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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Minutes
Monday, September 11, 2017

The study session of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Lausmann Annex Room 151-157 on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
 
Commissioners Present
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
E. J. McManus
Jared Pulver
Alex Poythress
 
Staff Present
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Senior Assistant City Attorney
Seth Adams, Planner III
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
 
Subjects:
20.1        DCA-17-102 – Non-Commercial Keeping of Chickens
Matt Brinkley, Planner Director, stated that there have been complaints about an individual within the City limits that has approximately 50 chickens on a large residential parcel.  It has become a nuisance.  The Municipal Code does not provide a lot of guidance on how to handle chickens.  Other communities have really prescriptive regulations on chickens within the city limits.  Medford has handled it through the nuisance part of the code.  That can be difficult to administer.  Staff was directed to develop regulations for the non-commercial keeping of chickens presumably on residential properties of various descriptions.  These regulations will go into the Municipal Code not the Land Development Code.  The City Council wanted to make sure that the Planning Commission provided their own recommendations because they value the Planning Commission’s judgment.
 
Seth Adams is one of the Planning Department’s new planners.  Seth comes from Redwood City in northern California.
 
Mr. Adams reported that one can keep livestock in the City of Medford but only in the exclusive Agricultural Overlay District.  It is a handful of parcels on the west side of North Foothill Road between Hillcrest and East McAndrews.  The definition of livestock does not include chickens orfowl of any kind.  The lack of formal regulations are a problem.
In 2007 a Municipal Court ruling stated that the prohibition of livestock outside of the Exclusive Agricultural Overlay District did not extend to chickens.  Since that time chickens have been legal.
 
In surveying other communities in Jackson County and throughout the state, staff found that the commonalities related to chicken regulations are noise, odors, and sanitation issues are specified as nuisances.  In addition, the regulations are typically located within Public Nuisance or Animal Control Ordinances.
 
Staff is proposing that the regulations go into Chapter 5 (Offenses) of the Municipal Code.
 
As proposed by staff, the regulations would be as follows:
 
No person shall keep chickens on legally developed residential property except in compliance with all of the following regulations and limitations and all other applicable provisions of the Medford Municipal Code:
a.            Chickens shall not be kept for a commercial purpose.
b.            No more than five (5) chickens shall be kept or maintained on any single parcel.
c.             Roosters are prohibited.
d.            All chickens must be confined to the property, and any compound, pen, run, shed, or fenced area of confinement shall not be located closer than 10 feet to any property line, and no closer than 20 feet to a dwelling on any abutting parcel.
e.            No compound, pen, run, she, or fenced area of confinement shall be located within the required front yard setback, or be visible from a public street.
f.             The owner of the chickens shall maintain the property in a safe condition (including but not limited to keeping heat lamps the minimum manufacturer-specified distance from flammable materials, and using electrical systems appropriate for an outdoor use): and in a sanitary condition (in accordance with Section 5.500).  The construction and/or use of any compound, pen, run, shed, or fenced area of confinement shall comply with any applicable building and/or fire codes.
g.            Any violation of this section, or any odors, noise, or other unsanitary conditions which disrupt neighboring properties shall be declared a public nuisance, and may be abated in the manner provided for in Sections 5.520 through 5.535.
 
Staff is requesting the Planning Commission’s recommendations, and they will present the proposed ordinance to the City Council on October 5, 2017.  If adopted, the new code will take effect immediately.
 
Vice Chair McFadden asked, does staff feel this should be specifically limited to chickens at this point or should it be opened up to include other fowl?  Could there be more than five depending on the lot size? He does not see any problem with staff’s proposal.
 
Commissioner Culbertson reported that a lot of his clients want chickens at their house.  Most of them would only have two or three.  They want fresh farm eggs.  Every house he has gone into that has had a chicken coop in the back are typically one or two feet off the fence line in the back corner.  They are not obtrusive and against a house.  There is something to be said about proximity to a fence, but maybe it would be more appropriate to attach the separation distance to a dwelling and not a fence line. People are not going to have a regular residential subdivision home and put it in the middle of their back yard to comply with setbacks from fences.  It is going to go towards one side and the back. 
 
Code enforcement is having a terrible time with wild turkeys in east Medford.  How does this play in? 
 
Chair Miranda stated that it gets back to whether staff wants to set this up to where it is restricted to chickens only, or expand it to other fowl?  He believes that if kept specifically to chickens then there will be an escalation of exceptions.
 
