JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS/

EUGENE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

January 22, 2003

6:00 p.m. - PUBLIC HEARING

Eugene Council Chambers

APPROVED 2/5/03

 

Board of County Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Tom Lininger and Anna Morrison present. Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer was also present.

 

Eugene City Council President Gary Pape presided with City Councilors Bonny Bettman, David Kelly, Scott Meisner, Nancy Nathanson, George Poling, Jennifer Solomon and Betty Taylor present.

 

1. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1186/In the Matter of Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan Diagram for Property within the Crescent Avenue Nodal Development Area, with Concurrent Automatic Amendment to the Willakenzie Area Plan Land Use Diagram; and Adopting a Severability Clause (NBA & PM 1/6/03).

 

Jan Childs, City of Eugene, reported Crescent Avenue is the first of eight nodal development areas that are going through this process, two of which are joint hearings with the Board of Commissioners.

 

Childs noted the idea of development nodes was already included in the Metro Plan before TransPlan was adopted. She said the concept of nodal development they are currently working with was developed thought the preparation of TransPlan. She added nodal development is the key land use strategy in TransPlan. She noted before TransPlan was adopted in 2001, the City of Eugene sought and received state grant funds for pilot nodal development areas. She said they wanted to do tests to see how this would work. She noted planning for the Royal Avenue node began in July of 1998 and was completed with the Council and Board adoption of the implementing ordinances last week. She added planning for the Chase Gardens area began in July of 2000 with Council action in December of 2002.

 

Childs explained the Department of Land Conversation and Development that oversees the state land use planning program considered the work on Royal Avenue and Chase Gardens to be a positive step forward. She said they were concerned about the amount of time required to complete detailed plans for a single area. She said as a result of the TransPlan process, they requested an additional policy be added to the TransPlan document. She noted the policy adopted is TransPlan Policy 5. She stated that within three years of TransPlan adoption, the nodal development plan designation (that was just created through TransPlan) and local jurisdiction zoning regulations to protect high priority nodes from incompatible development, would be done for high priority areas selected by the individual jurisdictions. She added in the review of TransPlan review alternative performance measures by LCDC, the commission asked local governments to complete the work within two years, by the fall of 2003. She said the state provided grant funding through the State Transportation and Growth Management Program to move forward with this level of short-term implementation for eight areas within the Eugene urban growth boundary.

 

Childs noted as citizens and Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions had pointed out, the short-term implementation is not a detailed plan. She said it doesnít change the underlying Metro Plan designations and zoning of property. She added it does not create a new special area zone tailored for the area as had been done in Royal and Chase Gardens. She said it determines that those areas are of highest priority to the elected officials for nodal development and provides important short-term protection by limiting auto oriented uses and establishing density and design standards in advance of a more detailed plan in the future.

 

Childs recalled that most of the testimony they heard from the Planning Commission level was looking at the density standards but the design standards and orientation of buildings was just as important. She sympathized with those who thought this was not enough but stated they do not have the time or resources to do that level of planning for eight areas by June 2003. She noted the process is seen by all staff involved as a critical first step for both long-term plans and short-term strategies needed to achieve the policy direction and the benchmarks for nodal development implementation agreed to in TransPlan.

 

Jerry Jacobson, City of Eugene, reported there are two proposals before the elected officials. He said one was to amend the Metro Plan diagram to depict the Crescent Avenue area as a nodal development area. He added because the Crescent Avenue area involves property both within and outside the city limits, action by both bodies is required.

 

Jacobson noted the second issue before the elected officials is the application of the ND overlay zone to those properties within the city limits and action is to be taken only by the City Council. He added for those properties outside of the city limits, the ND overlay would occur after those properties are annexed in the future.

