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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, March 11, 2019
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:
Mark McKechnie, Chair
Joe Foley, Vice Chair
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
E. J. McManus, Excused Absence
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
20.1 DCA-18-179 Level of Service and Cross Sections
Kyle Kearns, Planner II reported that on December 6, 2018 Medford adopted a new Transportation System Plan into the Comprehensive Plan. Included in the update are new Goals, policies, action items, policy direction and follow up items for City staff. Also included in the Plan are:
• Roadway cross-sections paired with new functional classifications
• Intersection performance standards (level-of-service)
In order to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, staff needs to amend the Municipal Code to include:
• New level of service standards
• Roadway cross sections
Commissioner Pulver asked, on the graphic of new level of service standards what do the letters represent? Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager reported that the letters at the intersections mean volume to capacity ratio. It is a different way of measuring congestion. Volume to capacity ratio looks at the theoretical capacity of the intersection and how much volume is projected through the intersection. Level of service looks at seconds of delay.
Commissioner Miranda asked, does the closer the number gets to 1 is that closer to the letter E or closer to the letter A? Mr. MacNair stated that 1 would be at capacity and it would be an E or F level of service letter.
Commissioner Pulver asked, is it fair to say the South Medford Interchange is failing? Mr. MacNair stated that in 2038 it definitely is. It has issues today such as backups to the freeway in the mornings.
Commissioner Pulver asked, what is ODOT’s position on that? Mr. MacNair reported that ODOT is open for discussion. The City identified it as needing further study. Conversations have begun.
Commissioner McFadden stated that the City took over the OPS of Riverside and Central years ago. Is the breaking point between Medford and ODOT for maintenance at Stewart Avenue or Garfield? Mr. MacNair reported that it is 100 feet south of Stewart Avenue. Commissioner McFadden stated that part of that intersection is within ODOT’s maintenance area but the one at Highland is not. Is that correct? Mr. MacNair reported that is correct. The jurisdictional line at Highland is the south side of the crosswalk. The intersection at Barnett and Highland is the City’s but the south approach to it is all ODOT’s maintenance.
Commissioner McFadden asked, in order to get another turn lane east coming north from the freeway would be ODOT’s responsibility for installing a second turn lane? Mr. MacNair stated it would have to be a joint project.
Mr. Kearns reported that the level of service updates are not going to pertain to ODOT intersections because it is not the City’s standards. They are in the Plan as such but will have to be analyzed.
Policy direction in the Transportation System Plan directed staff to:
• Action Item 9-c: Incorporate context sensitive street and streetscape design techniques...to balance the needed street function for all uses and modes with the needs of the surrounding built environment…
• Action Item 16-c: Incorporate the legacy street standards into the Land Development Code in order to address future development requirements…and outline who has the authority to approve deviations.
Staff has presented this to the Transportation Commission and is asking for comments/recommendation by March 20, 2019. Those will be incorporated into the draft Planning Commission hearing.
It has been reviewed with Public Works staff in five separate meetings.
Provided at Land Development Committee meeting on March 6, 2019. The Medford Fire-Rescue comments incorporated pertained to fire turnaround and driveway staggering/clustering.
Main updates contained in the draft are:
• Updated roadway cross-sections
• Updated level of service standards
• Addition of “Legacy Street” standards
Roadway Cross-Sections Main Points:
• The inclusion of a Regional Arterial cross-section
• Preference of separated bicycle facilities (i.e. outside the pavement with the curb) on Arterials and Collectors
• Refinement of the minimum access easement to include a major and minor standard (8/3 dwelling units permitted, respectively)
• Updated ROW width standards to reflect the TSP
Chair McKechnie stated that he thinks it would be helpful to compare what is being proposed versus current versus historically. He gets irritated with different street standards. Some have no curb and gutter just pavement and ditches. There are more streets with curb and gutter with no sidewalks. There are sidewalks tight with curb and gutter and sidewalks tight with a park strip.
Commissioner Pulver thinks what will be in the packet that comes to the Planning Commission will have the most recent proposal. That is what the Transportation Commission reviewed.
Mr. Kearns reported that on page 40 of today’s memorandum has the current chart that shows what is proposed versus what existed. With each of the cross-sections it shows new and old images.
Chair McKechnie prefers graphics versus text.
Mr. McNair reported that the lane widths have not changed. They have had 11 foot lanes in previous iterations and carried those forward. General rule of the Regional Major Arterial cross-sections have 12 foot lanes and outside lanes with separated bicycle facilities because that is a buffer to the curb line. There will be graphics of old and new in the text amendment.
Commissioner McFadden has problems with turn lanes off a busy street. Staff has eluded to the outside lanes being wider to accommodate turning. At what point does the Code call for a turn lane to pull traffic off the faster streets of Arterials and Collectors to get traffic into a shopping center, etc.? Mr. MacNair reported that it is not defined in the Code. ODOT has right turn lane warrants that are based on speed, through volume and turn volume. It is a chart that plots the though volume and turn volume. There are several under and over 45 mph. There is a different line on the graph that if over, a turn lane is warranted, under a turn lane is not warranted. Just because it is warranted does not mean it is automatically built. It indicates it is beneficial at that point.
Commissioner McFadden asked, is that type of topic being addressed dramatically by the City? Mr. MacNair reported no. The only turn lane being addressed is the center turn lane that provides a left turn lane at intersections. The City defaults having the center turn lane or left turn lane. Right turn lanes are on a case by case basis.
Legacy streets is a street that is improved, but may be missing curb and gutter, bike facilities, right-of-way, sidewalks, planter strips, turn lanes or other facilities identified in the applicable cross-section identified in Article IV. Examples of streets include: Barnett, Stanford Avenue, McAndrews, Delta Waters, Main Street, Crater Lake Avenue, Stevens Street.
Staff has proposed a prescriptive process to address:
(1) Facilities existing for all travel modes, but are narrower than the current standard
(2) Missing vehicle lanes
(3) Missing center-turn lanes
(4) Missing planter strip and/or sidewalk
(5) Missing bike facilities
(6) Streets that are mostly improved to an old standard but have unimproved segments
(7) Existing streets and alleys predominantly surrounded by developed properties on both sides. If the existing street or ally is predominantly surrounded by developed properties on both sides, then cross-sectional elements and/or right-of-way dedication may be reduced in width or eliminated at the City Engineer’s discretion, to avoid existing structures and/or development, in the priority order listed below:
a) Planter strip width reduction
b) Planter strip elimination
c) Parking lane elimination
d) Bike lane buffer area
e) Center turn lane elimination (except at higher-order intersections)
f) Lane or alley narrowing
g) Bike lane narrowing or elimination
Mr. MacNair stated that on (7) it states if the street is developed by properties on both sides. There might be situations where there is developed property on one side so one might want to reduce on that side and the other side that is not developed could get the full right-of-way dedication. He is wondering if staff should strike “on both sides” language.
Vice Chair Foley stated that Riverside has sidewalks varying from narrow to narrow and curb tight, curb tight and wide to narrow with planter strips. As properties develop along there what is going to be done? Mr. MacNair reported that the TSP calls for a corridor plan on Riverside/Central Avenue. The City acknowledges the standards do not fit those types and needs a focused review.
Vice Chair Foley reported that properties could intermittently develop along Riverside. How is that going to be addressed? Mr. Kearns reported that on page 9 of the agenda packet the City allows for neighborhood plans, circulation plans and zoning overlays in the Comprehensive Plan to override the requirements of Legacy Streets. The City knows they need to do neighborhood plans and corridor plans for several of the City streets.
Mr. MacNair stated that on Legacy Streets (4) talks about when the street is improved but is missing planter strips and or sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk on the developing property the sidewalk and planter strip would be required. The planter strip may be reduced or eliminated to fit the area context and surrounding roadway. It leaves some judgement call. The City Engineer is going to make a recommendation and if the applicant does not agree they can file an exception.
Chair McKechnie likes what staff is doing. He thinks it will give staff, Planning Commission and Site Plan and Architectural Commission flexibility. He objects to requiring people to file an exception because they disagree with staff. That is additional paperwork and fees. He does not think that is right. If there is some discretion and staff does not agree with the discretion, but there is flexibility allowed in the ordinance, the property owner should be able to come without additional expense or the stigma of having to prove they are right and staff is wrong, it should be able to go to the deciding body for adjudication.
Commissioner McFadden does not mind the issue of the property owner having to justify.
Chair McKechnie stated that an exception by nature has to prove that somehow it cannot meet the current standard.
Commissioner McFadden commented that they need a minor exception that can be handled at the Commission meeting in order that it comes to their attention. They do not want someone to slide an exception through the Commission. They want to see the discussion and prompted to make the decision, not raise it to the level of needing a full separate or combined major exception.
Mr. Kearns asked, what if there was an exception to the fees but use the exception criteria to allow them to explain why they do not have to go through the City Engineer’s discretion. Using the same criteria but not having the applicant apply for an exception.
Chair McKechnie does not think the property owner should not be considered guilty and have to prove their innocence. It is a judgment call that the appropriate commission makes the final decision.
Mr. Kearns asked, does the Commission want this to come up at the hearing or have staff rework the language? Ms. Paladino reported that staff would come up with several options.
Commissioner Miranda suggested that staff rework the language before going to hearing.
Vice Chair Foley likes the concept. It makes sense because it is going to be a judgment call.
Mr. Kearns commented that staff would provide options at the hearing. Ms. Paladino asked, does the Commission want those options before the hearing? Ms. Paladino reported that there could be another study session or staff send the options out by email and the Commission could get back with staff. Chair McKechnie stated he thinks that would be good.
Mr. Mitton reported that in an area where one side is developed and several empty lots on the other side that may not be predominantly surrounded by developed properties on both sides but on the side that is developed wanting the ability to have a planter strip with reduction. The language could be changed to developed properties and reduce it on the side where predominantly developed.
The Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for Thursday, April 11, 2019. City Council hearing on Thursday, May 16, 2019.
Does the Planning Commission feel that this is solid enough with the changes discussed to bring forward with everything entailed. Legacy streets will be separated out. Staff is comfortable moving forward.
Commissioner Pulver reported that the Transportation Commission met with a lot of new parties to it. There was supposed to be feedback by next week regarding this presentation. How much feedback has been received? Mr. Kearns stated that he and Ms. Paladino met with three of the members and presenting to another member today and BPAC tonight on this presentation. The people they have talked to have given a thumbs up.
Commissioner Pulver is fine with moving forward with the presented schedule. Commissioner Miranda concurred.
Vice Chair Foley asked, does staff anticipate a lot of feedback at the hearing? Is there a group or the same group that appealed the Transportation System Plan agitated? Ms. Paladino replied not that staff is aware of.
Mr. Kearns reported they could but cross-sections are bike friendly.
Commissioner Pulver stated that he heard City Council’s preferred cross-section was separated multiuse paths. For Greenfield Development that was the desired direction. In his opinion it is important that is has teeth. Mr. Kearns addressed Commissioner Pulver’s point that on pages 17 and 18 of the agenda packet references the major/regional arterial cross-sections. There is some teeth in there. Ms. Paladino stated that staff could add for something completely new it is expected to build the certain cross-section. Commissioner Pulver commented that if that is the intent it should read that way.
Mr. Kearns stated that under the major/regional arterial cross-sections under (1) being separated on all new development; (2) could be at the discretion of the approving authority (buffered bicycle; and (3) right-of-way constraints and adding at the discretion of the approving authority if that gets the preference City Council desired. Commissioner Miranda commented that makes sense.
Ms. Paladino reported staff will make a draft and either set up a Planning Commission study session the week of the hearing for their review and comments.
20.2 Comprehensive Planning Division Projects for 2019-2021
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner reported that there are three divisions in the Planning Department: (1) Current planning; (2) Comprehensive-Long Range Division; and (3) Housing and Community Development.
Near Term Projects Land Development Code:
• Cross Sections, Legacy Street, Level of Service PC: 04/11/2019
• Concurrency PC: 04/25/2019
• Cottage Housing PC SS: 03/25/2019
Cottage Housing schedule will change as staff wants to discuss the concept with the Development Community and see what product might work.
• Minor Historic Review Amendments – Includes administrative review of signs, new awnings, fences, and window/door replacements in non-historic/non-contributing buildings.
• House Keeping Amendments
• Housing Amendments (Round 1)
• Annexation Hearing Review
• Food Trucks in the ROW
• Wetland regulations
• Shared-use Trails
• Wildland Interface/Evacuation Plans/Defensible Spaces landscape provisions
• Riparian corridors in UGB expansion areas – 2020
• Commercial Design Standards – 2020
• Other TSP changes
• Downtown Plan Update (City Center 2050 Plan update)
• Residential Downtown Market Study
• Downtown Parking Study
• Downtown Design standards
• Southeast Plan Update (P-1 zoning, GLUPs, streets (Barnett))
• Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan Review focusing on Wildfires and Drought
• Climate Adaptation Plan (work with Parks Department)
• City Annual Call for Zone Changes in upGLUPed areas
Commissioner McFadden asked, was that related to the increased density next to the trial areas; arterial and collector streets? Ms. Paladino reported no. This is the internal study areas. Ms. Evans stated this was part of the UGB work. Ms. Paladino commented this was the 450 acres that was upGLUPed throughout the City.
• Annual Parks Zoning /PS GLUP update
• Adopt Liberty Park Plan
• Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan Review focusing on Wildfires and Drought
• Riverside Avenue Corridor Plan – 2020
• Housing Element update - 2021 – 2023
• Population Element update - 2021 – 2023
Commissioner McFadden asked, where does staff see additional comments and direction being developed for low income housing and homeless issues. Ms. Paladino reported with long range will be with housekeeping and housing amendments. That is really in the housing and community development department. It will be a group effort. There are pieces of that in the long range division.
Chair McKechnie suggested putting commercial design standards as a low priority. Ms. Evans commented that the benefit to doing that is staff could do administrative decisions. If there are clear and objective standards.
Ms. Evans reported that the Transportation System Plan goes to LUBA. The hearing is tomorrow. Staff will keep the Planning Commission informed. Ms. Paladino stated that staff will be calling in to listen if any Commissioner is interested. The hearing is at 1:45 p.m.
Commissioner Pulver stated that he believed Ms. Evans told him that in regards to that people in the expansion areas can submit an application now. Ms. Evans replied that is correct. Mr. Mitton stated that because the appellant did not file a stay the proceeding the Transportation System Plan functions as if no one appealed during the duration of the appeal.
Commissioner Pulver asked, are there any applications in the works? Ms. Evans stated staff has talked to all kinds of people. Staff has not seen any pre-applications.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:09 p.m.
Terri L. Richards