Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Agenda and Minutes

Minutes
Thursday, February 11, 2016

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 5:33 PM in the City Hall Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
 
Commissioners Present
David McFadden, Chair
Patrick Miranda, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
Norman Fincher
Joe Foley
Jared Pulver      
 
Staff Present
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer
Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Jennifer Jones, Planner III
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
 
Commissioner Absent
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
Bill Mansfield, Unexcused Absence
Mark McKechnie, Unexcused Absence 
 
10.          Roll Call
10.1        Election of Officers
 
Commissioner D’Alessandro nominated Vice Chair Miranda to serve as Chair for 2016.  Commissioner Fincher seconded.
 
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 5-0-1 with Vice Chair Miranda abstaining.
 
Vice Chair Miranda nominated Chair McFadden to serve as Vice Chair for 2016.  Commissioner Fincher seconded.
 
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 5-0-1 with Chair McFadden abstaining.
 
10.2        Chair Miranda reappointed Commissioner D’Alessandro to the Site Plan and Architectural Commission for 2016.
 
Chair Miranda reappointed Commissioner D’Alessandro, Commissioner Fincher and Commissioner Pulver to the Joint Transportation Subcommittee.
 
20.          Consent Calendar/Written Communications.
20.1 LDS-15-118 / E-16-001 Final Order of a tentative plat application for a mixed-use development to be known as West Meadows Village, consisting of a total of 15 lots on 9.14 acres within a SFR-10 (Single-Family Residential – 10 dwelling units per gross acre) and MFR-20 (Multiple-Family Residential – 20 dwelling units per gross acre) zoning district, with the PUD (Planned Unit Development) Zoning Overlay, and associated exception application requesting reduced right-of-way dedication and reduced landscape planter strip for the north side of Lozier Court. Subject tentative plat consists of 5 Single-family lots, 5 duplex lots, 2 commercial lots and 3 multi-family lots; generally located on the east side of Lozier Lane on the north and south sides of Meadows Lane. David & Elahe Young Family Trust, Applicant (Richard Stevens & Associates, Inc., Agent)
 
Motion: Adopt the consent calendar.
 
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden                              Seconded by: Commissioner D’Alessandro
 
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 6–0.
 
30.         Minutes
30.1.      The minutes for January 28, 2016, 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 SV-15-160 Consideration of a request to vacate a public alley located between Oakdale Avenue and Park Avenue that extends northerly 402 feet from Dakota Avenue. (City of Medford, Public Works Department, Applicant/Agent)
 
Chair Miranda inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose. Vice Chair McFadden stated that he did not have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication but he submitted testimony for his employer regarding this application.  Due to that issue he recused himself.
  
Chair Miranda 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 III, read the street vacation criteria and gave a staff report.  Ms. Jones reported that a letter in opposition of the application was received today.  It was emailed to the Planning Commissioners and they have a copy of the letter at their places.  It will be submitted into the record as Exhibit O.
 
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if there was a precedence set for other properties or areas that the City has done this.  The concern is from Avista in their testimony and the opposing property owners.    Ms. Jones reported that the City has done other vacations.  The last vacation she brought to the Planning Commission was for additional area of right-of-way.  There was an easement placed on that particular area.  It was less of an issue regarding the fencing.  The Public Works Department may want to speak to that further.  It is her understanding that it is typical to have an easement in the case of any utilities. 
  
Commissioner Foley asked where will the utilities go?  Is it correct that it ends on personal property at the end?  He is assuming the utilities do not stop at 400 feet.  Ms. Jones stated that she would assume they continue underneath and the overhead power as well.  It is common to have easements through the rear of properties.  In this particular case that is what Avista asked for.
 
Commissioner Foley stated that if it is good for the people at the end of the alley to have fences on that property, why is it not good for the affected properties?   Ms. Jones deferred the question to the City Engineer.
      
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, stated that there will be a series of alley vacations coming forward over the next year or two.  These are all paper alleys.  That means they were never improved.  Often utilities go down an alley and just stop because that is the end of their service line.  They could continue with a private easement through someone’s property or they may not have an easement.  Public Works does not have information on public utilities that are not City owned facilities.  Public Works often recommends an easement because they may have utilities in that area along with other utilities.  Avista is making a recommendation because they want to make sure they have clear access.  Utilities are in the back of lots that are fenced.  As a recommendation, if the Planning Commission chooses to forward a recommendation of not following Avista’s request, the Commission could include language in the easement agreement that if there are any costs associated with moving the fence it is the burden of the property owner.
    
