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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, July 23, 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
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Bill Mansfield
E. J. McManus
Alex Poythress
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
Patrick Miranda, Chair, Excused Absence             
Mark McKechnie, Unexcused Absence
Staff Present
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
20.1        DCA-17-091 Wireless Communication Facilities Code Amendment
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, reported that staff is seeking direction from the Planning Commission regarding changes to the Wireless Communication Facilities regulations.  Specifically, modify existing wireless communication facility language and inserting new language related to Small Cells.
Current regulations address:
•             Facilities permitted in all commercial and industrial zones, and in SFR and MFR zones with nonconforming nonresidential uses
•             Permitted on Public and Private Property
•             Preferred Designs: 1) Collocation, 2) Existing Structures, 3) New Towers
•             New towers are approved by the Planning Commission through the Conditional Use Permit process
New Regulations:
•             Consumer demand has increased
•             Macro cells are reaching capacity; decline in service
•             New small cells are being built to fill in the gap
•             Companies are seeking to construct these in Medford
Mobilitie first to approach the City seeking a franchise agreement.  Issues have been discussed with the City Council.  Regulations need to be in place before franchise agreements will be considered by the City.
The City is being asked to allow small cell wireless facilities on utility poles, street lights, etc.
The small cell equipment:
•             Omni Antenna – Pole top slim line solution, connects with end users and 360 degree propagation
•             AC Distribution – Control power to the site with an on and off switch
•             UE Relay – Wireless backhaul solution, eliminates need for fiber for most sites, communicates with existing infrastructure
•             Radio Unit – Converts radio frequencies, increases network capacity
Proposed Amendment – Small Cells
Article II Changes (Sections 10.108, 10.110, 10.142)
•             Wireless communication facilities in right-of-way would be a Type 1 Land Use Action
•             Planning Director would be the approving authority
Proposed Amendment – Overall Language
Article V – Section 10.824
•             Removal of unnecessary and/or duplicative language (e.g. submittal requirements)
•             Updated Exemption Section
•             Allow for Cells-on-Wheels (COWs) as temporary use not to exceed 14 days in nonresidential zones or during declared emergencies
•             Allows for modification when not identified as a substantial change
•             Defines a “substantial change” to existing facilities in accordance with federal law (Section 6409(a))
•             The mounting of a proposed antenna on a Wireless Communication Support Structure will increase the existing height of the support structure by more than ten percent, or by the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed twenty feet, whichever is greater
•             An appurtenance is added to a Wireless Communication Support Structure that would protrude from the edge of the structure more than twenty feet, or more than the width of the support structure at the level of the appurtenance, whichever is greater
•             Installation of more than four new equipment cabinets
•             Any excavation or deployment outside the current site
•             It would defeat the concealment elements of the support structure
Vice Chair McFadden stated that he was not sure whether the 20 feet was in the air or on the ground.  Ms. Paladino reported it is wide so it might be a cabinet.  Commissioner Pulver stated that the 20 feet would be up.  Otherwise, it is going to be limited to the width of the pole or whatever it is attached to.
Ms. Akin stated that the trouble with federal law is that it is written broadly.  Staff has to apply it narrowly.  The lattice towers that used to be used had big bases.  That is the only thing that she can think of that that might be the kind of structure where that would be meaningful.  Currently, they are limited to 130 feet in height that would not have a 20 foot base. 
Ms. Paladino stated that staff would clarify the language or have a photograph for clarification. 
•             Modifications not resulting in a substantial change would not be subject to new standards or discretionary review (a new Conditional Use Permit)
•             Requires landscaping that will fully screen the ground-mounted equipment and any security fencing
Commissioner Mansfield stated that on page 14 of the agenda packet the ordinance talks about stealth capabilities.  Please explain that.  Ms. Paladino reported that stealth is meaning sleek or hiding the antenna. 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, is there any objection to this?  Ms. Paladino stated not yet. 
Vice Chair McFadden asked, has Engineering reviewed the language?  Ms. Paladino replied yes. 
Commissioner Culbertson misread the proposal and background.  He thought that the entire rewrite was stemming from the 2012 Act.  He read the 2012 Act.  It only deals with federal property.  He discussed this with Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney this morning and he stated it governed some of the language change.  The implementation of the small cell is the new piece.  He believes it will be beneficial in the long run however, he raised the question of improving and implementing the 5G network for the benefit of the cellular services.  They are putting smart meters on all the houses now which are using the 5G Network.  He hopes the City is getting a substantial contract to allow them the right-of-way to generate dollars back to the City.
Mr. Mitton reported that step one is getting the code implemented and step two would be the franchise agreement.  That is where the money is made. 
Vice Chair McFadden stated this is allowing the City to increase the fee that is paid on cellular bills.
