Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 21, 2003 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

ROLL CALL
Councilor Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 7, 2003 were as approved as presented with Councilor Hartzell abstaining from the vote due to her absence at the January 7, 2003 meeting.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS:

1.) Recognition of Police Lieutenant Mike Bianca for graduation from the FBI National Academy at Quantico. The program included 11 weeks of advanced investigative, management and fitness training.

2.) Recognition of Police Officer Teri DeSilva for receiving the "Excellence in Training" award in the area of Defensive Skills Training from the Oregon State Department of Public Safety and Training. The award acknowledged DeSilva's significant contribution towards the training of members of Oregon's Public Safety Community.

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.

2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Ted Loftus to the Tree Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2005.

3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointments of Kim Miller and Christine Oswald to the Housing Commission for terms to expire April 30, 2004.

4. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Cameron Hanson to the Planning Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2004.

5. Adoption of Findings for Planning Action 2002-106, 916 East Main Street.

6. Provide Two Permanent Easements to the State of Oregon for Traffic Control Facilities; one at the Elks Parking Lot, 225 E. Main Street, and the other at the corner of the City's Parking Lot at Pioneer Street / Lithia Way.

7. Termination of two waterline easements on 209 Crowson Road.

Item #4 was pulled to allow public input. Councilor Hartzell requested that item #5 is pulled from the Consent Agenda to allow her to abstain from voting due to her absence from the January 7, 2003 meeting.

Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, 2, 3, 6, and 7. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Malena Marvin/107 Alida/Urged the Council to reject the appointment of Cameron Hanson to the Planning Commission based on the number of votes he received vs. the number of votes Eric Navickas received in the last election for City Council seats. She held that the number of votes proves that the general public supports Navickas as a leader and believes that he speaks out on controversial issues affecting the community. She felt the Mayor's decision was biased.

DeBoer asked the Council to support his appointment as he felt Hanson was the best choice for the City. He explained that there are rules governing who may or may not serve on the Commission, noting that developers and architects, or even those related to architects, are disallowed. Hartzell stated opposition to the appointment, as she wanted to see greater gender equity on the Commission. Morrison expressed disappointment of the Mayor's choice and felt applicants should be judged on their qualities. Laws explained that the Council's role is to make sure the Mayor does not make completely unwise choices, not to decide who is the best choice. He suggested that the Council respect the Mayor's power of appointment.

Councilors Hearn/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4. Voice Vote: Laws, Amarotico, Jackson, and Hearn, YES. Hartzell and Morrison, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilors Jackson/Morrison m/s to allow Councilors Hartzell and Amarotico to abstain from voting on item #5. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilors Laws/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #5. Voice Vote: All AYES with Councilor Hartzell and Amarotico abstaining. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Public Input for 2003/2004 Council Goals and Priorities.

Public Hearing Open: 7:25 p.m.

Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 S/Suggested three goals for the Council to consider: 1) Within reasonable monetary limits, fix the power supply to the Plaza area; 2) Full-time Housing Officer for affordable housing; and 3) Contract with a third party to establish the true value of the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) system and the true cost to the community. He wondered if AFN is propped up by inter-fund loans, and if it is the best use of City funding.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty/Congratulated the Council on meeting the goal of a Tree Preservation Ordinance and suggested that more effort be put into public education concerning the Ordinance. He requested that the Council, 1.) Give further attention to creating a bond and sense of community through public testimony and citizen involvement, 2.) Rearrange the Council meeting room so speakers could speak to the audience as well as the Council, and 3.) Look at ways that allow citizens to help solve problems in a consensus building way.

Public Hearing Closed: 7:39 p.m.

2. Public Hearing and Decision on the Action Plan for the One Year Use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds for Program Year 2003.

Assistant Planner Brandon Goldman briefly explained the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocation of $256,000 to the City of Ashland for FY 2003. Additionally, the City will reallocate $22,000 in CDBG funds not spent in prior years. At a public hearing held on September 17th, the City Council, following a recommendation of the Housing Commission made grant allocations for the 2003 program year. The allocations are as follows: Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) $193,000 & $21,000; and, $12,800 accessibility improvements to public facilities, and, $51,200 for administration (as staff time expended for administration of the program is not paid out of the General Fund.)

He explained that next year's grant process begins in August with RFPs sent out for the 2004 allocation. After RFPs are reviewed the Housing Commission will make award recommendations to the Council with an Action Plan to come prior to the end of the calendar year.

Public Hearing Open: 7:41 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:41 p.m.

Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve Action Plan. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

It was noted that HUD has not yet adopted the 2002-2003 Action Plan but our regional HUD director is in consultation with the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) director to try to facilitate adoption. Adoption is currently held up by the contention that the Action Plan doesn't address enough in terms of fair housing. FHEO is stipulating that the City should be using CDBG funds explicitly to further fair housing whereas the City typically used General Fund dollars to further fair housing. The Action Plan outlines other measures the City takes to further fair housing.

DeBoer noted that the Council Study Session topic for tomorrow is the Affordable Housing Action Plan.

3. Planning Action 2001-117 is a request for Annexation, Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map Change from Jackson County zoning F-5 (Farm 5) to City of Ashland zoning R-1-3.5 (Suburban Residential) for an approximately five acre parcel located at 250 Clay Street. Comprehensive Plan Designation: Farm 5 (existing), City Comprehensive Plan Designation: Suburban Residential (proposed); Zoning: F-5 (existing); R-1-3.5 (proposed); Assessor's Map #39 1 E 11 CB; Tax Lot 1000. Applicant: Russell E. Dale.

Mayor read aloud the procedure for Land Use Hearings and called the Hearing to order.

Public Hearing Open: 7:50 p.m.

EXPARTE CONTACT

  • Hartzell had contact as a board member of the Ashland Community Land Trust.

  • Amarotico requested to abstain as he had voted on this issue while serving on the Planning Commission.

  • DeBoer reported his meetings with Russ Dale on affordable housing issues, though this project was not discussed.

Councilors Morrison/Jackson m/s to allow Councilor Amarotico to abstain from this issue due to his prior role as Planning Commissioner. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

STAFF REPORT
Senior Planner Bill Molnar presented a map and explained the planning action. The Planning Commission reviewed the application, took public input, and at the November 26, 2002 meeting approved the Outline Plan and Site Review for a 41-unit development located on 5-acres. The decision was not appealed so the Commission's decision is final. The only item before the Council tonight is the request by the applicant to annex this property into the City limits.

The parcel is less than 5 acres in size and has a Comprehensive Plan designation of Suburban Residential, which allows for a base density of 7.2 units per acre. The recommendation to annex is based on the following:

1 Property is within the Urban Growth Boundary.

2. Proposed Zoning (R 1-3.5) is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

3. A portion of the eastern boundary is contiguous with current City limits.

4. Public utilities are available to serve the project.

5. Project has access from two paved streets, which provide adequate transportation. Streets within the project will be paved to City standards.

6. Frontages will be brought up to City standards. Also, as a condition of approval, the applicant will improve frontage along Clay Street and extend down to East Main Street.

7. Transit is available nearby.

8. Development exceeds base density of 90%. Applicant is exercising an Affordable Housing Density Bonus and Conservation Housing Bonus. 6 of the 41 units will be available for rent or purchase to families with incomes at 80% or less of the area median.

9. City has less than 2 acres of this zoning classification where the Comprehensive Plan estimates that for a five-year period we should have about 15-20 acres.

Staff recommends that the Council endorse the Planning Commissions request for annexation of the five-acre parcel.

APPLICANT
Russ Dale/585 Allison Street/Gave a short history of the project and addressed the City's need for this type of housing and who this project is designed to benefit. Noted his past experience on the board that administers the State Department of Housing and Community Services, whose primary mission is to facilitate the development of affordable housing. Currently the average sales price of a home in Ashland is $301,647.00 so the need for entry level, modestly priced, well built homes is greater than it ever has been. He explained that what is before the Council is the best compromise that addresses the concerns of the neighborhood, makes a contribution to affordability, and will be significantly better than Chautauqua Trace is. So far, this project has taken him two years of planning, $200,000 in predevelopment costs, and 176 meetings. His goal is for this project to be the poster project for the Governor's Livability Award next year. The units will sell for approximately $189,000, which is the lowest priced new housing in Ashland. The "affordable" units will be priced at approximately $108,000 if they are to be sold however there is some justification for them to be made available for rental. He wants to build homes for people who would like to live in the same community as they work in, and will commit to comply with the affordable housing criteria for the City of Ashland.

NEUTRAL/OPPOSED POSITION TO APPLICANT

Joyce Woods/23 Abbot/Purchased a home in Chautauqua Trace and thought she was realizing a home-ownership dream, but it turned into a nightmare. Investors purchased units and then rented them out, often with too many people in the units. She stated that as a result of this she suffered sleep-deprivation. Encouraged the Council to listen to public input and keep in mind sleep-derivation, traffic problems, and water run-off issues.

Jeffery Harpain /2300 Abbot/Spoke about traffic safety issues on Abbot Avenue, noting that Russ Dale has proposed traffic calming measures and the funding to implement them. Asked the Council to recognize the traffic issues and add the implementation of traffic control measures as a condition of annexation. Submitted a map for the record.

