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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Minutes
Monday, June 10, 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:
 
Commissioners Present
Mark McKechnie, Chair
Joe Foley, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
David McFadden
Bill Mansfield
E. J. McManus
Jared Pulver
Jeff Thomas
 
Commissioners Absent
Patrick Miranda, Excused Absence
               
Staff Present
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Madison Simmons, Senior Assistant City Attorney
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
Seth Adams, Planner III
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
 
Subject:
20.1        DCA-19-001 Housekeeping Amendments
 
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV reported that she presented the 2019 Housekeeping and other regulatory code changes on April 22, 2019.  Staff wanted to bring it back to quickly go over the changes since that meeting.
 
The housekeeping changes are mostly to fix code errors.  While staff was making the code corrections they added code changes that address bike parking, promote density, and remove housing barriers.
 
Since the April 22nd study session staff presented the amendments to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and to City Council at their May 30th study session.
 
The Commission was concerned that the previous proposal included language that bike parking must be near well used entrances.  To be more clear and objective the 50 foot rule will remain of well used entrances.  Staff is still proposing to eliminate the requirement that it has to be closer than the nearest automobile space.
 
There was concern with requiring certain types of bike racks as it might not allow more creative designs.  Staff is now proposing language that requires that the racks provide two points of contact with the frame at least 6 inches apart and have a minimum height of 32 inches.  Racks that meet those standards can be approved.
 
Ms. Sousa met with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee on May 13th and they are in support of these changes to bike parking.
 
At the Commission’s study session there was concern about increasing the building height allowance for multifamily buildings in the Heavy Commercial zone.  Staff feels this needs some more consideration before proceeding.  This amendment has been taken off the list.
 
Staff is proposing to change the locational criteria for zone changes.  In the SFR-4 zone, staff is adding locational criteria.  Staff is seeing the need to keep this level of density in areas such as in the wildfire hazard zone as well as properties that have steeper slopes.  This will encourage density in more appropriate areas while protecting areas with constraints.  In keeping this zoning in place, one of these criterions would have to be met in order to obtain SFR-4 zoning in the future:
               
                If at least 70% of the area proposed to be rezoned exceeds a slope of 13% or greater:
                If area to be rezoned is within a wildfire hazard zone;
                If the property to be rezoned is not more than one gross acre in size; or
                If the property to be rezoned is within the Southeast Area Overly
 
The Commission brought up a concern with how this would affect the Southeast area. The properties in the Southeast are still eligible for the SFR-4 zoning if it is consistent with the Southeast Plan.
 
In SFR-10, staff is looking to eliminate the requirements that at least one parcel must abut another property zoned SFR-10 in order to obtain that zoning.  Staff is proposing to allow it if at least one parcel is zoned SFR-10 within 200 feet of the subject property.   In addition, the current language allows SFR-10 zoning if the area is five acres or larger.  Staff is proposing to reduce that threshold to 3 acres.  Staff wants to make the SFR-10 zone easier to obtain because not only does it encourage more density, it allows a mix of housing types and the City want to encourage that.
 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, why not eliminate the requirement?  Ms. Sousa responded that at the study session with City Council on May 30th, the Council questioned why the density changes staff is proposing does not go further.  Based on the Council’s feedback, staff would like to get the Commission’s opinion on three options to make the SFR-10 zone easier to obtain.
 
1.            Remove all locational criteria for SFR-10 zone; or
2.            Reduce the locational criteria to allow the SFR-10 zone if property is within 200 feet OR one acre or more; or
3.            Keep the current proposal.  If the property is within 200 feet OR 3 acres in size.
 
Last time Ms. Sousa went over the proposal to remove the requirement that duplexes have to be divided by a lot line in the SFR-4 and SFR-6 zones.  Duplexes are allowed already in those zones but each unit has to be on an individual lot, which requires a land division.  Staff proposes to remove the additional regulation in order to simplify the process.  Staff is also proposing to allow duplexes in the SFR-4, SFR-6 and SFR-10 zones if the lot meets the lot range requirements, without having to meet the minimum density.
 
This will go to the Planning Commission hearing on June 27 and to the City Council hearing on July 18th.
 
Chair McKechnie asked, what has staff done with the revised bike rack standards?  Ms. Sousa reported that the bike racks provide two points of contact with the frame at least 6 inches apart and have a minimum height of 32 inches. 
 
Chair McKechnie asked, didn’t staff say the bike racks could not be any further than the accessible spaces?  Ms. Sousa stated no.  The current language is that bike parking has to be closer than the nearest automobile space.   Chair McKechnie asked, what is changing?  Ms. Sousa reported that staff is eliminating that language and keeping that it has to be 50 feet of well used entrances.  Chair McKechnie suggested 100 feet of well used entrances. 
 
Commissioner McFadden commented that for the bike rack to be near the front entrance is for security.
 
Commissioner McKechnie asked, what is the reason you are taking out the building height allowance in Heavy Commercial to 55 feet for multifamily buildings?  Ms. Sousa reported that the Commission has concerns and staff felt it needs more consideration before proceeding. 
 
Commissioner Pulver does not know if it is staff, Council or both that are pushing hard to increase density.  If currently the target is 6.6 there is a limited ability to do SFR-2.  SFR-4 is the only one that is effectively below that standard.  It is eliminating every residential zone that is below that.  It does not allow the average, it will exceed it.  It is his opinion that he does not think citizens are pushing for.  He does not think it solves the affordability problem everyone wants to push.  He is opposed to this entirely.  He does not understand why it is necessary.  If the market is there for SFR-4 putting additional restrictions is ridiculous. 
 
Commissioner Mansfield suggested instead of the public demand being considered maybe educating the public as to why density is in the public interest.  Maybe education for the Planning Commission as to why density is in the public interest as well. 
 
Commissioner Pulver is not opposed to density in concept but he does not think SFR-4 are luxurious lots.  By the time sidewalks, utility easements and the like are put on a lot for a single story home there is not much lot left.
 
Commissioner Thomas agrees that there needs to be more density.  He thinks it is moving too fast.  Staff talks about from 5 acres to 3 acres.  That makes sense.  The next conversation is get rid of it all together.  If staff is wanting the community to buy into what is being done it makes sense to educate.  There needs to be thought where the density goes to affect affordable housing.  Getting rid of the standard without doing any education does not serve the purpose. 
 
Commissioner McFadden does not know if he is against abutting properties in SFR-10.  Not that they should all go on arterial streets but has it been analyzed where they should be located? 
 
Chair McKechnie agrees with Commissioner Pulver.  He is concerned this is doing a bunch of spot zoning without thought as to where density should be.  There should be criteria where SFR-10 should go.  It makes no sense to him that a parcel being rezoned needs to abut SFR-10.  He is not sure 200 feet makes it better.  He likes the area to be rezoned is three acres or larger. MFR-30 should be abutting a major collector or major arterial. 
 
Commissioner Foley commented that the Planning Commission has discussed medium density.  It makes more sense to put SFR-10 and MFR-15 together and call it medium density.  There needs to be more planning where these are grouped.  With this approach he can see staff will get a lot of pushback on infill. 
 
Abutting makes sense to Commissioner McFadden because it is together and not impacting the older single family or historic ones around it. 
 
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner wanted to make sure the Commissioners understand that there is an urban residential GLUP designation that allows for all the SFR zones.  SFR-10 is lumped into that UR.  SFR-10 allows single family, duplex and townhouses. On occasions multifamily (three or more attached) are seen in this zoning district. She is concerned that the Commission is over stating the density for SFR-10, when it is 10 units per acre, it not a huge amount.  Being able to do different housing types is what staff is talking about.  She feels they are mixing the multifamily standard, which is big apartment complexes, with what is happening in SFR-10.
 
In terms of 3 or more units the Commission and Council adopted interim residential standards for multifamily.  Staff is protecting the look and feel of those neighborhoods with design and placement.  They are incrementally making changes but hopefully making those neighborhoods livable.  There is 58% of urban residential land in SFR-4.  It is not going to keep hitting density targets in the future by continuing to go to SFR-4.  SFR-4 now can and will stay. Where people want to change zones, staff is giving them flexibility and making sure the eastside in the high hazard zones are protected.
 
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director reported that this is permissive, it is not a requirement.  Currently, the code is structured that SFR-4 is the default zone in the UR GLUP designation.  It has to be contiguous with 6 or 10 in order to get SFR-6 or SFR-10. 
 
Commissioner Pulver commented that there is no longer a requirement to be adjacent to SFR-6.  He does not believe the statement of SFR-4 being the default zone is true.  Ms. Evans stated that SFR-6 was also a default zone.  It was recently changed. 
 
Commissioner Pulver asked, wasn’t the figure at 6.8 when the studies were done as part of the UGB expansion?  Ms. Paladino responded that is overall density.  In 2036 it will be 7.6.  Commissioner Pulver commented that every piece of land in urban reserve being brought into the UGB will have a requirement to hit that density mark.  That will not be an issue.  All they are talking about is infill projects.  Ms. Paladino reported that the Regional Plan states that the entire City meets the 6.6.     
 
