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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Minutes

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 5:32 PM in the Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present
David McFadden, Chair
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair
Chris MacMillan
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Alec Schwimmer
Commissioners Absent
Tim D’Alessandro, Excused Absence
Norman Fincher, Excused Absence
Staff Present
Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Senior Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, Acting City Engineer
Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Joe Slaughter, Planner IV
10.          Roll Call
20.          Consent Calendar/Written Communications. None.
30.          Minutes
30.1.      The minutes for April 23, 2015, were approved with a correction to page 7 of the agenda packet, sixth paragraph, it reads, “Commissioner McKechnie clarified that this is not a zone change not a General Land Use Plan map change.” It should read “…that this is not a zone change but a General Land Use Plan map change.”
40.          Oral and Written Requests and Communications. None.
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, read the Quasi-Judicial Statement.
50.         Public Hearings—New business (Taken out of order)
50.2.      PUD-15-011 / LDS-15-012 Consideration of a request for a revision to 10th Fairway Office Park Planned Unit Development and tentative plat for a 7-lot commercial subdivision on two parcels totaling 3.79 acres located on the south side of North Phoenix Road, approximately 370 feet south of Hillcrest Road, within an SFR-4 (Single Family Residential – 4 dwelling units per gross acre) and C-S/P/RZ (Service Commercial and Professional Office/Restricted Zoning) zoning district. Michael T. Mahar, 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 disclosed.
Chair McFadden inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts. None were disclosed.
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated that a letter, emailed to the Commissioners and placed at their seats was received from Mr. Judson Parsons and would be submitted into the record as Exhibit T. Ms. Akin read the planned unit development and land division criteria and gave a staff report.
Commissioner McKechnie asked that since the commercial plat has expired are there any ramifications with what was being presented tonight? Ms. Akin replied no.
Chair McFadden asked if the remnant lot was developable and had access from North Phoenix Road? Ms. Akin replied that she thought it shared access with the lot to the south. Ms. Akin deferred the question to Mr. Stone to better address Chair McFadden’s question.
The public hearing was opened and the following testimony was given.
a. Craig Stone, 4497 Brownridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173. Mr. Stone stated that he was present tonight on behalf of the applicant Michael T. Mahar. The principal change to what is being presented is the allowance of medical offices. When first approved this property was encumbered with traffic issues that prompted the applicant to design the project with general offices because they have a lesser traffic as well as parking impact. Several years after the original approval many of the traffic improvements that were needed were built. The applicant updated a traffic study, put it before the City Public Works and Planning Director’s and they removed the condition that dealt with the traffic impacts that now allows the applicant to present to the Planning Commission seeking medical offices being an allowable use. The applicant desires to create building lots that would accommodate twice the number of buildings in a smaller amount of square footage. There would be a greater parking requirement that can be accommodated.
Mr. Stone addressed Chair McFadden’s question regarding the remnant parcel stating that it has access through the adjacent development to the south.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that the applicant has provided the maximum amount of building for the parking available if it were all medical offices. If one of the lots was a general office user would the applicant expect the building to become larger and max out their allowable shared parking? Mr. Stone replied that when the developer gets to the last building to be built he will have to assess how much parking remains and how large an office can be accommodated for that amount of parking versus how large a medical office and then size the building accordingly or reduce the parking in some fashion. The uncertainty of coming forward with just lots and do not know the size of the building is as good as the applicant can do at this point. The applicant offered as a stipulation going forward to the Site Plan and Architectural Commission each time there is a new building and they will keep an accounting of the amount of parking to ensure there is a sufficient supply whether is it medical or some other commercial use.
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: Direct staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of PUD-15-011 / LDS-15-012 per the staff report dated May 7, 2015, including Exhibits A through S and adding Exhibit T and a discretionary condition of approval showing the final plat to show not less than three and not more than six lots in addition to the common area and remainder parcel.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda                                                   Seconded by: Commissioner Pulver
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7–0.
Old Business (Taken out of Order)
50.1        CP-14-114 The City of Medford is proposing to amend the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) for the purpose of providing a twenty-year land supply based on the City’s projected need for residential and employment land. The proposed changes include: amending (expanding) the Urban Growth Boundary, assigning General Land Use Plan (GLUP) map designations to the areas added to the UGB; amending the Medford Street Functional Classification Plan of the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan to include the expansion areas; and amending some portions of the Urbanization and GLUP Elements of the Comprehensive Plan to accommodate the UGB amendment. City of Medford, Applicant.
Joe Slaughter, Planner IV, reviewed the background of the Urban Growth Boundary expansion project and staff’s recommended alternatives.
Chair McFadden presented his recommendation that is a combination of staff’s recommended Alternatives 1 and 2, deleting the northwestern part of MD-3, a portion of MD-4, and adding a part of MD-5 south of Cherry Lane.
Commissioner Pulver stated that he shares the thought that the northwest portion of MD-3 and a portion of MD-4 should be eliminated. It makes sense to leave a portion of Foothills Road that has high-density residential. He agreed that the addition of some portion of MD-5 to tie in Chrissy Park would be beneficial. He said he struggles with the southern portion of MD-5 east of Centennial. He sees logic in Chair McFadden’s recommendation.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he is hard pressed to add anything to the recommendations that were given by staff, especially since the Commission needs to find some place to cut. He is not one hundred percent convinced that adding a little portion of MD-5 will help the cause. He does think that all of MD-4 could be eliminated. He does agree with the concern of adding additional commercial space at the corner of Hillcrest and North Phoenix Road when there is a major neighborhood commercial space approximately two blocks away. That is ill advised.
Chair McFadden stated that his addition of the portion of MD-5 was approximately 100 acres. He thinks the deletion of MD-3 and a portion of MD-4 is greater than his addition of the MD-5 portion. He does not know how Commissioner McKechnie’s recommendation would further adjust the acreage concern.
Mr. Slaughter reported MD-4 is approximately 275 acres. The northern portion of MD-4 in the first alternative is approximately 175 acres, as are each of the other two alternatives in MD-3. Removing all the southeast portion of MD-3 is approximately 175 acres. Removing the northwest corner and a small portion of the southeast corner of MD-3 is approximately 175 acres. Chair McFadden’s recommended portion of MD-5 is approximately 100 acres. If looking at concerns for trail construction and connectivity and possibly low point for gravity sewer flow the logical extension boundary based on those criteria would be to bring it out a little further to the east and include an area that staff has calculated to be approximately 180 acres. If bringing in just the three tax lots that were Chair McFadden’s recommendation one would not be getting the same kinds of benefits for the trail construction and connectivity and sewer flow.
Commissioner Pulver asked if the 180 acres in MD-5 would be an addition to Chair McFadden’s 100 acre recommendation. Mr. Slaughter replied that it would be a total of 180 acres.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that staff believes 175 acres needs to be removed from the original recommendation in order to satisfy LCDC.   He asked why staff favors Alternative 1 over Alternative 2 . Mr. Slaughter replied that Alternative 1 is the preferred alternative because of its ability to handle a portion of the employment land need in that vicinity while adding additional capacity for residential development.
Commissioner Schwimmer stated that it is his opinion that staff made a correct determination in removing the 135 acres 1000 Friends of Oregon referenced in their memorandum. He supports Alternative 1. It provides the most diversification and options for the City at this point. He has concerns deviating from staff’s recommendations like offering MD-5. MD-5 did not meet objective criteria. When one took all the items in determining its value in the criteria, and whether it should be included, it did not score sufficiently to be included. He said he understands the beneficial reasons why it should be included, but said that if they go and start including things like that for more subjective reasons, they deviate from the objective criteria used to include the properties. He said Alternative 1 provides the best opportunity for affordable housing closer to commercial areas. He added that they should stick to legal property lines.
Commissioner MacMillan stated that he agrees with Commissioner Schwimmer, that they should stick to legal property lines. He asked if part of Chair McFadden’s recommendation of including a portion of MD-5 is to facilitate a connection of Chrissy Park to Bear Creek Trail along the trail system . He asked staff how much of that trail had been completed so far, and if in twenty years if staff anticipates that it will be at a stage where including the portion of MD-5 would be beneficial. Mr. Slaughter reported that he would have a hard time speculating how much of it would be constructed over the next twenty years. He reported a few facts he did have: The connection of Larson Creek Trail to Bear Creek Trail is currently being worked out. There is a portion that is being constructed. There is still a lot of work to do in determining the exact route of the trail from Ellendale to North Phoenix Road. There is a portion of Larson Creek Trail east of North Phoenix Road that will be constructed as that area develops.
Vice Chair Miranda stated that the coarse filters were objective in nature which the Commission needed to be able to quantify and qualify the decisions and recommendations that are being made. However, when they reached the stage of the public hearings the subjective portion of the evaluation came into play. He remembers the testimony revolving around public facilities, the trail system and the benefits to the public. He is leaning towards the recommendation that Chair McFadden submitted. It not only serves the functional aspects of the Urban Growth Boundary amendment but it embodies the spirit of it as well.
Commissioner MacMillan asked staff to clarify why that portion of MD-5 was excluded in the beginning. Mr. Slaughter stated that it made it through the coarse filter, so it was included in the external study area (ESA) group. It was then ranked for sewer, water, and transportation; it did not score well in aggregate. In addition, the types of land uses in that area are expected to be primarily residential. There is a lot of other areas that residential can be put in, but it is harder to find land for employment. Also, the proximity to existing developments was considered.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if it is safe to say that area would end up being low-density residential, such as four units to the acre or less? Unlike some of the other areas that have higher density this is a long way from any kind of roadway. Mr. Slaughter reported that the southeast area is commercial. The north central area is medium density. The areas to the east and northwest are low density. The southwest area is parks and schools. The southeast area is larger lots with lower-density type of development. Staff recommends leaving out the larger lot area if that property were brought into the Urban Growth Boundary.
Commissioner MacMillan commented that, based on how far that is out from developed land at this point, he agrees with Commissioner Mansfield in supporting Alternative 1.
Motion: Remove a portion of MD-4 from staff’s recommendation for the Urban Growth Boundary expansion and direct staff to prepare findings for recommendation to the City Council and have staff return with the recommendation and revised findings for approval at the June 11, 2015, Planning Commission meeting.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda                                                   Seconded by: Commissioner Mansfield
Commissioner Pulver stated that with the motion on the table as it stands now, he would vote no. He would be a proponent of taking staff’s recommendations of Alternative 1 and 2 and adding a portion of MD-5 that Mr. Slaughter has shown and Chair McFadden discussed. It is his opinion that MD-3 as shown by staff also has a healthy amount of undeveloped land in the vicinity of it. To some of Commissioner MacMillan’s questions it is his opinion that if the portion of MD-5 is not brought in the trail is not going to be built in the next twenty years. Those types of things are funded by development around them. MD-5 is a portion of the Southeast Plan that is well planned.
Commissioner MacMillan stated that he would like to see the trail system completed and no longer supports Alternative 1 but supports Chair McFadden’s alternative.
Commissioner McKechnie reported that he supports the motion. He is concerned that by adding the portion of MD-5 is adding a lot more estate-sized lots in this town and they have already committed to an average density of 6.6 units per acre. The trail system is important. During the public hearings the Commission heard from a number of residents that they cannot get sewer yet. It is his opinion, that if these citizens are in the City, it is the City’s obligation to see that they have sewer. The portion that remains at Hillcrest for the orchards has multiple uses. It could serve as higher-density housing. The Commission needs to seriously looking at increasing the overall density in Medford in creative ways. He does not see MD-5 doing that.
Vice Chair Miranda stated that he does not fully disagree with Commissioner McKechnie’s comments. The Commission needs to keep in mind that the 6.6 burden is not being assigned to a single MD designation. That burden is to be spread across the entire urban growth boundary expansion. He envisions a City that supports not only the density requirements of the State but the complacency requirements of its citizens. He agrees with Commissioner MacMillan and has been swayed by Commissioner Pulver’s comments.
Commissioner Pulver stated that the material he researched regarding the portion of MD-5 being discussed that it is close to the 6.6 density requirement.
Roll Call Vote: Motion failed, 3–4, with Commissioner MacMillan, Commissioner Pulver, Vice Chair Miranda and Chair McFadden voting no.
Motion: Use a modification for Alternatives 1 and 2 and the addition of the documented area in MD-5, approximately 183 acres, for the Urban Growth Boundary expansion, and direct staff to prepare findings for recommendation to the City Council, and have staff return with the recommendation and revised findings for approval at the June 11, 2015, Planning Commission meeting.
Moved by: Vice Chair Miranda                                                   Seconded by: Commissioner Pulver
Friendly Amendment made by Commissioner Pulver: Include the southeast corner of MD-3.
Vice Chair Miranda agreed to including the southeast corner, approximately 30 acres in MD-3.
Chair McFadden reported that years ago when they started this process City shape was always an important consideration. He can see the inclusion maintaining a City shape that makes sense.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he agrees. Taking that 30 acres of MD-3 out is really odd. Since they are taking out approximately two thirds of MD-4 they can certainly take 30 more acres out to compensate for leaving it in MD-3.
Mr. Slaughter suggested that staff come back with numbers and fine tune the recommendation at the June 11, 2015, Planning Commission meeting.
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 4–3, with Commissioner Schwimmer, Commissioner Mansfield and Commissioner McKechnie voting no.
60.         Reports
60.1.      Site Plan and Architectural Commission
Commissioner Schwimmer reported that he was unable to attend the Site Plan and Architectural Commission and deferred the report to Kelly Akin, Principal Planner.
Ms. Akin reported that at the last Site Plan and Architectural Commission meeting they had a continuance. The Commission had a study session at the end of their regular meeting and she would talk more about it under the Planning Department report.
60.2.      Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee. None.
60.3.      Planning Department
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission had a study session that was a “meet and greet” session. It was very informative and helpful where they learned one another’s background and history.
The next Planning Commission study session is scheduled for Monday, May 25, 2015, which is Memorial Day. There will not be a study session on that day.
There is business scheduled for the Planning Commission meetings on Thursday, May, 28, 2015, Thursday, June 11, 2015, and Thursday, June 25, 2015.
On May 7, 2015, the City Council approved a revision to the Disposition and Development Agreement for the Northgate project allowing Site Plan and Architectural Commission to have some authority over street locations and site designs. The City Council also approved the beekeeping ordinance.
During the City Council meeting on May 21, 2015, the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission will present awards to different developments that have remarkable restoration or rehabilitation work. One of the awards is for the Greyhound portal. Also, they will hear the East Jackson General Land Use Plan amendment that the Planning Commission heard at their last hearing and from the Site Plan and Architectural Commission there was an appeal filed on the Sky Park project.
John Adam, Senior Planner, reported that last year the Planning Commission went through the process of doing a code amendment to allow outdoor storage containers for seasonal use. The City Council gave it one season to see how it went and put in a sunset clause which is June 30, 2015. Staff has been advised by legal counsel that the Planning Commission needs to go through the recommendation process to the City Council to either lift the sunset clause or not. Mr. Adam suggested including it on the June 11, 2015, Planning Commission agenda with the Spring Cleaning 2015 code amendment.
Chair McFadden asked if there was a study and report done of last year’s use of the storage units? Mr. Adam reported that there was no study or report. There were no complaints received.
Vice Chair Miranda recommended putting it on the June 11, 2015, Planning Commission agenda.
70.          Messages and Papers from the Chair. None.
80.          Remarks from the City Attorney. None.
90.          Propositions and Remarks from the Commission. None.
100.        Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 7:44 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: May 28, 2015

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