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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, February 27, 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:
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
E. J. McManus, Excused Absence
Matt Binkley, Planning Director
Kevin McConnell, Deputy City Attorney
Larry Masterman, Emergency Mgt. Coordinator
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Chris Olivier, GSI Coordinator
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
20.1 Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner reported that the City is currently updating the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. It is a five year plan. Natural Hazards include earthquakes, floods, disease epidemics, severe weather, etc. Staff would like to see the City Council approve the Plan when it is finished this summer. The Environmental Element of the Comprehensive Plan will be updated with the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan.
Ms. Paladino introduces Larry Masterman, Emergency Management Coordinator. He has been the lead on this project. There is a grant through DLCD. Tricia Sears is a Natural Hazard Planner with the State. She has been helping coordinate the steering committee and the written element of the update. Chris Olivier, GSI Coordinator, with the Planning Department. He took over co-chairing the steering committee with Mr. Masterman after Jim Huber retired last year.
Ms. Sears gave an overview of the process in the role of the State. She is with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation Development (DLCD). DLCD and the City of Medford are collaborating to update the existing Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. She is responsible for managing the project including providing information, coordinating and writing the entire Plan with the assistance from the steering committee. It is important to DLCD that Medford and other jurisdictions integrate the planning and emergency management aspect of these Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans. Medford is demonstrating a lot of innovation with this plan because Mr. Masterman and Mr. Olivier are the co-chairs of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan committee. The timeline is fast. It started in June of last year and will be completed by June of this year. There is a draft of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan out for public review. The plan is to have a revised plan of that in March. The week of April 3-7 is the targeted timeline to turn the Plan into the Oregon Office of the Emergency Management (OEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In May or June, they hope to receive an approval pending adoption letter that comes from FEMA and OEM. Then it goes to the City Council to get approval for adoption of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. After that, FEMA sends an approved letter to the OEM and then provided to Medford a letter alerting them of the approval. The Plan is valid for five years.
Medford is following along the Jackson County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. They are in the process of updating their Plan. Ultimately, after Medford is approved it will become an annex to the Jackson County Plan.
Having a Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan is required to be able to receive both pre and post disaster funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is not required to have a Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan but it carries a big part in getting funds from FEMA in case of a disaster.
Mr. Masterman gave an overview and update on what the committee has been doing. Mr. Masterman distributed a list of the 19 members on the steering committee. Several weeks ago the City hosted a FEMA course on local Hazard Mitigation planning. It was a two day course. Twenty-one people were graduated from around the state. There was an open house that was part of the community outreach. FEMA is big on these projects involving a lot of public input.
Several geologists came and gave a tour of the most vulnerable land.
They had three separate panels at the open house. There were approximately thirty-seven people in attendance. The Mail Tribune published the wrong start time. It ran from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with the Mail Tribune publishing start time at 7:00 p.m. The panelists stayed for another hour. Great input from the community.
Chris Olivier, GSI Coordinator, presented fifteen draft maps. A lot of different agencies have provided data for the maps. There is a map for landslide hazard, people with access and functional needs, bridges, schools, dam inundation. There are three dams that could affect the Bear Creek Valley. Immigrant Lake dam will affect the UGB.
The Hazard Analysis Summary is updated from the fall summary. An earthquake is more likely than anything else generate hundreds or even thousands of causalities. The Cascadia Earthquake could be a magnitude of 9 or bigger. Here it might be 7 or 8. It will last four or five minutes. The amount of shaking, damage and disruptions to our systems will be tremendous. We need to plan for that.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, is the Planning Commission going to make a decision for recommendation or is it for useful information? Ms. Paladino reported that after the Plan is adopted by the City Council, staff will amend the Comprehensive Plan incorporating the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Planning Commission will forward a recommendation to the City Council on that aspect.
Commission Pulver asked, how does the ranking and scoring come into play in terms of it is utilized? Does it impact dollar allocation? Is importance put on certain preventative measures in building or design standards? Mr. Masterman stated that is what these plans are all about. It is steering all those things. Setting priorities for funding and policy regulations.
20.2 Greenway Trails Amendment Initiation
This request came out of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department seeking changes. Jay Harland with CSA Planning is on a retainer with the Parks Department to help with the code amendment.
Currently the code does not talk about trail implementation, construction, maintenance, and dedication.
Mr. Harland reported that the City has stated where they would like the trails. Trails are in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Developers have shown them on their plans and it is usually a condition of approval. Moving forward, after the trails are built the Parks Department will maintain them.
Ms. Paladino stated the 2016 Leisure Services Plan has a complete chapter on paths and trials. Nationally, over the past ten years hiking and walking are basically top outdoor recreation activity that people are saying they want to do more of. Locally, it is the same trend. Eighty-one percent of respondents of the community survey indicated a need for City wide trails and improved connectivity. Seventy-four percent identified the need for bicycle facilities. The Plan indicates that residents want enhancements such as lighting, benches, line of site, etc. The Leisure Services Plan will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.
There was a slide presentation of examples of trail segments.
The next steps would be that on March 9, 2017, the Planning Commission would initiate the amendment under the consent calendar. CSA Planning will begin their work. Drafts will be brought forward for review and comment. Hearing process begins.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that the developers have to pay a fee to the Parks Department. Where does that money go? Matt Brinkley, Planning Director, stated that they are SDC fees that get spent for Parks and Recreation facilities.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that he is opposed to saddling the developers with these kinds of fees for a number of reasons. He understands the need. Would it not make sense to assess the developer fee and let the Parks Department develop as they see fit? Mr. Harland stated that is a good idea but where in the code does it say that is how it works? That is an option they have thought about. They are contemplating SDC credits. The Parks Department would rather build the trails themselves.
Commissioner Mansfield asked Commissioner McKechnie what were the reasons he opposed saddling the developers with the fees. Commissioner McKechnie reported that it seems that the philosophy in the state of Oregon is that the public does not build anything for anyone. They wait around for the developer to propose a project then they saddle them with their “wish list”. They put a lot of upfront cost that could easily, if planned ahead, been built in and just assessed.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that the reverse would be to have the public taxpayers pay for it. Commissioner McKechnie replied maybe it is a combination but they could bond for those. Commissioner Mansfield stated that the public taxpayers pay for those bonds in a delayed way.
Mr. Brinkley reported that there are different financing mechanisms that are available. These are things staff can look at. There may be times when trail dedication is something to get out of a project and a payment in lieu system or something like that may be appropriate. Consistency is important.
Mr. Brinkley asked Mr. Harland, does staff need to wait on adopting the Leisure Services Plan until the standards are done? Mr. Harland replied that he does not think so.
20.3 TSP amendment regarding Foothills Road
Chair Miranda had to leave and turned the meeting over to Vice Chair McFadden.
Kyle Kearns, Planner II, reported that at the time of adoption of the TSP designated Foothill Road as a Major Arterial, which when seen to fruition, is a five lane road with large traffic volumes. The project list within the TSP describes the development of Foothill Road as a three lane road. Having the inconsistencies in the TSP could cause issues when applying for State and Federal funds, making the update necessary.
The Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVMPO) has created the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which guides regional transportation projects. Medford’s TSP is tightly linked to the RTP and the RTP project list, in this regard when the RTP is updated the TSP should follow suit. The 2017 RTP update will list the portion of Foothill Road between Hillcrest and McAndrews as a five lane road with curb, gutter, sidewalks, and bike lanes. The TSP must reflect what is within the RTP project list.
The Oregon Department of Transportation, through the RVMPO, is tasked with designating critical urban freight corridors (CUFC) with the Rogue Valley to support the National Highway Freight Network. Foothill is planned to be included in the newest proposed expansion of CUFC’s. This designation enables more opportunities for Federal and State funds to aid in the development of Foothill Road.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that a map presented earlier shows the expected maximum extent of landslides along Foothill Road. It looks like it goes right over Foothill Road. Mr. Brinkley stated that the area is susceptible to landslides based on the conditions such as slopes and soil types. He does not think the map is actually modeling the extent.
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, reported that the map is depicting a historical landslide. They do not know where future landslides will be. There are all kinds of conditions from a geological standpoint that needs to occur for a landslide to happen. Public Works has done a corridor study for Foothill Road from Hillcrest to the north boundary and there was geological work done. There is extensive rock up near Normal Terrace that is very stable. It is so stable they will probably end up having a vertical cut along there. Eagle Trace area is sitting on a landslide. When Public Works built McAndrews east of Foothill they went through incredibly dense sandstone up the hill.
Mr. Brinkley stated that the connection to Natural Hazard Mitigation is important as the entire region looking for another north/south connection that will take care of the via-duct when it collapses during the Cascadia Earthquake. Foothill Road is important for freight movement.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana