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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, November 11, 2019
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 12:00 noon in the Medford Lausmann Annex, Room 151, 200 S. Ivy Street, Medford, Oregon on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Mark McKechnie, Chair
Joe Foley, Vice Chair
David Culbertson, Excused Absence
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
20.1 CP-19-004 Liberty Park Neighborhood Plan Review
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner recognized Commissioner Foley. He was on the Liberty Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee. They met six times over the course of fifteen to sixteen months.
The boundaries of the project encompassed land south of McAndrews, west of Interstate 5, north of Jackson Street and east of the railroad tracks.
In 2002 an action plan for the neighborhood was created. However, the plan was never formally adopted into the Comprehensive Plan. In August of 2017 the City was awarded a Transportation and Growth Management Grant to receive outside consultant help to update the plan. In June of 2018, the advisory committee was formed. In April 2018, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA) Substantial Amendment was approved. The neighborhood plan is to guide future Medford Urban Renewal Agency investments. Also, help realize a new vision for the neighborhood.
There were twenty-nine stakeholder interviews that included neighbors, business owners, social service agencies, City Manager and anyone that had a thought on the project. A neighborhood advisory committee was formed with twelve members that had six meetings. There were two community surveys online and staff held four open houses.
The plan talks about goals, land use recommendations and transportation recommendations.
The first open house and meeting with the advisory committee was to hear what people envisioned for the neighborhood, goals and what are they trying to accomplish. What staff heard the most was to create a safe neighborhood, minimize crime and impacts of homelessness, enhance places and lives, increase quality, range of housing options, support and foster local businesses, promote family wage jobs and educational opportunity and make better connections to the Greenway, Downtown and other neighborhoods.
For land use review the main topics in the plan are to look for infill and redevelopment opportunities. The Medford Urban Renewal Agency purchased approximately three acres for redevelopment on the west side of Central Avenue.
Commissioner McFadden asked, does that include the warehouses in that area? Ms. Paladino replied yes.
Other elements of the land use review are to enhance the Bear Creek Greenway and park spaces, evaluate uses, GLUPs and zoning, create site and design standards, and partner with law and code enforcement to address negative activities.
The plan is heavy on transportation projects. There are twenty-two projects outlined under eight main categories, projects address all modes, help accomplish the stated goals related to connectivity and safety, and test ideas with pilot projects.
Traffic calming would reduce traffic speeds (interior to 20 mph and along major roadways to 25 mph). Launch a “20 a Plenty” campaign within the neighborhood, pilot project for traffic calming along streets that have been noted as problematic, pilot project for diagonal diverters (redirect traffic) and look for opportunities for traffic calming at Pine and Maple with traffic circles, speed humps, bulb out, or chicanes.
Lane configuration would modify the configuration on Riverside and Central to slow traffic, add bicycle lanes to provide connectivity and opportunity to travel along these roadways, less travel lanes makes it easier for pedestrians to cross these major streets, and reduce speed from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Bicycle network could possibly add sharrows and signage to the street letting people know to share the road with bicycles, help make the connection from the Neighborhood to Downtown, Edwards Street is the only higher order street that bisects the residential core of the neighborhood, the Transportation System Plan includes a project that would add bicycle facilities, depending on the future land use pattern of Edwards, a different cross section may be looked at, corresponds to the Transportation System Plan project #462.
The Greenway Crossing is to find the best location to provide crossing after further study. The possibilities would be Manzanita, Alice, Edwards and Austin. This is a long term project.
For sidewalk infill the Plan includes a project to install missing sidewalks within the residential core of the neighborhood and within the commercial / industrial areas. In total, approximately three miles of sidewalk are proposed to be installed to provide safe places for residents and visitors to walk and visit.
For bus stop relocations there are existing bus stops along Riverside and along Court / Central. The project would look at relocating three of the locations in coordination with the pedestrian crossing enhancement at these locations. Coordination with Rogue Valley Transportation District would be needed.
Another improvement would be alley improvements. Since the open house in July, an alley improvement project was added to the list of projects. These create better access to existing homes, provide opportunities for storm water drainage and improve aesthetics and how the space is used and functions. The project looks at four main alleys located within the core.
The next steps for the draft plan is to make final edits to the Plan and prepare the Plan for adoption. The hearing schedule was originally scheduled for the Planning Commission hearing on November 14, 2019. Staff is not ready so they will request a continuance to the December 12, 2010 Planning Commission meeting and January 16, 2020 to City Council.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, how does staff suggest the City be involved in support and foster local businesses and promote family wage jobs? What do cities do to promote and support local businesses and support family wage jobs in a particular area? Ms. Paladino responded it is allowing for better and easier use of home occupations. They have not picked a solution to family wage jobs. It could be bringing in businesses that may help people that live there.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, is staff suggesting that the City taxes should be spent for increasing quality and range of housing options? There are a lot of possibilities. Ms. Paladino replied that it is the entire gamut of possibilities. Everything from potentially funding from the Medford Urban Renewal Agency to help for housing rehabilitation using some of the CDBG dollars. Looking at opportunities for changes along the commercial core (vacant lots how to get people to want to build multi-family or mixed-use) and promoting the neighborhood as a location that is close to Downtown. Infill strategies would be looking at the zoning use possibilities.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, what is the motel issues about? Ms. Paladino stated that there is a lot of crime at the hotels in the area that are causing issues to the neighborhood. In some of the locations the police are getting over four hundred calls per year. Commissioner Mansfield asked, how does Planning play a part in solving that? Ms. Paladino replied that there is a pilot that happened with Motel 6 through the Police Department that helped reduce the number of calls and crime occurring. Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney reported that it is under the chronic nuisance property ordinance. When there is a certain number of certain types of calls for service the City can reach out and state that the business needs to setup an abatement plan to address the issues. If they don’t the City has the ability to shut down the business for a twelve month window. That brought Motel 6’s corporate counsel to make changes on how they do business. They brought in on-site private security. They number of theft and drug calls have plummeted at Motel 6 south. That is a good model of how an affordable motel can successfully address some of the drug and crime issues while still catering to the affordable market. Ms. Paladino stated that there are strong feelings from some of City Council members that they would like the City to buy some of the motels and change them into different types of housing.
Chair McKechnie asked, is there enough single family housing for the neighborhood to survive? He is wondering if that is not the solution they want to spend money on. Ms. Paladino reported that the General Land Use Plan designations in some of the area are MFR designations. Areas that are SFR-10 need to be rezoned. The lots are small so the impact should be minimal. There would be small increments of units. The idea is not to disrupt the residential core but make changes to the outer edges.
Commissioner McFadden asked, how do we protect the existing housing? Vice Chair Foley commented that the committee talked about an overlay that allows more flexibility to put duplexes. Also, mixing businesses and residential together. Residents that engaged heavily with the committee basically owned a single-family home.
Chair McKechnie commented that other jurisdictions have created an enterprise zone for something like this. It comes with a monetary incentive to redevelop.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that enterprise zones means the rest of the taxpayers subsidize that area. He is not necessarily opposed to that but he is speaking reality.
Chair McKechnie commented not necessarily. The development pays the impact of whatever that development is by fees like System Development Charges.
Commissioner Pulver asked, does the Medford Urban Renewal Agency own this going forward and how do we prioritize projects? Ms. Paladino responded that it would be multi-departmental. For bicycle and pedestrian projects annually the Transportation System Plan has funding that is fluid. Could the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee prioritize some of the things happening in Liberty Park in the next biennium? The Medford Urban Renewal Agency has an advisory committee that are looking at land reconfiguration and the crossing at Jackson. The Parks Department probably has a piece in terms of the Greenway.
Commissioner Pulver asked, who owns and is responsible for the Greenway? Ms. Paladino responded the Parks Department.
Commissioner Pulver asked, does the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have jurisdiction on Riverside, Court and Central? Ms. Paladino replied they are our streets, however, if the City impacts anything north or south on ODOT’s facilities they will have to be identified.
Commissioner McManus’s understanding is that on the outer edges of Liberty Park if there is some type of a configuration pilot or test the zones would be changed. He is on the MURA Advisory Committee. At the collaboration of making sure some of the outer boundary changes will be reflected to take advantage of some of the Transportation changes. Ms. Paladino replied that staff updated the text about the lane reconfiguration to two travel lanes, one bike lane and parking.
Chair McKechnie commented on the design standards stating that in a transitional neighborhood they tend to be a “buzz kill” on stuff. He suggested to be careful of imposing design standards on this. Rather than doing an enterprise zone perhaps the first project in or the second project gets a waiver on fees or additional design support. Ms. Paladino stated that the design standards would also be site standards.
101. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:42 p.m.
Terri L. Richards