Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, February 01, 2005

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 1, 2005 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street


CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

ROLL CALL
Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Hearn were present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 18, 2005 and Executive Meeting Minutes of January 18, 2005 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS  (None)

CONSENT AGENDA

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Letter of support for the Fern Valley Road Interchange Project in Phoenix and the Federal Transportation Authorization Bill.

Mayor Morrison requested that Item #2 be pulled as asked that the Council allow him to recluse himself due to his involvement with this project through the Rogue Valley Council of Governments.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #1. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to allow Mayor Morrison to recluse himself. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Mayor Morrison left the Council Chambers.

City Administrator Gino Grimaldi requested Council's approval on a letter of support for the transportation legislation and specifically the Fern Valley Road Interchange, so that this project can proceed.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #2. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Mayor Morrison returned to the Council Chambers.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1. Public Hearing on Appeal of Planning Action 2004-105 - A Request for Preliminary Plat Approval of a Seven-Lot Subdivision, an Exception to the Street Standards, a Tree Removal Permit, a Conditional Use Permit for an Accessory Residential Unit and a Variance to Off-Street Parking Requirements for the Properties located at 759 and 769 South Mountain Avenue.

Mayor Morrison read aloud the procedure for a Public Land Use Hearing.

PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:15 p.m.

ABSTENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACT
Councilor Hartzell disclosed that she had made a site visit and noted that she was not present at the Tree Commission meeting when this Planning Action was discussed. Councilors Hearn, Amarotico, Hardesty and Mayor Morrison disclosed that they had attended the organized site visit. Mayor Morrison also disclosed that he had contact with Chris Cottons, but he informed Chris that he was unable to discuss this topic.

STAFF REPORT
City Planner Maria Harris presented the background information and explained where the property is located. Ms. Harris explained that this application contained six requests for approvals. The first request is to build a private drive that would provide access to the three interior lots as well as two of the lots that face Prospect St. The second and third requests are for an exception to the Street Standards for the sidewalks on S. Mountain and Prospect St. The fourth and fifth components of the proposal are for a Conditional Use Permit to convert the existing house at 759 S. Mountain into an accessory residential unit and a variance to locate the off street parking for the accessory unit on an adjacent parcel. The final request is for a Tree Removal Permit to remove two trees over 18" in diameter. Ms. Harris added that the project has a Tree Protection Plan, which would protect the remaining five clusters of trees.

Ms. Harris noted that the Planning Commission reviewed this application and approved the preliminary plot for the 7-lot subdivision, the Tree Removal Permit for the two trees and the exception to the Street Standards for the sidewalk on Prospect St. The Commission made some revisions to the proposal and required that the sidewalks on Prospect St. be 5 feet wide and raised the standard 5" the whole length of the street. They also required that the driving surface east of the turnaround be 25 feet wide curb to curb, which would meet the standards for parking on both sides of the street. The Planning Commission denied the Conditional Use Permit request and the request for a variance to locate the accessory unit parking on the adjacent parcel. They also denied the exception to the Street Standards for the sidewalk on S. Mountain and required a park row be installed for the entire length of the site frontage.

Ms. Harris explained that the Council has three options: 1) uphold the decision made by the Planning Commission, 2) approve the application as submitted, or 3) deny the application as submitted. Ms. Harris noted that the Staff Memo contained Staff's response to the eight issues raised by the Appellant and noted the additional public comments, which are included in the public record.

Ms. Harris answered Council's questions, and clarified: 1) the modified proposal is for a curb and gutter on both sides of Prospect Street, 2) the front yard is determined as the narrowest frontage on a public street with the exception of flag lots, and 3) the flag drive requirements state that the minimum lot size must be met in the bulk of the lot excluding the flagpole piece that extends to the street. Ms. Harris further clarified that the Ordinance requires that flagpoles be deducted from the overall lot size, but driveways do not need to be removed from the calculation. She also clarified that if the project was approved with the Tree Protection Plan, the trees would be required to remain in place and the conditions would be applied permanently to the subdivision.

APPLICANT
Allen Harper/Attorney representing the Applicant/Provided the Council with updated plans with the changes recommended by the Planning Commission and requested that the Council sustain the Commission's decision.

Mr. Harper explained the challenges the Applicant faced in developing an infill proposal for this property. He noted that the Applicant had withdrawn the offsite parking request for the proposed accessory unit and noted that he had provided a written response to the eight issues raised by the Appellant. Mr. Harper stated that this project was very straightforward from a density standpoint, and that the difficulty came from working around the existing terrain and conditions. Mr. Harper stated that it was important for the Council to remember that this project would not have a great deal of impact and stated that there were only three existing dwellings on Prospect St. Regarding the right of ways, Mr. Harper explained that the Applicant was willing to give these improved areas to the City through easements, and if an easement could not be done they would deed over the rights.

Mr. Harper stated that the City's Municipal Code was fairly ambiguous in describing how lot sizes are determined, and explained that in the past, the City has made the interpretation that lot size calculation is determined prior to the dedication being done on the final plat. Mr. Harper noted the trees that would be protected by their Tree Protection Plan and stated that the Applicant had no objections to the conditions also being apart of the CC&R's.

Mr. Harper concluded his testimony by restating that the Applicant would like to dedicate the easement areas to the City, and in return, they asked that any dedication for that land have clear findings on how the lot size is calculated.

Mr. Harper clarified for Council that the revised site plan looked almost identical to the original plan because the Planning Commission's adjustment would only affect the dedication area, not the lot sizes. He also clarified that the reason the Applicant did not want to install a park row on Prospect St. was because it would require them to cut into the hillside and into the tree roots. Mr. Harper noted that in 1959, Prospect St. was vacated with the expressed intent of saving the two trees.

APPELLANT
Randall Hopkins/735 S. Mountain/Stated that the preliminary plat should not have been approved because Lot #7 violated the zoning rules. He noted the Subdivision Design Standards which states that "lots shall meet the requirements of the zone in which the subdivision is located", and explained that Lot #7 does not meet the 10,000 sq.ft. minimum if you do not include the 12.5 ft. right of way. Mr. Hopkins explained that the AMC defines lot area as "the total horizontal area within the lot line of the lot" and that "said area to be exclusive of street right of ways".

In regards to the street exception requested by the Applicant, Mr. Hopkins stated that the Street Standards Handbook declares that the Right of Way Standards for a neighborhood street with double sided parking is 50'-57', and that the current right of way was under that standard at only 28'-43'. Mr. Hopkins stated that the Council should require an additional right of way dedication, which would allow for the installation of sidewalks, a 7' parking bay, and the additional off street parking that Staff said was essential.

Mr. Hopkins read aloud the criteria for the application and noted that in order to be granted an exception, all of the criteria must be met.

Criteria #1: Mr. Hopkins stated that there was no demonstrable difficulty due to the site, and that the Applicant's difficulty was due to the law that does not let allow him to count right of ways in the minimum lot size calculation.

Criteria #2: Mr. Hopkins displayed photographs of what it would look like if the Applicant's exception request to the street standards was granted. He stated that the Applicant could minimize many of the problems by moving the additional on street parking to an area on their land.

Criteria #3: Mr. Hopkins stated that the applicant was claiming that they needed the exception to the street standards in order to save the trees. He explained that there were no trees on Lots #1 or #2, only Lot #3; and that the minimum necessary exception to the street standard would cover Lot #3, but does not provide any justification for an exception for Lots #1 and #2.

Criteria #4: Mr. Hopkins stated that the Applicant's proposal does not reduce the impacts on the environment or the neighborhood, and does not provide a superior quality of life.

Mr. Hopkins stated that the Applicant had failed to meet any of the criteria for the Street Standard exceptions. He noted that there was a 3 unit limit on how many units could be served by a private drive, and that the Applicant was getting an exception to have it serve 5 units. Mr. Hopkins stated the private drive was extremely problematic and possibly dangerous. He also stated that by going off the interpretation that defines the flag pole as the actual driving surface, at least 2 of the proposed lots would not meet the minimum lot size.

Mr. Hopkins stated that the neighbors were seriously concerned that the Applicant was putting too much development into an area that could not handle it. He stated by removing one of the proposed lots, the proposal would reduce the intensity of development, would save more trees and would enhance the value of the lots.

THOSE OPPOSED TO APPLICATION
Rebecca Reid/1036 Prospect St/Stated that she was not against developing this land, but was opposed to the way in which the proposed subdivision would impact the land and the surrounding neighborhood. Ms. Reid stated that too many homes would be placed on the site and that parking and traffic safety would be severely compromised. She also stated that the Planning Department and Planning Commission had used the flexibility in the land use regulations to benefit the few at the detriment of many.

Ms. Reid provided photographs, which displayed the problems on the west end of Prospect St. She explained that double sided parking and low visibility would be a problem and that emergency vehicles could experience difficulties reaching the homes. Ms. Reid stated that this development would significantly contribute to the problems on Prospect and asked the Council to enforce the public right of way up to the turnaround to use for widening the street and provide better parking than what is being proposed by the Applicant. She also requested that the Council enforce the Street and Residential Standards and requested that the Council send this application back to the drawing board in order to resolve the traffic and parking problems.

Philip Phillips/1063 Prospect Street/Submitted photos that illustrated the parking and street issues. Mr. Phillips stated that his home was directly across from the proposed development and spoke against the Planning Action. He stated that his objections were regarding the recommended improvements for Prospect St. and stated that the proposal was not a safe or well thought out solution.

Mr. Phillips explained the parking conditions and noted the slope of Prospect and the drop-off. He also stated that the road seemed busy, even in moderate use because it was a dead-end. Mr. Phillips stated the recommendations would create hazardous conditions and would have significant impacts on the livability, access and safety of the neighborhood. He noted that the City right of way on Prospect St. was slightly in excess of 43', but that the northern 15' was totally unusable, which left only 29' of usable right way. He also noted that the Handbook for Planning Street Standards states that a neighborhood street with parking on both sides must have a right of way of 50'-57'. Mr. Phillips stated that there was not enough City right of way to accommodate all of the proposed improvements and noted that the present travel lane would be narrowed from 21' to 11'.

Councilor Amarotico/Jackson m/s to extend Public Hearing until 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Mr. Phillips stated that additional room needed to be found in order to meet the needs of the development and asked the Council to correct the deficiencies in the street plan before approving the application.

Mr. Phillips clarified for Council that although only three homes are currently located in this area, the street is widely used by delivery trucks and people who are lost, as well as for parking of boats, construction vehicles and motor homes.

Kip Sigetich/1036 Prospect Street/Stated that the right of way needed to be properly defined and excluded from the minimum lot size and stated that he strongly believed that the development would increase traffic congestion and danger on Prospect St. Mr. Sigetich stated that the Applicant was attempting to squeeze too many units in too small a space and that fire safety and traffic problems would derive from the overly dense development. Mr. Sigetich quoted some of the comments made by Planning Commissioners who voiced concern and noted the statement made by Ms. Hickman of the Ashland Fire Department who mentioned the challenges of this area. Mr. Sigetich requested that the rules be enforced, that due and proper consideration be given to all legitimate objections to planning actions, and requested that this proposal be sent back and reworked into something that abides by the rules, standards and ordinances.

Bryan Holley/324 Liberty Street/Noted that back in 1959, the City determined that saving the trees on Prospect was more important than having it paved and that the street has remained unpaved ever since. Mr. Holley noted that down slope from the proposed site there was a number of trees and mature landscaping that could possibly be affected by the proposed development. Mr. Holley asked that the Council weigh the neighborhoods realistic concerns and stated that the neighbors were not asking the Council to stop the development, but rather to fix some of the hasty conclusions made by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Holley clarified for Council that the Tree Commission did not require a security bond for the Tree Protection Plan and that the Commission did discuss the use of pervious paving at their meeting. He clarified that trees are in jeopardy anytime the dripline is invaded or the roots cut. He also noted that the Planning Commission overruled the Tree Commission's recommendation for this Planning Action.

Sean and Kerri Traynor/1071 Wildwood Way/Letter was read aloud and submitted into the record.   [COPY OF LETTER IS ATTACHED TO THE ORIGINAL MINUTES]

Julie Stuelpnagel/1043 Prospect/ Letter was read aloud and submitted into the record.   [COPY OF LETTER IS ATTACHED TO THE ORIGINAL MINUTES]

Public Hearing will be continued at the February 15, 2005 City Council meeting.

PUBLIC FORUM
John Maurer/1085 Elkader Street/Spoke regarding the inappropriateness in regards to the election of the City Mayor. Mr. Maurer stated that rules and regulations are important and if the Mayor took advantage of his position in a nonprofit organization to advance his bid for election, then he should do the right thing and step down as Mayor. Mr. Maurer voiced his concern regarding the integrity of the position and stated that it was up to the Mayor to determine what action would be appropriate. He stated that this issue needed to be addressed and asked the Mayor to respond.

Mayor Morrison stated that he was not proud of the situation and that he considered it a personal failing. Mayor Morrison clarified that there had been no allegations of fraud, but rather it was a violation of company policy. He clarified that the situation had been reported to the Government Standards and Practices Board and they determined that it was not fraud. He explained that he was held accountable for the misuse according to company policy and that he has been held publicly accountable as well. Mayor Morrison stated that it was a regrettable situation, but that he was ready to put this matter behind him and continue to perform his duties as Mayor.

Wes Brain/298 Garfield/Spoke regarding the Ashland Fiber Network and the recent channel changes. Mr. Brain noted that he was on the original programming committee and resigned in August and voiced his concern that Staff had made channel changes with very little notice. Mr. Brain questioned the moving of the Public Access channel and the Free Speech channel. He noted that the Free Speech channel moved from Tier 1 to Tier 3, and stated that this would make it less accessible to many. He also stated that AFN broke franchise agreements with the City of Ashland and submitted a contract into the record.

Councilor Silbiger requested that the AFN programming issue be placed on a future meeting agenda for Council discussion.

On behalf of Mary Gardiner, Councilor Jackson announced that there would be a seminar on February 17th on How Public Arts Benefits a Community, with guest speaker Richard Andrews. On February 18th, there will be a half day forum which will include a range of presentations on various public art issues of interest to city officials and staff, public art commissioners, public art advocates and aspiring public artists.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1.  Election of Citizens' Budget Committee Members (4).

Mayor Morrison provided ballots to the councilors and noted the ten candidates. It was noted that the application period had been extended in order to solicit additional applications.

Suggestion was made that the Council consider the City's Equal Opportunity Policy when voting for the Budget members. Additional suggestion was made that in the future, the Council should encourage this type of information be listed on applications if the applicant wants that to be a criteria that is considered.

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

Council voted on the election of the Citizens' Budget Committee Members. Mayor Morrison announced the results.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to appoint Jay Liniger, Lynn Thompson and James Bond to a term ending December 31, 2007 and Kathleen Makris to a term ending December 31, 2006. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Quarterly Financial Report: October - December, 2004.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg provided the Quarterly Financial Report. He noted that a budget amendment was made on January 4th and is not included in the report. Mr. Tuneberg explained that the Cash Balances were somewhat higher than last year, and noted that this was related to the refinancing of the internal debt for AFN. Personal Services and Material and Services are below the 50% mark, and the Debt Service is well above the 50% mark. Mr. Tuneberg noted that the Ending Fund Balance was $10 Million above budget, which was related to the timing of construction projects and the receipt of property tax revenue. Mr. Tuneberg added that he anticipates that Staff will need to do more adjustments before the end of the year.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to accept the Quarterly Financial Report. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion Passed.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution authorizing Sole Source in entering a Personal Services Contract for the Temporary Performance of the Public Works Director Duties," and Personal Services Contract with Public Works Management, Inc. as the City's Public Works Director.

City Administrator Gino Grimaldi explained that the City's Public Works Director Paula Brown had been called to active duty, which will remove her from her position with the City for approximately 14 months. During that interim time, there is a need to fill her position with the City. Mr. Grimaldi noted the different options that were looked into, and stated that it was determined that Joe Strahl would be the best candidate to fill the interim position. Mr. Strahl was the Public Works Director for Jackson County for several years, and prior to that he was the Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director for Alamosa, Colorado. It was explained the Mr. Strahl now has a consulting firm with his partner Ed Olson, who is also familiar with the Rogue Valley and served as General Manager for the Medford Water Commission.

Mr. Grimaldi requested that the Council approve the proposed Resolution and the contract. He clarified that the proposal is to hire Mr. Strahl and Mr. Olson for approximately 20 hours a week, and that the contract would not exceed $115,000 for the 14 month period. He also clarified that because they will only be working 20 hours a week, the Public Works Department will be picking up the slack and will be compensated by a 5% wage increase. Mr. Grimaldi noted that there was an escape clause in the contract and that the City could terminate the contract without cause by providing written notice 60 prior to termination.

Suggestion was made for Staff to provide a more complete financial assessment in the future.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-07. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Hearn, Amarotico, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

Councilor Jackson/Hearn m/s to approve Personal Contract with Public Works Management, Inc. as the City's Public Works Director. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
It was noted that a Study Session was scheduled for tomorrow, February 3rd. Topics of discussion include the Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) Intertie Project.

Councilor Jackson provided an update from the monthly Regional Policy Solving Committee meeting. She noted that there would be a training seminar for newcomers to obtain an understanding of how the process works and where they are at right now. The training will be held on March 11th at Bear Creek Orchards Auditorium.

Councilor Jackson mentioned that Jackson County was moving ahead with initial action in regards to Measure 37 Claims. A private meeting is arranged for February 16th and the Jackson County Planning Commission will continue its deliberations regarding the code changes on February 10th.

Councilor Jackson also noted that the appeal regarding the Greenway Plan and the Billings Property was appealed to LUBA and that the County had received a remand for clarification. City Attorney Mike Franell added that the reason it was asked to be remanded, was because when Jackson County adopted the 2004 LDO, it caused a situation where the opinion they had previously adopted then became mute.

Finance Director Lee Tuneberg noted that there would be a preliminary Budget Committee meeting on February 10th at 7 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:27 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


Letters Submitted at Council Meeting   (PDF Format)
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