 

Jacobson stated the Lane County and City of Eugene Planning Commissions held a Public Hearing on December 3. He noted seven people testified, most expressing concern about the 30-units-per-acre minimum that the ND overlay would require on the 4R piece of property. He noted the Eugene Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of both the Metro Plan and the ND overlay zone, but they expressed concern over the lack of a specific area plan. He added that the Lane County Planning Commission had voted 5-1 to recommend denial based on similar concerns and the density issue that was expressed by the residents. He said they had received only one piece of new correspondence since that Public Hearing, a letter from 4J.

 

Jacobson explained that this evening was a Public Hearing only and the Eugene City Council will take final action on February 10, 2003 and Lane County will take final action on February 12, 2003.

 

Council President Pape opened up the Public Hearing for the Eugene City Council.

 

Commissioner Sorenson opened up the Public Hearing for the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

 

Adell McMillan, Eugene Planning Commission, 55 W. 39th, Eugene, testified on behalf of the Eugene Planning Commission. She urged elected officialsí approval of the amendments to the Metro Plan and the concurrent automatic amendment to the Willakenzie plan to depict the incorporated portion of the Crescent area as a nodal development area and their approval of the amendments to the Eugene overlay zone map. She recalled the Eugene Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the recommendation because it meets all of the criteria for the proposed changes. She expressed the Planning Commissionís strong reservations because this and all future nodes require an unscheduled and unfunded planning process to create special area plans, to make the goals for nodal development obtainable and to make this development compatible with adjacent properties. She said they agreed that the overlay zone is important as an interim measure to protect the nodes from undesirable development but they think that the additional planning process is necessary to accomplish the ultimate goals for these areas. She noted that concerns expressed would be addressed in the additional planning process.

 

Chris Clemow, Lane County Planning Commission, 975 Lincoln, Eugene, represented the Lane County Planning Commission. He said the Lane County Planning Commissionís charge was specifically to look at the unannexed properties, and to determine if the application of a nodal development overlay was appropriate. He said they voted to recommend denial on the application. He noted the reason was the incompatibility of the underlying zoning respective to the nodal development overlay and the uncertainty of how the current zoning will be impacted. He believed that having an understanding of the impacts is paramount prior to approval. He explained when the Willakenzie area plan was prepared, a nodal development overlay was never considered. He commented it was questionable whether the underlying zoning in the area would support it. He said this is a rushed process and different from the other two nodal development applications. He said from the Countyís perspective they wondered how Lane County property would be affected. He noted if this were approved, the property would be annexed after the nodal development overlay is approved. He added development had already taken place on the City owned property. He said the implications of what had already taken place on other properties gets applied to the County property. He wondered if zoning was appropriate on the property to support that. He said what precipitated this was Arlie and Companyís proposal. He noted in some of the testimony that was presented to them, the Arlie proposal (while it might not specifically meet some of the criteria nodal development overlay) when applied with the adjustment review, meets the criteria. He added their application would meet the nodal development overlay criteria with an adjustment. He asked if there was a need to speed this up when the remaining property is in the County. He stated the Eugene Planning Commission supported this with strong reservation and that is why the Lane County Planning Commission voted not to approve this and recommended denial.

 

Charles Biggs, 540 Antelope Way, Eugene, Chairman Cal Young Neighborhood Association, stated he gave testimony at the December 3 meeting and reiterated the same concerns. He said the biggest concern was the density of 30 units per acre as too excessive and the two nodes that were studied and designed by the planning department ran into the problem of the R4 density. He asked why with intense planning, and two separate nodes that the City had done, that the greatest density they could achieve was 20 units per acre and for all of the overlay zones would be 30 units per acre.

 

J. Kenneth Jones, 2820 Grand Cayman Dr., Eugene, represented the Crescent Meadows Homeowners Association. He said the R4 density was there to accommodate Sacred Heart and it is not appropriate with 30 units per acre. He noted there are already traffic problems in the area. He stated the density was reduced by the hearings official by the City of Eugene but the appeal to the Council was not timely processed and the density requested by the developer was allowed to proceed. He said the City knows there are traffic and density problems already in that area. He said that Arlie and Company has worked hard with the neighborhood association to address the issues to make it livable. He said the City needs to include nodal development to be done all at once. He said there are unknowns regarding density and it requires a different type of development plans. He noted the ordinance was a good idea but it needed to be tweaked so this is a process that works. He said by having additional steps where people have to present information, it adds time and requires additional money. He said they donít end up with nodal development, but with R4, 30 units per acre and traffic problems. He urged the elected officials to think about how to make this work.

 

Dean Barr, 2910 Grand Cayman Dr., Eugene, commented they were shown a plan of a unit to be built in the 38 acres by Arlie and Company. He noted the type of plan is an Orenco Station type of community. He said it is a beautiful community that is well shown and well respected in Hillsboro. He spoke with someone on the Planning Commission when this plan came out and he was told that this nodal development plan would have no effect on putting in an Orenco Station type of community and in fact the Planning Commission was in favor. He stated the problems of putting 1,100 units in the 38 acres would bring the congestion of the area to an unbearable level. He endorsed the Arlie presentation they were given because he thinks it could be an enhancement to Eugene and it would be a showplace for the community.

 

Justin Wright, 722 County Club Road, Eugene, Associate Planner, Arlie and Company. He reported that Arlie and Company owns the 39 acres within the proposed overlay zone on Crescent Avenue. He supported the nodal development concept. He stated that Arlieís development division had been working on plans to develop the Crescent site with an urban village for 12 months. He said they are excited for the opportunity but the only concern regarding the ND overlay zone is the higher density requirement and the compatibility with the neighboring single-family subdivisions, specifically Grand Cayman and Kinney Loop. He noted the proposed overlay zone would increase the density requirement from 20 units to 30 units per net acre. He reported that 36 of their 39 acres are zoned R4 and it means they must provide approximately 800 units and also provide a mix of uses on the same R4 property. He said it would push their development three to four stories high. He added the narrow R4 narrow strip of land is not suitable for residential development and they would have to make up for the deficiency on the remainder of the site. He said that factor could push the development even higher. He noted their design team had concluded that somewhere between 24 units and 26 units a net acre is appropriate for the site. He asked the elected officials to be certain if there was flexibility in the density requirement. He stated that Arlie and Company has intended to do a unified land use application including Metro and Refinement Plan amendments, planned unit development, site review and zone change all at once. He said that Arlie received a letter from Jerry Jacobson indicating that the City Attorney thinks there is nothing in the code that requires the City to review all five applications concurrently. He commented that Arlie and Company understands the Cityís position, however they think if it is not specifically prohibited, that Arlie and Company would submit a unified five-part application. He added if in fact the City would not review the application as a concurrent five-part land use application, it would delay construction beyond next year. He noted their first pre-application meeting was March of 2002. He added their holding costs are about $40,000 per month and if the City doesnít allow a five-part concurrent application, their carrying costs would exceed $1 million. He added if that is the case, Arlie couldnít proceed with the project. He encouraged the City staff to accept their five-part concurrent application and to preserve the flexibility and density requirements.

 

Stacie Mount, 2840 Grand Cayman Dr., Eugene, passed out pictures on the Orenco Station. (Copy in file.) She stated that Arlie and Company had patterned a lot of their proposal around the Orenco Station type of environment. She said they are hopeful that is what the area will be. She said if the project is delayed and Arlie and Company backs away from it and forces them into a different mode that they could end up with 1,100 apartments that will increase the traffic density that is already difficult. She asked the elected officials to keep that in mind as they voted.

 

Matt Stopher, 2866 Grand Cayman Ave., Eugene, said they have a challenge ahead trying to reconcile RR1 land with RR4 having 30 units per net acre. He added with the panhandle lot the 30 units per net acre would become denser. He noted the original testimony from the Planning Commission came down with strong reservations. He said they have significant concerns about the traffic that would be created. He supported the nodal use development urban village concept as a beneficial one. He said they are underserved by commerce in that area. He supports Arlie and Company, as they had been terrific in working with the community. He was concerned about the issue related to how this process could be stretched out for Arlie. He said they had worked with them for many months and they had taken into account their suggestions and they would like to see the City look at it as a comprehensive application and not break it up into something that is unmanageable.

 

Rob Handy, 455 Ĺ River Road, Eugene, asked if this node would make the community a better place and reduce reliance on the automobile. He asked what kind of pedestrian, transit and access improvements would be available. He noted it was almost impossible to cross Chad Drive or Crescent Avenue except in an automobile or bus. He wondered if there should be nodes on the urban fringe before more centralized nodes in the urban core are addressed. He urged the elected officials to better integrate land use and transportation efforts to modify current strategies to have a greater chance of reducing reliance on the automobile. He suggested they develop requests for Eugene, Springfield and LTD projects aimed at advancing the nodal development and BRT strategies that could obtain federal earmarks in the next funding cycle. He asked the elected officials to treat nodal development as a sound business investment with likely returns. He said if they have a physical transit facility that is located in the node, it gives the development community the confidence to invest in these projects.

 

Kelly was surprised about the inability to do a unified application. He said his issue was not with the regulations, but to move through it as efficiently as possible. He asked for information about how that efficiency could be gained and if it takes a code change. He also wanted to know what the downside would be.

 

Bettman stated the underlying zone of 20 units was the minimum that exists. She asked if there was a maximum.

 

Jacobson responded the maximum is 110 units per acre.

 

Bettman commented she had trouble with the Lane County Planning Commission decision that the findings were not consistent. She asked where it made the Metro Plan internally inconsistent. She asked where the terminus of the BRT route is.

 

Childs wasnít sure it had been determined. She noted it goes up Coburg Road and will either terminate at Crescent or Chad.

Meisner noted the concern on the BRT steering committee and the LTD Board is how to connect Coburg Road and the Gateway area of Springfield with their BRT line from Pioneer Parkway. He said it hadnít been determined.

 

Bettman asked if a nodal development overlay was going to be implemented, how would an inconsistency in the density standards affect the program overall.

 

Childs responded there are only two areas, this one and the Danebo area that have a substantial amount of undeveloped land. She said the remaining six areas are more in-fill potential redevelopment areas. She didnít know if they would be applying an inconsistent standard as long as it achieved the overall average of 12 units per net acre.

 

Lininger said they heard about the underlying current zoning of the City portion of the area. He asked what the baseline zoning was for the County portion and if staff concurs, with the belief that that is incompatible with nodal development.

 

Jacobson replied that it should be all RA residential zoning in the County and the future plan designation for that area is all low density residential. He said the conflict is having low density where the maximum is 14 units per acre with higher density with a maximum of 110 units per acre. He noted that anytime there is a higher zoning next to lower zoning, there is a conflict. He added setbacks could address that or having a development put the higher density on the interior with a buffer area where they have town homes.

 

Lininger said nodal development was not possible because of time constraints and the shrinking availability of land to do the careful four-year planning. He asked if they would limit the nodal development to that model in Orenco Station and other projects that had been approved, how many such projects could be done. He asked if they would run out of land.

 

Childs responded that they are dealing with 12 areas throughout the Eugene urban growth boundary. She added that Royal, Chase Gardens, Danebo and this area have the greatest amount of undeveloped land within the nodal area. She said they were looking for areas that were not just low density residential in identifying high priority areas. She said they were looking at areas that had a mixture of existing plan designation and zoning because they knew they werenít going to be changing them. She said they didnít want all low-density residential land.

 

Meisner stated he had toured the Crescent area and had toured the Orenco Station. He thought it would be great to have a similar development of such a great mix and quality. He added some of the testimony addressed the need for some of the commercial possibilities that would exist within a node and they are necessary in that area. He was interested in the question that although it is not mandated, the degree which they can permit and expedite concurrent consideration and review of a large proposal for a single owner large site. He reiterated the pressure that Childs noted they were under from the state to carry forth with limited local funding and staff support and not unlimited state support. He asked what would be the consequences for them from the state were one or the other jurisdictions to reject these ordinances.

