Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Meeting

Minutes
Monday, March 17, 2008

MINUTES FOR THE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING
Monday, March 17, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson and Navickas were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 6:34 p.m.
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NEW BUSINESS
1. Should the Council conduct first reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 18 of the Ashland Municipal Code, providing for revisions to definitions and zoning district classifications, providing for revisions to conditional use standards and general regulations for the following zoning districts: woodland residential, rural residential, single family residential, suburban residential, low density multi-family residential, high density multi family residential, North Mountain neighborhood, retail commercial, employment, industrial, health care services and Southern Oregon University; providing for revisions to chapters for tree preservation and protection, physical and environmental constraints, general regulations, site design review, partitions, performance standards option, parking, signage, procedures and enforcement, providing also for corrections to and adoption of official maps, including zoning and overlay maps in digital format"?
Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Senior Planner Maria Harris address the Council. Mr. Molnar briefly reviewed the ALUO changes approved by the Council at the February 4, 2008 Special Meeting and indicated the remaining key issues Council needs to decide on are:

Does the Council want to permit there to be an Evidentiary Hearing by staff for Type II decisions? If so, does the Council wish to define specific criteria for these hearings?
Does the City Council want to adopt a process that requires appeals to the City Council from the Planning Commission to be held "on-the-record"? If yes, then the Council needs to discuss the scope of the proceedings, as well as define the criteria that the City Administrator would use when making a decision to allow a partial de-novo hearing?

Councilor Navickas recommended the Council allow for a limited de-novo hearing. He explained this would require the appellant to put forward their argument and would allow the public the opportunity to speak before the Council regarding that specific argument. City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified staff had discussed this option, and if Council agreed to this process, the following sentence would need to be deleted from 18.108.110, Section 105(C), "A party shall not be permitted oral argument if written arguments have not been timely submitted." He added the Council would also need to define "party" in the ordinance. City Administrator Martha Bennett recommended if the above sentence is deleted, the subsequent sentence be amended to read, "Written arguments shall be submitted by the appellant no less than ten days prior to the Council consideration of the appeal." Ms. Bennett indicated it would be difficult to hold the public to only speak to the appeal argument and asked for Council's input regarding this option.

Council briefly discussed the best way to come to consensus on these issues and agreed to deliberate on the following decision points:

1) Does the Council want to allow oral testimony at the appeal?
2) Who would be allowed to speak?
3) Would they be required to submit written argument prior to speaking?
4) What would they be allowed to speak to?
5) How would the Council deal with new evidence?

Does the Council want to allow oral testimony at the appeal?
Council agreed they would allow oral testimony at the appeal.

Who would be allowed to speak?
Mr. Appicello clarified the proposed language indicates only parties who participated at a previous level (Planning Commission Meeting or Evidentiary Hearing) would be allowed to speak. Councilor Navickas voiced his preference to allow any member of the public to speak to the issues that have been raised, and to not define "party" as someone who has already participated in the process. The remainder of the Council voiced support for limiting testimony to parties who have participated at a previous level.

Would parties be required to submit written argument prior to speaking?
Mr. Appicello clarified the appellant would have to submit the basis of their appeal in writing, and staff would use this to prepare the Notice of Appeal that is mailed out to the parties along with instructions. Parties would then be required to submit their arguments in writing 14 days prior to the Council's consideration. Ms. Bennett commented that this requirement would force the parties to articulate their arguments. Councilor Navickas expressed concern that this would create a convoluted process and requested Council allow the public to give testimony before their elected officials. Councilor Hartzell suggested allowing only the parties to speak without first having submitted written argument. The remainder of the Council voiced support for requiring parties to submit written argument prior to speaking.

What would parties be allowed to speak to?
Mr. Appicello stated the testimony would be limited to the issues clearly and distinctly set forth in the Notice of Appeal. Council agreed with this requirement.

How would the Council deal with new evidence?
Mr. Appicello clarified there are several options in the event new facts are presented. He explained the decision could be remanded back to the Planning Commission, or there are instances where the City Administrator could determine that it should be heard by the Council. Councilor Navickas voiced his opposition to sending the decision back to the Planning Commission and stated this could result in a more lengthy process. Comment was made that if there are new facts, remanding to the Planning Commission was the appropriate action to take; however, if the 120 day rule is an issue, the proposed language provides adequately for staff to make the decision about whether it should come to Council. Councilors Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Hardesty and Hartzell voiced support for the proposed language.

Ms. Bennett indicated staff needs clarification on whether the City Administrator or the Staff Advisor (Community Development Director) should have the authority to decide whether new facts should come to Council for a hearing. Support was voiced for the City Administrator to have this authority.

Mr. Appicello commented on the provision for the Planning Commission decision to be final. He stated this was included mainly because of the 120-day rule and clarified the Planning Commission hearing would be de-novo and they could only address the new fact or procedural error.

Mr. Appicello clarified the proposed language states the Council may elect to send the decision back to the Planning Commission; they are not required to. Ms. Bennett voiced her support for retaining this flexibility in the ordinance. Mayor Morrison suggested this language be revised to read, "If the City Council elects to remand a decision to the Planning Commission, either summarily or otherwise, the Planning Commission shall be the final decision of the City unless the Council calls the matter up pursuant to 18.108.070.B.5." Council voiced support for this modification.

Evidentiary Hearings
Mr. Appicello clarified this hearing is not required by ORS, but would provide additional opportunity for the public to participate. Mr. Molnar explained the proposed ordinance allows the Staff Advisor to determine whether to hold an evidentiary hearing. He noted this hearing could be less formal than a Planning Commission hearing and would provide the public with an understanding of the application. Mr. Molnar questioned whether Council is comfortable leaving this discretion with the Staff Advisor or whether specific criteria should be set on when an evidentiary hearing would be held. Ms. Bennett voiced her support for not including criteria for specific types of projects and indicated staff would err on the side of more public participation.

Mr. Molnar clarified staff would adhere to the existing noticing requirements for an evidentiary hearing. Suggestion was made for these hearings to also be noticed on the City's website. Mr. Appicello commented on the standards for participation and recommended a speaker request form be utilized to constitute participation.

Support was voiced for the evidentiary hearing process included in the proposed ordinance.

Questions submitted by Councilor Hartzell
Fee Language: Councilor Hartzell suggested the zero fee language be removed from the ordinance and stated if the language is included there might be tendency to start charging a fee. Councilors Navickas and Hardesty voiced support for this suggestion. Councilors Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman disagreed. Mayor Morrison noted the limited time remaining and indicated this question would have to be resolved later.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to extend meeting to 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: Councilors Jackson, Chapman, Silbiger, Hardesty and Navickas, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Fire Code Changes: 18.76.060.B
Councilor Hartzell shared her concerns regarding the proposed Fire Code language listed on page 53, Section 89(B). Suggestion was made to modify the proposed language to remove consideration factors 2, 3 and 4 so that it the language would read, "The Staff Advisor, in coordination with the Fire Code Official, may extend the distance of the turnaround requirement up to a maximum of 250 feet in length as allowed by Oregon Fire Code access exemptions." Support was voiced for this modification.

Porous Surfaces: 18.08.160
Councilor Hartzell recommended the following sentence be removed from the ordinance, "Up to five percent of the lot area having porous solid surfaces, such as paths, patios, decks, and similar surfaces is exempt from lot coverage requirements." Mr. Molnar explained this language was included to provide an incentive that would provide more ground water infiltration; however staff would be fine with removing it if that is Council's decision. Comment was made suggesting this language be removed and the Planning Commission could address this modification at second reading if it is an issue.

ARU: 18.24.040
Councilor Hartzell recommended removing Section 32 beginning on page 13 of the ordinance. Mr. Molnar provided a brief explanation of why this was included and noted the intent was to "even the playing field" in R2 and R3 zones. He stated this language would allow for accessory units that are 500 ft. or less in size, and noted these structures would still have to comply with the lot requirements. Councilor Navickas also expressed concern with the proposed language. Suggestion was made for this issue to be dealt with at the second reading. Councilor Navickas indicated he would seek further clarification from staff.

Ms. Bennett noted the limited amount of meeting time remaining and questioned how many other issues still needed to be addressed. She clarified Council could still approve first reading tonight if they so choose.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to extend to meeting to 9:45 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Mr. Appicello read the title of the ordinance aloud along with the following changes requested by Council:

1) Page 2, Section 4: Delete sentence "Up to five percent of the lot area having porous solid surfaces, such as paths, patios, decks, and similar surfaces is exempt from lot coverage requirements."

2) Page 53, Section 89: Modify sentence to read "The Staff Advisor, in coordination with the Fire Code Official, may extend the distance of the turnaround requirement up to a maximum of 250 feet in length as allowed by Oregon Fire Code access exemptions." Mr. Appicello noted this same change would also be made to page 55, Section 91.

3) Page 79, Section 105(5): Modify sentence to read "If the City Council elects to remand a decision to the Planning Commission, either summarily or otherwise, the Planning Commission shall be the final decision of the City unless the Council calls the matter up pursuant to 18.108.070.B.5."

Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to approve first reading that includes the proposed amendments to the Land Use Ordinance as recommended by the Planning Commission and Staff with the revisions as suggested by the Council, and request that the ordinance be brought back for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion Passed 5-1.

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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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