Commissioner Pulver reported that Mr. Georgevitch mentioned modifying the easement language that moving the fence would be the burden of the property owner.  Is that common, uncommon or case-by-case?  Mr. Georgevitch replied that it is case-by-case.  The standard form does not include that language.  A fence is not considered a structure under the Oregon Residential Specialty Code if it is less than 7 feet high.  Therefore, under the Code no permit is required.  The reason he suggested that language is that someone could build a fence without the City knowing.
      
Mr. McConnell reported that he does not see any problem with that language.  If there is a public utility easement required by the City per the Code, the Planning Commission could include that language or leave it silent.  If a property owner builds a fence where there is a recorded public utility easement they take a risk that a utility company could access their property at the burden of the property owner’s cost.  Mr. McConnell recommended using the general language and not to add anything special.
 
Commissioner Pulver asked if Mr. McConnell believes it is clear as who bears the cost of repairing a fence if a utility company needs to access the property.  Mr. McConnell stated that it is clear under the law.
   
The public hearing was opened.
 
a. Aaron R. Thayer, 705 Park Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Mr. Thayer objects to vacating the property on the condition that it could be blocked off.  There is an Avista gas line, Pacific Power has the power line and Charter has their cable line.  Approximately every two years Pacific Power has a company trim the trees back from the power line.  He is unsure of how an easement will affect his property taxes.  The Assessor’s office has told him that it should not have a significant affect.  If his taxes go up because 700 feet of the easement is now his property he is adversely affected.  He did not buy 700 feet, does not want ownership of that 700 feet and he certainly does not want his taxes raised because of an action of the parties.  He objects to the vacation of the alley.
      
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if Mr. Thayer currently utilizes the alley.  Mr. Thayer stated that he does not utilize the alley frequently.  He has several large trees that hang over that property.  In order for an arborist to come in and take care of the trees it is essential they have access for their vehicles and equipment.  The City has never maintained the alley. 
 
The public hearing was closed.
 
Motion: Based on the findings and conclusions that all of the approval criteria are met or are not applicable, the Planning Commission forwards a favorable recommendation to the City Council for approval of the alley vacation, SV-15-160, per the staff report dated February 4, 2016, including Exhibits A through N and adding Exhibit O into the record.
 
Moved by: Commissioner Pulver              Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
 
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 5-0-1, with Vice Chair McFadden recusing himself.
 
50.2 LDS-15-141 / E-15-142 Consideration of a proposed tentative plat for Panther Landing Subdivision, a seven lot residential subdivision, with an exception to reduce the street dedication requirement for South Columbus Avenue and an exception to the number of units allowed to take access off a minimum access easement, for an 0.86 acre parcel located on the east side of South Columbus Avenue, approximately 120 feet north of Garfield Street, within a SFR-10 (Single Family Residential – 10 dwelling units per gross acre) zoning district (1579 S. Columbus Avenue – 372W36CA2200). (Tommy Malot, Applicant/Agent)
 
Chair Miranda inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex parte communication they would like to disclose. None were disclosed.
 
Chair Miranda 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, read the land division and exception criteria and gave a staff report.
 
Vice Chair McFadden stated that the minimum access street may be dedicated as presented but the street would not go the full length of the area presented.  The applicant could install a Y-shaped turnaround at the end of the street within the right-of-way.  Ms. Sousa reported that the City Engineer could speak to that statement.  Planning staff is saying that the applicant needs some kind of turnaround.
 
Vice Chair McFadden asked why the applicant cannot set the area up as a flag lot?  Is it because they would not have enough frontage on Columbus?  Ms. Sousa deferred the question to the applicant as to what they have considered in that area.
        
Commissioner Foley asked when the turnaround is added does the applicant run into problems with lot sizes?  Ms. Sousa reported that she does not know.  The applicant would have to come back and propose how that would function.  A turnaround could be part of some ones property.  It does not necessarily have to be a distinct area that is not on some ones property.
 
The public hearing was opened.

a. Tommy Malot, 624 Lynn Lane, Central Point, Oregon, 97502-3735.  Mr. Malot reported that it was difficult to make the project affordable and not damage properties existing on the site.  They came up with the best plan they thought would be acceptable as far as lower cost and size of homes.  The sizes range from 1275 square feet to 1500 square feet.  The reason they came up with the size and configuration was due to only one access onto Columbus.  They are making the minimum access street wider with one side of the street marked no parking.  There will be enough room at the end of the street for a turnaround. 
 
As far as a flag lot, it would be difficult to do and they would not end up with as many lots.
 
