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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, May 23, 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:
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
Jared Pulver, Excused Absence
Tim D’Alessandro, Excused Absence
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
John Adam, Principal Planner
Carla Paladino, Planner IV
1. Environmental Element – Local Wetland Inventory in Urban Reserve
John Adam, Principal Planner, stated that the City Council passed the setback standard amendment at their meeting last Thursday.
The context of this study session is related to the Urban Growth Boundary amendment. Certain departments of the state such as Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have interests in habitat protection and the Department of State Lands has an interest in wetlands protection as the City develops outward.
Carla Paladino, Planner IV, reported that in 2015 SWCA Environmental Consultants were hired to conduct a Local Wetland Inventory for the land located in the City’s Urban Reserve.
The report was submitted to the Department of State Lands in November 2015 and was put in the queue for review. The report is currently under review by the State. Staff is hoping it will be approved in the next month or so.
In March 2016, the City Council agreed on an option to expand the City’s Urban Growth Boundary and findings are proposed to be adopted in June. Lands contained in the Urban Growth Boundary and annexed to the City in the future will be required to meet Statewide Planning Goal 5 – Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces.
The entire wetland section is provided so the revisions and additions can be read in context. These changes address the 2002 wetland inventory and wetland regulations in general.
Ms. Paladino briefly discussed MD-1, MD-2, MD-3, MD-5 and MD-6.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if staff was just educating the Planning Commission today? Ms. Paladino replied yes.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that the memorandum states that the objective of Medford’s proposed Wetland Protection regulations include: To find a balance between our responsibility to the natural environment and development rights. Commissioner Mansfield asked that Ms. Paladino talk about that. Is he hearing that environmental considerations are not prime or secondary? Ms. Paladino stated that with the urban growth boundary expansion the City is moving into new land that does not have urban development but will become urban. There are natural resources and opportunities to develop those areas. There needs to be a way to develop to protect them or slightly impact them and in some cases some of the wetlands will go away.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that the City Council will need to make policy decisions on how much protection this will need.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that Corvallis has a mechanism in their Code called Minimum Short Development Area. It allows a parcel in the 100 year flood plain or wetland to develop a certain percentage of that land. Ms. Paladino stated that she would research that.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if staff will share the wetlands data with the County? Ms. Paladino reported that the County will have to decide how far they want to go. If they adopt the Local Wetlands Inventory they also have to adopt regulations.
Commissioner Culbertson asked if staff had received comment from the irrigation companies? Ms. Paladino stated that they did when staff had public comment as part of the draft. They sent information to the consultants. Commissioner Culbertson’s concern is that a lot of the irrigation ditches traverse a lot of the areas being discussed and is utilized partly for surface runoff. If a developer pipes a ditch it will alter where the wetlands are or would be and alter the drainage. That needs to be taken into consideration on what a developer can or cannot do on piping a ditch. Ms. Paladino commented that factors over time will change but it needs to be recognized now.
Mr. Adam reported that storm water practice does not rely on just dumping surface water and letting TID or MID carry it away. There has to be containment on-site or a detention facility.
Ms. Paladino asked the Commission if the addition to the Comprehensive Plan component sounds and look okay, do they like having the maps in there, should there be more or less detail?
Commissioner McKechnie stated that maps are very helpful. Crispness and size is an issue.
Commissioner Foley asked what issues are anticipated now that this has become available that was not there when going through the Urban Growth process? Ms. Paladino reported that some of the data is out there. CSA Planning had this when they were proposing their option number four. They showed all the wetlands as unbuildable even though it is not adopted. MD-2 originally came in with different pockets of open space shown. She does not think it will be a complete shock.
Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director, stated that what Ms. Paladino is talking about was shown and counted as unbuildable so it was excluded.
Mr. Adam reported that there is a marginal enough difference. There is enough land already in the expansion proposal that he does not think there is a need to worry about not having enough.
Mr. Huber stated that Ms. Paladino mentioned earlier the National Wetland Inventory. This is more refined than that. This will go to the County where they will compare the mapping they have through NWI to this one.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:39 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana