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Agenda & Minutes

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Medford Urban Renewal (View All)

Medford Urban Renewal Agency Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019                                       

Immediately following the 6:00 P.M. Council Study Session
Medford City Hall, Medford Room
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
The Study Session of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board was called to order at 7:25 p.m. in the Medford Room of Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Board members Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks, Tim DíAlessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine, Gary Wheeler and Michael Zarosinski; Executive Director Brian Sjothun, Urban Renewal Director Harry Weiss, Deputy City Manager Eric Zimmerman, City Attorney Lori Cooper, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Mark McKechnie provided a history of the Skypark concept. It was brought forward in 2013 and was approved by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board (MURA) and the City Council of 2015. The agreement was for the airspace above the 10th Street parking lot for a term of 50 years.
The developer did not request public funds, planned to sell the units at below median prices and agreed to construct the units with an 11 feet clearance to allow parking.
Mr. McKechnie displayed concept photos, noting the parking area was left open for safety.  It was planned with a center courtyard within units to provide park-like common area. 
What ultimately prevented the project was parking.  Previous management allowed only one parking space per unit. Residents would need to purchase monthly parking passes for additional vehicles, with no guaranteed spaces. 
Development team includes members of Allan Sandler and Oregon Architecture, Inc.
The planned project had a single one-bedroom unit; the rest were two or three bedroom. All units were small, approximately 860 square feet for a two-bedroom.
Mr. McKechnie requested consideration of the Skypark project now because of Medfordís lack of rental units and/or affordable housing and because there are new members on the MURA Board.
Board members noted that the project didnít move forward previously because of parking concerns. The parking consultant at the time didnít recommend the project for multiple reasons, including an inadequate turning radius in the proposed garage and unusable parking spaces, etc.  The plan was also rejected by the Site Plan and Architectural Commission. 
Urban Renewal Director Harry Weiss distributed a map of the City-owned property downtown that could be considered for housing. 
Board member DíAlessandro advised that typically parking was available, if people walked short distances.  However, there is a huge housing shortage and housing was identified as a priority by the City Council.
Mr. Weiss recommended the Board determine the best use of the publicís dollars for the betterment of the community. He requested direction regarding MURAís preference for parking or housing.  If the Board wanted housing options for the downtown area, staff could issue an RFP or RFQ to obtain proposals for consideration.
Mr. Weiss pointed out a conflict of interest between the MURA Board and the Council; the Council approving MURA projects is complicated and sometimes the goals could be in opposition.
Board discussed how to move forward with Mr. McKechnieís proposal, including the possibility of a DDA, issuing an RFP/RFQ, approving Skypark or requesting similar options for other locations, etc.
Mr. Weiss recommended the Board determine goals with input from the MURA Advisory Committee and the Housing Advisory Commission, and consider the Housing Market Study.
Mr. Sjothun requested that Mr. Weiss create a MURA timeline before the September 5th MURA meeting.
Board member Gordon recommended assisting Mr. McKechnie with finalizing his Almond Street housing project.  He also requested sample performance standards for a DDA. The standards are mentioned, but he wasnít sure what would be included.
Board Chair Brooks advised Mr. Weiss that the Board was unsure about goals or how to proceed at this time.
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder

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