MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 16, 2008
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Council Chair David Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the absence of Mayor Morrison.
Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson and Silbiger were present.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Council Chair Chapman noted that there are vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Tree Commission, and Citizen Budget Committee.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Special Meeting of August 5, 2008, Executive Session of September 2, 2008 and Regular Council of September 2, 2008 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Will the Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, approve a Special Procurement for electrical engineering services to CVO Electrical Systems?
3. Should the Council raise the limit from 25kW to 50kW for renewable energy generation systems by revising the City's Net Metering Resolution?
4. 12th Annual Report on Implementation of the Valdez Principles.
5. Should the Council authorize the submission of appropriate land use application(s) on City-owned property by the Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation?
6. Should the Council approve a resolution supporting Regional Problem Solving (RPS) in the Greater Bear Creek Valley as well as the general sequencing of the RPS approval process?
7. Should Council accept the quarterly report as presented?
8. Does Council wish to approve a contract allowing an AmeriCorps worker to hold an 11-month position at the North Mountain Park Nature Center to assist with a number of different functions at the center?
Councilor Hartzell requested that Consent Agenda items #2, #3 and #7 be pulled for discussion.
Director of Electric Utilities Dick Wanderscheid explained how the estimate was determined for the special procurement for Electrical Engineering Services. The Capital Improvement Project (CIP) rarely requires engineering services. Engineers are used for new development to design the backbone. CVO Electrical Systems is a small firm with hourly rates lower than larger engineering firms are. They were selected through a Request for Proposal (RFP) to initially do the study and provide engineering services. Currently they are in the midst of two large projects with the City and retaining their services for the next three years would be the most cost effective way.
Mr. Wanderscheid continued to explain the proposed revisions to the City's Net Metering resolution stating there was not much of a monetary impact for buying back electricity. With tax credits expiring, they are researching systems larger than 25kW. There is a $10,000 cap for incentives and systems larger than 10kW do not receive higher rebates. The monthly cap for purchasing retail electricity is 1,000kW hours. For customers generating more than 1,000kW hours a month, the City pays a wholesale cost making the monetary impact minimal.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen responded to an inquiry on how the City is fairing during the country's financial situation. With low interest rates and various exposures, there is not a lot of investing occurring. Ms. Christensen explained that 98% of City monies are currently invested in the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) and that staff adheres closely to the City's investment policy.
The Consent Agenda was approved by Council without further discussion.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Patty Dean/505 Scenic Drive/Explained that after the article in the newspaper regarding her tree house, 2,000 people supported leaving the tree house where it is. She is willing to put in writing that she will remove the tree house if she sells her home. She explained whom she consulted prior to building the structure and that initially she was not informed of the 15-foot requirement. The neighbor who complained to the City about invasion of privacy moved. She read from an Arborist's report that stated both the tree and beehive would be in jeopardy if the tree house were removed; the structure actually provides additional stability for the tree. She asked Council for direction and next steps.
City Administrator Martha Bennett will follow up with Planning and Building staff to get codes and requirements and inform Ms. Dean of her options then provide Council with a report on the outcome.
Kat Smith/276 B Street/Explained she is the Transportation Options Coordinator for the Rogue Valley Transportation District and discussed the daily events occurring during Try Transit Week, September 20-26.
Steve Ryan/801 Siskiyou Boulevard/Explained the Commuter Challenge Program, and invited Council to the Car-Free Day Monday September 22.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Will Council approve a resolution establishing a public hearing date of November 18, 2008 to consider the formation of Local Improvement District No. 89 to improve Beach Street?
City Engineer Services Manager Jim Olson presented the staff report and noted the concerns brought forward by the property owners were problems associated with dust, flooding and silt deposit.
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2008-30 to establish a hearing date of November 18 for discussion of the LID proposal. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Will Council designate a voting delegate to the annual League of Oregon Cities Conference?
Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to nominate Councilor Navickas as the voting delegate. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to parking regulations, allowing use of immobilizing device, authorizing towing, removing downtown parking limitations, updating and correcting parking processes and procedures, amending AMC Sections 11.08.080, 11.28.060, 11.28.080, 11.28.090, and 11.28.110, and repealing AMC chapter 11.30 AMC Section 2.28.215" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
The ordinance title was read aloud.
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading.
DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett explained the memo attached to the Council Communication contained issues discussed at the previous meeting with suggested language and a table regarding fines if Council chose to amend the ordinance.
Councilor Hardesty/Jackson m/s to amend motion to include the table showing multiple violation penalties. DISCUSSION: Council suggested making the second sentence in Section 8-A Fines two sentences instead of one.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to amend motion to replace language in Section 4 as proposed by staff with modification to clarify that this is not accumulative. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Continued Discussion on amended motion:
Staff will bring back clarification on how late penalties are distributed. Ms. Bennett explained that under the current code there is no physical consequence to accumulating tickets. Staff recommended "Booting" vehicles after five or more tickets or fines exceed $250. A person with five or more tickets or over $250 in fines will receive a letter in the mail explaining that their vehicle will be "booted" after 10 days unless parking fines are paid. If their vehicle is "booted," a brightly colored notice will go on the car asking them to pay their parking tickets. After 24 hours, the City will have the car towed. The Downtown Task Force was not in favor of "booting" vehicles because of the image it presented and that it made the parking space unavailable for 24 hours. Staff does not recommend towing first as this adds punitive costs in addition to the parking fines.
Councilor Navickas voiced strong opposition to the process stating it was an aggressive statement made towards the citizenry and the tourists. He cautioned Council to think of their public relation stance, explaining that this is another example of heavy-handed tactics. He did not like how the issue procedurally came to Council from the Down Town Task Force. He encouraged council to vote against the proposed resolution. There is already enough punitive action in someone getting a bad credit rating under these circumstances. He suggested looking at alternatives like community service that would allow people to work off their fines possibly by promoting alternative forms of transportation.
Councilor Silbiger commented that the ordinance is designed to deal with those individuals refusing to honor the laws and not pay their fines.
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to amend motion by adding "Whereas" following the first "Whereas," "…the Downtown business owners have stated through the 2008 Down Town Task Force that employee parking restrictions are causing them hardship and request that the City remove these employee parking restrictions, and." Replace "would like to remove" to "agrees to remove" in the subsequent third "Whereas." Voice Vote: Hardesty, Hartzell, Chapman, Silbiger and Jackson, YES; Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Continued Discussion on amended motion:
Ms. Bennett explained the increase in the surcharge. Currently, parking tickets are $7 with a $2 surcharge. The surcharge goes into a general fund restricted for additional downtown parking and parking improvements. Since the ordinance repeals the downtown employee restriction, the City will use the increase in the surcharge for employee parking and parking improvements through out the city instead of just the downtown area. Ms. Bennett suggested creating a report showing the fund amount, current restrictions and potential policies that would help Council and staff develop policies on allocation.
Councilor Hartzell motion to amend 11.28.120 that allows for a surcharge of $3 on all parking violations. Motion dies for lack of second.
Roll Call Vote on amended original motion: Councilors Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman and Hardesty, YES: Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
It was suggested that notification letters be sent to those on the list with more than $250 in parking fines.
2. Housing Trust Fund
a. Should the Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, adding new Chapter 4.36, providing for the establishment of an affordable housing trust fund" and move the ordinance to Second Reading?
b. Should the Council approve a resolution titled, "A Resolution to establish policies and procedures for administration of the affordable housing trust fund"?
c. Should the Council approve a resolution titled, "A Resolution deferring payment loans to the affordable housing trust fund?
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman presented the staff report on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) and gave an overview of the Housing Trust Fund. The overview included:
It was explained that as long as the amount is under $250,000, it remains in the General Fund as a segregated line item. Once it grows past $250,000, it moves into its own fund paying its own costs. The interest accrues to the General Fund with a portion used to pay the overhead costs for administering the Housing Trust Fund.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained the City was currently receiving 3.2-3.3% interest and that rates fluctuated depending on market conditions.
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Support for the ordinance was noted. Council Chair Chapman voiced his opposition stating that a local organization should manage the fund instead of the City. The Affordable Housing Action Plan states that it is the City's role to facilitate through a coordinator. The Housing Trust Fund could be a City or a non-profit program. Maintaining a housing service externally would be one less cut the City may have to face. He supported the Trust Fund but could not support the ordinance.
Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty and Jackson, YES; Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Silbiger/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2008-34. Voice Vote: Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Silbiger, YES; Chapman, NO; Councilor Jackson was out of the room. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Resolution #2008-33. DISCUSSION: Council Chair Chapman suggested dedicating loan re-payments from a rehabilitation program back to the Conservation program in order to loan the money out again for the same purpose.
Voice Vote: Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Silbiger, YES; Chapman, NO; Councilor Jackson was out of the room. Motion passed 4-1.
3. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to water regulations and cross connection, and repealing Ordinance 2773" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Public Works Director Mike Faught introduced staff Water Quality Technician Jim Clark and Plumbing and Mechanical Inspector Rick Hackstock. Mr. Faught explained that the update to the current water regulations is due to changes in the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR). There are three major revisions proposed in the draft ordinance:
The State of Oregon mandates that a Water Purveyor and the City of Ashland provide cross connection and back flow control rules to protect the City's drinking water. The highest threat of water supply must be protected by a complete separation from the system, or a reduced principle assembly. A certified tester tests the devices annually.
Mr. Hackstock provided an overview of Backflow Assembly Concepts that included an explanation of what a cross connection is and how it can create backflow. Backflow is created by one of two hydraulic conditions: Backpressure and Backsiphonage. Hazard Levels are high or low. Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly contains two check valves with a relief between them for high hazard. The Double Check Valve Assembly is similar to the Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly but without the relief and can be used for lower hazard. Mr. Clark presented the actual backflow devices and explained how they functioned. The reduced pressure backflow assembly costs $200 and the Double Check is $100-$150. Testing requires a certified tester who uses a set of gauges that test from one side of the check to the other side to see if it will hold at least one PSI of pressure. Currently there are over 2400 backflow devices in the city with 94% in compliance. Testing fees cost $25-$30.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading of ordinance. Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
4. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to irrigation systems, providing a penalty, and amending AMC Section 15.16.170" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented the staff report. He explained material was already available for the education piece and that the public would receive notice in advance of the ordinance going into effect.
Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading of Ordinance.
Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Discussion of the City's response to Ashland Forest Resiliency Project
Councilor Navickas presented his request that the Council further discuss recommendations to the Forest Service on the Ashland Forest Resiliency project. The project has long-term implications to the Reeder Reservoir and management of the watershed is critical. He commented that the road prism is the most significant contributor of sedimentation to the reservoir. Another problem is the large amount of infrastructure associated with road re-grading, re-building and helicopter pad construction that the project will require.
He explained that cutting out two areas would significantly reduce costs on the project. He suggested removing two fuel breaks from the original II-43 and focusing on preventing fire outside of the watershed without going into the watershed area. The goal is to suggest these alternatives during the comment period as a way to reduce the cost of the overall project.
Council Liaison Reports
Councilor Hartzell provided statuses on the Traffic Safety Committee and the Planning Commission. The Traffic Safety Committee will start a study on pedestrian use and traffic outside of Southern Oregon University in early October. The Planning Commission is starting to assess what is happening in the community pertaining to sustainability and will review the water resources ordinance in early October.
Councilor Hardesty provided statuses on the Housing Commission, the Band Board and the Public Arts Commission. The Housing Commission will meet with the City Council 9/30 to look at barriers and incentives to apartment rentals and types of housing. The Band Board is looking for funding for their trip to Guanajuato in August 2009. The Public Arts Commission is discussing a neighborhood project that would improve the look of utility boxes. The Public Arts Commission has some concerns regarding the sign ordinance.
Council Chair Chapman provided status on the Conservation Commission stating they are currently looking at their rules and procedures. The Commission is working with grocery stores to stop using plastic bags and want to set up recycling containers in the downtown area.
Councilor Silbiger provided status on the Airport Commission. The Commission is currently working with a company that will build some hangers and help generate income for the airport.
Councilor Jackson provided status on the Bike-Pedestrian Commission. The Commission forwarded an inquiry to the Traffic Safety Commission and Public Works on removing the bollards from the bike path.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:59 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
David Chapman, Council Chair