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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, October 24, 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
David McFadden, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Commissioner Absent
Patrick Miranda, Chair, Excused Absence
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Carla Paladino, Interim Principal Planner
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
1.            DCA-16-026        Craft Alcohol Production in Commercial Districts
Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director, reported that they had interviews for the Planning Director last week.   They will make an announcement either this week or next week.
Ms. Akin introduced Kyle Kearns, Planner II, in the long range division.
Mr. Kearns reported that craft alcohol production falls under a previous code amendment request initiated by an individual wanting to open a micro-distillery (craft distillery) in a commercial zone.  The Planning Commission and staff discussed the code amendment during the study session on March 24, 2016.  Staff was directed to begin working on the code amendment for micro-distilleries, as capacity allowed.  The shift to a broader code amendment that covers all “craft” or “boutique” alcohol producers has grown to include brewery-public houses (permitted), micro-distilleries, and small wineries (permitted) allowing for consistent land use regulations of similar industries.
In order to properly address the craft alcohol industry, new definitions needed to be added to the Medford Land Development Code.  Staff decided to mirror the format used for marijuana-related businesses by  creating an umbrella definition titled Craft Alcohol Production Terms that includes two existing definitions (brewery-public house and small winery) as well as three new definitions (alcoholic spirits, craft alcohol production, and micro-distillery).
The districts that are being proposed to be permitted in are Community Commercial, Regional Commercial and Heavy Commercial.  Currently brewery¬–public houses are permitted in Light Industrial.  Staff is proposing to take that designation out because breweries, distilleries and wineries are permitted in industrial districts with or without this designation.
Staff is proposing Special Use Regulations in order to create consistent standards for three similar industries.  When located within the Central Business Overlay, such use shall not exceed 10,000 square feet of floor area devoted to the production of alcoholic beverages.
Commissioner Foley asked how staff arrived at that number.  It seems like a large number.  Mr. Kearns reported that staff looked at different micro-distilleries throughout Oregon, local examples and examples outside of Oregon.  They ranged from 1,500 square feet to 30,000 square feet.
Such use shall hold a full on-premises sales license that requires a kitchen.
All production activities within a Craft Alcohol Production business, including storage (except for grain silos), must be contained entirely inside the building walls of such uses.
Grain silos are permitted outside of a Craft Alcohol Production facility and are not considered outside storage.
A grain silo may have a sign, logo, or other design feature that is permitted in addition to any signage meeting the standards of Article VI of Chapter 10.  [Signage on grain silo does not count towards a parcels overall signage and shall not exceed X square feet].  NOTE: The line in brackets requires direction from the Planning Commission.
Some final thoughts were:
•             Addition of micro-distilleries expands economic opportunities
•             Allows for businesses with evening hours in commercial zones
•             Distilling is similar to brewing (brewing is already permitted)
•             Consolidation of craft alcohol producers creates consistency within land use regulations
Vice Chair McFadden inquired whether previously there was a size limit.  Mr. Kearns stated that discussion took place at the March study session.  Staff moved away from that discussion because the Oregon Licensing has its limits.  One can only grow so big before they are required to get more licensing from Oregon that would put them in a different category.
Commissioner Foley asked what the limit is.  Mr. Kearns replied that the distilling does not have a limit, but could potentially be added.  Brewing is 50,000 gallons. 
Commissioner Foley asked if there is only one distilling license or multiple.  Mr. Kearns reported there is only one distillery license.
Commissioner Foley stated that on their tour there was discussion regarding fire hazard of raw alcohol coming into the facility.  Should there be a limit of high proof alcohol being brought to start with?
Commissioner Culbertson reported that alcohol has reached 180 proofs after being distilled.  If it is being brought in as a fermented product the alcohol content is considerably less. 
Commissioner Foley stated that it depends on what is being brought in.
Commissioner Culbertson commented that is like triple distilled.  They are bringing the alcohol in pre-condensed and then double or triple distill it.
Mr. Kearns reported that is common.
Commissioner D’Alessandro stated that these are reportable quantities to the fire department.  Anything flammable or hazardous after a certain threshold has to be reported to the fire department.  They would have a say in what can be stored in whatever zoning district.  That may already exist.
Vice Chair McFadden has a concern with the separation between buildings.
Commissioner Pulver stated that a micro-distillery is required to have a license for a restaurant.  Bricktowne has a bar restaurant and brew beer in the back.  That is what he envisions in a commercial zone.  It makes sense if there is food and beverage.  It is his opinion that if it is just making liquor it does not fit in commercial; maybe heavy commercial.  It is more of an industrial use.  There are enough light industrial spaces where that would work.
Mr. Kearns reported that if it is required for a full on premises sales then one has to serve a menu for at least three hours in the entire day.  It is a requirement that at some point they would have to serve food with at least five items on the menu. 
Commissioner Foley asked if these are conditional use.  Mr. Kearns replied they are permitted with special regulations.
Commissioner Foley asked what does that mean.  Mr. Kearns reported there are certain standards that are required for them to be permitted such as are under 10,000 square feet and full on premises license.

Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, reported that the City did the same thing with the marijuana licensing.  They are permitted special use.  They have specific requirements.
Commissioner Pulver stated that 10,000 square feet for just the operational part is pretty big.  He is more comfortable with 5,000 and adjusting if needed.
Commissioner Culbertson asked what is the State standard for annual production of a small distillery?  Mr. Kearns replied they do not have one for distilleries. 
Commissioner Culbertson stated that craft brew facilities make sense.  They are coupling with the brewery and eatery.  He is curious about the distilled spirits.  One can get “wasted” quickly without having the food component.  It is not necessarily the square footage that is the concern it is the output.  If the State does not have standards as far as production output of hard alcohol distilleries then that is where staff and the Commission need to focus.
Mr. McConnell asked under this code and given the permission could a micro-distillery sell other kinds of alcohol or would it only be hard liquor?  Mr. Kearns stated that with a full on premises license it basically becomes a bar.
Ms. Akin reported that staff can check with the Fire Department of fire code restrictions that could help in determining the size particularly downtown.  Also, limiting size is much easier from a staff perspective than output.  There is no way for staff to know how much they are producing. 
Commissioner McKechnie stated that his experience with the fire code is it is limitation on volume regardless of the zoning district.
Ms. Akin clarified that the 10,000 square foot limit is only in the Central Business Overlay (downtown). 
Mr. Kearns stated that staff needs direction on signage on grain silos.  Should there be a size limitation or should it go through the regular sign permit process?
Commissioner Foley is concerned that if original business goes out of business the silo remains it becomes an unrestricted monument sign.  The sign variance only applies when in business.
Ms. Akin stated that the sign code in the commercial districts is 1 1/2 to 2 square feet for every linear foot of business frontage. One could measure the diameter of the silo and work it that way in order to be comparable.
Commissioner McKechnie suggested a special condition that an easement runs with the user instead of the land.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that is called easement engross as opposed to easement of pertinent. 
Commissioner Pulver stated that he prefers a regular sign permit process.
It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to limit the square footage to 5,000 in all commercial zones.   
2.            DCA-16-121        Downtown A-frame Signs text amendment 
Carla Paladino, Interim Principal Planner, stated that the A-frame signs text amendment is to provide a means to display portable signs in the right-of-way (on sidewalk) downtown.
There was a complaint filed against a downtown business owner.  Code enforcement found that there were signs downtown that were not permitted to have their signs in the right-of-way.  Business owners were contacted and requested to remove their signs.
City Council requested initiation of a text amendment to review portable signs in downtown.
Staff walked around downtown on Friday, October 21, 2016.  They walked Sixth Street, Eighth Street, Front, Central, Bartlett and Main Street, measured sidewalks and took pictures of existing portable signs on display.
The text amendment would allow portable signs in the right-of-way when:
•             Located in the Central Business (CB) overlay
•             Sidewalk is a minimum of 8 feet wide
•             Minimum 4 feet of unobstructed clearance from edge of sign
If a business is within the historic district a historic review would not be required for the sign.
Commissioner Foley commented that he liked the text amendment.
Commissioner McKechnie asked did staff measure the sidewalk from the back or front of the curb.  Ms. Paladino reported that she measured to the front of the curb.  Commissioner McKechnie suggested that the how to measure be added into the text amendment.
Commissioner McKechnie commented that it is his opinion that the intention of the 4 feet of unobstructed clearance from the edge of the sign is 4 continuous feet.  Ms. Paladino replied yes.
Ms. Akin reported that the code states if there is more than 40 inches of separation it is considered to be two signs.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if there were any lobbying groups for or against the signs?  Ms. Paladino stated that staff has not heard from anyone.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:49 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary


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