Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 18, 2008
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, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
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MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced the City is in the process of determining the annual appointments to the various commissions, committees and boards.
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SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Executive Session of March 4, 2008, Executive Session of March 10, 2008 and Regular Council Meeting of March 4, 2008 were approved as presented. The minutes of the Study Session of March 3, 2008 were approved with the following amendment: Page 3, fourth bullet point, replace the word "Council" with "Could".
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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor's Proclamation of Autism Month was read aloud by Councilor Hartzell.
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CONSENT AGENDA
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Will the Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, consent to extend an existing Intergovernmental Agreement #2005-2006-09 between Jackson County, Community Justice, and the City of Ashland until 6/30/2010?
3. Does the Council wish to accept the recommendation of the Public Art Commission to accept the Lloyd Haines paintings as a gift of public art?
4. Will the Council authorize a contract with Carollo Engineers P.C. in the amount of $83,195 to complete the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Permit Renewal with Temperature Solution and Update to the Facilities Plan?
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Consent Agenda items #2, #3, and #4 were pulled for discussion.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #1. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified the City's Living Wage Ordinance would not apply to the Intergovernmental Agreement with Jackson County Community Justice.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

Councilor Hartzell noted the email from Lloyd Haines that indicates his opposition to the planning fee and his desire to ensure the art is visible to the public and placed on public property. City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified the staff recommendation is to place the art under the viaduct and for the payment of the fees to be a condition of acceptance. Councilors Hartzell and Navickas expressed concern with the way this donation came about. Councilor Hardesty shared her perspective as the liaison to the Public Arts Commission and voiced support. Councilors Silbiger and Jackson also voiced their support.

Approval of Consent Agenda item #3: Voice Vote: Councilors Jackson, Silbiger, Hardesty and Chapman, YES. Councilors Hartzell and Navickas, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilor Hartzell suggested future staff reports include information on what the other bids were and why staff selected the one they did. She also questioned if there was a way to stress to Carollo that the City be provided a full breadth of options and alternatives regarding the temperature issue. City Administrator Martha Bennett voiced her support of Council reinforcing this interest.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4 with special emphasis on staff to emphasize alternatives to the temperature problem in what comes back to staff and in the expertise that goes on to the stakeholder group. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty noted the cover letter states "including thermal load water quality trading alternatives with the Talent Irrigation District and others" and thinks this is a great idea and would like this pursued. Councilor Navickas stated he does not want the flows in Bear Creek to be reduced. Councilor Hartzell suggested the Council be involved earlier in the process, before the stakeholder group meets. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

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PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. Will Council adopt a resolution authorizing and ordering the improvement of the alley between Harrison and Morton Streets by formation of a Local Improvement District? Will Council adopt the findings and orders pertaining to the formation of the Harrison to Morton Alley Local Improvement District?

Public Hearing Opened: 7:28 p.m.

Ex parte Contact
Mayor Morrison and Councilors Navickas, Hartzell, Chapman, and Silbiger reported no ex parte contact.

Councilor Hardesty indicated she had spoken with Diarmuid McGuire. She stated they spoke about the surface of the alley, the substance the neighbors used to mitigate dust and the increase in traffic since the Siskiyou Blvd. improvements. She stated no new information was exchanged and indicated she would be able to make a fair and unbiased decision.

Councilor Jackson noted she lives near the proposed district and is familiar with the changes that have happened and the traffic patterns. She noted she was neighbors with Hamid Ghavam and had forwarded emails from Diarmuid McGuire to staff.

Challenges - None

Staff Report
Interim Public Works Director Jim Olson presented the staff report and explained this LID proposal is in response to petitions that were submitted from 5 of the 9 members of the neighborhood. Mr. Olson provided a history of the neighborhood meetings and the concerns expressed by some of the property owners. He explained the neighbors tried to reach a compromise and those that were opposed to the LID indicated they might be in favor if the alley was changed to a one-way. Mr. Olson noted the Traffic Safety Commission reviewed this request and approved it with the condition that the alley must also be paved. He stated a paved alley would allow for one-way markings on the surface and could allow for speed humps.

