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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Minutes

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, John Michaels, Bob Strosser
Councilmember Daniel Bunn was absent.
Urban Growth Boundary Amendment (UGBA)
Joe Slaughter, Planner IV of the Planning Department, stated that we last amended the Urban Growth Boundary in 1990. Mr. Slaughter provided the history and the adopted elements of the Comprehensive Plan.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned if the trends that were predicted years ago are applicable now; Mr. Slaughter noted we are not looking at amending but are taking those trends as reliable information. Councilmember Corcoran noted that the buildable lands inventory was the one he questioned; Mr. Slaughter noted that they were fine with the land previously proposed. Industrial land which is in surplus will be moved to commercial land.
As part of the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) process, the City has to create Conceptual Plan areas. Staff will not only look at the kinds of uses forecasted for these areas but will rank the land according to various filters, such as parcel size, water, sewer facilities, and transportation. The study will show the rankings of the land and will be presented at the October 28 open house. After the open house, staff will make a recommendation; a Planning Commission hearing will be the first quarter of 2015 followed by a City Council hearing, possibly by June 2015.
Mayor Wheeler questioned if there will be a comment period during the open house; Mr. Slaughter noted that staff will take comments from those attending.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned the level of involvement from the private section. Mr. Slaughter noted that we have been communicating with the property owners and made adjustments due to their comments/concerns. Once you have the Urban Reserve (UR) there are not a lot of rules on what needs to be brought in first. Mr. Slaughter remarked they are not trying to do a case-by-case adjustment to the maps but adjustments can be made if there is something wrong with their calculations or if there is a mitigation factor. Mr. Slaughter provided an example of a factor, such as water. There is an ability to serve all of these lands with water but it can be more costly depending on grade of land, etc.
Assistant Planning Director Petrou noted that the rankings were done to help Council; in the end Planning will have to write findings which will need to be approved by the County and the State. The State will be very strict on not going over the lands needed for the UR.
Mayor Wheeler questioned how the RPS process worked with this. Ms. Petrou touched on that comment and noted that this particular step makes it easier because of the filters but there are somewhat conflicting requirements, such as density. We donít have to address the agricultural land as this was reviewed in the past.
Pertaining to the UGBA, Phase 2, staff recommended the combination approach to Council at the July 11, 2013 study session and Council concurred. UGBA Phase 1: Proposed Amendment Locations (PALs) Ė originally the Internal Study Areas (ISAs) and UGBA Phase 2: External Study Areas (ESAs). Ms. Petrou requested direction regarding the PALs and ESAs coordination and timing. She noted that Planning Department has been getting calls pertaining to the land that is in the areas proposed for General Land Use Plan map designation change. As a courtesy, does Council still want to wait before they hear the proposed amendment locations or does Council want to move ahead with the proposed amendments now? The PALs, as recommended by the Planning Commission, would decrease our overall land need, outside of the existing urban growth boundary, by 65 acres. Ms. Petrou stated that if you adopt the PALs you canít go back and change later as you are affecting peopleís properties.
Councilmember Michaels questioned the timeline; Ms. Petrou thought Planning would make it available early January.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned the 65 acres; Planning Director Huber noted that the City would need 65 fewer acres in the urban growth boundary expansion if the PALs were adopted as recommended by the Planning Commission. If you choose to separate the ESA from the ISA it can be in January. Councilmember Jackle noted that there are different people who participated in the external/internal study. It was noted that the 65 acres comes from industrial land that was converted to commercial land and that we actually increased our land slightly for residential. Councilmember Jackle questioned if the industrial land that would be eliminated. Ms. Petrou didnít think industrial land owners want to be inside of Medford. Councilmember Jackle was not sure of the analysis that we are to make pertaining to the statue. Ms. Petrou noted industrial land owners have been leaving Medford and have been giving us extra industrial land.
Councilmember Corcoran stated that we lack 100,000 square foot warehouse facilities in Medford. Mr. Hoke noted that emissions are an issue; the larger companies that want Medford want rail service which we donít have much of.
Councilmember Jackle questioned if technology companies need rail; Mr. Hoke stated that it depends on the company. Mr. Hoke further commented that we canít be all things to all people. Ms. Petrou noted that we have a need for commercial, which are not always retail but large office complexes. Mr. Hoke stated that light industrial zones are what are needed and that many industrial owners would like it to be used for commercial. Mr. Slaughter noted we are opening up areas for commercial and there is a huge push for commercial because of the area.
Ms. Petrou stated that the staff report, for the PALs, is done as well as the Findings. They can be reviewed by Council at any time.
Councilmember Gordon stated he was one who wanted the internal and external area combined and that he is more comfortable with separating them now that we have a better understanding of the effect of the PALs on the overall land need. The County will need a year to review the external study but we can work on the internal and send to the State. Ms. Petrou agreed and remarked that anyone who wants to come into the City can come in and pay for a zone change but it is expensive. Ms. Petrou noted that staff will meet with the DLCD who will question them for efficiency measures such as Councilmember Jackleís comments about waiving fees pertaining to zone changes.
Council agreed to proceed with the PALs as a public hearing.
Economic Improvement District Update Ė Diane Raymond
The meeting adjourned at 1:07 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
Deputy City Recorder

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