BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
REGULAR MEETING
June 8, 2010
1:30 p.m.
Commissioners' Conference Room
APPROVED 7/7/2010

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

Robert Noble, Chair, presided with the Lane County Planning Commission with Tony McCown,  Lisa Arkin, Steve Dignam, George Goldstein, Nancy Nichols, Dennis Sandow and John Sullivan present. Jozef Siekiel-Zdzienicki was excused.

9. COMMISSIONERSí BUSINESS

a. DISCUSSION/Lane County Planning Commission Briefing on the Springfield 2030 Plan.

Fleenor noted there is a quorum of the Lane County Planning Commission. He asked if they should have an official meeting or not.

Richardson responded that this was noticed as a discussion, but they listed all of the Lane County Planning Commission members as well as the chair and the Board. She stated they gave adequate notice as it was posted last Thursday and placed on the agenda. She thought it was fine to call the meeting to order and have a discussion

Fleenor asked the Chair of the Lane County Planning Commission whether he wanted to call the meeting to order for the Lane County Planning Commission.

Bob Noble, Chair, Lane County Planning Commission called the meeting to order for the Lane County Planning Commission.

Noble said they were invited to brief the board on the deliberations of the Springfield 2030 Plan. He said there was interest in relating the Planning Commissionís thoughts. He said the process for the Lane County Planning Commission included two work sessions, two public hearings and a final four hour night of deliberations. He indicated there was a considerable amount of information to consume. He said staff and the Springfield Planning Commission were more familiar with the subject than they were. He commented the planning materials and process were confusing to them and to the public. He recalled when Springfield originally adopted the plan, it had a residential needs component. He added that it was then extracted back to have no residential needs component, but the plan showed it was still present.

Noble indicated that they received a lot of testimony about the residential component with many people testifying that it should be reexamined and they thought there was a need for additional residential component in the UGB expansion. He noted in order to get to the 640 acres, it was recommended as part of the needs analysis that the city would have to incorporate somewhere between 900 and 1300 acres. He said there was a motion to affirm that Springfield should have a separate UGB with the westerly border being I-5 and that the UGB could be expanded looking at the properties closer to I-5. He noted there was testimony about the areas that flood and are in the floodplain. He added there was interest by the Lane County Planning Commission that if there was a UGB expansion that the areas that are sensitive are constrained. He said there was testimony about agricultural lands: both those who said it was not prime land that should come in and those that wanted to protect it at all cost. He noted there wasnít enough time or resources to answer questions including those from 1001 Friends of Oregon and Landwatch. He asked what the Board wanted to do.

Fleenor asked if the Planning Commission made a recommendation.

Noble responded they didnít make a recommendation as it relates to where the UGB area should be expanded. He indicated there was approval of a separate UGB where one could occur but not specifically where. He added there was some recommendation to a site specific plan diagram that should occur. He said they didnít make a recommendation as to how Springfield would resolve their own zoning conflicts. He indicated they didnít go through a site specific plan as to where the UGB should be expanded. He said they were looking at concepts.

Fleenor asked what the preferred process was to move Springfield forward..

George Goldstein recalled that the city of Springfield showed outstanding expertise. He said they have a good working partnership with the residents and that added value. He added that because of the intricacies of all the issues, he thought it should be looked at as a working document and a work in progress. He wanted to have an optimum amount of residents that are accessible and affordable. He wanted commercial property that has the right roadways that will attract business.  He said without the money to do the development, things may not happen. He stated that they need to have doable goals with the money there. He said the County doesnít know where it is going to be five and ten years from now.  He commented that Springfield has done an outstanding job from his perspective at the technical aspects.

Tony McCown commented that the majority of the commission gave positive responses to questions. He didnít think they were presented correctly. He said the city of Springfield omitted some answers. He said he was close to believing that 640 acres needs to be added, but not without the answers to the questions. He agreed that when they add land, that it is as close to the I-5 corridor as they can get. He indicated that they can get to a fourth option in pieces instead of the huge chunks in the first three options.

Fleenor asked what process they were looking at.  

Kent Howe, Land Management, reported that this is a Post Acknowledgement Plan Amendment for the city of Springfield. He indicated that they are implementing HB3337, a requirement that Eugene and Springfield develop separate urban growth boundaries and at the same time accomplish the split of the UGB. He added that there is inventory work that needs to be done. He indicated that once that work is done, it identifies if there is adequate land or not, regardless of splitting the UGB. He said if the inventory indicates there is not a 20 year supply of land, they could add land. He noted that Springfield has been working on that for three years, doing the inventory work. He indicated that they had work sessions jointly with the Lane County Planning Commission and the Springfield Planning Commission and two public hearings that have concluded. He noted the record is closed. He stated that they deliberated and there is basic acceptance of the inventory, the technical information and data. He said they made significant recommendations about a number of features being proposed but they thought the policy call of where the UGB should expand was the elected officials needed to do. He said when Springfield is ready to move forward (after addressing the concerns that have been raised,) he expects joint work sessions and joint public hearings with the Springfield City Council and the Board of Commissioners. He reported that on July 6 Springfield staff is coming to the Board of Commissioners for a work session to explain HB3337 and plan diagrams that are part of the package moving forward.

McCown commented that the last two last reports the County has dealt with regarding inventories and population forecasts are based on a number of assumptions. He said they donít necessary see that changing the assumption could change the outcomes. He said they donít have the resources to fix things. He thought it could be relevant to the future as they look at land surveys.

John Sullivan thought they needed training with work sessions. He said they finally succeeded in getting a learning tree. He recalled there were five motions ultimately made. He noted there was some confusion. He said they didnít get reliable maps to understand what is in concept areas, what usable land and  resource land is. He encouraged the LCDC representative to be at the first meeting to unwind some issues. He noted there was a debate between what LCDC said to Springfield and how they responded. He added that it was confusing. He thought Mia Nelsonís letter was excellent. He said the e-mail doesnít paint a picture, but Springfield's response was good. He stated that Springfield worked hard on this but they didnít know how to ask the questions.

Sorenson asked if there was any downside to the Board referring this back to the Planning Commission so if there is a split view the different perspectives can be articulated. He asked why there is pressure to turn it over to the Board without a recommendation.

Noble said at this point the Board has everything. He didnít know if this was referred back to the Planning Committee if they would get a unanimous recommendation on this issue. He said there is a split as to where and what lands they are going to take. He recommended not sending it back to the Planning Commission. He thought the Board would not avoid what they would have to do themselves. He said the information is there but the Board will have to work on this.

With regard to the inadequacy of the residential land supply study, Steve Dignam said there is the necessary use of high quality soils and the issue to bring in more acres than what the study showed. He said the Planning Commissioners and Board want the data. He commented that if they look at the data on this they will be making a bad decision. He said the data says they donít need to expand the residential land supply and if they want to come to that conclusion and make that decision, they will be changing the face of Springfield and the community that has a history of being a family oriented city.  e noted under the new guidelines they will have high density apartments and high cost houses in the hills.  He added that is all that will be available. He said if that is what the Board wants, then they should accept the study. He said the study on the residential lands was accepted by the city of Springfield. He said the criteria is encouraging dense development. He wondered if families want to live in a ten units per acre development or to afford the expensive homes in the high sloped hills. He commented that there will not be economic land for families. He said there should have been additional lands for residential in the plan for expanding the UGB. He said in order to find the necessary acres, they will have to expand onto some land with high quality soils. He said that should be the last place they look.  He added that in order to accommodate the necessary growth, they will have to do some of that.  He said they have to find 640 acres. He noted the conclusion by staff (but not agreed to by all the members) was in order to find 640 acres, they have to bring in 900 acres of land. He recalled there was comment from the public that it didnít make sense. He disagreed. He stated that it made sense that they donít want to have a disjointed UGB. 

Sorenson thought the Planning Commission should consider this matter and bring it back to the Board. He thought it was a policy choice.

Dignam didnít believe sending it back to the Planning Commission would result in a better decision. He doesnít believe the Planning Commission had consensus on specific sites for expansion and that was why they decided to give their individual input.

Sullivan said the responsibility of the Planning Commission is to build a record and they did that. He said the record got convoluted because the record didnít move smoothly. He added the record is complete. He thought the Board needed this and the Board has the ultimate responsibility of setting policy.

Lisa Arkin commented that the predictions made by the consultants for economic growth were overstated. She indicated the proposal is to bring in 640 acres but to get there it was up to 1300 acres and they would be located on farmland and in the floodplain. She said it was technical and needed reevaluation. She thought the acres would be put into urban holding areas but it was vague. She said since so much of the land (even in the concept areas) that had most support was in the floodplain or floodway, there was a lack of consistency of the Springfield planning staff as to what type of development is allowed in the floodplain. She said they received three answers and she was confused. She said they will be hearing proposals for Lane County establishing riparian protection areas. She said the favored industry presented by staff was warehousing and trucking. She added that at the same time they were saying there was no access to I-5. She said new off and on ramps would have to be built. She added that they donít have the money to build the off ramps. She stated they have created a good record and they took their time. She thought the record was complete.

Dwyer wanted to see some of the conflicts mitigated in Glenwood where there are so many single wide trailers. He thought it was an opportunity for the city who will be affected to think outside the box and realize people need rock to exist. He wanted to minimize the conflict between mining, farming and urbanization. He said they have to develop a plan that will avoid the conflicts. He said with developed and committed lands, it becomes an urban holding area. He said that is what is called developed and committed lands and they donít want prime farmland to be developed and committed or in an urban holding area. He said they want it to be farmland for the population that needs food. He thought it needed work.

Denis Sandow said what he sees going before the Board is a 20 year decision. He said when they look out 20 years, they judge the plan by the confidence level. He said there is no evidence of surplus reserves for building out infrastructure. He thinks the Board has a difficult decision and care should be taken in making it. He was concerned about the data they use to plan the future. He commented that it is hard making a planning decision with Oregon being one of the hungriest states in the nation. He thought it was difficult expanding boundaries and resource lands to make the decision without any scientific biological data. He commented that he hasnít seen any evidence or scientific literature that when planning in uncertain situations they narrow the range of assumptions. He said they need to engage in more conversations and assumptions. He added that even the assumption of population growth in the community can be seen in a different light in this current economy. He indicated that they have few public resources to invest in infrastructure. He said if they make plans based on increasing debt, then they are contributing to the economic stability they are living within. He said the 20 year planning process is fundamentally important. He asked the Board to look at the assumptions being made about land needs. He didnít have confidence in the plan because it had a narrow range of data. He agreed that this belongs to the Board now, as it is well beyond the scope of the Planning Commission.

Nancy Nichols didnít believe they needed 640 acres. She thought there was need for some large parcels of land. She said developed and committed lands must be considered first, meaning the area around Seavey Loop must come first. She thought that might be enough. She added the second place to look is area one in the Gateway area by I-5. She thought the floodway and floodplain should stay out of the UGB. She said lands subject to flooding should be kept as resource land unless targeted for a park or narrow fingers of the floodplain so infrastructure could be developed in an effective manner. She thought before the Board makes a decision, they need to get the definition of suitability with a map showing the locations in different colors for suitable and unsuitable lands proposed for inclusion. She said it wasnít clear which of the acres were suitable and why. She didnít think they could come to consensus with the Planning Commission if this was sent back to them. She said the Board needs policy decision first.

Dwyer said the question is what do they want to protect and what will trigger its use. He commented the 20 year plan was an arbitrary decision from DLCD based on past experience. He said they have never been close to being out of land.

Sorenson asked what the Board should be looking to as they embark on this project.

Noble said the Board heard from the Planning Commissioners who made specific suggestions in areas they thought were not addressed. He encouraged the Board to explore those issues. He said the original impetus was that Springfield was looking for a few opportunity areas for large employers. He stated that doesnít necessarily translate to a range of industrial and commercial needs, but once they have established a PAPA and a needs analysis and inventory, the Board is compelled to meet that. He said the Board will have to look at policy and the expansion of the UGB. He indicated that they did not address the efficiency measures or Springfield code amendments. He added they were given those specifically for deliberation and they did not feel compelled to weigh in on them. With regard to the urban holding areas, he said it was an area of concern to explore. He said those will be areas included in the UGB but would remain as County land use jurisdiction with existing zoning in place until such time as those properties are annexed. He said if the impetus was for large lot sizes for employment opportunity for developers who were going to put people to work, they might want to have a way to protect them.

Handy asked if they had a complete record.

Noble said there is room for the record to continue through the Boardís deliberations. He said the record for their process was complete.

Handy asked about DLCD and performance measures.

Sullivan said it was not discussed. He added that transportation issues discussed was at the Springfield and Lane County level. He said surface transportation need to be addressed, but DLCD didnít have an opinion.

Handy wanted to look at land as the most precious resource that they have. He asked given the geographical constraints Springfield has, how many other UGBís expansions they might expect to have after this proposed expansion. He wanted to see when it comes before the Board what the policy choices are. He said they have legal constraints but have policy choices. He asked if decisions have already been made about industrial sites they might consider around the range of options in addition to understanding what the policy choices are. He has concern about the large site strategies.

Fleenor asked staff about moving forward with the recommendations by the Lane County Planning Commission about more training from EcoNorthwest, more reliable maps and resource lands. He also wanted to have Whitman come from DLCD. 

Kent Howe, Land Management, responded that on July 6 Springfield is coming to the Board with a work session to engage the Board on policy issues and that process can work its course.

Dwyer said they have an obligation to find a balance between protecting resources for those people into the future that may affect the ability for them to live. He said they have to be careful to balance economics and to plan for the future knowing that it will grow. He commented that it is not about people, it is about money.

Fleenor asked staff to come to the agenda setting meeting tomorrow with a proposal to bring these issues to the Board in a systematic manner.

10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sorenson said the initial meeting of the Polite Solutions Networks met. He said the group is having their first work shop in Eugene on July 19 and 20. He reported that he is working on a town hall meeting for June 22 at the Amazon Community Center around the budget challenges.

Handy indicated that he had three different meet and greets. He commented that he comes away inspired and energized. He reported that the Bethel School Foundation has been formed to raise money for schools. He announced that on Sunday he will join Stewart in Blue River for a grand opening of their new track.

11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

None.

12. OTHER BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor adjourned the meeting at 3:20 p.m.

There being no further business Chair Bob Noble adjourned the meeting of the Lane County Planning Commission at 3:20 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary