Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, September 07, 2004

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 7, 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 August 17, 2004 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Proclamation of September 2004 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month was read aloud by Councilor Morrison.

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Henry Baker to the Historic Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2005.
3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Vicki Griesinger to the Airport Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2005.
4. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Melissa Markell to the Public Arts Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2005.
5. City's Investment Report.

Consent Agenda item #5 was pulled for discussion.

Councilor Hearn/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-4. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

City Recorder Barbara Christensen spoke regarding the City's Investment Report. It was explained that a portion of the investment funds has been utilized for the completion of capital improvement projects. It was also noted that the recent financing for AFN is not included in data provided. Mrs. Christensen stated the portfolio has dwindled slightly due to the lower rate of interest on securities. Councilor Hartzell suggested that future reports include the influence of trends on the City's investments.

Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #5. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Public Hearing on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Year Change.
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman stated there are three options for the Council to consider.
1) Shift the beginning of the program year from January 1, 2005 to July 1, 2005;
2) Opt to retain the existing program year (January 1-December 31), which would require the City to immediately issue an RFP and only $274,000 of the anticipated $474,000 would be available; or
3) Approve the program year shift but immediately issue an RFP for the $274,000 through the existing process.

The Housing Commission recommended Option 3 and Staff recommended Option 1, however they both agreed that a shift from the calendar year to the fiscal year is advantageous.

Public Hearing Open: 7:15 p.m.

Rad Welles/381 N. Mountain Ave/Stated there is a property located in Ashland that could be used for affordable housing, but the City would have to act on this opportunity before January 2005. He voiced his support for retaining the current schedule so that the proposal for affordable housing could be heard.

Rachel Whitley/289 Grant St/Stated the Council should seriously consider acting on RVCDC's proposal for affordable housing this year.

Ron Demele/165 Crocker St/Executive Director of RVCDC/ Stated RVCDC has a proposal for affordable housing that they would like to submit to the City. He explained that they currently have an option on the property and the funding is in place. If the Council shifted the program to the fiscal year calendar, they would lose their opportunity to act on this affordable housing project which could create 16 new units in Ashland. Mr. Demele stated the proposed housing would target individuals at 50% of the median income and that the project is fully sponsored by the Federal Government. Mr. Demele voiced his support for Option #3.

Teresa McCants/375 Kent St/Voiced support for RVCDC's proposal to provide affordable housing in Ashland.

Floyd Pawlowski/415 Pompadour Dr/RVCDC Board member/Stated the time change for the granting of CDBG funds would put their proposal in jeopardy. He asked that the Council retain the current funding timeline, which would allow RVCDC to present their proposal for affordable housing in Ashland.

Public Hearing Closed: 7:23 p.m.

Mr. Goldman clarified that, if the Council wanted to act on Option 3 and move forward with RVCDC's proposal, the Housing Commission would need to review the proposal in October. The City Council would then make a review in November, and Staff would complete an environmental review and action plan that would be submitted to HUD. Mr. Goldman stated that having this process completed by January may be too optimistic and that it would likely be late January or early February before funds could be awarded. He further clarified that HUD has a 30-day review period and occasionally a proposal is returned to the City for corrections and the 30-day period starts anew.

Mr. Goldman stated that RVCDC had agreed with the program year shift, and that their concern regards the allocation of the 2004 funds. Council discussed the benefits of following through with the already started RFP process. Mr. Goldman clarified that if the property in question could not be purchased by January, the City would not lose anything and the funds would be aggregated with the 2005 award.

Councilor Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve Option #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

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2. Public Hearing and Adoption of a Resolution Authorizing and Ordering the Local Improvements for the Construction of Improvements to Nevada Street Consisting of Sidewalks, Curb Extension Planter Areas, Pedestrian Safety Improvements to Intersections, Drainage and Associated Improvements and Authorizing the City to borrow money and issue and sell Notes for the Purpose of Providing Interim Financing for the Actual Cost of the Local Improvement.
Public Works Director Paula Brown declared a potential conflict of interest, stating that she and her husband own the property located at 800 Cambridge Street and 810 Cambridge Street. Ms. Brown noted she was asked by both a Council member and the City Administrator to assist with this project.

Ms. Brown stated the design presented to the Council would improve traffic and pedestrian safety and would slow speeds throughout the neighborhood. She explained that the primary goal of this project is to improve safety and noted the following objectives that were used for the design elements:
Reduce speed of traffic;
Encourage uniform traffic speed;
Provide safe and comfortable pedestrian route;
Provide safe and comfortable bicycle route;
Provide safe motorist route;
Maintain safe and unimpeded emergency access;
Maintain street function as a neighborhood collector;
Increase livability of the neighborhood (noise, trees, sign, clutter);
Balance street function, safety and livability; and
Reduce impact of anticipated traffic increase.

City Engineer Jim Olson explained this process began over 2 years ago when a small group of citizens approached the Engineering Department with a proposal for sidewalks and traffic calming elements on Nevada Street. The proposal came forward at the same time the Billings Ranch subdivision was up for approval by the Planning Commission and concern was raised regarding the increase of traffic generated from the Billings development. Mr. Olson stated the assessment district was identified as those lots fronting Nevada Street and included the Billings Ranch subdivision, which was part of the plan of approval for the Billings development.

Mr. Olson displayed the initial plan presented to the neighborhood in December 2003 and pointed out the various elements of the plan. He explained that the initial plan was not well received at the December neighborhood meeting. A citizen's panel was then formed and met with Staff almost every other week from December 2003 to May 2004 to create a consensus plan that would be acceptable to the majority of the residents and not just the properties in the assessed district. Mr. Olson stated the culmination of the work of the citizen panel resulted in seven different plans which were condensed down to three options through the efforts of the Fire, Public Works, Engineering and Planning staff. All of the elements in the three proposals were taken directly from the seven plans submitted by the citizens. In May, the three proposals were presented to the neighborhood and it was narrowed down to one plan. In June, the neighborhood and Staff met once more and the design before the Council is the result of the June meeting.

Mr. Olson pointed out the various elements of the current proposed plan. Ms. Brown clarified that sidewalks will only be placed on one side of the street and stated the proposed bump-outs will be large enough to support trees.

Public Hearing Open: 8:01 p.m.

Kristie Franks/290 W. Nevada St./Asked the Council to reconsider the inclusion of the bump-out at the corner of Glendower and Nevada, which would save the Cedar tree and hedge that protects her property from noise and light. Ms. Franks expressed concern regarding the lack of traffic calming in the plan.

Dian Brandenburg/85 W. Nevada St/Expressed concern with the bump-outs, stating they can cause difficulties for large vehicles when passing oncoming motorists. She stated that embedded crosswalks can be difficult to see and suggested that the City start by installing painted crosswalks.

Christina Lindquist/Spoke in favor of the LID due to safety issues and submitted a handout that noted the safety risks to children under the age of 10.

John Semple/185 Almeda Dr/Stated he attended most of the meetings and noted the positive changes from the initial plan. He voiced his appreciation that the bump-outs had been toned down, but voiced concern with the "noisy crosswalks" and suggested instead that some sort of warning devise be placed before the vehicle reaches the crosswalk.

Al Bodin/119 Cypress Circle/Noted he frequently bicycles on Nevada Street. Mr. Bodin stated he does not live within the LID boundary, but would like to be included in the assessment district so that his voice will be heard. He does not support the proposed bump-outs due to his physical impairments and expressed concern regarding the number of votes allocated to Mike Peru of the Billings Development. Mr. Bodin stated he was berated by Staff during the neighborhood meetings and asked that the LID be postponed so that the problems could be rectified.

Anne Bodin/119 Cypress Circle/Stated the conflict of interest issues had not been resolved and have impeded acceptable progress. She stated that all of Quiet Village will be affected by this project, but many have been excluded from the LID and Staff has neglected their opinions and ideas. Ms. Bodin voiced opposition to the proposed bump-outs, stating they fail to reduce traffic speeds. She stated that her comments along with others had been verbally denounced by Staff and requested that the Council postpone the formation of the LID so that a thorough investigation could take place.

Nora Knox/276 W. Nevada St/Read aloud a newspaper article about an elderly man who was killed by a motorist on Nevada Street. Ms. Knox voiced support for the current plan as presented by Staff. She explained that this project began as a grass roots effort by residents along Nevada Street to improve their street and it has turned into a bitter process that has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Ms. Knox stated that instead of allowing the traffic engineering experts to plan the street improvements, the neighbors took it upon themselves to draw up the plans and were unwilling to allow outside information from the professionals. She commented on the speeding problem on Nevada and stated the problem will only increase once the subdivision in completed. Ms. Knox stated she supports the sidewalks, stamped concrete crosswalks and small bump-outs. She does not like the lack of traffic calming in the proposal, but is willing to accept the current plan because she would like to see something done.

John Whitesitt/156 W. Nevada/Commented on his involvement with the citizen's committee and noted that he was their elected spokesperson. Mr. Whitesitt stated the consensus plan adequately reflects the concerns of the neighborhood and stated the committee agreed to the proposed plan. He noted that the seven plans were submitted to Staff because the group was not able to agree on a single plan. Mr. Whitesitt stated he personally supports the consensus plan and asked that the Council move quickly for the safety of the residents. He also asked that the Council not be swayed by those individuals who are unwilling to compromise.

Jerry Mulloy/183 W. Nevada/Acknowledged that there are safety issues on Nevada Street. Mr. Mulloy stated the entire Quiet Village neighborhood should be part of the LID and does not agree with excluding the residents of the side streets. He expressed disappointment that the developer was given 69 votes, which is more than the votes given to the people who currently live on Nevada.

Gail Patton/822 Michelle Ave/Stated she was involved with the citizen's panel and noted comparisons to the Tolman Creek LID. Ms. Patton stated the side street property owners are willing to shoulder some of the cost burden, but would like for their opinions to be heard as well. She stated that safety is the primary concern for everyone and noted that emergency crews will have a difficult time navigating a narrower street.

Lyn Horstemeier/920 Cambridge St/Noted her involvement with the citizen's panel. She suggested that the plan be "road tested" first to determine the actual effects to each property owner. She stated that both the City of Portland and Corvallis perform road tests before beginning any construction and that the Nevada LID would benefit from this sort of action.

Renee Swenson/360 W. Nevada St/Stated she is in favor of the LID and is in favor of the consensus plan.

Jim Young/240 W. Nevada St/Acknowledged the work of Staff and his approval of the proposed plan, although he wished there was more traffic calming. Mr. Young stated there has always been a speed problem on Nevada and requested that something be done in regards to the safety issues.

Tony Kerwin/350 W. Nevada St/Noted his involvement with the citizen panel. Mr. Kerwin stated the current plan addresses the issues raised by the neighborhood and asked the Council to move forward and accept the LID as proposed by Staff.

Linda Vanderlip/325 W. Nevada St/Stated she approves of the assessment district and requested that the Council approve the proposed plan.

Will Schmidt/85 W. Nevada St/Stated that he is an EMS and noted that any type of street narrowing would hinder emergency response times. Mr. Schmidt stated that there are other measure that can be taken to calm traffic and slow speeds other than bump-outs. He noted that motorists often swerve to avoid the bump-outs, which could put pedestrians at further risk. Mr. Schmidt stated that there are many children in the Quiet Village area and supports educational tools for children in regards to traffic safety.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty St/Stated that he had been following this matter closely even though he does not live in the neighborhood. He commented that bump-outs might seem like a good idea for pedestrians, but that they can create issues for emergency vehicles. He also commented on the "Three E's: Education, Enforcement and Engineering". Mr. Holley stated if the City enlarged the LID boundary, they could more effectively educate the neighborhood about the speed issues. He stated that the rumble strips would be noisy and that they don't always work, and that a ladder crosswalk with a white boundary might be more effective.

Chris Hald/275 Cambridge St/Stated he participated in the community group and voiced opposition to the LID as presented by Staff. Mr. Hald stated he would like to see painted crosswalks and a sidewalk on the south side. He also commented that many of the homes on Nevada have multiple vehicles and the cars parked along the street create a traffic calming effect.

Paige Morse/746 Cambridge St/Stated she lives on a side street of Nevada and does not understand why side street property owners are not included in the LID. Ms. Morse voiced opposition to the Billings subdivision having the majority of the votes. She commented on the rumbling crosswalks and stated that conscience traffic calming makes more sense. She stated the sidewalks should be more noticeable and if they do insert rumbling, it should be placed before the crosswalk. Ms. Morse also noted the safety issues on Laurel Street and encouraged the Council to look into this street as well.

Joaquin Saloma/368 York St/Stated the residents on the side streets should have a vote in regards to the LID as they also have to travel on Nevada to get to and from their homes.

Tia Hatch/815 Michelle Ave/Statement was read aloud into the record.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower St/Stated that he represented the majority of the Nevada Street property owners. Mr. Bullock explained that of the 53 properties in the assessment district, 30 of the property owners had signed a petition objecting to the plan presented by Staff. He explained that the majority of the residents do not support bump-outs, rumble strips, street narrowing, storm drain relocation and trees in the street. The majority does support a south side sidewalk, painted ladder crosswalks and side street stop signs for pedestrians to cross safely.

Kris Daly/335 W. Nevada St/Stated that it is not fair that Mike Peru was given the right to vote for properties that do not sit on Nevada Street. He commented that it could be years before the project is complete and feels that the side streets residents should be allowed to vote on the project.

Bob Armen/375 Oxford St/Stated he supports the opponents of the LID and that there are safety issues with the bump-outs. Mr. Armen questioned why Council didn't seek ODOT approval of the plans. He also disagreed with the number of votes given to developer and stated it is an insult to the residents of Quiet Village.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:55 p.m.

City Engineer Jim Olson clarified that the proposed crosswalks would have parallel lines painted on the outside of the concrete embedment, and that the reflective paint markings would be visible at night. The scored pattern in the crosswalks would be a two-foot square pattern and would serve as a passive reminder to motorists. It is not a rumble strip, which has scoring at 2 to 3 inch intervals.

Mr. Olson also clarified the Fire Department was involved in the planning process from the very beginning to eliminate any emergency response time concerns.

Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified the plans were not submitted to ODOT because they do not manage city streets, only freeways and highways. However the design was prepared in concert with the ODOT requirements, especially in regards to the bicycle and pedestrian elements of the design. Mr. Olson clarified that ODOT is very supportive of bump-outs, embedded crosswalks and the other traffic calming measures included in the proposed plan.

Mr. Olson clarified that adjusting the sidewalk around Ms. Frank's residence to save the hedge was an option and noted that Staff had already planned to save the Cedar tree mentioned.

Ms. Brown clarified that in order to install sidewalks on both sides of the street, they would have to eliminate on-street parking. Mr. Olson added that the street is not wide enough to have bike lanes and parking on both sides.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that the petitions submitted by the property owners, who reside within the LID assessment district, could count as remonstrances. However, with only the votes from the Billings Development, the 2/3 requirement in favor of the LID is fulfilled. Mr. Franell also noted that even with a 100% remonstrance, the City could still move forward with the sidewalk project.

Councilor Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2004-31. DISCUSSION: Councilor Laws stated that traffic would increase significantly once the Billings development is complete and stressed the importance of the Three E's: Engineering, Education and Enforcement. He commented that bump-outs provide the best means of giving the appearance of a narrow street and reducing traffic speeds, and that the disadvantages of the bump-outs are outweighed by their advantages.

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

Councilor Laws explained that the developer should be included in the LID assessment because their development would have a strong impact on the area and that they should pay for a substantial part of the improvements. In addition, he explained that Staff had abided by the precedent set by Council, in that those properties directly involved with the improvements are the ones that are charged.

Roll Call Vote: Amarotico, Hearn, Hartzell, Morrison, Laws and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

Mr. Olson clarified that it is against the law to place a bike lane on only one side of the street. The only way to install just one lane would be to put a physical barrier between the traffic lanes and the bike lane.

Councilor Morrison/Hartzell m/s approve the 90% plan and to allow Staff consideration in the final design of the LID to include the suggestions of sidewalks on both sides of the street between Helman Street and Voris Street, and to extend the bump out on the Frank property. DISCUSSION: Council asked that their suggestions not be given special attention over the concerns raised by the residents. Mr. Franell clarified that passing this motion would allow Staff to assemble the proposed assessment and move forward with the project. The next time this would come to Council would be at the final assessment hearing at the completion of the improvements. Mr. Franell also clarified that once the public hearing concluded there is no more opportunity to file a remonstrance. The only opportunity for an appeal is under the writ of review process, as stated in the Ashland Municipal Code. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC FORUM
Leslie Ormanian/4093 Tenino Terrace/Stated he was wrongfully terminated from his position with the City of Ashland and spoke regarding what he perceives as rampant abuse of the Ashland Fiber Network. Mr. Ormanian stated computer equipment was given to employees for personal use and noted a lack of proper records within the AFN department.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1.   Ashland Fiber Network Quarterly Report.
Electric and Telecommunications Director Dick Wanderscheid and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the AFN Quarterly Report. Mr. Wanderscheid pointed out the comparisons in the report regarding revenue type between the Old Plan, the 2004 Plan and the Actual. He noted the promotion activities and the planned targets for acquired accounts. Mr. Wanderscheid stated that Staff would be revising the format of the Quarterly Report to better reflect the figures that need to be tracked. He also explained that the plan recognizes that accounts would increase with the beginning of the Southern Oregon University school year. Mr. Wanderscheid stated that they had not noticed any resistance to the price increase and that most of the lost accounts are due to people moving away.
2.   Quarterly Financial Report - April - June, 2004.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the Quarterly Financial Report. He pointed out items of interest in his report and commented that the auditors will be arriving soon.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Reiterating its Policy of Relating the Expenditure of Monies for Economic and Cultural Development to the Hotel/Motel (Transient Occupancy) Tax and Repealing Resolution 2004-11."
Delayed due to time constraints.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Councilor Jackson noted a Living with Wildfire in Ashland Forum on September 9, 2004 at the Community Center from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. The Forest Lands Commission and Ashland Fire and Rescue will be present to speak about the Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is currently being developed.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
Alan DeBoer, Mayor


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