Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
at the February 7, 2006 City Council Meeting.

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 17, 2006
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.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
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APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 3, 2006 were approved as presented.
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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Ashland Housing Commission made their annual update to the Council and identified the activities for the 2006 calendar year. In addition, the commission provided an update of trends regarding housing affordability in Ashland and the region. They listed their goals for the Housing Action Plan as 1) Funding, 2) Reduce Development and Operating Costs, 3) Land Use and 4) Preserve and Create Affordable Housing. The following were noted as the Housing Commission 2006 Goals (items not identified in the Action Plan) as: 1) Land Acquisition, 2) Vulnerable Properties, 3) Land Use, 4) Program Development and Review, 5) Planning Review Process, 6) Inventories and Research and 7) Education and Outreach.

Mayor and Council expressed their appreciation of the Commission.

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CONSENT AGENDA
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Appointment to Planning Commission.
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Councilor Amarotico/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
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PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. Public hearing and first reading by title only of "An Ordinance Vacating an Unopened Public Alley"
City Engineer Jim Olson briefly explained that this is a petition calling for the vacation of an unopened 20-foot wide alley located between Ditch Road and North Street. Mr. Olson gave the background on the alley. He explained the petition requirements and verified that all property owners abutting the alley are included on the petition and over two-thirds of the "affected area" is represented on the petition.

Mr. Olson reported that this vacation is an intent to divide the property owners existing lot at 290 Skycrest Drive into two lots. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposed alley but is tied to a Planning Action. He further explained that although it would be difficult to develop because of the steep grades and lack of connectivity, the alley could offer a possible pedestrian route. As compensation for the loss of the alley right of way, the applicant has offered to dedicate a 0.38-acre parcel of land as parks open space for potential trail purposes. With the alley vacation, the City would relinquish 5,457 square feet of right of way, but would receive in return 16,701 square feet of open space.

Mr. Olson suggested that the following conditions be appended to the vacation of the alley:

A ten-foot wide public utility easement is reserved to the vacation of the alley, if approved.
The applicant grants an approximately 0.38 acre parcel of land to the City for Parks open space.

He clarified that the public utility easement would not allow a building and that the Fire Department has reviewed the vacation.

Public Hearing Open: 7:32 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:32 p.m.

Councilor Jackson/ Amarotico m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading with the conditions outlined above. Roll Call Vote: Chapman, Hartzell, Amarotico, Silbiger, Hardesty and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

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2. Public hearing and first reading by title only of "A Resolution Adopting a Supplemental Budget Establishing Appropriations Within the 2005-2006 Budget"
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented background on the proposed supplemental budget, which is needed to adjust the fiscal year 2005-06 appropriations. He explained that in fiscal year 2005-06 a proposed rate increase, subsidy and larger fund balance carry forward was approved by the council to assure adequate financial resources for the Telecommunication Fund. This is the second supplemental budget request for FY 2005-06 to transfer cash from the Electric and Wastewater funds to the Telecommunications Fund to meet financial requirements including debt service.

Councilor Silbiger voiced his concern with the additional $1million transfer of appropriations to contingency. Mr. Tuneberg explained that funds would only be drawn from this contingency fund through the approval of the council. Due to the public noticing requirement, staff felt that it would be better to do this at this time.

Public Hearing Open: 7:40 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:40 p.m.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2006-01. Roll Call Vote: Amarotico, Chapman, Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson, YES and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

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PUBLIC FORUM
Ambuja Rosen/Spoke regarding her concern on the chaining of dogs and the minimal length of the chain allowed for the dogs.

George Kramer/386 North Laurel/Spoke regarding infill and how he felt it was important to our community. He voiced his concern that some in the community are using infill as "growth." He shared his concern regarding two members of the Planning Commission, who intend to hold public forums on growth have personal agendas and would not provide a balanced point of view. He felt that it is a total disregard to the Planning Commission for these members to go off on their own without the support of the Commission. He asked that these Commissioners be removed from the Planning Commission. Mr. Kramer provided a draft resolution adopting infill development as the preferred method to accommodate future population growth in the City of Ashland. (SUBMITTED INTO THE RECORD AND DISTRIBUTED TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL.)

