Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Joint Study Session

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

OCTOBER 25, 2016
Chair Melanie Mindlin called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Planning Commissioners Present:   Housing & Human Services Commissioners Present:
Troy J. Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Debbie Miller
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
  Thomas Buechele
Michelle Linley
Heidi Parker
Riche Rohde
Gina DuQuenne
Sue Crader
Council Liaisons:                 Absent Members:
Greg Lemhouse, absent
Pam Marsh, absent
  Thomas Gunderson
Sharon Harris
Joshua Boettiger
Staff Present:    
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Brandon Goldman, Senior Planner
Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the November 8 regular meeting will include two public hearings. One is an appeal of an administrative decision and the other is a proposal for a mixed-use building in the North Mountain area. He also noted the commissionís annual council update has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 6. Mr. Molnar commented on the recent newspaper article on the Transit Triangle project and stated it was not quite accurate. He clarified this study will be coming back to the commission in November and then to the city council in December for direction on whether to proceed.  
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Highway 99/Commented on climate change and the need to stop adding carbons. He stated the cityís comprehensive plan should be updated and all possible conservation measures should be done at the time of initial construction.
  1. Local Housing, Employment, and Income Trends. Guy Tauer, State of Oregon Employment Department.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman introduced Guy Tauer who provided a presentation on local housing, employment, and income trends. (See Attachment 1)
Commissioner Questions
Mr. Tauer was asked about the relationship between construction costs and housing costs. He responded that he does not have strong data on the construction side and stated the local home builders association would be a good resource for this.
Comment was made that the demand is there, but the construction is not, and Mr. Tauer was asked if he has an explanation. He responded that there are a number of different factors including tight lending standards, rising student loan debt, and a difficult job market in the valley. He stated the builders arenít building starter homes and instead are catering to people with money. When asked if developers are not building because of the high price and availability of land, Mr. Tauer remarked that many builders suffered severe losses following the recession and are not willing to take those risks again.
Comment was made that a recent article stated Medford and the surrounding area has the fastest growing housing costs in the country and this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
  1. Housing & Human Services Commission Update.
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid provided an overview of the goals and recent actions of the Housing & Human Services Commission. Commissioner Buechele commented on the importance of the commissions working together. He stated their commission has faced opposition on some of the recommendations they have brought forward and stated it would be beneficial if the Planning Commission could weigh in and offer their support. Commissioner Mindlin commented that the Planning Commission is a quasi-judicial body that is bound by the land use code, and rarely get to make subjective decisions. Community Development Director Bill Molnar clarified there are areas where the two commissions will overlap, including tiny homes and cottage housing.  
Mr. Molnar commented on the difficulty in getting people to build rental housing right now. He explained the city is looking into possible zoning changes that could require new units to be rentals instead of for purchase units, and the transit triangle infill project was also mentioned.
Commissioner Mindlin thanked the Housing and Human Service commissioners for sharing what they are working on. She stated she is interested in their work and hopes they will be interested in what the Planning Commission is doing as well.
Staff was asked how the Housing & Human Services Commission will be updated on items the Planning Commission is working on. Mr. Molnar responded it depends on the issue. The infill strategies project was initiated by the city council and they will get their update first in order to follow proper process, however staff could provide an update to the Housing & Human Services Commission at one of their meetings. Regarding cottage housing, he stated this ordinance still needs some fine tuning but then it will be brought before the commission as well.
  1. Comprehensive Plan Housing Element Update.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained staff has been reviewing the Housing Element in the cityís comprehensive plan and stated much of the demographic information is very outdated. He stated they are looking to remove the dated information and create something that is a little more timeless and make it more of a living document. 
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid asked for two volunteers from each commission to assist with the public participation process. She provided a sample timeline and listed potential outreach opportunities and clarified the volunteers will work to identify the scope of the public engagement.
Planning Commissioners Pearce and Miller volunteered. Commissioner Rhode requested the Housing and Human Services Commission select their representatives at their next regular meeting since they are missing members tonight.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor


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