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The study session of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at noon in the Lausmann Annex Room 151-157 on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
David McFadden, Chair
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair
Alec Schwimmer, Excused Absence
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Lori Cooper, City Attorney
Carla Paladino, Planner III
Aaron Harris, Planner II
Alex Georgevitch, Acting City Engineer
Michael Lundberg, Engineer Technician III
Subject: TF-15-056 Lozier Lane, Kime to Cunningham
Carla Paladino, Planner III, reported that this is a street improvement project for connecting Lozier Lane to Cunningham Avenue. This is called a Transportation Facility Development project. There will be additional street improvements on Orchard Home Drive from Cunningham Avenue to just south of Westwood Drive. Such projects the City is expending funds for a street improvement, new street or upgrading an existing street. This project will create a north-south route from South Stage Road to Rossanley Drive.
This project is a Class “B” application that goes through a formal process. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the project and the City Council will make the final decision. It must comply with three criteria found in Section 10.207 of the Medford Land Development Code.
The proposal will construct this segment of Lozier Lane to major collector standards which includes forty-four feet of right-of-way curb to curb plus planter strip and sidewalk on both sides. A stop controlled tee intersection will be provided on Cunningham Avenue. Additional right-of-way will be acquired and street improvements will be installed along the west side of Orchard Home Drive.
Commissioner Mansfield asked what are the issues that the Planning Commission will be recommending for or against? Ms. Paladino replied it must meet the criteria such as does it meet the Transportation System Plan? Are there any standards that are being deviated from, in this case there are not.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked what is the time frame for implementation providing everything goes through the process and how much right-of-way of private owners will be lost? Ms. Paladino reported that the application indicated 9900 square feet of right-of-way will be needed and construction will be in 2016 tying into the other Lozier Lane improvements to the north.
Chair McFadden asked if it will be a stop sign intersection to begin with? Will the City pre install conduits for a traffic signal? Alex Georgevitch, Transportation Manager, stated that they may or they may not. It depends on how far out a signal will be warranted. They have had issues with putting conduits underground and then years later try to find them and who is using the conduits. They do a better job now putting everything in a junction box.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if there were any plans in the future for improving further south on Orchard Home Drive? Ms. Paladino replied that she would have to review the Transportation System Plan. Mr. Georgevitch replied that if it was in the Transportation System Plan it is not on the horizon currently. Most of that will be developer driven and subject to SDC credits available to them when they develop because it is a higher order street.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if Public Works had all the right-of-way acquired that they need? Mr. Georgevitch replied no there are some sections that remain to be acquired. They are buying the ultimate right-of-way even though they only need a small strip at the south. There is approximately 10,000 square feet needed. Until the City Council gives the approval they do not acquire right-of-way.
Ms. Paladino reported that this will come before the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 11, 2015.
Jim Huber, Planning Director, gave a brief overview of the American Planning Association (APA) Conference. Staff tries to send several Planning Commissioners who are interested to this conference. It is usually in April each year. It was held in Seattle, Washington this year. Next year it will be in Phoenix, Arizona. The year after that it will be in New York City. There is money in the City Council budget for training and travel.
There were 6400 people at the APA Conference. It was the second largest participation they have had. There is an incredible variety of topics and speakers.
Mr. Huber heard Ron Sims, ex-Deputy Secretary of HUD that was very inspiring. Also, there was Julian Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio and is now the current Deputy Secretary of HUD and Stewart Brand that delivered the closing session speech who was very interesting.
Technology is off the charts. There is more data being used in analysis of things. My Sidewalk collects data across the country. The data they collect is amazing. There was focus on the planning office of the future and how to train young planners. What skills do planners need?
Mr. Huber heard a discussion on the future of zoning. They discussed the hybridization of form based codes and use based codes. The Medford Code is a use base code other than the Southeast Plan area. Form based codes focuses on the shape and form of things, the relationship of the building to the street and use is important. The speaker emphasized that when talking to people, planners need to change the focus from use and density to form and character. Some cities are developing character community manuals such as Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. They also stated not to name every use or building form.
Another focus was on sustainability. The conference was named Sustainable Seattle. There are the three E’s of sustainability: 1) Economics; 2) Environment; and 3) Equity or Social Justice. Planners need to look at the environmental, economic and the equity consequences of their decision.
Mr. Huber encouraged the Commissioners to attend one of the APA Conferences if they can.
Commissioner Pulver asked if it was all speakers or did they break them out into like size communities? Chair McFadden said you can spend all your time in classes or you can attend mobile workshops.
Commissioner Mansfield suggested educating City Council members and the public with forums. One forum could be on density and the philosophic planning and underpinning things of density. Why density is important. Possibly get 1000 Friends of Oregon, Realty Board, Chamber of Commerce and some business people involved.
Aaron Harris, Planner II, stated that in the new planning magazine there is information about technology. There is a new program that shows a map and turns it into a 3 dimensional hologram that shows the height limitations for different types of buildings and how the zoning will play out over a large span of land.
Mr. Harris also attended the APA Conference. In one of the zoning sessions that he attended there was discussion on how density can take different forms.
Mr. Harris attended a session on planning commissioner’s roles and responsibilities. There was discussion on being familiar with Fair Housing Act, regulatory takings and federally protected class of people.
Mr. Huber reported that there are a lot of classes and lectures for commissioners at the APA Conference.
Mr. Huber commented that at one of the Conferences he attended a speaker left them with one thought, “Planning Works, America was built to Code.”
Commissioner McKechnie stated that planning codes have a different name in almost every jurisdiction. A parking space dimension can be different in other jurisdictions from the City’s requirement. Is there any move or plans to organize and standardize these things for broader jurisdictions? Mr. Huber replied that it is more the smart growth move. It is more the form based code. Ms. Paladino commented that the Department Land Conservation Development has a model code but that it comes down to community vision.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana, Recording Secretary