Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, January 05, 1999

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 5, 1999
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m., in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

OATH OF OFFICE
City Recorder Barbara Christensen administered the Oath of Office to Councilors Susan Reid, Cameron Hanson, and David Fine, who were elected to office for the period January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2002.

ROLL CALL
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.

MAYOR’S ANNUAL ADDRESS
Mayor Shaw delivered her annual "State of the City" address (see attached "State of the City".)

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Wheeldon asked for a clarification in the first full paragraph on page five. Stated that it should indicate the amount as $33,000 not $233,000. Also stated that there needs to be a clarification on page five, _ of the way down where it states "....important to support staff", to indicate that "Council requested staff create a specific line item for the $30,000 for LID retrofitting."

The regular meeting minutes of December 15, 1998 were approved as amended.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
None.

CONSENT AGENDA
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Monthly Departmental Reports.

Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to approve consent agenda. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
  1. Public Hearing and Council motion authorizing a loan application to Oregon Economic Development Department for the Ashland Fiber Network.

  2. City Administrator Mike Freeman provided background information (see attached "AFN Testimony".) Asked that Council consider the application and authorize the Mayor to sign.

    Director of Finance Jill Turner provided information on project funding. Noted that the loan proposed is similar to a revenue bond, and is in fact a revenue bond, but issued by the State rather than the City. Explained that this is advantageous in that the issuance costs are provided as economic development money by the State. In addition, this issuance would be backed by all previous users of this bond, and issuance could likely be complete by April or May.
    Explained the process involved, noting that the issuance would be through the bond market, and the City would pass an ordinance entering into a contractual relationship with the State. This should take no more than 60-90 days. After this public hearing, the application can be submitted, and State review will take about 30 days. The City will do any further work required, and then the Ordinance entering into a contract could be brought to the Council in March, and the bonds issued in April or May.

    Offered to take any questions the Council might have. Confirmed that this option is the most effective one available, and at the best rate. While this sort of loan has never before been used for a telecommunications project, it is uses statewide for water and sewer projects. Councilor Hauck emphasized that this option is cheaper than others, and is not the only option available. Turner reiterated that this loan is the best alternative available at the present time.

    Public hearing opened at 7:43 p.m.

    John W. Nicholson/1575 Greenmeadows Way/
    Submitted a prepared statement to the Council emphasizing his concerns with the AFN and uncertainties in the R.W. Beck report. Urged that the City focus on more necessary infrastructure, put the AFN project to a vote of the people, and seek a public-private partnership to finance AFN efforts.
    Roger Harris, of Crestview Cable, representing the Oregon Cable Telecommunications Association (OCTA)/Read a letter from Mike Dewey, Executive Director of the OCTA to Mike Freeman. Noted that City is requesting a $4.6 million loan, and stated that the OCTA opposes this request and will intervene with the State. Emphasized that the OCTA is not opposed to competition, which is becoming more intense, but does see an inherent wrong in being forced to compete with a regulator, especially when that regulator is using government money to compete. Noted that regional rural investment dollars and Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program requests were both denies. Stated that the question is, should State money go to a local government in order to compete with private enterprise while declaring it to be "economic development". Expressed concern at the City’s using its power to compete, and stated that this is a risky business endeavor and is not a prudent investment when there is a local business on hand willing to invest private funds. Cited a study on local government overbuilds of private cable companies as not prudent. Freeman questioned this study; Harris responded that Mike Dewey, the author, could provide this information, and stated that the original letter was in the mail.

    Closed 7:47 p.m.

    Wheeldon questioned if the OCTA was the group the City had tried to join. Lovrovich noted that the City had looked into membership, but stated that he saw no disadvantage in not being a member. Hauck noted that an OCTA board meeting has occurred since the City’s application, and the City has not been made aware of the result.

    Freeman noted that the City had received its approved PUC permit today. Stated that one argument that had been put forth to the PUC was the issue of providing service while serving as a regulator of that service. Pointed out that this argument was found to be invalid in the view of the PUC. Emphasized that the City is now fully licensed to begin providing telecommunications services.

    Wheeldon asked for clarification about the form of the City’s regulation of the industry. City Attorney Paul Nolte clarified that regulation has to do with right-of-way, and that it does not have to do with competition.

    Fine also stated that he sees no legal merit in this argument, as the AFN is to provide much more than simply cable television service. Emphasized that the services proposed by Falcon Cable are nowhere near what the AFN will provide. Further, based on the available projections, anyone looking at the reports would conclude that this is indeed a prudent investment.

    Regarding the regulation issue, Hauck noted that by law the City could regulate cable rates through and application to the FCC, but the City has not sought this power and thus cannot regulate competition.

    Hanson questioned Mr. Harris’s reference to these funds as an award when it is in fact a loan, not a grant of public funds, and will be repaid with interest. Turner clarified that the issuance costs are being paid by the State.

    Councilors Fine/Hauck m/s to adopt the staff recommendation that the City pursue financing of the AFN through the State Economic Development Department by directing the Mayor to sign the SPWF application on behalf of the City of Ashland. Roll call vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.

  3. Public Hearing regarding Planning Action #98-091, a request for a Site Review to demolish the existing hotel and construct a 10,901 square foot retail building, and convert the existing 24 hotel units to studio apartments for the property located at 1520 Siskiyou Blvd.


Mayor Shaw read the guidelines and procedures for a Land Use Public Hearing.

EXPARTE CONTACT:
Councilor Fine made the following declaration:
"My home is located about three blocks southwest of the land in question. Therefore it is at least within the realm of possibility that the Council’s action in this matter either could be to my pecuniary detriment or to my pecuniary benefit - although I really couldn’t even begin to guess which outcome in this appeal might be more likely to produce either result. In any event, and in compliance with ORS §§244.010(7)(b) and 244.120(2)(a), I announce that this situation exists as I am required to do by law. I now shall proceed to hear and determine this appeal along with all other Members of this Council."

Wheeldon declared that she had a brief conversation with the director of the Planning Commission, has read the notes and was familiar with the site.

Councilors Hanson, Hauck, Reid and Laws noted making site visits.

PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 8:02 p.m.


STAFF REPORT:
Senior Planner Bill Molnar explained the requirements that need to be met by the applicant for approval. Noted that the intention was to demolish the old hotel structure and build retails space, and renovate the newer units into apartments.

Explained the site with overheads. Noted that the re-development will be in the lower area near Siskiyou Boulevard. Stated that the entrance will remain, that additional parking will be added, and that one driveway will be eliminated and the other will provide entry and exit from Walker Avenue. Noted the existence of a walkway connecting the parking area and the sidewalk, and the possibility of outdoor seating in the public space provided.

Noted that the Planning Commission had approved the application, with two commissioners voting no. Explained that the focus of the appeal, and of the discussion at the Planning Commission hearing, have to do with the existing trees on this commercial property. Pointed out that there are a dozen or so larger trees along the property line, and more situated around the property. Stated that those significant trees intended for removal were indicated on the overhead site plan by red circles. Stated that the trees that seemed to be of particular concern were the larger cedars and conifers near the intersection of Walker Avenue and Siskiyou Boulevard, and near the Walker Avenue entrance to the property. Explained that these trees are 2-3 feet in diameter and 35 or more feet high. Noted that some large trees were to be retained.

In summary, stated that the focus has been on the trees, and noted that the Planning Commission had tried to give equal weight to all design standards. In their decision, they felt that the design attempted to save as many trees as possible. Pointed out that because of the size and location of this project, it was subject to large scale development standards and detailed review. The standards which needed to be balanced dealt with the need to keep buildings near the street and provide parking at the rear. Noted that this requires considerable grading, with an 8-9 foot rise. Explained that a two-story design with a smaller footprint was discussed. Also emphasized that the design tries to mitigate the tree removal with elaborate landscaping and the addition of numerous trees.

Mayor Shaw questioned whether a two story with the rear portion of the first floor below grade, to allow less grading to be considered. Molnar stated that the applicant had several reasons not to pursue a two-story design, including the fact that a marketing study indicating that a single story would be the most marketable design.

Wheeldon questioned the growth to be expected when established trees are transplanted, asking whether smaller trees could be put in to start to quicken the time it would take to establish themselves on the property. Molnar discussed the growth needs of larger trees relative to their size. Wheeldon also inquired as to whether moving these trees had been discussed. Molnar noted that there had been calls from parties interested in moving the trees, but that they hadn’t seen how large trees were. Stated that 3 foot diameter trees would not be moveable.

Mayor Shaw questioned whether there had been any attempt on the part of the staff to mediate a compromise. McLaughlin stated that staff had not attempted to facilitate mediation as they have in some past cases.
Councilor Reid questioned whether there would be sufficient grounds for an appeal of tonight’s decision. Shaw stated that an appeal was likely regardless of the decision, and urged seeking a solution that would be amenable to both sides. McLaughlin pointed out that mediation is usual procedure for neighborhood issues, but that this item had only had two speakers in the Planning Commission hearing. The conflict didn’t arise until after the Planning Commission ruling.

APPLICANT:
John Hassen/129 South Oakdale Ave., Medford/Attorney for the applicant/
Noted that he had submitted a memo in support of the Planning Action for the record. Urged Council to focus on existing guidelines and criteria in looking at this matter. Asked that staff memorandum and the record of planning commission proceedings be made part of the record.

Alex Jansen/12466 S.E. Spring Mountain Drive, Happy Valley/Explained that he was the son of the owner of the Hillside Inn, and was acting as his father’s agent in this matter. Emphasized that his family has owned this property for 25 years, and are long time contributors to the Ashland community. Stated that they have made changes in the property several times over the years, and have always taken care of the property. Pointed out that the Inn’s operations have been losing money for years, and present occupancy rates are well below state averages. The property is aging and the Inn is losing its competitive advantage. The business that has been built over the years was to have been the sole source of retirement income, and this action is needed to help financially with his parents’ retirement. Noted that they have hired several local experts (a designer, an architect, an arborist, and a forester) to find the right solution given the economic realities of the situation and the City’s site design and use guidelines. Noted that the real estate consultant used was asked to determine a solution for a sustainable, marketable development.

Dave Richardson/Architecture Design Works/1105 Siskiyou Boulevard/Noted that he has practiced locally for 20 years, and understands the City’s ordinances and their intent. Emphasized that in preparing this design, there was no intention to do anything detrimental to the site, and long hours were involved as several options were considered. Explained that the design process involved working with the applicant and a landscape architect to look at slope, shape, unit arrangement, economic feasibility, entrances and exits, and parking to meet the goal of an economically sustainable retail building. Explained that the site is zoned C-1 commercial with the motel as a conditional use. Noted that the building is stepped due to the slope, because of City’s desire to have the building near the street. The grade puts the rear of the building 8-9 feet down into the site. Concluded that the decision to remove the trees was not arbitrary, and that all involved had tried to work around the trees, but there was no way to build that would accommodate the rootlines. Noted the artist’s rendering provided to Council, and stated that the applicant has done all that they have been asked to do.

Jon Galbrath/815 E. Jackson Street, Medford/Landscape Architect/Discussed tree structure, noting that the roots of conifer trees can extend out 2-3 times the height of the tree. If construction cut the roots back to the dripline, it would hurt up to 50% of the tree’s root structure. While this might go unnoticed for years, it could eventually kill the tree. Past construction on this site has killed trees and caused them to fall, and another fir tree died when paving was put in around it.

Leo Jansen/2980 Marigold Lane, Medford/Owner, acquired this property in 1974. Since then, has renovated and improved the site consistently. Have put in all existing vegetation over the years, and worked to make the site what it is. Guaranteed that anything done will be an improvement, but acknowledged that the trees are a problem. Stated that he would be willing to donate them to anyone who was willing to move them.

Mayor Shaw questioned whether the applicant was to address the standards and requirements. Hassen confirmed that this is addressed in the record, and will not be addressed separately here. Laws noted that criteria are on page 5 in the Council packets. Hassen noted that there is not time to address criteria tonight, and the record already contains this information. Felt that there was a need to address design issues around the trees as that was the area of concern.

IN FAVOR:
Cliff Moran/1336 Elm Street/
Noted that he is in the motel business, and when he moved in, many motels looked like Pine Motel. All have improved since, and all of these improvements have involved removal of big trees. Cited the construction of SOU’s student union as another incidence of tree removal, noting that the big trees were replaced and the new trees did not take long to establish themselves. At his home, he noted that trees have gotten big in as little as 6 years. Emphasized that this is a commercial site, and keeping the trees is inappropriate to development and unsafe. Stated that Jansen would not take them down if there was another option, but this will be a community improvement.
Donald Rist/260 Joy Drive in Talent/Stated that he has known the applicant for 24 years, and remembers a dead tree falling on the site 12 years ago. Noted that as the listing real estate agent for this property, only one party was interested in this as a motel property. An MAI appraiser, Evan Archerd, appraised the site and stated that best use was as apartments or a combination of apartments and retail space. Emphasized that Archerd had determined that the site was not viable as a motel. Stated that he had watched the Planning Commission meeting; the trees were considered and would not be removed if they didn’t have to. Concluded that the site will be very nice when done.

Roger Weeks/1107 Paradise Lane/
Moved here in 1967, and has observed that Jansen has long supported the natural features at this site. Jansen has greatly improved the site over the years.

James Travis/1450 Ashland Street/Noted that he manages the Timbers, and he knows Leo Jansen to be a man of his word. Stated that Jansen would make any improvements in conformance with City rules. Explained the economic reason for this action, noting that twenty years ago, the year round occupancy rate for motels was near 75%, and now it is 37%.

Carlton Merryfield/684 Leonard Street/
Came here twenty years ago, as retired hospital administrator. Noted that this motel has been the livelihood of the Jansens, and the time has come for them to retire. The motel business will not support retirement, and they would need to hire managers as well. With regard to the trees, stated that he deplores the inaction of government in protecting forests, but he feels that to start by dealing with trees on individual properties trivializes the forest protection issue. Emphasized the need to deal with devastation of forests on a larger scale, as this sort of action will only discredit attempts to protect forests. Concluded that trees are important, but people are important as well. The Jansens have paid their dues and are entitled to use this property as necessary for them to retire.

OPPONENT:
John Freedom/150 Nursery Street/
Emphasized that he is representing the eleven petitioners who sought this appeal. Pointed out that their focus has not been to chain themselves to trees or to trivialize the issue. These petitioners reside in Ashland and embrace its economic prosperity. They recognize that development is inevitable, and that the development of the Hillside Inn will be an asset when it is complete. Stated that they have not approached this matter with the intent to campaign for the trees, but rather have compared the City’s Site Design & Use Standards to the discussion that occurred in the Planning Commission on October 13, 1998. The findings of that comparison are what lead to the filing of this appeal.

Stated that the matter is based on the spirit of the writing in the Site Design & Use Standards. Read from these Standards a section about designing into the existing site, which states that it is a mistake to design the project and then manipulate the site around that preconceived idea. With that in mind, it is his belief that this project violates the spirit of these Standards. Emphasized that the existing trees need to be incorporated into the site plan.

Pointed out that this location is a major gateway that gives a lasting impression of the City; and if it is to be demolished it needs to be for a design that incorporates the natural features of property. Stated that one of the Planning Commissioners had even suggested eliminating all trees from the site and then replanting to suit the design. Noted that the staff’s opposition to removal of bigger trees was overlooked by the Planning Commission.

Stated that he feels that the Site Design & Use Standards are an appropriate means to facilitate development, but they should be enforced within the community. Feels it is clear in reading the Standards, that it was intended that development should follow guidelines to preserve natural elements along with the historic context of Ashland as a village in the mountains of Southern Oregon. Emphasized that he has no complaints with the design itself, or with anyone seeking to create economic prosperity. But petitioners do have a grievance with the footprint designed here, and the irreparable harm to be done to the community in changing the gateway that serves as a greeting to those entering the City. The developer should go back and develop a footprint that preserves the natural environment of the site. While it may be impossible to preserve it all -- and the petitioners do not expect this -- a design can certainly be found to preserve more of the natural resources than is proposed here. Recognized the trees’ significance, and spoke about their function as a reflection of the health, appearance, and state of the environment in Ashland, and their function in the ecosystem. Feels that the suggestion that zoning grants free license to reconfigure the site does not hold water in Ashland, especially in light of the intention of the Site Design & Use Standards.

In conclusion, read a quote from author Wendell Berry, "A benefit of smallness of scale is that it preserves economic democracy and the right of private property. Property boundaries, as we should all remember, are human conventions, useful for defining not only privileges but also responsibilities so that use may always be accompanied by knowledge, affection, care and skill. Such boundaries exist only because the society as a whole agrees to their existence. If the right of land ownership is used only to protect an owner’s wish to abuse or destroy the land upon which the community’s welfare ultimately depends, then society’s interest in maintaining the convention understandably declines."

Wheeldon asked for clarification of the statement that the Planning Commission had not recognized the staff’s opposition to this design. Freedom stated that he feels it is clear that staff was not behind this design, but that their position was disregarded. Quoted a Planning staff report from September 8, 1998 (page 61 in the Council packet) on the staff’s opinion that this design fails to accommodate significant trees. Also stated that elsewhere in the report, although he was unable to locate a page, the staff stated that they were not behind the design because while it was a good design its execution left them with some reservations.

IN OPPOSITION:
Lauren Dow/640 Beach Street/
Stated that this is one of the City’s beautiful sites, and it would be disappointing to remove these trees given the City’s designation as "Tree City, USA." Feels that the trees should be able to stay.

Maddy Reubens/710 Pracht Street
/Trees provide a home for wildlife, and shouldn’t be cut down. Shouldn’t turn Ashland into a big city.

Robin Dimitre/901 Beach Street/
Trees make Ashland beautiful, and she has a petition from local school children asking that the trees not be removed.

Margaret Edgar/1565 Siskiyou #27
/Noted that many of the bigger trees in the area are dying and have been cut down. Others will be cut. Emphasized that there are no trees all the way to Walker Avenue, and the lot behind the site is bare. There is a swath of bare sites through the City. The role of this site as a gateway to Ashland, and the role of the trees in the ecosystem, are important and need to be considered.

Tom Dimitre/901 Beach Street/Echoed Mr. Freedom’s concerns, noting that he too does not oppose development or these plans, but the issue is about this gateway as a scenic entryway into the City. Expressed concern that this will be the first in a series of changes to turn Siskiyou Boulevard into Ashland Street.

Ralph Lepre/2305-C Ashland Street #631/Stated that while he sympathizes with the owner, he feels that this proposal goes about things in the wrong way. Noted that he is a designer, and has spoken to the applicant. Feels that he has found an alternative that is better at leaving the big trees. Emphasized that trees have a cooling and calming effect on people, and discussed the ugliness of Ashland’s "Asphalt Triangle". Noted that treeless, asphalt areas are especially bad in the heat of summer, when the shading effect of trees is needed. Expressed concern with the precedent of a "scorched earth" policy. Urged the Council to support the Site Design & Use Standards, stating that he cannot understand bypassing them. Concerned that the City did not ask for or insist on an alternative design, or look at the impact of this change on Highway 99. Noted the irony of "Tree City, USA" allowing the cutting of old growth trees. Noted that every year for the last five years the Safeway cedars have been nominated for "Tree of the Year". Puzzled by this design, as the structure does not have to go up this way. Noted that he is responsible for the nameless submission to the Council. Concluded that he is not against improvement, but that in this case there is another way. Questioned whether Planning Commissioner Steve Armitage has lost sight of the purpose of the Commission.

Jan Killam/541 Holly/Urged the Council to keep an eye on the bigger picture, as Ashland will be changed as a result of the decisions made. Read a poem inspired by this issue urging the Council to take care in considering growth issues.
Bob Taber/97 Scenic Drive/Appreciates the builder’s position in meeting the challenge of getting a project on site which is both economically feasible and considers the unique nature of the site. Stated that the site here is exceptional, but that this design is not. Noted that trees are beautiful and represent a big portion of the global ecosystem which provides food for our planet. Emphasized that incremental degradation has consumed 40% of the resource capacity of the planet. This must be considered as a threat as both population and consumption are increasing. Any decision made now must look at financial, societal, and environmental bottom lines. If all three of these are not satisfied, then a project is not viable. Feels that this design should be remanded back to the applicant to look at alternatives, with the help of professional arborists.

Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/Stated that she was one of the two no votes in the Planning Commission. Noted that the staff report cites concerns over trees in this design. Noted that number 2(C)(1) in the Site Design & Use Standards calls for efforts to save as many healthy trees and shrubs as possible. Feels that the double-trunked cedar near Walker Avenue and the fir off of Siskiyou near the driveway are the main concerns here. Other trees on the site are smaller, and while they cannot be retained they are moveable. Emphasized that the Land Use Ordinance and the Site Design & Use Standards allow the staff and Planning Commission to require the retention of existing trees and other natural features. Stated that she was baffled by the final vote of the Planning Commission, and felt that this project should not have been approved. Ashland’s "Tree City, USA" designation should be more than just talk. Suggested arbitration, which was never approached prior to tonight, in hopes of saving the trees.

Noel Chatroux/75 Nursery Street/Recounted the story of his three year old daughter’s crying and becoming very upset when she saw a tree being cut.

John Klein/1000 Walker Ave./Stated that he has faith in the decision of the Council. Offered to take any moveable trees for relocation to his property.

Discussion of the ordinance requiring public hearings end by 9:30 p.m., the need for a continuance for rebuttal and deliberation, and the status of the 120-day deadline. Discussion of whether the last two speakers who had submitted requests as the end of the public comment portion of the meeting was announced.

Break called at 9:30 p.m. Meeting resumed at 9:43 p.m.

Attorney John Hassen, on behalf of the applicant, stated that because they would like the opportunity to give a rebuttal in person, they would be willing to extend the public hearing to the regular meeting of January 19th, 1999, and to extend the 120-day limit to February 2nd, 1999, to allow staff adequate time to prepare findings for Council adoption. Noted that they were agreeing to this extension, with public testimony limited to the last two speakers (Bran Larrick and Gaelyn Larrick) who had already submitted their requests to speak, and then the applicant’s rebuttal. Director of Community Development John McLaughlin stated that this extension would be adequate for staff. Hassen noted that he would be out of town, but would have a representative on hand for the meeting.

Councilors Hauck/Hanson m/s to continue the public hearing to January 19th, 1999. Discussion: City Attorney Paul Nolte advised the Councilors that they should not talk about this matter, and that they will need to disclose any additional information encountered and any discussions that do occur. Emphasized that any communications on this matter must be disclosed. Fine disclosed that he had read newspaper reports concerning this issue. Hauck noted that he had read newspapers on this issue as well, but the information was no different than that presented here. Roll call vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC FORUM
Cate Hartzell/881 East Main Street/
Asked that presentations by the various commissions and committees to the council be initiated again. Mayor Shaw concurred, and asked that this be placed under presentations, rotating once a month at the second meeting. Hartzell also noted that a recommendation had been made by the Ad Hoc Citizens’ Communication Committee for an open house with all member of the Council, boards, committees, and commissions. Stated that this would be helpful for the public and would allow the members to compare notes and cooperate on similar goal items. Mayor concurred. Hartzell’s third item was to use the strategic planning process to put people together for interactive meetings with the Council, boards, committees, and commissions. This would engage parties involved in similar efforts, allowing a synergy to happen. Emphasized that the process affords an interactive dialog around goal setting. Wheeldon questioned if Hartzell meant the liaisons meeting with commissions, or a gathering together of all for synergy. Hartzell stated that she was not sure if everyone could be brought together at this point in the process this year. Hartzell re-stated that next year, she hoped the strategic planning process could more actively engage to better the Council’s goal setting. Council discussion of this idea.

Councilors Wheeldon/Reid m/s to continue the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
John Huskey/173 Alder Lane/Communications Director for the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University(ASSOU)/On behalf of ASSOU, thanked the City for assistance in re-establishing the student ridership program with RVTD. Emphasized that they look forward to working together in years to come.

City Administrator Mike Freeman presented the Council with a brief update on this situation. Explained that he and Councilor Laws had met with RVTD management staff and discussed the possibility of combining the two ridership programs (SOU and the City). Freeman later met with RVTD Director Sherrin Coleman and prepared a proposal. The City becomes the chief negotiator, but the City is not paying for the program as implied in a recent Mail Tribune article. RVTD agreed to go ahead and reopen the existing contract through the current academic year for a pro-rated payment by SOU. In anticipation of the City’s budget process, RVTD, SOU, ASSOU and the City will negotiate a proposal for service for the future periods. Explained miscommunication that had occurred, and noted that he was pleased that RVTD had been willing to reinstate the student program immediately. Stated that in the future, there will be a master contract, with an explanation of what is being received. In this case, the core issue leading to disagreement was the rate of increase to the full $45,000 amount for ASSOU.

Laws questioned if money will be going through the City. Freeman stated that it would not this year, but could in the future, depending on how the Council wishes to structure things. Would need to be approved by Council if City handles money. At the present, there is a straight payment from SOU to RVTD. Mayor Shaw stated that she would prefer in the future to have funds go through the City. Freeman concluded that at present, the City was able to bring these two parties together and re-instate the contract.

Wheeldon stated that she appreciated Freeman’s efforts, but expressed concerned with the yearly changes in student government with the requirement for new budgeting each year, and a continuing need to persuade the student body that the program is worth it. Stated that she feels it is important, and while she does not want the City to totally subsidize the program, she has concerns with the uncertainty around student budgeting. Freeman explained the matrix of outstanding issues, noting that the only one left was determining the period wherein the fee charged to ASSOU would be ramped up to $45,000 by RVTD.

Laws stated that the unclear portion was the difficulty between ASSOU and RVTD. City intervention was needed and they were able to reach a tentative agreement. In the future, the City will negotiate with the students, the University, and then go to the bus service. Shaw suggested that this will be a better arrangement.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
  1. Discussion regarding "SmartWood" Certified Sustainable Forest Program

(Previous discussion occurred at September 15, 1998 Council meeting.)

Cate Hartzell/881 East Main Street/Noted that Steve Gretzinger, a forester with the Rogue Institute of Ecology and Economy (RIEE), had been here earlier but had to leave. Hartzell provided follow up, noting the Forest Commission’s suggestion and seeking a recommendation from Council toward preparing to draft an ordinance.

Reid questioned information that went to the Forest Commission, as the Forest Commission felt that they could not endorse seeking SmartWood certification for the management of City-owned forest lands. Public Works Director Paula Brown noted that she had not been present at that meeting, but that the Commission had stated it could support the City giving preference to SmartWood products in the bidding process.

Hauck questioned the Commission’s objection to seeking forest certification. Hartzell stated she believed that it was a monetary issue, and was beyond the scope of their current priorities. Fire Chief Keith Woodley clarified that the program is remarkable, and has a great impact for the management of private lands. Stated that many of the management principles are already in place on City lands. Stated that the Forest Commission felt it was on track and in conformance with community values now. However, the Commission felt that the purchasing side of this issue was worthy of being looked at by the Council and the Conservation Commission. Woodley emphasized that the Forest Commission had no criticism of the SmartWood program, and that they would have likely sought certification if this program had come to them years ago. However, they now have a plan in place, and their practices are recognized as appropriate within the environmental arena now. At this point, money needs to be spent elsewhere.

Laws stated that the main contribution of the Council now would be to implement a purchasing policy. Suggests that Council approve the SmartWood program in principle, with the Conservation Commission to work out the details to develop an ordinance. Hartzell noted that she and Gretzinger would be willing to bring options back with language. Mayor Shaw suggested that Hartzell and Gretzinger work with the Conservation Commission to develop an ordinance. Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderscheid suggested a first pass through by Hartzell and Gretzinger, as the Conservation Commission members are not informed on this issue. Wanderscheid confirmed that staff will provide help, to direct the ordinance through the process and bring back recommendations to Council.

Fine noted that a 10% preference in lumber prices would increase a project’s total cost by 1%. With the Council soon to be considering the issue of increasing costs another 1% to include the "percentage for the visual arts" in new projects, Fine was concerned that the cost of a project such as the fire station could be increased by as much as $80,000. Shaw suggested that this could be dealt with in the budget process. Hartzell stated that there are ways to structure an ordinance to be more analytical about extra costs and prevent adding any premium for certified wood products, or less of a premium, and she felt that the ordinance could be looked at in such a way as to prevent problems of this nature. Fine urged that Council bear in mind the potential impact of such increases on the total cost of projects.

Councilors Laws/Hauck m/s to approve the SmartWood Program in principle and have Cate Hartzell and Steve Gretzinger work with staff and the Conservation Commission to draft an ordinance to be brought back to the Council. Discussion: Mayor Shaw confirmed that Hartzell and Gretzinger would work with staff members Nolte and Wanderscheid on an initial draft to go to the Conservation Commission for fine tuning before being brought to the Council as an ordinance. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
  1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.

  2. Freeman noted that with regard to item #9, for the LIDs, the resolution will be on January 19th, with a public hearing for four of the LIDs to be held on February 2nd, and the Fordyce Street LID public hearing on February 16th. Explained that these will be the final hearing on these LIDs, and that this information will be corrected on the next Look Ahead sent to the Council.

  3. Council Election of Chair to City Council.

  4. Reid moved to nominate Laws. Mayor Shaw noted that this position would require meeting with student groups and other such functions in her absence. Laws confirmed that he would be willing to ensure that someone filled in for these items in the Mayor’s absence.

    Hauck moved to nominate Wheeldon.

    Mayor Shaw noted that she would be pushing more items to the Council Chair than she had in the past, at least for the first few months. Both Laws and Wheeldon indicated they were willing. Reid stated that it was important to pass along this responsibility. Fine stated that while he respects Wheeldon and her performance as Council Chair, he was persuaded by Reid and seconded Reid’s motion to nominate Laws as Council Chair.

    Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to nominate Councilor Laws as Council Chairperson. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

  5. Mayor’s appointments of Council liaisons to various boards and commissions.

  6. Mayor Shaw noted Visitor and Convention Bureau liaison would be Councilor Fine, not Hanson, and that the SOREDI liaison would be Fine for six months and then passed to Wheeldon. Councilor Hauck noted that he would be interested in serving as liaison to the Programming Committee when that committee is formed.

  7. Election of Citizens’ Budget Committee members (3).


  8. Councilors Wheeldon/Laws m/s to approve the Mayor’s appointments of Regina Stepahin, Dick Trout, and Martin Levine to the Citizens’ Budget Committee. Discussion: Reid asked that the two-term limit remain for Commission appointment. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

  9. Consideration of a Request from the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission to exempt the selection of a landscape architect for the Calle Guanajuato restoration project, from formal competitive selection procedures.

It was explained that the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission had voted to withdraw this request at their regular meeting held on January 4th, 1999.

Councilor Wheeldon urged all Councilors to be sure to attend the joint meeting of the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission and the Ashland City Council, concerning Calle Guanajuato restoration, on January 12th, at 7 p.m. at Hunter Park.

 
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
  1. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending the Telecommunications Title 16 of the Ashland Municipal Code to Add Provisions Regulating Cable Service and to Simplify and Clarify Requirements for Grantees."


  2. Gary Miller/Market Manager for U.S. West Communications/Noted that he wanted to comment on this ordinance at its second reading.

    Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to move the ordinance to a second reading. Roll call vote: Laws, Hauck, Wheeldon, Reid, Hanson, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.

  3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Establishing the City of Ashland Programming Committee for the Ashland Fiber Network Cable Television (AFN/CATV) System and Prescribing Its Duties and Responsibilities."


Councilors Hauck/Wheeldon m/s to approve Resolution #99-01. Discussion: Councilor Hauck noted his willingness to serve as Council liaison to this committee, and also stated that a staff liaison would be needed from the Electric Department staff. Laws noted his concern about appointing individuals with no motives and no responsibility to the people they serve, but acknowledged that this was beyond the control of the Council by law. Roll call vote: Fine, Reid, Hanson, Laws, Wheeldon, and Hauck, YES. Motion passed.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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