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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, January 22, 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:
David McFadden, Vice Chair
Patrick Miranda, Chair, Excused Absence
E. J. McManus, Unexcused Absence
Alex Poythress, Unexcused Absence
Jared Pulver, Excused Absence
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
20.1 ZC-17-115 / DCA-16-072 / CP-17-114 – Public Parks Zoning District Amendment
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV, stated that the Planning Department is proposing to add a new zoning district, the Public Parks Zone, to the City of Medford. The Public Parks zone would be applied to publicly owned and park properties and trails in the City of Medford.
The purpose of the proposal is to distinguish parks from the other zoning districts; corresponding zone to the General Land Use Plan designation, reporting purposes and zone parks that are annexed with a Parks Zone.
There are two large parks within the proposed Urban Growth Boundary. Chrissy and Prescott Parks encompass approximately 1,800 acres. Having a Public Parks zone will allow these properties to be annexed and zoned as parks rather than residential land.
Today is the third study session on this topic. In July of 2016 was the first study session that staff proposed multiple public zones. Feedback from the Commission was not favorable on creating multiple public zones.
The second Planning Commission study session was October 2017. Staff proposed Planning Director level review for smaller parks. Feedback from the Commission was mixed but not necessarily favorable to the idea. Staff has removed that option.
The current proposal is to have new parks reviewed under a new land use application. It would be similar to a Conditional Use Permit. It would be a Class “C” plan authorization with a public hearing before the Planning Commission. Revisions to parks originally approved under a conditional use permit would go back through a conditional use process. Trails would also go through a conditional use process.
Uses permitted in this new zone would have to be accessory to a park. Since the last time the Planning Commission reviewed this draft staff as added site development standards such as:
• Vehicular and Bicycle parking
• Special setback for noise producing sports courts (such as basketball courts) to residential properties
• Clarified which landscaping standards apply to parks
The next steps would be that it goes to the Planning Commission public hearing on February 22, 2018; City Council study session on March 8, 2018; and City Council public hearing on April 5, 2018.
For consideration of Park development review criteria:
• The proposed park or park building facility is located within the Public Park zone.
• The proposal complies with setbacks, lot coverage, off-street parking, signage, lighting, concealment of HVAC and trash, block length, landscaping (parking area planters, parking lot screening, and frontage landscaping) and other site development standards of the Code.
• The proposal applies with all other applicable provisions of all city ordinances or the Planning Commission has approved an exception as provided in Section 10.251.
Commissioner Foley asked, why run the existing parks through the conditional use process? Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney, had a concern with an existing conditional use permit that allows certain conditions that is permitted in the new Parks zone may have inadvertent consistencies in terms of the old conditional use permit becoming a nonconforming use with the current zoning and both existing in tandem. Legally it could be done either way. It is a matter of preference. Whether it is easier administratively for the existing conditional use permit to keep amending or convert them getting rid of the conditional use permit and it is not existing as a prior nonconforming use. At that point they are part of the new amendment and follows those rules.
Commissioner McKechnie thinks where all the conditional use permits are amended to be consistent or nonconforming. The hardest thing to administer is something that has been grandfathered.
Commissioner Mansfield thinks that some of the permitted uses are strange like Christmas tree sales, live crab sales and gas production. Vice Chair McFadden commented that the gas company has had facilities in City parks. Commissioner McKechnie reported that the Farmer’s Market is held in a public park.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, what happens with the “Ps”? Ms. Sousa reported that if the “P” has a little “s” it is referenced in another code section.
There was discussion on beekeeping as a permitted use. The Parks Department would have to approve beekeeping in a public park.
Mr. Mitton stated that the Parks Department has the ultimate discretion to say no to any use regarding public parks. It is a permitted use as a zoning issue. If a property owner wants to put a permitted use they have to go through the process.
Commissioner Culbertson suggested language in the new amendment that states the Parks Department has discretion with backing.
Commissioner McKechnie’s opinion is that that the 150 feet setback for basketball courts. Is unreasonably restrictive. 10 feet should be enough.
Vice Chair McFadden asked, what if a person takes an empty lot and turns it into a park. Does there need to be control on residential parcels of property used as a park but is not a City park? Ms. Sousa stated they would need a conditional use permit.
Commissioner Culbertson asked, when the State reviews the Urban Growth Boundary amendment properties that will be allowed for annexation, any of the lands dealing with the parks or the possibility of Chrissy or Prescott parks, take way from the lands the City said were the first lands to take a look at? Ms. Paladino reported that Chrissy and Prescott parks are part of the amendment. That is another roughly 1,800 acres that is allocated for parks.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that the permitted use for camps and recreational vehicle parks he is not opposed to but the City of Ashland is engaged in a battle with the homeless people. The City of Ashland prohibits the parking of recreational vehicles in parks to prevent homeless people parking there at night. He wonders if the City of Medford wants to recreate that kind of prohibition or not.
Does the Commission like the idea of the park development review and getting away from the conditional use permit allowing the Commission to review the site plan portion? The consensus of the Planning Commission was in favor.
Commissioner McKechnie commented that there is always on-street parking for parks. The City, as a rule, does not count on-street parking. Maybe they should start doing that.
Commissioner Foley asked, what about bicycle parking? These are good goals to have but not necessarily right. Ms. Sousa stated that the Planning Commission would have the authority to apply the parking standard.
Commissioner Foley asked, is this tied to the Parks recommendation? Ms. Sousa reported this is from the Leisure Services Plan. She believes they will be in agreement. Staff will find out.
The Planning Commission is comfortable with where staff is going with this amendment.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:47 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana