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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, February 13, 2017
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:
David McFadden, Vice Chair
E. J. McManus
Patrick Miranda, Chair, Excused Absence
Joe Foley, Excused Absence
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Karl McNair, Public Works
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer
Carla Paladino, Planner IV
20.1 GF-17-022 Lone Oak Drive Reclassification Request
Kelly Akin, Principal Planner, reported that staff received a request to reclassify a portion of Lone Oak Drive in the Southeast Plan area from Randy Jones of Mahar Homes, Inc. The portion is between Barnett Road and Coal Mine Road that is classified as a major collector street. It is the only major collector that runs from Cherry Lane to Coal Mine Road. Stanford is a major collector from Barnett south but from Barnett north to Cherry Lane is a standard residential street.
Reasons for the request are the proximity of the two classified streets between Coal Mine Road and Barnett Road, sever topographical challenges, and the moving of future school site to the corner of N. Phoenix Road and Coal Mine Road.
The TSP is being updated as part of the Urban Growth Boundary expansion process. Do we entertain the request independent of the TSP, or entertain the request as part of the TSP, or entertain it at all?
Vice Chair McFadden was unsure of the question. Ms. Akin replied that it is to reclassify Lone Oak between Barnett south to Coal Mine Road as a standard residential street rather than a major collector street.
Commissioner Mansfield asked if this was a procedural issue. He thought he saw some indication in the materials that it might be or is it on the merits or both? Ms. Akin replied both.
Ms. Akin reported that from a practical standpoint Lone Oak Drive is the only classified street that runs north/south within the current UGB. The others are in the expansion areas. If Lone Oak Drive was unclassified to a standard residential in order to make a collector connection, one would have to go on Barnett Road.
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney, asked if the Planning Commission were to consider this, which alternative would be quicker evaluating this independently or part of the TSP process. Ms. Akin deferred the question to Public Works.
Karl McNair, Public Works, reported that the TSP is currently being updated and they are expecting to have the draft document completed this fall or winter. As far as the analysis, a separate procedure could probably complete the analysis quicker because they are doing a lot of other work with the TSP. He is not sure how long the procedural update of the TSP would take once the analysis was complete.
Mr. McConnell asked that if they were directed to engage in this process which one would Public Works rather do? Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, reported that there are important differences that are going to occur between the Transportation System Plan and what an outside traffic control will be able to do. Public Works is doing a high level analysis for the entire City and the Urban Growth Boundary expansion areas. The fine line in the detail that would come out of an independent traffic study will not be there. They are going to rely on high level analysis in the TSP. If the Planning Commission directs Public Works to move forward with the recommendation to consider the request then they will be able to have their consultant provide more detailed information. The adoption of the TSP is a process that is City wide plus the Urban Growth Boundary expansion areas. Procedurally, the affected parties will be much larger than if they come in with a separate major amendment. It would be a more streamed lined process if separated. He does not know if the results would change. It would be quicker to do it outside of the TSP work. Potentially it will give more detail than getting out of the TSP.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, how far apart are major collectors? Is there a grid? Mr. Georgevitch stated that there is no specific spacing. The east side of Medford lacks connectivity. There are several considerations. The more connected the street network is the less reliance there will be on the collectors, but those collectors have to go places. The biggest issue with Stanford to the north being taken out of equation years ago, is it creates a jog if they move it to the south. That will be a challenge to analyze a traffic analysis. It is a potential workable solution because it will provide a more connected network in the Southeast Plan more than anywhere on the east side of Medford.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, ultimately, isn’t Stanford to run from Coal Mine Road to Hillcrest? Was the portion between Cherry and Barnett removed? Mr. Georgevitch replied yes. The road is still there. It physically is going to connect but not as a high order street.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, what was the reason for that? Randy Jones, stated that the Southeast Plan is to slow traffic through the Village Commercial Center. Instead of having a major collector, a major arterial and trying to make it walkable in a commercial center does not work. Stanford north of Barnett was deemed to remain standard residential.
Mr. Jones stated that he is the person that presented the request. When Southeast was put together he and Mike Mahar were working on the northern side and they did not have any land on the south side. They have purchased the Thompson property which is 85 acres between Barnett Road to Coal Mine Road. The topography has steep slopes. This is not a good place to have a major collector road with no parking and no access.
Commissioner Mansfield asked Mr. Jones to explain why it does not work for him. Mr. Jones stated because of the slope.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he assumes these are envisioning flat land and the level of the sidewalk is plus or minus 6-inches vertically above the level of the street. Mr. Georgevitch stated 2% plus, not minus.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that there are a lot of areas in east Medford where these are ridiculous. Is there a way to allow a major collector without all the “stuff” that requires a flat spot or would that be part of a study? Taking the major collector and even taking the alternate, skip the sidewalk, planter strips, parking, keep the bike lane, travel lane and reduce it from 76-feet to 40-feet, is that possible? Ms. Akin reported that the Hillside Ordinance allows some flexibility as far as the cross-section. The Southeast Plan states street locations cannot vary by more than 50-feet without action.
Commissioner McKechnie asked if changing the alignment of Lone Oak further on Barnett to avoid the steep slopes is it not possible without a major redesign. Mr. Jones replied that he would like to see a study. He is not sure the numbers will warrant having that as a major collector. If they do, he would like to come back to the Planning Commission to talk about other options. He does not think they can build a road across the steep hillside and not have access and figure out how to develop the rest of the land.
Ms. Akin clarified Commissioner Mansfield’s question regarding access. Collectors have restricted access.
This item will come before the Planning Commission at their next meeting.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he has no problem since Mr. Jones is willing to pay for the study. He thinks there are better alternatives.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, does staff feel the same way as Commissioner McKechnie? Ms. Akin stated that this is more of an engineering function than a planning function.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, how does Engineering feel about this? Mr. McNair stated that without the study, it is hard to tell until the numbers are there.
Commissioner Mansfield stated then Engineering does not have a recommendation at this time. Mr. Georgevitch replied that Engineering does not have a recommendation. Determining street classifications is going to be hard even when it comes down to the numbers. Some of it is going to be the backbone for long term of how to lay out the City. Those are policy decisions more than traffic. Traffic will not necessarily govern as much. Engineering will give recommendations solely based on the numbers.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that he has not heard any reason why they should not support it except Commissioner McKechnie’s direct comment that he thought there were better alternatives.
Commissioner McKechnie reported that he is looking at the grand scheme of things. Looking at this as a collector running from one place to another, Lone Oak makes more sense as a collector than Stanford. If Barnett is the north terminus of what would logically be a trip and Coal Mine Road the south and traffic runs to the west from there then Stanford is probably a better collector. Looking at the slopes, starting at Barnett and instead of looping to the west, loop to the east by the water reservoir, it bypasses a large amount of the slope. That makes more sense to him and it gets it further away from Stanford.
Commissioner Pulver stated that is not really the question being asked or what the Planning Commission is to consider. What the Commission is being asked to consider before their next meeting is whether they want to direct staff to proceed with a study of this, how the road should be classified or if the Commission wants them to do it as part of the TSP update, or not at all.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that Mahar Homes Inc. is going to pay for the study.
Vice Chair McFadden would like to see addressed, street cross-sections to review, justification of one versus the other and where to put them.
Commissioner Pulver asked, hypothetically, at the next Planning Commission meeting the Planning Commission directs staff to work with the applicant to do the study. After staff’s review of the study does, it come back to the Planning Commission? Ms. Akin reported that this is a legislative amendment. If the Planning Commission directs staff to work on it then staff will do so. After staff’s analysis the Planning Commission will hear it at their public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, that since this is part of the Southeast Plan, does this have to go to some other body like the Southeast Implementation Group? Ms. Akin replied that she and Mr. Jones discussed that and prefers not to reconvene the Group. The TSP and the Southeast Circulation Plan would be amended since both reside in the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Akin stated this will be on the agenda under the consent calendar for next week’s Planning Commission meeting. Ms. Akin will give the Commission the three options that have been discussed and the Commission will give which option is preferred.
Commissioner McManus asked if there was direction for it to be studied in the TSP update, is it a timely manner that it would be more beneficial to have it done separately? Mr. Jones replied absolutely.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:41 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana