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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, July 25, 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
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
David Culbertson, Excused Absence       
Staff Present
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
John Adam, Principal Planner
Chris Olivier, GIS Coordinator
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
1.            DCA-16-072 Public Zoning District Amendment
John Adam, Principal Planner, stated that this is just an early start and wanted feedback regarding the amendment.
Jim Huber, Planning Director, announced that this is Bianca Petrou, Assistant Planning Director, last meeting.  She is retiring and her last day is Friday, July 29, 2016. 
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, reported that the public zoning district amendment will distinguish government facilities, schools and parks from all other zoning districts.  The proposal will add two new zoning districts: 1) Public Government Facilities; and 2) Public Parks and Open Space.
The land that is being considered is owned and operated the federal, state and local governments.  Included in the public zones are government offices, courthouses, fire and police stations, libraries, public schools, public parks, public open space (greenway), colleges and universities, utility facilities over 2 acres in area and the Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport.  The public zones will not include public right-of-way, churches, fraternal orders, charter / private schools, utility sites less than 2 acres and special housing (Access / Housing Authority of Jackson County).
Some of the benefits are to identify on zoning map the location of government facilities, schools and parks and help differentiate these areas from the inventory of residential, commercial, and industrial land for city reporting purposes.
In addition as staff moves forward they will be working with the Parks Department, Jackson County, Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport staff, utilities and others.
Other Code Sections will need to be revised and there will be a Comprehensive Plan amendment.
Staff used the model from the City of Bend schools and parks.  Elementary and middle schools are permitted outright and high schools are conditional.  Public parks are permitted outright and ball fields, sport complexes, and similar outdoor recreational that have night lighting or amplified sound systems are conditional. 
This item will come back to the Planning Commission in another study session as a more complete package. 
Commissioner McKechnie suggested clarifying as to whether or not all public parks are permitted outright and all ball fields, sport complexes, and similar outdoor recreational whether or not they have night lighting or amplified sound systems are conditional.
Mr. Adam stated that at this point the discussion is more centered on if there is zoning in place for parks does it need a conditional use permit or is the zoning enough that someday it will be developed as a park. The Parks Department does a lot of outreach beforehand.  They invite neighbors to open houses and discuss what they are planning.  Does the Planning Commission want two levels of a park, one with a playground and several ball fields that have no night lighting that would be a permitted use that goes through Site Plan and Architectural plan review, and then the ones that have lighting could be the conditional use permit?  That is the differentiation that staff is asking their opinion on.
Commissioner Foley asked if the high schools were driven by the same thing?  Mr. Adam replied yes. 
Commissioner Mansfield stated that procedurally he assumes that if this goes into effect staff will need to do a zone change.  Is that correct?  Mr. Adam replied yes that staff would need to do zone change procedures.
Commissioner Pulver asked how do you determine the new zoning is consistent with the General Land Use Plan map?  Mr. Adam stated they would define it that way. Define it as being anything that is commercial or residential can have public zoning when you define the parameters of the zoning.
The better way to think about this is the General Land Use Plan map is the future land use map.  It does not necessarily reflect what is currently on the ground.  The zoning map has the opportunity to have a more up-to-date and showing what is currently on the ground.  That is as malleable and changeable as the ownership of the properties.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that it would be the same thing as now.  Whatever the zoning is now stays until an effort is made to change it.  Is that correct?  Mr. Adam stated that staff is proposing that the City undertakes the mass rezoning.
Vice Chair McFadden had concerns with the minimum and maximum area for zoning except two acres for utilities such as electrical substations or pump stations.  It should also include reservoirs.  Is the 2 acres minimum and what is the maximum?  Private or public is not specified.  Utility services are permitted in the government facilities but in the open space it is not.  Actually open space is a place utilities often would want to go.  He recommends that not being allowed in the open space be changed to permitted.
Mr. Adam stated the 2 acres is a minimum and there is no maximum.  It depends on the size of the facility.
Commissioner Mansfield stated there is an Oregon statute that allows public utilities the right to use public street right-of-ways.
Commissioner Pulver needs help in understanding the true benefits of the amendment.
Mr. Adam reported that he is accustomed to seeing this in several other communities.  He saw some benefits to it.  It is his opinion that the undertaking is what gives everyone hesitation.  It is the initial plunge but once it is on the map there is benefit to the public to be able to look at the map and tell where public utilities, parks etc. are located.
Commissioner Pulver commented that he does not think there are a lot of people spending time look at the zoning map.  He is not opposed to the park designation with very limited uses associated with them.  He struggles with the public facilities.
Commissioner Foley is concerned that there are no restrictions what you can do on the government property.  If they own it they can do whatever permitted that may not be advantageous to the neighboring properties.  The open space is good.  Is the open space a quiet open space or a lot of activity i.e. ballfields, soccer fields etc.? 
Chair Miranda stated that the designator on that is whether or not the facility is accessed during normal business or daylight hours or is it after hours where there will be lighting and sound for concerts and after school activities.
Chair Miranda reported that Mr. Adam mentioned that this would be an additional designation.  For instance in residential there are multiple urban residential designations.  This would be an additional designation that would be allowed in the residential districts?  Mr. Adam replied yes and in commercial and industrial. 
Commissioner McKechnie suggested making the 2 acre minimum to 1 acre minimum.
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that where she came from government uses were permitted in any zoning district.  It was a conditional use.  Being able to site facilities wherever they are needed is a benefit to the community overall.  As far as changing uses schools are conditional.  The more problematic is what happens with surplus property that is now private.
Ms. Akin asked when talking about the open space is it just public open space or as we do the expansion areas the urban reserves will the 100 and 200 buffer yards also be designated as open space?  Mr. Adam stated that they have talked about including them in the open space because they are not publically held but for a public purpose; the buffering.  There might be some instances where they are publically held.  They might be outlawed considering their size and the depth of them.  They can be quite substantial.  He is not sure if they are going there with them. 
Staff is determined to get the parks zoning designation if nothing else at the end of the process.
Commissioner Pulver stated that the next time this comes to the Planning Commission he would like to see more dialogue in the table.
Mr. Huber reported that the findings for the Urban Growth Boundary will be before the City Council in a study session on Thursday, July 28, 2016.  The City hired an attorney, Jeff Condit, to help review the findings.  He will also be present at the study session.  Assuming the City Council is content with the findings it will go be City Council at their public hearing on Thursday, August 18, 2016, for the adoption.  After that it is submitted to the County.
Chair Miranda thanked Ms. Petrou for all her services and help she has given the Planning Commission.  He has enjoyed working with her and hoped she enjoys her retirement. 
The meeting was adjourned at 12:56 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary

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