Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, May 18, 2004

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
May 18, 2004 - 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.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 4, 2004 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Proclamation of May 16 - 22, 2004 as National Emergency Medical Services Week was read out loud. Mayor DeBoer noted a Proclamation that was done in regards to "National Hospital Week."

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Approval of Intergovernmental Agreement No. 21397 - Crosswalk Maintenance Agreement between the City of Ashland and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Setting a Public Hearing to Consider the Vacation of an Alley Stretching between Oregon and Madrone Streets."

Councilor Morrison/Hearn m/s to approve Consent Agenda items and Resolution #2004-12. Roll call Vote: Laws, Jackson, Morrison, Hearn, Hartzell and Amarotico, YES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Appeal of Planning Action No. 2004-02, a request for Site Review and Tree Removal Permit to construct a multi-floor, 8,325 sq. ft. mixed use building at 88 North Main Street. A Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit is requested to permit "development" within the Ashland Floodplain Corridor. Applicant: Lloyd Haines.

Mayor DeBoer explained the public hearing process and called the Public Hearing to order at 7:15 p.m.

ABSTENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACTS
Councilor Jackson reported ex parte contacts as attending the January 2004 Tree Commission meeting and conducting a site visit, which resulted in an encounter with the applicant. Councilor Hartzell reported ex parte contact as receiving a booklet regarding the project from the January 2004 Tree Commission meeting, and also had a discussion with applicant in regards to designs and standards. Councilor Morrison reported ex parte contacts as attending the Historic Commission meeting and conducting a site visit. Councilor Amarotico reported a site visit and he has read the emails that are part of the public record. Councilor Hearn reported reading the emails sent to the Council and conducted a site visit. Mayor DeBoer reported reading the emails and newspaper article, and also made a site visit.

STAFF REPORT
Community Development Director John McLaughlin and Senior Planner Bill Molnar noted the location of the proposed structure in relation to the Ashland Flood Plain and its intended use. The first floor would be the location of a restaurant, the second floor as being retail space and a professional office suite, and the third floor would house two residences. Due to the buildings proposed location, this project is subject to a Detail Site Review. It was noted a small portion of this project lies within the Ashland Flood Plain and therefore any development will require a Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit. The final component of this Planning Action involves a Tree Removal Permit for the removal of a large Alder tree located at the building site. Staff stated there has been much discussion about a Maple Tree located on the property, and clarified it is expected to be maintained, with the exception of one of the upper trunks.

Mr. Molnar noted the Historic, Tree and Planning Commissions' recommendations, which are included in the Staff Report. He also relayed the appellants' five issues as grounds for appeal, and Staff's response to those claims. Mr. Molnar stated there has been new information submitted by the applicant since the Planning Commissions meeting. In regards to the Maple tree, the lowest level has been retracted 18" in order to provide additional space, and the applicants have also indicated that they may modify their grading plan immediately beneath the tree to reduce disturbance to the root zone. Additional changes include an increase in size to the three floors of approximately 300 sq. ft., and a mechanical basement of 900 sq. ft. has been added below the lowest floor. There has also been a change in the location of the proposed bridge.

After reviewing the new information and the concerns raised by the appellant, Staff supports the Planning Commissions' decision, which found that the project complies with the applicable ordinance requirements. Staff recommends that Council approve the request with the attached conditions as stated on pages 71-78 of the record. Mr. McLaughlin noted the new information was submitted after the close of the Planning Commissions' hearing, and therefore could not be considered in their decision.

Assistant Attorney Mike Franell explained the circumstances for considering an exception to the zero setback rule. He also clarified the State Statute, which indicates that the City has 30 days to notify the applicant if information is missing from their application. If the City does not notify the applicant, than the application is deemed complete. If the applicants are notified within 30 days, then they have the opportunity to respond.

Staff clarified where a structure could be built in relation to the flood plain elevation, and noted that the engineering firm OTAK, Inc. had concluded the proposed structure would result in an improvement of flood conveyance and storage capacity.

Council noted the conflicting provisions within the Design Standards and Tree ordinances. Mr. Franell clarified the Tree Protection Ordinance only applies to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the other provisions of the code. Mr. McLaughlin clarified that Staff can issue a revocation of the permit if it is determined that the information provided by the applicant is incorrect.

APPLICANT PRESENTATION
Alan Harper/717 Murphy Rd./Representing the Applicant
/Noted the applicant had not made their final determination on the location of the bridge, however they feel it would be best to move the proposed bridge completely out of the flood plain. Mr. Harper noted additional documents had been added to the record and opened the floor to Council questions.

Mr. Harper noted the existing bridge is below the flood plain level, and they believe their design will eliminate problems and dramatically improve the creek.

John Galbert/Landscape Architect/Stated the driplines were not accurately drawn on plans. He clarified how it was overlooked, explaining their initial focus was regarding the critical root zone and health of the trees. They have since corrected this information and it is included in the packet provided to the Council.

It was clarified that the applicant had redesigned the excavation area, reduced the size of the deck by 18 inches, and pulled the building back by 10 feet, all in an attempt to save the Maple tree. Mr. Galbert explained that one of the trees is leaning on the fence and should be removed immediately, and another tree is severely damaged due to poor pruning. He stated there is only one tree, aside from the Alder, that will need to be removed entirely. He also clarified that one of the trunks of the Maple tree will need to be removed due to its impact on the project. Tom Myers' Arborist Report was noted, which states that the proposed building will have only minimal impacts on the trees.

IN FAVOR OF APPLICANT
J. Ellen Austin/625 A Street
/Spoke in favor of the proposed project and supported the proposed public art on the property.

Jim Young/1102 Holton Rd., Talent/Shared how he is involved in public art, and supports the applicant's intention of making the Alder tree an art sculpture for the public to respect. Mr. Young stated he is in favor of this project because of the respect that has been given to the trees.

Russell Beebe/4735 Coleman Crk, Talent/Noted his artistic abilities and how he has been taught to respect all living things. Mr. Beebe presented a preliminary art design for the Alder tree, and stated the artwork will last for generations.

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim/369 Shan Crk, Grants Pass/Noted her Indian descent and the possibility of allowing this tree to live through the honor of American Natives. Commented on concerns regarding safety if the tree is not removed. Shared her appreciation that the applicant was willing to honor American Natives this way, and stated the carving will outlast the Alder as it stands today.

Joan Van Lehn/310 Holly St./Voiced support of the project which she feels will clean up the areas where currently there are problems associated with patrons of the Ashland Creek Bar & Grill. Ms. Van Lehn commented that the applicant cares greatly for the environment and urged the council to support the project.

James Kolker/1030 Morton St./Spoke as a current business owner in the area and how the proposed project would improve the area through beautification. Mr. Kolker noted the areas that will be improved and explained that there are current problems with loitering, vagrancy, littering, etc. Mr. Kolker stated this project would not take away the ambiance of outside dining, and commented that holding up this project to save one tree would be a detriment to the community.

Jack Hardesty/575 Dogwood Way/Spoke in favor of the project and commented on how this project would be an improvement to the area.

Skip Andrews/216 Scenic Drive/Voiced support for this project and shared how he has appreciated the park like settings that the applicant has developed. Mr. Andrews commented on his love of trees and his concern whenever trees are to be removed. He stated he supports the decision to remove the Alder tree given its lifeline, and noted the applicant has considered the environment in every development he has completed.

Andrew Chester/320 Wimer St/Stated the applicant is very aware of the flood issues, and noted how this project could add to the tourism element. Mr. Chester spoke in favor of the downtown area becoming an area that attracts tourists, even if it means the removal of a tree. He also believes that the applicant is concerned with environment.

Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99S/Stated that, Alder trees grow fast and die fast, and as they grow old they become hazards. Mr. Roth commented that if the Alder tree on the project property were to die, it would become a hazard to the public. He also noted the difference between Alder and Maple trees, stating that the Maple tree on the property is tough and can be saved. Mr. Roth urged the council to deny the appeal and to approve this project.

Evan Archerd/120 N 2nd St/Shared his involvement with the Tree ordinance, and stated it's intent was to provide an additional layer to keep city beautiful, not to trump development. Mr. Arched noted how the residents love the Alder tree, but that it is important to look at the history of our town. He commented on the trees that have been removed over the years, and feels that this building will be a beautiful addition to our downtown.

Colin Swales/461 Alison Street/Commented on building design, and noted the large-scale development requirements. Mr. Swales explained that any building in excess 10,000 sq. ft is subject to 10% of lot being used for public amenities, and feels that this building would be subject to this requirement. Mr. Swales cited the Assistant Attorney's interpretation, and stated that he disagrees. Mr. Swales commented that allowing developers to build small portions at a time allows them to get away from the 10% public amenity requirement.

Ted Loftus/295 Beach Street/Chairman of Tree Commission/Stated that he is disappointed that this had been appealed to the council and noted the experts that are members of the Tree Commission. Mr. Loftus expressed his frustration with the process. He stated that it was difficult for the Tree Commission to give permission for the permit, but given the information provided, they did so. He also noted the undersized circles on the plans caused an enormous amount of work for the commission. In the future, he suggests that the commission is given additional staff support and expressed the need for the staff liaison to fully understand the Tree Ordinance. Mr. Loftus also asked the Council to consider the addition of an urban forester to offer support in helping the commission make better decisions.

OPPOSED TO APPLICANT
Randall Hopkins/735 S Mountain Avenue
/Stated the importance of enforcing the law as written, commented that all should be treated equally, and questioned if the Council would vote differently if he were the applicant. Mr. Hopkins challenged whether the planning application provided the necessary requirements, and noted the applicant did not sign the Certificate of Truth. He explained how if you remove one trunk of a multi-trunked tree, you put the entire tree in jeopardy, and if you remove one tree from a grove you put the entire grove at risk. He also expressed concerned that the ODOT trees are now being called hazardous, but when analyzed by the Tree Commission they were listed as "good trees". Mr. Hopkins commented on the trimming of the Maple tree and stated the applicants are proposing to remove 40%, and it will look ridiculous. Mr. Hopkins explained that he has also looked into the flood plain issues, and asked that the Council pay close attention to this aspect. He stated the applicants' plans do not accurately represent the facts of the two flood plains, and spoke regarding the FEMA flood plain and the Ashland flood plain corridor. Mr. Hopkins concluded by asking the Council to carefully consider the impact of this project on basic public safety.

Mr. Hopkins clarified for Council that the application does not accurately reflect the flood plain and explained that he came to this determination by analyzing the map with a magnifying glass. He also noted document #106 from the Planning staff, which indicates that the FEMA flood plain extends into a corner of the proposed building. Mr. Hopkins clarified he is withdrawing the conflict of interest claim as one of his objections.

Public Hearing will be continued at the June 1st Council Meeting due to the requirement that Public Hearings must conclude by 9:30 p.m.

PUBLIC FORUM  None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Appointment of Michael Dawkins to the Planning Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2008.

Councilor Morrison/Amarotico m/s to appoint Michael Dawkings to the Planning Commission. Voice Vote: Laws, Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, YES; Hartzell, NO.   Motion passed 5-1.

 2.  The Grove.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the three options available for proceeding with The Grove. She explained that Option 1, which consists of a two-phase process, had been recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee. The other two options are for an independent contractor to run The Grove as a teen center, or to have the Parks and Recreation Commission operate The Grove for both teen and community use. Ms. Seltzer noted that despite which option Council chooses, an adjustment to the budget will be necessary.

Kathleen Mackris/549 Allison Street/Read aloud a letter from her son Sam Groveman, and submitted it into the record.

Joe Charter/1568 Windsor, Medford/Spoke regarding the "Boys to Men" program and explained how the program worked. Mr. Charter requested that they be given the option for reserving the use of The Grove for this program.

Parks & Recreation Director Don Robertson explained the use of The Grove has been limited to staff and internal customers until the Council provides further direction on its intended use. A sample budget was submitted to the Council and briefly explained by Mr. Robertson. It was noted that the Parks Commission had the opportunity to discuss The Grove at their last meeting, and the commissioners spoke favorably in regards to the possible uses of The Grove.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Mr. Robertson commented that he supports the idea of sharing the burden and allowing community organizations to move forward with their programs. He explained that the Parks and Recreation Commission is not interested in being the sole provider of social services, and noted that his staff does not possess the skills to deal with areas such as drug and alcohol addiction. Mr. Robertson stated that both Options 1 and 3 have merit, however they are positioned to move forward with Phase 1 of Option 1 at this time. Mr. Robertson clarified that if they schedule very structured teen activities it would lessen their ability to rent the facility for financial means.

Councilor Laws m/s to table this issue until the next Council Meeting. Motion withdrawn.

Council agreed to continue the discussion at the June 1st Council Meeting.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Quarterly Financial Report - Jan - March, 2004.

Moved to June 1st Council Meeting due to time constraints.

2. Ashland Forest Resiliency Project.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley introduced Steve Jensen, Chair of Ashland Forest Lands Commission. Mr. Woodley explained the Healthy Forest Restoration Act was designed to reduce undergrowth and vegetation that promotes wildfire and insect destruction of forest communities. The three alternatives being considered by the United States Forest Service (USFS) for this Restoration Act are 1) no action, 2) a USFS preferred alternative, and 3) a community alternative submitted as "Community Wildfire Protection Plan". A group consisting of various local organizations and the Ashland Forest Lands Commission have been working to prepare this community alternative, and have submitted a draft to the USFS. Additional information on this project has been requested by the USFS, and Staff is before the Council seeking their endorsement of this effort before they continue forward.

Mr. Jensen stated their work translates directly to clean abundant water, and a healthy fire resilient watershed. It was noted the deadline for submitting this alternative is October 1st, 2004. The Ashland Forest Lands Commissions requests that the Ashland City Council formally designate the Ashland Forest Lands Commission as the official Ashland Community Liaison with the Forest Service for this particular Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The commissions' charge would be to coordinate and document the CWPP alternate plan to the USFS and act in general as the representative of the City of Ashland in all matters pertaining to this particular issue.

Erik Navickas/711 Faith Ave/Displayed a picture of the Ashland Watershed, with an overlay of the fuel breaks that have been established over the years. Mr. Navickas stated there has been significant under-burning and commercial logging in the watershed, and commented that the community group working on this project are proposing 1/2 mile wide fuel breaks that would include 60% canopy removal. Mr. Navickas noted where the proposed fuels breaks would be located.

Council expressed the need to ensure the process is a collaboration and that the project honors the equity of those involved. It was noted that this is an unpresidented opportunity and the Forest Lands Commission is aware of the challenges. Council expressed their confidence and agreed that the commission is moving in the right direction.

Councilor Laws/Hearn m/s to endorse the "Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan" process as the community "third" alternative in the USFS Ashland Forest Resiliency Project. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Council continued their discussion regarding the use of The Grove.

Councilor Laws/Hearn m/s to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to rent out The Grove for a period of three months. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

3. Approval of Agreement No. 21139 - Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Project Ashland, Street Paving between the City of Ashland and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Councilor Morrison/Laws m/s to approve Agreement No. 21139. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending the Definition of Gross Revenues to Exclude Revenue from Cable Modems under the Telecommunications Chapter of the Ashland Municipal Code."

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Ordinance #2907. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Jackson, Laws, Hearn, Amarotico and Morrison, YES. Motion passed.

2. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Creating a Prohibition Against Public Nudity."

Moved to June 1st Council Meeting due to time constraints.

3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution authorizing the Adoption of a Fire Protection Plans Review and Inspection Fee Schedule."

Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2004-16. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Amarotico, Hearn, Jackson, Laws and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution revising Rates for Electric Service Pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.16.030 and Repealing Resolution 2003-12."

Councilor Amarotico/Hearn m/s to approve Resolution #2004-14. DISCUSSION: Council expressed concern that all three resolutions are scheduled to take effect in utility billing Cycle 7, and questioned if it should be staggered. Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained staff is following the process that was established two years ago, which implements rates every other cycle so that they start throughout the month. It was clarified the government electric rates are higher than the commercial electric rates because the government does not have to pay the 25% utility tax. Mr. Tuneberg clarified the increase in electric rates will help to cover operational costs as well as restore some of the fund balance. Councilor Hartzell clarified this is not raising rates in order to refurbish the electric fund for what was borrowed for AFN. Mr. Tuneberg added that electric costs have increased $1.3 million in the past two years, and this increase will help to offset those costs.  Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Laws, Amarotico, Hearn and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

5. Reading by title only of "A Resolution revising Rates for Water Service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.04.030 and Repealing Resolution 2003-13."

Councilor Morrison/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2004-15. Roll Call Vote: Amarotico, Morrison, Jackson, Hearn, Hartzell and Laws, YES. Motion passed.

6. Reading by title only of "A Resolution revising Rates for Wastewater Service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.08.035 and Repealing Resolution 96-19."

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2004-13. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Hartzell, Morrison, Amarotico, Laws and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:28 p.m.

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