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Plan commission considers zoning change request


At Monday’s meeting, the City of Medford Plan Commission held a public hearing to discuss a change in zoning and to talk about other future objectives.

The public hearing took place to consider a request from Olson Outeast, LLC to change the zoning classification of land parcels 646-7, 655, and the southerly part of 603 S. 8th St. from being zoned as R-2 One and Two-Family Residential to C-1 Commercial.

Robert Christensen, the City Planner, explained how the Medford Chrysler Center currently owns all the parcels along S. 8th St. from their building south to the corner at E. Conrad Dr, which includes the parcels in question.

The properties are currently zoned as residential when commercial would be a more appropriate classification for the land. The process to rezone that land started before it was sold to the Medford Chrysler Center. “So in order to correct that oversight and get that corner property zoned commercial, which it looks like at some point in time it’s going to become part of the Medford Chrysler Center campus if you will, that’s why we’re here,” said Christensen.

“It makes sense to me. In the past, we’ve pretty much discussed how the 13 corridor and 64 corridor that the longterm plan at the city level is to have those properties be available for commercial in the future,” said Plan Commission member Luke Dixon. “So I guess based on that past discussion, I vote that we go forward with the rezoning.”

No one outside of the Commission attended the meeting for the public hearing, so after a short discussion, the Commission voted to approved the zoning change. In other business, Christensen went over a number of future tasks that the Commission will have to deal with in the near future.

The city’s current zoning code has no guidelines or rules for fencing on properties outside of ones for barbed wire and electric fences, so it was proposed to revise section 7 of the zoning code to include the regulations of fences.

That section of the code currently only addresses Plan-Commission-required fencing. “There is no guidance anywhere in our code that says anything about non-Plan-Commission-required fences,” said Christensen. Christensen explained that he gets a number of people asking about what rules there are for building fences on their properties, but there aren’t any. He presented “Essentially, it’s real straight forward. You can build a fence on the property line,” said Christensen. “If you build it, you got to maintain it, and the finished side has to face your neighbor.”

He said they want to have some general standards for building a fence in Medford. The Plan Commission plans to look over the proposed code for fencing and continue the conversation at their next meeting.

In addition to that, Christensen introduced two ideas to the Commission to see if they’d like to pursue these topics at the next meeting. The first topic relates to twin homes and zero setback residences, having separately-owned homes with no distance between them. “I’ve gotten two requests today for a residential condominium. Basically taking a duplex and dividing the duplex by the center line and making a condominium,” said Christensen. “I got a feeling that both of them are going to come to the Plan Commission for review.”

Christensen also talked about tiny houses. “It’s starting to become more and more popular throughout the country, [people are] building houses that are 400 square feet. The city really does not have any restrictions on the size of a house on a property,” said Christensen.

These topics were introduced to the Commission to give members time to consider whether or not they should look into allowing tiny houses or having zero setback between houses. These topics were briefly discussed and no action was taken.