Commissioner Foley thinks extending the ordinance to include other fowl is good.  The proximity to the property line is also a valid point.
 
Commissioner McKechnie would prefer to not have any chickens within the City unless it is in an agricultural zone.  He would rather rewrite the definition of livestock to specifically include chickens or anything else, and limit them to the agricultural overlays.  He does not want his next door neighbor having chickens. 
 
Commissioner Mansfield stated some of the reasons he lives in the City is that he does not have to worry about marijuana grows near him, chickens, septic systems going afouland water systems going up.  It is a choice he made.  There are rural properties where one can have farm fresh eggs. 
 
Commissioner Culbertson reported that the vast majority of newer CC&Rs within subdivisions will usually write-in a prohibition on poultry because the ordinances do not allow them.  In the 1960s and 1970s they only limited livestock.  The newer ones also prohibit daycare.  They are prohibiting a lot.  How are you going to deal with people that already have poultry in their back yard if the ordinance is approved?  Do they have to get rid of them?
 
Mr. Brinkley stated this is not going to be in the Land Development Code so it is not like you would end up with a legally non-conforming land use. 
 
Eric Mitton, Senior Assistant City Attorney, stated that generally grandfathering does not apply to Chapter 5 Municipal offenses.  He will have to do a little more research.  It is different than drinking in public or disorderly conduct. He needs to research whether they could enforce it if they have the same number of chickens and coops when the ordinance takes effect.  It would prevent further expansion.  He has some concerns applying Chapter 5 to tear down already constructed chicken coupes. 
 
Commissioner Pulver reported that people are not registering their chicken coops, so no one has any idea how pervasive this is or is not.  His concern is they do not know the order of magnitude.
Mr. Brinkley stated that he does not think the City Council would be willing to ban chickens outright, but they definitely want to control it.
 
Staff stated that the maximum number of five chickens came from the simple mathematical average between all the urbanized cities.
 
Commissioner Mansfield has a difficult time seeing why it is relevant as to what other cities do.  He thinks the City needs to decide for themselves what they want to do.
 
Commissioner Mansfield stated there are all kinds of enforcement procedures.  These enforcement procedures cost the taxpayer’s money.
 
 Mr. Brinkley reported that code enforcement gets complaints.  They investigate them.  It is going to be complaint driven.   
 
Commissioner Mansfield thinks there will be a greater expense enforcing this if it’s allowed to proceed instead of shutting it down all together.
 
Vice Chair McFadden commented that there could be a sign at The Grange where they keep the baby chicks that says chickens are not allowed in Medford.
 
Chair Miranda stated that most retailers are not going to stop selling the chicks.  They would have to put a disclaimer. 
 
Chair Miranda asked, how does this tie into the bee ordinance?  They are not livestock and they were able to put something together for beekeeping.  Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, stated that beekeeping went into Chapter 10 under special use regulations.  There is a minimum of 3 hives going bigger per lot size.  It is tied into the nuisance code and there is a registration program.  That information is put into a map.  The non-commercial keeping of chickens is going through a different process.  City Council wanted staff to address it and create a regulation.  It aids code enforcement in performing their job when they have something they can go to. 
 
Commissioner McKechnie reported the difference is this is enforcement driven.  There is someone causing a problem and there is not a regulation to enforce it. 
 
Commissioner McManus stated that if this proceeds through, would a free registration program with the City be helpful for enforcement and the depth of existing coops?
 
Commissioner Culbertson thinks it’s good to limit the number of chickens, as well as having some sort of regulation addressing other types of fowl, birds and things like that.  Otherwise this may open Pandora’s Box.  The City’s over-arching plan and goal for livability in Medford is very important, but not to stifle the livability within communities or developments. The builders and developers are going to be creating the size of the house, the size of lot, how they look and how they go through the process.  Livability with chickens whether one likes it or not, is a factor that really plays into where some buyers are going to live.  We have an eco-friendly system now.  Some people want farm to table.  If that is prohibited they will go somewhere else.
 
Commissioner Foley thinks if the City is limiting the number of chickens, then it should include other types of fowl, and he likes the idea of them being a certain distance from the adjoining residences. 
 
Commissioner Pulver does not know if the number five is universal for all things.  He is not comfortable on five with any kind of fowl.
 
Chair Miranda thinks the lot size should be taken into consideration. 
 
Mr. Brinkley asked, is the way it is written now just authorizing chickens? 
Mr. Mitton reported that as currently it prohibits chickens in residential areas except for within its limitations, and it is does not ban any other animals that fall outside of the definition of “livestock.”  If ostriches falls outside of the definition of “livestock,” this provision as currently drafted would not ban them, and code enforcement would be looking at them from the perspective of accumulation of feces and noise violations.  What can be done is a revision to the proposed language, prohibiting of all fowl or outside birds, and then using the same exception language and limitations to apply to chickens, ducks, et cetera in limited amounts, with all other fowl or outside birds prohibited. 
 
Should chickens be permitted in the City?  The Planning Commission was on the fence with this question.
 
If chickens are permitted, should the use be controlled and regulated?  All the Planning Commissioners were in favor. 
 
Should there be a maximum number of chickens based on lot size?  Chair Miranda believes there should be a limitation on the number of chickens.  Commissioner Foley agreed.
 
Commissioner Pulver thinks it is realistic to have a sliding scale. 
 
Commissioner Foley believes there should be a top end limit no matter the lot size.
 
Vice Chair McFadden asked, what is classified as commercial?  Is it your own use or giving them away?
 
Mr. Brinkley stated this is designed that no matter how many are allowed it is by definition just a matter of law that it’s not commercial.
 
Chair McFadden asked, Is commercial defined somewhere else?  Mr. Mitton reported that the issue is what code enforcement would have access to.  The City wants objective standards for code enforcement.  Mr. Mitton suggested deleting the commercial aspect.
 
Commissioner McKechnie believes if there is a clause that is hard to enforce then it should not be in there.  His way of thinking is if it is limited to a number of chickens regardless the size of lot and it is small enough, then one cannot make a commercial operation out of it, and therefore that it solves itself.  He suggests skipping the commercial phrasing.  If they cannot enforce it or it is too expensive to enforce then the regulation should not be in place.  Skip the definition of commercial and limit it to five chickens regardless of the size of lot. 
 
Commissioner Culbertson thinks the limitation against a property line is not the way to go; it should be against the neighboring dwellings.  Several other Commissioners agreed. 
 
The majority of the Commissioners want a maximum number of chickens per lot regardless of size.    
                                     
20.2        DCA-17-062 Temporary a d Transitional Housing appraisal
Kyle Kearns, Planner II, this is a development code amendment to consider the allowance of two new housing types in Medford, those being housing villages and cooling/warming shelters.  The underlying intent is to provide affordable housing options for the City’s less fortunate and homeless housing providers. 
 
August 18, 2016, the City Council directed staff to provide land use regulations for incorporating State statute and other standards.  ORS 446.265 allows for municipalities to approve campgrounds within the urban growth boundary on up to two parcels.  A local example is Hope Village.  Other examples of transitional housing include:
 •             Eugene                                 Opportunity Village (CUP process)
                                                                Emerald Village (CUP process)
 
•             Cottage Grove                  Cottage Village (multi-family standards)
•             Portland                               Dignity Village (ORS 446.265)
•             Olympia, WA                      Quixote Village (CUP process)
 
Housing Villages (Special Use Regulations 10.818A) are defined as: A housing development in which multiple sleeping and/or dwelling units, that are typically smaller than 500 square feet are located on a lot(s), tract(s), or parcel(s) of land that shall be under the same ownership.  A housing village is also distinguished by the placement of structures, with the front entrances facing a common area(s) shared by all residents.
 
Cooling/Warming Shelters (Special Use Regulations 10.819A) are defined as: A temporary emergency shelter within an existing building meant to provide relief from extreme weather for homeless individuals or families.
 
Housing villages is an umbrella term, or can be an umbrella term for smaller housing types.  As proposed today it is only for homeless or near homeless individuals (i.e. disadvantaged populations, elderly with sub-par living, etc.).
 
The following are the proposed housing village types:
 
Emergency Housing Village (EHV). Key code provisions 10.818A (F) Standards for Emergency Housing Villages:
•             No permanent structures
•             Time limits for removal
•             For Declared Emergencies Only (i.e. floods, earthquakes)
•             Exceptions to Municipal Code
 
Interim Housing Village (IHV).  These are for homeless individuals not during a time of emergency.  They are temporary in nature.  They would only be permitted for a maximum of 180 consecutive calendar days.  They do have some limitations of the total number within a city at any point in time. 
 
Transitional Housing Village (THV).  These are more permanent in nature in the sense of development.  Tenants are temporary.  The idea is to transition tenants into permanent housing and the host agency of the THV must demonstrate through the ability to transition tenants into permanent housing.
 
Staff has prepared a site plan using the City’s proposed standards of what a housing village could look like.  It would be something that would come before the Site Plan and Architectural Commission or even the Planning Commission depending how this goes in the future.
 
Housing Village Provision Interim Housing Village (IHV) Transitional Housing Village (THV)
Public Outreach (neighborhood meeting) 10.818A (D)(1)
Mirrors PUD standard already in place
Operational  Requirements (operations plan)
10.818A (E)(1)
180 day time limit,
Max. of 4 IHVs in City, reporting requirements
Financial analysis, reporting requirements
Safety and Security (includes Safety and Security Plan) 10.818A (E)(4) - No open flames, population caps, water access, staffing of access point, structure separation, generator use (IHV only)
Site Development Standards - General 10.818A (G)(1) - Grouping standards, parking design, parking reduction, sleeping unit standards
Site Development Standards - THV 10.818A (G)(2) – manufactured structures, acre limit (unless CUP), tents & yurts allowed, fence requirement, 40 people max with acre
Site Development Standards - IHV 10.818A (G)(3) – no permanent structures, acre limit, may exceed lot coverage by 10%, 40 people max with acre
       
 
Cooling/Warming Shelters. Key Code Provisions (Within Exhibit A):
10.819A (C) General Standards Cooling/Warming Shelters
•             Neighborhood Meeting Requirement (mirrors Housing Village)
•             Operations Plan (includes 90 day time limit)
•             Reporting requirements
•             Safety and Security Plan
 
10/819A (D) Site Development Standards for Cooling/Warming Shelters
•             Within existing structure, accessory use, allowance for tents/yurts, lighting, separation of animals. 
 
Zoning for Temporary Housing (SFR & MFR)

Zoning for Temporary Housing (Commercial)
 
 
Hearing/Commission Dates (Past/Future)
•             August 31, 2017: City Council study session
•             September 6, 2017: Medford Housing Commission (informational).  They requested staff return and they would provide a formal position. 
•             September 11, 2017: Planning Commission study session
•             October 4, 2017: Housing and Community Development Commission meeting
•             October 12, 2017: Planning Commission hearing
•             November 2, 2017: City Council hearing.  This may have to be moved because of all the comments staff is receiving.
 
Staff asked if the Planning Commission thought this was a good timeframe.
 
Does the proposed text align with the City Council’s original direction from August 18, 2016? (i.e. THV/Hope Village)
 
Should staff retain, amend, or remove the standards pertaining to:
•             Emergency Housing Villages (EHV)
•             Interim Housing Villages (IHV)
•             Cooling/Warming Shelters
Should the timing requirements for cooling/warming shelters be based on calendar days or weather events?
City Council’s comments from August 31, 2017:
•             Code language expands past ORS 446.265
•             Allowance for cooling/warming shelters based on weather
•             Similar controls like with Hope Village
•             Neighborhood meeting requirement insufficient
•             Allowance for tents/yurts with cooling/warming shelters not desired
•             Concerns regarding concentrations of villages and shelters
•             Will housing villages be considered needed housing
•             Outright permitted use not desired
 
Chair Miranda asked, for Interim Housing the maximum length of stay is 180 calendar days.  How long does that site have to stay vacant before they can move back?  Mr. Kearns reported that once it ends it has to be a full calendar year before they can come back to that same location and they can only do that two years in a row.
 
Commissioner Foley stated that it makes more sense to treat them more with cooling than warming.  The way it was written it is a maximum of 90 continuous days.  That does not seem very effective given the fact that the last several weeks there was the need for cooling during the day.  During the winter 90 days is not long enough for warming and giving up a place for an entire year.  He is wondering if there is a different way to work it.  He understands not making a permanent site.  There has to be something that deals with the ability to open and close if not needed and not count against their 90 days.  Mr. Kearns reported that staff was directed to address that.  There is some code language within Fire that would allow that.  Staff was told it would not be an issue to allow for weather events.  The issue comes up when they hit the consecutive 90 days.  Commissioner Foley feels that it has to be triggered by the weather. 
 
Commissioner McKechnie asked, Hope Village units are permanent.  Is there a limitation on the length of time one can be at Hope Village?  Mr. Kearns stated that is up to the organization running the village.  Typically, it is a two year program.  HUD has a definitions that staff has tried to mirror but that is out of the City’s enforcement.  It is something to consider. 
 
Vice Chair McFadden asked, how do these new requirements affect organizations in the area already providing some of these services like St. Vincent DePaul and the Salvation Army and do these requirements affect how they do theirs?  Mr. Brinkley stated no, not a traditional homeless shelter.  As long as it is in a non-residential zone and an accessory use to a church or similar.  That falls in what can be done.  Vice Chair McFadden commented that the one on Old Pacific Highway is not associated with a church.  It is a lot like a cooling/warming shelter.  There has to be something in the code that states how they are similar or different.  Mr. Brinkley reported that as long as they are in a commercial zone they are allowed.  Mr. Kearns expanded on that stating staff is adding a definition of emergency shelters.  Warming shelters are defined.  That gives the distinction between the two uses. 
 
It bothers Vice Chair McFadden on the weather.  If one is cooling for three months and warming for three months that is very little overlap.  Often the weather is one way or the other.  Then there has to be consideration willing to put all this together; whether it be a charitable organization or not, continuous operation is better than something that starts and stops.  He sees the City’s position as trying to have the best possible living arrangements for anybody.  Non-sanitary and non-utility provided places goes against why they are here.
 
Commissioner Pulver stated this issue has been discussed to a lot of other venues.  It has not been discussed a lot within the Planning Commission.  If they are going to approve something it warrants a fair amount of discussion time.  He has a lot of things he has concerns about.  Specific to today, he does not know how state of emergency works.  Once that declaration is made does it stay around for a long time?  Is it a funding mechanism?  He wants to understand why the need for Interim Housing Villages as opposed to transitional.  He is not in favor of a tent camp.  It does not make sense to be moving every 180 days because that is a big undertaking.  It discourages the entire concept.  Hope Village has some substance and permanence to it that can be effective in its mission.  He would like to understand the boundaries and limitations on applications and requirements from an on-going standpoint.  He thought he saw mentioned that this code modification addressing tiny homes in a more generic sense.  He does not know if he misread something or if that was really the intent.  If that was the intent he would like discussion on that.  He does not think tiny homes in the conceptual is what is being discussed with this piece.  Mr. Brinkley stated not with this piece. 
 
Commissioner Culbertson stated that when this concept came out Vice Chair McFadden sent out an articulated letter that if they wanted to have Hope Village they should have come as a zoning change.  They should have identified the property and try to fit the rules.  They were told no so they did an end-around.  Now, he gets the sense they did it and now wants things to be fixed.  The email lined it out very simply. 
 
Commissioner Foley reported that they spent 45 minutes on chickens and this needs a lot of discussion.  There are 40 plus pages of reading.  This needs a lot more discussion with the Planning Commission before they can have an informed opinion.  They need to have the right things in place to make it work.  This is a big topic. 
 
Vice Chair McFadden stated that the beginning date on this with the City Council was a year ago. He is surprised this did not come to the Planning Commission six months ago.
 
Commissioner McKechnie defended staff stating they are basically rewriting the zoning, building, and fire code.  Those have been in affect 40 years.  They are updated every three years and staff is undertaking that and understand in a short period of time.  He agrees they need a lot more discussion on this and understand the implications. 
 
Chair Miranda agrees with the consensus that the Planning Commission should see this at least once or twice more in a study session. 
 
Ms. Paladino reported that next Monday, September 18, 2017, there will be a joint study session with the City Council.  This is one of the topics on the agenda. 
 
Mr. Brinkley stated that the only urgency is the cooling/warming shelter part of this as far as City Council is concerned.  They are cautious about the transitional and interim housing in no small part because of the experience with Hope Village.  It was a frustrating experience for staff trying to make sure they were following life safety issues of the building code that were important.  Hope Village is at the point of getting their Certificate of Occupancy.  It has been a challenging process and having prescriptive rules in place is needed as staff hopes it will help them manage that in the future. 
 
The Housing Advocacy Committee is starting and Ms. Paladino sent an email if anyone was interested in participating.  She heard from Commissioner McManus and Commissioner Foley.  Staff would like to have a Planning Commissioner representation on that committee.   Vice Chair McFadden recommended both Commissioner McManus and Commissioner Foley and have them act as primary and secondary.  If one cannot make a meeting then the other one will.  It was a unanimous favorable consensus. 
 
Last Thursday at City Council they finalized the local urban growth boundary process.  They had to combine their findings with the County’s into a new ordinance with the City.  The will be sending it to the State in a month or so. 
 
Article II reorganization also went to the City Council last Thursday.  It was moved to a study session in October, no hearing date.                         
   
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 1:24 p.m.
 
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary
 

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