MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
December 17, 2002, 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison, and Hearn were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 3, 2002 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Proclamation for Christmas Tree Recycle Day was read aloud.
Mayor DeBoer presented a plaque to Councilor Susan Reid for service from 1982 to 2002 on the Ashland City Council and to Jenny Hanson, in the physical absence of Councilor Cameron Hanson, for his service from 1998 to 2002 on the Ashland City Council. Councilor Hanson was present at the meeting via internet connection from Saudi Arabia, and noted his privilege in serving on the Ashland City Council.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Support for the Little Butte/Bear Creek Water Management Project.
3. Communications Services Subscription-Agreement with City of Medford for 911 Services.
4. Approval of an Intergovernmental Agreement between the State of Oregon, Oregon Department of Aviation and the City for completion of an Airport Master Plan.
5. Request for Connection to City Sewer and Water Services - Bob Robertson, 580 Clover Lane, 39 1E 14AA TL 1200.
Councilor Hartzell requested that items #3 and #4 be pulled from the Consent Agenda and placed under New & Miscellaneous Business.
Councilors Reid/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, 2, and 5. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
John Semple/185 Alameda Street/Spoke regarding the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) and a letter he submitted to the Ashland Daily Tidings. He explained that he lives adjacent to the WWTP and over the last four years has put up with construction noise, dust, and dirt. He noted that there has been no change in the noise levels (60-90 decibels) coming from the construction area, and that the plant devalues the neighborhood homes. He asked that the WWTP light pollution be shielded, the construction noise abated, screening landscaping be provided, and that Staff would be responsive to problems created by the plant and to complaints by neighborhood residents.
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s that this item be added to the agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
Mayor DeBoer noted that City Administrator Brian Almquist, City Attorney Paul Nolte, and Community Development Director John McLaughlin were out of town on City business.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Response to letter from Gregory Jones regarding Planning Action fee
for solar waiver.
Property owner Gregory Jones made a formal complaint to the Council regarding the City's "Solar Access Waiver Agreement" application and fee structure. He stated that the current ordinance is discriminatory and exclusionary, as it does not apply equally to all parcels in the City. In his opinion, the $500 fee to process the application is excessive. He discussed various difficulties associated with the current ordinance, including excessive calculation costs to homeowners, Planning Department approval of applications with inaccurate calculations, and inadequate assistance with calculations. He noted that other municipalities use a 12-foot "Solar Fence," and that if Ashland did so too, many of the current problems would no longer be an issue. He requested that the fee he had paid be either refunded or substantially reduced. He requested a re-examination of the process, that a better, more reasonable and equitable fee structure be devised, that the ordinance apply to all structures, and that better assistance be available for required calculations.
It was noted that Legal Counsel and Planning Staff were not present so questions could not be immediately answered, but that Council would work towards resolving this issue. Council clarified that the 6-foot "solar fence" was set to protect downhill homes on slopes. Reid commented that Jones could have a point about costs, fees, and the planning process. Concern was noted about the precedent that would be set if Council waived or reduced fees. Laws supported re-examining the issue but specified that it not be a priority due to Staff's present workload. Hearn noted that the ordinance has been litigated before and has withstood that scrutiny. Jackson asked to hear from Staff why there are particular exceptions in the ordinance. Hartzell expressed interest in computer applications to assist in making the complex calculations. Laws noted that miscalculations in application reviews should be addressed immediately.
DeBoer stated that he would discuss this issue with Staff and get a written report for the Council and Mr. Jones. Council could decide at that time if action should be taken. Hartzell requested that the report should contain information on the numbers of solar waiver given by the City. It was noted that the City has become more rigorous in application of the ordinance over the last few years due to problems with developers. It was suggested that the report cover this aspect also.
2. Council authorization to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement
to participate in a joint municipality audit of revenues received from the
incumbent local exchange carrier (Qwest) as compensation for the rights and
privileges to operate in the public right-of-way.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained that this is an intergovernmental agreement to participate in the audit of Qwest and any other applicable local exchange carrier to verify payments made and amounts due the City in the way of franchise fees. Staff recommended that the Council authorizes the Finance Director to sign the agreement and to participate in the process to audit franchise payments made by the incumbent local exchange carrier.
Councilors Laws/Hartzell m/s to accept staff recommendation. Discussion: Tuneberg clarified that the City's share of the cost of participation in the audit would be under $6,000.00. Depending on participation it might change a little bit. The other part of the estimate is for the database comparison. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
3. Election of Citizens' Budget Committee Members (3).
DeBoer noted that the two members, James Moore and David Williams, whose terms are expiring, are asking for reappointment. The other vacancy is due to a resignation and the applicants for that position are Stephan Hauck and Allen Douma. Hartzell explained that she favored more diversity in gender and perspective and favored reopening the application process in order to expand the pool of applicants. It was noted that Council is not confined to appointing from nominations that come to Council but that Council could nominate anyone. It was suggested that Council members suggest candidates they feel might be suitable for the position.
Councilors Reid/Hearn m/s to nominate Steve Hauck for appointment, and David Williams and Dave Moore for reappointment. Discussion: Jackson felt the pool of applicants should be broadened for the third position, either by advertising or council nomination. Reid noted that Steve Hauck had already served for 6-8 years. Jackson reaffirmed her interest in diversity and explained that there is no big hurry for this appointment as the budget committee does not meet for another six weeks. Hearn noted that the openings were advertised and people who wanted to could have applied. Morrison there is a reasonable doubt based on timing and advertising so there may not have been enough opportunities for applicants. Laws did not see gender diversity as an issue and suggested putting the motion aside until the next meeting in order to give Council members more time to come up with applicants.
Councilors Laws/Jackson m/s to put this motion on the table until the next meeting. Voice vote: Jackson, Laws, Hartzell, YES; Hearn, Morrison, Reid, NO; DeBoer, NO. Motion failed 3-4.
Voice Vote for original motion: Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison NO; Reid, Hearn, Laws, YES; DeBoer, NO. Motion failed 4-3.
Laws/Jackson m/s to reappoint James Moore and David Williams, and to reopen advertising for the third position with an appointment to be made at the next meeting. Discussion: Hartzell advocated that the pool of applicants be broadened. Voice Vote: Laws, Jackson, Hearn, Morrison, Reid, AYES; Hartzell NO. Motion passed 5-1.
4. Communications Services Subscription-Agreement with City of Medford
DeBoer noted that Chief of Police Scott Flueter was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. He explained that originally Council authorized Staff to negotiate and sign this agreement, and that Staff brought it back tonight to give Council opportunity for input.
Hartzell commented that she had many remaining questions and expressed concern with making sure that Council knows what they are signing. Hearn favored waiting on this until Staff were present to answer questions. DeBoer noted his belief that Council had already authorized Staff to continue negotiations and to sign the contract.
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to bring the issue back at the second meeting in January barring any problem with the Police Chief. Discussion: DeBoer and Jackson felt comfortable with leaving the issue as a Staff decision. Laws expressed concern with the timing and fiscal implications of doing this now.
Joey Ngan/Southern Oregon University (SOU) Director of Security/Briefed the Council on SOU's perspective on the dispatch issue, noting that SOU is comfortable with the proposed change and supports the transfer to Medford.
Hartzell favored bringing the issue back so the contract could be gone over with Staff present. Reid expressed confidence in Staff's ability to make the right decisions for the City on this issue. Morrison favored bringing the issue back for questions. DeBoer expressed concern with waiting an entire month for this to come back to Council for discussion. Hartzell commented that if the issue needed to be on the first meeting in January that was all right with her. DeBoer noted that the motion on the table did not give Staff latitude to do that.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to amend the motion that if the Chief gives some indication that there is need to bring it back to the first meeting to do that. Voice Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Hearn, YES; Jackson, Reid, Laws, NO; DeBoer, NO. Motion failed 3-4.
Councilors Jackson/Reid m/s to allow staff to make a decision on this contract when they are ready. Discussion: Hartzell noted that the contract came to Council for review. Reid noted that Staff had received Council direction and policy and could implement it. Morrison favored bringing the issue back for discussion. Voice Vote: Reid, Jackson, Laws, YES. Hartzell, Morrison, Hearn NO; DeBoer NO. Motion failed 3-4.
DeBoer noted that if this issue is not acted upon it will come back at the next meeting. Council took no further action.
5. Approval of an Intergovernmental Agreement between the State of Oregon,
Oregon Department of Aviation and the City for completion of an Airport Master
Public Works Director Paula Brown reported that the City has been working with the Oregon Department of Aviation (OAD) to participate in the 2003 Multiple Airport Layout Plan and Report Project. That by being a part of this larger program the City could avoid going through the process on its own. Ashland's cost is estimated to be $5,000, which is 10% of the total. These funds would come from the Airport fund split between the fiscal year 2002 and 2003 budgets. Brown noted that we are doing this plan a year ahead of what was originally planned and that the major Airport Improvement Project (AIP) is postponed until after this plan is complete.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve approval of agreement. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Repealing Chapter 18.114 of the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Regulatory Taking Claims (Ballot Measure 7-2000 Amendment to Article I, Section 18, Oregon Constitution)."
Councilors Laws/Morrison m/s to approve Ordinance #2892. Roll Call: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hearn, Morrison; YES and Jackson (out of room). Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City of Ashland adopting a Premium Conversion Plan for its employees."
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained that the resolution allows the City to take steps for cost sharing on healthcare programs between employees and the City, with an estimated savings of $50,000 on the next two negotiated contracts.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2002-35. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Morrison, Laws, Reid and Hartzell: YES, Jackson was out of the room. Motion passed.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution setting a Public Hearing to hear a petition for and any objections to, the Vacation of three unopened Alleys between Hersey Street, Helman Street and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad and a portion of the East West Alley between Laurel and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad."
Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2002-34. Roll Call: Reid, Jackson, Morrison, Hartzell, Laws and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Mayor DeBoer noted that at the first meeting in January, Council liaisons would be assigned and he asked that Council members let him know their preferences.
Public Works director Paula Brown updated the Council on the progress of construction at the Waste Water Treatment Plant, noting that she had been remiss in sending reports to the neighborhood, but will remedy that. She noted that the final construction is the tall, two-story building for the centrifuge, which will be completed in May 2003, and final site improvements, which will be completed in August 2003. She explained that the lights on the operations building could be shielded, however the emergency lights are there for emergency work in the middle of the night and so should not be shielded. She noted that significant landscaping has been done already and at this point they are waiting until later to finish. She would check into the decibel levels. She noted that Parks owns land on either side of the WWTP and weeds grow there. Laws favored over-landscaping in order to improve the short-term appearance of the area.
Morrison noted correspondence from citizens in regards to the patriot act, explaining that certain cities have passed resolutions cautioning that in its application there may be problems with violations of civil rights. He wondered if the Council had interest in bringing this forward for deliberation. Laws noted that this is not a matter of City legislation but Federal legislation, and opposed City involvement in the issue. DeBoer noted that when we open discussion on matters we are not elected to deal with we take away from time needed on things that are important to the City, such as affordable housing. Morrison noted that this is presented as something that had potential impact on City citizens. Hearn agreed with Laws, and stated concern with the precedent that such an action could set.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
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