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Agenda & Minutes

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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, December 08, 2016

6:00 p.m.
City Hall, Medford Room
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
  1. State Lobbyist Cindy Robert
  2. Marijuana Greenhouse Grows

6:00 p.m.
City Hall, Medford Room
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room of the Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski* (via telephone)
Councilmembers Elect Kay Brooks, Tim D’Alessandro**
City Manager Brian Sjothun**; City Attorney Lori Cooper; City Recorder Karen Spoonts
Councilmember Daniel Bunn was absent.
*Disconnected and connected as noted.
**Arrived and left as noted.
 State Lobbyist Cindy Robert
Our Lobbyist Cindy Robert, Rainmakers, outlined her process to have bills passed.  She discussed the various topics expected to arise during 2017, noting:
  • The governor’s strategy is to reduce the budget but focus on children and poverty
    • With the failure of Measure 97, funding is needed. The following options were discussed:
      • Possible commercial activity tax (corporate tax), versus a minimum tax for businesses
      • Increase in liquor and tobacco taxes
      • However, new taxes need approval from two-thirds of the Legislature
  • Transportation
    • Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation & Modernization and the Oregon Transportation Forum are working to determine ways to obtain the funding neede
    • Ms. Robert believes that a Transportation package will happen as a result
    • Vehicle mileage pilot project may become available for areas
    • Gas tax and changes in licensing fees are being considered
  • Marijuana
    • Committee has reconvened to discuss the revenue received from marijuana
    • Councilmember Bearnson believed the market was poised to receive $44.4 million dollars, but the regulations and testing requirements reduced that amount by $10 million, so those regulations were revised
       *Councilmember Zarosinski disconnected and reconnected.
  • Medford 2017 Legislative Agenda
    • Recreational immunity issue will be presented next week
  • Transportation
    • City will continue to oppose ROW and franchise fee changes
    • Work schedule mandate will effect hourly employees
    • Hourly employees must receive work schedule three weeks in advance
    • Construction workers will be exempt
    • Impacts private and public employers
  • Right to rest
    • Enables homeless to reside and keep their belongings on public property without police intervention
    • Includes easements through private property
    • Transients on Bear Creek Greenway would be able to remain there
**Councilmember Elect Tim D’Alessandro arrived.
  • Open records
    • Journalists would like to view public information without long response times or expense
    • Requires records requests to be completed within 15 days
    • Regulation does not consider cost for document production
  • PERS
    • Some previous revisions were unconstitutional
    • Reinstituting the employee contribution
    • Capping salary at $100,000
    • Shouldn’t impact current employees
  • Options to ensure utility fee payments to the City through liens, property taxes or other option
*Councilmember Zarosinski disconnected and reconnected.
  • Council discussed how the Legislative Committee would work with Ms. Roberts and provide recommendations to the Council.
    • Proposed bills will be compiled into a list to be more judicial with less comments by department heads
*City Manager Brian Sjothun left the meeting.

Marijuana Greenhouses – Lori Cooper
City Attorney Lori Cooper noted the City has received calls regarding whether greenhouses should be considered indoors or outdoors for marijuana growing.
Three options:
  1. Consider them outdoor grows in residential areas and, therefore, prohibited
  2. Consider them indoor grows and create regulations/rules
  3. Do nothing and handle complaints as they arise
 Greenhouses Code:
  • Current Building Codes include greenhouses, but marijuana regulations could be different
  • Currently greenhouses are considered outdoor
  • There is no technical definition of a greenhouse in the Code
  • Current Oregon Medical Marijuana regulations state greenhouses are outdoor
Mayor Wheeler preferred no outdoor growing period. Greenhouses should be prohibited to protect neighborhoods.  Chief Sparacino specified the Police Department needed to prohibit criminal intent including theft and smell.  He recommended blocking the view of the marijuana.
Mayor and Council discussed the pros and cons of greenhouse marijuana growing. 
  • Current Code allows greenhouses in residential areas
*Councilmember Zarosinski disconnected and reconnected.
  • A greenhouse is generally a building that uses natural light
  • Probably should be revised with specific requirements for greenhouses to be considered “indoor”
    • Private construction
    • Size
    • Material
    • Secured
    • Natural light
    • Opaque
 Mayor and Council discussed the positive and negative impacts of the greenhouse requirement on citizens needing medicine. Councilmember Bearnson believed there were only 23 complaints received last year.  Councilmember Gordon stated he received more than 23 complaints regarding smell, lights, dogs, traffic, etc.
Interim Planning Director Kelly Akin spoke regarding accessory structure requirements noting lot coverage, setbacks, and that rigid structures must be a minimum of 200 square feet. Permits are not required for structures smaller than 200 square feet, but they must meet standards. Mayor Wheeler requested the current accessory structure requirements be provided to Council.
The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
City Recorder



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