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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, August 24, 2020

The study session of the Planning Commission was called to order in a Zoom webinar at 12:00 p.m. in Medford, Oregon on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present
Mark McKechnie, Chair
Joe Foley, Vice Chair
David Jordan
Bill Mansfield
Jared Pulver
Staff Present
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Terri Richards, Recording Secretary
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
Liz Conner, Planner II
Sarah Sousa, Planner III
Commissioners Absent
David Culbertson, Unexcused Absence
David McFadden, Unexcused Absence 
E.J. McManus, Unexcused Absence       
Jeff Thomas, Unexcused Absence          
20.    Subject
20.1 DCA-20-127 Pad Lot and Multifamily Standards
Kyle Kearns, Planner II reported that staff has continued drafting development code amendments to implement regulatory changes proposed by the 2017 Housing Advisory Committee, adopted by the City Council in 2018. 
DCA-20-127 had been previously reviewed by the Planning Commission at the July 13, 2020 study session and by the Housing Advisory Committee at the August 12, 2020 meeting.  The direction provided by the Planning Commission on July 13 was to limit the building height and coverage increases and the lot area increase in the MFR-30 zone.  Staff did not amend the lot coverages proposed as parking, right-of-way and landscaping contribute to restricting lot coverage.  In increasing lot coverage, structures could then be built over parking enabling better utilization of the available land.
Staff is seeking whether the Commission wants any more changes or options brought forward prior to the public hearing.  The public hearings are scheduled for September 24th for the Planning Commission and November 5th for City Council.  Staff will conduct a live webinar event to solicit feedback from the development community in early September.
Pad lot development is a land division that permits the division of individual pads from a parent parcel.  Pad lots were previously permitted for residential development under an acre.  It was amended in 2006 for commercial only.
As proposed, pad lot developments require, prior to tentative plat Site Plan and Architectural Review (SPAR) approval.  The land use review process for a land division associated with a pad lot development is set as a Type II administrative review for multi-family of 3 net acres or less.  Type III approval for multi-family larger than 3 net acres, commercial development or cottage clusters.
The multifamily zone updates are intended to make existing zones and required densities function better by decreasing lot dimension minimums and increasing allowable building height.  Multi-family changes proposed a maximum coverage update from 50% to MFR-15 to 60%; MFR-20 to 65%; and MFR-30 to 70%.  Proposed a maximum height update from 35 feet to SFR-10 to 35 feet; MFR-15 to 45 feet and MFR-20 and MFR-30 to 55 feet.
Chair McKechnie confirmed that the 150 feet height limitation still exists when a multifamily parcel is adjacent to residential.  Mr. Kearns responded that is correct.
20.2 DCA-20-251 Developer Lots Amendment
Sarah Sousa, Planner III reported that this proposal creates code language that addresses developer lots as well as providing descriptions of reserve acreage to distinguish the separately. 
Developer lots are large lots created for the purpose of dividing land over an approved subdivision, with the lot lines matching the phase lines of the underlying subdivision.
Issues have been the right-of-way dedications (solved with condition for right-of-way reservations).  Site development issues such as frontage and lot dimension requirements (solved with Exception approvals).  Ensuring development is consistent with underlying subdivision (solved with deed restrictions).
There will be exemptions for lot area and dimensions, lot frontage and density.
Requirements include requiring new lot lines to match the phase lines of underlying subdivision, right-of-way reservations for future streets and a deed restriction preventing development.
The benefits provides a straightforward process for staff and applicants and allows developers the option to sell off phases of a subdivision to make a project more economically feasible.
Reserve acreage versus developer lots is that reserve acreage is the portion of a project that has no planned development from the rest of the land being developed through a land division but is intended for future development.  Developer lots are large lots created for the purpose of dividing land over an approved subdivision with lot lines matching the phase lines of the underlying subdivision.
Staff is seeking the Commissionís feedback on the proposal in order to move forward with the amendment.
Commissioner Mansfield stated that Ms. Sousa mentioned reserving land for future roads/streets.  Is it correct that he presumes it is not private easements it is public dedications?  Ms. Sousa reported that is how she understands it.  Ms. Evans may understand the process more than Ms. Sousa.  Commissioner Mansfield would not favor private easements.  He thinks all streets should be public road easements.  Ms. Sousa believes they are not private. 
Chair McKechnie asked, is developer lots the title?  Ms. Sousa replied yes.
Chair McKechnie asked, is there a difference between a tract and a lot?  Ms. Sousa believes when platting land it is a lot.  It is a question she could ask the City Surveyor.  Chair McKechnie noted that it would be clearer if it was called a tract and the tract had an underlying development already set out for it that would separate it from reserve acreage. Commonly used terms are lots, tracts and reserve acreage. Ms. Sousa agrees. Chair McKechnie thinks developer lots sounds strange because there is no common usage around the industry.  Ms. Sousa will find out if they can call them developer tracts.
