MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
December 5, 2000, 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order in the Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Wheeldon and Fine were present, Councilor Hanson was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of November 21, 2000 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (none)
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Reid noted her concern regarding the Planning Commission minutes and the connectivity of neighborhoods. She asked for support from the rest of the council regarding the review of the annexation issue. Fine supported the review, and suggested saving the discussion until after the first of the year when the new council members are on board.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Read an article from the October 12, 2000, New York Times regarding Aspen, Colorado. The article centered on resort destinations and the impact to the area due to rapid growth and tourism. He noted that problems experienced in Aspen, Colorado are also happening in the Ashland area. Affordable housing and parking have become huge issues in Ashland, and he hates seeing this happen.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy South/Extended his appreciation to the mayor and council members who are completing their terms of office. He noted the number of hours involved in holding an office and the amount of hard work each has put into their office.
Paul Kay/1234 Strawberry Lane/Officially presented the map of the Bear Creek Watershed to the council and to Public Works Director Paula Brown. Kay thanked Public Works for the work they gave to the project.
1. Ashland Library Expansion Project Update.
City Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderschied explained that under a new state law, the city is allowed to "negotiate with the lowest responsive, responsible bidder, prior to awarding the contract, in order to solicit value engineering and other options to attempt to bring the project within the agency’s cost estimate." Wanderscheid informed the council that SERA Architecture was available to explain and answer questions.
John Echlin from SERA Architecture of Portland spoke regarding design issues, explaining that they are currently working with the contractor to review the design. Rather than the more expensive zinc roofing material, a metal roof is being considered, which would significantly reduce the cost. The zinc roof has a life expectancy of 100 years, whereas the metal roof is expected to last approximately 30 years. In addition, alternatives to mechanical systems and changes to the structure of the building, will bring a reduction in cost. SERA is motivated and confident that they can achieve the goals that were set without compromising the project. Echlin listed the goals for the project.
Echlin confirmed that there were three bidders, and that they were working with the lowest bidder. He explained that the RFP process establishes a level playing field, and that contractors base their bids on the subcontractor's sub-bids combined with their own expenses. The process of collecting bids, allow a search for the best alternatives, in order to get the most for the least amount of money. He clarified for council that the definition of "substantial change" would be defined as a different alternative from the one original chosen for the project. The discussed changes were not in the original project because they were not known at that time. He used the example of steel framing versus wood framing, and explained that the current market for wood is higher than for steel. At the time of the contract, it seemed that wood was the most affordable alternative, but as it turns out, steel is less expensive and better due to its durability. He stated that the important part of the project is making sure that cost savings meet the requirements laid out in the agreement. He clarified that a contractual understanding should be available within two weeks and that after SERA completes negotiations with the contractor, they will report to the council on the changes.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Feels confident that this site could be developed without impacting the park, destroying the trees, or the library entry. This project has been over scaled from the beginning. The voters supported the library bond, but not a "stripped down version." The current council does not have the right to act on this, and he requested that the issue be held until the new council members are in office.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Noted his concern for parking at the library. A large parking structure planned for the downtown area will undoubtedly charge for parking. The parking commission recommends charging for all downtown parking and the surrounding residents would be issued parking permits. The bond, which voters agreed to, included extra parking at the library and Swales stated that there will be less parking, which will probably be paid parking as well. He felt that this goes against the agreement with the voters.
Jim Lewis/640 A Street/Noted his past involvement with the Historic Commission and noted that when the library was built ninety years ago, the Gresham Street location won the vote. At that time, this site was on the edge of town., and during the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, the library structure was reviewed for expansion. He does not remember there being any discussion regarding moving the library to any other site. He felt that the current location is difficult and expensive to develop, and that the planned project does not fit within the neighborhood. He requested that the project be revisited.
Kathy Hollis Cooper/1983 Crestview/Voiced her concern regarding the limited parking for the proposed library expansion. She acknowledged that she had voted for the bond, but does not feel the proposed project is the best alternative. She feels that the library will inconvenient or inaccessible, and noted that other community members feel the same way.
Bram Larrick/300 Sheridan/Stated that he voted for the library expansion, but that there are issues that he was unaware of at the time he voted. He encouraged the council to allow a re-evaluation of the project until a better solution is found.
John Fields/ 845 Oak Street/Noted his involvement with the library expansion committee and how he had supported the project, but found he could not vote for the library due to the lack of space that is needed for the expansion. He noted the outdated reading materials available at the library, suggesting that replacement of existing materials may be a better option to creating a larger space. Fields recommends reducing the size of the proposed building.
Bob Taber/97 Scenic Drive/He is concerned that the voters will not get the building they voter for, adding that they did not know what they were voting on in the first place. Although he has been following the library project from the beginning, he was not aware of the proposed tree removal. A petition was circulated and signed by 1400 citizens, indicating that they were not aware of the proposed tree removal. Taber presented drawings of the proposed project, indicating trees to be removed. The drawing was presented to the Planning Commission, but not to the public. He asked the council to review the project.
Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview/Spoke in favor of the library expansion and explained that the county had stated that the City of Ashland is legally bound to an agreement through the bond issue. She explained that at the community meetings, it was documented that there was a desire to keep the library at the existing site. She stated that, Don Tott, arborist for the Parks Department, had reviewed the trees and made recommendations for moving or removal based on the health of each tree. She agreed that parking is a problem, but felt that alternatives could be found. She requested that the plan move along as proposed.
Charles Ryberg/373 Vista/Noted that Ashland has "bought and paid" for the expansion of the library through the bond sale. He believed that this could not be canceled by anyone, and that neither the council nor the people have the ability to use the money to build a library at a different location. It is his belief that any substantial change, including a purposeful delay, will jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the bond. He stated that voters are responsible for knowing all the facts before making a decision.
Dennis Donahue/54 Gresham/Explained that the new building will include both a large and a small conference room and that ten standard and two handicapped parking spaces are planned, which is less than what is available now. He questioned where the money would come from for the parking plan on Gresham Street, as it was not part of the library bond. He also noted that a painted metal roof is not of the same quality as a zinc roof.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Felt that the footprint could be reduced, which would allow for additional parking. He suggested building up rather than out and asked that the project be scaled down, without reducing the quality of the project.
Diane Schaffer/1016 Timberline Terrace/Voiced her concern for the backward movement of this project. She felt that the proposed building plan is significantly smaller than what was originally proposed. She feels it is insulting to say that the people were unaware of the outcome when they voted for the library. Moving the library to the outskirts of the city in order to allow for parking would limit access to those who drive. Schaffer urged the council to continue the project.
Cate Hartzell/881 E Main/Stated that she had been informed by the city administrator, that the group Friends of the Ashland Library, brought the project to the City in 1998 with the focus of expanding at the current site. Now, two years later, there are other sites where the library could be built. She questioned whether the obligation is to the bondholders or the voters. The options are: acknowledging the need for a significant change, which could be referred back to the voters for supplemental authority; a new plan, or site; giving the money back to the county, which conflicts with other information available; or referring the issue to a judicial validation hearing. She felt the obligation is compliance to voter's approval, an adequate budget, and a building that will last 100 years.
Treva Tumbleson/655 Leonard/Stated that perfection is not always attainable. She clarified that the decision was made to stay at the current site due to polls that were conducted. She voiced her desire for more convenient access to the library, but felt that it was important to improve the building. She supports saving trees, but felt that the library expansion was more important than saving a dying Gingko tree. Tumbleson urged the council to move forward, giving some closure to the issue.
Barbara Ryberg/1373 Vista/Voiced her frustration at the continued questioning of this project and noted that this is the first time the city has undertaken a renovation of a historic building. She explained that a large amount of time and work has been spent on this $5.9 million project and she is astonished that voters want to take back their votes. Ryberg asked that everyone look at this project as a challenge and help move things along.
Beth Towner/1120 Oak Knoll/Is concerned by the citizens who are spreading misinformation about this project and noted that a model of the proposed library was made available to the public for a long period of time. She explained that projects often come in over bid, but that does not mean the whole project should be canceled. She asked the council not to return the money to the county as it is the tax payers money, and we voted for a library. She feels that the parking issue is a way of moving the focus from the expansion and urged the council not to make parking a major issue.
Mike Jewett/Jackson County Attorney/He explained that the letter submitted to the City by Susan Slack was not meant to be a threat, and that under the current authorization of the bond, the library cannot be moved. He explained that the point of the letter was to inform the city, that if a "substantial change" is made, it is not the county's problem, but the problem of the city. Jewett could not clarify for council exactly what "substantial change" means, but felt that moving to another site would certainly mean a "substantial change" had occurred. Jewett suggested that the city seek the advice of Bond Counselor Harvey Rogers and the City Attorney.
City Attorney Paul Nolte explained that on the Ballot Title there is a caption, a question, and a summary. The explanatory statement is not part of the Ballot Title, but is included in the voter's pamphlet as an objective description of what the bond will do. In order to define a "substantial change", advice from the county’s bond counsel is necessary. Nolte explained that if the money is returned, the county would determine if it could be spent on other projects, and that whether the money is given back or not, Ashland still pays the taxes. He explained that the money that was returned could be used to call the bonds at an early call, probably ten years.
Jewett stated there is a timing issue and he is not sure if the county could reallocate the money elsewhere very quickly. He felt that the situation would have to be negotiated.
Reid suggested bringing the current council members together with the newly elected mayor and councilors at a study session in order to have a discussion regarding this issue.
Wanderschied clarified for the council that the contingency fund in the original budget set by the architects was 10%, which is $470,000. He noted that one of the concerns, is that the library is an old building and that it is difficult to determine any problems that may arise. He explained that typically, as firm costs are gathered, there is more comfort in lower contingency numbers, but once there is a signed contract, 10% of the cost is probably an adequate contingency. He further explained that, not less than 5% is recommended for a contingency, and SERA confirmed that they were comfortable with a 10% contingency. SERA explained that the Carnegie Library is a fairly straight-forward building, and they are aware of the problem issues.
City Administrator Greg Scoles confirmed for the council that there is no intention of signing a contract with a low bidder until the issue is settled with the council. Fine voiced his support in having a study session where all the issues and details are brought forward before a contract is signed.
Echlin explained that SERA's main consideration was the compatibility with the historic Carnegie Library. He confirmed that he felt the best possible solution was to build on the current site, and that SERA wants to preserve the Ethel Reid Park, and to restore the landscape and character of the park. He explained, that in regard to the historic front entry, that if security issues are resolved it could be used again. He pointed out that parking had been studied extensively, and that all points brought forward would be taken into consideration. Echlin explained that the footprint of the building cannot be shaved because there are specific guidelines for handicap accessibility and that the only way to reduce the building would be to lop off structural bays, but that would effect the functionality.
Council engaged in discussion regarding validity of having a public meeting to discuss the library.
Echlin stated there has been no discussion to eliminate the conference rooms, and that the quality of materials, other than the roof, will not be reduced. He explained that due to the height limit, the building cannot be raised any higher. In terms of the sustainable, green building features, he explained that if the City were to decide to pursue certification of the project, the building meets many green measures.
Ronnie Budge/Jackson County Library Director/Explained efforts are being made to make all libraries as efficient as possible in the expectation that staff may not be added. The proposed library expansion for Ashland is specifically designed as a one-level building where staff has the ability to supervise large areas from a central point. Custodian costs will increase due to the larger size of the building, but savings will be found in the decrease of repairs currently needed for the older building. Budge explained that enough bonds have been sold according to the amount of projects that can be completed.
Laws voiced his concern regarding the legality of changes. He stated that the initial ballot title, ballot explanation, voter's pamphlet statement, agreement with the county, and the agreement with the bond holders, all put constraints on changes that can be made. He felt that the ballot title is fairly broad, but that the voter's pamphlet is more restrictive. He feels morally obligated to uphold the voter's decision, even if some of them have had second thoughts. He stated that the question is: Are there so many changes in the project that it is no longer the same thing that the people voted on? He supported delaying the signing of a contract until after the council had reviewed the plan.
George "Bing" Sheldon of SERA Architects stated that by making a motion that is a stringent legal statement, the council may not receive an answer for months. He explained that in order to fulfill this direction, a full set of contractual documents would need to be revised and then go through the City approval process before a legal document was produced, which could take months. He stated that the council would need to accept a written description of the changes and an explanation of the qualitative differences, that the contractor would not sign a contract until the documents had been revised and approved. He suggested making a motion that would less legally binding.
Laws noted that he had discussed with Mayor-elect Alan DeBoer the library issue and that DeBoer expressed his desire of the council considering the possibility of a contract manager to work on this project. Shaw noted that due to the conversation she had with DeBoer on this same suggestion, the suggestion had been forwarded to staff.
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s that any project changes negotiated between the City of Ashland officials and the apparent low bidder or any other party for or relating to Public Library construction be brought to a study session of members and members elect of this body for discussion. The project, as modified, will then be brought to the City Council for approval before entering into any contract. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Wheeldon and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead. (Postponed)
2. Status Update on this Fiscal Year's Capital Improvements Program. (Postponed)
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading of "An Ordinance Repealing the Curfew Ordinance, Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 10.84."
Lyn Horstemeier/920 Cambridge/Requested that the proposed ordinance repeal is held off until the newly elected officials take office. She feels that underage individuals are loitering in the plaza area late in the evenings and that the curfew law should be enforced.
Fine stated that the curfew ordinance is constitutionally invalid and if problems arise from increased activity by minors, the State law could be adopted as a City ordinance with the time of 11 p.m. substituting for midnight.
Councilors Reid/Hauck m/s to approve Ordinance. DISCUSSION: Fine suggested adopting the state curfew law. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Hauck, Laws, Fine, and Wheeldon, YES. Motion passed.
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to extend meeting past 10 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "An Ordinance Providing a Process for Claims Related to Regulatory Takings Arising Under the 2000 Amendment to Article 1, Section 18 of the Oregon Constitution (Ballot Measure 7) and Declaring an Emergency." (First reading of ordinance by title only and adoption after second reading by title only).
Councilors Fine/Hauck m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Wheeldon, Laws, Reid, and Hauck, YES. Motion passed.
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to approve Ordinance and declare an emergency for immediate effectiveness. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Wheeldon, Laws, Reid, Hauck, YES. Motion passed.
Nolte explained that the League of Oregon Cities, the City of Portland, and the City of Eugene are filing a lawsuit to challenge the Measure 7 amendment for not meeting the constitutional requirements for a constitutional amendment. By joining, the City of Ashland would be a named party in the suit and that the expense would be spread among the jurisdictions participating, and possibly those who do not participate may contribute money as well. Costs are estimated to be $100,000 to $150,000 and Ashland's share would be under $10,000.
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s that the city join with the League of Oregon Cities, City of Portland and the City of Eugene in filing a lawsuit challenging the Measure 7 amendment for not meeting the constitutional requirements for a constitutional amendment. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Wheeldon and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Establishing a Fee for Claims Filed Under Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 18.114 (Regulatory takings Under Measure 7-2000)."
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to approve Resolution. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Wheeldon, Reid, Fine and Hauck, YES. Motion passed.
4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Declaring Canvass of the Vote of the Election Held in and for the City of Ashland, Oregon, on November 7, 2000," and Mayoral Proclamation.
Councilors Fine/Wheeldon m/s to approve Resolution and Mayoral Proclamation. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Fine, Wheeldon, Hauck, and Laws, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Discussion regarding appointment of member of Conservation Commission to the Demolitions Review Board.
Wheeldon explained that there is not a single qualified person on the commission who could speak to the waste stream issue intended for discussion. She asked that the ordinance be amended. Staff was directed to bring back an amendment to the demolition ordinance, replacing the conservation member requirement with a citizen-at-large who had knowledge of building material recycling, and be appointed by the mayor.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.