March 12, 2020
Medford Room, City Hall
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
The City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room of the Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Kay Brooks (via phone), Tim DíAlessandro, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark and Kevin Stine; City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard, Principal Planner Angela Durant, ECONorthwest Project Director Beth Goodman,
Planning Director Matt Brinkley, Principal Planner Carla Paladino
Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Dick Gordon, Michael Zarosinski were absent.
HUD 2020-24 Consolidated Plan
Principal Planner Angela Durant and ECONorthwest Project Director Beth Goodman presented a PowerPoint regarding the HUD 2020-24 Consolidated Plan. (PowerPoint attached.)
City Manager Brian Sjothun questioned why addiction recovery programs, mental health services and employment job skills training were noted if they are not City-related; Ms. Durant explained that City grant funds were given to local agencies providing those services and the Consolidated Plan would note that the City encouraged the support and development of partnerships to increase resources for mental health and housing services in our community.
Ms. Durant advised that staff used multiple platforms to ensure survey responses were received from all age groups, races, economic status, etc. to provide the most accurate representation of all citizens.
The City is required to complete this plan to continue our entitlement funding through the CDBG. Council will prioritize the funding recommendations for CDBG, the general fund and CET. Councilís top priority is housing and the construction will require collaboration with multiple agencies.
Ms. Durant clarified that Council liked her teamís approach.
Councilmember Brooks recommended staff review the zoning commercial property to high density residential.
Outdoor Hemp Production Zoning
Principal Planner Carla Paladino advised that this topic was brought forward in response to citizen complaints regarding odor. Hemp is considered an agricultural crop which are permitted in industrial zones, but the Code does not outline specific regulations for hemp grows or address the odor. Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton added that the Code regulations for marijuana grows did not apply to hemp. Staff would need to review Oregonís Right to Farm Act to determine the allowable City regulations regarding agricultural crops. Because this would take significant time, staff was seeking Council direction on whether to begin that process.
Planning Director Matt Brinkley explained that these agricultural grows impact neighboring industrial and/or commercial businesses. Staff has not contacted hemp growers regarding these concerns.
Council voiced comments and opinions regarding hemp: Hemp is much different than marijuana. It is an international product which could have significant economic impact in Medford. Regardless of residential or commercial zoning, odors should not impact neighbors. Outdoor hemp production should not be allowed. Indoor processing should not be treated differently than other facilities processing agricultural crops. This industry will change as the market grows, similar to marijuana. Typically there are not crops grown within City limits. Any zone changes should not single out a specific crop, the regulations should apply to all agricultural crops.
Planning Director Matt Brinkley advised that last year there were not enough local processing facilities for hemp crops.
A member of the audience stated that industrial land is not ideal to grow hemp and that once the crop becomes an oil there is not much odor.
Mr. Sjothun clarified that Council was directing staff to research potential regulations for hemp production. There were no objections to moving forward.
2019 Oregon Fire Code
Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Greg Kleinberg presented a PowerPoint regarding the 2019 Oregon Fire Code. (PowerPoint attached.) When the Oregon Fire Code is updated, Medford Code must be amended to align with the new requirements.
He noted multiple revisions and additions; the following points were clarified:
Mr. Kleinberg outlined potential fee increases.
There were no objections to staff bringing these Code amendments to a Council meeting for approval.
Council Officers Update
Councilmember Stine provided a brief outline of the Council Officers meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 7:38 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder
- The new regulations in the Fire Watch During Construction section is discretionary.
- Crowd managers are now required for events with more than 500 people. Training in evacuation procedures is required for these managers.
- For intentionally set fires, the person who set the fire can now be held financial responsible instead of the property owner.
- No permit is needed for fire pits for one or two family residences. The Fire Department has created fire safety guidelines for use of fire pits, but they are not actively enforced. Violations are complaint driven.
- Barbeques and outdoor grills are exempt, even in extreme temperatures.