MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, November 4, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, Marsh, Lemhouse, and Slattery were present.
1. Look Ahead review
There were no questions regarding the Look Ahead.
2. Discussion of short-term rentals in R-1 (single family residential) zones
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained if Council wanted to consider changing the zoning code for
R-1, it would go to the Planning Commission for land use recommendations then back to Council as an ordinance. Council could provide parameters for short-term rentals in the R-1 zone before forwarding it to the Planning Commission.
Council was interested in sending short-term rentals in the R-1 zone to the Planning Commission for their recommendations. It would allow a public debate so both sides of the issue had the opportunity to speak. Parameters included protecting the stock of accessory units for long-term rentals, options for renting bedrooms within existing homes or scenarios that did not damage rental stock, possible Bed and Breakfasts in the R-1 zone, and the 200-foot setback requirement for R-2 and R-3 zones. Council wanted general information on accessory units that included stock, supply, and the number of zoned dwellings.
Other comments wanted the Planning Commission to focus on the overall picture, preferred no parameters with the Commission providing with a variety of recommendations. Opposing comment would not support accessory units as short-term rentals.
Mr. Kanner stated that meantime, it was illegal to provide short-term travelers accommodations in the R-1 zone, and the City had begun strictly enforcing the code. Mayor Stromberg further explained having the Council forward the issue to the Planning Commission for their recommendations did not imply endorsement.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar thought the issue could go on the Planning Commission agenda early December to start the discussion. Mayor Stromberg added Councilors that wanted to add or refine requirements for the Planning Commission could do so outside of the meeting over the next twelve days.
3. Discussion of whether and how to consider additional improvements to the downtown plaza
Councilor Slattery suggested a master plan for the Plaza for further improvements. Councilor Lemhouse noted work currently happening regarding beautification efforts throughout the City and thought it would be a mistake to look at the Plaza separate from the rest of the downtown. City Administrator Dave Kanner added the Administration Department staff would present beautification efforts and projects to Council at the December 17, 2013 meeting.
Councilor Voisin commented on 300-400 signatures on a petition from citizens that wanted to change the pavers in the Plaza. She proposed establishing an ad hoc committee charged with replacing the pavers then creating a plan in correlation with the beautification process.
Mr. Kanner explained the Council by resolution set aside a portion of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for capital improvements. Staff was focusing on the city overall and what to do with the money. There was $128,000 in the current biennium with $10,000 already spent.
Council supported public input but others did not favor having another ad hoc committee. Comments noted the Plaza as a working and gathering space and did not want that usage diminished. Supportive comments for a committee explained the focus could start on the downtown and move out from there project-by-project. One comment strongly supported replacing pavers with a pattern similar to the Calle Guanajuato area. Council majority supported a comprehensive plan that tied further improvements to the Plaza to the overall look downtown that included a budget, predictable cycle of funding projects, and empowerment for people to make choices instead of complaint driven suggestions.
Council discussed having staff provide a list of projects and budget information at the December 17, 2013 Council meeting then form a committee to review and provide recommendations. Opposing comment thought the committee should form first.
Mr. Kanner explained staff was in the process of putting together a list of beautification projects and would have a concept for Council by the December 17, 2013 meeting. Council stressed the need for citizen input. Mr. Kanner thought Open City Hall on the City website could serve as a brainstorming tool for the community.
Mayor Stromberg summarized the City was looking at citywide beautification projects with suggestions from staff and public all run through a process lead by a citizens committee. First they would take an overall look at all possibilities in town, get feedback from Council, focus on certain items and bring it back to Council for a decision. Public input would be included at all stages once Council had a concept and agreement on the process, including using Open City Hall. The City Administrator would pull together a concept or loose plan that Council could refine or change.
4. Discussion of City position on ODOT application to amend conditions of approval for the Siskiyou Rest Stop project
Mayor Stromberg provided background on the Welcome Center explaining some were comfortable with it and others had security concerns since it was close to the Oak Knoll neighborhoods. Council agreed to provide potable water and sewer to the Welcome Center with certain conditions that included it was never a Rest Stop, staffed seven days a week, and had an Oregon State Police office. Council added the project needed full funds prior to construction and potable water for indoor services only. However, the Order forwarded to Jackson County in 2011 did not specify the indoor potable water requirement. City Attorney Dave Lohman stated he sat on the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Commission and that did not present a conflict to discussion. He would review the Order and determine what reigned regarding the potable water requirement.
Mayor Stromberg explained the City tried to structure the situation to get a fully staffed Welcome Center with a state police office, and control the water in specific ways with a commitment to the project 2015. Jackson County had to give permission for an exception to state land use goals because the land was high quality farmland. It went through Jackson County Planning and Jackson County Commissioners. At some point Jackson County required the City to provide water and sewer. The Jackson County decision was appealed to Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).
City Administrator Dave Kanner further explained LUBA remanded it to Jackson County who adopted a new ordinance remanded August 2013. The ordinance was appealed to LUBA and LUBA had not taken action. ODOT could move forward while the project was under appeal at their risk. They would still have to meet all the County and City conditions. This current action by ODOT changed nothing in the agreement with the City. The agreement was an Order by the City of Ashland and remained standing with all the original requirements. One of Jackson County conditions of approval in 2009 was ODOT reach an agreement with the City of Ashland regarding water and sewer and the City said no irrigation water. ODOT made other arrangements for irrigation water and requested the County to amend their conditions of approval that Ashland would not provide irrigation water but Talent Irrigation District (TID) would. ODOT planned to use an alternative irrigation system using bags that would meter water trucked to the Welcome Center for the first three years while the plants and trees established. An irrigation exemption was part of the Jackson County Land Development Ordinance and not part of the approval. ODOT would replace any plants or trees that did not survive.
Council majority was interested in sending a letter to ODOT reiterating the original conditions of the June 2011 Order and did not want Jackson County making changes that would affect that agreement. Opposing comments thought the requirements were clear in the Order and the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) would ensure ODOT met the standards.
Another concern was a requirement to irrigate the entire site. Mr. Lohman was not aware the City made irrigation of the entire site a condition of approval. Mr. Kanner clarified the City would not provide irrigation water for the Welcome Center. ODOTís request of Jackson County did not affect Ashland because it pertained to irrigation water, not potable water.
Council discussed adding the discussion to the business meeting the following night. Opposing comment noted ODOT had purchased TID water 10-12 times the amount needed to provide irrigation to the Welcome Center and would only use one tenth. If added to the agenda, it needed to be clear the discussion pertained to sending a letter reaffirming the Order and nothing else. Comments supporting adding the item to the agenda would allow public input and staff could clarify irrigation and building requirements for the Welcome Center.
Mr. Kanner emphasized ODOT could not make changes to the Cityís Order of City Council and had to prove they had funds prior to construction.
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder