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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, March 12, 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
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
David McFadden, Vice Chair, Excused Absence 
E. J. McManus, Unexcused Absence      
Alex Poythress, Unexcused Absence
Staff Present
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
20.1        2017 Citizen Involvement Program Year-end Report
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, reported that a report is completed annually that outlines the citizen involvement program and the accomplishments made over the year.
Statewide Planning Goal 1 requires that cities clearly define procedures by which the general public can be involved in the on-going land use planning process.  The Planning Commission is Medford’s Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI).
Commissions and Committees have grown in the past year.  The Housing Commission and Housing Advisory Committee were added into the Planning Department.
Some of the 2017 accomplishments of the Planning Commission were:
•             Comprehensive Plan and Development Code Amendments
•             Foothill Transportation System Plan Modification
•             Leisure Services Plan update
•             Marijuana Production in C-H
•             Temporary Food Trucks
•             Chickens
•             Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission Quorum and Membership
•             Conditional Use Permits
•             Cedar Links Park
•             Larson Creek Trail, Segment 2
•             Rogue Valley Youth for Christ
•             Mallard Bed and Breakfast
•             Indoor Race Track
•             Transportation Facilities
•             Tennessee Drive and Plum Street Sidewalk infill
•             Foothill Road (Hillcrest to McAndrews)
Site Plan and Architectural Commission projects:
•             Stewart Meadows – KOGAP – 134 Multi-family units
•             Weatherly Court – 32,000 square feet Residential Care Facility
•             Jackson County Housing Authority – Newbridge – 64 unit multi-family  complex
•             Wash ‘n Go Dept – 3,260 square feet car wash on Highway 99 and Matt Loop
Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission
•             Signs and Fencing
The Monarch Building located downtown was nominated for the DeMuro Award through Restore Oregon and houses Common Block Brewing. Common Block Brewing was originally slated for demolition as part of the Common’s project.
Site Plan and Architectural Commission approved:
•             226,000 square feet of commercial and office space
•             76,000 square feet industrial space
•             228 multi-family units
•             93 hotel rooms
•             92 assisted living beds
Planning Commission
•             Approved 325 new residential lots and 132 attached units
•             Recommended 10 legislative recommendations to the City Council
The Planning Department was recertified as a Class 6 floodplain community through the Community Rating System program.  The Class 6 provides 20% discount on insurance for properties in the (Special Floodplain Hazard Area) SFHA and 10% for those outside SFHA.
Awarded $140,000 in State grants (Transportation and Growth Management and Technical Assistance)
Hosted two national speakers, Joe Minicozzi and Dan Parolek
Moving forward
•             Transportation System Plan
•             Liberty Park Neighborhood Plan starting
•             Housing Amendments
•             Gordon Trucking
•             New Pre-applications
20.2  CP-16-036 Transportation System Plan Policy Topics
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, reported that the presentation outline
•             Transportation System Plan progress update and background
•             Cross sections of new streets
•             Design guidelines for legacy streets
•             Commissioner comments/input
Last year the Planning Commission discussed the Transportation System Plan vision, goals and objectives.  Next will be the project list and prioritizing for the next twenty years.  There was public outreach accomplished last year. 
In January there were four open houses.  One in each ward. 
•             Ward 1 had 27 participants
•             Ward 2 had 26 participants
•             Ward 3 had 11 participants
•             Ward 4 had 17 participants
In terms of technical memoranda update
•             Design Guidelines
•             Transportation Planning Rule
•             Pedestrian and Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress
•             Level Service and Concurrency
Next Steps
•             Prioritized project list
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director, reminded the Planning Commission that they have a joint study session with the City Council on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in the Prescott Room at 6:00 p.m.
•             Draft Transportation System Plan
•             Final draft of the Transportation System Plan
•             Formal public hearings with the Planning Commission then City Council
Functional Classifications are arterials and collectors intended to promote the safety and convenience of vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.
The new street cross sections target bicycle and pedestrian level of traffic stress (LTS) 2 or better. The proposed action is to implement roadway designs on existing and new streets that reduce the level of traffic stress for cyclists and pedestrians such as lowering vehicle speeds, including physical separation or buffers, evaluating number of travel lanes, and creating safer pedestrian crossings.
Legacy Streets are improved streets with curb and gutter.  These apply to arterial and collector streets only.  Unimproved streets that do not have curb and gutter are not considered legacy streets.
Commissioner McKechnie stated that the City needs to do a legacy street for both improved streets and unimproved streets in areas fully developed.  Ms. Paladino replied that there are specific streets noted in the memorandum that are partial improved and partial unimproved. 
Commissioner McKechnie reported that there needs to be flexibility for any place that is improved. 
Legacy Street Categories:
•             Lanes narrower than the current standard – Improved streets that have facilities for all travel modes but lanes are narrow than the current standard.
•             Proposal: No street improvements or right-of-way dedication required by development.
Commissioner Foley stated that makes sense on North Phoenix Road on the west side but not on the east side for improvements.
•             Missing vehicle lanes or center turn lanes – Improved streets that are missing vehicle lanes or center-turn-lanes.
•             Proposal: Full right-of-way dedication required at time of development.
•             Right-of-way required where vehicle lanes are missing or within 200 feet of an intersection where center-turn-lane is missing. 
•             No physical improvements required unless another category applies.
Commissioner Foley asked, are the roads going to be listed that this qualifies for or leave it general in examples?  Ms. Paladino reported that exhibit 2 in the memorandum points out different road segments.  Legacy streets need to be identified. 
•             Missing planter strip and/or sidewalk – Improved streets that are missing planter strip and/or sidewalk.
•             Proposal: Sidewalk construction required by development.
•             If the property frontage is greater than 200 feet, then the sidewalk shall be built with full width planter strip.
•             If less than 200 feet, then the sidewalk shall be built with planter strip width of the adjacent properties.
Chair Miranda asked, does this include meandering sidewalks?  Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director, stated that meandering sidewalks are rare in the City.
Commissioner Culbertson asked, can one use the block length for a guide?  Ms. Paladino replied that can be looked at.
Commissioner McKechnie asked, is staff talking about a lot of streets or is it a manageable number?  Ms. Paladino reported that there are approximately two pages of streets. 
Commissioner McKechnie stated that if it is predetermined of what needs to happen on the street ahead of time the developer can plan for it.  They do not like uncertainty or at a meeting with the City to argue an issue.  Mr. Brinkley stated that there is a preference with Planning and Public Works to get away from Transportation Facility process as much as possible.  If staff can provide prescriptive guidance for most situations so that there is certainty for the City and developer that would be easier on everyone.
•             Missing bike facilities – Improved streets that are missing bike facilities.
•             Proposal: Alternate routes via local streets or off-street paths
•             Evaluate lane reconfigurations where alternate routes are not available
•             14-foot wide sidewalks to serve as multi-use paths where alternate routes and lane reconfigurations are not feasible.
•             Mostly improved but have unimproved (no curb and gutter) segments – Streets that are mostly improved to an old standard but have unimproved segments.
•             Proposal: Unimproved sections will be built to match the abutting cross section.
Transportation System Plan
•             Project Prioritization Introduction
•             Vision, Goals, Objectives, and Actions
Elements of the Transportation System Plan Document
•             Introduction
•             Goals & Objectives
•             Existing Conditions/Needs Assessment
•             Funding and Implementation
•             Project List & Cross Sections
•             Code & Policy Amendments
The Engineering Department has estimated $75.4 million to fund projects over the next 20 years.  Money allocated in timeframes:
•             Near Term: 2018-2022
•             Mid Term: 2023-2027
•             Long Term: 2028-2038
There are too many projects to fund completely.
State law requires that the Transportation System Plan must be financially constrained meaning the City cannot spend more on projects than is anticipated in revenues.  Because of this constraint projects anticipated to be funded and built are identified in Tier 1 category.  Projects equally important but exceed funding capabilities are placed in Tier 2 category.  Tier 1 project costs must align with estimated revenues.
In September staff provided a list of potential criteria to use in order to evaluate projects.  13 out of the 15 proposed were selected by the City Council to use.  Staff incorporated these criteria into a detailed spreadsheet to evaluate each project.  Staff noted some difficulty with some of the criteria and ended up removing 4 of them.  The reasons for removal include criterion too specific to a specific type of project such as intersection technology.  Too subjective or a different criterion addressed the issue.
Projects separated into project types and tiers can be used by the City Council as a guide when ranking projects.
There are seven project types:
1.            Urban Upgrade – Improves an existing unimproved street (without curb and gutter) to the current cross section by installing needed facilities such as travel lanes, curb and gutter, bicycle facilities, sidewalks and storm drainage.  Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects are also included in the plan but those are not the City’s financial responsibility.  There are 56 projects proposed and 12 are ranked as Tier 1.
2.            Roadway Widening – Provides additional travel lanes on the roadway.  There are 5 projects proposed and 3 ranked Tier 1.
3.            New Roadways – Projects that include roadway extensions and that support future growth and development, relieve vehicle congestion, and provide bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  There are 37 projects proposed and 7 are ranked Tier 1.
4.            Intersection Improvement – Projects that include the construction of roundabouts, traffic signals, turn lanes, and equipment upgrades.  There are 59 projects proposed and 22 are ranked Tier 1.
5.            Pedestrian – Projects include the infill and installation of sidewalk mainly near school sites.  There are 8 projects proposed and 7 are ranked Tier 1.
6.            Multi- Use Paths – Projects provide for the installation of separated and dedicated paths for pedestrian and bicycle use and relates to path from the Leisure Services Plan.  There are 41 projects proposed.  All are ranked Tier 2.
7.            Bicycle – Project provides for the installation of bicycle facilities on a roadway – may include signage and paint (sharrows/neighborhood bikeway) or striping facilities as part of a widening project.  There are 55 projects proposed and 13 are ranked Tier 1.
Vision, Goals, Objectives, and Actions
The Transportation System Plan Vision Statement states: In 2038, the City of Medford will be served by a transportation system that is safe, efficient, and pleasant to use.  The City’s many different neighborhoods, districts, and destinations will be conveniently connected with another, just as this network connects the City of Medford with neighboring communities and the surrounding region.  In Medford, you will be able to drive walk, bike, or use public transportation to reach stores, restaurants, parks, schools, work and other common destinations.  Streetscapes will welcome visitors and invite people to enjoy this fantastic City.
Over the last several months staff has heard from different advisory committees, people and staff that it was helpful to see where changes were made.  If there are specific changes or additions that the Planning Commission would like to add, staff will include them in the draft document. 
Staff’s next steps are to identify projects to meet LOS and costs.  They will prioritize projects by Wards having mini meetings with the City Councilors.  Staff will prepare for upcoming study sessions over the next two weeks.  There will be a Planning Commission study session on Monday, March 26, 2018, to discuss the prioritized projects. 
Mr. Brinkley stated that it is staff’s hope that on Thursday, March 29, 2018, along with the City Council and the Planning Commission that they will arrive at the final prioritized project list.  The Transportation System Plan must be updated in order for properties located in the expanded urban growth boundary to be annexed.  Properties cannot annex until the City has a new TSP. 
At the last study session regarding the proposed functional classification system map there was concern that the map was not sufficient to handle the traffic created by the urban growth boundary expansion areas.  It was accounted for in the urban growth boundary study.
South Stage Road
South Stage Road is an expensive project that will take multiple years.  It has complexities beyond any other project being contemplated. 
South Stage impacts the development of MD-5 as well as Phoenix’s PH-5.  The project will require partnerships with ODOT, Jackson County, City of Phoenix and the Development Community.
The current cost estimate is $50 million.  It requires a 1,485 foot bridge and the total project length is approximately 6,650 feet.
Commissioner McKechnie suggested that South Stage Road needs two lanes going both ways.  The number of light poles decreased by two-thirds. 
Chair Miranda asked, what kind of assistance will the City will be looking for?  Will it be funded by 30% or 40% by outside sources?  Ms. Paladino reported that currently it is 50% by the City and 50% by partnerships and grants.
Environmental impacts to Bear Creek will require significant work.  Once environmental work starts funding will need to be secured and start construction within 10 years.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, what environmental impacts would exist to Bear Creek?  Ms. Paladino stated there are wetlands and it is a waterway.  The state, federal, Army Corps of Engineers and Department of State Lands will be involved. 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, where will it alleviate traffic?  Mr. Brinkley reported it would alleviate traffic from I-5, Highway 99, North Phoenix Road and Foothill Road.
The benefits provide access to the largest area of developable land in the proposed urban growth boundary.  Mitigates and reduces congestion on Barnett Road, North Phoenix Road, etc. and reduces congestion at ODOT’s interchanges in Medford and Phoenix.  Enables development of the South Valley Employment Center MD-5 and PH-5).  It has strong support from the Development Community and links the east side and west side by-pass roads identified in the Transportation System Plan (Columbus and North Phoenix/Foothill).
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 12:57 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary

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