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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Agenda and Minutes

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission was called to order at 5:30 PM in the Medford City Hall, Council Chambers, 411 West 8th 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
David Jordan
Bill Mansfield
David McFadden
Jeff Thomas
Commissioners Absent
E.J. McManus, Excused Absence     
Jared Pulver, Excused Absence
Staff Present
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Madison Simmons, Senior Assistant City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer
Terri Richards, Recording Secretary
Seth Adams, Planner III
10.     Roll Call
20.    Consent Calendar / Written Communications (voice vote).
20.1 ZC-08-144 Final Order of a request to amend a condition of approval requiring a right turn pocket on N Ross Lane for the proposed Pioneer Marketplace development. The 7.34 acre site is located on the southeasterly corner of N Ross Lane and W McAndrews Road within the C-C (Community Commercial) zone district. (372W26AD2400 and 2600) Applicant: CDT-BAR, LLC; Agent, CSA Planning, Ltd.; Planner, Kelly Evans.
20.2 LDS-19-079 Final Order of tentative plat approval for Falco Fields, a proposed 7-lot residential subdivision on a single 0.93-acre parcel located at 2737 Howard Avenue in the SFR-6 (Single-Family Residential, six dwelling units per gross acre) zoning district (372W13BB 6900); Applicant, Michael Falco; Agent, Scott Sinner Consulting, Inc.; Planner, Dustin Severs.
Motion: The Planning Commission adopted the consent calendar as submitted.           
Moved by: Vice Chair Foley             Seconded by: Commissioner McFadden
Voice Vote: Motion passed, 7-0-0.
30.       Approval or Correction of the Minutes from January 9, 2020 hearing
30.1   The minutes for January 9, 2020, were approved as submitted.
40.       Oral Requests and Communications from the Public.
40.1   William Lite, 3875 Windgate Street, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Lite wanted to know if it would be feasible for the Planning Commission to look into some of the egress areas in the Summerfield area.  Currently, there are only two.  One at Calle Vista and Cherry Lane which has a signal.  Calle Vista coming out to North Phoenix Road is dangerous.  Are there future plans for Barnett to come through into Lone Oak that Summerfield could have another egress?  He is worried in case of any emergency there are so many people in that area that it would be so congested with people trying to get out.
50.       Public Hearings
Madison Simmons, Senior Assistant City Attorney read the Quasi-Judicial statement.
New Business
50.1 CP-19-002 / DCA-19-007 An amendment to update the Southeast Plan and Southeast Circulation Plan sections of Chapter 10, the Neighborhood Element of the Medford Comprehensive Plan; and, to make related updates to the Southeast Overlay District regulation in Sections 10.370 – 10.385 of the Medford Land Development Code. Applicant, City of Medford; Planner, Seth Adams.
Chair McKechnie inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex-parte communication they would like to disclose.  Commissioner Culbertson disclosed that he lives on the west side of North Phoenix Road in the subdivision that is between Calle Vista Drive and Shamrock.   Vice Chair Foley disclosed that he lives in the similar vicinity and will not affect his decision. Commissioner Jordan disclosed his employer provides the worker’s compensation insurance for the City of Medford.  His conflict avoidance includes not being involved or influencing the renewal decision with his employer.    
Chair McKechnie inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts. None were disclosed.
Seth Adams reported that the Comprehensive Plan Amendment approval criteria can be found in the Medford Land Development Code Section 10.220.  The Development Code Amendment approval criteria can be found in the Medford Land Development Code Section 10.218.  The applicable criteria were addressed in the staff report, included with the property owner notices and hard copies are available at the entrance of Council Chambers for those in attendance.  Mr. Adams gave a staff report.  Mr. Adams reported that yesterday afternoon staff received three written comments that were forwarded to the Planning Commission.  The first set of comments were received from Raul Woerner, CSA Planning Ltd., that will be entered into the record as Exhibit I.  Mr. Woerner’s comments centered on the Southeast Circulation Plan.  Mr. Woerner suggested removal of the local street on the south side of the Courthouse Fitness property.  The comment stated that the location is unsafe due to proximity to the future Shamrock Drive intersection to the south and there are site obstructions due to the dip on North Phoenix Road.  Mr. Woerner also recommended removing the local street to the west of the future Stanford Avenue that crosses a greenway stating it was unnecessary and it was removed several years ago from the Village Center Commercial masterplan. Regarding transportation Mr. Woerner recommended the alignment of the future Stanford Avenue be shifted a little to the east in order to match the alignment shown in the Village Center Commercial masterplan.  Of the three comments on circulation, staff’s opinion of adjusting the alignment on Stanford Avenue is a straight forward mapping exercise that can be done without issues.  However, if there are local streets that are being removed that should be done after the necessary traffic studies and understanding the implications of removing them from the map.  Staff would not propose taking those two streets out of the Southeast Plan at this point in time.
Mr. Woerner also had suggestions for improving the language about block lengths and putting them into the Medford Land Development Code.  Staff agrees that the block length language in the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code could be improved and would be happy to work on that over the next few days, and to work with Mr. Woerner on drafting clear and concise language for the City Council packet next month.
Staff also received a letter from Deborah K. Vincent that will be entered into the record as Exhibit J.  Ms. Vincent is a long time resident of the Meadow Park subdivision on the west side of North Phoenix Road.  Her concerns are that the Southeast Plan calls for a center median to be built in North Phoenix Road at the Shamrock and Calle Vista intersections.  This would result in a right turn in and right turn out only at those two streets.  The median and right turn in / right turn out has been a part of the Southeast Plan since its adoption in 2004.  This text has never been edited and it is not proposed to be edited tonight. 
Mr. Dan Mahar also sent a letter that will be entered into the record as Exhibit K.  Mr. Mahar echoed the same concern from Ms. Vincent regarding the right turn in / right turn out medians. 
As noted by Ms. Vincent’s letter, the medians would prohibit the residents in Meadow Park from turning left off North Phoenix Road as they travel north.  This would require them to continue north on North Phoenix Road to Greystone Court or Cherry Lane to turn around and head back south in order to get into the Meadow Park subdivision by turning right on Calle Vista or Shamrock. 
Staff is of the opinion that any changes to the text that would have traffic implications, such as the medians, need to be analyzed and reviewed by the Engineering Department before these types of changes can be made. No traffic analysis has been done on the medians to date or the other two streets mentioned by Mr. Woerner      
Commissioner McFadden asked, was there a traffic study on the effect of the median? Would it not be better to leave it to the discretion of the City of Medford Engineering Department when deemed necessary?  Mr. Adams responded that there were a number of studies between 1998 and 2004.  Traffic was studied and the circulation plan was created and agreed upon.  Mr. Adams deferred the question to the City Engineer and added that this is not to say this matter could not be studied further in the future.  It is a big change to make and not proposed this evening.  If the Planning Commission and eventually City Council feels reexamining this median or any other questions on the circulation plan are warranted, then they could direct staff to start looking into studies and reports.       
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer addressed Commissioner McFadden stating that tonight the Comprehensive Plan amendment was never envisioned to make changes to this section of the Comprehensive Plan.  He does not believe they can take that up as an issue right now.  It would have to be initiated as a separate process.  The issue of the median with the current language is used as guidance.  The Roadway Authority works at maintaining safe and efficient roadways.  Currently, there are no plans to do anything in that area.  Regardless of what the Comprehensive Plan says, if there is a safety concern they will look at making improvements to fix safety. This is just guidance on how the roadway should be built and operate.  It is not a directive to go build anything.  It is not part of their capital improvement program or any plans at this time.  There is a development that has a condition of approval to do some work at Calle Vista.  He does not know when that development will occur.  There will be further discussion when they come in with their plat to start that phase of work.  
Chair McKechnie asked, would there be an additional study on minor streets.  Mr. Adams responded yes.  Engineering would want to look at the implications in the results of spacing but no time has been given to study that. 
Chair McKechnie asked, will the relocation of Stanford Avenue align with the original plan of the Village Center?  Mr. Adams replied yes. 
Chair McKechnie requested staff to define block length and how they are calculated.  Mr. Adams reported that throughout the rest of the City the code has a maximum block length.  It is the maximum distance between streets with development between them to help connectivity.  The code states a street intersection every 660 feet.  The Southeast Plan states street intersections should be located approximately every 600-800 feet in single-family areas versus the 660 feet in the rest of the City.  It is a little different for the Commercial Center.  The Southeast has unique topography and other natural features that need to be preserved in areas.  It gives some flexibility.  It is talked about in the Southeast Plan and ignored in the development regulations of the Southeast Overlay District.  Staff is putting language that would force future development in the Southeast Plan to follow block lengths.       
The public hearing was opened.
a. Aaron Mueller, 3732 Cherry Lane, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Mueller is not familiar with what triggers a restricted zoning. Is there a mechanism for an amendment like this to trigger an analysis of the restricted zoning and does it get readdressed?   Chair McKecknie reported that this is a text amendment designed to clear up the language and make it more consistent throughout.  Restricted zoning is specific to a parcel.  When those parcels come in for development the developer has two options: 1) Live within the limits of the restriction; or 2) Offer a study that shows those restrictions should not apply.  The ones that he has seen are for sewer capacity, storm water or traffic that relate more to single family development, and limitations on a full buildout of a site until a study is taken.
