October 27, 2009

6:30 p.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 12/1/2009


Mayor Kitty Piercy presided with Eugene City Councilors George Brown, George Poling, Jennifer Solomon, Chris Pryor, Alan Zelenka, Betty Taylor; Mike Clark.  Andrea Ortiz was excused. City Manager John Ruiz was also present.


Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present.  Bill Fleenor and Bill Dwyer were excused.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.


a. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. PA 1264/In the Matter of Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan. (Metro Plan) Land Use Diagram; Amending the Corresponding Willakenzie Area Plan Land Use Diagrams; and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses. (Applicant: City of Eugene). (File No. PA 09-5465) (Second Reading and Pubic Hearing October 27, 2009) (NBA & PM 9/30).


PUBLIC HEARING: An Ordinance Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metro Plan Land Use Diagram; Amending the Willakenzie Area Plan Pursuant to Section 9.7750(4) of the Eugene Code, 1971; Adopting a Severability Clause; and Providing an Effective Date. River Ridge, Eugene file MA 09-3 and Lane County File PA 09-5465


Mayor Kitty Piercy opened the Public Hearing for the city of Eugene.


Chair Peter Sorenson opened the Public Hearing for the Board of Commissioners.


Piercy asked if any councilors needed to disclose any conflict of interest or ex parte contacts.


Clark noted that since the property is partly in his ward, he had occasion to speak with the property owner over time but not on this matter specifically.


Sorenson asked if there were any commissioners that had any conflict of interest or needed to declare any ex parte contacts.


Stewart believed the different contacts he had in this matter had been documented in the minutes and there are no further conflicts or additional meetings.


Sorenson declared that Dwyer and Fleenor are excused and they will play no role in this matter until they have read the record.


Ruiz explained that the hearing is to consider a proposed change to the Metro Plan diagram into a map in the Willakenzie Area Plan.  He noted that the proposed change would return the 63 acre River Ridge site to its original plan designation of Low Density Residential.  He recalled that the City and County changed the site’s Metro Plan designation to a Parks and Open Space designation in 2004, as part of a programmatic update to the plan diagram.  He indicated that the plan amendment was initiated by the Eugene City Council and the property owner urges its approval.  He noted that approval of the proposal would result in plan designations that are consistent with site’s current R1 Low Density Residential Zoning.  He added that the site is located entirely within the urban growth boundary (UGB), partially within the city limits and partially within the urban growth area.  He indicated that the proposed change requires Lane County’s approval only for that portion of the site located in the urban growth area but requires the City’s approval for the entire site.  He said to be approved; the City and County must find that the proposal is consistent with the Metro Plan applicable refinement plans and the statewide planning goals.


Piercy reported that pursuant to adopted City and County codes, the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioner will limit the review to the evidence that was presented to the Planning Commissions along with any arguments about that evidence presented to them through written testimony or are at this Public Hearing.  She stated that testimony presented must be directed toward the approval criteria, or other criteria the speaker believes to apply to the decision.  She said the failure of anyone to raise an issue accompanied by a statement or evidence sufficient to afford the Eugene City Council, the Board of Commissioners and parties an opportunity to respond will preclude appeal on that issue.  She stated that failure to raise constitutional or other issues relating to the proposed conditions of approval with sufficient specificity to allow the City Council and Board of Commissioners to respond to the issues precludes an action for damages in Circuit Court.


Debra Jeffries, Eugene, said she was speaking on behalf of River Ridge Limited, owner of a portion of the subject property:  Tax Lot 304 and 306.  She added that she is representing Eric Jeffries and herself as joint owners of a portion of the subject property:  Tax Lot 305, also included in the proposed Metro Plan amendment and is their home.  She said the purpose of the amendment is to return the subject property to the land use designation prior to the 2004 Metro Plan Periodic Review housekeeping amendment as was introduced.  She stated the testimony is in support of the Metro Plan amendment with minor clarification pursuant to DLCD’s recommendation: the condition requiring future transportation planning goal analysis should be eliminated.  She stated that the only way to return the property to its pre-existing condition prior to the housekeeping amendment is to remove the TPR condition.  She explained that the TPR condition places a unique burden on her property that is not shared by an existing low density residential property in the Metro Plan area.  She added that all the property in the proposed ordinance is inside the existing UGB.  She indicated that no Measure 56 landowner notice was sent by Lane County who had jurisdictional authority in 2004, notifying River Ridge Limited or the Jeffries of the change in the Metro Plan designation from Low Density to Parks and Open Space.  She added that the 2004 housekeeping amendment also changed a similar size, 53 acres in the Jefferson Westside neighborhood.  She indicated that the area was changed from low density to medium density without a State Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) analysis or County TIA analysis.  She commented that since no State TPR analysis or County TIA analysis was required to adopt the 2004 housekeeping amendment, either for the change of her property from low density residential to Parks and Open Space or for the upzoning of the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood from low density residential to medium density residential, then no State TPR or County TIA analysis should be required to restore the prior Metro Plan designation for their property.  She requested the elected officials adopt the proposed ordinance to restore her property to the condition it was prior to 2004 and that it is done without imposing any additional State TPR or County TIA requirements that do not apply equally to other similarly situated properties designated Low Density Residential.


Barbara Mitchell, Eugene, President, Cal Young Neighborhood Association, stated the association’s Executive Committee adopted what was in the public record.  She indicated the transportation impact is the major concern with the proposal with increased traffic congestion on already overloaded Delta Highway and Beltline.  She noted a City staff report stated that in excess of 300 single family homes could be allowed, but under Low Density Residential, there could be up to 14 units allowed per acre or 850 dwellings.  She stated this volume far exceeds the 100 vehicle trips that initiate the City’s traffic impact analysis.  She added a Lane County staff memo dated August 4, stated that pursuant to Lane County 15.697 (c ) that such a plan amendment proposal is subject to traffic impact analysis requirements.  She said in this proposal, no traffic analysis is called for until a future development application.  She commented that because this is a Metro Plan amendment, the required criteria of consistency with relevant statewide planning goals must be met.  She noted that Goal 12 on transportation is implemented through the TPR. She stated the proposal is to postpone the required TPR analysis to the development application.  She recalled in the July 14 letter from Ed Moore, DLCD, he stated the TPR requires the applicant, (the city of Eugene) to undertake an analysis at the time of plan amendment, not as part of a subsequent development proposal.  She said he concluded the postponement is not consistent with the TPR.  She added that since then in an e-mail he retracted the conclusion deferring to City staff’s view that the LUBA appeal decision allows postponement.  She was familiar with the LUBA because the Goodpasture proposed development is also in the Cal Young neighborhood.  She noted the Goodpasture appeal was not final, it is before the Oregon Court of Appeals and the appeal concern zoning density and cases cited are zoning related.  She thought instead of postponing the TPR analysis, it was better public policy for future planning to study the impact of increasing traffic on Delta Highway at the unsafe interchange with Beltline.


Tom Mitchell, Eugene, stated that he is a member of the Beltline Highway Stakeholder Advisory Committee.  He said these were his own comments and they did not reflect the position of the committee.  He said he was speaking as a resident of the Cal Young Neighborhood.  He reported that according to recently gathered data by ODOT, the Delta Beltline Interchange has “one of the highest rates of crashes of all ODOT facilities statewide.”  He said those who drive the area know the dangers associated with the Beltline corridor from Coburg Road to River Road.  He recalled from a recently completed survey by the Cal Young Neighborhood Association, of those residents responding, 64 percent identified “improved traffic congestion” as the most important neighborhood need.   He commented that if the “Low Density Residential” designation is approved for 63 acres, more than 850 residents could be allowed at 14 per acre.  He noted the traffic generated by this many households would significantly add to the existing transportation problems.  He recalled when McKenzie Willamette Medical Center applied to build on part of the same property, insufficient traffic mitigations were proposed by the hospital.  He noted on August 13, 2007 the Eugene Planning Commission recommended denial to the City Council citing as one reason of inconsistency with Metro Plan Policy F10.  He said on page 30 of its report the commission stated “Allowing these incremental fixes without committed funds for permanent fixes would be inconsistent with the City’s responsibility to protect and manage existing infrastructure.”  He indicated that the city of Eugene needs to conduct a transportation analysis at the time of a Metro Plan amendment.  He urged the joint elected officials to insist the requirement be met now and not accept postponing the TPR to occur concurrently with city required traffic analysis at a later time with a development application.


Charles Biggs, Eugene, said he was opposed to the plan change because the Willakenzie area is deficient in parks and open space and he thought it would be detrimental.  He didn’t think the applicant sufficiently argued all the points to the state goals.  He said the amount of change that would take place (should development occur) would impact the stormwater significantly.  With regard to traffic, he stated that it needs to be calculated as to the air impacts and to the stormwater runoff.  He didn’t see how those aspects could be deferred.


Kevin Matthews, Friends of Eugene, President, stated that the Friends of Eugene is against the Metro Plan amendment.   He commented that there is an up side for the landowners.  He said this site is important and sensitive.  He added that it is a high impact site.  He explained that it is on an isolated far northern lobe of the UGB and changing from Parks and Open Space designation to Low Density Residential designation has the potential to put hundreds of houses and many hundreds of residents in a place where their long term geographically driven vehicle miles traveled is significantly higher than the metropolitan average.  He commented that this is a classic example of  a peripheral edge site, the development of which will bloat their carbon footprint.  He said if they allow increasing density outside Beltline and at the edge of the UGB, they are locking in future increases in their carbon footprint that they will regret.  He thought this was the wrong way to do transportation and environmental planning.  He noted the tax lots in question border on the Willamette Greenway near the confluence with the McKenzie River.  He commented that it is almost inconceivable that development on the site would not have endangered species impacts.  He added the stormwater implications of 63 acres of development with several hundred houses would have problems.  He noted the sum total of environmental findings in the record from staff find that there are no Goal 5 resources in the application footprint; therefore their environmental concerns are met.  He didn’t think it was consistent with the policies in the Metro Plan.  He said the Friends of Eugene have previously entered testimony in the record and have listed several state goals for which they feel are boilerplate and non-site specific used for the findings.  He added that they are insufficient to justify this impact.  He noted that Attorney Jerome stated in the August 4 Planning Commission records, page 6 that the Willakenzie Area Plan (the local refinement plan) chose a Parks and Open Space designation because a golf course was located in the area at the time the plan was developed.  He said the landowner has presented this as a simple redress of a housekeeping change.  He commented that there is no obligation to roll back the “housekeeping” change.  He said the amendment deserves to be judged on its merits from an environmental and transportation planning point of view according to the policies in the Metro Plan and  local policies.   He asked what process has taken place to investigate the change of 63 acres from Parks and Open Space from an existing golf course use to a potential development of hundreds of residences.  He indicated that had not been reviewed.  He said there has been no public process to involve the neighborhood around the refinement plan and the impacts of the change.  He said the record shows that staff interpretation is that making this Metro Plan amendment would automatically force a change on the local refinement plan.  He thought the City Council wanted this looked into and staff followed through and brought back a package that did not analyze any of the impacts with transportation, environment or planning.  He said the City Council should say that this is not how Eugene in 2009 should plan.  He thought the City Council needed to look at the implications of opening the golf course  for hundreds of new houses.  He commented that they are putting hundreds of houses in the high VMT of the urban growth boundary. He thought the elected officials should send the message that they want to do fact based planning and they need to turn down this Metro Plan amendment as it stands now.  He thought they could bring this back for something the community could understand.


Ann Simas, Eugene, stated that she represented the North Delta Neighbors.  She recalled for over two years the North Delta Neighbors contested the building of a hospital at the end of North Delta Highway.  She said their primary concern was increased traffic on North Delta, Beltline, Ayres, Gilham, Green Acres Road and Crescent Avenue.  She noted to date the traffic has increased and nothing has been done to ease the horrible congestion in that area.  She said that ODOT’s projections for any improvements are 20 years out.  She commented that before the elected officials is a proposal to amend both the Metro Plan and the Willakenzie Refinement Plan to allow for development that will increase traffic to a degree that will likely surpass the estimations in the hospital proposal.  She commented that altering the plans to allow for land currently designated as Parks and Open Space to Low Density Residential should be considered from several different directions.  She stated that first and foremost is the traffic issue.  She noted that for over 300 residential lots (if the land were to remain Low Density Residential in the future) moderate estimates of two vehicles per household with a minimum of six peak hour trips daily would result in the daily increase on North Delta of 3,600 vehicle trips.  She recalled on July 19, 2006, Lakeridge residents conducted an informal traffic count from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on North Delta at Ayres Road.  She reported that a total of 4,686 vehicles traveled North Delta during that time including 457 heavy haul trucks going to and from the sand and gravel operations at the end of the road.  She commented that given the zoning climate in Eugene, it is not improbable to speculate that the Low Density zoning would eventually be changed to either Medium Density or High Density Residential.  She asked the elected officials not to circumvent Statewide Goal 12 to push the inconsistent plan amendment proposal.  She said it was incumbent upon the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Commissioners on behalf of their thousands of constituents in the North Delta area to delay the action until a full and current traffic impact analysis is conducted and completed on all of the involved roadways.  She added that following the completion of a TIA, they would request another public hearing to allow residents to state their final thoughts and concerns on this proposed plan amendment or make the TIA a moot point and abide by ORS 197.010 “To assure that all public actions are consistent and coordinated with the policies expressed through the Comprehensive Plan.”  She asked to leave the designation of Parks and Open Space intact as it was designed to be in the first place.


Zelenka asked how many homes could be built on the property.


Alissa Hansen, City of Eugene, responded that the subject property is approximately 63 acres.  She said assuming it was all in the city limits, they would allow a maximum of 14 dwelling units per acre.  She thought there could be 630 homes.


Clark asked if the subject property was classified as Low Density Residential from 1981  to 2004.


Hansen indicated it was classified Low Density Residential in the Metro Plan from 1982 to 2004.


Clark asked if most of the properties in the area were developed Low Density Residential.


Hansen responded that they were. 


Jerome indicated the homes would not be an outright permitted use in this area.  She noted there is a site review overlay and it would require subdivision and site review approval to establish any more than two or three houses on the property, at which time a transportation analysis and further review of the particular impacts would be examined.


Handy asked if assumptions of park land in this neighborhood have been made. He also asked what would happen if they pull the park land out of the neighborhood and how it would be reconciled.


Jerome explained that this property has been designated Parks and Open Space, but has never been public property and has never been counted as a city park.  She didn’t think any findings would have relied on it for park land available for citizens.


Handy asked about the connection between what they do in this area and an impact on the transportation system on the overall planning efforts.  He asked if there was more analysis that was intended at this stage or if the County had to look at a transportation impact analysis to get that information.


Jerome responded that Goal 11 covers public facilities that do not include transportation.  She added that the transportation analysis is under Goal 12.  She noted under Goal 11 the state requires they ensure they don’t approve anything that cannot be served.  She explained that they have to show that lines are available for future development to connect to.  She indicated that they have made findings to that effect to this particular site before.  She added that it relates to water, sewer and stormwater.  She said at the time of a future development proposal it is likely that if there is an intense development proposal, the City would require that the development show that it is doing what is necessary to serve what it is proposing.  She said at that time developers install additional lines and the facilities are there for that to be possible.  With regard to the environmental impact, she said it is a big subject of state concern, as there are no statewide planning goals that get to that.  She noted Goal 13 is the closest one to energy.  She said that transportation comes close to addressing the number of trips. 


Pryor asked if there were any development plans projected for this site.


Hansen said she didn’t know of any plans.


Pryor asked for purposes of inventory  if comprehensive land assessments within the UGB,  is currently considered Parks and Open Space.  He also asked if it is zoned residential, where it would wind up in the inventory.


Jerome indicated that it can’t be relied on to be available for public use even though it is designated Park and Open Space.  She didn’t believe the City would count it as park land for purposes of future planning or for residential lands in its current state.


Piercy asked how Laurel Hill Golf Course is categorized.


Hansen responded that the Laurel Hill Golf Course is publicly owned and it is zoned Low Density Residential.


Piercy asked if there was another property for comparison that is designated Parks and Open Space.


Hansen indicated there are a couple of cemeteries within the city limits that are designated Parks and Open Space.


Zelenka asked about the weight of the Willakenzie Refinement Plan.  He asked how it operates within the land use laws.  He asked how much input was from the neighbors and the Jeffries.  He recalled that eventually it was enacted by ordinance of the City Council and at the same time the Metro Plan was not changed.


Jerome explained that there has been a change in the way they are able to use refinement plans in this area.  She recalled there was a time that people viewed the Metro Plan not as clear and specific.  She said refinement plans were adopted to have more specific uses and policies.  She added the idea at that time was that they would control.  She said they have been told by LUBA that in fact the Metro Plan controls.  She stated that over time newer refinement plans captured the hierarchy better than older ones.  She indicated that it would take some research to determine what the thinking was when this was adopted.  She stated that it is an adopted refinement plan and the policies in it carry significant weight.  She noted the Metro Plan procedures the elected officials are under tonight specifically capture the relationship and the County and City have both adopted provisions that state when a Metro Plan amendment is enacted that requires an amendment to a refinement plan for consistency, the Metro Plan diagram amendment automatically amends the refinement plan.  She added that it was derived in language from the Metro Plan.  She stated that this is the public process for considering the refinement plan change.  She said the materials that have gone out have been clear that it is also a refinement plan change.  She said the understanding was that a golf course and open space use in the refinement plan was consistent with the Low Density Residential designation in the Metro Plan zoning.  She noted at that point in time there was an understanding that it was a Low Density Residential designation for the site.


Zelenka asked why it was changed to Parks and Open Space.


Jerome responded that since that time it has become clear that it is important  there not be a conflict between the two.  She recalled there were thousands of properties in 2004 when the City digitized its Metro Plan map.  She said  it went from a “blobular” map to digital and there was an effort at that point in time to be more precise where the lines would be drawn from the blobs to parcels.  She indicated there was an effort to determine where those blobs would end and begin with different designations.  She said that was done by looking at what the refinement plan designation was and what happened on this site.  She noted the property owner didn’t intend for that to happen.  She said the question needs to be asked if the City Council meant for it to happen.


Zelenka asked if they have granted these types of waivers where they would require the traffic impact analysis to be done later.


Jerome responded that they can’t grant waivers.  She said the proposed ordinance would postpone the analysis until a specific development proposal is in front of the City Council.  She noted that has become the City’s practice.  She added that it was affirmed by LUBA and it is currently on appeal.  She indicated that they are waiting for the Court of Appeals to affirm that it is a good practice.  She said the reason staff preferred to do it that way was because if it is done when a plan is changed, they have to do a worst case scenario for a site and when the site comes in later for development, it may not be proposing a worst case scenario.  She said they may have to deny a plan amendment and prohibit uses that may be allowable.  She indicated the preference is to postpone.  With this case she said because of the history, DLCD has taken a closer look at this particular proposal and DLCD who writes the rules has said they don’t think it can be required here.  She said the 2004 change happened without the need for more transportation analysis and they shouldn’t require it now.  She stated that in any case, future development of this parcel will require a transportation analysis under the City’s TIA provisions. 


Hansen explained that each single family lot would generate ten trips per day and the peak hours for residential are in the morning between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and in the afternoon between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


Jerome explained that the triggers for the TIA in Eugene’s code would generate 100 or more vehicle trips during any peak hour, using a trip generation manual that is standard in the state.  With developments involving land division, she indicated the peak hour trips are calculated based on the likely development that will occur on all lots resulting from the land division.  She added another trigger would be increased traffic resulting from the development. She indicated that it will contribute to traffic problems in the area based on current accident rates, traffic volumes or speed that warrant action under the City’s Traffic Calming Program and identified locations where pedestrians and bike safety is a concern.  She said the City has performed or reviewed traffic engineering analysis that indicate approval of the development will result in levels of service of the roadway system and the vicinity do not meet adopted level of surface standards.


Zelenka commented that arguably this is the worst place in the County or in the state in terms of accidents.


Jerome thought it was possible that in this area, (given the testimony they heard) that any of these could be triggers in the future.  She added that it is possible this land could sit until massive improvements are made in the transportation system.


Clark asked if there was a TIA or any other matter of transportation study required when the planning department recommended the 2004 City Council change from Low Density Residential to Parks and Open Space.


Jerome said they did not require any study.


Clark noted that Jeffries asked when the Jefferson Westside upzone occurred that it was part of the same housekeeping amendments.  He asked why there was no TIA or TPR for the upzone.


Jerome said she would look into that and get back to Clark.


Clark wanted to know if it was changed at the same time for similar reasons and why the standard for one property would be different than the standard for another.


Handy asked what the current use was directly west of Tax Lot 306 and for Tax Lot 304.


Hansen responded that to the west of Tax Lot 304 is a portion of the golf course and to the west of Tax Lot 306 is three parcels that are single family residences.


Handy asked about the land application in 1988 for a special use permit from the County.  He also asked about the floodplain considerations.


Howe explained that for the land use applications that were approved, the special use permit from the County for a golf course in an Exclusive Farm Use Zone was made when their application was approved for the golf course.  He added that a greenway development permit was also required.  He noted conditional use permits for the golf course were required for the portions that were inside the UGB.  He added that site review is required by the city of Eugene and a floodplain special use permit was required from the County for the golf course.  He indicated those were the development applications required in 1988 for establishing golf course uses.


Hansen stated the entire golf course is inside and outside of the UGB so some of the land use applications only apply to the property that is outside the UGB.  She noted the property under consideration tonight is not in the floodplain or the greenway.


Handy asked who was paying for the public facilities and Goal 12 issues and the public benefit.  He asked what could be considered for approval around how they weigh public benefit and approving an amendment from the County.


Howe responded that Goal 11 would be provided to the site.  He added that it will be limited to the annexation process of the city of Eugene, providing sewer, stormwater and water.  He indicated the traffic aspect will be dealt with depending upon the use, the site review and what actually goes in.  He noted there are amenities like bike paths that would come along as development as it is implemented, but it isn’t part of the Goal 11 public facilities and services that are automatically dealt with upon annexation for sewer, water and stormwater.


Handy asked if there was public benefit that would be directly realized from the condition of an approval process and how they would consider it in their deliberations.


Assistant County Counsel Stephen Vorhes indicated the area that was considered back when the County processed permit applications for the golf course is in the area outside of the area that is subject to this plan designation change proceeding.  He wanted to hear the articulation of the connection to the criteria for approval as it relates to that issue and he hadn’t heard anything about that in any of the testimony.  He added to the extent they have planning interests in looking at bike path areas, it is a larger scope different issue planning activity than the impact of approval of this plan designation from a transportation standpoint.  He heard most of the concern around automobile traffic and nothing on how it would impact bicycle traffic.


Handy said given that Goal 5 would address some of the Willamette River Greenway concerns, if this is something they should look at in conjunction with the city of Eugene with a possible condition to explore.


Vorhes responded that the Goal 5 issue (as he heard it explained earlier) is dependent upon inventory Goal 5 resources on the subject property and that is not something that is in front of the Board.


Piercy asked if any board member wanted to hold the record open for testimony or to continue the hearing to another time.


There was no response to keep the record open.


Piercy closed the record for testimony for the Eugene City Councilors.


Sorenson closed the record for testimony for the Board of Commissioners.


Clark indicated that staff would get him an answer by memo at a future time.  He asked if that would become part of the record.


Jerome indicated that the record is closed for testimony.  She said they could respond to Clark’s questions referring to findings that have been adopted.


Zelenka wanted to know about the input for the 1992 Refinement Plan and what had transpired including the issues of change.


Jerome suggested keeping the record open for the purpose of staff responding with no new evidence.  She explained that no new evidence can be presented.  She indicated that the Willakenzie Area Plan is already in the record and a lot of the information they think the City Councilors are looking for would be in there.  She indicated that she will look for the answers with the record closed.


Mayor Piercy adjourned the meeting for the Eugene City Council at 7:40 p.m.


Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting for the Board of Commissioners at 7:40 p.m.



Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary