MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 5, 2000
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present; Councilor Hauck was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 15, 2000 were approved with amendment on page 5, under item #6, to indicate that the Forest Commission had requested that their review of the Forest Service proposal be considered, but noted that there was no review from the Forest Commission.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Presentation by The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment.
No presentation was made, information only.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Robert Meiser to the Historic Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2002.
3. Liquor License Application from Steve Owsley dba Mojo Café.
4. Liquor License Application from Hardif Basra dba Three Rivers Cuisine of India.
Councilor Wheeldon pulled the minutes from June 1, 2000 of the Traffic Safety Commission. She noted the SODA & MADD Student Taxi service recommendation and questioned whether this would be coming back to the council as they were the ones to grant the license to the Student Taxi Service. Wheeldon requested an update on the situation if Traffic Safety is doing a study or if there are issues surrounding the Student Taxi Service.
Laws explained that the Traffic Safety Commission is not conducting a study, but only heard comments from individuals that voiced concern regarding code enforcement, and that it was not a matter of the commission to pursue further. City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that, due to the amendment of the ordinance, there is no council action or approval required as the City Administrator approves the Taxi Certification.
Councilors Reid/Wheeldon m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing and motion regarding the special public works fund grant and loan application for improvements to Mistletoe Road and realignment of its intersection with Tolman Creek Road.
Public Works Director Paula Brown explained that this is a second application for the special public works fund because it requires a public hearing. She stated that this is the same application that the city made to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for their Immediate Opportunity Fund Grant. Brown explained that the difference between the two is, the grant request is for $250,000, loan portion is $79,000, and LTM & Croman will support the project with $130,000. She stated that Local Improvement Districts (LID’s) are expected along the improved sections of Mistletoe Road worth $60,000 along with city funds for some matching funds of $50,000. The total project is $569,000 and provides for economic development and entry into the old LTM, Croman site.
Mayor Shaw commented that although this is a great opportunity for taking advantage of these types of funds, she voiced concern on the underdevelopment of safety issues on Tolman Creek. That, a large development of economic development, may exasperate the problems associated with traffic, prior to getting traffic calming tools on Tolman Creek. She stated that she hoped that this wouldn’t close the door on these parties (State, LTM and Croman) being involved in improvements to Tolman Creek in the future. Brown commented that this would more than likely open the door for these parties to participate in further development.
Brown explained that all of this will assist in future improvement to Tolman Creek Road. She stated that the intersection improvements for Mistletoe Road and Tolman Creek Road will help support traffic safety issues. She stated that there is another possibility of improvements at the connection where it winds around Mistletoe Road to Siskiyou Boulevard.
Reid commented that Brown had assured her that this is the first step for getting design elements for sidewalks on Tolman Creek Road. Even though it may appear to add additional traffic, she is supportive of this project.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:05 p.m.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 7:05 p.m.
Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to approve grant application. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Presented update on his research of the Ski Ashland Expansion Project. Provided to the council, several reports concerning the Ashland Watershed, along with correspondence from the US Department of Agriculture. He stated that the independent study indicated that the ski area surface erosion was contributing 9% of erosion to Reeder Reservoir and noted other comments from each document relating to erosion and sediment.
Navickas requested that the council write a letter to the Forest Service to indicate that the council is aware of this information regarding current erosion problems and to request a mapping of the current area. He requested that the Forest Service immediately put in place a solid monitoring study.
Tamara Henderson/132 S. Mountain/Representative of Associated Students at Southern Oregon University. Gave brief update on the current activities of students, which included voter registration and housing issues. She informed the council that they had secured student ridership with RVTD and that RVTV will be airing a debate between Alan Bates and Jane Hunt.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Spoke regarding Hwy 66 issues and noted the studies that had been done in 1989 and 1995. He suggested that these studies may have gone too far and that it may be better to take on smaller projects in order to determine if it would gain public acceptance. He suggested starting first with the areas where there is very little objection and provide median strips in these areas for safety reasons. Thompson felt that there may be two different sources of funding available, possibly ACCESS Management grant monies and Siskiyou Boulevard improvement monies. He recommended that a median strip be placed in the area where Siskiyou Boulevard turns onto Hwy 66 and in a portion of the block where the cemetery is located.
Thompson requested that the council reconsider a project for Hwy 66, take into consideration his recommendation for medians and try to get something done if there are grant monies available. He suggested that the council schedule a study session for further discussion on this topic.
Laws voiced his support of the recommendation and suggested that council be cautious about how rapidly this is approached and to plan carefully as it will involve funding, time, and energy. He recommended that before the council place this on an agenda, that the City Administrator consult with staff to determine the best time frame for beginning this project.
City Administrator Scoles stated that he and Brown could develop an application and process that can be brought back to the council at a study session. Shaw voiced concern about keeping this high on the list and Scoles assured her that he would move this forward.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS:
1. Council meeting Look Ahead.
Scoles informed the council of two items added to the Look Ahead: 1) Appeal of OSF Parking Building at the Study Session of October 4, 2000; and 2) Update on the Waste Water Treatment Plant biosolids at the September 19, 2000 council meeting.
2. Request for City sanitary sewer service to 270 Dead Indian Memorial Road, outside city limits.
Public Works Director Paula Brown explained that sewer service had been provided in this area in the past. She explained that this sewer system has failed completely and voiced concern with the close proximity of Neil Creek. Staff recommended that the council approve sewer service even though it is beyond the 300-foot limit as required by city ordinance.
Laws read the city ordinance which stated the following, "such connections should be made only upon the following conditions," and noted that one of those conditions is that there be an existing Ashland sewer line within 300 feet of the existing dwelling or building being connected. He pointed out that the property is 604 feet from the existing sewer line. City Attorney Nolte confirmed that the council could not violate their own ordinance and agreed that in order to approve this, an amendment to the current ordinance would need to be done first.
Laws noted that he had originally recommended that this provision not be adopted and noted the current request as an example. He stated that he would be in favor of approving the sewer service, after staff brought an amendment back to the current ordinance. Reid voiced her support of the recommendation and noted the importance of safety involving Neil Creek. Laws stated that as long as the property is in the Urban Growth Boundary, and that it meets the other requirements of the ordinance, the discretion should be maintained by council, to extend sewer or water services under particular circumstances.
After discussion by the council, regarding the time frame that would be involved for an ordinance change, it was agreed that staff would bring back an amendment to the ordinance with an emergency clause, making it effective immediately upon approval by council.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to approve contingent on adoption of amendment to ordinance. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Ashland Public Schools request for water service connection to the Waldorf School Property outside city limits and outside the Urban Growth Boundary.
Public Works Director Paula Brown noted that Ashland School District Superintendent Julie DiChiro, Finance Officer Loren Luman and School Board member Dan Thorndyke were present if the council required further explanation or had questions.
Brown explained that the outline being presented to the council is on what their ability is, according to city ordinances, to approve water service outside the city limits. The ordinance states that, "if you deem the school a governmental facility, you may have the ability to grant water service outside city limits and outside the urban growth boundary."
Staff recommended the following conditions be placed on the School District for the use of the city water: 1) That water delivered to the school be used only for "school facility purposes" (and does not include landscape watering); 2) That water use be terminated when the school ceases to operate; and that covenants be recorded on the property to this effect; 3) That the School District pays the water connection fee for connections outside the city and the system development charges established by the City; 4) That the School District furnish a consent to the annexation of the premises and a deed restriction preventing the partition or subdivision of the land prior to annexation to the City, signed so that it may be recorded by the City and binding on future owners of the premises. The cost of recording the deed restriction shall be paid by the School District; and 5) That the School District shall execute a contract with the City of Ashland which provides for: payment of all charges connected with the provision of water service to the property; compliance with all ordinances related to water service and use; termination of service for failure to comply with such ordinances. A memorandum of the contract shall be recorded in the county deed records with the cost of recording to be paid by the School District.
Brown clarified that the request from the School District is being treated the same as if it were a request from a private entity, and includes all the costs associated with providing water service.
Brown clarified that for a service line, if you are only providing water to that building, a 2" or 3" line could be used.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin clarified that, property sought for annexation would require an urban growth boundary amendment, before an annexation could be considered. McLaughlin stated that he had not had a chance to see if this property would meet the requirements for an urban growth boundary amendment. He explained that the application process for urban growth boundary amendments is initiated through the Jackson County Planning Division, and could be a six-month process. McLaughlin explained for the council, that the only advantage for the city, on amending the urban growth boundary for the school district, is the land use control over the property, rather than Jackson County having the land use discretion.
Laws stated that it would be much more appropriate for a public (school) building, to be within the city. He felt that it would clear up ambiguities surrounding who is to provide services, including emergency services. He voiced is uneasiness with the County having the authority to regulate and the number of districts that would be responsible for providing services. He felt that it would be possible to serve this property within the city and that it would be better for the School District to be provided city services.
Laws suggested that council approve the request with one of the conditions being, that the School District apply for annexation, which would mean an urban growth boundary amendment.
Fine voiced concern on how to provide water to the facility, in a fire emergency. McLaughlin explained that the nearest hydrant is on East Main and that the initial fire response responsibility belonged to Fire District 5. He further explained, that through our mutual aid agreements, Ashland Fire & Rescue would be the first responder.