Commissioner McFadden commented that most of the zoning in the Southeast Plan is not restrictive.  It is general in nature allowing for a variety of homes and uses.  The only one restrictive is the area north of Cherry Lane which is restricted because of the steepness of the slope.  That area was limited to low number of homes per acre because of that steepness.             
b. Randy Jones, 815 Alder Creek Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Jones stated Mahar Homes has done design and building in the Southeast Plan in the last few years.  They did not understand in the beginning of the Southeast Plan the impact of North Phoenix Road and the bypass traffic from Eagle Point to Ashland.  The traffic signal at Cherry Lane was not warranted but they put it in when they built the first phases. The Southeast Plan has a great circulation plan even with the restrictions of grade, greenways, waterway and all.  They have a plan that flows and eventually a lot of connectivity.  Mr. Georgevitch commented not knowing when some of the traffic restrictions are put on and Mr. Jones can reassure that they are being engineered right now since they are doing the next phases.  That is south of Shamrock Drive.  They are designing that with the idea of a parallel street down to East Barnett Road.
There are 166 residences on the west side of North Phoenix Road that are going to ultimately have Calle Vista and Shamrock right-in / right-out and no easy way north or south to get turned around and back to their homes.  If you take those residences times two or three cars and calculate how many trips a day will load up the Albertsons parking lot, Rogue Credit Union, Hillcrest Office Park and clog up the turn signal at Hillcrest and North Phoenix Road.  There are no warrants for a traffic signal at Calle Vista but it is worth looking at.          
c. Claire Harkins, 416 Stanford Avenue, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Ms. Harkins asked, what is the plan to lengthen Stanford Avenue and when?  Mr. Adams reported that Stanford Avenue will continue down to intersect with East Barnett Road and eventually down to Coal Mine Road.  The future phases of Stanford Avenue will not be built until the property owners on both sides develop their land. 
d. Linda Harris, 743 North Phoenix Road, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Ms. Harris stated that when they try to turn left coming from the north is tricky because it is past a hill.  The turn lane is unclear.  It looks to her that one can use the turn lane going north to turn left onto Shamrock Drive but not to go left into her driveway.  They end up going to the corner turning around at the credit union and coming back.  Their mailboxes are across the four lanes and it feels unsafe to walk across.  When Shamrock gets extended and there may or may not be a traffic signal they would like to still be able to get their mail and turn safely into their driveway.            
e. Tim Snopl, 4305 East Barnett Road, Medford, Oregon, 97504.  Mr. Snopl would like a map of the straightening of Barnett Road.  Chair McKechnie stated that it is going to stay in its current location.   
f. Barb Pulver, 207 Island Point Drive, Medford, Oregon, 97504.   Ms. Pulver came this evening to be informed of what is happening and did not know there would be a discussion about a signal possibly at Calle Vista and North Phoenix Road. Has concerns with the intersection of North Phoenix Road and Calle Vista. 
The public hearing was closed.
Motion: The Planning Commission based on the findings and conclusions that all of the applicable criteria are satisfied, forwards a favorable recommendation for approval of CP-19-002 and DCA-19-007 to the City Council per the staff report dated January 16, 2020, including Exhibits A through H, adding Exhibit I, Exhibit J, Exhibit K and to improve text regarding block lengths and adjustment to the Stanford Avenue alignment on all maps. 
Moved by: Vice Chair Foley             Seconded by: Commissioner McFadden
Commissioner Jordan asked, is the Commission just voting on the improvement of the text regarding the block lengths and not the Stanford realignment?  Vice Chair Foley replied they are voting on the items in the staff report and adding the two items.   Commissioner Jordan stated that Mr. Adams talked about 90% being administrative.  Chair McKechnie responded that is correct. 
Commissioner Culbertson commented that cleaning this up has been needed.  It has been sloppy as things get built up.  It is a great thing to happen.  It sheds light on something that has not been viewed in the past.  He noted Mr. Jones’ testimony and that if he is willing to work with staff to create signalization at Calle Vista and North Phoenix Road, it would greatly be appreciated, probably from everyone in the room testifying, including him.
Vice Chair Foley asked, does the Planning Commission want to make a recommendation to the City Council to look at that or just ignore it?  Chair McKechnie responded that they should hold that and offer it as something else.  Vice Chair Foley is good with that.    
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7-0-0.
Commissioner McFadden stated that over the years various visions have been presented to the Planning Commission.  Northgate had a different traffic pattern than what they have now.  The same is true with the Southeast Plan.  Mr. Snopl was curious about the alignment of East Barnett.  Many years ago the City submitted for funding to have planning experts explore the Southeast Plan.  The original plan for East Barnett was to go past the fire station and jog to the left into the commercial area.  The commercial area would be viable because it would be the only thing up there.  The corner was to put the traffic going into the commercial area looking at Roxy Ann as a landmark.
Chair McKechnie reported that to the people that worked on the commercial area plan the idea of being able to have a view of Roxy Ann was completely lost.  The design impacts of that do remain because they have been immortalized in the code. 
50.2 DCA-10-006 An amendment to Section 10.216 (Annexations) of the Medford Land Development Code to update the processes and approval criteria for the annexation of property into the city limits.  Applicant, City of Medford; Planner, Seth Adams.
Chair McKechnie inquired whether any Commissioners have a conflict of interest or ex-parte communication they would like to disclose. None were disclosed.
Chair McKechnie inquired whether anyone in attendance wishes to question the Commission as to conflicts of interest or ex-parte contacts. None were disclosed.
Seth Adams reported that the Development Code Amendment approval criteria can be found in the Medford Land Development Code Section 10.218.  The applicable criteria were addressed in the staff report and hard copies are available at the entrance of Council Chambers for those in attendance. Mr. Adams gave a staff report.
Commissioner McFadden asked, does staff see anything in the new arrangement that would affect the City’s ability to annex by the enclave procedure?  Would something new in these requirements be applicable to the annexation of an enclave area? Mr. Adams responded that it is the City’s policy to not force annexation on the enclaves that remain.  Applications to annex are at the property owner’s request.  None of the criteria for the urban reserve areas that were recently added into the urban growth boundary are applicable to those enclaves that remain floating out there.
The public hearing was opened and there being no testimony the public hearing was closed.
Motion:  The Planning Commission, based on the findings and conclusions that all of the approval criteria are satisfied, forwards a favorable recommendation for approval of DCA-19-006 to City Council per the staff report dated January 16, 2020, including Exhibits A through D.
Moved by: Vice Chair Foley                         Seconded by: Commissioner McFadden
Roll Call Vote: Motion passed, 7-0-0.
60.      Reports
60.1 Site Plan and Architectural Commission.
Commissioner Culbertson reported that the Site Plan and Architectural Commission has not met.  Next meeting’s report will be the same because next week’s meeting has also been canceled.
60.2 Transportation Commission.
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner reported that the Transportation Commission met on Wednesday, January, 22, 2020.  There were a couple of presentations.  Staff members from the Oregon Department of Transportation spoke about their analysis regarding the 62 Bypass and whether or not an interchange at Vilas should be built.  It will come back next month for more discussion.  It will then go to City Council for more comments.
They also had a presentation from Paige West from Rogue Valley Transit District of an update on the transit masterplan that has been adopted by the District.  The Planning Commission and City Council will be seeing it in the future to incorporate it into the Comprehensive Plan.
The Engineering Department is looking at creating criteria regarding when someone in a residential area can request the speed limit to be reduced by five miles per hour from 25 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour.  That came from the Liberty Park Plan and other locations.
There were maps regarding the Bear Creek Greenway lighting project and where it is occurring.  The Oregon Department of Transportation has a piece of doing lighting on the Greenway in the Liberty Park Plan and the City is doing a portion south of that.
60.3 Planning Department.
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director reported that the Planning Commission study session scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2020 has been canceled.
There is business scheduled for Thursday, February 13, 2020.
City Council at last meeting adopted the Liberty Park Neighborhood Plan and initiated a vacation that the Planning Commission will see at their next meeting.
At the next City Council meeting they will consider the Annual Parks GLUP / Zone updates, the vacation for Kids Unlimited at Austin, Riverside and Prune, and the Lariot Corporation public utility easement at Belknap and Garfield.
Ms. Evans shared a map of the Mega Corridor.  The Planning Commission will see this as a Transportation Facility application.
70.      Messages and Papers from the Chair.  None.
80.      City Attorney Remarks.  None.
90.      Propositions and Remarks from the Commission.  None.
100.    Adjournment
100.1  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:44 p.m.  The proceedings of this meeting were digitally recorded and are filed in the City Recorder’s office.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards                                                       
Recording Secretary                                     
Mark McKechnie
Planning Commission Chair
Approved: February 13, 2019

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