Commissioner Pulver asked, is it a requirement there is an underlying subdivision?  Ms. Sousa responded yes. 
Commissioner Pulver believes one can do a partition of a large tract with no underlying subdivision and sell as is.   What is a developer required to do or not do as it relates to extending utilities or roadways not within the underlying subdivision but from tract to tract to ensure it gets done and the timing in which it gets done?  Ms. Sousa responded that is a good question.  She does not think they would want the utilities extended other than for the underlying subdivision.  She thinks that is part of the deed restriction that they would not allow the extension of utilities other than what is consistent with the lots being created.  When dividing land one can divide into a large tract of land but that would be called reserve acreage that would not allow utilities or development.
Commissioner Pulver is not opposed to giving a developer some flexibility but at the same time he can see the City getting worked over of timing and creating a tract that they push to the 11th hour to avoid having to do public improvements, cherry pick the easy and good things and leave the expensive items for later, if ever.  Ms. Sousa will get that answer before the public hearing.
Vice Chair Foley asked, with the definition of a tract as opposed to developer lot can a tract be legally sold in the State?  Ms. Sousa will ask the City Surveyor if tracts of land sellable and can they be called tracts or do they need to be called lots.  Vice Chair Foley thinks it is a good idea and makes sense but he has the same concerns of Commissioner Pulver.  That there is not some underlying issue that is missing that will get slipped past the City.  Ms. Sousa thinks the purpose of doing this amendment is so that it does not get slipped past the City.
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney apologized that he does know the answer off the top of his head.  He will be involved with checking with the City Surveyor and get an update to the Planning Commission. 
Chair McKechnie commented that the Commission understands the need and provides flexibility for the development community.  Wants to make sure they are doing it efficiently.
20.3 DCA-20-244 Ė Lot Legality
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner reported that she is working with Liz Conner, Planner II on the amendment.  She is present and if Ms. Paladino missteps Ms. Conner can fill in.
Staff is seeking direction and feedback from the Planning Commission on the draft language related to establishing a process and regulations for validating a unit of land unlawfully created.
The proposal seeks to create a land use process supported by state statute to validate a unit of land unlawfully created through mechanisms such as a deed or land sale contract, separate tax account, or gift.  The current code provides zero guidance or process as to how a property owner validates a unit of land identified as being unlawfully created.  In the past, staff has relied on Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 92 and the partition process to assist with correcting these situations.
Incorporating specific language and an outlined process provides better direction to staff and the property owner when improperly created parcels are identified and need to be corrected.
It would be a Type II Land Use Process.  It would follow Oregon Revised Statute 92 for lots created before January 1, 2007. There would be review criteria, expiration and recording, validation when Building Permits are issued and application information.
Staff will be meeting with Legal and Surveying Staff to refine the proposal and tentative public hearing dates are October 22, 2020 to the Planning Commission and November 19, 202 to City Council.
Staff is seeking the Commissionís thoughts and feedback on the draft and does the Commission want to review a final draft at a future study session or by email?
Commissioner Mansfield stated that he suspects this has happened from time to time where someone conveys an unusable remnant of land to someone that could not be used or legalized.  Does it just sit there?  Does this amendment cover it or not?  Is this amendment designed to legalize all remnants or just remnants that can be legalized?  Ms. Paladino stated that is a great question.  Staff will need to review that further.  The thought is if something is created that is usable and done inappropriately this would be a way to fix it.  Small remnants are going to be atypical.
Commissioner Pulver would like to see a final draft at a study session or email before going to a public hearing.
Chair McKechnie commented that staff has a lot of details to work out and would like to see it at a study session. 
Ms. Paladino stated that staff will come back with this in a future study session. 
Chair Foley stated that the Commission has ran across cases of excess right-of-way and there is a process to put it back to the original property owner.  Is that part of this amendment?  Ms. Paladino reported that is through the Vacation process.
Ms. Conner had nothing to add.
Ms. Paladino asked whether the Commission felt this was a valid venture.  Chair McKechnie replied yes.
100.        Adjournment
101. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:45 p.m. 

Submitted by:
Terri L. Richards                                                                               
Recording Secretary

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