Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

  MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL

August 18, 2009

Council Chambers

1175 E. Main Street

 

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

 

ROLL CALL

Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.

 

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Stromberg referenced an article in the Oregonian regarding the care and honor a soldier in the 1/186th Infantry Battalion of the 41st Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon National Guard (1/186) received from his fellow guardsmen after losing his leg in an explosion.

 

City Administrator Martha Bennett provided a brief report on the water supply explaining Ashland is using 3 million gallons more a day resulting in a 1% draw from Reeder Reservoir daily.  The City is continuing public outreach, has decreased usage by 20% within City facilities and is currently implementing a further reduction.  If there is no voluntary decrease of water usage, the City will implement the formal water curtailment program. Ms. Bennett clarified the concern pertained to Reeder Reservoir and not the Talent Irrigation Ditch (TID) supply.       

 

Councilor Voisin noted the City of Ashland became the first city in southern Oregon to use “Home grown Fuel.” 

 

Councilor Lemhouse spoke regarding the watershed tour hikes with the Forest Resiliency project and provided event dates and logistics.

 

Mayor Stromberg noted vacancies on the Transportation, Housing and Forest Lands Commissions.

 

SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?

The minutes of the Regular Council meeting of August 4, 2009 were approved as presented.

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS

Community Development Director Bill Molnar presented the 2008-2009 Oregon Building Officials Association Outstanding Service Award to City Building Official Mike Broomfield in recognition of his years of leadership and dedication to building safety and education.  

 

CONSENT AGENDA

1.   Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Kerry KenCairn to the Tree Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2010?

2.   Will Council approve the land partition plat segregation land jointly owned by the City and by the Housing Authority of Jackson County, and authorize the Mayor to sign the plat?

3.   Should Council authorize an agreement with The Waters-Oldani Consulting Group, Inc. for professional recruitment services at a bid price of $25,000?

4.   Does Council wish to approve annual renewals on liquor licenses as requested by Oregon State Liquor Commission?

5.   Should Council accept the quarterly report as presented?

6.   Should Council approve a resolution adjusting the FY 2009-2010 Budget to create appropriations and authorize expenditures for unanticipated expenses during this year?

7.   Will Council approve a thirty-day extension to an Airport Ground Lease Agreement dated August 16, 1989 between the City of Ashland and Sandler Films Inc.?

 

Councilor Chapman requested that Consent Agenda item #2 be pulled.

 

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, #3 through #7. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Consent Agenda #2.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Navickas commented the affordable housing project created long-term and immediate benefits and would stimulate the construction economy. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse and Jackson, Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Steve Ryan/624 ½ Park Street/Announced the 2009 Ashland Commuter Challenge September 12-25 sponsored by the City and the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD).  Citizens participate by emailing their non-single car commuter miles to Ashlandcommuterchallenge09@gmail.com.  Mr. Ryan also noted “Car Free” day September 22 on Oak Street and RVTD’s “Try Transit” week.

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS

1.   Does Council wish to direct staff to prepare amendments to AMC 10.44.012 related to nudity within the City of Ashland?

Councilor Lemhouse suggested staff research the legal ability to change the ordinance to provide buffer zones around schools at prescribed times as well as review the current ordinance.

 

Liza Christian/843 Oak Knoll Drive/Stated her opposition to the current nudity. To have an ordinance allowing nudity in Ashland except for the downtown area was in error and the exclusion seemed to cater to tourists and lacked regard for the rest of the community.  She felt public nudity was anti-social and noted that the American Medical Association and the Psychology Association agreed, calling it aberrant and have looked for ways to amend the behavior of people who practice public nudity.  She hoped the Council would recall her comments when considering the ordinance in the future.

 

City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified there was no prohibition on nudity in State law and that the City of Ashland passed an ordinance in 2004 prohibiting nudity in the C1 District and City Parks.  Additionally, there was no ordinance that allowed people to be nude in other parts of Ashland. 

 

Brenda Geyer/1565 Oregon Street/Shared her granddaughter’s encounter with a naked man while walking home from school and read a letter her granddaughter had written to the Council describing her experience.  Ms. Geyer added public nudity was not ok and wanted to live in a town where children felt safe and not scared.

 

Lori Davis/190 Brierwood Drive, Talent/Explained she was a parent and an Ashland School District employee who was present during the incident where the little girl encountered the naked man.  The police officer who responded was unable to act unless the naked man was visibly aroused.  Having children discern whether a nude male was visibly aroused was not reasonable.  It is different for grown ups encountering nude adults, for children, it could be an alarming experience.  She encouraged the Council to look at the situation from a child’s perspective when reviewing the ordinance, children deserved to feel safe.   

 

Peggy Case/925 Park Street/Agreed with other speakers and asked for a complete change in the ordinance.  Nudity should not be allowed in town and children should be able to enjoy themselves and not encounter nudity.  She should be able to go to a restaurant and not have a nude person standing outside the window and questioned where were her rights when she goes out to dine.  Ms. Case urged the Council to show that Ashland is a community of integrity.

 

Steve Case/925 Park Street/Noted he has lived in Ashland for over thirty years and felt public nudity should not exist and wanted children protected.  He asked why the City should allow someone to come from outside Oregon and do what he or she would be arrested for in his or her own state.

 

Chris Adams/955 Pinecrest Terrace/Distributed and read a prepared statement against public nudity. Ashland had ceded to a vocal minority, this was a misinterpretation regarding freedom of expression and the Council should prohibit all public nudity in the city.   

 

Lue Anne Cook/975 Golden Aspen Place/Has lived in Ashland since 1966 and recently experienced a nude person and found it shocking. She emphasized Ashland had both tourists and seniors.  Allowing nudity in the town showed disrespect and degraded senior citizens and children. Her encounter with the nude male was disgusting and she felt these individuals were not taking responsibility for other people living in town or providing a good example for the children.

 

Adam Pearson/246 Walker Avenue/Noted Ashland’s artistic expression and added when that expression imposes negative impacts on so many community members, something needed to be addressed.  Nudity is a big subject with parents and grandparents.  Allowing nudity to proceed in city limits takes away the parents ability to address sexual subjects with their kids when they deem it appropriate as well as their rights.  He encouraged the Council to change the ordinance.

 

Jackie Hassell/250 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Explained she was a School District employee and worked with children daily.  Children are innocent and it is up to the parents to decide when or if they are going to teach them about certain parts of human anatomy or sexual behavior.  She acknowledged that being nude was not a sexual act but it was shocking for a child to see reproductive organs when they have never seen them before or do not know anything about it.  Parents should have the right to decide when their child will be exposed to these things.  Having public nudity enforced on parents and children was an infringement of their rights.  She hoped the Council would give the ordinance the attention it deserved.

 

Eva Fugitt/959 Golden Aspen Place/Shared her reaction as a teenager when she encountered a man nude in public.  At eighty years old, she can still recall the shock and fear she felt.  Nudity in the home was all right but in public, shocking and unacceptable.

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to direct staff to research and report back during executive session the possibility of an addition to the existing municipal code 10.44.010 regarding public nudity to include prohibiting the exposing of genitalia knowingly and intentionally within a prescribed buffer zone around schools between a specific time period and in addition have Legal staff review the existing ordinance as it currently stands.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained trivializing this issue underestimated the impact it has on adults and children.  He noted the number of sexual assault cases he had investigated as a police officer.  It was important to address public nudity legally.  Councilor Jackson added it could be very difficult for the City to address but was worthwhile to have the Legal department research it.  Councilor Navickas commented the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in defense of the first amendment.  Laws are based on objective facts and not the subjective concepts of someone finding it offensive and provided several examples.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin and Navickas, NO; Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 4-2.

 

Councilor Chapman explained he voted yes due to the review of the current ordinance but suspected the ordinance was unconstitutional. 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1.   Does Council approve first reading of an ordinance adding chapter 18.63, Water Resource Protection Zones and related Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Ordinance amendments?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Planning Manager Maria Harris provided the staff report and background. 

 

Council and staff reviewed the list under Background on the Council Communication starting with requirement #2.  Eliminate Restoration Requirements for Exempt Activities and Uses.  Ms. Harris explained that Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) required cities, even with exempt activities, to control the removal of native vegetation and replace non-native plant removal with native vegetation for fish bearing, riparian corridor streams.  This requirement would not apply to the local, intermittent and ephemeral streams.