Commissioner McManus is not confident of the removal of the locational criteria for SFR-6.  When was the last time the Planning Commission and the City Council had a joint study session.  He is not comfortable with the education internally.  He thinks it is being done subjectively.  Ms. Paladino commented that the last study session with the City Council was last September.  Staff tries to hold them annually. Commissioner McManus would like a study session with Council on density. 
 
Chair McKechnie’s thoughts are to keep the 3 acre requirement.  Skip the locational one but he thinks it ought to be between 200 to 500 feet of a major collector street for SFR-10.
 
Ms. Paladino stated that when bringing this forward to the Planning Commission on June 27th there will be three options.                                     
 
Commissioner Pulver did not understand the information on duplexes.  Is the idea that a standard lot in whatever zone it is, one can build a duplex and the lot does not need to be bigger than it would if it were a single family residential lot?  Ms. Paladino replied yes.  Commissioner Pulver has two concerns.  One, a duplex on a single lot, particularly in SFR-10, could be tight.  Second, it would be better if the duplexes were on separate lots.  It would give the ability for ownership. 
 
Commissioner McFadden asked, if a duplex is split by a property line can one build an ADU on both sides?  Staff answered yes.  Commissioner McFadden asked, if they are on the same lot, on both sides, one side?  The answer to all three questions was no.        
 
20.2        DCA-19-022 Minor Historic Review Code Amendment
Seth Adams, Planner III reported that staff is asking the Commission for direction to identify any changes to be made to the proposal.
 
Currently, in the code under Minor Historic Review, staff can approve changes in roofing materials, changes in exterior paint colors, changes in awning fabric materials and change of sign face/copy.
 
The proposal is to increase the number of exterior modifications that can be reviewed and approved by staff under Minor Historic Review.  It will encourage and support preservation, streamline the Historic Review process, reduces costs for historic property owners, and is recommended by the State Historic Preservation Office.
 
The first proposed addition to the Minor Historic list is residential fencing under the following standards: 
                No regulation of fencing that is NOT visible from ROW (excluding alleys).
                Visible fencing: natural wood, metal, rusticated stone, or brick.
                Chain link and vinyl fencing prohibited.
                Otherwise governed by Section 10.732 (Fencing of Lots.)
 
Chair McKechnie asked, is the vinyl like one can purchase at Home Depot that looks like a white picket fence?  Mr. Adams responded yes. 
 
If one wanted to paint their wood fence would they have to go before the Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission?  Mr. Adams stated no.  If using wood they would have to get an administrative permit if it is in view from the right-of-way. 
 
Chair McKechnie suggested to remove the word “natural.”  To him, natural wood means it would have to be stained and could not be painted.
 
The second proposed addition is signs meeting the same criteria that the LHPC has been using for the past 12 years:
                Types and Area
                Placement/location
                Materials
                Illumination
                Shapes
                Size
 
Another addition is minor alterations to non-contributing/non-historic structures.  Examples are changing a window or door without changing the size of the opening.
 
Finally, staff and SHPO are recommending that paint colors be removed from the City’s regulatory purview. In short, letting people use whatever paint colors they wish.  Paint is temporary and acts a preservative on a building.  It is also entirely subjective.    
 
Commissioner McManus asked, if the paint criteria standard goes away, does that open up public art?  If one decided to use color as they want, does that cover if they wanted to paint their historic building wall with some type of design that is considered paint, then it is not the purview of the Historic Commission or administration.  Is that what he is hearing?  Mr. Adams responded that is correct. 
 
Commissioner Pulver asked, wasn’t there an issue on whether it was considered art or paint with a building on Main Street?  Mr. Adams reported that building is outside the Historic District.  Ms. Evans commented that it was initially called graffiti.  It was an unauthorized change.  Ms. Paladino stated staff may need to talk to Legal.  The intent is for body and trim colors only, and not graphics or pictures. 
 
Commissioner Mansfield is in favor of eliminating the paint requirement. 
 
Mr. Adams reported that there were two study sessions with LHPC on this topic.  At their last meeting they voted to forward a favorable recommendation to the Planning Commission and City Council with the caveat they were split on the paint color.  The proposal will go to a City Council study session on Thursday evening, and to the Planning Commission on June 27th for a recommendation.
 
20.3        DCA-18-180 Concurrency Amendments
Kyle Kearns, Planner II reported that transportation concurrency is the requirement that developments must mitigate transportation impacts at the time of development.
 
A development has transportation impacts if it contributes traffic to an intersection that is shown to operate below the City’s level of service standard with the project traffic. 
 
State law requires future capacity is planned.  Medford required capacity be done at the time of Zone Change.  There are three options of how to change how it is done now:
1)            Concurrency at Zone Change
2)            Concurrency at Site Plan
3)            Remove concurrency (Staff’s recommendation)
 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, why is staff recommending eliminating all of it?  Would it not violate the State Rule?  Mr. Kearns stated that the details have not been fully explained yet in the presentation.
 
When stating remove concurrency it is not removing the requirement to mitigate impacts of the transportation system.  The proposal is allowing the of use planned documents, such as the TSP and others, that have budgeted for projects and analysis to assume construction of that project.  If a particular facility has not been planned that requirement for that to be mitigated is still required.  It is not removing concurrency but it is removing the timing of when they can do it. 
 
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager, reported that it is also looking at the plan horizon year that is 2038 and saying at that time transportation capacity will be there as opposed to the way it works right now.  One cannot build until that capacity is there. 
 
In 2002 the Zone Change for Summerfield Subdivision came in.  When doing their Traffic Impact Analysis two intersections, one at North Phoenix Road and Chery Ln and the other at Hillcrest and Pierce, were shown to fail without improvements.  In order to prevent that from happening the Planning Commission at that time limited the development to 124 units until intersections were improved.
 
Commissioner McFadden asked, is staff saying that is the State option?  Mr. Kearns replied that is what the City does now. 
 
The assumption is that the City collects SDCs from the homes in the subdivision they can then build the intersections planned for construction. Doing it the way the City does it now they do not collect SDCs limiting the development of what they can build and the intersection does not get built. 
 
Commissioner McFadden asked, is staff saying that the City charges the new property owners the cost versus the developer the cost?  Commissioner Foley responded no.  That did not change. 
 
Mr. MacNair commented that the City does not collect SDCs until the house is built. 
 
Commissioner Foley is concerned with the target year of 2038.  No one is going to write plans that far out, they will change.  Is there a better horizon that makes more sense?  Mr. Kearns stated that the TPR allows applicants to change the Tiers of projects by going to City Council for a Comprehensive Plan change. 
 
Mr. MacNair reported that part of the TSP and the Tier 1 is showing that all the studied intersections work in the future.  If it gets bumped off the Tier 1 list it would have to be an intersection that meets the standard. 
 
Also, projects on the Tier 1 list that do not end up being built are usually projects that are not a priority because development is not happening in that area or traffic patterns change.  Staff will need to revisit the plan more frequently with this because projects will need to be moved around and reanalyzed.  Internally, staff has talked about every five to six years doing TSP updates as opposed waiting until the end of the twenty year planning horizon.
 
Commissioner Pulver asked, a couple of projects related to both the South Stage Overpass and North Phoenix Super Corridor, is it the same mechanism in terms of modifying the TSP of shifting projects around?  Looking at a couple of projects that were excluded it seemed plausible that some portions of those could get built such as Juanipero to the south border of Medford.  Is there an easy mechanism to remove it from excluded projects?  Mr. Kearns reported the language itself within there should be enough.  The language is the same as used in the TPR.
 
Mr. MacNair stated that if it is something that is built it would be in the existing conditions when doing the traffic impact analysis.  Tier 1 projects are included in the analysis as built in the future.  The grey area is if it gets funding. 
 
Mr. Kearns reported that understanding the process of exactly how this comes together might be helpful.  Analyzing everything, figuring out what intersections will work and what can be budgeted.  When developments come in they analyze the traffic impact analysis and how their development will impact that. That gets into the changes staff is proposing.   The timing of the when the TIA is needed.  How one can look at that TIA and development proposal is what staff is changing.  The third step in the process would be how to proceed forward.    
 
Staff is proposing amending the land development code to allow for use of TPR (i.e. in zone change and Transportation Impact Analysis criteria); TPR allows for:
                “Planned” facilities in TSP may be used in project analysis
                Use of alternative mitigation measures
                Already failing intersections to be reviewed with a “no further degradation target”
 
Alternative Measures is signaling timing improvements, multi-modal improvements (transit or bicycle facilities), or street connectivity that would improve the system as a whole.
 
Commissioner Pulver asked, does the alternative measures have to be related to the intersection in question?  Mr. Kearns stated that it has to show how it will fix the problem. 
 
Pros:
                Planned projects can be included in the analysis
                Allows development to proceed prior to improvements being built
                No pipeline trips
                Aligns with ODOT requirements
 
Cons:
                More critical for the City to deliver the planned projects over the 20 year planning period
                Allows development to proceed prior to improvements being built
                More reliant on a regional traffic model of which the City does not have direct control
                The Mega Corridor
 
 
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 1:16 p.m.
 
 
Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards
Recording Secretary
 

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