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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Minutes
Monday, January 13, 2020

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
David Culbertson
Bill Mansfield
E.J. McManus
Jared Pulver
Jeff Thomas
 
Commissioners Absent
David Jordan, Excused Absence
David McFadden, Excused Absence       
 
Staff Present
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Madison Simmons, Assistant Deputy City Attorney
Sarah Sousa, Planner IV
 
 
20.    Subject
 
20.1 Overview of House Bill 2001
 
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director reported House Bill 2001 was passed in the last legislative session.  Various parts became effective at different points of time.  Some will not become effective for the next couple of years.  There were emergency provisions.
 
Taken from Dan Parolek, “middle housing is a transformative concept that highlights the need for diverse, affordable housing choices in sustainable, walkable places. “ 
 
Middle housing provides housing types that fit households from a variety of backgrounds with diverse needs.  Currently, in the United States sixty-two percent of households are one or two person households.  That is a change that is being driven by an aging demographic.  The City of Medford has 2.4 people per household.  There are a lot of younger families as well as a lot of older households.  There is a spike at the end of that spectrum.  There is a big spike of households that are around 80 to 85.  This will continue to accelerate as more people retire and come to Medford.  Medford has been a beneficiary of that kind of population growth.
 
Middle housing also facilitates household diversity within a single neighborhood.  It is also an infill strategy that promotes land use efficiency with less impact on existing neighborhoods. 
 
House Bill 2001 applies to single family zoned land. 
 
Key features of House Bill 2001 is there is two sets of rules based on several factors.  The first set of rules is for medium communities 10,000 to 25,000 in population.  In this region it applies to Ashland, Central Point and all the other smaller communities.  It may not apply to Eagle Point.  It depends on when Eagle Point crosses the threshold of 10,000.  Grants Pass is in the league with the City of Medford that is more than 25,000 in population.
 
Medium cities:
•             Duplexes must be allowed on “each lot or parcel zoned for residential use that allows for the development of detached single-family dwellings.”
•             Must comply by June 30, 2021
 
Large cities:
•             All middle housing types must be allowed “in areas zoned for residential use that allow for the development of detached single-family dwellings […]”
•             Must comply by June 30, 2022
 
All cities;
•             Can “regulate siting and design of middle housing required to be permitted under this section, provided that the regulations do not, individually or cumulatively, discourage the development of all middle housing types permitted in the area through unreasonable cost or delay.”
                     
Chair McKechnie asked, who is doing the rule making?  Is it the Legislature or State department?  Mr. Brinkley responded it is DLCD that gets tasked with figuring out all the details after the fact. 
 
All cities:
•             Owner-occupancy requirements and construction of additional off-street parking for ADUs prohibited
•             Deed restrictions created after August 2019, prohibiting middle housing are NOT enforceable
 
Does not apply to
•             Lands outside of urban growth boundary
•             Unincorporated lands that lack urban services
•             Land NOT zoned for residential use
•             Unincorporated lands with an interim zoning designation
What about Medford?
 
Vacant Land: Total 951 acres
•             SFR-10 – 165 acres
•             SFR-6 – 71 acres
•             SFR-4 – 480 acres
•             SFR-2 – 235 acres
 
Partially Vacant Land: Total 206 acres
•             SFR-10 – 56 acres
•             SFR-6 – 72 acres
•             SFR-4 – 67 acres
•             SFR-2 – 12 acres
 
Developed / Unbuildable Land: Total 5,829 acres
•             SFR-10 – 928 acres
•             SFR-6 – 1,286 acres
•             SFR-4 – 3,430 acres
•             SFR-2 – 185 acres
 
Things the City of Medford has done to address House Bill 2001:
 
Duplexes
•             Increased allowable density to 1.5 times underlying zone
•             Permitted in all residential zones except SFR-00 and SFR-2
•             Can be divided into 2 separate, fee simple units or not
 
Cottage housing
•             4 – 12 detached and / or duplex units in SFR-4 (corner lots only), SFR-6, SFR-10 and MFR-15
•             Units can be individually owned or under common ownership
•             Units cannot exceed 1,200 square total maximum building height of 20 feet
 
House Bill 2003 establishes a time line or a minimum review period for housing needs assessments.  The last housing needs assessment was done in 2008-2009 and acknowledged in 2010.  The completion date for the City of Medford to have an updated housing needs assessment is 2023.  
 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, has the brokerage industry and / or building industry reacted to any of this and if so are they for or against it?  Commissioner Culbertson responded that they have not seen any impacts.  People are not buying $200,000 houses to demolish and build a four-plex.
 
Commissioner Culbertson read an article on Lake Oswego and West Linn that reacted negatively against it.  One was going to impose a $15,000 or $18,000 demolition fee.  Can they do that?  He wonders how that was received.  Mr. Brinkley knows that Lake Oswego will charge SDCs when multi-family housing is torn down.  With a four-plex the City of Medford credits that back. 
 
Commissioner Pulver commented that there is a lot of resistance on House Bill 2001.  
 
Madison Simmons, Assistant Deputy City Attorney has a former colleague friend on the DLCD rule making committee for House Bill 2001 that she texted to see if there were any people from southern Oregon on the committee.  The furthest one is from the City of Cottage Grove.     
 
Commissioner Pulver asked, is it speculation that the City would have an allowance to limit the ability to do this on some lots in an area versus all?  Mr. Brinkley reported that the law states they can but it does not state what that meets.  Currently, there are two planning projects that have conflicting interests.  Wildfire mitigation in the hills of east Medford is not only vulnerability because of the proximity to wildlands but issues with evacuation.   The City needs more density and housing types in places that are preferable and less preferable.  He would like to see having the discretion supported with facts; not allowing it everywhere.  The other issue is from the existing neighborhood perspective.  He thinks the City will have the ability to impose design requirements to make sure new multi-family fits into the neighborhood provided those regulations do not discourage middle housing. 
 
Commissioner Culbertson commented that medium density is MFR-15 and high density for MFR-20 and MFR-30.  There was previous discussion of putting SFR-10 in medium density.  Has that had any traction or swept down as a bad idea?  Mr. Brinkley does not know if they have really talked to City Council about that. 
 
Chair McKechnie asked, was it because you can get single family homes on SFR-10 and not MFR-15?  Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director replied could be. 
 
Mr. Brinkley stated that House Bill 2001 does not talk about density.  Some proponents of House Bill 2001 wanted to have different affordable building types because they tend to have smaller units and incorporate those in more neighborhoods.  Other people thought this would be a way to bring more density into the neighborhoods.  It does not say it has to meet a particular density in those neighborhoods. 
 
Mr. Brinkley reported that the City of Phoenix changed their zoning ordinance allowing any kind of residential building type in all the zones provided that it falls in the minimum and maximum densities.  It does not change the overall city density.
 
Commissioner Mansfield guesses the word “density” was left out by the proponents because they know in some circles “density” is a fight word.
 
Chair McKechnie asked, was there a problem statewide they were trying to solve with the concept of middle housing or a hair brain idea?  Mr. Brinkley responded there is a statewide concern about affordability.  It is addressing affordability by providing more supply of units that fit the preferences of the changing demographics.  There is a concern of creating neighborhoods that are inclusive of different kinds of households.  This was done in Grand Rapids, Michigan ten years ago.  It did not radically change Grand Rapids.  Minneapolis recently did this.  It was a lot about equity as much as providing more affordable housing.  The City of Seattle is moving in that direction. 
 
This is like a mouse trap for Commissioner Pulver.  Affordability and middle housing are important to him.  The issue of affordability has far more to do with other factors than the type of housing allowed to be built in a municipality.  Construction cost, land cost, fees and materials does not solve affordability issues.  Developers tend to go where the money is.  He thinks they missed the boat big time on this.  Mr. Brinkley agrees.  This is not a silver bullet that will solve the affordability crisis. House Bill 2001 or House Bill 2003 put a number to how much land they thought would actually be used for multi-family housing in single family zones.  They came up with two percent because there are communities in Oregon that do not want to grow.  They do not want to do urban growth boundary amendments.  The concern for builders and developers side was that a city would not do an urban growth boundary amendment because they quadrupled the capacity of their residential land.  The two percent is the safe harbor.  When used it will provide smaller affordable units.
 
Commissioner Mansfield asked, what percentage passed in the House for House Bill 2001?  Was it a large majority or a close split?  Commissioner Culbertson responded 47 to 18 in the House.
 
Mr. Brinkley reported House Bill 2001 had a lot of support from affordability advocates, housing industry and housing associations. 
 
Commissioner Pulver stated that the urban growth boundary amendment has the density requirement in it.  It allows the property owners and people in charge of planning to do it in a way that makes sense.   Cedar Links has a lot of undeveloped lots.  He is sensitive that a developer could build four-plexes in a predominantly SFR neighborhood.  It is important to tell a buyer of a piece of property what is going on around them as well as what can be done on their property.  In this case it is “who knows, good luck”.  When a person’s home is their primary asset it is a big deal on home valuations.
 
Commissioner Thomas commented that the homes across from the apartment complex in Cedar Landing selling for $400 to $500 thousand.  Those homes will go down at least $100 thousand as soon as they start building the apartments. Mr. Brinkley totally disagrees.  Mr. Thomas knows a lot of people in that neighborhood that have “For Sale” signs going up.  It is crazy.  Mr. Brinkley knows people say that and time will tell.  The City is looking at that City wide and the effect of the proximity of multi-family on single family home sale prices and values.  The results will be shared with the Planning Commission. 
 
Commissioner Culbertson agrees with Commission Thomas and Commissioner Pulver that proximity is important.  When dealing with the aging population as the densities get higher, smaller lots, and setbacks the only way to get the right number of homes is maximize the profit is to go vertical.  Creating a two-story unit the aging population is closed out of the vast majority.  They go after the track homes.  The vast majority of young growing family’s main use is the kind of yard.  Smaller units closes down the buyer pool that is going to want that house. Affordability is out the window.  It is desire.  Location is very important.  He feels sorry for the people on Farmington that had worked through a plan that had a specific type of floor plan for the things across the street and just changed.  He believes that person’s house value will drop. 
 
Mr. Brinkley thinks it is one thing if building a bunch of T-1-11 boxes across the street.  This is not that situation.  There could be devaluation.  If that is the case please let Mr. Brinkley know when that happens.  It will not change things significantly.                  
   
               
100.        Adjournment
101. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:53 p.m. 
 
 
Submitted by:
 
                                               
Terri L. Richards                                                                               
Recording Secretary
 

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