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Planning Commission Agenda and Minutes
Thursday, October 27, 2016
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 5:34 PM in the City Hall Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
Mark McKechnie, Excused Absence
Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Greg Kleinberg, Fire Marshal
Terri Rozzana, Recording Secretary
10. Roll Call
20. Consent Calendar/Written Communications.
20.1 LDP-16-096 Final Order for a proposed tentative plat to create three lots on a 0.47 acre parcel located on the northwest corner of the intersection of De Barr Avenue and Seneca Avenue, within an SFR-6 (Single-Family Residential – 6 dwelling units per gross acre) zoning district. (Elizabeth Carlton Investments, LLC, Applicant; Hoffbuhr & Associates, Inc., Agent)
20.2 LDS-16-100 Final Order for a proposed tentative plat for Wilkshire Terrace, Phases 1-3, a, 35-lot single family residential subdivision on a 9.72 acre parcel, generally located southwest of the Wilkshire Drive terminus, east of the Roberts Road terminus, west of the Voss Drive terminus and east of the Canyon Avenue terminus, within a SFR-4 (Single Family Residential – 4 dwelling units per gross acreage) zoning district. (William Barchet ET AL; Applicant; Scott Sinner Consulting, Inc., Agent)
Motion: Adopt the consent calendar as submitted.
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden Seconded by: Commissioner Foley
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 6–0.
30.1. The minutes for October 13, 2016, were approved as submitted.
40. Oral and Written Requests and Communications. None.
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, stated that the agenda states under public hearings that there are no business items to be considered. Is that correct? He will not read the Quasi-Judicial Statement if there are no business items. The cell tower CUP-16-094 is a continuation that Mr. McConnell read the Quasi-Judicial Statement two weeks ago. Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director, stated that there are no new business items on the agenda. Both items on the agenda under public hearings are old business. The rules were read before the prior hearing.
50. Public Hearings – Old Business
50.1 ZC-16-089 / LDS-16-090 / E-16-091 Consideration of a request for a consolidated application, consisting of a Zone Change from SFR-10 (Single Family Residential, 10 dwelling units per gross acre) to SFR-6 (Single Family Residential, 6 dwelling units per gross acre) on 22.34 acres, a tentative plat for a 93 lot residential subdivision, and an associated Exception requests seeking relief to planter strip requirement fronting particular lots within the subdivision and relief to street spacing standard for an intersection within the development. The subject site is located east of the terminus of Owen Drive and north of the terminus of Cheltenham Way, within corporate limits of the City of Medford. (Hayden Homes LLC, Applicant; CSA Planning, Ltd.,/Jay Harland, Agent) The applicant has requested a continuance to the November 10, 2016, Planning Commission Meeting.
Motion: The Planning Commission continued ZC-16-089, LDS-16-090 and E-16-091 per the applicant’s request to the Thursday, November 10, 2016, Planning Commission meeting.
Moved by: Commissioner Mansfield Seconded by: Commissioner Foley
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 6-0.
50.2 CUP-16-094 Consideration of a Conditional Use Permit application to allow a new wireless communications facility, consisting of a 114-foot support structure and associated equipment cabinets used for communication systems. The subject site is located at the southwest corner of Hillcrest Road and Fairview Drive at the northeast property corner of tax lot 371W28B5900. (Verizon Wireless LLC, Applicant; Paul Slotemaker, 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.
Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director, read the conditional use permit criteria and gave an abbreviated staff report since this was continued from the October 13, 2016, Planning Commission meeting.
Vice Chair McFadden asked if there was a condition that the City imposes to a site such as this such as blending into the area and other items? Ms. Akin reported that the code requires new structures, such as this, a stepped approach. The preferred option is to be attached to an existing tower or building limiting the number of structures. Also, to provide some form of concealment. If those two options are not viable then it can be just a plain tower. It has to be a “monopole” design.
Mr. McConnell stated that at the last meeting the applicant in response to public testimony regarding health effects of cell towers stated the Planning Commission would be preempted by Federal law. Mr. McConnell requested that the applicant provide the Federal law that he did not have at the October 13, 2016, Planning Commission meeting. The applicant has provided the Federal law. It is 47 U.S. Code § 332(7)(B)(iv) that states: “No state or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent such facilities comply with the Commissions regulations concerning such emissions.” At the last meeting the applicant provided evidence that his proposed facility would comply with the FCC regulations on radio frequency emissions. The evidence in the record regarding health effects of cell towers or any evidence that the Commission may hear this evening cannot be considered by the Planning Commission. If they were to do so they could be overturned.
The public hearing was opened.
a. Paul Slotemaker, Technology Associates EC, Inc., 7117 SW Beveland Street, Suite 101, Tigard, Oregon, 97223. Mr. Slotemaker reported that if the public were to have concerns about the health effects they are encouraged to research the FCC’s webpage or talk to their Congressman or Senator to get them in touch with the correct people at the federal level. Verizon Wireless has an FCC license. The evidence provided in the record shows that they comply with the FCC guidelines. They operate at 2% of the allowable limit for radio frequency emission.
Mr. Slotemaker provided into the record information regarding property value. The information provided touches on a LUBA case that happened in Eugene for a cell tower where LUBA decided there needs to be substantial evidence for an on-site specific property if there is a property value claim. The generalized information online is not enough. It is not site specific information on a particular property to demonstrate a loss in property value. There are a lot of variables that go into appraising a property. The applicant submitted additional articles into the record talking about the benefits of wireless facilities. How new home buyers look for reliable wireless service. The number of wireless homes is increasing tremendously from 3% a decade ago to approximately 50% now.
The articles that talk about property values talk about it from a health effect standpoint.
Mr. Slotemaker reserved rebuttal time.
b. Steve Swartsley, 174 Littrell Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Swartsley reported that the opponents to this application disseminated to the neighborhood several flyers that are false and misleading. They are only intended to rouse the neighbors with false facts and false information. He has resided in the neighborhood since 2000 and home values have gone up. There are over 130 residents in the immediate neighborhood and not one residence has a view of where the proposed cell tower will be located and erected. Mr. Swartsley submitted a paper with two pictures taken from the driveway of the closest residence. One would have to turn to the right to see where the cell tower would be. The second picture was taken from the front of the residence showing the view that looks out over the pond. That residence is not impacted in any adverse manner by the view. He urged the Planning Commission to support Verizon Wireless and to approve the conditional use permit as submitted and recommended by staff.
c. John Dailey, 2673 Oak View Circle, Medford, Oregon, 97504. In 2003 US Cellular approached the Country Club regarding leasing ground to locate a cell tower on Club property. The project came to the Planning Commission and was approved. The tower was erected in early 2004. It has been modified and expanded over the years. Mr. Dailey showed a graph of property values next to his property and close to the cell tower that have not declined.
d. John Zupan, 2850 Seckel Court, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Zupan has been a realtor in Medford since 1974. Lack of cell phone use has a negative impact on the sale-ability. He requested that the Planning Commission vote in favor of the application.
e. Matt Corrigan, 53 Fairway Circle, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Corrigan referenced the flyer stating that there was an allusion to a false photograph. It is the photograph of the cell tower at the Country Club. It is very close to the document that was submitted by Verizon Wireless. Mr. Corrigan mentioned the assets for Verizon; the new tower has 130 billion to the platform allowing a better advertising footprint, capital investment, to produce more revenue, increase shareholders value with 4G update, increase share of sales and service of cell phone contracts and products to customers, satisfy the City of Medford MLDC 10.249(2) and MLDC 10.248(3) at zero cost, improve relationship with Rogue Valley Country Club owners and members, and avoid costly litigation against the City of Medford for FCC noncompliance. Mr. Corrigan mentioned the assets for Rogue Valley Country Club; lucrative gains from monthly lease income from Verizon Wireless and low visual impact. He does not see that the homeowners get an advantage. He requested that the Planning Commission ask Verizon Wireless to look for a different site.
