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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, August 08, 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
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
Jim Huber, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
John Adam, Principal Planner
1. CP-16-075 Urbanization Planning process; review of draft
John Adam, Principal Planner, stated that this is intimately related to the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) amendment process. The Planning Commission and staff worked on the conceptual plan a few years ago and used it to develop the UGB expansion proposal. The plan was the basis for the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) designation in the expansion proposal.
The Regional Plan has a number of conditions that have to be met as the cities build out—minimum density, planning for mixed-use areas, and laying out transportation systems—that cannot be captured in a high-level conceptual plan. The way to get to those details is in a refinement plan sometimes called “special area plan” or “neighborhood plans”.
The objective is to adopt the land use and circulation maps that assure that the Regional Plan Element requirements are being met for all areas added to the urban area from the urban reserve before the land can be annexed.
The procedure is thus: prior to annexation, urbanization plans must be submitted for each cohesive planning unit added to the UGB from the urban reserve. An urbanization plan shall be submitted for, and include all of the properties in, the added portions only of the planning units within the expansion. An application must contain the signatures of at least 50 percent of the property owners representing at least 50 percent of the total property area and at least 50 percent of the assessed land value for the unit.
The submitted plans will adequately demonstrate compliance with the minimum gross density requirement by pre-zoning areas according to GLUP designation.
The plans will also demonstrate a transportation circulation plan map showing locations of higher-order streets and a highly connected pattern of local streets and paths. Obstacles to connections will be shown and explained. Location of streets is intended to be accurate. If locations/connections have to be moved or eliminated during subsequent development, resulting connectivity must be demonstrably as good or better as deter-mined by the approving authority for that development action.
The plans will also demonstrate compliance with the open space allocation for an urban reserve area. The plan contents have to show that they coordinated with the utilities, water, sewer, transportation and irrigation districts. They have to show extensions of the riparian corridors, wetlands protections and habitat protections. They have to show compliance with the terms of special agreements between landowners and other public entities that were part of the basis for including an area in the UGB, as detailed in the Urban Growth Management Agreement (UGMA).
In the interest of maintaining clarity and flexibility for both the City of Medford and for landowners, no urbanization plan may contain deviations from Municipal code provisions, including exceptions to Chapter 10; limitations on development due to facility capacity shortfalls; architectural details, specifics about building type and building placement; and access and internal circulation on prospective lots or development sites.
There are allowances such as rearrangement of the GLUP designations within the unit and changes within a class of GLUP designations but only from less intense to more in-tense.
Vice Chair McFadden asked what are the legal aspect of these plans? He does not think these should go to the City Council. He would rather have staff do a de minimus acceptance of these. Although he thinks they should come back to the Planning Commission for review.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if these are items that the planning department is going to develop or are these private people? Mr. Adam reported that the landowners would be starting the process.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if planning staff is going to enhance the GLUP map. Mr. Adam stated that staff would be working with the property owners that would enhance the GLUP map. The GLUP amendment being approved now is part of the UGB amendment. This is a refinement after the UGB amendment is finished.
Chair Miranda asked what kind of effect are we looking for with these urbanization plans. Staff wants a certain amount of flexibility. There is no ideal way to do this because ownerships change.
Commissioner Foley asked how this fits in with the UGB amendment. Mr. Adam stated that once this gets on the books and the Comprehensive Plan he would like to open the opportunity for people to make applications and start doing this even while the UGB amendment works its way through County and then the State.
Commissioner Foley said his understanding was that the City would not bring property into the City unless this process has been done on that particular parcel. Mr. Adam confirmed.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that the Regional Plan “performance indicators” require the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to appoint an Agricultural Task Force to assess the impacts on the agricultural economy of Jackson County arising from the loss of agricultural land. In his opinion, the obvious way to avoid impacts on the agricultural lands is to not expand. It appears to him that there are not many methods of mitigation of the impact on agricultural lands short of no expanding. Are there strategies that actually work? Mr. Adam responded that that performance indicator does not relate to today’s subject. Vice Chair McFadden stated that the process has been aimed at avoiding agricultural properties. The properties that the Agricultural Task Force has reviewed have been assessed as valuable.
Jim Huber, Planning Director, reported that in some ways this raises a bigger issue of UGB expansions in Oregon. What Commissioner Mansfield is talking about is why it is difficult to expand an UGB. DLCD is strict about reviewing what comes through. The decision of what lands should be urbanizable went through the Regional Plan process. Additionally, there is mitigation for the edge of the future UGB abutting agricultural lands.
Commissioner Pulver has concerns with accepting the applications and then finding the UGB amendment is turned down at some point along the way. Mr. Adam said that if that were the case the City should vacate that plan. Vice Chair McFadden said that raises a concern he has about the City Council reviewing these. Mr. Adam does not agree it should be a de minimus acceptance. He is not sure what mechanism staff does with these special area plans having them adopted and having legal weight if it is done by the Planning Commission. He does not think it can be adopted into the Comprehensive Plan unless it is done by an ordinance.
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, reported that City Council has to weigh in if amending the Comprehensive Plan. It does not have to be acknowledged at the State level.
Mr. Adam stated that it would go through the normal procedure where it goes before the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the City Council on adoption.
Mr. Adam asked what effect the Planning Commission wants them to have. Do they want these to be similar to conceptual plans in a Planned Unit Development, that if changed have to go through an amendment process.
Chair Miranda stated that in his opinion when one starts using the word conceptual it needs to be high level, it needs to be draft level, it cannot be detailed and cannot be precise. That is the whole point of conceptual. The process being discussed today is what it needs to be. Is staff talking about designating a new map or will this be implemented into an existing map? Mr. Adam reported that it would go on the GLUP map but only if it moves the GLUP designations that are adopted through the UGB amendment.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that if staff does not go any deeper than the level of what is being shown today with any of the plans that solves the problem about changes with ownership, market conditions and development.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if staff would be limiting the plans they receive to meet the 20-year supply? Mr. Adam reported that the land supply issue is answered in the UGB amendment. The analysis that led to the housing needs and the economic commercial land needs is before the City Council now. The presumption is the amendment meets our 20-year needs.
Commissioner Foley stated that the density standards that have to be met are in the urbanization planning process. Does each parcel coming into the City have to meet those standards? Mr. Adam stated that density is the one focus area that can be looked at and one can tell whether it is meeting the standards or not.
Commissioner Pulver encouraged Mr. Adam to reach out to the private planning com-munity to get their input.
Commissioner Pulver struggles with the concept of an urban reserve area made up of a certain amount of parcels with the majority controlled by one party. The minority con-trolled is at a disadvantage.
Commissioner Pulver stated that the Regional Plan Element spoke to the various urban reserve pieces and applied residential employment percentages that was done in a blanket way. Does this allow flexibility to change between certain areas? Mr. Adam reported that some of that has been done in the conceptual plan. Distribution of land uses are according to the City’s obligation under the Regional Plan. The expansion is a subset of the urban reserve. The allocation from the Regional Plan is complete for some areas.
Commissioner Pulver stated that in the urbanization planning process draft it talked about not achieving the 6.6 dwelling units per acre but if it was in the existing UGB that it was increasing the density that would be an acceptable offset. Does the language apply to both residential and employment? Mr. Adam stated that argument is still floating out there. Staff has made the argument that with the Internal Study Areas they shifted a lot of commercial need inside. Staff did a lot of high density residential that they feel should count because they have intensified internally where it makes more sense than putting it on the outskirts. The adopted Housing Element was at 6.9 and the 6.6 is the City’s obligation in the Regional Plan.
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, asked about the triple majority to change as far as a revision goes. She assumes each of the MD areas will have a plan like this for the whole, not for a part that wants to come in, for whatever expansion area is adopted. Mr. Adam re-ported that is correct but he mapped units that could be separate or combined.
Ms. Akin stated that over time it will develop and 15 years down the road part of it is developed. How does the triple majority work then? Mr. Adam stated that he does not know in that particular case. Staff will have to think about that.
Vice Chair McFadden stated there are some people that will not develop but there are enough in the area to control a plan. The plan gets approved. The same people that get it approved come in for their properties based on the pre plan and they want to do a Planned Unit Development or whatever. The overall plan is riding on the 20 percent that are still there. The other properties have gone further into a subdivision or Planned Unit Development. Can there be a procedure that they can drop out because they are not a part of the overall? The overall design states there has to be a 6.6 density or whatever other conditions that were originally imposed. Mr. Adam reported that his inclination is that whenever you have a neighborhood plan and as it is built out the built areas are off the table. Whichever parts are built no longer have a say in the remainder of build-out or amendments to the urbanization plan.
Mr. Huber stated that staff does not have all the answers so staff appreciates and thanks the Planning Commissioners for their input and questions. He is impressed with the quality of the discussions they have.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:58 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana