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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Agenda and Minutes

Thursday, February 25, 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
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
David Culbertson
Norman Fincher
Joe Foley
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver      
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
John Adam, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
Commissioner Absent
Bill Mansfield, Excused Absence              
10.         Roll Call
20.         Consent Calendar/Written Communications.  None.
30.         Minutes
30.1.      The minutes for February 11, 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 – Old Business
50.1 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. Commissioner Culbertson stated that he works in the same office as Tiffany Malot but it would not affect his decision.
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 asked why was this project allowed as a minimum access street instead of a residential lane?  Ms. Sousa reported that the applicant originally submitted the application as a residential lane.  The exception originally was for the elimination of a cul-de-sac.  The Public Works Department could not support that request as a public street.  A public street needs to have a cul-de-sac in order for the City to maintain.  Public Works was fine with it as a private street that they would not have to maintain.  The Code is clear that private streets are only allowed in Planned Unit Developments.  Technically a minimum access is not a street but it is the only type of private street that is allowed outside a Planned Unit Development.  Now the exception is for how many units can take access off the minimum access easement.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if the two street lights requested by the Public Works Department will be on South Columbus?  Ms. Sousa deferred the question to the City Engineer.
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, reported that South Columbus has adequate lighting.  The Code states that a private street will be developed to City street standards and with eight homes on the minimum access easement it needed lights.  It would be up to the Planning Commission or the applicant if they want to take exception to that.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if the City was going to maintain public lights on private property?  Mr. Georgevitch replied it would be private lights on private property.  The Public Works Department is recommending two lights to City standards.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if the additional lights were a requirement or a recommendation?  Mr. Georgevitch reported they were a recommendation.  The Code requires a street to be built to public standards.  There is no requirement on a minimum access.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if the Planning Commission needs to address the lighting in their motion?   Mr. Georgevitch stated that it is discretionary not a Code requirement.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that it appears that the duplexes on Garfield have access on the backside.  Where does the five duplex lots access?  Ms. Sousa replied they access from a driveway.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if they got by with just a driveway because it was a Planned Unit development?  Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, stated that those were developed as a unit so those lots were not able to have access from Garfield because it is a classified street.  It is a shared driveway.  It serves almost like an alley.  The driveway serves the units from the back.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if that was similar to the condition that the Planning Commission is requested to approve this evening?  Ms. Akin reported that it is different because the lots that were created on Garfield have frontage on Garfield.  The minimum access street creates lot frontage and shared access.
Commissioner Pulver asked if the minimum access easement was approved street lights would not be required unless specifically mentioned in the motion as well as traffic signs and devices?  Mr. Georgevitch reported that Public Works is in support of the exception but they have to assume in their staff report that if the exception is denied but the land division is approved they have to have conditions to cover both sections.  That is why it is written to account if it is a minimum access or a residential lane.  If the exception is approved no additional requirements from Public Works for signing or lighting is required.  He does recommend that the Planning Commission consider the lighting.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if there was a minimum height standard for the lighting or is it just the luminaire in a situation like this?  Mr. Georgevitch stated that in a situation like this no.  There is another section of the Code that requires dark skies.  Lighting is supposed to be cut-off from the horizon for whatever elevation is in place for the luminaire.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that based on the development immediately to the south, on this development, there are two lots that have frontage on Columbus.  There are five lots that have no frontage on anything. Is that correct?  Ms. Akin replied that is correct on the minimum access easement.  Commissioner McKechnie reported that there cannot be a driveway onto Columbus.  If the townhouse was reconfigured as a single family home would the access not meet the requirements because there are three taking access off one common access and the other two have frontage on Columbus.  Would that not meet the criteria?  Ms. Akin reported that it is not all frontage it is access that becomes important. None of the units have access to Columbus because they have the opportunity to go to the street to the east.
