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Medford City Council/Planning Commission Joint Study Session Minutes

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Medford City Council and Planning Commission
Joint Study Session
May 24, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 11:30 a.m. in the Carnegie Building, 413 W. Main Street, Medford with the following members present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler;  Councilmembers John Michaels, Eli Matthews, Daniel Bunn, Tim Jackle, Bob Strosser, Dick Gordon; Planning Commissioners Bill Mansfield, Robert Tull, David McFadden, Bill Christie, Michael Zarosinski, Norman Fincher, Paul Shoemaker
City Manager Eric Swanson; Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke; City Attorney John Huttl; Deputy City Recorder Karen Spoonts; Planning Director Jim Huber; Planner II Desmond McGeough; Public Works Director Cory Crebbin; Transportation Manager Alex Georgevitch
Councilmember Chris Corcoran was absent; Planning Commissioners Patrick Miranda and Alec Schwimmer were absent.
City Manager Eric Swanson noted that the last joint meeting was excellent and we want to further the relationship between the Medford City Council and the Planning Commission. This was a study session requested by both Council and the Planning Commission.
West Main Transit Oriented Design (TOD) Ė Jim Huber, Planning Director
Planner II Desmond McGeough presented a PowerPoint presentation (see attached). The West Main TOD area is 450 acres. Issues were presented; the TOD is required for compliance.
Staff requested guidance from Council and the Planning Commission. Bill Mansfield wondered what the opposition is; Mr. McGeough noted that many neighborhoods had issues such as the Clover Lane area which would require building a street through their neighborhood. Mr. McGeough noted that there are many long skinny lots that need access to W. Main and there is not much incentive to the property owners for losing some of their land.
Councilmember Strosser stated that he had heard there was opposition regarding the Shermís Thundermarket area; Councilmember Michaels noted that he heard opposition as well. Councilmember Jackle commented that there were about 50 property owners that complained.
Planning Director Huber noted that this is already a paired back plan.
Commissioner Jackle spoke to the 5% reduction of vehicle miles traveled with the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). He thought we could deal with the neighborhood and still have a TOD.  Mr. Jackle questioned how we come up with a 5% reduction; Public Works Director Crebbin noted that we canít or we would have come up with it. He spoke about other issues that we did to compensate for Stateís requirements such as bike lanes.
Mr. Desmond noted that many property owners did not complain in areas where they wanted additional development. It would be hard for developers to pay for this in areas where they have no benefit.
Councilmember Michaels noted that we have no money to do this so this seems a moot point. He also thought this could become a urban renewal district.
Robert Tull noted that those homeowners west of Oak Grove Road do not consider themselves as part of Medford and considered this a intrusion.
Councilmember Gordon stated that he did attend community meetings. He questioned if the TOD could be accomplished with trails vs. streets. He appreciated Principal Planner Suzanne Myers email (it was later stated that what Mr. Gordon was referring to was the attachment which was written by Planner IV John Adam) that said we donít utilize the land very well in this area.
Mr. Tull commented that those who live or work in this area are concerned with the potential TOD. He would like to continue to talk about the area with a vision on what it is to become and subdivide this into areas.
Councilmember Jackle questioned how this works compared with Public Works and their need for streets. Mr. McGeough noted that many potential streets were taken out; discussed was paper roads which create fear as you canít receive loans if there is potentially a road going through your property. Planning Director Huber noted that there is an exception process built into the plan and that the city is on stronger grounds when a development goes in if we have a plan in place. Dave McFadden stated that the Planning Commission thought if we had a plan in place it would help from flag lots being built. Many citizens are afraid that putting a street through will bring gangs into their neighborhood.
Mike Zarosinski questioned if people look at this and think that their area will be condemned; Mr. McGeough noted that they do. City Manager Swanson noted that it is an expensive process to purchase land, especially from restaurants and businesses.
Mr. Tull noted that he would like to see the history of the land as a consideration; some of the streets donít conform to city standards. This is a different part of the city as it has been annexed in. Councilmember Michaels thought that the property owners could be a part of the solution.
Mayor Gary Wheeler thought that perhaps we take option #3 and segment the circulation plan into smaller circulation plan areas.
Councilmember Jackle questioned if we could eliminate the most controversial areas. Mr. Tull questioned if we could have a task force or if a councilmember and the Planning Commission could work together on this. Mayor Wheeler said he wanted to send it back to the Planning Commission. Mike Zarosinski questioned how many more streets could be removed and that if we did that it might help with the acceptance. Councilmember Michaels liked Robert Tullís comments. Councilmember Bunn thought that getting something done was better than nothing at all.
It was requested that the Planning Commission consider this once again in a study session.
Councilmember Michaels left and came back.
Transportation System Plan/Level of Service Ė Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Public Works Director Crebbin questioned if we want to make immediate changes to the Transportation System Plan (TSP)/Level of Service (LOS). A consultant is working on the TSP and options are needed to narrow the focus.
Staff is recommending changing the analysis to a one hour peak vs. 15 minutes. Mike Zarosinski questioned when the hour is; Mr. Crebbin noted that it is the busiest time and it is based on the busiest of the intersection(s). Some are at 11:30 a.m. or noon because it is by a high school although staff does not consider that if by a school.
Councilmember Michaels questioned if this changes funding; Mr. Crebbin noted that it does not but that delay creates frustration with drivers as well as emergency response.
Dave McFadden questioned if we could make this smarter without having to work harder. Transportation Manager Alex Georgevitch noted that there is no adaptive timing that works for all day. Staff is working on Hwy 62 with adaptive timing. Mr. Crebbin noted that many out-of-towners donít know other ways to get around the community.
Councilmember Jackle thought that the transportation issues are out of sync and questioned if this fixes this; Mr. Crebbin stated that this would not fix it. Mr. Huber noted that the level of service would probably have to give as it is a tough mark to meet.
Councilmember Bunn noted that perhaps a lower level of service would work depending on the area. Mr. Georgevitch noted that we would consider the financial benefits.
Council agreed to change the analysis from a 15-minute peak to one hour.
Pertaining to the consultant, staff questioned if Council wanted to stay at LOS D or E; Council questioned the potential of both. Council agreed to a potential of multiple numbers, with a different standard for existing vs. new facilities.
Crater Lake/Stevens Alley Paving Project Ė Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Public Works Director Cory Crebbin provided the background to the Crater Lake/Stevens Alley Paving Project. Of those with 84 issues, staff noted there are 15 homeowners which need to move their fences, etc. Mr. Crebbin noted that the project has been redesigned with meanders. Although Council moved to postpone indefinitely; ODOT thought we should delay until May 15 so we donít lose funding.
Councilmember Michaels questioned how many are hard structures; Mr. Crebbin noted possibly one shed and garage.
Councilmember Strosser questioned the amount of money lost should this not be done; staff noted about $900,000. Mr. Crebbin noted that we paid for construction easements and we will be liable if we donít do it. Mr. Strosser stated that we need to do this and was not interested with setting a precedent. Councilmember Bunn noted that staff has pushed this as much as possible.
Councilmember Jackle questioned the concept of gifting. If we have a finite amount of money he doesnít mind moving a fence. Mr. Strosser noted that when built on public property it is not acceptable. City Attorney Huttl explained how we are supposed to spend public funds. Councilmember Michaels questioned what options there were pertaining to loans for the moving of the garage. Mr. Huttl noted we could Bancroft. Mr. Michaels requested that other alley areas that will be done shortly are notified so that homeowners will be prepared financially.
Councilmember Gordon noted that the project needs to move ahead. He also talked about 40.4 on the upcoming agenda. He thought we could give these people a revocable permit; staff noted that it needs to be paved.
Councilmember Jackle questioned if we could have the contractor demo to help the citizens; Mr. Crebbin noted that ODOT does that portion. Mr. Strosser thought perhaps a separate contract to remove the garage, etc. and requested a firm number of structures.
The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
Deputy City Recorder

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