be discussed. Staff was required to do a conceptual plan. Beyond that, it is a useful tool to not just look at the urban reserves as if they are all acreages of the same type but what is expected to be developed in the future. It is valuable information to look at for the land need.

Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director, reported that things can be changed but there are several sets of rules that have to be complied with. One is the Regional Plan, another is accommodating the land need.
Brian Sjothun, Parks and Recreation Director, stated that they are excited about the possibility to have Chrissy Park and Prescott Park inside the City of Medford so that they can go through their own City processes to develop those parks. They are currently going through the County process to expand on the trails inside Prescott Park. The Leisure Services Plan, completed in 2006 and currently being updated, notes that the top three items that residents wanted were more ball fields, an indoor aquatic facility, and trails that would link the parks to each other and the Bear Creek Greenway. He noted that the proposals that have been submitted have identified open space in areas that have a “blank circle” (referring to the service area maps in the Leisure Services Plan). A “blank circle” is an area that does not have access to a neighborhood park within a half mile and a community park within three miles. There is more emphasis on neighborhood parks. Also, the Parks and Recreation Department would have the ability to maintain them.
Commissioner Pulver asked Mr. Sjothun to talk about the money side of creating and maintaining trails. Mr. Sjothun stated that there are mechanisms in the Code that allow them to provide park SDC (system development charge) credits in exchange for land donations and construction of facilities. Summerfield Park is an example of how property was donated to the Parks and Recreation Foundation. The Foundation went into partnership with the developer to build the park in exchange for SDC credits. They saved approximately $800,000 on the side of development. All park SDCs that are generated in the Southeast Plan area have to remain in the Southeast Plan area by Code. Maintenance comes from the general fund.

Commissioner Pulver stated that Corey Crebbin, Public Works Director, recommended at the March 12, 2015 hearing that when the Planning Commission makes their selections that they do not take in only one side of a major road. He wants to understand the comment. He would like to know how the funding works when new roads are created. Alex Georgevitch, Acting City Engineer, reported that they have done some high-level planning of roadways. If a road runs along a property line they will have a hard time getting the facility built until enough property on the other side is included to allow it to be built. To answer the second question, higher-order streets are built using System Development Charges. Maintenance is from a street utility fee that covers all roads.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if staff could create a memorandum so that the Planning Commission can make a more intelligent determination of the odds this will have up at LCDC on the various issues. The 1000 Friends of Oregon letter deals with approximately a dozen different aspects of this. He asked if staff could deal with each aspect categorically and give it to the Planning Commission for review.
Mr. Huber commented that the more immediate concern is the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the City Council. That is the next step. It will also go to the County. The Planning Commission’s job is to determine what are they comfortable recommending to the City Council based on the findings.
Ms. Petrou reported that staff does not automatically agree with everything 1000 Friends of Oregon and the State tells them. Both DLCD and 1000 Friends were good enough to meet with staff and explain their concerns and objections. Staff worked hard to counter a number of their arguments. The double-counted 135 acres is the hard one for staff counter. Except for that, staff felt it did a good job countering and has not heard back from the two entities on those concerns.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if that means that this has a good shot with LCDC except for the 135 acres? Mr. Huber replied that staff would not bring the Commission something that they did not think was defensible.
Vice Chair Miranda stated that he would like to see alternatives. He would like to see several scenarios without the 175 acres.
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, reported that staff will present the complex arguments to the Commission and staff will base a recommendation based on all the information they have. The Commission makes their findings based on all the information that is presented to them. It is his opinion that the Commission’s recommendation to the City Council is very important, but more important is how they get there and the findings they make. The City Council will make the final decision. The City Council is going to rely on the findings based on the criteria of the Planning Commission.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked whether or not there would be any thought given to the sewer scoring question. He asked if it would that change staff’s recommendation. Ms. Petrou replied that the Commission can dismiss the sewer score if they choose. Mr. Slaughter commented that staff used the sewer scores as part of its process for making a recommendation, but redoing the scoring and recommendation are not options for staff any more.. Mr. McConnell added that, in an urban growth boundary amendment, having the sewer scores and how much it would cost to develop sewer lines are relevant factors, but there is an argument afloat that there may not be appreciable differences among different areas. The history of the decision-making process—documenting why the scores are valuable or not valuable—is more important at this stage than the decision.

Chair McFadden recommended scheduling a meeting in Council Chambers. Mr. McConnell asked if he wanted to discuss specifics on how he wants the room set up. They discussed set up logistics. Chair McFadden recommended that the Commissioners sit facing the big screen and have laser-pointers so they can talk about their thoughts of what they see on the screen and what they would change.
Vice Chair Miranda asked when the Council Chambers could be available. Petrou replied that there is noticing requirements that have to be met. If they are not asking for new findings or new alternatives, the Council Chambers would be available on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Her understanding is that there will be no need for noticing. Mr. McConnell replied that he would check into it.
Mr. Slaughter clarified that there would be no new recommendation. Further direction would be given to staff at the April 23 meeting. Then staff would come back again with changes based on the Commission’s direction at the next meeting.
Chair McFadden stated that the 175 or 135 acres needs to be taken out. There was a unanimous consensus of the Commission that the 175 acres needs to be taken out. Staff can modify that and present the modification to the Commission.
Ms. Petrou asked for clarification that the Commission wants staff to come back with one alternative, possibly more.

Commissioner Mansfield stated that he would like to see staff’s recommendation.
Ms. Petrou stated that staff would bring back three to five alternatives to the Commission on Thursday, May 14, 2015.

Commissioner Fincher asked that if this is rejected by the State, does it come back and it starts all over? Mr. Huber replied that it depends on the parameters of the remand.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:37 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary

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