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. Future Study Session Topics
City Administrator Gino Grimaldi presented to the council the schedule for future study session items for their review. He pointed out that there is a Special meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. on February 9 to discuss the Charter Revision. Council requested that staff look at moving this meeting to 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

Suggestion was made that a study session be scheduled to discuss how the debt service for AFN would happen. Mr. Grimaldi stated that this could be part of the Budget discussion or prior to the Budget discussion. It was council's desire that this discussion happen prior to the Budget discussion.

Council commented on the importance of discussion regarding the Croman property and the Study Session with the Forest Service and Forest Commission. Item #2 was deleted from future study session topics.

Hartzell requested that joint sessions be held in the future with the Planning Commission in order to discuss issues that may necessitate municipal code changes. Council suggested that staff bring back a report on how this would affect the workload of staff.

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NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Request by the Ashland Housing Commission to Expand Their Powers and Duties to Include Review of Current Planning Applications That Contain Affordable Housing
Housing Coordinator Brandon Goldman and interim Community Development Director Bill Molnar presented the request by the Housing Commission for the Council to direct staff to modify the powers and duties of the Housing Commission to allow the body to review those current planning actions that contain affordable housing components. He explained that the Housing Commission would be incorporated into the established planning review process to provide recommendations to the Ashland Planning Commission and Council on applications that contain affordable housing units as required by the land use ordinance, or for developments of greater than two residential units.

Mr. Goldman explained how other commissions (Tree Commission and Historic Commission) review applications to determine whether the applications comply with the criteria relating to their specific area of oversight are met. The Housing Commission would review work in a similar capacity. Additionally, the Housing Commission could make suggestions to applicants that could be incorporated into their proposal, on a voluntary basis, to better structure their projects to address the community needs.

The addition of the Housing Commission to the established plan review process would necessitate additional administrative responsibilities as well as a change in the regular meeting time of the Housing Commission to allow the review within the 120-day time line allocated for current plan review. The proposed change would have an impact on the focus of the Housing Commission in that a significant percentage of their regular meeting time would be dedicated to this new responsibility.

Mr. Goldman stated that staff had not determined the full extent of the impact on the Community Development Department and that the organizational audit will be advantageous in evaluating how significant these impacts would be, given the existing and projected workloads. If council should direct staff to proceed with the modification, an evaluation of the measurable impacts upon the review process, timing, noticing requirements, and estimated workload on Community Development staff can be provided to the council.

Mr. Molnar felt that it would be helpful to use the Housing Commission as a resource but that impact on staff should be considered. He suggested that it would help to get the Housing Commission involved early for projects involving zone changes or annexations.

Staff provided examples of applications where it may have been helpful if the Housing Commission had been involved in the application process.

Housing Commissioners Jennifer Henderson and Bill Street made themselves available to the council for any questions that they have. The Commissioners commented that they are an integral part of the process, which would be helpful when bringing applications forward to the Planning Commission. Stated that by having the Housing Commission involved would bring greater awareness of what works and what does not work. Mr. Street commented that this would be an opportunity for the council to raise awareness of Affordable Housing and the importance of Affordable Housing to the community. He requested that the council identify this as a priority now and that the planners find the time to accommodate this modification.

Mr. Grimaldi stated that we should concentrate on what we want to accomplish and to accomplish it in a timely manner. Hartzell voiced strong support for using staff in order to advocate moving Affordable Housing forward. City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that if input comes in pre-app, it does not come in as automatically part of the record.

Councilor Jackson voiced concern with the workload on staff and the complexity of review on applications by the Housing Commission. She stated that given the current goals of the Housing Action Plan and the Housing Commissions own goals this modification would require a substantial workload on staff and the Commission. She would prefer to see evaluations of our municipal code in how we could accommodate housing needs. She is reluctant to add another Commission to the review sequence. She would prefer staff's recommendation that meetings happen early on in the application process.

Mr. Street noted the diversity of the Housing Commission members and felt that the council has the ability to give the Commission this charge.

Councilor Amarotico supports the idea of the review process before the application and voiced concern with the workload associated with the modification. Councilor Silbiger sees benefit of the Housing Commission's involvement in the pre-app process but voiced concern with anything more than that. Councilor Chapman felt that pre-app is too late. Councilor Hartzell felt that there is a need for the Planning Commission to know what the Housing Commission is learning. She felt that this would be an education of the Planning Commission and that it is very important for the Housing Commission to be involved in order to facilitate Affordable Housing. Ms. Hartzell offered to work on modifications to the Historic Commission or any other Commission that would remove their responsibility to review in order to free up staff time for support of the Housing Commission review process.