 

Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s to exempt all removal of non-native species and require them to be replaced with native riparian species in all stream zones, both minor and significant ones. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman asked whether the state law suggested appropriate native plants for riparian areas.  City Attorney Richard Appicello responded the law indicated native riparian species.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Voisin, Lemhouse, Navickas, YES. Motion passed. 

 

Regarding requirement #3. Approval of Acceptable Native Plants and Prohibited Invasive Plants Council discussed maintaining a list of native and invasive plants with the consultation of staff, the Tree Commission and State and Federal websites for resources.

 

Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s approval of suggested amendment to issue #3 to add “state and federal.” Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Voisin, Lemhouse, Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

 

Council debated whether requiring 100% or 50% native plant coverage was more practical and simplified the ordinance for requirement #4. Distribution of Native Plants through the Protection Zone.  Staff explained this was primarily about mitigation after disturbance.  When there is a reduction in a buffer area, the State requires better or equal protection for the resources through restoration of riparian areas, enhanced buffer treatment or similar measures. Council wanted the impact of the ordinance to be proportional to the amount of disturbance. 

 

Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to restrict planting within the riparian zones to 100% native plants.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas explained the motion clarified and simplified the ordinance.  Councilor Jackson thought it was too broad and would not support the motion.  Councilor Voisin supported the motion and did not see any barriers to the requirement.  Councilor Chapman could not determine a basis to make a decision and therefore would not support the motion.  Voice Vote:  Councilor Jackson, Chapman, Silbiger and Lemhouse, NO:  Councilor Voisin and Navickas, YES. Motion failed 4-2.

 

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s for applications requiring land use approval, the entire protection zone shall designate a minimum of 50 % native plant coverage with all new trees consisting of native trees.  Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1. 

 

Council next considered requirement #5.  Use of Heavy Equipment and Machinery.  Staff clarified the hand held equipment exemption could be replaced with a performance standard allowing those activities as long as they were not during the wet season, did not make permanent changes to the topography, moved minor soil or destroyed native plants.  

 

Council suggested adding compaction to the list, discussed the possibility of increasing the weight limit from 100 lbs to 300 lbs, require a permit instead of exempting heavy equipment completely, and establish performance standards and enforcement.  Staff explained enforcement consisted of complaints received by citizens or actions observed by City employees.  Council directed staff to research the use of heavy equipment further and report back with options.

 

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1.   Has the Police Department’s purchase and use of the Taser and lease and use of the downtown contact station been effective?

Police Chief Terry Holderness presented the staff report and explained that during the 16 months since implementation of Taser use, there were eight occasions where an officer removed their Taser from their holster.  Two of the eight were recent and pending reviews.  Although drawing a Taser from a holster is not considered a use of force, it was a concern to the Council.  In six of eight cases where an officer drew their Taser, the Police Department reviewed the action as if it were a use of force and determined all six cases were reasonable, the remaining two upon initial review appear reasonable as well.  To date, officers have not had to fire a Taser in Ashland yet.     

 

Officers attend a 4-6 hour training on the physical use of a Taser with updates occurring every two years. The Police Department trains on Use of Force monthly along with daily tests on aspects of General Orders. An officer is required to file a report whenever they remove a Taser from their holster per a request from Council for the first 6-12 months of implementation.  Chief Holderness knew of no other departments with this monitoring requirement and expressed concern the reporting process may deter officers from using a Taser when needed.   

 

Officers carry their guns on the right hand side and are easily accessible where Tasers are carried on the left and deliberately more difficult to pull.  It was common practice to tase officers during training but a case decision where officers refused to be tased prompted the Taser Company to suggest Police Departments no longer tase officers.  Currently it is the officer’s choice. 

 

Chief Holderness went on to explain the levels of force for Taser use, provided examples and noted that Ashland police can use a Taser when the level of threat towards an officer reaches physical violence.   

   

David Berger/575 Auburn Street/Explained he was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  He was speaking on the ACLU’s behalf to thank the Council and Chief Holderness for their response and reactions to the issues ACLU expressed two years ago during the initial Taser discussion.  He commended the Ashland Police Department for changing the method of force noting it had reduced the risk of potential harm to citizens.

 

Chief Holderness continued the report with an update on the downtown Contact Station.  The original goals were increased police presence, reductions in reported crime and disorder, the perception of crime and disorder, response time and ongoing improvement of services to the community. 

 

He explained reducing criminal activity versus displacing it and noted an overall reduction of crime throughout the city, a significant decrease in the downtown area with some displacement occurring.  Response times needed to improve and the Police Department is working on that process.  The Contact Station has increased interactions with businesses, residents and the homeless community.  Public feedback has been positive and complaints regarding aggressive panhandlers in the area have decreased.

 

Council discussed continued reporting on Taser use, if the Use of Force report was more comprehensive and gave consensus for the Chief to report on Taser use, he deemed appropriate.

 

Chief Holderness briefly reported on the Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) saturation patrol that occurred August 14.  The saturation patrol involved five agencies including the Ashland Police Department and resulted in 8 DUI arrests and 20 citations out of the 84 vehicles stopped.  However, the Rogue Valley has experienced a significant decline in DUII arrests and citations over the years.

 

2.   Will Council authorize staff to conduct Cross Connection surveys/site visits of water customers that also have Talent Irrigation District (TID) irrigation connections to determine if a cross connection exists?

Delayed due to time constraints.

 

3.   Should Council approve a letter of support to the National Forest Supervisor to encourage a timely approval of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan?

Ashland Fire Chief John Karns and Forest Resource Specialist Chris Chambers presented the staff report and explained the letter of support would encourage a timely signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan (AFR).

 There was clarification that the ROD remained unsigned due to the complex legal issues regarding the inventoried roadless area portion in the AFR.  Mr. Chambers confirmed but thought it was important to send a message to the Forest Service that Ashland was vested.  Deadlines for grants through the Forest Service had passed resulting in the City losing $225,000 for implementation because the ROD remains unsigned and there was potential to lose more funding.

 Council suggested contacting Oregon State Representatives Walden or Merkley and inquired on the status of the Ashland Watershed Protection Project.  Fire Chief Karns reported there were 200-300 acres of piles to burn. All of the non-commercial work specified in the project was cut but not all had been burned. Regarding the prescribed fire, there were over 1,000 acres designated in the project and only 5-10 acres implemented.  The prescribed fire did not have an expiration and the AFR did so the focus had shifted to the approval of the AFR project in an effort to retain funding. 

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to approve the letter of support for the AFR to Scott Conroy, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse stated it was important to take advantage of this unique circumstance and thought it was more appropriate to have elected officials contact Oregon Representatives.  Councilor Navickas explained the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HEFRA) undermined a National Forest Policy Act that required a broad range of alternatives.  One reason for the delay in signing the ROD was only one alternative was presented and it included controversial logging in the inventoried roadless area, did not have a diameter limit, required helicopter pad building and fuel break construction.  There was concern of possible litigation.  Councilor Navickas suggested annual increments, limiting the scope and moving forward on the ground portion.  He also found the language in the letter offensive and asked for a revision.  Councilor Silbiger commented when the Council gave approval the previous year, 90% of the public testimony agreed.  He did not support starting over due to the significant amount of work that had gone into the project already and thought the Council should move forward with the letter. 

 

Councilor Voisin did not support the letter; it needed to address the monitoring system and she did not know if one was in place.  Mr. Chambers explained there was an extensive monitoring system that covered part of the watershed and 700 plots across the project area that was unique for the Forest Service.  Mayor Stromberg noted a meeting he and City Administrator Martha Bennett would attend August 19, 2009 with the District Ranger of Regional Forestry and others that could bring more information regarding the project.  Councilor Voisin requested a response from the Regional Forestry regarding process.

 

Councilor Navickas was not comfortable moving forward and reiterated issues with the letter.  Councilor Chapman asked Ms. Bennett to review the letter and added he wanted the City to move forward on the non-controversial aspects of the project only.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Jackson, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Navickas and Voisin, NO.  Motion passed 4-2.

 

Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to continue first reading of Water Resource Protection Ordinance to September 8, 2009. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (None)

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS

2.   Planning Commission

 

SUMMARY OF MEETING

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting was adjourned at 10:28 p.m.

 

  

__________________________________    _______________________________

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                   John Stromberg, Mayor

 

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