Joaquin Saloma/593 Crowson Road/Wondered what will stop affordable housing from being bought by persons out of state with unlimited bankrolls, and to keep them from buying more than one unit? Discussed traffic problems.

Willow Dean/55 Brooks Lane/Stated neutrality and explained that there are some misapprehensions about who buys and lives in affordable housing. She noted that Chautauqua Trace has a 40% rate of ownership by absentee landlords and keeping the area livable is a struggle. Some units are party houses and she fears this will happen in the new development. Suggested CCRs requiring 80% of units must be owner occupied. Stated concern with wetlands and suggested building a bridge over them.

Joanna Pecoraro/321 Clay Street #17/Stated concern with traffic safety and lack of open space within walking distance. She is not opposed to the in-fill but noted that Planning is critical. Suggested continuing in Oregon's tradition of excellent planning.

DeBoer read aloud a letter submitted by Rod Petrone/2324 Abbott/The City lacks a comprehensive plan for this section of Ashland and is allowing sprawl without adequate open space or park areas. Stated concern with traffic issues.

Hartzell read aloud a letter submitted by Annis Black/Stated concern with street standards, wetlands preservation, and residential recreational facilities. Worried that the area will become a slum and suggested promoting owner occupation of units.

Fred Caruso/102 Garfield #15/Felt there needs to be a law against using the term, "affordable housing," without specifying the level of "affordability," noting that that the average family with a low wage job can not afford the "affordable housing" in Ashland. Suggested that dense housing developments need on-site management.

STAFF RESPONSE

Molnar responded:

1. The City planning staff would love to look at neighborhood planning for all of these areas but it takes a lot of time.

2. The majority of the wetland is being preserved and a lot of analysis had been done. The Division of State Lands, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Corps of Engineers, has all signed off on the design. As part of the wetlands plan is to have a public pedestrian pathway that follows the wetland so as the area to the north and the south is developed that additional wetland can be retained and the pathway can follow it.

3. Price for homes: Current City guidelines is 2-bedroom is $104,000, 3-bedroom is $115,000 and the qualifying income for a family of 4 is $32,000, family of 3 is $29,000, and for a family of two it is $25,000. The current program is set up that those homes are eligible to have approximately $7,000 worth of System Development Charges (SDCs) deferred. As long as that home is subsequently sold to another qualifying household, those SDCs will continue to be deferred. If the home stays in the program for 20 years those fees are forgiven in their entirety. There is an ordinance change proposal that will come before the Council in the next couple of months that proposes to require, as part of annexation, a 60-year affordable agreement with no bailout.

4. A traffic study was done and all streets operate at adequate levels.

It was commented that a person could conceivably buy a unit for an affordable amount and then turn around, pay the SDCs, and sell the house. Laws clarified that we are in the process of doing something about that.

It was wondered if affordability or traffic safety might be grounds for denying annexation. Nolte clarified that standards applicable to this application are those that exist on the date application was filed. The City's Affordable Housing Program is encompassed in the Resolution adopted by the Council some years ago. It was his opinion that we can not apply standards more stringent than what is in that Resolution and can not make an interpretation beyond that.

It was questioned if it was within Council purview to deny based on the creation of an island. The legal definition of "contiguous" was explained as, "touching," not whether or not it creates an island. Nolte clarified that if obligations are imposed upon the developer there must be findings to support the imposition of those obligations.

REBUTTAL
Russ Dale noted that wetlands have been extensively planned for in a collaborative process in order to impact wetlands in the least way possible. The goal is to clean up the water before it gets to Bear Creek, enhance the fisheries, and create conductivity for wildlife to pass through. As far as the price of a bridge, there is no way a small development could support the cost of a bridge that could accommodate fire or concrete trucks. He noted that there are five points of ingress/egress for the development. He stated he is sympathetic to neighbor concerns and will work with the traffic Commission to try and negate and address and be sensitive to their issues.

He noted that there are annexation islands all over the city. Affordability is the purpose of this development. This is the least profitable type of development a developer can pursue. Affordability is what this is all about.

Public Hearing Closed: 9:12 p.m.

COUNCIL DELIBERATION
Laws noted that this project is typical of land use decisions we make in that there are dilemmas to be faced:

  • Balancing a quaint neighborhood feel with population growth. Any time we add housing we are helping to make this City less a quaint livable little community.

  • Absentee landlords vs. homeowners - we don't have enough rentals in Ashland and what we have is too high priced. On one hand people want affordable housing on the other hand people don't want to live next door to party houses.

  • Wide safe streets vs. narrow and environmentally beneficial streets. There was a period a few years ago when we tried to narrow the streets for environmental and traffic calming reasons. However it is more difficult to protect children on narrow streets.

  • Wider region detailed plans vs. flexible development within broad guidelines.

Suggested making a condition to approval: Approve subject to an agreement on traffic calming measures approved by the Traffic Safety Commission and Public Works department working with the developer and funded as part of the project.

Councilors Hearn/Hartzell m/s to approve the annexation with the condition that the applicant work with the Traffic Safety Commission and pay for improvements to Abbott Lane within the new annexed property on Abbott. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, YES. Councilor Amarotico abstained. Motion passed.

PUBLIC FORUM
Ryan Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Requested the Council's help in maintaining a downtown location for the Growers and Crafters Market and asked that at study session be held regarding the matter. He noted that the market provides farm direct organic produce, handmade wares, a festive atmosphere, and employment for about 100 people. The market draws about 800 shoppers, including downtown restaurant owners.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Outlined alternative market sites within the downtown area and requested that a study session be held on the issue. He presented a letter from the Medford Sears store stating a double-digit increase in sales on market day. He asked that the Council facilitate keeping the market in the downtown area. He noted other Oregon cities that hold markets in their downtown areas, even closing off streets to facilitate the market.

Marilee Jenkinson/Homeless/Spoke on the homeless issue and read aloud from the Bible. She felt oppressed and stressed by not being allowed to sleep in her car within the town.

Kirk Tierney/Here now/Distributed pictures of his family and reminded the Council and Mayor of their duty as elected officials. He read aloud from the Bible and from the United States Constitution claiming that Constitutional Rights have been violated.

Daniel Rueff/1308 Millpond/Read aloud the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. He asked the Council if they considered being homeless a crime. He felt that the camping ban makes homelessness a crime.

Joaquin Saloma/593 Crowson Road/Spoke on how things had been in the past in our community and asked that the Council give back to the community what has been taken. He felt that what has been taken is the freedom to sell our skills and ourselves. Now we need permission and get licenses and pay taxes. He wants workshops for children and funding for a place to give the homeless community an opportunity to work together and express their art.

Fred Caruso/102 Garfield #15/Spoke regarding Hartzell's proposal for the resolution for the Patriot Act.

Councilors Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting past 10 p.m. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Communications Services Subscription-Agreement with City of Medford for 911 Services.

Police Chief Scott Flueter introduced Medford Police Deputy Chief Norris and invited discussion from the Council concerning the outsourcing agreement.

  • Additional tower: A difference between police coverage and ambulance coverage is that the ambulance area is much larger and would have better coverage if there were an additional tower on the other side of the freeway. Without the tower our service will remain the same, however if we want better service for fire and ambulance then the tower is recommended. The primary technology used is AFN fiber lines. Radio waves are recommended as a back up in case of fiber line failure. Costs for putting in the radio links are relatively inexpensive. This back up is to get a signal from Medford to Ashland.

  • Five year commitment: We wanted to have this term of commitment so if Medford no longer wanted to provide service there would be a cushion of time to make new arrangements. Nolte clarified that the parties can mutually agree to terminate the contract.

  • Language regarding funding: Does review mean renegotiate? Norris clarified that a budget is built each year line item by line item and they will sit with Ashland to justify and negotiate expenditures.

  • Costs of connectivity: The understanding is that Ashland will pay the cost of making connectivity to Medford's door and if Medford moves then Medford will incur the connectivity cost for that move.

  • Benefits of keeping Fire and Police together: 1.) Field co-operation; 2.) Communications.

Councilors Laws/Hearn m/s to approve Communications Services Subscription Agreement with City of Medford for 911 Services. Voice Vote: Hearn, Morrison, Jackson, Amarotico and Laws, YES; Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Gino Grimaldi as City Administrator.

Councilors Morrison/Jackson m/s to confirm appointment of Gino Grimaldi as City Administrator. DISCUSSION: It was clarified that the benefit package is not included in the salary stated but this information is available to the public. DeBoer noted that Grimaldi is being brought in at the fourth step of a five-step salary range. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

2. Presentation for Funding of Parks, Trails and Open space plan.

3. Review of the Oregon Department of Transportation Signal Project on Highway 99 (N. Main Street/Lithia Way) at the intersection of Helman, Pioneer and 2nd Streets.

4. Approval of Oregon Public Works Emergency Response Cooperative Assistance Agreement.

5. Project "Round Up" Proposal.

6. Ashland Fiber Network Quarterly Report.

Items 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 were postponed until the next regular Council meeting.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Vacating 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 Jackson/Hearn m/s to allow Councilor Amarotico to abstain due to his prior role as Planning Commissioner. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Ordinance #2893. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Laws, Jackson, Morrison, and Hearn; YES. Amarotico abstained. Motion passed.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
None.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting as adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

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