Commissioner Foley asked if Mr. Malot had a proposal of what they would do for the turnaround that the City is proposing?  Mr. Malot replied that with a minimum access street they can go as low as 20 feet.  They have 33 feet with one side that has a 10 foot easement at the end of the block.  On the east side they could put an 8 foot driveway that would be an actual turnaround almost like a hammerhead.  They could mark it as turnaround only no parking.  The end of the street will be a dead end.
 
b. Tom Rosia, 1168 Peachwood Court, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Mr. Rosia testified that he is requesting that the Planning Commission deny the exceptions.  It is his opinion that the applicant is forcing too much that does not fit the general welfare of the neighborhood.  He has concerns of the minimum access road.  It is directed towards his back fence of his property that they are claiming to be a turnaround.  Maintenance of a private road can be a headache trying to go all the neighbors to pay their portions.  If it is City maintained they do not have to worry about maintenance.  If the applicant develops this property by City Code there would be no problem.
 
If the townhomes are two-story they are not 20 feet from the property line.   They need a different frontage than what they have proposed.  They show a 20 foot frontage and townhomes require a 25 foot frontage.  There are a lot of problems with this plan.
 
He wants them to develop the property.  The neighborhood is already a blue collar neighborhood.  He does not know what the low cost means.  He disagrees that this project needs to happen.
            
c. Miguel Guiao, 1174 Peachwood Court, Medford, Oregon, 97501-4308.  Mr. Guiao testified that he is one of the properties on the east side of the proposed project.  The existing project site is flat.  Currently, his experience is that when it rains the water in his backyard and proposed project property is not draining properly.  He hopes that if this project is approved the City should make sure that rain water drains properly.
    
Mr. Georgevitch addressed the drainage concerns stating that it is a requirement that there be a hydrology and hydraulic analysis that all surface water be contained and treated.  Any concerns that are there now the applicant will mitigate and make it better than what is happening today.  The applicant will be required to look at his property and all the surrounding land that would flow into it.
     
Commissioner Pulver asked if Mr. Georgevitch was comfortable that the turnaround solution will be created based on the current plat.  Mr. Georgevitch replied that it is not public right-of-way.  Public Works does not get involved outside of the public right-of-way.  They want to make sure it operates safely.  As Mr. Malot stated they could reserve an area for a turn-in area to pull in and back out or back-in and pull out.  The street is going to be low volume and Public Works does not have a concern with that.  The concern is to make sure trash and delivery vehicles can get in there.  It is all private.
    
Commissioner Foley asked if the Fire Department had any concerns.  Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal, stated that the Fire Code requires a turnaround if the street is longer than 150 feet.  This street is not that long.  Normally they would pull in and back out.  They would not require a Fire Department turnaround on this minimum access easement road.  They have someone outside of the truck directing traffic when they back up.
 
Mr. Malot stated that he would like to request a two week extension and come back with a plan showing the actual turnaround for this project.  He would also like to request an extension of time of the 120-day rule.
 
The public hearing was closed.
 
Motion: Except the applicants request for a two week extension of this project so that he can come back with a revised plan showing the exact location of the turnaround; also the extension of the 120-day rule.
 
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden              Seconded by: Commissioner Foley
 
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 6–0.
 
60.  Reports
60.1            Site Plan and Architectural Commission.
Commissioner D’Alessandro reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday, February 5, 2016.  The Site Plan and Architectural Commission heard the proposed Code requirement that would remove the requirement for land use projects inside the Airport security fence.  After deliberation the Site Plan and Architectural Commission forwarded a favorable recommendation to the City Council. 
 
Today at noon the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met with City Council in a study session regarding a decision that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission made that was overturned by the City Council.  They discussed flexibility in new projects and how the City Council is going to move forward with projects that may be outside the normal for residential housing downtown. 
    
60.2        Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee.  None.
 
60.3        Planning Department
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that the next Planning Commission study session is scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2016.  Discussion will continue on multiple family design standards.
 
There is business scheduled for the Planning Commission on Thursday, February 25, 2016, Thursday, March 10, 2016 and Thursday, March 24, 2016.
   
Last week the City Council adopted the Airport Master Plan but not the associated code amendment.  The code amendment is scheduled for the City Council on March 3, 2016.  The City Council also adopted the Medford School District 549C Long Range Facility Plan Update.  The Update was also incorporated into the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
 
At City Council’s next meeting the Planning Department will request that they initiate a right-of-way vacation on Second Street.  It dead ends at the Railroad tracks between the Railroad tracks and Front Street.
 
The Planning Department has a study session scheduled with the City Council on Thursday, February 25, 2016 regarding the Urban Growth Boundary.
            
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 6:48 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
 
Patrick Miranda
Planning Commission Chair
 
Approved: February 25, 2016

 
 

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