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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, December 09, 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:
Commissioners Present
Mark McKechnie, Chair
Joe Foley, Vice Chair
Bill Mansfield
David McFadden
E.J. McManus
Jeff Thomas
Commissioners Absent
David Culbertson, Excused Absence       
Jared Pulver, Unexcused Absence          
Staff Present
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Madison Simmons, Assistant Deputy City Attorney
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Seth Adams, Planner III
20.    Subjects
20.1 DCA-19-006 Annexation Updates
Seth Adams, Planner III reported that staff is asking the Commission to identify any changes to be made to the proposal and should the process for zoning of annexed property be modified.
Annexation is the process of land that must be contiguous to city limits and within the Urban Growth Boundary.  It is required to develop at urban densities and / or to connect to sewer, water and other public facilities. 
The Annexation approval criteria needs to be updated in the Medford Land Development Code to be consistent with the criteria in the Comprehensive Plan, which state that the City Council must find that the following conditions are met in order to approve an annexation of land was added to the urban area from the Urban Reserves:
1.                Adoption of revised TSP
2.                Adoption of Local Wetlands Inventory
3.                Goal 5 resources identified and protected
4.                Adoption of an urbanization plan
5-6              Site / Area specific requirements
Summary of the Proposed Changes:
•             Inclusion of annexation approval criteria for urban reserve properties
•             Clarifying language on annexation public hearings and noticing
•             Updating of annexation application requirements
•             Minor text edits and rearrangement for clarity
At present, the language in the Medford Land Development Code says that, at the time of annexation, the City shall apply a City zoning designation comparable to the previous County zoning designation, and where no comparable City zoning designation exists, the SFR-00 (Single-Family Residential – one dwelling unit per exiting lot) zone or the I-00 (Limited Industrial Overlay) shall be applied.  Staff feels that this existing language is somewhat ambiguous and could be made clearer.  In addition, there are other questions about zoning at time of annexation that should be considered.
Questions on Zoning of Annexed Property:
•             Include a table listing County zones and the comparable City zones that will be applied for each?
•             What if the comparable City zone is not consistent with the GLUP?
•             What about testing for Category A facility adequacy?
It seems to Vice Chair Foley that the bigger concern is the adequacy of facilities as opposed to the GLUP.  The Planning Commission just had a discussion on the process used to change the zoning on properties under one acre.  Can that similar type process be used here?  In other words, here is the GLUP designation, pick a City zone in that GLUP designation then go through the category A facility testing at that point.   If the facilities are adequate then the zoning is done, and if not then it is a different discussion.  Does that make any sense?  Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director responded it could.  It begs the question of whether or not we want the City Council to make those adequacy decisions.  Currently the code is structured so that the only time the City Council has the ability to give zoning is through a legislative process; which is a group of properties, or through annexation.  Neither of those actions require category A testing.  Do we want the City Council to make site specific Quaisi Judicial decisions?  That is what would happen in this type of situation. 
Commissioner Mansfield suggested including a table listing the City zone that will be applied, and including a proviso that makes it clear that the GLUP would supersede the table if the comparable zone is inconsistent with the GLUP.  To him, the real problem is facility adequacy.  What kind of proviso do you add for that?  Carla Paladino, Principal Planner commented that there is restrictive zoning.  Commissioner Mansfield suggested adding a second proviso that if facilities are inadequate, then apply restrictive zoning.  The GLUP should override the table.
Vice Chair Foley asked, does concurrency make this easier?  Ms. Paladino stated that concurrency was about transportation but does not look at water, sewer or storm drain. 
Vice Chair Foley asked, doesn’t an applicant have to bring in a detailed urbanization plan that includes zoning, etc.?   Ms. Paladino responded that they do not have to have zoning at the time of urbanization. 
Chair McKechnie asked, is there a difference in property taxes for zoning?  Ms. Paladino reported she believes this question came up in urbanization discussions and thought that until the property becomes what the zoning permits the tax rate does not change.  She does not want to speak for the County.  Ms. Evans stated that the tax rates will change when they are annexed.  City taxes are different.
Chair McKechnie asked, if a property is annexed does the valuation change because it has zoning with it.  He thinks that would have an impact on what would happen with this. 
Vice Chair Foley asked, are property taxes based on value?  Until the property is built out it would not change.  The only difference is the property now has City taxes on it.
Commissioner McFadden cannot imagine the Assessor making the property more valuable because of its zoning and GLUP designation.
Commissioner Mansfield reported there is no question that the zoning or potential zoning plays a part in the appraiser’s evaluation. 
Commissioner McFadden stated that whether it be commercial or residential category A facilities have to handle not only that development but developments past it that the City may work into.  Isn’t it almost automatically that a new application has to have maximum category A facilities?  Whatever provides the highest usage?  Ms. Evans responded that traffic has numbers they use.  For commercial it is 1500 trips per acre.  She does not know what they use to teste for other facilities.  For residential in UR they look at SFR-10 to figure the capacity needs. 
Chair McKechnie asked, does the process involve three steps: getting it annexed, going through a zone change, and at the same time they may have to go through a GLUP change?  Ms. Evans responded that it could be.  It depends. 
Chair McKechnie asked, is it definitely two steps, annexation and zone change?  Ms. Evans reported it is now. 
Chair McKechnie asked, if these are combined does it save time and money?  Ms. Paladino stated they can run concurrently, but they are separate applications.  It seems to Chair McKechnie that if the applications were combined it would simplify the process or speed it up, both of which may be of particular value.  Ms. Evans commented that it is a ton of work at the time of annexation that would normally happen at the time of zoning.  Chair McKechnie stated it is the same ton of work.  Ms. Evans agreed. Chair McKechnie supposes the disadvantage is that if the property owner wants to get into the City and does not have the foggiest idea of what is going to happen, then he is doing all that work for the zoning part of it which may or may not ultimately pan out.  Ms. Evans responded that it makes the annexation process more cumbersome and the criteria would be different.  Right now there are two criteria – the property must be contiguous and in the Urban Growth Boundary.                     
It is confusing to Mr. Adams that we have the adequacy testing at time of zone change versus time of development. It seems to complicate matters. 
Chair McKechnie asked, has the City GLUPed all the areas in the Urban Reserve?  Ms. Evans replied yes.  Chair McKechnie asked, did he understand that if a property to be annexed was UM or UH, was it determined to be serviced with only transportation?  Ms. Paladino stated that when the City did the Urban Growth Boundary, water, sewer, storm drainage was looked at in a general sense.
It makes sense to Chair McKechnie to do the facility adequacy test at the time of the project.  Does that make sense?  Mr. Adams replied that it makes sense.  It is common in a lot of communities to do it that way, and that we may want to consider amending the zoning designation portion as another project, and moving the annexation criteria portion forward now.  Ms. Paladino commented that staff has had these conversations a couple of times.  The City of Medford has done it this way. She is not sure why.  They had this conversation when they were doing the concurrency items and the developers in the room, at the time, were staunchly against changing how this is done.  To change, the conversation would have to be opened to the broader development community to get an understanding of why the City has done it that way and why the City cannot shift.  Other communities do it the way we are talking about it, but the City of Medford had not moved towards that way. 
Commissioner McManus asked, have areas in the Urban Growth Boundary been identified that do not have a comparable County zone with the City’s GLUP map?  Ms. Paladino responded that most of it is EFU land.  Staff has not done a comparison. 
Staff will continue this zoning conversation, and will move forward on the other portions of the amendment.
Mr. Adams stated that the annexation criteria, excluding the zone change portion, would go before the Planning Commission hearing on January 23, 2020 and to the City Council hearing on February 20, 2020.    
20.2 CP-19-002 & DCA-19-007 Southeast Plan Updates
Mr. Adams reported that staff is requesting the Planning Commission to identify any changes to be made to the proposal.
The Southeast Plan is approximately 1,000 acres east of North Phoenix Road.  The Plan was originally adopted in 1998 and most recently amended in 2013.  The Southeast Overlay District was adopted in 2004.
The need for the amendment is basically housekeeping.  There have been numerous subdivisions, new streets, and a City park constructed since the last amendment in 2013.  There has also been recent rezoning of property from residential to commercial, and the Transportation System Plan recommends that the alignment of the future East Barnett Road be straightened out. 
Commissioner McFadden thinks they should get rid of the Planned Unit Development ordinance completely; making it easier on everybody.  It seems to him that it started with the Southeast Plan.
Mr. Adams continued that staff will be updating the maps and tables to reflect approved land use changes, the straightening of East Barnett Road alignment, and transferring the street and greenway cross-sections into the Medford Land Development Code.  In addition, staff is proposing to remove the PUD requirement for new developments that are in conformance with the SE Overlay development and special design standards.  Conforming developments would be reviewed by the Site Plan and Architectural Commission, and Planned Unit Development approval by Planning Commission would be required for development proposing to deviate from the standards. 
One other item that is not housekeeping is the establishment of maximum block lengths in the Southeast Plan area.  The proposal calls for language in the Medford Land Development Code to read: “Street intersections shall be located every 600 to 800 feet in single-family residential areas, and every 400 to 600 feet in the Commercial Center Core and higher-density areas.  The approving authority may at their discretion, allow for longer block lengths in order to preserve significant established trees or groves of trees, or to minimize street crossings of designated Greenways.”   This exact language is in the Southeast Plan portion of the Comprehensive Plan, but is inexplicably missing from the MLDC.  
The next steps are the Planning Commission hearing on January 23, 2020 and City Council hearing on February 20, 2020. 
Commissioner Mansfield thought staff advised the Planning Commission several months ago that they were in opposition to PUDs.  He thought their use has come to an end.  What has happened with regards to staff’s view of getting rid of PUDs?   Ms. Evans commented that she questioned their usefulness in the Southeast Plan because they are required in everything south of Barnett Road.  Staff has experienced a lot of straight subdivisions that have a PUD name.  There is nothing unusual or exceptional, they are not moving densities and they are not protecting open areas.  There is no point.  It is a lot of process and management for staff and expense for developers for no benefit.  She is a fan of PUDs when they are used well.  In the case of the Southeast Plan there is no point.
Commissioner McFadden reported that originally the idea of the PUD designation area was to allow commercial areas to be developed, otherwise it was going to be all residential, and that there was no mechanism in the subdivision plans for commercial areas.  Ms. Evans responded that was always part of the Southeast Plan because it had the Commercial Core.
Vice Chair Foley is concerned with the block length.  There must have been a reason that was excluded originally.   He is guessing it had to do with topography and things like that.  He is nervous putting it back in and forcing them to re-justify something they have already laid out.   Chair McKechnie commented that Mr. Adams’ point is that the two are in conflict.
Chair McKechnie stated it sounds like this amendment is a go for cleaning it up. 
Ms. Evans reported that last Thursday the City Council appointed a new Planning Commissioner to replace Patrick Miranda.  David Jordan is his name and he may be joining the Planning Commission at their meeting on Thursday.                    
100.        Adjournment
101. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:56 p.m. 
Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards                                                                               
Recording Secretary

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