Mr. Mitton is not sure there will be a distinction because when a macro cell is on private property the cellular companies are renting the space.  Instead of having individual leases for big towers it is a franchise agreement for the small cells.
Vice Chair McFadden stated that there is a tower on Roxy Ann that never paid a franchise fee to Medford because their facilities were outside Medford but their trucks could use City streets.  Mr. Mitton reported that is not entirely accurate.  It is a complicated situation.  Fees are collected for the private communication tower on Roxy Ann that helps pay for the public safety tower on Roxy Ann.  The City is one of the main users of the public safety tower on Roxy Ann.  He does not know about the tower on the other side of Roxy Ann. 
Commissioner Culbertson knows that there is a cell tower on top of old Reeder fruit building at 401 Fir Street.  They have a very lucrative contract that allowed them to install a secure vault on the fourth floor and an array on top because of a void. 
Commissioner Culbertson thinks if they are going to be utilizing the 5G cell service for the Pacific Power and Light smart meters there should be a reduction in the service charge to have the smart meter for making it simpler.  The City is going to get double dipped.  If one wants to opt out they are going to charge extra and a monthly fee.                      
The Planning Commissions charge is does the language being incorporated make sense?
Commissioner McManus stated that there are people against cell towers.  Sometimes the issues are related to property value.  Are there design standards specific for the historic district?  Ms. Paladino reported that there is no language specific to the historic district.  Ms. Akin stated that the historic district requires a different review.
Mr. Mitton commented that every time the Planning Commission has a Conditional Use Permit hearing on cell towers most people coming for public comment are saying they do not want a tower in that location.  Since it is under federal law the City cannot say anything.  They can only discuss how it is visually screened.  He is not aware that they could not require additional screening in the historic district.  They cannot prohibit or restrict a tower in that location. 
Commissioner Pulver asked, is there a limit on small cells on a pole?  Ms. Paladino reported that the construction of these small cells would probably be only one per pole.  Language can be added that states only one per pole. Mr. Mitton reported that multiple boxes are different support components for a single antenna.
Commissioner Poythress asked, this is 2018 is the City planning on installing more poles or underground utilities?  If the City is trying to get rid of poles then why adorn them with expensive hardware for lease?  Ms. Paladino stated that for new development they are supposed to go underground.  The other option would be street light poles.
Vice Chair McFadden asked, is there a height limit?  Ms. Paladino reported that would be between the company and Public Works.  What are they actually going to be doing to the street lights?  Is it going to change the function of it or become massive looking that no longer looks like a street light?  That gives Public Works flexibility to state the company is in the wrong location and needs to find something else.   
Staff will make final changes to the language and present the code amendment to the Planning Commission on Thursday, August 9, 2018.  Hearing is proposed before the City Council on Thursday, September 6, 2018. 
20.2        DCA-18-092 Offices of other Health Practitioners in Light Industrial zoning district
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director, reported that DeNell Gallagher that operates a pediatric occupational and speech therapy business downtown.  She wants her own facility but the facility she found is in the I-L zone where the use is not permitted.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, what is wrong with letting all the health practitioner uses in the I-L zone?  Ms. Akin reported that the light industrial zone is not made for that kind of traffic or parking. 
Vice Chair McFadden stated that Navigator’s Landing is a Planned Unit Development with the inner lining zone is light industrial.  They were able to get 20% of the property zoned commercial.  If all the health practitioner categories were changed that would open up the rest of the 80% of the property to those types of uses. 
Staff will present this code amendment to the Planning Commission on Thursday, August 23, 2018. 
Commissioner Pulver stated that the I-L zone is a hot mess.  It allows a lot of uses that are commercial in nature but also allows industrial in nature.  In his mind there is a potential for conflict.  He does not think he is willing to allow those uses in light industrial particularly the ones being discussed.  It needs a broader discussion.
Commissioner Foley had the same concerns when he reviewed this.  They have had this on the heavy commercial zone.  He is confused about the distinction in the real world between heavy commercial and light industrial.  He understands the traffic aspect.  There is so much overlap between the two and it feels like a mess.  Are there too many zones?              
Commissioner Pulver thinks Navigators Landing and the Delta Center are situations where developers involved control and have continued to control the land and development of that land to ensure uniformity.  A scenario would be separate land owners with several one acre parcels in a row.  The first one develops a nice eye doctor office and the land owner next to it builds an 8,000 square foot metal warehouse building with a small office in the front.  There is nothing to say that is wrong by building in that zone.  The resulting product for the City is not favorable.  It ends up looking like a mess that the permitted uses have created. 
Staff will ask the Planning Commission whether or not they want to initiate the code amendment on Thursday, August 23, 2018. 
Ms. Akin reported that there were agendas on the table for the League of Cities Conference the end of September.  There is funding to send two Commissioners.  If any Commissioner is interested please let staff know.  
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards
Recording Secretary


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