 

Solomon asked if the expectation was that the people who would live in the nodes are renters or owners. She noted with such a high density she didnít see it being attractive to homeowners.

 

Childs responded there wasnít an expectation. She stated the code didnít speak to ownership types, it is silent in terms of ownership.

 

Solomon hoped they would want to encourage homeownership to the degree possible. She said that owners provide more stability to a neighborhood and take more pride in ownership and would make that investment in a nodal development go further. She urged her colleagues to be flexible. She said they have a great opportunity to do what they have wanted to do for a long time.

 

Nathanson asked how likely development would be. She asked what would the development be like if they did not take this action. She noted they heard up to 110 units per acre would be permissible for R4. She said they shouldnít deliberate tonight because something might not turn out right and she was concerned that something could turn out worse with fewer protections for the adjacent neighborhood. She stated Mr. Wright suggested flexibility in the density requirement. She asked what that would be.

 

Jacobson replied there is built into the code a flexibility in that they could apply for an adjustment. He noted what Arlie would like is within that range. He said they would have to apply for an adjustment under that process and they would have to find that what they are proposing would be consistent with the purposes of nodal development.

 

Nathanson questioned the application being submitted as one unified proposal but it is comprised of five parts. She assumed that part of the problem might be an issue of cost and staffing.

 

Jacobson noted that Arlie had a tentative proposal, but they had not submitted anything. He noted under the proposal, it would require a Metro Plan amendment, a refinement plan amendment, a zone change, a site review application and a plan unit development application. He stated the code provides for the more day-to-day zoning issues and they could be resolved at one time. He said they want to work with the City Attorney to see what they can do to make this as unified as possible.

 

With regard to home ownership, Nathanson noted there is one neighborhood within the city limits that has an out-of-kilter owner/renter ratio that does need to be addressed. She said there are developments in the Goodpasture Island Road area that might look like apartments to some people, but there is a high degree of stability because they are owner-occupied condominiums. She wanted information to point out examples around the area where there is multi-story development.

 

Sorenson asked what the distance was between the center of the node and the urban growth boundary to the north. He asked about the size of the Orenco Station node. He asked what the average cost of the units would be if they were to be sold or rented and the number of units and the range of number of housing units that could be placed on the property. He asked what the owner occupied rental ratio was that is being proposed for this area and a comparison to the Orenco Station development.

 

Childs asked if Sorenson was asking in regard to the Arlie proposal specifically. She said all that could be given was information in terms of what the base-zoning district allows.

 

Sorenson wanted the range of what would be allowed. He wanted to get a sense of scale of the Orenco development and the size of this node versus the size of other nodes.

 

Green asked if this was a pattern for future processes. He thought the process was truncated. His concern was that the Lane County Planning Commission would vote to deny it because of the absence of a plan. He said if they are going to need cooperation from the County in the future, it might be a foreshadowing of things to come.

 

Childs responded when the local government group did its first annual program report on TransPlan before the DLCD, there was interest in seeing that sort of process for some additional areas. She added there is considerable interest on the part of the stakeholders within a number of the areas they are looking at to come back and do more detailed planning for some of the areas. She said the answer to the question would be determined by what the TGM program is willing to fund. She stated the first four years of the grant program they were willing to fund the very detailed planning program. She noted in the current biennium they were only willing to fund the short planning process and she is not sure what they would be willing to fund in the next biennium.

Dwyer commented that they were putting nodes on the edge of the urban growth boundary that is bound to put more pressure on the additional land outside the boundaries. He said they talked about density as an alternative to sprawl and when they want to do dense development, they hear complaints from neighbors. He said it was a Catch 22. He said nodes are important if they work the way they are supposed to. He said there shouldnít be another name for a shopping center or another development on the edge of the urban growth boundary that would precipitate more sprawl and more growth. He said there should be a community that is designed to hold all the elements within its borders that allow people to live, work and shop without the demand for transportation needs. He said if a node is developed right, the added demand on transportation is non-existent because the vehicle miles traveled are negated by the fact that all of the things exist within the neighborhood. He said they need to be cognizant of the fact that the County will only be involved in two of the nodes. He commented that whether it is a truncated process this time remains to be seen. He said the County would be willing to work with the City in maintaining and controlling sprawl. He is concerned when they put nodes at the edge of the urban growth boundary that might not be dense enough that would actually precipitate sprawl.

 

Pape understood that the property in the proposed node is public property. He asked if EWEB or 4J were intending to hold the land or sell it.

 

Jacobson noted there was a letter from District 4J. He didnít think they knew at this point about the property. He added that EWEB had plans for a substation there.

 

Pape asked if the amount of private developable property is smallest of all the nodes they are looking at.

 

Jacobson stated that Arlie owned a big piece of property. He added that the Crescent node had the largest amount of vacant land, both private and public.

 

Pape commented it appeared from the testimony that through the whole node they could get an average of 12 units per acre at a less dense than 30 units per acre.

 

Childs said that would be the case, given the amount of property that is currently zoned R4 as well as the already developed apartments across Crescent. She said that could be achieved.

 

Pape asked for the calculation before they vote.

 

Bettman said it was her understanding that they have strict criteria on which to make this decision regarding whether the findings are inconsistent with the Metro Plan and are consistent with the goals, not whether it is consistent with the developerís plans for the site.

 

Childs responded that was correct.

 

Bettman asked what the acreage of Orenco Station is.

 

Childs said it is significantly larger than this development.

 

Bettman thought it was comparable to the entire node whereas the particular piece of property is only 38 acres. She said in looking at the Orenco Station node, it has above and beyond 30 units per acre in some of its development, and some have a lower density. She asked for more information regarding the range of densities of Orenco and the exact size the people are using as a reference. She urged staff to make sure they are following the rules.

 

Kelly noted there had been statements of concern about a nodal development being located at the urban growth boundary. He said it was important to think about not the difference between a nodal development near the urban growth boundary and the bare land, but the relative outcome if it is developed in a nodal manner. He added he saw the overlay as Step 1. He noted that Step 1 and 2 were vitally important to get a more site-specific plan. He said the City Council would do everything they can to move it forward. He asked his colleagues to remember this at budget time and for legislative lobbying that if they want to do this type of elaborate planning that creates a better community, it doesnít come for free.

 

Morrison asked what the vacancy factor was for some of the commercial development that is included in the node. She said the vacancy factor from a commercial site is high.

 

Lininger noted that some speakers discussed the inability to develop the housing they had in mind in the panhandle portion. He asked under the existing regulations for nodal development, if there would be any means of taking away the panhandle and calculating density only in the portion that is an area where they could do different development. He asked if the panhandle had to be included in the overall calculation of density.

 

Childs responded the panhandle portion was wide enough to develop so it would not be subtracted out.

 

Lininger asked if there would be any room for flexibility as to whether or not they are held accountable for that portion in calculating the density for the remaining portion.

 

Childs reiterated with the overlay process they would look at the entire property. She added if a specific area plan were done under this proposal, that would involve plan designation and zone changes that would be a different type of proposal. She said the ranges that Sorenson asked for would be based on the existing zoning.

 

Sorenson asked if the record on this matter was open and for how long.

 

Childs commented they heard no request to leave the record open. She recommended that they do not keep the record open, as it wasnít necessary.

 

MOTION: to move to a Third Reading and Deliberation for Ordinance PA 1186 for Wednesday February 12, 2003.

 

Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.

 

Green supported closing the record and Morrison concurred.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing for the Board of Commissioners.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Councilor Pape closed the Public Hearing for the Eugene City Council.

 

Pape reiterated the City of Eugene would be acting on this on February 10 at their 7:30 p.m. council meeting.

 

Councilor Pape adjourned the meeting of the Eugene City Council at 7:20 p.m.

 

Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners at 7:20 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary