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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, January 11, 2016

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:
Commissioners Present
David McFadden, Chair (arrived at 12:05 p.m.)
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
David Culbertson
Norman Fincher
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver      
Staff Present
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Principal Planner
Carla Paladino, Planner IV
  1. 2015 Citizen Involvement Program Year-end Report
  1. Update on Comprehensive Planning project list for 2016
1. 2015 Citizen Involvement Program Year-end Report
Carla Paladino, Planner IV, stated that over the last two years she has had the pleasure of reporting on how staff meets the responsibilities of furthering Citizen Involvement in the government process.  The duties for Citizen Involvement are explained in Statewide Planning Goal 1.  Staff has re-interpreted Goal 1 into the Comprehensive Plan which is identified as the Citizen Involvement Element.  This element was last updated in 2014. 
The year-end report provides and overview of the program providing everything from history of the program, to explaining the different land use procedures, and providing data on number and types of applications.
The heart of the report starts with the Planning Commission and other citizens who volunteer their time and expertise in order to make the community a vibrant place to live.  The Planning Staff works directly with the Planning Commission, Site Plan and Architectural Commission, Historic Commission, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee taking on the projects that help shape the community.  Ms. Paladino thanked the Planning Commission for their time and dedication to furthering Citizen Involvement in Medford.
Last year, the Planning Commission made recommendations to the City Council on six (6) code amendments. 
•             Changes were made that help provide guidance on modifications to Site Plans and Conditional Use  Permits. 
•             Urban beekeeping was added to the code as a permitted use in single family, commercial, and industrial zoning districts.
•             The Spring Cleaning amendments added Brewery Public House to the permitted use chart
•             The allowance for temporary portable storage containers were re-incorporated
•             The City approved a range of marijuana related businesses in the commercial and industrial zones
•             The most recent changes effective on January 1, 2016, include revisions to the garage definition, removing a criterion from the Development Code Amendment list of criteria, clarifying duplexes in the SFR-10 zones, and amending the parking table to include duplex and townhouse structures and allowing for off-street parking to be counted in the required yard.
Other Planning Commission projects:
•             Reviewed and approved Conditional Use Permits for four elementary schools, providing them with modular structures to accommodate all day kindergarten.
•             The Planning Commission made a recommendation on a Transportation Facility project which will connect Lozier Land to Orchard Home Drive, connecting a much needed north-south street route.
•             The Planning Commission saw five (5) partition applications and fourteen (14) tentative subdivisions.
•             The number of zone changes submitted almost tripled in 2015 over the prior year.  Thirteen (13) re-zones were submitted for review.  Some of the properties that were part of the Internal Study Areas (ISAs) and were up GLUPed were making the necessary zone changes in order to redevelop the property.
•             The Planning Commission made a recommendation on the Urban Growth Boundary Amendment project in June.  The amendment is with the City Council currently. 
Site Plan and Architectural Commission projects:
•             SkyPark is a new 26 unit residential development in the heart of downtown on Central that was approved.
•             A new building is under construction on 10th Street for the District Attorney’s office.
•             In and Out Burger has made its Oregon debut here in Medford.
•             Asante will be constructing a new 34,000 square foot medical facility on Barnett Road.
•             The second phase of the Northgate Marketplace Development is planning on constructing over a 178,000 square feet of new commercial retail just west of the existing Trader Joe’s and REI buildings.
Historic Projects:
•             The JC Barnum building is located on Main Street and currently is home to Jackson Creek Pizza and Beerworks.  A façade renovation is proposed for both the front and back of the building in multiple phases.  Uniform paint scheme, exposure of the transom windows, and new enclosed entry on the western façade.
•             The Monarch Building is located on 5th and Bartlett.  It was renovated in 2014; change of color, removal of the mansard metal apron along the cornice, installation of a back porch/seating area facing Pear Blossom Park.  Common Block Brewing re-applied for some exterior changes that will add new signage, arbor entry feature, and pizza oven bump out along the east side of the building.
Natural Resource Planning:
•             The Planning Department hired consultants to inventory the existing wetlands in the Urban Reserve.
•             Two open houses were held last year, one to kick off the project in March and a second one to discuss the draft maps in July.
•             The final report was completed by the consultants in October and has been submitted to the Department of State Lands for review.
•             Adoption of the wetland inventory into the Comprehensive Plan and wetland regulations will be coming this year.
Celebrate History:
•             A new interpretative sign was unveiled at a ceremony in June celebrating the Greyhound Portal.  The sign provides historic photos of the building that once operated at the location and an explanation of the role the depot played in Medford’s transportation history.
Medford Recognized:
•             The Sparta Building receives the DeMuro Award from Restore Oregon.  Restore Oregon is a non-profit that assists with preserving, reusing, and passing forward Oregon’s Historic Resources.  The award is the only state-wide award in Oregon recognizing the creativity, persistence, and craftsmanship required by outstanding restoration projects.  The Sparta Building was one of seven buildings chose and the only one south of Roseburg.
October Planning Month:
•             The Planning Department celebrated October Planning Month by setting up a booth at the Farmers’ Market and talking with people about planning projects.  Staff posed the question Downtown Medford should…The responses received included a grocery store, recreation center with pool, more housing options, crosswalks, and a cleaner Bear Creek.  Planning staff also coordinated with the downtown library and set up a display to promote National Planning month and the planning profession.
Recommendations for 2016:
•             Floodplain outreach.
•             Expand activities during National Preservation Month and National Planning Month.  This year he Federal Courthouse Building will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
•             Use technology and social media.
•             Review the University of Oregon reports related to engaging minority groups.
•             Staff would like to hear from the Planning Commission of additional recommendations to add.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that there is a lot of input about Citizen Involvement and the requirements.  It is his opinion that staff did everything they could to include Citizen Involvement.  The Citizens Planning Advisory Committee was abandoned due to lack of interest.  It should be noted in the record.
Chair McFadden commented that the report begins with the history of the Citizens Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC) serving the community for over thirty years.  After that there is nothing more mentioned about the Citizens Planning Advisory Committee.  It is his opinion that the first two or three paragraphs be rewritten to downplay the Citizens Advisory Committee.
Commissioner McKechnie asked what happened to the Downtown Design Committee that Aaron Harris spear headed?  John Adam, Principal Planner stated that he would discuss that in his presentation. 
Commissioner McKechnie asked what does staff have on their clean-up list for this year?  Mr. Adam reported that he would also discuss that in his presentation.
Ms. Paladino stated that last year there were comments about adding items to the website to make it more user-friendly.
2. Update on Comprehensive Planning project list for 2016 
Mr. Adam reported that the comprehensive planning division has come up with a set of goals for this year.  Some are projects that are in process and need to be finished others are related to the Urban Growth Boundary amendment and so are more or less de facto requirements, and the rest are types of projects aimed at fulfilling Council goals from the Strategic Plan or the Comprehensive Plan.
Project List:
Comprehensive Plan amendments
•             UGB Amendment – Fall?
Mr. Adam gave an update on the Urban Growth Boundary amendment stating that part of the recommendation included removing 150 acres after 1000 Friends of Oregon had an explanation of why they thought the acreage should be removed.  On December 17, 2015, the City Council stated they would like to see a restoration of the 150 acres.  They want to see options where the 150 acres is restored mostly to try and get Hillcrest Orchards back in and if possible the acreage in the far western portion of MD-3 while at the same time retaining the Mahar inclusion that came out of the Planning Commission recommendation.  The record is still open.       
Commissioner Pulver asked if there was a risk that the adopted elements may be stale at some point?  Mr. Adam reported that staff is working under the fact that they have started the work, it is continuous, have not back tracked and they have a place holder.  As long as they continue moving forward they get to use the premises that they built this on.  If staff chose to stop the process then they would have to use the new PSU forecast for the region instead of the old one from 2007.
•             TSP update – August
Related to the Urban Growth Boundary amendment is updating the Transportation System Plan (TSP).  The Joint Transportation Subcommittee will start convening to start work on updating the goals, policies and implementation strategies.
•             LWI adoption – June
The state is evaluating the Local Wetland Inventory.  When that is completed it will go into an adoption phase.  It will probably be contentious.
•             Urbanization plans – Fall
There was no discussion
Area Plans
•             Downtown (includes code amendments) – May
Some of this had to do with whether the boundaries were in the right place.  What to do about parking in terms of parking standards in the Downtown.  Staff would like to define parking within the Downtown in a set area.  Taking information from the Downtown Design Committee and putting it in the code amendment package.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if staff would define the type of parking; whether it is parallel or diagonal?  Mr. Adam reported that on-site design standards for parking lots would not be changed.  The Planning Department does not control the on-street parking standards.  There is a city of Medford Parking Committee that is still active.
•             Greenway – Center Drive Transit Oriented Development (TOD) – Begin in spring
The Regional Transportation Plan requires designated Transit Oriented Development areas.  One was in the Southeast Plan area and another one was on West Main.  The West Main TOD had a major issue a few years ago when staff tried to adopt a circulation plan.  The financing was the major issue.  Along Center Drive the City has built out to Garfield.  Walmart is in that area along with Rogue Federal Credit Union and vacant spaces are filling in.  Center Drive will eventually continue southward into land that is under-developed.  It will probably connect to Charles Point.  If there is an opportunity to build Center Drive to rejoin Highway 99 at some point as a TOD, RVTD may in the future route through Center Drive.
Code amendments:
•             Wetland protection regulations – June
This was discussed earlier.
•             Public Facilities & Uses zoning district – June
If the UGB amendment is successful Prescott Park, approximately 1500 acres, will be developed.  Most cities would zone it as a public use zoning district.  Medford does not have one. There are a lot of different uses that can be made of this.  A staff member has done a lot of ground work on this and she will be bringing this for a public hearing in June.  There will be a study session before the public hearing.
•             Infill/multi-family design standards – Begin in Spring
There should be multi-family design standards. 
Chair McFadden asked if this would be a subcommittee through the Site Plan and Architectural Commission?  Mr. Adam stated that is a possibility. 
•             Eliminate PUD provisions
Some people have been very vocal of eliminating the PUD provisions.  Mr. Adam is interested in what the Planning Commission has to say about this.
Commissioner Mansfield asked what reasons did they give for eliminating the PUD provisions?  Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director, asked what good are they?  She advocates eliminating the PUD provisions.  She does not know what good they are.  They are a lot of trouble.  What has the City gained by doing PUDs?  Commissioner Mansfield stated that the original purpose of doing a PUD was to allow flexibility within a subdivision.  Jim Huber, Planning Director, stated that one can talk to many planners in many different cities and one common theme is that it allows flexibility in exchange for a superior project.  In reviewing the PUDs they do not see that they are very different than projects that went through conventional zoning, platting and site development.
Chair McFadden stated that they have seen the same thing with subdivisions and commercial development.  They do not have the standards to push developers to bring more to the City of Medford.  Northgate could be better than what they are planning now and what they have planned in the past. 
Mr. Huber stated that he had one more point to make.  PUD’s never go away.  If PUD’s are well done one gets a superior project.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if the issue was adhering to the language when a developer applies for the PUD or is it a lack of application of the existing process that allows them to do this?  Is the system flawed?  Ms. Petrou stated that staff and the Planning Commission went through a lot of meetings re-writing the PUD in order to get something superior. A PUD is allowing exceptions on a subdivision.
