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Agenda & Minutes

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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

6:00 p.m.
City Hall, Medford Room
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room of Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Tim DíAlessandro, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski; City Manager Brian Sjothun (left at 6:47 p.m.), Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard; Councilmembers Kay Brooks and Dick Gordon were absent.
City Manager Brian Sjothun advised that the viaduct widening project has been extensively discussed with local transportation organizations and it could impact Hawthorne Park and a 108 unit housing project.  Regardless of an east or west expansion, the widening will impact units within a trailer park.
I-5 Viaduct
ODOT Planner Lisa Cornutt stated that discussion about updating the viaduct began in 2013, when seismic concerns were raised, but the planning process began in 2016. The I-5 viaduct retrofit is a collaborative project with ODOT, the City, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Senior Principal Engineer from Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Marc Butorac, reported that the main viaduct concerns are seismic deficiency and safety. The viaduct would most likely not withstand a Cascadia event and there isnít enough room on the shoulders for maintenance.
Various options were considered including: rebuilding, rerouting, tunneling and retrofitting; retrofit was the simplest and most cost-effective option. Widening the viaduct by 28 feet, allows a safety shoulder and provides the ability to add another lane of travel. The engineering process determined that one-sided widening would perform better than two-sided widening during a Cascadia event.  Widening the viaduct requires transitions on both sides on the north and south.
Construction impact comparison:
  • West side widening impacts:
    • Bear Creek Greenway
    • Sidewalks at two locations
    • Bear Creek
      • 16 new columns within the creek
      • Columns would be longer at more expense and construction time
      • Loss of trees along the east side
    • Artwork on the freeway overpass columns
    • West side widening is more expensive due to the longer columns within Bear Creek and increased traffic control cost
  • East side widening impacts:
    • Biddle Road revisions; a column cannot be placed within a travel lane
    • Parking lot at Hawthorne Park
    • Bear Creek Greenway
    • One column within Bear Creek
    • Parking lot and driveway for Medford Senior Center
    • Artwork on the freeway overpass columns
    • Dog park would lose 8 feet
      Project team recommends widening on the east side. It would have less impact to Bear Creek, the 12th Street mobile home park and Hawthorne Park, is less expensive and requires a shorter construction period.
Mr. Butorac provided the additional information in response to Council questions:
  • Estimated cost of at least $85 million
  • Project would require at least two construction seasons to complete
  • No foreseen impact to the irrigation district
  • Viaduct/I-5 wouldnít need six travel lanes until around 2065
  • Widening to the east would have less noise pollution, as the viaduct is higher on that side
ODOT Planning Manager Mike Baker advised that the viaduct widening will impact a property on Almond Street. This property received site plan approval for a 108 unit multifamily residential building. A portion of the proposed building would be built within the viaductís new right-of-way.
ODOT filed a condemnation action to acquire a 60-foot strip of the property, but that action has not gone to trial yet. ODOT has been in discussions with the property owner.
Planning Director Matt Brinkley explained there is a height restriction on buildings within 100 feet of residential zones. A portion of the building would have been within this zone.  The section outside of the residential height restriction was designed to be taller to accommodate more housing units.
The right-of-way for the viaduct expansion conflicts with the proposed location of the taller part of the building. The shorter portion of the proposed complex is would not be affected by the condemnation of the 60-foot wide strip of land; an exception would need to be approved by the Planning Commission.
Ms. Cornutt requested Councilís continued support of the retrofit project and a formal resolution supporting the retrofit widening of 28 feet.  Mr. Sjothun suggested including language in the resolution that encourages the continued cooperation between the City and ODOT.
Council had no objections to a resolution with ODOTís recommendation of the east side widening.
Public Works Director Cory Crebbin advised that Municipal Code Section 3.010 requires property owners to maintain sidewalks in front of their property. If a sidewalk poses a safety hazard, the abutting property owner is notified and is provided 30 days to make repairs. Often, 30 days is not enough time to complete repairs and property owners request extensions. Currently, Public Works can grant a single 90-day extension.
The proposed Code revision would increase the compliance time from 30 to 60 days and allow for a second 90-day extension, with the following qualifying circumstances: residential property owner is 65 or older, notice of defective sidewalk was mailed between November 1 and March 1 (overnight temperatures need to be above 40į for concrete to cure), or the repair cost for a single property exceeds $1,500. 
Council discussion/answers to questions:
Staff estimates a sidewalk panels cost $300, although there are many factors that could increase the expense.
If the sidewalk is not repaired, the City will fix the sidewalk then bill the property owner for the repair plus a 25% fee. If the bill isnít paid, a lien is placed on the property. Last year, the City repaired eight sidewalks that were not completed by property owners.
Council discussed the extensions:
  • Suggestion to request the reasons for the extension with the first 90-day extension
  • City requires signed waivers indemnifying the City of liability as part of the extension process
  • Most people do not request extensions to avoid repairs
  • Allowing extensions provides home owners time to secure funding and prevents City repairs at an increased cost to the
Council had no objections to the proposed revisions. The topic should be ready for Council consideration around June.
City Attorney Lori Cooper advised that per Municipal Code, livestock is not allowed in Medford, but in the past, the City Council has approved exceptions to the code and allowed goats to be used in specific areas for vegetation removal.  Regulatory information from other cities regarding the use of goats was included in the study session agenda packet.
The City could require a special permit allowing goats which would eliminate the need for exceptions and provide formal regulation. No goats would be allowed to remain within Medford on a permanent basis.
Council discussion/answers to questions:
  • Permits should be limited to one per year, per property address, for a specific amount of time
  • City could vary the length of the permit and/or number of goats depending on the area; specifically around USCCP
  • Could be included within Code Chapter 8, instead of Chapter 10.
  • Concerns with potential property damage with goats; they have the ability to escape and they can be quite large
  • Council did not want backyard goats; permits should be for larger properties in specific areas
Council had no objections to the proposal.  The matter should come back for Council approval around May.
The meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, Deputy City Recorder


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