August 8, 2019
Medford 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, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Michael Zarosinski (arrived at 6:03 p.m.); City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Manager Eric Zimmerman, Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Councilmembers Kay Brooks, Tim D’Alessandro, Eric Stark and Kevin Stine were absent.
Rogue Recycling Options
Rogue Disposal & Recycling’s Manager Gary Penning and Recycling and Community Outreach Coordinator Denise Barnes updated the Council on their recycling efforts.
Mr. Penning advised that in October 2017 Rogue Disposal & Recycling (Rogue) was notified that China was changing their recycling specifications to limit the items accepted and refusing contaminated products. Rogue immediately changed their recycling program to only allow those items which have consistently had value: cardboard, milk jugs, aluminum and tin cans; then began educational outreach to notify customers of the changes.
Ms. Barnes outlined the Rogue’s changes since 2017.
Council comments and responses to questions
- First goal - reduce contaminates in the recycling:
- Installed cameras in the hoppers
- Provided cameras in the trucks for drivers to take photos
- Supplied drivers with tablets to take photos of contamination before the cart emptied
- Created cart tags to educate customers on accepted materials
- Second goal - remove the garbage from the recycling
- Improved communication, created new messages and provided educational materials
- Third goal - focus on discontinued program materials
- Offered recycling options at depots for items no longer collected curbside: glass, number one and two plastic bottles and high-grade paper
- Limited items accepted at depots helped reduce contaminates
- Items are collected at depots versus curbside reduces contaminates and allows Rogue to take items directly to a mill
- The four items currently accepted curbside have domestic markets
- A recycling analysis is scheduled for September; if the contaminates are low, items could be added back into curbside pickup
- Council noted the transfer station is too far for some residents to drive for recycling
Mr. Penning reported that the DEQ is conducting a lifecycle analysis of various products to determine their environmental impact from its creation to the landfill/recycling. The analysis considers transportation, storage, use and waste collectively.
- Hazardous waste:
- Products tracked through their entire lifecycles
- More difficult to manage with co-mingle recycling
- Rogue’s letters regarding contamination significantly reduced violations
- Rogue was the first waste hauler in Oregon to begin the contamination removal process
- A safety/ADA concern was noted regarding curbside containers placed in the bike lanes and walkways; Rogue has notification/informational cart tags, but would increase their use
- Commercial businesses are charged for recycling; then the types of items accepted reduced
- Redeemable soda cans are accepted in the red carts
- Placing a redemption fee on other plastics could incentivize recycling
Rogue conducts tours for the public on a regular basis. These tours outline Rogue’s operations and the services provided.
System Development Charge (SDC) Options
Planning Director Matt Brinkley advised that there are five types of SDC fees collected by the City: Parks, Transportation, Sanitary Sewer, Storm water and Water (collected on behalf of the Medford Water Commission).
The City is limited on how SDC funds are used. The funds can only be used for: capital improvements, “capacity increasing” capital improvements and direct costs of compliance with state law.
The City offers SDC credits to contractors that complete specific public infrastructure improvements and certain classes of development for relatively minor building issues.
Mr. Brinkley reported that SDC fees for multifamily housing developments average 2% of the total cost and 4% of the total cost for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). However, SDC fees vary depending on the sanitary sewer company.
There are a variety considerations regarding eliminating SDC fees:
- The City would need to collect those fees from other customers, reduce services or eliminate services
- SDC fees are needed for streets, sewers, parks, etc.
- Municipal Code requires SDC fees at the time of development; no current exemption exists for ADU’s
- Potential use the Housing Opportunity Fund to pay for SDC exemptions or reductions
- SDC fees were budgeted based on types of development
- Reducing or exempting fees might not be fair, equitable or effective
Mr. Brinkley requested direction regarding the specifics for Planning’s future proposal. He advised that SDC fees are reduced based on existing development in the area. Public Works Director Cory Crebbin noted that other factors impact SDC’s, including increased capacity, estimated customer trips, plumbing fixtures, etc.; ADU’s with kitchens have a much larger SDC fee than those without.
Councilmember Bearnson recommended that any SDC exemption/reduction program consider a building’s square footage, be focused on affordable and workforce housing, and not for units intended for bed and breakfasts or rentals.
Mayor Wheeler had no objections to moving forward, but voiced concerns about Planning’s schedule and availability. Councilmember Gordon preferred the changes begin soon, as Planning previously indicated these revisions would be completed by May; he has constituents waiting for the Code revision.
Mayor Wheeler confirmed there were no objections to staff moving forward.
Foothill Road Median Landscaping
Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Tim Stevens presented three options for the Foothills Road median: stamped or decorative concrete, tree planters or fully landscaped. He was concerned about the significant safety issues for conducting median maintenance on a 45 mph street.
Stamped or decorative concrete for the median would cost approximately $200,000. The maintenance expense would be minimal, only periodic removal of debris and weeds.
Mr. Sjothun notified Council that trees and landscaping will be placed along the sides of this entire section of roadway; tonight’s study session is to determine the preferred median landscaping.
Planting trees in the median would cost approximately $175,000. The maintenance expense would be moderate, consisting of replacing trees damaged by motorists, the pruning and weeding. Maintenance would require lane closures for safety.
To fully landscape the median would cost approximately $300,000. The maintenance expense would be high, consisting of replacing the trees damaged by motorists, watering, pruning, weeding and trimming, in addition to lane closures for safety. Mr. Stevens was very concerned about safety for staff maintaining landscaping along a high-traffic 45 mph roadway. He advised that the City would most likely hire a landscaping company for the work, which could be difficult with the safety and insurance requirements.
The median width ranges from four to nine feet along this corridor. Councilmember Zarosinski recommended trees in the nine foot sections and stamped concrete in the narrower sections. He recalled an option for double luminaire lighting that was provided during the planning of these improvements. Craig Stone from CSA Planning advised that the lighting was considered, but it was later rejected in order to maintain uniformity along the corridor.
Mayor Wheeler preferred trees along the sides, but not necessarily in the median.
Councilmember Gordon preferred a concrete median in the narrower areas and full landscaping without trees in the wider sections. He also recommended the roadway include maintenance areas for truck parking and to ensure safety during maintenance.
Mayor Wheeler confirmed that Council preferred trees in the wider sections and decorative concrete in the narrower sections; Councilmember Gordon agreed with concrete in the narrow portions, but preferred full landscaping without the trees in the other sections.
Council requested that options be presented during a City Manager report for final approval.
The meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder