Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MINUTES FOR THE  CONTINUED MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 21, 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.

ROLL CALL
Councilor Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilors Hardesty and Jackson were absent.

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor noted the vacancies in the Public Arts Commission, Tree Commission and Citizen Budget Committee.

SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of October 6, 2008, Executive Session of October 7, 2008, Regular Council of October 7, 2008 and Continued Meeting of October 10, 2008 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS None

CONSENT AGENDA
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to confirm the Mayor's appointment of Shelley Lotz for a term to expire April 30, 2009 to the Conservation Commission?
3. Does the Council accept the update report on Council Goals? Does the Council wish to modify the timeline for the Council Goals?
4. Should the Council, acting as the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission's Local Contract Review Board, authorize the agreement with Copeland Construction for permanent installation of the ice rink at a bid price of $112,437?
5. Does Council wish to adopt the proposed program to protect its customers from identity theft?
6. Does the Council wish to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the installation and maintenance of the Lloyd Haines murals under the Lithia Way Bridge?

Councilor Hartzell requested that Consent Agenda items #3 and #6 be pulled for discussion.

Councilors Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, #2, #4 and #5. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Agenda items #3 and #6 were moved to Other Business from Council Members.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. Should the Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Annexation Chapter (AMC 18.106.030) Concerning Affordable Housing Standards for Annexation, "and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?

and

Should the Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Type III Procedures Chapter (AMC 18.108.060) Concerning General Standards for Affordable Housing in Zone Changes," and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar provided a brief history of the City's Annexation Ordinance. City Senior Planner Brandon Goldman presented the staff report that included:

Percentage of Affordability:

  • The draft ordinance establishes flexibility through an "equivalency value" for affordable housing units depending on income level targeted

  • Creates a weighted point system for affordable housing units

  • Allows for a mix of housing types

  • Allows for a variation of income levels

  • Enables developers to provide both Workforce and Affordable housing opportunities

Land Dedication Option

  • Proposed Ordinance maintains the existing provision that allows a developer to provide land to a qualified affordable housing provider to satisfy the requirement

  • Land area sufficient for at least 25% of the project's Base Density to be affordable housing

  • Land ownership to be transferred prior to commencement of project

  • Land to be located within the project meeting the distribution requirements

  • Land Deed Restricted as affordable for a 60-year minimum period

Construction Standards and Housing Types

  • Bedroom mix and sizes - proportionate number of bedrooms

  • Establishes minimum floor areas for affordable units

  • Unit types proportionate to market rate units within development

  • External design and materials visually similar with substantially the same materials

  • Internal material comparable features and amenities

Affordable Housing Distribution

  • 18.106.030.G5: That affordable housing units shall be distributed throughout the project

  • Intention is to "scatter" affordable housing throughout the projects to reduce the potential for stigmatization of 'low-income areas"

Construction Timing

  • Timely provision of Affordable Housing

  • Development build-out phasing

Exceptions

  • Flexibility to entertain alternative development proposal

  • Accomplish additional benefits for the City, consistent with the purposes of this chapter

  • Exceptions may be approved by the City Council

  • Potential Exceptions are provided in 18.106.030H to outline to applicants those areas of consideration

Mr. Goldman concluded that the Ashland Housing Commission and Planning Commission had reviewed the proposed Ordinance and each recommended Council approval.

Staff did not conduct a development cost analysis of the difference between what was currently in place and the proposed ordinance. The highest cost implication to the developer would be the construction standards and housing type. If a developer were collaborating with an Affordable Housing Provider, they would look at building the unit for the long-term and use a higher standard of improvements to reduce maintenance cost over time.

Mr. Goldman researched other areas in the country with comparable provisions in terms of unit mix and construction standards and those areas had developed rapidly over the past years.

The Housing Commission recommended allowing rental units at 60% or below the median income and striking the term "rental units" from the 80% median income to create opportunities for people to have ownership at the 80% level. The 80% median income was essentially renting at the same rate as current market rentals and they wanted to create a greater benefit than the market was already providing to meet this requirement.

Public Hearing Open: 7:34 p.m.

Steve Hauck/453 Wightman St/Represented the Housing Commission and explained that the Housing Commission had been working on the proposal for over two years. He emphasized the flexibility in the proposal because it would give developers the chance to look at different mixes as well as ensure standards were met and affordable housing units were not segregated into one section of a development. It was a unanimous decision by the Housing and Planning Commissions to move forward with this proposal.

Public Hearing Closed: 7:36 p.m.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading of an ordinance amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Chapter 18.106.030 concerning Affordable Housing Standards for Annexation, and schedule second reading of the Ordinance for November 4, 2008.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the first ordinance title in full.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Navickas and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 3-1.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the second ordinance title in full.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve first reading of an ordinance amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Type III Procedures Chapter 18.108.60 concerning general standards for Affordable Housing in Zone Changes, and schedule second reading of the Ordinance for November 4, 2008.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hartzell and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 3-1.

PUBLIC FORUM None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS None

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Taxicabs, Providing for Certification of Taxicab Companies and Drivers, and Repealing Chapter 6.28"?

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Chapman/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2969. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Hartzell and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

2. Should the Council conduct and approve the Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Tour Bus and Special Vehicle Permits"?

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2970. Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Chapman, Silbiger and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

3. Should the Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Establishment of a Uniform Administrative Appeals Process"?

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2971. Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Navickas, Chapman and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Does the Council accept the update report on Council Goals? Does the Council wish to modify the timeline for the Council Goals?

GIVENS
Implement Community Policing: Police Chief Terry Holderness explained that the standard form of monitoring had been citizen surveys. Citizen polling was not very effective and at this time, there was not a lot in the field on community policing. The downtown Contact Station will eventually produce statistics that will determine whether it was effective.

Work regionally to resolve funding for library: City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that none of the regional groups was planning on going out for a levy until the Ashland Local Levy option had expired. The initial expectation was for a regional solution this fall but that will not occur for two more years.

GOALS
Increase Effectiveness in Conservation Programs: Council expressed concern that the goal had not progressed. Councilor Chapman agreed to bring it to the Conversation Commission and report back to Council later.

2. Does the Council wish to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the installation and maintenance of the Lloyd Haines murals under the Lithia Way Bridge?

City Attorney Richard Appicello explained that in the event of not reaching an agreement with Mr. Haines, the City would not install the improvement and would terminate the agreement with ODOT. Council expressed discomfort at signing the ODOT agreement without knowing what was in the Haines agreement. The agreement was essentially in perpetuity until the City requested the artwork to come down and at that point, Mr. Haines would be responsible for removing it. The City would have that authority under the proposed Public Art Ordinance, which will be reviewed by council in December 2008. It was clarified that the proposed agreement with ODOT would be for twenty years.

Councilor Navickas opposed the artwork and disagreed with the steps taken to bring it forward. The vandalism at the Skateboard Park was considered first-degree criminal mischief punishable with jail time and a $5,000 fine. He could not support an individual who ignored laws regarding public property, vandalized it and then had the City support it.

Councilors Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #3 and #6. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Chapman and Silbiger YES; Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 3-1.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Will Council consider amending Ashland Municipal Code 13.20 Local Improvement and Special Assessments and Repealing Resolution 1999-09?

Public Works Director Mike Faught provided the staff report. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the proposed resolution capped individual contributions for projects and increased the number of people who have to sign a petition to initiate a Local Improvement District (LID) from 50% to 60% and the City would continue to participate in LIDs' concerning storm water, pedestrian and bicycle safety.

City Attorney Richard Appicello explained the City could force an LID if the margin between approving and opposing landowners was narrow. Ms. Bennett added that if there were objection, they would have to delay the project for six months and once that expires, an LID could still form.

Mr. Faught explained that when the City builds a road, it is the City's responsibility to maintain it afterwards. If the City were unable to maintain roads at the 15-year life cycle at $400,000 per mile, reconstruction costs would increase to $2.5 million per mile.

Councilor Navickas agreed with raising the homeowner requirement to 60% but disagreed on the possibility of ending the subsidy, the City had the discretion to deny an LID relative to the current financial status or the amount of money going into road maintenance.

Councilor Silbiger commented that eliminating the subsidy altogether might result in having no LIDs at all. The City was discordant with the cap and it made the subsidy too high. Whatever was determined should have guidelines.

Councilor Chapman thought the 60% was accurate but could not reconcile the City maintaining the roads after the LID. If the City paved a gravel road that was a through street, the rest of the community should somehow contribute. He suggested establishing specific guidelines and rules on how the City would participate. If Council decided to retain the partial subsidy, the City's part needed to be considerably less.

Councilor Hartzell agreed with raising the homeowner's amount to 60% and stated the need for criteria where the City would or would not provide a public subsidy.

Ms. Bennett discussed with Council the possibility of raising the cap or eliminating it altogether and establishing policies and categories regarding subsidizing. A cap by category was an option. The issue was that the City should get involved when it had a public policy interest it was trying to further for the general welfare but should be careful about guaranteeing a subsidy when it was a benefit occurring only to the homeowners.

2. Should the Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 10.46, Prohibiting Camping, Revising Penalties, Clarifying and Amending Timeframes and Procedures, and Other Requirements," and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?

City Attorney Richard Appicello provided the staff report and changes to the camping ordinance. The City Administrator would have the ability under the proposed ordinance with the emergency declaration to relieve the ordinance's prohibitions or a portion if an emergency existed such as shelter space was not available within a reasonable distance in the Rogue Valley. The removal of jail time and the charter capping fines at $500 made the punishment less excessive.

Mr. Appicello sited the Los Angeles case and compared it to Ashland. At the time of the case in Los Angeles, adequate shelter space was not available. There is available shelter and services within the Rogue Valley, the police provide tokens for transportation to individuals looking for shelter as well as administer other vouchers. Another available alternative might be allowing camping on forest service land off Tolman Creek road that would require a permit for camping 14 days.

David Martin/179 Ohio/Explained that he has lived in Ashland since 1996 and described his observations and personal experiences with the homeless becoming more aggressive over the past 12 years. He encouraged Council to approve the revision to the camping ordinance.

Ralph Temple/150 Myer Creek/Explained that only 16% of the cities in the USA ban camping and sleeping citywide in public areas as this ordinance does, and only 28% ban it in certain places. He encouraged passing the ACLU amendments suggested in the Decriminalizing Poverty handout concluding that it puts a burden on the police, oppresses the homeless and has legal ramifications.

David Berger/575 Auburn/Disagreed that the proposed amendment eliminated cruel and unusual punishment. The homeless could not afford a daily fine of $500 and community service hours could quickly escalate for repeat offenders. He encouraged Council to thoroughly review the proposed amendment and come up with a way to take care of the homeless.

Pam Vavra/457 C/Explained she was associated with Peace House and that the weekly meal program gave them the opportunity to see the majority of the people subject to the camping ordinance. She sympathized with Mr. Martin about being accosted in public by panhandlers noting it was a separate issue. She said the issue was a person's ability to find a place to sleep in town and urged Council to consider that distinction closely.

Ralph Temple/150 Myer Creek/Further explained that the problem with the approach to the Jones case was that it was the Ninth Circuit and passes jurisdiction over Oregon. The ACLU brought the lawsuit against Los Angeles and asked why the City of Ashland would want to invite the ACLU to sue the City and take it back to the Ninth Circuit. He encouraged finding a solution and in the meantime passing the ACLU amendment that suspends the application of the law against the homeless.

Continued Discussion on the Camping Ordinance
Police Chief Terry Holderness explained the number of citations written each year since 2003. For most municipal code violations, people were warned prior to receiving a citation. Officers tended to post camps first and took property only once. Most of the people were camping in out of the way wooded areas, in the park, the railroad tracks and by the creek side. Less than half of the citations written were for camping in actual park areas.

It was explained that the judge allows many diversions on violations where the offender pays a diversion fee and promises to abide the law for a specific period.

City Administrator Martha Bennett summarized previous discussions with Council that included having a study session to hear a presentation from the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, find out what services are being offered and the future of trying to transition people from the street. Peace House and Churches that provide services to the homeless would attend. The study session would determine gaps in services and help define the City's role.

Chief Holderness clarified the Police department had recently acquired tokens from the local Churches who provide them. Prior and current to the tokens, the Police department hands out vouchers for gasoline and other services and provides transportation to the shelter in Medford but not on a regular basis.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading and place on agenda for second reading November 4, 2008.

DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman thought the focus of the City should be to help the involuntary poor transition out of homelessness. The most efficient way to progress would be to support and provide transportation to the wide range of regional services available in Medford. He supported the camping ordinance with the proposed changes.

Councilor Hartzell inquired about the use of the word infraction. Mr. Appicello explained eventually there would be a global edit of the word "infraction" through out the code but use of the word was not a material issue for the proposed ordinance. Staff would amend the word infraction in the proposed ordinance for the second reading. There was a proposal to staff to go to 108.020 and specify levels of violation for each offense in the code using the State classification system. The proposed ordinance specifies the authorization to utilize community service in lieu of a fine.

Councilor Navickas thought the $500 fine did criminalize people for having to do something they could not escape. Mr. Appicello responded that based on the facts the City did not have the same involuntariness. There are homeless but there are available resources in the Rogue Valley that Los Angeles did not have at the time of the ACLU case. Councilor Navickas commented that the values of the community needed to be taken into account along with the fundamental principles the Ninth Circuit case was based on.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to amend the motion to include the section 10.46.030 and should be amended to eliminate the present Subsections A. and B. and to provide that camping, sleeping shall be prohibited within ten feet of any operational or usable entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock, as measured by the provisions of Section 3 of the Jones case Settlement Agreement.

DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas clarified the intention was not to include private property in the motion.

Councilor Hartzell withdrew her second. Motion to amend fails for lack of a second.

FURTHER DISCUSSION ON ORIGINAL MOTION

Councilor Hartzell commented that effective policy looks at the problem and creates a better solution. In passing the ordinance, Council was identifying the problem was not the issue of homelessness but that the language was not strong enough.

Councilor Navickas explained the City needed to develop a policy that looks at the homeless problem and not criminalize it which policy currently was doing. He was willing to make the changes but wanted to make the amendments suggested by the ACLU, and asked to make another motion for a long-term strategy and make a responsible choice to deal with the problem rather than criminalize it.

Roll Call Vote: Councilors Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell and Chapman: YES. Motion passes.

Mr. Appicello referred to an earlier conversation with Community Development Director Bill Molnar that Council could approve a camping area under the Temporary Use Provision and might want to explore that as a possibility. Mr. Molnar would have to amend the Land Development Code Districts to see where to authorize those kinds of uses.

Councilor Navickas motion to direct staff to commit 20% of the housing specialist time towards addressing the issues of homelessness in our community. Motion fails for lack of a second.

Councilor Navickas motion to direct staff to come back with a proposal in relation to committing housing specialist time towards addressing homeless issues. Motion fails for lack of a second.

Council Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to have staff schedule a study session for the Council within the next three months on the issue of camping and homelessness. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passes.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FORM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Mayor Morrison attended a meeting with a delegation from Siskiyou County regarding the railroad. The rail line was shut down to the south and using the highway made transportation more expensive. There was a discussion on opening up the railroad to public ownership as opposed to private. The rail line was currently under utilized and there was concern about losing the right of way. Retaining the railroad would result in huge savings for taxpayers.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.

Diana Shiplet, Executive Secretary
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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