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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, March 09, 2020

The study session 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
David Jordan
Bill Mansfield
David McFadden
E.J. McManus
Jared Pulver
Jeff Thomas
Staff Present
Kelly Evans, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Madison Simmons, Assistant Deputy City Attorney
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
20.    Subjects
20.1 DCA-19-012 Flexible Design Standards
Kyle Kearns, Planner II reported that City Council adopted regulatory strategies which were recommended by the Housing Advisory Commission that included both economic and regulatory strategies such as:
•             Cottage Housing
•             Allow duplexes in low-density zones
•             Construction Excise Tax
•             SDC Deferral Program
•             Flexible Development Standards in SPAR – Type II DCA
The Planning Commission directed the flexible development standards to become its own project.
Among the aforementioned Housing Advisory Commission recommendations were:
•             Parking minimum adjustments
•             Lot coverage increases
•             Building height increases
•             Decrease lot sizes
Mr. Kearns presented a summarization of the proposal. 
The proposed added definitions in the Medford Land Development Code Section 10. 012 are environmental resources, environmental restoration and infill development.  Also included are significant trees, topographic features open space, transit oriented development and design and transit oriented district (TOD).
Changes to the Medford Land Development Code, Section 10.358 Central Business, C-B are condensed to simplify language to have one, all-encompassing section.  The language will need to be further amended to point back to the multi-family residential design standards.
The new flexible development standards in Medford Land Development Code Section 10.701A would allow for deviations to setbacks and lot dimensions.  Setbacks would be 20% or 24 inches, whichever is greater and applied to all development if the criteria is met.  The criteria pertains to protecting environmental resources and restoration and infill development.  Development cannot be in the Hillside Overlay and must be compliant with building, fire and life-safety codes.  Lot dimension would be 20% or 30 feet, whichever is smaller.  Lot area width, depth and frontage generally is always 20% and 30 feet would almost never be used.
The proposed maximum multi-family lot coverage would change from 50%, in each zone, to 60% in the MFR-15 zone, 65% in the MFR-20 zone and 70% in the MFR-30 zone. Proposed maximum height is proposed to go from 35 feet in all MFR zones to 45 feet in the MFR-15, 55 feet in the MFR-20 and 65 feet in the MFR-30 zones.
The proposed commercial changes for the maximum lot coverage are going from 30% in the C-N zone to 40%; from 40% in the C-S/P, C-C and C-R zones to 60%; and from 60% to 70% in the C-H zone.  The proposed maximum height updates are to make all commercial zones, except for the C-N zone, 85 feet except for portions of a structure near SFR-00 through SFR-6 zones.  The justification is that it stifles development outside of downtown, in commercial areas.
Commissioner McFadden asked, are all the zones contiguous with residential areas?  Mr. Kearns responded in some ways.  They are also adjacent to other commercial areas.  C-S/P has a lot of medical buildings and older parts of Medford.  The C-N zone is predominately in residential areas. 
The proposed parking reductions would be optional choices for developers and property owners that may reduce parking needs if the proposed criteria is met. Criteria includes things like whether it is near bike facilities, or if to preserves environmental resources and developers may hire a professional to perform an analysis to show parking reduction.  Staff would like to expand that to TOD’s.
Commissioner Mansfield asked the brokers, do they have any idea of whether the building industry will jump into these new standards or will they ignore them?  Commissioner Culbertson stated that it would need to be cost effectiveness.  It would be dependent on purchasing land, how many units they can put on the land and what product they are going to build would have a place in the market place. 
Chair McKechnie reported changing height limitations on multi-family does not change the number of units per acre.  He does not know if that would have any major impact regardless of 35 feet or 55 feet the parking requirements and maximum density per acre.  However, changing the commercial with no limitation on a number of units will have an impact.  There will be a lot more commercial property being converted to multi-family with a higher density.  Is a property not zoned commercial limited to 35 feet regardless of what the adjacent property is zoned?  Mr. Kearns responded that is the current code.  Staff is proposing changes to that language.
Chair McKechnie stated most commercial is small and a 150 foot radius leaves 25 feet in the middle that can go 85 feet but everything else will be limited to 35 feet.  Staff may need to look at that better.  Mr. Kearns commented that the current language states: “85 feet except 35 feet if structure is within 150 feet of a residential zoning district boundary.”  Staff could change the language to state: “85 feet except 35 feet for the portions of a structure within 150 feet of a residential zoning district specifically outlined in SFR-6.  Chair McKechnie thinks 85 feet is a stretch for commercial.  He would limit residential up to 55 feet. 
Staff’s Recommendation:
1.            Modify C-B to be more consistent with existing code
2.            Setback and lot dimension deviations
3.            Multi-family updates (lot coverage and building height)
4.            Commercial updated (lot coverage and building height)
5.            Parking reductions (with staff’s suggested additions)
6.            Investigate density increases and/or floor area ratio use instead of, or with, lot coverage and building height
Chair McKechnie likes the idea of being able to count on-street parking.  He is okay with reducing the parking if there is justification.
Chair McKechnie stated that maybe the flexible design standards are not that flexible and use specific alternatives well defined that can be selected.  Mr. Kearns responded that staff feels they have that.  The legal department helped draft the language.  An applicant has to clearly indicate they intend to use these and the criteria outlines what they have to meet in order to use them.     
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner asked the Commission if they wanted to see this in its final version in another study session.  Chair McKechnie and Commissioner McFadden replied yes. 
Commissioner Pulver has general reservations since he has not studied this.  He is concerned if they are achieving density with the proposal.  It is more coverage and not increase density.   
Ms. Paladino asked, is the Commission open to staff looking at multi-family and a density change?  Chair McKechnie thinks it would be helpful to find real life examples or hypothetical ones. 
Mr. Kearns asked, would the Commission want that in conjunction with this or on its own?  Chair McKechnie and Vice Chair Foley agreed on its own.  Commissioner Pulver does not disagree but what is the point of this then.  Mr. Kearns is hearing that the multi-family changes are premature and separate from this project that focuses on changing the commercial and parking. 
Staff will determine needed study sessions for future review of the Planning Commission, Housing Advisory Commission and Site Plan and Architectural Commission.  Staff’s goal is to bring this to public hearing in the summer of 2020 for adoption.
20.2 Citizen Involvement Report
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner reported that Citizen Involvement meets Statewide Planning Goal 1.  The Citizen Involvement Element is in the Medford’s Comprehensive Plan and the Planning Commission is charged with being the Committee for Citizen Involvement.  
The Annual Report:
•             Outlines program
•             Describes Commissions and Committees
•             Highlights accomplishments
Commissions and Committees:
•             Planning Commission
•             Site Plan and Architectural Commission
•             Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission
•             Housing Advisory Commission
•             Community Development Grants Commission
•             Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
•             Neighborhood Advisory Committee for Liberty Park Plan
Overall Numbers:
•             86 Type IIs and IIIs (CUPs, Subdivisions, SPRs)
•             23 Type IVs (Comp., Code, & Map Amendments)
•             114 Public Meetings / Hearings Held
•             372 Dwelling Unit Permitted
•             432 Lots Created
•             307,740 square feet approved
Current Planning Projects:
Conditional Use Permits:
•             Youth 71-5 Conversion of Fire Station into Neighborhood Center & Mentoring Program
•             Orchard Hill School Renovations
•             The Meadows at Crooked Creek Storm Detention
Historic Reviews:
•             Sam Jennings Demolition
•             Outsider Coffee Signage
•             Vogel Plaza Mural
•             W. Main & Fir Faηade Changes
•             Hafer House
•             The Children’s Museum
•             Rogue Gallery
•             Holly Theatre
Parks and Trails:
•             Village Center Park – Southeast Plan
•             Larson Creek Trail
Site Plan Reviews:
•             Fairfield Inn Suites (Garfield & Center Drive)
•             Combined Transport (CLA & Justice)
•             Circle K Store, Fuel Station & Car Wash (McAndrews)
•             McDonald’s (Barnett)
•             Crater Corner Starbucks & Fuel Station (McAndrews)
•             Asante Cancer Center (Barnett)
•             Sacred Heart Formation Center (Kings)
•             My Place Hotel (Biddle)
•             Orchard Glen 15 Unit Apartments (W. Main)
Long Range Planning Projects:
Comprehensive Plan Amendment:
•             Sanitary Sewer Master Plan Update
Development Code Amendments:
•             Lighting Standards SE Plan
•             Cross Sections, Legacy Streets and TIAs
•             Minor Historic Review
•             Cottage Housing
•             Housekeeping
•             Food Pods & Street Vending
•             Concurrency
•             Emergency Shelters
Housing & Community Development Projects:
Housing & Funding:
•             Awarded $400,00 in loans through City’s HOF to Hearts with a Mission and Columbia Care
•             Completed the Homeless System Action Plan
•             Annual reporting & meeting on Rent Burden
•             City received $50,000 from Providence to assist in providing shelter
•             Completed a downtown residential market study
Upcoming Items:
•             Revise Downtown City Center 2050 Plan
•             Urbanization Plans & Annexations from UGB areas
•             Update the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development
•             Code amendments related to HB 2001 – Middle Housing
•             Develop a Climate Adaptation & Resiliency Plan
Ms. Paladino asked, does the Planning Commission see any needed changes or additions to the report before forwarding to the City Council?
20.3 Public Utility Easement Amendment
Kyle Kearns, Planner II that the Public Utility Easement process has been questioned and the length of time it takes.  Staff has started a code amendment to remove the public hearings.  If the utility companies, City Engineers and City Surveyor agrees it can be vacated it would only go to City Council hearing.  It is the same process with no Planning Commission hearing. 
Does the Planning Commission want to have a study session on the code language or do they trust what staff is drafting?
Commissioner Mansfield trusts what staff is drafting.
Commissioner Pulver asked, does the language come to the Planning Commission for approval?  Ms. Paladino replied yes it is a code amendment.  Staff can send the draft language by email.  The Commission agreed to have the draft language emailed to them.
Kelly Evans commented that the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday will be short.  The agenda consists of a final order, minutes and reports.  
100.        Adjournment
101. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:50 p.m. 
Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards                                                                               
Recording Secretary

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