Mayor commented that staff has agreed to bring back an assessment on time commitment and where to insert this process. He suggested that council allow staff to do this and hold further discussion once this information has been provided to the council. Mr. Street offered another suggestion that the Housing Commission could be involved in the pre-app and then again at the review process. It was suggested that all commissions be reviewed on their involvement with planning actions. Councilor Jackson felt that in order to do this would require a study session for further discussion.

Councilor Amarotico/Jackson m/s to direct staff to come up with a policy for the Housing Commissions involvement in the pre-app process and for the Housing Commission to report back in a year to see how it is working. DISCUSSION: Mr. Street felt that this is a good start but that meeting with the Planning Commission would be a good two-way street discussion and opportunity for education. Voice Vote: Amarotico, Jackson, Chapman, YES; Hardesty, Hartzell and Silbiger, NO; Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

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2. Council Chair Election
Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to elect Councilor Amarotico as Council Chair for the year 2006. Voice Vote: all AYES. Councilor Hartzell was out of the room. Motion passed.
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3. Approval of Public Contract Greater than $75,000 - QWEST, Internet Bandwidth
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented staff report on the approval of a 24-month agreement with Qwest to provide internet bandwidth and a local loop connection from inside the AFN head-end control room to the Qwest data network. He explained that contracting for bandwidth has been difficult and irregular for the City. AFN is currently utilizing two suppliers for bandwidth, a contract with Hunter and one with Qwest. Staff feels strongly at this time that it is in the City's best interest to have two sources for Internet Bandwidth.

Current purchasing rules exempt bandwidth from bidding but the City's purchasing rules require that the contract come before the Local Contract Review Board for approval. Mr. Tuneberg explained that quotes were requested from several supplies for internet bandwidth. The 2-year agreement amounts to $156,793.00.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that the Oregon State Public Records law does provide for confidential of records if there is confidential clause in the contract.

Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve public contract with Qwest for internet bandwidth and local loop connection be approved based on written findings. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

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4. Ratification of New Agreement with the IBEW Electrical Workers Union
City Attorney Mike Franell presented the negotiated tentative agreement for the IBEW Electrical Workers Union. Mr. Franell gave brief background on the negotiations that took place since June 2005 and noted the basic changes from the agreement as the following:

Adding funeral leave which was expanded to include in-laws, step children and parents in the definition of immediate family
Allow new members 12 months to establish residency within a 30 minute response time area
Clarification that the City is providing an insurance plan and that individual benefits within the plan are subject to change by the insurance vendor
Provides a Medicare supplement for retirees between the ages of 60 and 65 for current employees, but not for new employees after June 30, 2005.
Wage increases as follows:
Electrical Workers
July 1, 2005 - 3%
January 1, 2006 - 2.5%
July 1, 2006 - 1.5%
January 2, 2007 - 3%
July 1, 2007 - 5%
AFN Workers
July 1, 2005 - 3%
July 1, 2006 - 3%
July 1, 2007 - 3%
Agreement will be for a three-year term

Staff clarified that there are no vacancies in the department and that there has been no recent turnovers.

Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to approve IBEW Electrical Workers Union contract. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

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5. Approval of a Public Works Construction Contract in Excess of $75,000 - Miscellaneous Concrete Construction Project 04-04
City Engineer Jim Olson presented the Public Works Construction contract and stated that it has become increasingly difficult in the transportation projects to get good bids for the project. Mr. Olson explained that staff has been combining projects in order to attract more bidders and that this was done with this project. However, due to shortage of workers in this field, cost of goods and services, only a single bid was received, which was much higher than the engineer's estimate. He stated that the project has been organized into three distinct bid schedules to provide flexibility in the size and composition of the project.

Mr. Olson explained that two of the projects associated with this contract have grant monies associated with them and to delay them may affect these grants. Staff is recommending that the contract be awarded for Schedules B and C at a total cost of $372,320 and that Schedule A be delayed until a later date. He explained that the only schedule not encumbered by grant driven time constraints or LID requirements is Schedule A, which is a sidewalk construction project.

He further explained that the resolution governing Local Improvement Districts would not allow the estimated assessment to increase any more than 10% even though the bid is approximately 42% higher than estimated.

Mr. Olson stated that they had considered breaking the project into smaller projects but the smaller companies were not interested. He noted that the cost of concrete has increased substantially. He clarified that some of the areas that have potential liability issues for sidewalks, that LTM has agreed to include these areas in the contract. He stated that in many cases the responsibility of sidewalk repair actually is with the property owners, the areas he is speaking of are on city property.

Mr. Olson clarified that the downtown sidewalk project needs to be considered in regards to the grants monies associated with this project and that it would be best to have the project completed before summer. He clarified that the bump outs were identified in the prior downtown plan and it was determined that due to the pedestrian benefit it would be best to move this forward. Mr. Olson stated that if this project were held off, it would result in the loss of grant monies.

Councilor Amarotico disclosed a potential conflict of interest due to his ownership of a business in the downtown area and would not have an impact on his decision-making in this matter.

Mayor Morrison noted that one of the intersections involved in this project is a particular dangerous intersection and did result in a loss of life previously.

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

Anthony Kerwin/300 W. Nevada/Expressed his support of approving the contract for improvement of Nevada Street and the downtown area.

Nora Knox/276 W Nevada Street/Voiced her support on the acceptance of this bid by the council. Noted the amount of time and energy that has been put into this LID and requested that the council approval this contract in order to move forward with the project.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Voiced his concern with what he perceived as a 42% increase in the Nevada Street Local Improvement District. He stated that there had been incorrect cost sharing percentages and that the City Attorney had not corrected this problem. He feels that this request shifts thousands of dollars more from the subdivision onto the shoulders of the Ashland taxpayers. Mr. Bullock stated that the council could not approve this contract without a resolution. He further cited what he felt were numerous ethic violations by Public Works Director Paula Brown, concern by the lone bid from LTM, unsafe concrete sidewalks, and painted ladder crosswalks. (COMPLETE WRITTEN COMMENTS SUBMITTED INTO THE PUBLIC RECORD.)

The following individuals submitted written comments into the record:
Daniel DeNeui/216 W. Nevada Street; Christina Linquist/266 W. Nevada Street, Helen Troutman/95 West Nevada Street and Mark Knox/276 W Nevada Street.

City Attorney Mike Franell stated that he does not agree with Mr. Bullock's statements and that the council would not be making a decision based on false information. He commented on the appropriateness of the proposed sidewalks, how this project would benefit all the property owners in the area because the city is participating at a greater extend rather than doing a technical breakdown. He explained that because it is being viewed as a pedestrian improvement project and is classified under the 60% sidewalk improvement. He clarified that the city is operating under an estimated assessment and allows the city the ability to obtain funds over the 10%. Does not feel there would be a breach of trust on the council's part if they were to approve this contract.

Mr. Olson offered some examples of where costs could be cut in the project, but noted that these changes would be subject to the review of the contractor

Councilor Chapman voiced concern with changes associated with the downtown and his concern with being held hostage by one concrete company.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve a contract to LTM Inc. for $372,320. DISCUSSION: Mr. Franell clarified that Mr. Bullock had asked the court for an injunction on moving forward on this LID, but the court denied his request. If the court finds that there has been an incorrect cost sharing percentage then the city would need to hold another public hearing. Voice Vote: Amarotico, Hartzell and Jackson, YES; Hardesty, Silbiger and Chapman, NO; Mayor Morrison, YES. All AYES. Motion passed 4-3

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6. Approval of a Public Works Construction Contract in Excess of $75,000 - 2005 Utility Construction Project No. 04-07
City Engineer Jim Olson presented the contract for the 2005 Utility construction project.

Councilor Silbiger/Amarotico m/s to approve the award of a contract to Tobiasson Excavation for the 2005 Utility Construction Project at a total cost of $359,967. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of, "An Ordinance Amending Chapters 18.24, 18.28, and 18.88 of the Ashland Municipal Code - Land Use Ordinance, Regarding Conservation Density Bonus Point Calculations for Residential Development"
Item was delayed due to time constraints.
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OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBER
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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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