MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 6, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting the order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine were present.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to add the Executive Session to the Agenda. VOICE VOTE: All AYES.
DeBoer removed Item 10, Ordinances, Resolutions, and Contracts from the agenda.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Council Meeting Minutes of February 20, 2001, were approved with the following amendment: page 3, paragraph 12, end of line 3, should be changed to read, ". . . Social Service grants."
Councilors Morrison/Reid m/s to accept the minutes with the change. VOICE VOTE: All Ayes.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Presentation of budget award from GFOA.
Finance Director Lee Tuneburg accepted the award.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Report on Certified Wood Resolution.
Hartzell requested the removal of Item #2 from the consent agenda.
DeBoer made the following correction to the February 21, 2001 Study Session Minutes: page one, under Call To Order " . . . the meeting began at 12:10 p.m."
Councilors Hanson/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #1 with amendment to Study Session Minutes. VOICE VOTE: All Ayes
DISCUSSION ITEM #2: Scoles clarified that bid documents have not been prepared, but a provision for itemization will be part of the process. Hartzell noted that a workshop regarding the use of certified wood products is planned for March 9, at SOU.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke regarding his concerns for the closing of the library during construction, and questioned any potential savings. Swales requested notification for the citizens, should it be closed.
DeBoer noted that no determination has been made about closure. The Friends of the Library has not made any concession regarding this issue.
Scoles clarified that there is a potential cost and time savings if the library is not active during construction. The Jackson County Library system will have the final decision on closure.
Russ Silberger/562 Ray/Spoke regarding the OSF parking facility construction. He noted that the issue has been on the Look Ahead, but has not been on the agenda. He noted that the original cost of $600,000 has jumped to over $845,000. Silberger stated that OSF is under the impression that the council would prefer not to operate the parking facility, and they are willing to amend the lease. He questioned whether this was true.
Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to add the OSF Parking Facility to the agenda under Unfinished Business. VOICE VOTE: All Ayes. Motion Passed.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Spoke regarding the proposed Mt Ashland Cable Replacement Project. He requested that the City endorse placing requirements on the Forest Service before allowing the project to move forward. The requirements would include: to map the entire development, to develop and complete a plan to mitigate existing problems in relation to soil movement and erosion, and to develop an on-going and thoroughly documented program to monitor soil delivery from the current development.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to add the Mt. Ashland Cable Project to the agenda under New and Misc. Business. VOICE VOTE: Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, and Morrison - Yes. Laws and Fine - No. Motion Passed.
Ron Roth/6950 Old 99 South/Spoke regarding development of a public planning process for properties acquired with meals tax money, whether it is open space or wastewater treatment property. Roth requested that the council, should they decide to sell a property, allow for public input at an open meeting before a decision is made.
Scoles stated that a determination regarding the OSF parking facility should occur in six weeks (approximately April 20, 2001). The City was waiting for a final estimate for the structure, which was received on March 1. He has not talked with OSF, but he has received the revised numbers for construction.
DeBoer noted his concern that the council has agreed to pay a portion, but the cost has since increased by 40%. OSF applied for, and received a grant from the State for $600,000, which when added to the loan comes to $1.5 million. There has been discussion between administration and OSF to come to an agreement about how the grant is divided.
Nolte clarified that the facility is under public ownership, but the construction project is private. He confirmed that the contractor is required to pay a prevailing wage to workers.
The council discussed adding this issue to a future council meeting, and agreed that further discussion was needed.
Laws noted that the council has received all the information. The arrangement with OSF was that they would build the structure. There was no arrangement for the council to participate.
Scoles stated that the issue would be added to the next meeting. It is likely that a public hearing would be needed. It needs to be determined how much the City owes. New proposals should be considered. Hartzell asked if Bruce Laird of OECDD would be helpful at the meeting. Scoles stated he would contact Mr. Laird.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Update on the status of the I-5 Welcome Center.
Scoles stated that the 1997 Council supported the Welcome Center, and agreed to provide water and sewer service.
Sandra Slaterly/1415 Hillcrest/Chamber of Commerce Representative/Gave the history of the Welcome Center, noting that the information offered at the center encourages travelers to visit more of Oregon. The center was originally located at the pass, but was moved to the current site on Washington after a terrible auto accident due to inadequate room for merging traffic. It has taken four years to acquire the land and develop the design for the new center. The State has spent $1.5 million on the design, and $3.5 million was set aside for construction. A recent meeting with the county and ODOT on February 23, found that the primary issue is the lack of funds. There has been some confusion about what happened to the $3.5 million.
Scoles clarified that the project does not include annexation of the site. DeBoer noted that the pre-existing site had City water and sewer. Nolte clarified that the City is not bound to provide water and sewer to the new site.
Fine voiced his concern regarding drought conditions and light pollution. He questioned council's opinion regarding moving the site further north. DeBoer noted that the next location, according to ODOT, would be Rogue River. Moving the site that far north would cause Klamath Falls and Bend to miss tourism opportunities, because travelers would have already missed the turn-offs.
Laws stated that Ashland tends to be a destination, and travelers would come without the influence of the Welcome Center. He agreed that travelers need to be informed of opportunities east of the mountains.
Morrison agreed that tourists should be offered information before reaching Rogue River.
Hartzell supported placement of the site at the south end of the City. She has concerns regarding water issues and light pollution.
Reid stressed that the land-use portion of the hearing will be conducted at the county level, not by the City.
Joe Tilson/840 Cypress Point Loop/Oak Noll neighborhood representative/Noted that the several hundred homes located near the new site did not know, until recently, that the rest stop would accommodate 100 trucks. The homeowners are concerned about noise and air pollution. If trucks were not allowed, light pollution could be avoided, because they could be lower to the ground. Tilson was concerned about possible safety hazard of trucks merging with other vehicles on I-5, and noted that truck drivers do not add to the local economy. Tilson strongly urged the council to exercise its influence to keep the trucks out.
Slatterly clarified that the trucks could be allowed access to the Port of Entry station on I-5, but ODOT seems uninterested in the possibility. The POE is not usually used for this purpose, partly because of the trucker unions. She noted that it is possible to build a wall to minimize noise. Slatterly clarified that State representatives are going to Washington DC to speak about the Land-use project and possible funding. The elected officials feel that because the money was allocated, it should be there to cover the cost, and question what has happened to the funds. ODOT is more interested in using their money to build roads and bridges. Rest stops and welcome centers are of low importance.
Hanson summed up the issue by stating that there is no money, no permit, and the land-use application has been withdrawn. Slatterly agreed with the summation, adding that the State has spent $1.5 million and nothing has come of it. At this point, the issue is out of the City's hands.
2. Review of Draft 2001-2002 Strategic Plan Priorities.
Scoles gave an update on the Strategic Plan, and asked the council for a review. DeBoer suggested giving Scoles written proposals. Council engaged in a general discussion. All agreed to put suggestions in writing. Scoles will take the suggestions, make the changes, and provide a separate sheet with the list of changes.
3. Discussion of potential council workshop.
DeBoer tabled the discussion for an informal meeting in April.
4. Sale of SOU (Perozzi) property.
Scoles stated that a Joint Study Session with the Parks Commission was held to discuss the SOU property. Many meetings have been held in response to council's request for alternatives.
Parks Department Director Ken Mickelsen outlined four options regarding the property, which include: 1) the outright purchase of the property; 2) negotiating with SOU (after March 9) to add restrictions to the development of the property; 3) purchasing an easement on the property; 4) writing a letter to the university as part of the public comment process, whether or not the first three options were instituted.
Laws stated that SOU is not obligated to accept any of the offers. Rather than placing restrictions on the property, the university could notify potential purchasers of the City's desire for limited development and indicate their support. He would rather approach the situation more positively. Mickelsen responded that it could be done that way, but placing restrictions would hold more weight.
Mickelsen clarified, regarding the open space budget, that if the property was purchased for $900,000 it leaves over $1 million to purchase other properties. The Park Commission has made city parks a high priority, and the purchase of the SOU property would hamper their development. Mickelsen clarified that option four, writing the letter, lets SOU and potential purchasers know about the City's concerns. Nolte explained that under the State Statutory scheme for selling state-owned property, SOU is required to solicit and consider any concerns.
Bob Stall/1375 Woodland/Spoke regarding an article he wrote for the newspaper. He questioned whether there is a right for refusal. Stall recommended purchasing the property. He suggested selling off parcels until the purchase price was recouped, leaving a portion dedicated as open space.
Karen L. Salley/801 Pinecrest/Spoke about wildlife habitat. Salley agreed with Mr. Stall.
John Freedom/442 Holly/Spoke about the environment. Freedom encouraged the Council to take a look at procuring property in a manner in which it pays for itself.
Cyndi Dion/897 Hillview/Urged the council to purchase property. The Comprehensive Plan includes acquiring land. SOU applied for a land partition in October 2000, but the application has not been completed. Any development on that land would require paving, water, and sewage. She was concerned about drainage in the area.
Morrison noted that a lot of ramifications exist for the purchase of the property. He felt he was being pushed into something.
Mickelsen noted that March 9, is the deadline for bids. SOU has not told the City how long they will hold the decision. He clarified that SOU has six months to complete the application for a land partition.
Planning Department Director John McLaughlin stated that the application expires on April 8. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to complete the application. It is legal to purchase the property and sell off parcels, but time constraints include annexation. It is not as simple as cutting up lots, because there are other unknown issues. He added that there has been no urban growth amendment since its inception in 1982.
Public Works Director Paula Brown noted that there are problems with going past the urban boundary. She does not recommend allowing septic systems, and suggested offering sewer hook-up, at the very minimum. More roads could negatively impact the area. Basins would need to be cleaned up. Anytime there is cutting into a steep canyon, there is a possibility of erosion.
Reid stated that she would not make a decision based on speculation. Until SOU opens the bids, there is no way of knowing what options are available.
Mickelsen clarified that the City does not have a first right of refusal, however, SOU is willing to work with the City. It is important to decide if the goal is to limit development or stop it entirely.
Scoles clarified that the rate model for the wastewater plant will use meals tax money through the sunset period. Only 1% was set aside for open space. Nolte stated that it was decreed by ordinance, and the council has the authority to make changes.
Hartzell agreed with Reid in that there is no way of knowing what will happen. She felt that the council must weigh the trade-offs of the resources.
Reid stated there are many private properties along the boundary of the City, and it cannot all be purchased. The SOU property is special, and its sale should be taken into consideration.
Scoles stated that it appears that the best leverage is to meet the statutory requirements and comment on the impacts to the property. The Council's goals must be established before staff can make recommendations.
Fine stated that the City should: 1) take part in the SOU public comment process; 2) encourage SOU to abide by the more stringent City standards, rather than the less environmentally sensitive county standards; 3) encourage staff to move SOU toward a resolution maximizing the potential for recreational space.
Laws stated that the City could not buy all the property on the open space plan. Needs for open space fall into three categories: neighborhood parks, ball fields, and trails for access to nature. There is not enough money to fulfill all the need. He felt the best approach was to wait for the offers to be made, and then talk to the university and any potential buyers. If options are unacceptable, the City could make an offer. Laws felt that unless the Council was willing to obligate itself, the logical approach was to wait and see.
Reid agreed with Laws. She wants to protect the canyon, and does not want to drive the development unless it is advantageous to City.
Fine stated that developers need to understand that there are standards and limitations to the development of the canyon.
Mickelsen advised that there is a potential for coming in with a substantially lower figure without contingencies. There is a value to owning the property without development. SOU could turn the bid down, but there is a good possibility that they would accept.
5. Mt. Ashland Cable Replacement Project
DeBoer stated that the Forest Service wants to replace an existing power line that services the radar and TV station on top of Mt. Ashland. The existing power line is 25 years old, with a 20-year life expectancy. The controversy lies in setting strict restrictions on the Forest Service for placement of the power line.
Hartzell suggested selecting a council liaison to pursue the issue. Brown stated that she has not heard of this issue before, but is willing to pursue discussion with the Forest Service and Pacific Power and Light. She will send a memo to the council of her findings.
Eric Navickas read a letter from Joseph Vaile emphasizing that the power route is part of the C-6 expansion area for Ski Ashland. This issue should be viewed as an entire project and not be pieced up.
Councilors Fine/Hanson m/s to extend meeting past 10 p.m. VOICE VOTE: All Ayes
Opened: 9:50 p.m.
The Council temporarily adjourned the regularly scheduled City Council meeting to an Executive Session, which was held to consider the potential purchase of real property pursuant to O.R.S. 192.660(1)(e).
Closed: 10:11 p.m.
Councilors Fine/Hanson m/s to authorize the city administrator to make a cash offer, using Open Space funds, to purchase the SOU property, without conditions, at the dollar amount and with the promise of certain covenants, as previously discussed in Executive Session, and contingent upon the concurrence of the Parks Commission at a special session within the next 48 hours. Covenants include acquiring the property as public open space and enabling the university to continue using the space for educational purposes. And to direct the city administrator, as part of the statutory comment process, which SOU is obliged to engaged in by statute prior to any sale of the property, to remind SOU of various values of the property, which cash value cannot be put upon.
DISCUSSION: Hartzell clarified that some of the values are monetary, in terms of protection of a drainage area that the City has put a structural investment into.
VOICE VOTE: All Ayes.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Hartzell reminded council of a Community Forum scheduled for April 12, which is related to living in the interface in a safe way in the upcoming fire season.
DeBoer reminded council of the Study Session scheduled for March 7, at noon in the Council Chambers. An update on the fire station project and the urban growth management agreement discussion.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:15
Submitted by Michelle Cole, Assistant to the City Recorder