Commissioner Fincher asked what percentage of the land would not be developable if the PUD was eliminated?  Is there a certain amount of land inventoried that can only be done properly with the PUD?  Mr. Huber stated that at least one good application of a PUD is when there are a lot of environmental constraints such as riparian area, wetlands and steep slopes. One would cluster and leave these things in open spaces.  There would be more units in a certain area exceeding density but over the entire area of the project it would meet the density requirements in exchange for preserving things. 
Commissioner Mansfield asked if the rest of the Planning Commission would agree to request that staff propose draft amendments so the Planning Commission could further consider making this recommendation to the City Council? 
Commissioner Foley asked with the land coming in with the Urban Growth Boundary is there land that this would be advantageous to use or not?  Either get rid of it or find a way to make it work right so that they do not end up with all the new land coming in and some big PUDs getting done and carved out and end up with the nothing piece again.
Commissioner Pulver is opposed to eliminating PUDs.  There has been multiple flaws identified that deserves the Planning Commission’s attention to spend more time with the language to try and make modifications to make it work better.  If the body thinks they should be eliminating that is fine too.  His personal opinion is that they serve a purpose.  A PUD provides a tool that allows flexibility in the spirit of which allowed the City to get something better in return.  Sounds like timelines, what the City is getting back, when it happens and how it is funded are all issues that warrant time and discussion.
•             Eliminate conditional zoning
The issue is where someone wants to rezone their property to something else and everything is fine except facilities are not adequate or staff does not know if they are adequate waiting for a study of system to tell how it is performing.  The development is essentially capped.    
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked how often has this been an issue?  Mr. Adam reported approximately four times recently.  Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated that usually transportation is the issue.  Since the up GLUP work staff has seen sewer approximately three times.  Mr. Adam reported there may be a cure to that and the RFP for the Sewer Masterplan has gone out and they have awarded the contract.  They may find after they do the analysis that some of the conditional zones may go away. 
Chair McFadden stated that basically staff eliminated the overlay restrictions, which are broader, to the specific.  He is not sure which one is better.
Ms. Petrou reported that the nice thing about the overlay was that it was part of the GLUP map.  The southwest area had streets over capacity so people could not build.  People knew before they requested zoning.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that when people are building they pay a fee for water distribution, storm systems and sewer collection distribution.  Why doesn’t that take care of those issues?  Ms. Petrou replied it is not a high enough fee.  Mr. Huber commented that transportation system development charges only go towards arterial and collector streets.  When they passed the SDC’s the decision was that the SDC’s would only cover 25% of the capital projects for the TSP.  Developers argued that those fees were too high.  The SDC’s are a political consideration so they do not cover the need. 
•             Go to single-map system
Ms. Petrou stated that at one point it seemed why did staff make people go to the trouble of changing the GLUP map so that they could get the zoning? 
Ms. Paladino reported that the generality of the Comprehensive Plan had become so specific that maybe it was messing with what really was the idea of the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Petrou commented that it may have fallen on the idea of the park public facilities zoning. 
Mr. Adam reported that the idea for the Comprehensive Plan maps was that one laid out things with blobs of different types of uses or asterisks pointing out a park in the future without defining anything in great detail.  Because of the precision of GIS staff is locking things to a parcel level.  Maybe the solution is to revert and do it as an overlay on that map.  Staff has an opportunity with the urbanization plans and expansion to return to that.  The fault is not the technology that has driven them to this point but how they have started treating Comprehensive Plan maps.  There is more detail than there should be. 
Ms. Petrou stated that they discussed urbanization plans are going to be pre-zoning.  The reason to have the GLUP map was so that people knew once they annexed what in general what they were going to get and now we are trying to get more specific and make sure they stick to a specific zone because they will have to show they will be able to meet the density.  Then it seems why the need for the GLUP map?  Why not just do a zoning map for everything in the urban growth boundary. 
Chair McFadden asked about the idea of changing the basis of how they do zoning to some of the new thoughts of zoning that is not based on SIC codes but form based.
There was discussion of having more study sessions of brainstorming. 
The meeting was adjourned at 1:08 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary

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