The Public Hearing was opened.
 a. Tommy Malot, 624 Lynn Lane, Central Point, Oregon, 97502-3735.  Mr. Malot addressed the lighting stating that with his proposal he has designed two lights on site.  He would like to do decorative lighting instead of the big City lights that are on the main streets.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if Mr. Malot had details of the lights in terms of height or size?  Mr. Malot reported that it would be standard to what the requirements are for decorative lighting.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if there was a reason that Mr. Malot elected not to do a Planned Unit Development and eliminate this issue?  Mr. Malot stated that his original application had a City street.  To meet the requirements based on putting in a street they would have had to put a cul-de-sac in the back.  The cul-de-sac would have created a hardship on the property owner at that time.  With staffs help and support the minimum access easement is what they came up with.  Ms. Akin reported that the site is too small for a Planned Unit Development.  It has to be at least an acre.
b. Miriam Rosia, 1168 Peachwood Court, Medford, Oregon, 97501.  Ms. Rosia is opposed to the exceptions being requested to reduce the street dedication requirement for South Columbus Avenue and an exception to the number of units allowed taking access off a minimum access easement for the Panther Landing Subdivision.  The proposed easement will be up against her back fence.  Seven homes on a small lot are going to create a number of parking and traffic issues.  With the proposed plan there will be a 2-story triplex blocking her view of the mountains. There are reasons why there are rules in community planning and part of that reason is the quality of life.  Ms. Rosia read and submitted her testimony into the record.
Mr. McConnell stated that Ms. Rosia’s testimony challenged Criterion 1 in Code Section 10.253.  “The granting of the exception shall be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the regulations imposed by this code for the zoning district in which the exception request is located, and shall not be injurious to the general area or otherwise detrimental to the health, safety, and general welfare or adjacent natural resources.  The approving authority shall have the authority to impose conditions to assure that this criterion is met.”  Mr. McConnell recommended that the Planning Commission address that issue.
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: The Planning Commission directs staff to prepare a Final Order of approval for LDS-15-141 and E-15-142 per the Revised Staff Report dated February 18, 2016, including Exhibits A-1 through M and accepting the applicant’s additions for consideration of street lighting and street signage along with the addition of landscaped buffer area on the east end of the minimum access easement to reduce lighting and other interactions with neighboring properties.
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden              Seconded by: Commissioner Fincher
Commissioner McKechnie asked Vice Chair McFadden if his motion requires the applicant to install street lights?  Vice Chair McFadden replied yes but the street lighting would have to comply with City code.
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 7-1, with Commissioner McKechnie voting no.
50.2 CP-15-163 / ZC-15-164 Consideration of a request for a minor general land use plan map amendment from Urban Residential (UR) to Service Commercial (SC) and a zone change from SFR-4 (Single-Family Residential, four dwelling units per gross acre) to C-S/P (Service Commercial and Professional Office) for 5.72 acres located between Corona Avenue and Covina Avenue and between East McAndrews Road and Grand Avenue. (HATH LLC, Applicant; CSA Planning Ltd., Craig Stone, 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.
John Adam, Principal Planner, reviewed the proposal, read the minor Comprehensive Plan amendment criteria, and gave a summary of analysis.
Commissioner Fincher asked how much more traffic would be expected on the roads and would those roads need additional improvements?  Mr. Adam reported that development would be the trigger for improvements.  Mr. Adam deferred the question to Mr. Georgevitch.  Mr. Georgevitch stated that the development will generate 2,915 trips.  The applicant’s traffic engineer showed there were no impacts on any of the higher-order streets.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if the analysis was helped by the lot having access on both side streets. Mr. Georgevitch said traffic analyses are impacted by more distribution routes. A recent change to the Code allows a 10% increase in traffic at an intersection by changing the peak-hour factor.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that to the northwest there is a public school area and to the northeast is Crater Lake Avenue that is a busy street with no signal lights and Corona and McAndrews has no signal light. Is Mr. Georgevitch saying that the traffic study is stating that those intersections have the capacity to safely move the traffic?  Mr. Georgevitch deferred the question to the applicant’s traffic engineer; he said Engineering staff had reviewed the report and had no concerns.  The Code requires Public Works to look at higher-order streets.  Corona is a residential street coming onto McAndrews.  It would not be considered a high level-of-service standard. If there is a concern at time of development for safety, Public Works will occasionally ask for a traffic analysis to see if it is safe to have full movement or if some other traffic control is required.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if this GLUP area is increased, plus other developments on the other side of the street, would that trigger development to improve the streets or would that be left up to the City when it changes from a residential street to a commercial street. Mr. Georgevitch stated that when this develops and comes in for a Site Plan and Architectural Commission application, Public Works will require all frontages to be improved.  If there is development at the same time on the other side of the street, Public Works would require their frontages to be improved.  Improvements are only made when there is vertical construction occurring and it is only across their frontage.  If the traffic study showed a need for additional Category “A” facilities, Public Works would have made recommendations for those facilities.  There are none on this application.
Commissioner Pulver asked at time of development what type of street will they end up with on Corona and Covina?  Mr. Georgevitch reported that under the Code if it is a residential street there are several classifications from a lower standard to a residential standard which is a 36-foot-wide street. If it is commercial there is one standard that is also a 36-foot width. In an area like this where there is mixed developments, Public Works would request improvements along the frontage to meet commercial street standards. If it stays residential or as it transitions into residential it becomes a residential street and could drop to a minor residential street.
Commissioner Pulver asked with the neighboring residential development are there buffer standards? Mr. Adam stated that there are development standards for buffering when commercial is adjacent to residential. There are separations of distance and also screening requirements.
The public hearing was opened.
a. Craig Stone, CSA Planning, Ltd., 4497 Brownridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173.  Mr. Stone requested that the applicant’s findings and conclusions of law be entered into the record along with the additional evidence that they submitted with it.  They went to some length to perform special directed studies in certain areas.  One had to do with the sanitary sewer system, another with the storm drainage system and a traffic impact study with the author, Ms. Kimberly Parducci that is in the audience this evening. He will submit Ms. Parducci with questions relating to traffic.  They analyzed nine surrounding intersections and found those to operate acceptably under the standards of the City.  The Comprehensive Plan’s Economic Element identifies that the City of Medford has a high competitive advantage with respect to medical facilities.  This application focuses on the area in and around Providence Medical Center.  The lands around it have become occupied with offices with a general business nature.  There is not much land remaining in or around Providence Medical Center.  There is some additional land on their campus but when the applicant examined the surrounding area about a half mile they were able to identify only five potential parcels none of which worked well.  They were either too small or they have problems with access.  The applicant believes that there is a community need to have space for medical offices in near proximity to a regional hospital and to allow those spaces to also accommodate retirement housing.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if the traffic study was based on how many square feet of offices and how many square feet of residential units in the development?  Mr. Stone stated that they did not go at it that way.  They took a broader look because they do not know exactly how many square feet.  In the City Code it prescribes that one uses a factor of 500 trips per day per acre for service commercial and commercial land.  That is the worst case scenario and that is what they used.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if the traffic study was based on service commercial and not residential?  Mr. Stone replied yes.
b. Kimberly Parducci, Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering, LLC, 112 Monterey Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Ms. Parducci reported that they generated traffic for this study based on the City’s methodology that has a certain generation of traffic for professional office commercial.  They generated traffic based on a 500 trip per acre number.  Fifty of those trips per acre are generated in the pm peak hour.  They generated 292 trips for this site.  They distributed out onto the local street system according to what the traffic showed.  They took the trips to and from McAndrews, Crater Lake Avenue, Poplar, and such, according to the existing traffic load.  They evaluated every intersection that was a higher-order street that had 25 or more peak-hour trips.  That resulted in the nine study area intersections that were in the study as well as the two driveways.  Ms. Parducci also pointed out that Corona is a local street and they did not initially include that because there is no facility adequacy standard for that street. Public Works in their first review asked her to include Corona.  They did an addendum, included that intersection, and evaluated it.  That intersection operates acceptably.
Commissioner Pulver stated that the traffic study was not included in the Planning Commission’s agenda packets.  Vice Chair McFadden stated that usually the results are included in the agenda packet but the study is lengthy and too mathematically inclined for most people’s taste.
c. Jami Ronda, 1244 Covina Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97504-5358.  Ms. Ronda has concerns with semi-trucks of food and other supplies coming down Covina.  This area enjoys a “country feel” and Ms. Ronda is concerned that it could be negatively impacted.  She experiences a lot of traffic clogs from Crater Lake Avenue going onto Covina Avenue and McAndrews and Corona.  There is a traffic problem at Corona and Royal.
Chair Miranda stated that he knows the next testifier but it will not influence his decision on this application.
d. James Ronda, 1210 Covina Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97504-5358.  Mr. Ronda stated that his view from his living room will be impacted by the development.  The unknown of what is going to be developed concerns him a lot.  There is a traffic problem at the intersection of Covina and Crater Lake Avenue.  There is always a bottle-neck there.  He also is concerned with trucks coming and going on Covina.  There is nothing prohibiting them from using that street.  There are no sidewalks, curbs or gutters on Covina and Corona.  He is concerned that since he is the corner lot on Covina he will have to pay for the improvements on his lot.  There are too many unknowns.
e. Lucille Nichols, 1325 Covina Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97504-5361.  Ms. Nichols reiterated what has already been said about the narrowness of the streets and no sidewalks, curbs or gutters.  Wilson Elementary School is right there and children walk up and down Grand Avenue before and after school.  They also walk along Covina Avenue and it is very difficult to get out of Covina Avenue onto Crater Lake Avenue.  At the back of her house she can look out at the mountains but her concern is that a building will block her view.  She would like some thought given to heights and walls.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that the City does have a limit on heights.  In an area between a commercial designation and a residential designation there will be buffering.  There will be other hearings to have the same type of input as what was testified this evening to make sure their livability is maintained.
Mr. Adam said commercial buildings within 150 feet of a residential zoning district are restricted to the residential height limit of 35 feet. He reported that the uses allowed in that area is mostly office uses.  There is very little retail allowed in the C-S/P zoning district. The area in question does not have the visibility that would be attractive to retail uses.
Chair Miranda stated that when the development comes in and they have to do the street improvements, the street improvements will be restricted to the development’s frontage.  What impact, if any, will that have on any other developments in the area?  His presumption is none.  Mr. Georgevitch reported that is correct.  The conditions that are placed on a development are to build a half street plus 12 feet or to the edge of pavement depending on the width of the road.  This development would be required to build only their frontage.  It could be the entire width of the street and it may be beyond that—depending on how wide it is—to City standards, or show the existing facility meets standards and then widen it to the appropriate width on their side only.
Mr. Stone addressed the concern regarding a property owner paying for his side of the street improvement stating that the answer is no.  Mr. Stone reiterated the Local Improvement District that Mr. Georgevitch mentioned.  In this instance there are no other consenting property owners.  The applicant will improve their frontage of the street.  The Plan amendment and the rezoning are the first steps.  The detailed development plans for the property will either come before the Planning Commission or the Site Plan and Architectural Commission with notice to neighboring property owners for an opportunity to testify.
Mr. Stone addressed the 35 foot height requirement stating that Mr. Adam mentioned that when a building is 150 feet from a residential zoning district that the height has to be 35 feet or less.  That is the standard throughout most of Medford.  As far as view blockage, this is flat land, the neighborhood is equally on level terrain and just about anything that is developed in that area over eye level is going to block someone’s view.  There is nothing in the Comprehensive Plan or Land Development Code that guarantees against a view being blocked. That is something that comes with living in an urban environment.
Ms. Parducci addressed the traffic to Covina Avenue stating that Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering, LLC., had the same concerns when they first looked at this.  Covina Avenue is a small local street and it does not carry a lot of traffic currently.  They did not generate a lot of traffic on Covina Avenue for that same reason.  The two-story title company has access onto Covina Avenue as well as one that is directly off McAndrews.  The traffic that goes to Covina Avenue is significantly less.  They made the conclusion that most of the traffic has the option to go to either Corona Drive or Covina Avenue and will probably take Corona Drive directly to McAndrews or go north to Grand to Crater Lake Avenue.
Mr. McConnell expounded on a comment from Mr. Stone that later in the process when this development goes before the Site Plan and Architectural Commission, one of the criteria is that the development is compatible with the uses and development that exist on adjacent land.  The citizens will have another opportunity to testify their concerns.
 The public hearing was closed.
Motion: For the Minor Comprehensive Plan (GLUP Map) Amendment the Planning Commission forwards a favorable recommendation for approval of CP-15-163 to the City Council per the staff report dated February 18, 2016, including Exhibits A through C.
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden              Seconded by: Commissioner McKechnie
Commissioner D’Alessandro thanked the residents for coming forward to voice their concerns in this early stage of the process. It is rare to see people at this level of a development.  It is a pleasure to have the citizens present.
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 8–0.
Mr. Adam read the zone change approval criteria and gave a staff report.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he sat through this when it when to the Land Development Committee meeting and there was an issue with water on either Covina Avenue or Corona Drive.  He did not see anything in the agenda packet referencing that.  Does Mr. Adam have any comments on that?  Mr. Adam reported that there were no major conditions with the facility that could not be solved at the time of development.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he thought the lines on Covina Avenue and Corona Driver were old or too small for the development but they were also in different service districts. That does not allow them to cross back and forth and to bring this up in the staff report. Commissioner Pulver stated that he also was at the Land Development Committee meeting. It does address it in the report. It was not an insurmountable problem. It is more of a fact than a problem.
Mr. Adam reported that staff did leave out the traffic impact analysis due to its size.  It was his intention to have it hyperlinked on the website and include that in the staff report for the Planning Commission to use.  It was an oversight on his part and he apologized for that.
The public hearing was opened.
a. Craig Stone, CSA Planning, Ltd., 4497 Brownridge Terrace, Suite 101, Medford, Oregon, 97504-9173.  Mr. Stone reported that he does not have additional testimony but given the Planning Commission divided this into two proceedings he requested that the earlier testimony of him and Ms. Parducci be incorporated into the record of the zone change as well.
Mr. Stone addressed the waterline issue brought up by Commissioner McKechnie. This property is in two different pressure zones on either side of the Hopkins Canal that traverses the property.  In his initial interview with Eric Johnson, City of Medford Water Commission Engineer, Mr. Johnson indicated that the applicant might be able to cross it and do other things.  By the time of the Land Development Committee meeting Mr. Johnson had done some additional thinking and believes no they will not be able to cross it.  It is not an issue without solution.  The water system is sufficient in the area.  It was just simply a question of whether the applicant ties the two together or serves them separately from Covina Avenue and Corona Drive.
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: For the Zone Change the Planning Commission adopts the findings as recommended by staff and directs staff to prepare a Final Order for approval of ZC-15-164 per the staff report dated February 18, 2016, including Exhibits C through F, provided the City Council approves the GLUP map amendment.
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden              Seconded by: Commissioner D’Alessandro
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 8–0.
60.  Reports
60.1            Site Plan and Architectural Commission.
Commissioner D’Alessandro reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday, February 19, 2016.  The Site Plan and Architectural Commission heard Aspen Dental located across from the mall where the Old Farmhouse Restaurant used to be.  The Site Plan and Architectural Commission approved that application.  They also heard 5 Guys Restaurant on Center Drive across from the south Walmart.  It is a 4,100 square foot restaurant and retail shop.  That application was approved.
60.2        Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee. 
Commissioner Pulver stated that the Joint Transportation Subcommittee met yesterday, Wednesday, February 24, 2016.  They continued updating the Transportation Systems Plan (TSP).
60.3        Planning Department
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that the Planning Commission’s next study session is scheduled for Monday, March 14, 2016.  There is no business scheduled at this time but will keep the Planning Commission updated.
There is business scheduled for the Planning Commission on Thursday, March 10, 2016 and Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Today the City Council had a study session with the Planning Department staff regarding the Urban Growth Boundary project.  Staff had prepared four different options that the City Council reviewed.  City Council directed the Planning Department staff to bring the item forward to their March 17, 2016, public hearing for their consideration.
Last week the City Council initiated a right-of-way vacation.
On March 3, 2016, the City Council will hear the Airport Masterplan related text amendments.  They will also hear the alley vacation north of Dakota between Park and Oakdale that the Planning Commission heard at their last meeting.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that he keeps getting notices about the APA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  Has the City funded any Planning Commissioners to attend the Conference?  Ms. Akin reported she would research that.
John Adam, Principal Planner, stated that Planning Department policy is when someone wants to initiate a code amendment staff will review it and do an evaluation of how much staff time or capacity there might be, take that information to a Planning Commission study session to ask if the Commission would like to initiate. In this particular case someone would like to initiate a code amendment to allow craft distilleries.  It would be similar to the “brewery–public house” uses put into the Code last year. It would be a limited-size production facility with a bar and restaurant.  On Monday, March 14, 2016, staff will have a memorandum for the Planning Commission and recommendation on whether staff has capacity or not to move forward at this time.
Chair Miranda asked if the previous one was for actual brewing which he equates to beers and ales, is this for hard liquor?  Mr. Adam replied that is correct.
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 7:34 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: March 10, 2016

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