Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

November 6, 2002 -12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.

Councilors Reid, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present. Councilor Hartzell and Laws were absent. Staff: Public Works Director Paula Brown and Community Development Director John McLaughlin.

I. Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVMPO) Boundary Expansion

Public Works Director Paula Brown briefly explained that the 2000 census codified and redefined urban areas, which resulted in a larger urbanized area for Medford and now extend to Ashland and Jacksonville to be designated as a Transportation Management Area (TMA). She explained that because our urbanized area (UZA) has grown, federal regulations require that current Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RVMPO) expand it's boundaries to cover the entire area anticipated to become urbanized within the next 20 years.

Dan Moore, Planning Program Manager for Rogue Valley Council of Governments, presented RVMPO Boundary Expansion information, including the definition of the relation between urbanization and MPO, and the history of local MPOs. He stated that the purpose of reference materials being distributed was to provide reference materials to both new and existing members of the RVMPO on the different aspects of the RVMPO and the boundary expansion. This information would include the effects that the boundary expansion would have on new members.

Moore provided explanation on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and how federal transportation planning regulations require that all UZA's be located within a MPO. He stated that the RVMPO would fulfill the federal requirements for a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process in the Medford UZA. It is the obligation of the RVMPO to expand the MPO boundary based on the new federally revised urbanized area boundary.

Proposed steps to expand the MPO were presented as: 1) Develop Work Plan/Timeline & Budget, 2) Report on MPO Expansion-How New Members are Affected, 3) MPO Boundary Expansion Steps (Policy Committee Discussions), 4) Revise Model, 5) Update RTP, 6) Update Tip, 7) Air Quality Conformity Determination, and 8) MPO Policy Approval of RTP, TIP and AQCD.

Moore gave brief history of MPO and explained the 2000 Census and changes to Medford UZA. He stated that based on federal regulations, MPO must be expanded to include Ashland, Talent, and Jacksonville. He explained that by law, boundary changes need to be expanded by April 25, 2005. Federal requirements for MPOs include Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Transportation Improvement Program (every 3 years), regional air quality conformity for CO and PM10, coordination of transportation decisions, develop annual work plan (UPWP) and maintain travel demand model.

State planning requirements for jurisdictions in MPOs include reducing parking by 10% over planning period, reduce reliance on the automobile, and adopt integrated land use and transportation plans. Moore explained the discretionary and non-discretionary funding for MPO transportation and presented the 2001 Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Surface Transportation Program (STP) allocations for RVMPO, Ashland, Talent and White City.

He explained that Talent and Ashland's STP would be included in this year's MPO STP allocation and that the MPO will develop an "interim" 2002-2005 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to incorporate Ashland and Talent's STP funded projects. Brown explained that there are three different committees plus several other organizations involved in this process. She felt that the City would have a strong position and that while the City really has no choice but to participate, there are options in methods of participation.

II. Update on the Irrigation Point of Diversion (IPOD) Project

Public Works Director Paula Brown voiced Staff's support of the IPOD and believes that this would help to meet the City's criteria for wastewater treatment. She introduced Steve Mason of the Little Butte Creek/Bear Creek Water Management Project (LB/BC-WMP).

Mason presented the project goals for the Bear and Little Butte Creeks as increasing summer stream flows, improving water quality, improving water temperature, and improving the irrigation system with no undue financial burden on the Districts. He gave a brief history of LB/BC-WMP, which included the IPOD project, a preliminary appraisal study by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the formation of the LB/BC-WMP.

He explained that a steering committee had been formed which includes Irrigation Districts, the Regional Water Reclamation Facility, the Oregon Water Resources Department, agricultural interests, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Jackson SWCD, and the Medford Water Commission.

Using a map of the area, sources of additional water were identified as piped irrigation canals, increased reservoir storage capacity in Howard Prairie and Agate Lake, and pumping stations.

Mason explained the next steps that need to be taken as, 1.) Continuing to develop stakeholders involvement; 2.) Generate a Memorandum of Support with key stakeholders; 3.) Obtain necessary Congressional funding, and, 4.) Begin Feasibility and Environmental Impact Studies. He noted that the two studies would cost about a million dollars. This project has support from Oregon's Congress members, as well as the agricultural and environmental communities. He commented that the feasibility study would be a negotiation on how to deal with the water - how much goes where and when does it go. The steering committee ensures that the local community has input into that feasibility study.

Reid noted that it may be problematic when discussing other sources of water that do not belong to the City as the Council is committed to "Sustainability." Council discussed the Klamath Basin watershed and how it relates to this project. Brown explained that this project is "key" when trying to get the irrigators to work together.

Mason asked the Mayor and Council to consider signing a Memorandum of Support for the Little Butte/Bear Creek Water Management Project. City Administrator Brian Almquist will place the request on the next council agenda.

Paul Kay, Chair of the Bear Creek Watershed Council, noted a letter sent to Council regarding the Imperatrice property and clarified that the Council is an informed member but not a representative member of the project. It is their policy and goal to be available in a resource and advisory capacity and that they do not take advocacy roles on single issues. He supported the Ashland City Council signing the Memorandum of Support for the project.

Meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

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