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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, October 09, 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
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
Patrick Miranda, Chair, Unexcused Absence       
E. J. McManus, Excused Absence            
Alex Poythress, Excused Absence           
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
20.1        GF-17-122  Wholesale Marijuana In Community Commercial Zoning District
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director, stated that there is now a poultry ordinance.  It allows six hens in the City of Medford.  Peacocks, ostrich, emu and turkeys are not allowed.
Ms. Akin reported that staff received a request from James Scott, who is present today, owner of Oregon Grown Cannabis in Medford at the end of August.  Oregon Grown Cannabis operates on the south side of Stewart Avenue, located near Columbus Avenue.  Fire Station 2 was recently completed next door.  Mr. Scott is requesting a code amendment to allow the wholesale trade of marijuana in the Community Commercial (C-C) zoning district.
As currently written, wholesale trade of marijuana is not permitted in the C-C zoning district.  In October 2015, the code was amended to include marijuana related uses including production, processing, wholesale, laboratory and dispensaries.  Special use regulations were also adopted outlining specific conditions related to marijuana uses.  In December 2016, the code was amended to permit retail sales of marijuana in specific zoning districts.  The code was amended again in May of this year to allow marijuana production and the manufacture of sugar and confectionary products in the C-H zone.
Wholesale trade of non-durable goods is not permitted in the C-C zone district.  When marijuana uses were first introduced into the code it was considered equal to tomatoes and classified the various related uses accordingly.  In this case, staff used classes 512 (Drugs, Proprietaries, and Sundries), 516 (Chemicals and Allied Products), and 519 (Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods) as a basis to determine the appropriate location of marijuana related uses.  These are not allowed in the C-C zone district.
In researching other cities, Ashland does not allow wholesale uses in the commercial zones but does in the industrial zones.  Central Point allows retail sales but staff could not find information on wholesale uses.  Roseburg allows wholesale uses in their industrial zones.
The policy staff has been working under related to citizen requests.  The policy states that the Commission will initiate no more than two citizen requested text amendments in a calendar year.  The Planning Commission has already done that.  Also, staff’s focus is on the Urban Growth Boundary expansion project.  Based on those two factors, staff is recommending that this amendment not be initiated.  Staff will place this item on the Thursday, November 14, 2017 agenda for the Planning Commission’s decision.
The Thursday, October 12, 2017, Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled due to no business.  There are no business items for Thursday, October 26, 2017, Planning Commission so that meeting may be cancelled.
Commissioner Pulver asked, when this comes before the Planning Commission, is it for the Planning Commission to direct staff to research this or to process it because the Commission thinks it has validity?  Ms. Akin stated that if the Planning Commission initiates this it is important enough to add it into staff’s workload. 
Commissioner McKechnie asked Mr. Scott, what is the difference between retail and wholesale?  Mr. Scott reported that the retail sells to the consumer.  The only reason he is requesting this is that he constructed an FDA approved bank vault which is considered wholesale storage inside this dispensary.  There is one camera to the OLCC designated to one rack in the vault.  Wholesale is that he sells for farms.  There would be no more traffic than what is there now.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, does a farm bring Mr. Scott cannabis in bulk and then Mr. Scott sells that cannabis bulk to other cannabis stores?  Mr. Scott replied yes.
Mr.  Scott asked, is there a variance allowed on his location?  Ms. Akin reported no.  Under the code he cannot apply for a variance to the use tables.               
20.2        DCA-16-072 / CP-17-114 / ZC-17-115  Public Zoning Amendment
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, reported that in July of 2016 there was a study session on public zoning.  At that time, staff proposed two public zones that included zoning for parks, schools, government facilities, utilities, and the airport.  The Planning Commission agreed that there was no need to rezone government buildings as uses are already allowed in commercial zones.  Same is true for the airport, the uses are allowed outright in the light industrial zone.  Also, the Commission could not see any real purpose in rezoning utilities.  Staff generally agreed with those conclusions.
Staff scaled that back and is now proposing one new zoning district, the Public Parks Zone.  This zone would only be applied to publically owned park properties and trails in Medford.
This would distinguish parks from other zoning districts.  The current zoning map of Medford shows a lot of yellow residential zoning and red/pink commercial zoning.  It will be more transparent to the public as to where the parks are in Medford.  There is a General Land Use Plan Map (GLUP) designation for parks but not a matching zone.  There is a GLUP designation for residential, commercial and industrial with corresponding zoning.  Having a parks zone will be consistent with handling the other designations.
Having a parks zone is also helpful for reporting purposes and help to further refine the types of land in Medford.  Two large parks will eventually be brought in with the proposed Urban Growth Boundary.  Chrissy and Prescott Parks are over 1800 acres and it does not seem appropriate to annex them to the City and give them residential zoning.
Vice Chair McFadden asked, would putting them in the parks zone drop them out of the calculations for City density?  Ms. Akin stated it drops them out of the buildable lands inventory.
The project includes four land use actions:
1.            General Land Use Plan Map Amendment
               •  Add the Parks Designation to newer parks in the system
               •  Change the designation on two other properties
2.            Major Zone Change
•  Convert park properties to Public Parks Zone
3.            Development Code Amendment
               •  Add new zoning with site development standards and permitted uses
4.            Comprehensive Plan Amendment
               •  Add description of Parks zone
Moving forward, staff will continue to work with the Parks Department, refine the Land Development Code amendments and present to the Planning Commission and City Council by the end of this year or early next year. 
Staff would like the Planning Commission to consider whether continue reviewing parks as conditional use permits or through another type of review.  It could be through the Planning Commission or the Site Plan and Architectural Commission. Currently, parks require a conditional use permit in the residential and commercial zones.  The Parks zoning will imply that parks are the permitted use in the zone.  Staff wants to maintain a higher level of review for parks with more active recreation, amplified noise, and field lighting.  With existing parking getting updated and smaller parks getting developed, would an administrative review or director’s decision be more appropriate for those situations?
Commissioner Foley does not think it is a bad idea in general.  A conditional use permit for the smaller parks is a pain.  His concern is some of the permitted uses.  It is his opinion they are over extensive.  There are too many permitted uses in the park that would require no review.  Ms. Sousa reported that should have been clarified more.  It would still require a Site Plan and Architectural Commission review.  It is distinguishing between conditional and permitted. 
Commissioner McKechnie stated that developing a school or government building it is not a park it is a building.  It should not be categorized as a park if it is publicly owned.  To him a park is an open space with play equipment.  The uses do not fit.
Bill Mansfield reported that conditional use permits cost the tax payer’s money to process.  Isn’t that a time honored system of letting the local folks that could be affected come in and say their peace?  It seems to him that if these are set out in standards there may be situations that are detrimental to neighboring properties.  Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, stated that under the parks zoning and if the Parks Department wanted to build a standard park, they would submit a staff report with a site plan, and the uses are already permitted, neighbors would be notified and then it would go to the director for approval.  There would not be a hearing but there would still be an opportunity for comments from the public.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that parks are terrible neighbors.  He feels more comfortable with the conditional use permit version than just the code.
Commissioner McKechnie reported that parks are not usually developed in an existing neighborhood.  The park land is designated long before something else is built around it. 
Ms. Sousa stated that the Parks Department does have neighborhood meetings when they are developing parks. 
Commissioner McKechnie asked, regarding Cedar Links, was there a requirement to develop a park when the golf course was created?  Ms. Akin reported no.  The Parks Department acquired that property as the original developers were losing the property. 
Commissioner McKechnie stated that if there was a development with a park component that would get deeded to the City.  The zone change would require a public hearing. 
Vice Chair McFadden responded that later there would be developmental conditions. 
Commissioner McKechnie added that if they wanted to add a basketball court or lights then that would require public comment.
Staff had discussed how to initiate the changes.  As the Parks Department acquires park land in the future those lands would need to be changed.  Would that require the Parks Department to submit an application or would the Planning Department annually inquire of the Parks Department what land have they acquired in the past year.  Then staff could do an annual GLUP and zone change combination that would come before the Planning Commission. Making it more of a routine.  Staff could write in the standard that they would notify neighbors within 250 feet of the property that is being converted.
Commissioner McKechnie thinks it would be easier for the Planning Commission every time the Parks Department acquired park land for them to submit an application. 
Commissioner Pulver does not think this is the solution for the problem.  He thinks there are other ways to designate where a park is other than creating a zone.
Commissioner Culbertson asked, why did the property on Merriman and Mason get switched to urban residential?  Ms. Sousa reported that the school district no longer owns that property so it will be changed from parks and schools back to urban residential.  A developer purchased the property.
Ms. Paladino heard from a few of the Commissioners that they are not sure about staff creating a park zone.  Is that the consensus of the rest of the Commissioners?
Commissioner Foley, Commissioner McKechnie and Commissioner Culbertson thinks it makes sense to have a park zone.
Commissioner Pulver thinks it is inappropriate for one person to make the decision.  Parks are one thing in one’s head and another in reality.  Saying all parks are the same is wrong.  They are not.  One may get noticed and write a letter to complain but it is different than having one’s voice heard.  That is part of the reasons this body exists.  He disagrees with this zone.  Ms. Paladino stated that is the process piece and staff can work on that piece. 
Commissioner Foley asked, is Commissioner Pulver’s concerns other than not wanting to add another complexity to it, if there was the right criteria so that there was review if something weird was happening, would that work?  Commissioner Pulver replied, sure.  Why are we going down this path to being with?  It is supposed to lessen the work load but it seems like a lot of work to create something, in his mind, that does not need to be created in the first place. 
The issue for Commissioner McKechnie came up when they had schools.  Every time the school wanted to do something they had to go through a conditional use permit process which was a lot of time and money on their part for something that seemed reasonable and obvious.  He thinks that is the impotence of this.
Commissioner Mansfield brought out the point about getting hearings for the people and Ms. Sousa make a good point that the Planning Director will do so but Commissioner Pulver thinks it should come before the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Culbertson thinks everything bears merit.  Why can’t the burdensome applications that come for something as simple as adding a swing set to a park be a desk decision?  Why do paperwork and take up time to pull somebody off something?  Maybe it comes as a small application for a partition that will be rubber stamped because it fits the box that the land use planning has created.  If it is well within inside the bounds of the box and no one can punch a hole in the box even if a neighbor did not like it, it should be desk approved.  There is no reason to take up the Planning Commission’s time.
Commissioner McKechnie reported that the first decision is appealable.
Ms. Akin stated that appeals only go before the City Council.
Ms. Akins observation is that they do not often hear testimony for new parks but almost always hear testimony when changing a park.  When they want to add something or revise something they hear from the neighbors.
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 12:56 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary


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