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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Meeting Minutes

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 5:30 PM in the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present
David McFadden, Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
David Culbertson
Norman Fincher
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair, Excused Absence
Mark McKechnie, Excused Absence
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Chase Browning, Fire Inspector
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Jennifer Jones, Planner III
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
10.          Roll Call
20.          Consent Calendar/Written Communications.
20.1 LDS-15-055 Final Order of a request for tentative plat approval for Summerfield at South East Park Subdivision Phase 22, a 27 lot residential subdivision between Autumn Hills Drive and Waterstone Drive on approximately 10.50 acres. The request also includes a tentative plat for six reserve acreage tracts of Phases 16-21 of Summerfield at South East Park Subdivision, generally located south of Cherry Lane and north of Barnett Road within the SFR-4 & SFR-10/SE/RZ (Single Family Residential – 4 dwelling units per gross acre/Single Family Residential – 10 dwelling units per gross acre/Southeast Overlay/Restricted Zoning) zoning district. (Crystal Springs Development Group, A Joint Venture, Applicant; Neathamer Surveying, Inc., Agent)
Motion: Adopt the consent calendar.
Moved by: Commissioner D’Alessandro                                Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 7–0.
30.          Minutes
30.1.      The minutes for July 23, 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 Hearings—New business
50.1 DCA-15-052 Consideration of an amendment to allow stores to have up to 20 portable storage containers on the store property for storage during holiday seasons. (City of Medford, Applicant)
John Adam, Senior Planner, reviewed the proposal, read the development code amendment criteria located in Code Section 10.184(2) and summarized the staff report.
The public hearing was opened and there being no testimony, the public hearing was closed.
Motion: The Planning Commission recommends approval to the City Council and directs staff to prepare a Commission Report to that effect based on the staff report dated August 6, 2015, including Exhibits A and C.
Moved by: Commissioner Pulver                              Seconded by: Commissioner D’Alessandro
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7–0.
50.2 LDP-15-080 Consideration of a request for a land partition to create two parcels from a 4.74 acre lot located at 2000 Crater Lake Avenue, on the east side of Crater Lake Avenue, between Roberts Road and Brookhurst Street, within the MFR-20 (Multiple-Family Residential – 20 dwelling units per gross acre) zoning district. (Terry Buntin Et. Al., Applicant; Richard Stevens & Associates, Agent)
Chair McFadden inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose. Commissioner Fincher reported that he has had business dealings with Mr. Buntin but it would not have any bearing on his decision.
Chair McFadden inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts. None were disclosed.
Jennifer Jones, Planner II, read the land division criteria and gave a staff report.
Chair McFadden asked if the Public Works Department made any recommendations for the access onto Crater Lake Avenue?  Ms. Jones reported that the Public Works Department is in support of this application.  A more specific design is included with the Site Plan and Architectural Commission application.  It includes three designated lanes; a right turn lane, left turn lane and a right egress.  The design is adequate.
The public hearing was opened.
a. Clark Stevens, Richard Stevens & Associates, Inc., P. O. Box 4368, Medford, Oregon, 97501-0168.  Mr. Stevens reported that he was present tonight representing Terry Buntin and the First Church of God in this partition application.  The principal purpose of the application is to correct an improper land division.
Mr. Stevens addressed Chair McFadden’s question stating that a 40 foot wide flag pole is a little wider than normal that the Commission would normally see for access.  This application has been worked with the Public Works Department and designed so that they have one travel lane into the project, a dedicated left out lane and a right and straight lane.  As staff mentioned, there are three lanes which is the purpose of the 40 foot with curb, gutter and sidewalk on one side.
Chair McFadden reported that his concern on the traffic is that the south intersection of Crater Lake Avenue and Roberts Road is one of the trickiest with the change in sight radius.  Even with the dedicated left turn lane, it is his opinion that it will be difficult to cross three lanes of traffic to get to the south bound lane safely.  Have any of the other parcels been contacted about the possibility of a secondary access into this parcel through adjoining properties?  Mr. Stevens stated that is actually a design consideration with the Site Plan and Architectural Commission application.  There is a request for additional private road or access way to the south and east through the Girl Scout facility to tie into Keene Way.
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: The Planning Commission adopts the findings as recommended by staff and directs staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of LDP-15-080 per the staff report dated July 31, 2015, including Exhibits A through G.
Moved by: Commissioner Pulver                                              Seconded by: Commissioner Foley
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7–0.
50.3 LDS-15-039 / CUP-15-089 / E-15-090 Consideration of a request for a proposed tentative plat for a 29-lot residential subdivision, with a conditional use permit for a riparian street crossing and drainage facilities, and an exception to the hillside ordinance, right-of-way width, and lot depth on a 5.69 acre parcel at the eastern terminus of Nobility Drive, approximately 660 feet east of Kings Highway. (VP & Trading, LLC, Applicant; Steven Swartsley, 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.
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, stated that the land division criteria were read at the previous application.  Ms. Sousa read the conditional use permit and exception criteria and gave a staff report.
Commissioner Mansfield asked why staff included a recommendation that the Planning Commission approve this application when it is clear that it does not meet the requirements?  Ms. Sousa replied that the Planning Commission has the authority to approve a longer block length.  The block length would be approvable if the Planning Commission can make a finding of the longer block length.   The same is true for the minimum access easements.
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated that in reviewing the application and the information submitted, staff did not feel substantial evidence was provided by the applicant to support a positive finding for the block length as well as for the minimum access easements.  The applicant revised the findings that are before the Planning Commission tonight and there is a possibility that the Commission might hear testimony that would sway them.
Commissioner Fincher asked how many lots does the steep slope apply to?  Ms. Sousa replied that there are four lots shown by the slopes analysis plan provided by the applicant.
Commissioner Fincher asked how burdensome is it for whoever builds on those lots to get approval and go through the process?  Would it be an easier process to be done all at once now as opposed to four individuals preparing individual testimony for approval?  Ms. Sousa stated that at the building permit level they will not be able to require the technical reports that are required by a land use application.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked what were the elevation changes?  Ms. Akin reported that the elevation at the top of the knoll is approximately 1474 feet and down to the farthest corner it is 1450 feet.  It is approximately 24 feet.
Mr. McConnell asked if he understood correctly that the Planning Commission could find that it met the exception of Section 10.253, Criterion (3) because it was on the west side and it is unusual for the west side of town.  If this was on the east side of town it would not have met the exception Criterion (3).  Ms. Sousa replied that is correct.
The public hearing was opened.
a. Steven Swartsely, 174 Littrell Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Swartsely reported that the Planning Commission should have received yesterday or the day before an email from staff of the fourth amended findings on this particular subdivision.  The fourth amended findings address the minimum access easements.  When there are slope issues, wetland development on adjacent properties which are all present in this situation then the Commission can certainly allow for the five minimum access lots as the applicant has proposed.  What makes this parcel extremely difficult to develop that was not present in 2005 and 2006 under prior ownership is Crooked Creek with the riparian setback.  The applicant proposed a 25 foot riparian setback rather than 50 feet with the approval of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  On the west side of the creek there is no room for any riparian setback because the houses are built up to the creek boundary.
The block length issue is, where do you commence measurement?  Staff states you commence measurement on Regal Drive.  Regal Drive dead-ends into non developed parcel immediately to the south.  Barons Drive goes into the mobile home park.  Exhibit P in the agenda packet is an agreement with the owner of the mobile home park and the City of Medford to maintain that as an opening.  Therefore, Barons Drive creates the only through street.  If you take the measurement from Barons Drive the block length issue is moot because it is under the 660 foot maximum by almost 100 feet. If the Commission considers the block length should be measured from Regal Drive then there are the issues that would allow the Commission to make an exception to the block length those being: 1) The ecological issues of the riparian setback and Crooked Creek; 2) Slope of 10%.  If it is greater than 10%, which a portion of the property to the north of the proposed Nobility Drive is greater than 10%, the City will not allow any street to be built.  There is full development to the south so you cannot build any streets going to the south.  Modrena is in the most appropriate place to allow for its removal from the riparian setback, the creek and allow for it to meet any slope issues the City has.
The Public Works Department has agreed that all of the exceptions requested are appropriate because of this particular site.  The applicant requested that the right-of-way on Marsh Lane be reduced from 55 feet to 51 feet.  It is reducing the planting areas on both sides.  Marsh Lane is already dedicated 51 foot right-of-way on the parcel immediately to the south where the mobile home park lies.  It was Public Works’ position that would keep the easements the same and create continuity.  Marsh Lane is a road now.  One can drive Marsh Lane all the way to the county extension lane that runs off Kings Highway.  It is a gravel road.  At any time the City desires, Marsh Lane can be improved from the southern edge of the applicant’s property to the southern edge of the mobile home park.  The mobile home park has a road that dead-ends prior to where the Marsh Lane right-of-way is that can be extended to Marsh Lane.  That creates another ingress and egress to Marsh Lane.
Commissioner Fincher asked if Ms. Sousa was correct that there are four lots that are considered steep?  Mr. Swartsley stated that there are two possibly three lots that have some slope on them.  They do not prevent an envelope for building.  The map that was created for the City is not exact.
Commissioner Culbertson stated that in regards to Marsh Lane when the mobile home park was developed he was involved because he owned the forty-six acres that Laz Ayala owns now.  The City of Medford specifically said they would not allow Marsh Lane to be on EFU.  That is why it is 51 feet on Mr. Ayala’s land.  There was a fence and a chain at the northern end of the property going across close to Sparrow Way and there was a gate at the bottom.  Marsh Lane is not a passable road.  If one goes on it they are trespassing.
Chair McFadden stated that Commissioner Culbertson has a degree of knowledge that no one else on the Commission has. 
Donald Moore, 1893 Barons Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Mr. Moore has concerns with the single access.  The previous denials in 2006 were because of the single access.  The road only measures 27 feet.  Is this a good and safe project with only one access?  He also has concerns with the block length.

Richard Strahm, 1919 Barons Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  When Mr. Strahm signed an agreement to purchase his lot in 1997 Barons Avenue was to be a cul-de-sac on the south end.  By the time he finished building his home the cul-de-sac opened up access to Spring Hills Mobile Home Park.  His primary concern is traffic.  After reading the staff report he has concerns with asphalt next to Crooked Creek.  He suggested wait until the property to the north is annexed into the City so that they can punch Marsh Lane through and build a new crossing over Crooked Creek.  It would align with Whitman Drive.  Then develop the project in question tonight that would have a second access.  Mr. Strahm encouraged the Planning Commission to deny this project.
Ms. Sousa commented that Exhibit B was the most current tentative plat that was submitted on July 20, 2015.
Ms. Akin discussed how the block length is measured. The block length ordinance is in Section 10.426 of the Code.  The Code reads: “Block lengths and block perimeter lengths shall not exceed following dimensions as measured from centerline to centerline of through intersecting streets…”  Barons Avenue is not a through street.  It is a cul-de-sac.  That is how it was constructed and approved in that subdivision.  Regal Avenue is a stubbed street.  It is intended and designed to continue to the south.  That is a through intersecting street.  That is why they measured from the intersection of Nobility and Regal and not the intersection of Barons.  There is more to the ordinance that is important.  The ordinance was not only written for residential development but also commercial and industrial.  It allows a driveway to complete blocks with conditions.  “A public access easement on private property which facilitates through public vehicular and pedestrian access.  The Interior Access Road public easement shall, at a minimum consist of the following improvements: 1) A two-way vehicular access drive aisle having minimum aisle width of twenty (20) feet bounded with raised curb…2) The vehicular access drive shall be bound at minimum on one side, but preferably both sides, with a pedestrian pathway running parallel to the access drive, consisting of concrete, patterned concrete or brick pavers.  The pedestrian pathway may be either attached or detached from the curb and have a minimum width of five (5) feet.  Where the pedestrian path crosses intersecting vehicular drive aisles, the pathway paving material shall extend across such areas to demarcate the pedestrian crossing.”  It has to be open to public use.  She is not certain that the application meets those standards.  She is also not certain that there is a public access permitted through the mobile home park.  She believes it is posted as private property.  Mr. Swartsley provided an agreement that the owner represents that he is the owner of the property and the manufactured home park has an ingress and egress at the terminus of Barons.  The owner represents that he will retain on a permanent basis the ingress and egress.  That means he will not close it for his own purpose.  It does not guarantee it is used for the public.  Ms. Akin is not certain the mobile home park access meets the standard of the Code as far as the interior access way that would provide the block connectivity that the City is seeking.
Commissioner D’Alessandro stated that he did not see Public Works support or otherwise of the traffic potentials for this property.  Ms. Akin replied that the City does facility adequacy testing at the time of zone change.  As far as whether the street is sufficient that question was answered at the time of zoning.  Nobility Drive is a 55 feet right-of-way which is a minor residential street.  They are designed to serve 100 lots. 
Chase Browning, Medford Fire Inspector, reported that Fire Marshal Kleinberg’s input on this application is that Barons would need to maintain permanent access for the development to be considered under the Code requirements for fire sprinklers which would be thirty or more.  By having 29 lots the Fire Department can get to that point by a single access.
Mr. Swartsley reported that they would not have just one fire hydrant on Barons Drive.  The Fire Department is requiring them to put in a number of fire hydrants in the subdivision.
The narrow bridge that exists now will be removed and brought up to the standards that Public Works requires as far a depth and width. 
Nobility is a minor residential street designed to handle up to 100 homes.  Nobility currently has 31 homes.  Mr. Swartsley’s project will add 29 lots.  They are well under the standard of what a minor residential street requires.
It is Mr. Swartsley’s and the Fire Department’s position that Barons is a through street.  They have established that Barons will remain opened.  Regal does not go anywhere.  It is his contention that you measure where the through street is even thought it passes on private property.  It does allow ingress and egress to other areas.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stated that the first problem the land has is that it is non-native habitat and flora.  They want it gone.  The applicant is going to clean it out and plant native grasses, bushes and trees that the State requires.
Commissioner Culbertson asked if Mr. Swartsley has spoken to the neighbor to the north about continuing Marsh Lane?  Where it is going to be dedicated and taking Marsh Lane and talking to the neighbor to the north to complete Marsh Lane and go all the way up to where it ties in off Whitman and complete that section.  That will give the applicant an access out the other end onto Marsh Lane through the subdivision.  Mr. Swartsley stated that area will be developed and Marsh Lane will be extended.  It is his understanding that in the southwest traffic plan Marsh Lane is shown and designed.  A portion of Marsh Lane is dedicated at this time.
The public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that he is really torn with this application.  On one hand they want to see development and on the other hand it is a tough one on the access.  He would like to hear other opinions from the Planning Commissioners. 
Commissioner Foley shares Commissioner Mansfield’s concerns on the ingress and egress issue on Marsh Lane. 
Commissioner Fincher’s feelings are the same.
Commissioner D’Alessandro commented that he lives in a similar area that had only one way in and one way out when he first moved there.  Since they have opened the other road to get access to both ends there has been an increase in traffic and speed.  There are arguments to both sides. It would be an improvement to the area in question around the creek and landscaped area.
Commissioner Pulver agrees with everything that has been said.  He struggles with the applicant’s property having a single access.
Motion:  The Planning Commission moves to adopt the Applicant’s Findings and directs staff to prepare Final Orders for approval of Subdivision LDS-15-039, Conditional Use Permit CUP-15-089 and Exception E-15-090, per the staff report dated August 6, 2015, including Exhibits A through Z.
Moved by: Commissioner Pulver                              Seconded by: Commissioner Culbertson
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 6–1, with Commissioner Fincher voting no.
60.  Reports
60.1        Site Plan and Architectural Commission. None.
60.2        Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee. None.
60.3        Planning Department
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated the next Planning Commission study session is scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2015.  A large batch of housekeeping amendments will be discussed.
There is business scheduled for the Planning Commission through September.
The City Council had their first meeting on the Urban Growth Boundary amendment last Thursday, August 6, 2015.  All that the heard was testimony on MD-5.  They are continuing the Urban Growth Boundary amendment tonight.
On August 20, 2015, City Council is scheduled to continue the Urban Growth Boundary amendment.  They will also hear the alley vacation for the Police station that the Planning Commission heard at their last meeting.
The August 27, 2015, Planning Commission meeting will also be in the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium.
Commissioner Pulver asked when will the marijuana issue be brought to the Planning Commission public hearing?  Ms. Akin reported that they are scheduled to have a study session with the City Council on August 27, 2015.  Staff is working on a draft to present to the Planning Commission on Thursday, September 10, 2015. 
60.          Messages and Papers from the Chair. None.
70.          Remarks from the City Attorney.
70.1        Mr. McConnell reported that Chair McFadden mentioned Commissioner Culbertson making reference to personal knowledge about a street.  It is not an error given the facts.  During the open public hearing the applicant had the opportunity to rebut.  Mr. McConnell believes that Commissioner Culbertson had to mention that to the Commission because it was contrary to what the applicant was saying.  Saying it while the hearing is open and the applicant can rebut is appropriate.  There was no error in that.  
80.          Propositions and Remarks from the Commission. None.
90.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 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: August 27, 2015

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