McLaughlin clarified that Fire District 5 and Ashland Fire & Rescue had not had the opportunity to give an opinion as to the suitability of the building for school purposes in terms of response to emergency situations. Fine stated that there is a moral obligation by the city to ensure that the students of the school are properly cared for in the event of an emergency.
Shaw noted that there are additional safety issues that need to be considered. These include fire hydrants, asbestos, lead, ADA issues, etc. She explained that these are all decisions that the school board will need to make outside of the planning jurisdiction of the council. Shaw commented that although this is outside the urban growth boundary, those that attend the school will consider it part of the city and will expect the city to respond as if the property were in the city limits. She felt that the suggestion to annex the property would create additional difficulties, one of which is, that if the property is annexed, and it stops being a school, it can be developed. She stressed the importance of the council taking into consideration all of the discussions by the school board which involve acquiring this property. That this is a bigger issue than just providing water service.
Laws stated that if there was a condition, that the School District apply for an urban growth boundary amendment and request annexation, this would take care of the issues of providing services. But, if the city were to turn down the request, the city would pay the fees for annexation and cost of applying for urban growth boundary amendment.
McLaughlin estimated that the System Development Charges could be around $20,000 for the School District.
Wheeldon commented that this action may push annexations and that there may be resistance in the community. She voiced concern with proposing an annexation when there is currently a large inventory of buildable land within the city limits.
Laws suggested that only the portion that is going to be used for school purposes could be annexed. It was noted that if it were annexed in this manner, access could be from Blue Heron Lane. Shaw noted that the fields of this property were left out of the urban growth boundary so that it could be part of the green belting of the historic farm uses that surround the city.
Ashland School Superintendent Julie DiChiro explained that the future use of this site has not been planned for, but they do plan on future use. The School District is currently planning on using most of the buildings to house the Community Learning Center which serves the home schooling families of approximately 200 students. She clarified that there are about 7,700 sq. ft. available, and they plan on using a great percentage of the buildings. She noted that they would not be using the portions of the buildings that require renovation. DiChiro clarified that the School District request is not for an annexation at this time, only for water service. She agreed that annexing only portions of the property may be problematic because some of the various uses of the property by the students.
DiChiro verified that analysis for asbestos, lead, etc. has not been done, but that they had a structural analysis done which showed no obvious structural problems. The assumption is, because of the age of the building, there may be asbestos, lead, etc. and they are aware that these will need to be identified.
Shaw clarified that a partial annexation would not limit the use of the property. What it would mean to the council, is that the buildings, etc. would be serviced by our emergency services rather than District 5 and that the buildings, etc. would be under the city’s planning criteria not the county. She stated that this would resolve the issue of the property not being used as a school in the future. Shaw commented that there has been much discussion on the issue of creating a governmental zone.
Reid noted her desire that the development of buildings fall under the city compliance rules and encouraged the council to look at partial annexation versus complete annexation of the property. Reid stated that the School District would need to make an analysis and then inform the council of their preference.
Luman explained that there is a 10-gallon-a-minute well currently on the property that is contaminated, and was last tested in March 2000. He stated that the county’s recommendation is to not install a new well anywhere near this site due to the contamination.
DiChiro stated that the Community Learning Center is currently being housed at the Ashland Middle School and has reached is maximum number of families that can be served. Thorndyke explained that what has been conceived as a declining enrollment in the Ashland School District, is more of a plateau in the number of enrollments, rather than a decline. DiChiro explained that Community Learning Center does not necessarily have current access or use of the current Middle School resources because of the usage by the students attending the Middle School.
Reid commented that it is the council’s role to make a decision on the request for water service. That the council should base their decision on water issues, annexation, and if it is developed within the city limits . And, if it is developed within the city limits, that it is developed according to city standards. She felt that it is the School District’s responsibility to hold public hearings, to make decisions on how on to spend School District money and if this is good for community. DiChiro informed the council of the greater percentage of positive support that was received in regards to the purchase and use of this property.
Wheeldon commented that she had heard concerns from community regarding the possible waiving of SDC’s. She explained that this has to do with the amount of support that the community has provided to the School District through the Youth Activity Levy and other such support. If the community, as a whole, picks up the SDC’s for this project, it is seen as another amount that the community is paying for. DiChiro clarified that the School District had requested the council to consider the System Development Charges to this site.
McLaughlin clarified that the city could initiate an urban growth boundary amendment and an annexation.
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Noted that he had missed the public debate regarding if the purchase by Ashland School District is good use of public monies. He questioned if this is a sound investment for taxpayers, due to the contaminated well and issues about what will happen when the property stops being a school. He questioned the definition being used for the home resource facility as a government facility. He noted several facilities that he voiced concern over, in regards to how they were defined for use, as it seemed to circumvent land use laws. Swales stated that this is school facility being cast a government facility in order to provide water. He questioned if the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) would be made available to this property even though AFN is currently limited to city boundaries.
Swales used an example of religious organizations that had recently been denied service in this area. He suggested that Resolution 97-27be changed to include providing water to public school facilities and to use the democratic process when these types of changes are necessary.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Voiced concern regarding future development on this site as it is one a few rural historic fabrics of the farm culture that exists in this area. He felt that one of the worst developments in the city is recreational development, and requested that there be future limitations on land use for land development in this area if the city is going to provide water.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99S/He commented on how expansion of the urban growth boundary and annexation could be a major "can of worms." Stated his belief in the Oregon Land Use Laws and noted that the city has an inventory of approximately 20 years within our existing urban growth boundary. But, because the issue is providing pure water for school children, and that there is a huge community support for the Ashland School District, he believes that the council should approve the request for water service. He does not support the council waiving the SDC’s.
Laws suggested that council approve the request for water service, which includes staff recommendations, and then place the discussion regarding annexation on a future agenda.
Fine noted that the School District has the responsibility for providing school facilities, etc. but voiced concern regarding the provision of providing services for fire safety. Council discussed the option of requesting that a hydrant be within a certain number of feet and if this would require a different size of service line. Fine suggested that, prior to asking the School District to install a fire hydrant, that the Ashland Fire Chief is asked to give his expert opinion.
McLaughlin clarified that the conditional use requirement would stay with the land and that nothing is changed with change in ownership.
Fine amended his suggestion to include that it be conditional, upon satisfying such conditions with respect to fire safety, as determined by the Ashland Fire Chief. He further requested that a 2 inch service line be installed. Scoles explained that it may be a problem having a 2 inch service line when providing a main for a fire hydrant. It was suggested that this could be evaluated after the Ashland Fire Chief was allowed to give his opinion.
Councilors Fine/Wheeldon m/s to approve staff recommendation subject to the condition regarding fire safety. DISCUSSION: Laws voiced concern with the addition of the Ashland Fire Chief review for fire safety because it is not clear what is being requested. He stated that once there is water into a area there is pressure for further development if this does remain as a school.
Reid disagreed, due to the fact that it is not in the city limits, and in order for further development it would need to come before the council for consideration. She explained that it would make her feel a lot safer in regards to the safety of the school children to allow a review by the Fire Chief for fire safety.
Laws stated that the school is currently protected by fire tanker trucks and suggested that there only be a requirement for a fire hydrant that meets city standards. Shaw stated that this suggestion may meet the concerns that have been voiced and addresses the issues surrounding which service organization would respond in an emergency. Laws commented on the need to be reasonable in determining the system needed for fire safety. He felt that this may go beyond the council responsibility of delegation.
ROLL CALL VOTE: Fine, Reid, Hanson, and Wheeldon, YES; Laws, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
4. Update on the Talent, Ashland, Phoenix (TAP) Intertie and recommendation to award the construction project to James W. Fowler at a total cost of $8,968,817 – of which the City of Ashland’s contract authorization is estimated at $1,107,000.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to approve contract and authorize City Administrator to sign the contract with James W. Fowler. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
5. Discussion of allocation of hotel/motel tax receipts.
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that this had come before the council due to the discussions from the last budget cycle regarding the Transience Occupancy Tax. He explained that there had been discussion regarding the methodology for distribution of funds. He stated that Resolution 98-23 outlines the distribution of the hotel/motel tax and that 67% of those taxes go the city, and the balance is divided as follows: 60% Ashland Chamber of Commerce; 28% Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and 12% Economic and Cultural Development Grants.
Scoles explained that the question raised during the current budget cycle, was based on taking the last two year’s allocations, which came in slightly above what had been anticipated, and placing it in this fiscal year’s budget. He further explained that the current year’s budget includes some additional funds to pay back allocations which exceeded projected allocations in previous budgets. He stated that the council and budget committee had voiced concern regarding this methodology and requested that this be revisited for review of interpretation.
Reid commented on how this may be viewed as a "bonus," and suggested that because our general fund is always in need, that the "bonus fund" be placed back into the general fund with the idea that this funding will also help support tourism in our community. She stated that this does not have to be viewed as not fully funding Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Chamber of Commerce in economic development.
Fine agreed with Reid and added suggestion that a portion of the monies placed in the general fund be used for efforts aimed at economic diversification to help bring in living wage employment into our city.
Laws reminded council that the suggestion currently under discussion is what had been done up until two years ago. He explained that at that time, members of the Budget Committee, when setting the percentage amount to be distributed to an organization, for example: 28% to OSF, they want the full 28% to go to OSF, not just the projected estimated 28%. He stated that this was the intent of the resolution, even if the language may be mildly ambiguous, and adopted by the council.
Laws suggested that if the council would like to re-change the policy and go back to the way things were before, as opposed to the recommendation of the budget committee, a change to the resolution would be necessary. He stated that OSF and the Chamber of Commerce should be given the opportunity to give their opinion on how the initial adoption of the hotel/motel tax included the agreement that 1/3 of the fund would go toward promotion of tourism in the city. And, that the responsibility of promoting tourism would be placed on the organizations. He stated that the incentive for the organizations to do this would be, the better job that they did, the bigger the 1/3 they would receive, in promoting tourism.
Reid commented that the funds from the hotel/motel tax will only increase and it is the councils policy to decided what should be done with these funds. She stated that the projected funds and the budget that is used by the organization based on the projected funds, should be held to. But, when there is an excess in that year, she feels it should be put into the general fund, which is another fund that helps support tourism.
Fine suggested that staff draft an amendment to the resolution and place on an agenda for council approval. This would allow public discussion at that time on the proposed amendment.
Scoles explained that when the budget is adopted for the next fiscal year, the actual receipts have not been received from the previous year. Because of this, the actuals are not known, and the excess amount is being budgeted based on assumptions. He stated that if the suggestion being discussed is used, the amount would be known, otherwise using the current methodology there is almost three years previous that do not have the actuals for budget preparation. He explained that it is hard for staff to make the payments because they are above the allocations and usually involves amendments to the budget through a process with the council.
General consensus by council for staff to bring back an amendment to the resolution for their consideration.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke on this subject and referred to the proposed increase in the hotel/motel tax as was suggested by Alan DeBoer. He voiced concern on the percentage amount that was currently being distributed to the various organizations, and felt that it should be distributed to those groups that are in greater need. He noted that the funds for Ballet in the Park was cut from $11,000 in 1998/99 to only $7,500 in 1999/2000 and that the other 12 non-profit groups who receive funds received only a few thousand each.
Swales commented that OSF may argue that they bring in most of the tourism dollars and deserve the larger portion of the funds. However, he stated that OSF’s fixed 28% share has risen from $67,500 in 1996 to $101,000 in the last budget, which is an increase of $33,500 that was spent on their self-promotion and advertising costs. He stated that during this same period, their excess funds grew from a loss of $94,000 in 1996 to an excess of $5.8 million in 1999. Swales noted that OSF’s net assets of $6 million in 1996 increased to $34 million in 1999 and that the current year reported, looks like an even greater increase of another $20 million. He commented on OSF’s strength in the community and used an example of their ability to derail LUBA appeals by the purchasing of homes.
Swales noted that the Chautauqua Lecture series, run on a shoestring by generous citizens and local sponsors, has had to cease their off-season operations and are unable to continue. He stated that this organization was denied the use of the Bowmer Theater in spite of lease provisions specifying their right to do so.
Swales urged the council to consider the appropriate use of these funds, and to encourage those who struggle to bring some diversity of culture to the citizens of Ashland. He requested that the allocation of these funds be given to those that truly need it and to where it will have the most benefit for everyone.
Councilor Reid left meeting at 8:45 p.m.
Shaw commented on the information brought forward by Swales, and felt that his suggestion may well taken, if it is possible to keep track of the amount of money that generally comes in over the estimation, be review by the budget committee for cultural and economic programs that would benefit the community.
Laws stated that if a "historic formula" is not adhered to, it should be put into the general fund where it can be allocated for whatever purposes that is being considered the most pressing at that time. He felt that if reconsideration is given to the amount of funds given out for promotion of tourism, he would prefer that this be brought up before the budget committee during the budget season, as this has traditionally been a decision by the budget committee.
Councilors Fine/Wheeldon m/s to ask staff to bring an amendment to the existing resolution in the sense of discussion of this meeting. Roll Call Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Adopting A Heritage Street Name List and Rescinding Resolution 97-07."
Councilors m/s to approve Resolution #2000-22. DISCUSSION: Laws requested that staff provide him with the methodology that is used to determine the Heritage Street Names. Roll Call Vote: Hanson, Fine, Wheeldon and Laws, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Wheeldon noted the "Car Free Day" that is scheduled for September 15, 2000 and encouraged all to participate in the events.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder