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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, January 08, 2018

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 (arrived 12:03 p.m.)
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
E. J. McManus
Alex Poythress (arrived 12:05 p.m.)
Jared Pulver
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
20.1        CP-16-036  Transportation System Plan Policy Topics
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, stated that she will present the level of service (LOS), Concurrency and the Transportation Planning Rule.  Kyle Kearns, Planner II will present level of traffic stress.
The LOS measures the operation level of an intersection at peak hours.  The Level of Service is graded on a scale from A to F with A meaning minimal delays and F meaning more delays.  The City uses LOS on higher order signalized intersections.  The City’s standard of Level of Service “D” is 35.1 to 50.0 seconds.
Some of the positives of Level of Service are:
•             Measures roadway facility adequacy
•             Helps the City understand impacts of future development at an intersection
•             Paired with concurrency it obligates the developer to provide mitigation prior to or at the same time as construction occurs.
•             Currently evaluate at time of Zone Change (provides understanding of developer’s future obligations).
Some of the issues with Level of Service:
•             Assumes “one size fits all” approach
•             Synthesizes intersection operation during the worst one hour of the day
•             Does not factor in items such as intersection operation, safety and queuing.
•             May negatively influence development patterns and restrictions.
•             Projects that fall below LOS “D” may result in no project or delay in project construction, restricted zoning overly (trip cap and restriction on types of uses), infrastructure improvements (new or modified traffic signal)
•             Roughly 1,300 acres have restricted zoning.  Some restricted zoning is due to sewer or water capacity issues.
Questions to consider:
•             Is determination of Level of Service best at time of zone change?
•             Are there other options? (At Site Plan, at Zone Change but with expiration date, or allowances in Transportation Planning Rule not currently permitted by code).
Vice Chair McFadden asked, are comments from LCDC regarding when to do and when not to do traffic studies entered in to this?  Ms. Paladino reported that she will discuss the Transportation Planning Rule where there is allowances that give flexibility that the traffic impact analysis may not be required at the time of zone change.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, is it not too late at the time of site plan?  Why wouldn’t that be true? Ms. Paladino stated that it is not too late at the time of site plan.  Staff would be evaluating actual development trips versus proposed or worst case scenario trips during the time of zone change.
Commissioner Foley stated that it would be better to inform the developer of the restrictions before developing the site opposed to a developer developing and then finds out after a traffic study there are restrictions to his original plan that cannot be done.
Commissioner McKechnie has the same thought.  Unless it is a small parcel undergoing a zone change they all have to have a traffic study.  He does not understand what the advantage is of a traffic study with an expiration date.  If that is a big issue then there should not be a traffic study at the time of zone change.  Ms. Paladino commented that the City Council is interested in how other jurisdictions do Traffic Impact Studies at time of site plan.  Their concern is if someone purchases a piece of property that is zoned appropriately and knows the trips they know what their parameters are. 
Commissioner McKechnie believes it would be easier for a developer is to contribute to a fund that does this rather than doing the improvements themselves.  It would help the City in planning the improvements more systematically. 
The City Council’s direction:
•             Add a roundabout first policy 
•             Add pro-rata share requirements
•             Exempt residences over commercial from trip generation calculation
•             For Traffic Impact Analysis, add specific safety analysis and mitigation requirements.
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager, reported that Public Works has a requirement to analyze safety.  There is nothing in the code requiring mitigation for safety issues.
Commissioner Pulver asked for examples.  Mr. MacNair stated they review the crash history at an intersection and compare it to the generally accepted value for the number of crashes per million entering vehicles at that intersection.  If it is above a certain threshold, that indicates something is going on, at which point they dig deeper into the specific types of crashes.  He has not seen a traffic impact analysis having a safety issue identified that they mitigated.
Commissioner Pulver is struggling with a project being responsible for the bill of an already stressed intersection.  Mr. MacNair stated that the Walgreens example at Riverside and Barnett would be what modifications can be made.  It is not necessarily going to fix the safety issue.  Can installing medians for the left turn pockets restricting some of the driveways of right-in right-out and left-in that will make it safer.
Commissioner Pulver asked, isn’t that done anyway as part of Site Plan and Architectural Commission review?  Commissioner McKechnie stated that is more land development.      
•             Allow alternative mitigation
The City Council’s options that need more information before they make a decision:
•             Include analysis and mitigation for pedestrian/bike/transit modes in Traffic Impact Analysis
•             Move concurrency to the land use application
 Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney, asked, is alternate mitigation something the developer would opt into or would that be a requirement to raise Nolan/Dolan objection?  Ms. Paladino reported that has issues that need to be worked out.
Commissioner McKechnie likes the roundabout first policy.  He suggested that if making roundabouts first priority that as new areas are developed to plan extra room at the intersections for roundabouts.
Vice Chair McFadden asked, do roundabouts have to be centered on the roadway in and out of it?  Mr. MacNair replied they do not have to be but that is the ideal location.
Commissioner Pulver asked, how much does the SDC fees cover in terms of the TSP projects list?  Mr. MacNair stated the SDC’s are supposed to pay for what is anticipated on capacity of roadway construction.  There is $75 million over the next twenty years for transportation projects.  He does not recall how much of that was coming from SDC fees.
Commissioner Culbertson asked, what was the impact on Main Street when the City made a center turn lane with two lanes as opposed to the four lanes before?  Has anybody done a study on that?  Mr. MacNair does not know the answer.  That was done before he began work with the City.   
Transportation Planning Rule 
Ms. Paladino reported that the Transportation Planning Rule is built into Oregon Administrative Rule.  Goal 12 of the Statewide Planning Goals is transportation.
There are three provisions the City can take advantage of when reviewing and use actions:
•             Zone Changes
•             Multi-Modal Mixed Use Areas
•             Partial mitigation for traded sector jobs
Jurisdictions may find that an amendment to a zoning map does not significantly affect a transportation facility if all the following are met:
•             Zoning is consistent with existing Comprehensive Plan and
•             Amendment does not change the Comprehensive Plan
•             TSP is acknowledged and zoning consistent with it; and
•             Project under consideration was not exempted from this rule at the time of an Urban Growth Boundary amendment, or if it was exempted, the jurisdiction has a subsequently acknowledged TSP that accounted for urbanization of the area.
Benefits of the rule:
•             Provides a clear land use review path for the applicant and staff (zone change complies with identified factors and jurisdiction can make a finding to support the change)
•             Relies on date from the Comprehensive Plan and Transportation System Plan without having to analyze transportation impacts
•             May allow applicant to shift when a Traffic Impact Analysis is submitted (site plan versus zone change)
Staff recommendations:
•             Ensure Development Code is consistent with the TPR allowance regarding zone changes
•             Establish criteria identifying when a Traffic Impact Analysis is not required with a zone change application
Commissioner Foley thinks there is a middle ground that would allow an exception if it is not appropriate to do a traffic analysis versus one where it is appropriate on the front end with significant change.
Vice Chair McFadden’s concern is the Planning Commission not having an overall view of this as time goes on.  Whatever the rule becomes it guides staff.
Commissioner Culbertson reported that the City Council made modifications against staff’s and Planning Commission’s recommendation when finalizing the GLUP map.
Commissioner Pulver stated that a traffic analysis is not required, there is no requirement to do improvements until Site Plan at which point the traffic impact analysis is warranted based on what is actually proposed.  Ms. Paladino reported that there is a threshold of 250 trips.  If the development will not trigger 250 trips a traffic impact analysis is not required.  It would be required over 250 trips. 
Multi-Modal Mixed Use Areas:
•             City designated; State acknowledged
•             Located within the Urban Growth Boundary
•             Allows range of uses but limits others (allows high density residential, offices, retail, restaurants, cultural, civic, multi-story).  Limits low intense use such as industrial uses, automobile sales and services, drive through services. 
•             Specific development requirements.  Buildings are oriented to the street; street connections and crossings that make the center safe and conveniently accessible from adjacent uses.  Streets are accommodating and comfortable to pedestrians. Streetscape and pedestrian scale considered.  Limit parking or reduce parking standards. Provides one or more transit stops.
•             Location factors (at least 1/4 mile from any ramp terminal intersection of existing or planned interchanges; within the area of an adopted Interchange Area Management Plan or consistent with the IAMP; within 1/4 mile of a ramp terminal intersection of an existing or planned interchange if ODOT or provider provides written concurrence.
Benefits of the Rule:
•             Jurisdiction may improve a land use regulation in a MMA without applying performance standards to motor vehicle traffic
•             Makes a strong statement about where the City wants development and redevelopment to occur and in what way
•             Removes emphasis on studying traffic congestion
•             Development pattern and uses are identified within the MMA so developer knows what to expect
Staff Recommendation:
•             Add an action item to the Goals and Objectives that seeks to evaluate and pursue at least one Multimodal Mixed-Use area in the City
•             Possible locations (downtown, Liberty Park Neighborhood, Southeast Commercial center, Transit Oriented Development areas and future Urban Growth Boundary expansion areas
Partial Mitigation for Economic Development
One of the City’s goals is to bring in new business and industry to help support the economy and provide living wage jobs for residents.  There are large areas of industrially zoned land in the northwest, south of downtown and along North Pacific Highway.  There are also industrial land proposed to come into the Urban Growth Boundary in the southeast and in MD-5 and in the northeast in MD-2.
There likely will be situations where land use actions will cause impact to one or more intersections.  Currently, the code requires an applicant to mitigate the standard Level of Service “D” or limit the development potential of the site to below failure.
Benefits of Rule
•             Allows jurisdiction to approve partial mitigation if it qualifies as economic development
•             Provides City with the ability to weigh the benefits and impacts
•             Ensures coordination between State and local agencies
Staff Recommendations
•             Establish criteria/program that allows partial mitigation in exchange for new industry
•             Criteria for partial mitigation may include defining what qualifies as economic development (types of jobs created including wages) and number of new jobs created
•             Identify mitigation allowances (intersection improvements, off-site improvements and safety enhancements for other modes, signage, or striping
Future Topics going to City Council
•             January 25, 2018 – Design Guidelines and South Stage Crossing
•             February 22, 2018 – Project list and finalize Goals, Objectives and Actions
•             March 22, 2018 – Draft Transportation System Plan
•             March 29, 2018 – Joint City Council and Planning Commission study session
Transportation System Plan Open Houses on Project Lists – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
•             January 9, 2018 – North Medford High School Commons (Ward 1)
•             January 17, 2018 – Smullin Center (Ward 4)
•             January 23, 2018 – Downtown Library (Ward 2)
•             January 24, 2018 – Santo Center (Ward 3)
Commissioner Foley stated they glazed over safety in walking, sidewalks, etc.  Is something going to be done with that aspect or not?  Ms. Paladino reported it is part of the project list.  Staff is hoping to hear about projects that are important to people. 
Level of Traffic Stress
Kyle Kearns, Planner II, reported that Level of Traffic Stress is a measurement of perceived/actual levels of traffic stress experienced by either a bicyclist or pedestrian.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has adopted criteria that can be found in the Analysis Procedures Manual, Version 2.  The criteria includes:
Bicyclists Level of Traffic Stress                                 
•             Roadway speed
•             Roadway width
•             Bike lane presence and/or width
•             Parking presence and/or width
Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress
•             Roadway speed and width
•             Sidewalk width and condition
•             Buffer type, width, and presence
•             Nearby land uses
There are four classifications of Level of Traffic Stress recognized by ODOT and have distinct users associated with them.  The majority of Medford’s network is designed for 8% of the population.
Within the 2018-2038 Transportation System Plan update, the Level of Traffic Stress is used to analyze the network for safety and gaps and prioritize bicycle network infrastructure needs.
Within the 2018-2038 Transportation System Plan update, Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress currently is only used as an analysis tool and less explicitly stated compared to Bicyclists Level of Traffic Stress.  Staff is seeking direction as how to best incorporate the Pedestrian Level of Traffic Stress analysis.
Possible applications of Level of Traffic Stress (Level of Traffic Stress 2 is considered an appropriate target by ODOT).
•             Ensure incorporation into the Transportation System Plan (Bicyclists Level of Traffic Stress is already there)
•             Require certain level of Level of Traffic Stress for developments (directed to back away from this)
•             Ensure cross sections achieve a certain Level of Traffic Stress
•             Use strictly as an analysis tool
•             Focus Level of Traffic Stress in specific geographic areas
Chair Miranda commented on the consideration that was directed to back away from what would be the validity or the functional use instead of requiring use recommended so that the information is still there to be presented to the developer but they are not required to administer.  If it cost $200 to implement and it is in their budget to do but if it is going to cost several thousand dollars it is a different story.
Commissioner Foley asked, isn’t that being covered in the analysis tool?  Mr. Kearns stated that the analysis tool would be used for clarity.
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director, stated if it is in the adopted cross-section it is what it is.
Commissioner McKechnie suggested offering financial incentives.  To do extra the developer would get a break on their traffic SDC fees.  Ms. Akin reported that would depend on the facility because SDC fees are only applied to collector and arterial streets.  Mr. MacNair replied they have to be spent at vehicle capacity.  He does not know if they could be used for bicycle and pedestrian capacity. 
Commissioner Pulver reported when he first attended the Joint Transportation Subcommittee they discussed a lot about Greenfield versus existing.  It is his opinion it would be important to include items discussed today.  The goal for Greenfield development would be to try and address some if not all what was discussed today. 
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 1:19 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary


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