f. Frank Brown, 2901 Fairview Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Brown is the closet resident inside 300 feet to the cell tower. It is his opinion property values go down when staring at a cell tower.
g. Ken Cockrell, 2916 Fairview Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Cockrell commented that the existing cell tower is hideous. At first it looked good but most of the branches have been blown down and it does not get fixed. He disputes that his house is valued more today than 10 years ago. There has to be a better place that will not offend people as much. It is an eyesore.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if Mr. Cockrell has complained to the City or anyone else about the existing cell tower that he is saying is in dis-repair? Mr. Cockrell replied that he has not. Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if Mr. Cockrell was aware that the conditions of use are complaint driven. Mr. Cockrell replied no. He assumed that when the cell tower was erected there was a contract to maintain them.
h. Garin Bakel, 135 South Foothill Road, Medford, Oregon, 97504. Mr. Bakel believes the cell tower will be an eyesore. He agreed the current cell tower is ugly. He would be surprised that his home is worth what he paid for it in 2000.
Ms. Akin reported that Mr. Brown spoke about a 300 foot location. Ms. Akin clarified that the setback requirement is equal to the height of the tower. The 300 foot requirement in the Code is a requirement demonstrating for the site plan what residential properties are within 300 feet.
Mr. McConnell addressed the LUBA opinion submitted into the record by the applicant. He does not disagree with the applicant’s analysis but he noted an important distinction. Under the federal preemption the Planning Commission cannot base their decision on alleged health effects of cell towers. The Planning Commission does have the ability for property values but under the criteria there would have to be evidence in the record that this cell tower would devalue the affected properties in that area. Criteria 1 and 2 talks about the development proposal will cause no significant impacts. If there were evidence that this cell tower would devalue the properties, then the Planning Commission could consider that. He leaves that to the Planning Commission to decide whether they heard that or not.
Mr. Slotemaker reported that this project is intended to improve wireless service to the surrounding area to improve the wireless network for the City of Medford and to serve the neighbors in the area. A lot of work goes into identifying an appropriate location such as working with the Planning Department, pouring over zoning maps and going through the Code to find the right location. The applicant believes this is the right location. It provides the service to the coverage area. They believe they have a good design next to existing screening with tall trees as a “monopine” design. It is the least intrusive design to provide service to this area.
Commissioner Pulver stated that the agent has experience dealing with the Department of Aviation of the various cell tower locations requiring lighting. They can effectively shield the parties below and make sure the light is focused upward. Mr. Slotemaker reported that is the design of the shield. It is for airplanes in the air and to shield the light from ground views.
The applicant is working with the FCC. They have not given the applicant the determination at this point. One of the conditions is that if the FCC decides no lighting is needed the applicant would not have to light it.
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: The Planning Commission adopts the findings for MLDC 10.248(2) and 10.249(3) as recommended by staff and adopts the Final Order for approval of CUP-16-094 per the revised staff report dated October 20, 2016, including Exhibits A-1 through T.
Moved by: Vice Chair McFadden Seconded by: Commissioner Mansfield
Commissioner Pulver addressed the audience stating that he lives in the area and the first attempt of the existing cell tower was not good and has deteriorated over time. Continued maintenance is a complaint driven issue. He suggested that the country club members and residents in the vicinity to continue to “hound” the City so they in return can “hound” the responsible parties to continue to maintain the existing cell tower. This application is improved over what was done 13 or 14 years ago. It is important that it be maintained at the level it was initially installed at.
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 6-0.
60.1 Site Plan and Architectural Commission.
Commissioner D’Alessandro reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission met on Friday, October 21, 2016. They considered plans for the development of a storage unit facility consisting of 157,060 square feet of storage buildings, and 3,874 square feet for proposed office space with a caretaker’s residence, on 6.39 acres located at 4843 Helo Drive within the Heavy Industrial zoning district. They approved the application.
60.2 Report of the Joint Transportation Subcommittee.
Commissioner Pulver reported that the Joint Transportation Subcommittee met on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. It was mostly reports from various Transportation Subcommittee members such as Public Works, RVTD, etc. The Transportation System Plan update is their primary focus. John Adam’s departure was significant since that was one of his projects. It is being handled by Public Works and the Planning Department. They will be receiving a proposal from the consultants to draft the update.
60.3 Planning Department
Kelly Akin, Interim Planning Director, reported that the next Planning Commission study session is scheduled for Monday, November 14, 2016. There is no business at this time but staff will keep the Planning Commission informed.
There is business for the next Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, November 10, 2016. Thursday, November 24, 2016, is Thanksgiving so that meeting will be cancelled. December 8, 2016, is busy because the second meeting in December is generally cancelled.
Last week City Council initiated a right-of-way vacation for Cedar Landing that will come before the Planning Commission soon. Also, at that meeting a citizen came forward and requested the Planning Department to reconsider the size limitation for mobile food carts. Right now it is limited to 170 square feet outside of the downtown area. It is 128 square feet in the downtown.
Desmond McGeough has turned in his resignation. He is moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota. His last day in the Planning Department will be Wednesday, November 2, 2016.
Commissioner Pulver is concerned with the turnover in the Planning Department. He wants to make sure the Planning Department creates an environment that allows people to stay. The Department would be more effective with more localized experience and knowledge. The more staff lost the more strain it puts on the department. Ms. Akin replied that it is a challenge. There have been three staff members to move out of state, several have moved to Corvallis and several have retired. From her perspective it is great that the department trains well enough for planners to move to other municipalities and organizations.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that having gone through extensive staff changes before, the City is resilient, and staff continues to do an excellent job.
Vice Chair McFadden commented that there should be a section in the Code under cell towers that the applicant provides a series of photographs from the height of their proposal showing various locations of what it looks like from that area. The photographs received tonight are not looking up very much. The tall pine tree that is supposed to be there he did not see in the photographs. The more people can visualize the better.
Vice Chair McFadden reported that when the original cell tower at the Country Club came before the Planning Commission it was accepted with a lot of excitement because it was the first one that they thought the Code called for in terms of camouflage and stealth. It is unfortunate that it is falling into disrepair.
Chair Miranda stated that it comes down to line of sight. If there are a lot of small boosters or repeaters they have limited range because they are still too low to the ground.
70. Messages and Papers from the Chair.
70.1 Chair Miranda commented that hideous does not begin to describe the existing cell tower.
Chair Miranda thanked Commissioner D’Alessandro for stating the maintenance of the cell tower is complaint driven. A call to Code Enforcement could get that taken care of.
80. Remarks from the City Attorney. None.
90. Propositions and Remarks from the Commission.
90.1 Commissioner D’Alessandro stated that he knows there is a condition for the maintenance. Is there a fine? Ms. Akin replied that there could be. It would be a violation of the Code not maintaining the facility as approved. Those run with the land. It is an on-going operational condition. Staff will make contact with the owner of the cell tower and if they do not do something in a certain amount of time then staff can implement the code enforcement action process. She believes it is $250 a day fine.
Mr. McConnell stated that was correct. There are several options. It would be a violation of the Medford Land Development Code which is a $250 daily fine if the City chooses that avenue. Under state law if there is a violation of the Code for 10 or more days the City can apply for permanent injunctive relief through the Jackson County Circuit Court.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:37 p.m. The proceedings of this meeting were digitally recorded and are filed in the City Recorder’s office.
Terri L. Rozzana
Planning Commission Chair
Approved: November 10, 2016