Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
August 17, 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 and Morrison were present. Councilor Hearn was absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 3, 2004 were approved as amended on page 3 to note that there was no second to the motion made by Councilor Hartzell.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
State Senator Sal Esquivel informed the Council on his committee activities for the State of Oregon. Senator Esquivel belongs to the Tax Reform Committee, the Senate Revenue Committee, a Revenue Subcommittee and the General Government Committee.

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Approval of Federal Aviation Administration Grant Offer for the Ashland Municipal Airport 2004 Airport Improvement Project.
3. Termination of Utility Easements within the Billings Ranch subdivision.

Councilor Jackson/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)

PUBLIC FORUM
Eric Jorgensen/355 Coventry Place/Spoke regarding the proposed Nevada Street Local Improvement District and how the decisions made by the Council would affect him. Mr. Jorgensen asked the Council to keep the residents of the side streets informed and allow them to comment, as they will be affected by this project as well.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower Street/Spoke regarding the proposed Nevada Street LID and requested that the Public Hearing scheduled for September 7, 2004 be postponed for the following reasons: 1) He believes that "due process" is being violated and citizens should be allowed to view the final plans and have 30 days to respond, 2) A budget for the project has not been completed, 3) Staff work is not done and the plans are incomplete, and 4) Staff has not presented plans to the Council or made the information available for the public to review.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty Street/Spoke regarding citizen participation during recent Land Use Hearings. Mr. Holley asked the Council what more could the citizens do to get their voices heard and urged residents to continue to be involved and speak up through the electoral process.

In regards to the Nevada Street LID, Council noted that staff has met with the neighborhood several times to discuss the plans.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1. Agreement for Services between the City of Ashland and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer presented the Agreement for Services between the City of Ashland and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Seltzer noted the agreement reflects suggested changes from Councilor Hartzell and Councilor Jackson as stated at the meeting on July 20, as well as additional comments and changes submitted by Councilor Hartzell on August 13. Staff is requesting that Council review the changes and authorize the City Administrator to sign the agreement.

Council expressed concern that the agreement with the Chamber is much more detailed and specific than the agreements for the other grantees. Finance Director Lee Tuneberg clarified that as long as the agreements contain the same components, it is fine that one is more detailed than the other. Mr. Tuneberg added that the Chamber's agreement should include wording to the effect of what is stated under number 4 (Financial Records and Inspection) on the Financial Assistance Award Contract.

Council discussed which version they preferred, the agreement in the council packet or the revised agreement handed out by Councilor Hartzell.

Mayor DeBoer commented that the Chamber and the City are both satisfied with the agreement and the Council should not attempt to make any revisions.

Council expressed concern with the process and that a new agreement was handed out at tonight's meeting. It was stated that the final agreement should have been included in the council packet so the councilors could have had time to review it before making a decision.

It was clarified that the only substantial difference between the two agreements is that the version handed out tonight includes a list of board members. The other word changes are minor and do not make a difference in content. It was also noted that the newest version matches the content of the Economic and Cultural Development Grant Application.

Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Lane/Suggested that the IRS 990 form be made part of the application process. Mr. Silbiger stated the addition of this information would provide a common reporting form for all grantees and would make it easier for the Budget Committee to compare and analyze the grant requests. Mr. Silbiger provided a sample 990 form to the Council.

Mr. Tuneberg stated that staff could require a 990, however the city already has the authority to audit the financial records that pertain to the function of the grant.

Councilor Hartzell motions to direct staff to sign the contract with the Chamber as presented, using the version handed out at tonight's meeting with the inclusion of the first two sentences under number 4 on the Financial Assistance Award Contract. Motion dies due lack of second.

Comment was made that Council should have the opportunity to review the revised final agreement before approving it and that staff should bring back a clean agreement for final approval.

City Administrator Gino Grimaldi agrees that this process is awkward, but stated the final agreement before the Council is one that both the City and the Chamber can work with and it meets the objectives of the Council.

Graham Lewis/Representative of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce/Confirmed that the Chamber is satisfied with the agreement presented at tonight's meeting.

Councilor Amarotico/Hartzell m/s to approve the most recent contract and authorize the City Administrator to sign. DISCUSSION: It was clarified the motion does not include the addition of the two sentences after number 4 on the Financial Assistance Award Contract as previously suggested. Comment was made regarding the messy process, but it was noted that this is a document they can all agree on. Comment was made that the City should not be spending money that would cause Ashland to grow any faster than it already is. Councilor Jackson motions to call for the question. Motion dies due to lack of a second. Comment was made supporting the agreement because of its emphasis on job diversification. Voice Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson and Morrison, YES; Councilor Laws, NO. Motion passed 4-1.

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2. Adoption of Findings for Planning Action 2004-002 Approving an Application for Physical Constraints Review within the Floodplain Corridor, a Tree Removal Permit and Site Review for the Construction of a New Commercial Building on Land in Downtown Ashland located along Ashland Creek and North of North Main Street and West of Water Street. Applicant: Lloyd Haines.
Council questioned whether staff has reviewed the Findings and compared them to the record to ensure that the technical details are accurate. Community Development Director John McLaughlin clarified that staff did read through the Findings and edited them substantially to ensure their accuracy. In addition, the City Attorney had also reviewed the Findings. Staff believes that the Findings before the Council accurately represent the decision of the Council.

Alan Harper/717 Murphy Road/Stated there was a potential ex parte contact made to the council by opponents of this matter and asked if that was the case, that those are disclosed.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that Council is still in the quasi-judicial process and should not be participating in ex parte contacts.

Mayor DeBoer stated there was an email sent to the Council regarding this matter. All of the councilors agreed that an email was received; however none of them read it.

Council asked that in the future, the Mayor ask about ex parte contacts when dealing with Findings.

Councilor Amarotico/Jackson m/s to approve Adoption of Findings for PA 2004-002. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

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3. Adoption of Findings for Planning Action 2004-052, a Request for a Conditional Use Permit and Site Review Approval to Convert a Portion of the Existing Residence at 904 Garden Way into an Accessory Residential Unit. Applicants: Jane Cory-VanDyke and Dennis Gray.
Mr. McLaughlin noted on Page 2, number 5, the first sentence should be corrected to read: "The Council, following proper public notice, held a Public Hearing on July 20 and August 3, 2004..."

Mayor DeBoer asked if the Council would like to disclose any ex parte contacts regarding this issue. Council reported none.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve the Adoption of Findings for PA 2004-052, including the amendment noted on page two. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

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4. The Billings Ranch Golf Course / Greenway - Update.
City Administrator Gino Grimaldi informed the Council that he had spoken with the Planning Department and County Administration and at this time an application had not been submitted for the golf course. The County Administration had received a request to lease a piece of land, which he believes is the greenway property. The County Commissioners have not scheduled this for action and the County Administrators do not have a specific date as to when they might act on the lease request.

Council questioned how the County's land use process is different from the City's.

Councilor Jackson explained that the applicant must first apply for a change in the designation of the greenway area from a natural area to a potential recreation area. In addition, the applicant must apply for a land use permit to construct the golf course. Councilor Jackson stated the County's process is very similar to ours in that the applicant must first submit an application. Staff then reviews it for a conditional use permit and issues a notice to all those concerned, staff then evaluates the application and writes a staff report with recommendations for the denial or approval with conditions. The decision is then advertised and there is a two-week period to appeal to the Jackson County Hearings Officer.

Councilor Jackson commented that there are three main questions to consider: 1) Is it acceptable to change the use of the greenway natural area to something else, 2) Is a golf course an appropriate use on the Billings Ranch property, and 3) Will Ashland participate in the golf course project to the extent of moving our wastewater through the golf course for cooling?

James Moore/1217 Park Street/Fully supports using the City's effluent for the golf course and feels this falls under the basic premises of the Valdez Principles. Mr. Moore questioned if the City should give away the natural area of the greenway to a private entity for commercial use. He stated there is room for a win-win situation if the developer is willing to compromise.

Chris Chambers/590 Elizabeth Avenue/Stated this proposal is being dealt with by Jackson County, but this is an Ashland issue and the impacts will be felt here. Mr. Chambers asked that the City stay current with this proposal, as the golf course will strongly impact the Quiet Village neighborhood. He also stated he does not support giving away "park" land for the purpose of profit and stated the City should be cautious of the potential impacts. Mr. Chambers noted statistics of the average golfer and stated the type of people who would be drawn to the golf course are not compatible with the City's goal of attracting families and providing affordable housing.

Pepper Trail/2011 Crestview Drive/Stated he is the Conservation Chairperson of the Rogue Valley Audubon Society. Mr. Trail stated the Audubon group mentioned by the media has no relation with the National Audubon Society or with the Rogue Valley Audubon Society and is an organization that provides environmental certificates for a fee. Mr. Trail questioned the developer's need for additional land, stating they had plenty of acreage before they decided to maximize their investment by developing a subdivision and are now asking the citizens to sacrifice their land for the golf course's further profit. Mr. Trail stated the greenway area has a very high habitat value, and this is documented in a book titled "The Birds of the Rogue Valley". Mr. Trail proposed a possible compromise and suggested that the Billings group trade a section of their land, located on the East Side of the creek, for the greenway land on the West Side of the creek. This would eliminate the need for bridges and other structures to cross the creek.

Paul Kay/1234 Strawberry Lane/Stated the golf course would be a beneficial reuse for irrigation of reclaimed wastewater and asked that the Council carefully check the details of the proposal for possible impacts. Mr. Kay stated the greenway could become a valuable asset to the City and could act as a practical buffer from the golf course. Mr. Kay asked that the Council represent the City's interest in this matter.

Mayor DeBoer stated there could be a benefit to exchanging property as mentioned and feels that the waste treatment possibilities offer great potential. Mayor DeBoer stated he is not supportive of giving away the greenway.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1. Discussion of Request for Proposals for the development of Affordable Housing above downtown City owned Public Parking Lots.
Community Development Director John McLaughin stated staff's recommendation is for the Council to direct staff to finalize the RFP and distribute it for the Lithia Way parking lot.

Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman stated there are three public parking lots that could be utilized to provide affordable housing: the Lithia lot, the Pioneer lot and the Second St. lot, however Staff is recommending that the City start with the Lithia lot. It was noted that the Hargadine parking structure is not being considered because the structure would exceed the maximum permitted floor area and would require an ordinance amendment. Mr. Goldman stated the Housing Commission is supportive of utilizing the City's assets for affordable housing and they feel that an RFP is the best way to solicit responses.

Mayor DeBoer stated he is supportive of starting with the Lithia lot and mentioned that he is not interested in selling the air space. He recommended that the parameters be set at 60 years for 60% median income.

In regards to how staff determined to use 40 years at 80% median, Mr. Goldman explained that the 80% median income figure was derived in an effort to get a broader flexibility in the types of proposals the City receives. The 40 year timeframe was determined because the financing would need to be at least 30 years and at 60 years concerns can arise from the condition of the facility. Mr. Goldman stated that the Housing Commission had already discussed using the 60 year timeframe and would be supportive if that is what the Council decides.

Comment was made that the City should evaluate their asset and determine the value of the air space. It was also suggested that the income from the lease could fund the Housing Trust Fund and provide a steady stream of funding.

Mayor DeBoer recommends that the RFP be very clear on its terms and urged the Council to insert strict criteria in the request before allowing people to submit their proposals. It was noted that the RFP before the Council is based on the Housing Commissions discussion and had not been reviewed by the City's legal department.

Opinion was expressed that the Council should send the RFP back to the Housing Commission and take more time to consider the key issues including: parking, the target income level, and rental units vs. owner occupied. It was also mentioned that the Council needs to consider whether they are willing to make a change to the Downtown Design Standards to accommodate parking.

Mr. McLaughlin stated the Council should be cautious of sending the parking issue back to the Housing Commission and explained that the fastest way to get answers would be to send it back to the staff level.

Councilor Morrison/Amarotico m/s for the RFP to be sent back to staff for their revisions based on the council's discussion and questions that were raised, and then return the RFP to the council. DISCUSSION: Mr. Goldman clarified that the tax credits were reviewed, though it was for the Hargadine proposal. Mayor DeBoer restated that he supports 60 years at 60% median income. Opinion was expressed that the City is not ready to begin the RFP process and they should first evaluate their assets. Mr. McLaughlin clarified that the motion is for staff to answer Council's specific questions and return with a revised RFP, not to perform an overall analysis of assets and income opportunities as mentioned during the discussion. Voice Vote: Councilor Laws, Amarotico, Jackson and Morrison, YES; Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-1.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting until 10:30. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
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2. Ashland Fiber Network Franchise Renewal.
City Attorney Mike Franell stated AFN had received an initial 5-year franchise agreement in August 1999 and explained that the agreement expires at the end of the month. AFN requested that the City renew their franchise agreement.

Mr. Franell stated the terms of the franchise agreement includes 5% of the gross revenue from franchise fees and $.75 per subscriber per month for PEG access fees. Mr. Franell stated the franchise agreement mirrors the City's agreement with Charter Communications, with a few small exceptions dealing with the confidentiality of the records. In addition, the City is not asking AFN to make a payment for the improvement of RVTV facilities as they did with Charter. Mr. Franell noted one correction to the franchise agreement: Page 4 Section 1.25, the definition for upstream should read: "1.25. Upstream means the carrying of a transmission to the remote points on the cable system to the Headend."

Councilor Morrison/Jackson m/s to approve the renewal of the AFN Franchise. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

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3. Report on Ashland Fiber Network Full Faith and Credit Bond Sale.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg stated that on August 11, 2004 the City issued $15,500,000 for refinancing the construction operations costs of AFN. He explained that after aggressive negotiations, the total interest cost was set at 5.9%. Mr. Tuneberg explained this venture had put stability in the City's Debt Service, refinanced two bank loans and restored borrowed money to the other funds that had lent money to AFN for construction and operations.
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4. Public Arts Commission request for remaining TOT funds.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer introduced Kip Todd, Chair of the Public Arts Commission. Mr. Todd explained the Commission had raised $2,000 for Public Art, however they are experiencing difficulties due to a lack of financial support from the community. Mr. Todd requested that the remainder of the TOT funds be granted to the Public Arts Commission, which would formally recognize the importance of Public Art and reflect the support of the community.

Ms. Seltzer presented a synopsis of the Commission's activities to call attention to Public Art and raise funds. Ms. Seltzer explained that staff is requesting the Council modify Resolution 2004-11 to allow the Public Arts Commission to be a recipient of the TOT funds and allocate $5,925 (the remaining TOT funds) to the Commission for the development of Public Art in Ashland. In addition, staff suggests adding subparagraph 'g' under Section 4, in the resolution to read: "Irrespective of sub paragraph 'b', the City of Ashland Public Arts Commission may apply for and receive funds."

Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Lane/Mayor DeBoer read a statement submitted by Mr. Silbiger into the record. Statement is included in the council packet material.

Ann DiSalvo/621 A Street/Encouraged the Council to approve staff's request to allocate the remaining TOT funds to the Public Arts Commission and modify the resolution. Ms. DiSalvo stated the work of the commission improves Ashland's urban landscape.

Jennifer Longshore/2388 Abbott Avenue/Stated she serves on the Public Arts Commission and feels this is a positive thing.

Jack Hardesty/575 Dogwood Way/Supports the Commission's request and stated Public Art improves the quality of life and will make Ashland even more attractive to visitors.

Council discussed whether the TOT funds were an appropriate use for the Public Arts Commission. Comment was made that the Council should not make a decision, but send this issue back to the Economic and Cultural Development subcommittee for their recommendation. Additional opinion was expressed that if they decide to modify the resolution, there may be other commissions who would like to compete for the funds as well.

Mr. Todd stated to his knowledge, there is no Art Commission that does not have some kind of financial support from the founding organization. Councilor Jackson, liaison to the Public Arts Commission, stated that the commission has been informed by the granting organizations that without a City contribution, their organization will not even consider the commission's application.

If was clarified that the remainder of the TOT funds were not dispersed because the subcommittee could not agree on where they should go. Council discussed whether this was the appropriate time to request funds and questioned if this should have been handled during the budget cycle. Ms. Seltzer clarified that the commission cannot compete during the budget cycle without first modifying the resolution.

Councilor Amarotico/Morrison m/s to support the request of the Public Arts Commission by modifying Resolution 2004-11 to allow PAC to be a recipient of TOT funds and allocating $5,925 to the PAC for the development of public art in Ashland. Motion was withdrawn.

Opinion was expressed by members of the Council that this is a bad idea and that the Council should not be giving this money to a City agency. It was also noted that the proposed resolution modification had not been properly noticed to the community.

Councilor Amarotico/Morrison m/s to bring back a modified Resolution that has been properly noticed for Council approval. DISCUSSION: Council members again expressed opinion that this request should not have been made and that it disregards the process. Voice Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson and Morrison, YES; Councilor Laws and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 3-2.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (None)

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
Alan DeBoer, Mayor


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