Mr. Olson explained that staff was under the impression that the neighborhood had come to a consensus, but has since learned that three of the neighbors are still opposed the formation of the LID to pave the alleyway.

Mr. Olson commented on the current condition of the alley and clarified it has a recycled asphalt surface. He also provided an explanation of the costs for the project. It was clarified the total cost for each property owner would be $2,526 and the City's portion would be $11,315. Mr. Olson noted this project would include some additional work on Harrison; however, these improvements would not be part of the assessment cost.

Councilor Jackson relayed the following information she obtained fro the Traffic Safety Commission in regards to the traffic counts for the different segments of the alley: the first segment, which is the longest, has 166 vehicles per day with an average speed of 13.7 mph; the second segment has 34 vehicles per day with an average speed of 13.5 mph; the third segment has 49 vehicles per day with an average speed of 11.5 mph; and the last segment has 37 vehicles per day with an average speed of just under 10 mph.

Mr. Olson clarified the suggestion to make the alley a one-way came from the neighborhood and stated that staff has determined the traffic levels have increased on this alley since the completion of the Siskiyou Blvd. improvements.

Mr. Olson stated the cost for maintaining the recycled asphalt surface is approximately $2,500 per year. He added that alleys are problematic for the City to maintain because they are so narrow and it is difficult for the City's equipment to maneuver them.

Those Wishing to Provide Testimony
Diarmuid McGuire/696 Siskiyou Blvd #1/Disagreed with the sediment and runoff issues raised by staff and noted there is no decomposed granite in this alley and it is relatively horizontal. He agreed that the dust is a problem, but questioned if there were other ways besides asphalt to address this. Mr. McGuire expressed concern that paving the alley would create unintended consequences and voiced support for improvements that would accommodate bicycles and pedestrians instead. He suggested a pervious block system and restoring the flowerbeds along the alley, and urged the Council to look beyond asphalt as the solution.

Ken Baker/684 Siskiyou Blvd/Questioned the accuracy of the traffic counts and stated these were obtained over SOU's Christmas break. Mr. Baker challenged staff's assertion that paving would not increase traffic and speeds, and voiced his opposition to the paving of this alley. He commented on the build up of rock and granite and stated there are other design issues that have not been accounted for. Mr. Baker stated the one-way designation would create turning issues onto the alley and requested the Council look at the bigger picture.

Colin Swales/461 Allison/Noted he is a member of the City's Traffic Safety Commission, but abstained from voting on this issue since he lives in the area. Mr. Swales stated turning the alley into a one-way goes against the City's Comprehensive Plan, stated filling the potholes would not take a lot of effort, and the neighbors could do this themselves. Mr. Swales agreed that asphalt was not the best solution for this alley and suggested the neighbors work together to find a better solution.

Abdol Hamid Ghavam/195 Morton St/Stated they never had any problems with the alley until the City decided to redesign Siskiyou Blvd. and close the medians at Liberty and Harrison Streets. He stated vehicles now use this alley as a shortcut and feels even more cars would use it if it were paved. Mr. Ghavam noted the dust issue, but recommended they look for another solution instead of paving.

Toni DiLeo/162 Harrison/Voiced support for paving the alley and noted the enormous amounts of dust and mud. Ms. DiLeo stated the other sections of the alley are paved and encouraged the Council to support the proposed alley improvement. Letter from Victoria Hilden voicing support for the LID was read into the record by Ms. DiLeo.

Erik Wallbank/162 Harrison/Stated there are 9 properties along the alley; 5 approve, 3 oppose and 1 has abstained. Mr. Wallbank stated the neighbor who abstained rents the property to the SOU football team and at times, there are 5 vehicles parked in the alley because of this one property. He suggested the traffic counts would be higher if the counts were not taken over SOU's Christmas break. Mr. Wallbank urged the Council to support the LID. He commented on the neighbors efforts to mitigate the dust and noted there are probably 20-30 potholes along the alley.

Richard Anderson/176 Harrison/Voiced support for the paving project and commented on the potholes, dust and mud. Mr. Anderson stated the City has re-graveled the alley several times, but it quickly falls back into disrepair. He noted the neighbors have applied a product to try to reduce the dust, but without consistent application, it does not last. He stated all of the neighbors would benefit from this improvement and stated paving the alley was the best long-term solution.

Matt Warshawsky/821 Indiana Street/Noted he is Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission, but the following is his personal testimony. Mr. Warshawsky voiced his opposition to a one-way designation of this alley and noted the high use of this alley by bicyclists. He noted that cyclists are required to follow the laws of the road, and they would be required to observe the one-way designation as well.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:33 p.m.

Staff response
Mr. Olson commented on the dust abatement measures the neighbors had been using and stated its effects were temporary. He clarified brick paving or cobblestones are not compliant with the City's Street Standards and stated asphalt paving is the desired surface. He added there have been instances where concrete has been used, however this is a much more expensive process and has never been done on a public street.

Mr. Olson clarified if the one-way designation were approved; bicycles traveling the opposite direction would have to walk their bikes along this section of alley. He also clarified the Traffic Element of the Comprehensive Plan does not prohibit one-ways, but they are looked at with caution and considered on an individual basis.

Mr. Olson stated the maintenance costs would be drastically reduced if this alley were paved and voiced support of the use of City funds for this project.

Mayor Morrison announced that the Council deliberation would be continued later in the meeting.

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2. Does the Council want to approve a resolution removing the BPA Surcharge (current average impact is 10.8% per account) and raising electric rates for usage by 8.7% for accounts subject to the electric user's tax and 10.8% for accounts not subject to the tax?

Public Hearing Opened: 8:45 p.m.

Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid presented the staff report and provided a brief history of the BPA surcharge. He stated staff recommends the Council adopt the proposed resolution that eliminates the BPA surcharge and increases electric rates for usage by 8.7% for accounts subject to the electric user's tax and 10.8% for accounts not subject to the tax. Mr. Wanderscheid clarified the reduction in the surcharge is equal to the increase in electric rates and individuals should not see a difference in their electric bills.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:49 p.m.

Mr. Wanderscheid clarified there are certain government accounts that do not pay the electric users tax. He stated those who do not pay the tax would have a higher increase in electric rates to make up for this.

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg commented that the new rate structure is set by class and those that use less power would pay less and those that use more would see a slightly larger bill.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2008-05. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman, Navickas, Hartzell and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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PUBLIC FORUM
Dan Folliard/1032 Oak Knoll/Voiced his concern with Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) proposed plan to put a rest area south of Ashland. He expressed concern that oil from vehicles would end up in Bear Creek and voiced opposition to the rest area connecting to the City's water and sewer systems. Mr. Folliard requested the Council put the citizens of Ashland first and deny ODOT's access to the City's water and sewer systems.

Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Concurred with Mr. Folliard's testimony. He also commented on the Chamber of Commerce's "Living and Doing Business in Ashland" publication and recommended this publication focus more on sustainability instead of real estate.

Allen Baker/1042 Oak Knoll/Stated he is President of the Oak Knoll Meadows Homeowners Association and stated the neighborhood strongly oppose ODOT's proposed rest area. Mr. Baker noted the rest area would only be three blocks away from their neighborhood and stated it would provide easy access to anyone with ill intent. He explained all of the houses in this development are backed by a common area that includes a system of pathways and expressed concern with the easy access to the backs of their homes.He stated there is no money available for the welcome center portion and urged the Council to stop this project.

Ambuja Rosen/Commented on her research in regards to an anti-tethering ordinance.

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PUBLIC HEARINGS - Continued at 9:15 p.m.
1. Will Council adopt a resolution authorizing and ordering the improvement of the alley between Harrison and Morton Streets by formation of a Local Improvement District? Will Council adopt the findings and orders pertaining to the formation of the Harrison to Morton Alley Local Improvement District?

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to establish the Local Improvement District to pave the alley, install speed bumps and drainage, and to evaluate whether the one-way designation is necessary. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson suggested they do not have enough information at this point to move forward with the one-way designation and recommended additional study on the traffic pattern. Councilor Navickas noted the majority of the neighbors support this LID, but agreed that there has not been enough study to justify the one-way. Councilor Hardesty indicated her reluctance to vote for this LID. Councilor Hartzell stated the unpaved surface seems to be an inhibitor to traffic and stated she is not in favor of paving the alley so that it can serve as vehicular access between streets. Councilor Chapman indicated he does not see the urgency in moving forward with the project and recommended they wait until this becomes a higher priority. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified staff if in the process of working on the City's LID policy but does not have a date as to when this will come before Council. Mayor Morrison commented on City priorities and noted it was the Council who decided to schedule this hearing. Ms. Bennett noted when the Council set the hearing they were under the impression all of the neighbors were supportive of this LID. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Jackson and Navickas, YES. Councilors Hartzell, Chapman, Silbiger and Hardesty, NO. Motion failed 4-2.
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NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Does the Council want to authorize the City Administrator to sign the Standstill & Interim Relief Payment Agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration? How much of the moneys distributed with this agreement should be distributed to the General Fund? How much should be distributed to the Electric Fund?
Electric Director Dick Wanderscheid noted this issue is time sensitive. He stated the agreement needs to be approved tonight; however, Council does not need to make a decision on what to do with the funding at this time. Mr. Wanderscheid explained staff is recommending that $336,000 of the $636,000 be placed in the City's General Fund, and that $300,000 go to the Electric Utility Fund for Solar Pioneer II, which would eliminate the need to sell the Clean Renewable Energy bonds. He clarified this money from BPA has no strings attached and the Council can allocate it differently if they choose.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified by signing the agreement, the City is giving up their right to sue BPA over the settlement.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to authorize City Administrator to sign the Standstill & Interim Relief Payment Agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Navickas, Chapman, Hartzell, Hardesty, Silbiger and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Council discussed alternative uses for the money. Councilor Hartzell suggested putting some of the money towards electric rate relief for low-income citizens and to enhance the City's current program. Councilor Silbiger suggested placing the funds towards to the AFN debt. If the Council decides to put the money towards AFN, Ms. Bennett suggested they put the money towards the incremental increase the City will face for the AFN debt payment next year. She further clarified the debt payment will increase by $242,000 next year and will continue to increase.

Councilor Hardesty/Silbiger m/s to take $242,000 of the payment from BPA and apply it to the AFN debt and put the remainder of the money into the General Fund. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty commented on not using the funds for the Solar Pioneer project, and noted the CREB bonds have a very low interest rate. Councilor Chapman voiced preference for putting the entire amount toward the AFN debt service payments. Councilor Hartzell suggested not putting all of the money towards this years AFN payment and putting some into the General Fund for subsequent year's payment.

Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to amend motion to direct the remainder of the money to the 2009/10 AFN debt payment. DISCUSSION: Mayor Morrison clarified this amendment would allocate $242,000 to the upcoming AFN debt payment, and the balance would go towards the 2009/10 AFN debt payment. Ms. Bennett clarified staff would put the balance in the Debt Service Fund until it is needed. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty and Chapman, YES. Councilors Jackson and Navickas, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Roll Call Vote on Motion as Amended: Councilors Silbiger, Navickas, Hartzell, Hardesty and Chapman, YES. Councilor Jackson, NO. Motion passed 5-1

Councilor Hardesty motioned to direct staff to bring back at the next Council meeting a plan for marketing Solar Pioneer II. Motion died due to lack of second.

Ms. Bennett clarified staff would provide the draft marketing materials and plan, and suggested the Council review this information before scheduling this as an agenda item.

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2. Will Council review the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendations to improve pedestrian safety on Siskiyou Boulevard and provide input for additional measures?
Interim Public Works Director Jim Olson listed the recommendations of the Traffic Safety Commission as the following:

1) Petition the state traffic engineer to lower the speed limit on Siskiyou Blvd. from E. Main to Walker Ave. to 25 mph.
2) Install thermoplastic rumple strips and pavement markings before the Bridge St. and University Way crosswalks.
3) Install pedestrian activated amber flashing beacons at the Bridge and Garfield crosswalks.
4) Replace existing 70-watt lamps in the "cobra head" luminaries with 150-watt lamps from the Morse/Beach intersection to Frances Lane.
5) Install pedestrian activated amber flashing beacons at the Garfield crosswalk that are compatible and would support possible future installation of in-pavement flashing LEDs; and for the Garfield/Siskiyou intersection to be studied in further detail.

Mr. Olson noted the issues related to the installation of the 150 watt lamps, and stated this is outside of staff's ability. He recommended staff could do a "test run" and switch out just a few lights; or they could contract with a professional for assistance. He also commented on the issues related to the Garfield intersection and crosswalk and suggested they might need to discuss possible closure of one or more lanes as this location.

Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Noted he is on the Traffic Safety Commission and stated their discussion was rushed and based on very little data. Mr. Swales felt some of the recommendations were made hastily and requested the Council look at this issue carefully and not rush into any decisions. He suggested the problem is with traffic speeds, not traffic counts, and suggested they concentrate their efforts on reducing vehicle speed.

Eve Woods/1103 Withington Street, Medford/Stated she is a student at SOU and noted she has been conducting research. Ms. Woods recommended the Council move forward with the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendations and stated she had witnessed 10 near accidents in the past week, including one incident that involved her. She stated the students are still very concerned and urged the Council to take action soon.

Tom Burnham/1344 Apple Way/Stated he is a member of the City's Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission but is not speaking on behalf of the Commission. Mr. Burnham cautioned the Council against moving forward too hastily and suggested the use of a subcommittee comprised of members from SOU, the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission, Traffic Safety Commission, and Public Works and Police Department staff to develop a good solution to this problem.

Matt Warshawsky/821 Indiana Street/Indicated he is Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission and clarified the Commission only examined the quick and inexpensive options to this issue and decided to conduct a more in-depth evaluation at subsequent meetings. He agreed that they should not move forward too hastily and stated more study is needed.

Craig Morris/1250 Siskiyou Blvd/Stated he is Vice President for Finance and Administration at SOU. Mr. Morris expressed SOU's support for the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendations and stated they need to move quickly and take some quick and deliberate steps to increase safety. He commented on the proposal to install pedestrian activated lights at two of the crosswalks and stated SOU is willing to pay for the lighting systems at the remaining two crosswalks. Mr. Morris commented on the outpouring of concern from students and parents and recommended the Council move forward with short-term solutions.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to: 1) accept the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendation to petition the state traffic engineer to lower the speed limit on Siskiyou Blvd. from E Main St. to Walker Ave. to 25 mph, 2) direct staff to request proposals from qualified lighting engineering consultants to study and bring back recommendations to improve the boulevard lighting, and to include non-traditional models in this study, and 3) direct staff to request proposals to correct/modify the Garfield and Bridge intersections as soon as possible. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell clarified the motion does not include the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendation regarding the pedestrian activated lighting or the installation of rumble strips. She stated that at this point she would rather focus staff's attention of getting specialized people in town as soon as possible to look at the situation and propose remedies. Councilor Chapman commented on the Traffic Safety Commission's recommendations and offered the following suggestions: 1) broaden the speed study to include Ashland Street up to Faith Avenue, 2) voiced support for the installation of thermal rumble strips and pedestrian activated beacons, 3) commented that it has not been determined that increasing the light wattage would improve pedestrian safety, and 4) noted the Garfield crosswalk is coming back before the Traffic Safety Commission at their next meeting. Councilor Chapman voiced support for the Traffic Safety Commission to continue their work on this issue and voiced opposition to the City hiring consultants at this point. Councilor Hardesty stated they need some short-term efforts and long-term solutions. She voiced support for the reduction of the speed limits, and suggested they proceed with the pedestrian lighting and rumble strips.

Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s to amend motion to include rumble strips and the pedestrian activated amber flashing beacons. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas stated these are simple and quick things they can do to help improve the safety, but also voiced support for a thorough study and long-term plan. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas, Chapman and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

DISCUSSION Continued on motion as amended: Councilor Hartzell stated she is interested in a long-term study as well, but would like to bring someone in during the short term to evaluate the two intersections. Mayor Morrison suggested Council return these issues to the Traffic Safety Commission for their continued analysis.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to table motion and allow the Traffic Safety Commission to continue with their deliberations on this subject. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Jackson, Chapman and Hardesty, YES. Councilors Navickas and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

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3. Which of the public art funding options does the Council wish to explore through the public hearing process?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Does the Council wish to approve second reading of a proposed Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 2.12, City Planning Commission"?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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