MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, November 30, 2015
1175 E Main Street
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Councilor Seffinger was absent.
1. Public Input
Bruce Bayard/621 A Street/Addressed concerns the Historic Commission had with the Gateway art piece “Gather” and explained the placement, scale, and mass of the art piece would not hinder the view of the historic hotel. The location was not in the downtown district but at the confluence of three historic districts and was a transitional place. The selection process was ten years in the planning. Council approved the site of the Gateway project after many study groups, public input meetings, a master plan, City ordinances all under the guidance of multiple council liaisons to the Public Arts Commission. “Gather” expressed the intensely focused creative energy representative of Ashland in its emerging status as a contemporary creative vortex.
Amy Blossom/140 Susan Lane/Participated on the selection committee for the art piece as a regular citizen. The committee adhered to the guidelines and the selection was unanimous. She worked at the library and was proud of the choice. She was an historian but felt “Gather” was a contemporary piece that fit into Ashland.
Christian Burchard/777 Pompadour Drive/Also participated on the selection committee and an artist for almost forty years. Public art was always a problem. It used public money and the selection would never satisfy everyone. “Gather” created a beautiful place in the location. It created a triangle with two historical pieces and was a wonderful addition to the City. He supported Council in whatever decision they made. He understood the decision was difficult especially if a small group of people tried to derail the process.
John Barton/245 Piedmont/Addressed the selection process for the Gateway art piece. It was unclear how many people supported “Gather” or opposed the art piece. The Mayor appointed commissions to represent the public will. Opening the process to a vote would be messy and expensive. Not all public policy was set by popular vote. Using public commissions was more efficient. He supported the process.
Joseph Kauth/1 Corral/Questioned whether community represented compassion, mercy, or did they represent the dark side that was a show of force. He used the greenhouse and church down by the dog park as an example of the dark side. People would go to church then stop by the greenhouse. Once the greenhouse closed, people stopped attending church and it closed. The church was the light side and development the dark side. He noted how the Ashland Forest Resiliency cut affected the weather.
2. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3. Review of codified public art selection process
City Administrator Dave Kanner clarified the $100,000 for public art was money from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and restricted by state law under ORS 3.28. City Attorney Dave Lohman addressed comments regarding selection of a local artist. Oregon statutes can favor Oregon contractors only if the bids were equal in terms of quality and more. The City had a provision in its contracting code stating the City would use local suppliers whenever practical and feasible while seeking to obtain the lowest and best responsible proposal.
Public Arts Commission Chair Margaret Garrington introduced Public Arts Commissioners Sandra Friend, Dana Bussell, Laurel Merchant, and Richard Newman, and shared their backgrounds and expertise.
The Public Art Master Plan began in 2006. The Public Arts Commission worked with the community for six months, distributed 2,500 questionnaires, posted on the City website, and included notices in the Ashland Chamber of Commerce newsletter. Citizens completed 359 surveys. The Commission made presentations to local service clubs, two public forums, and two focus group sessions and published the Master Plan in 2007.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer addressed Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.29 Public Art. The Commission posted a notice on the Americans for the Arts website asking for public art master plans and ordinances. The city attorney at that time reviewed public art ordinances from other cities. Council adopted the resolution October 2008 and the ordinance in January 2009.
Chair Garrington explained the Public Arts Commission developed the Gateway Request for Qualification (RFQ) over a series of meetings 2011 through 2013. In May 2013, the Commission chair informed Council about the intent to post a Gateway RFQ and use TOT funds for the project. In October 2013, Council was informed that the Public Arts Commission planned to publish the RFQ. The criteria in the RFQ called for a signature installation that had a contemporary context, was a visual landmark, and strengthened economic development in tourism. The installation needed to be iconic, create excitement and interest, challenge the viewer’s perspective, enhance the experience of entering the downtown core, and encourage reflection on the larger world community. Applicants submitted a letter of interest, an artist statement, resume, references, and images of pertinent work. The City received 63 artist submissions that met the minimum requirements. Ten were local artists. The Public Arts Commission narrowed the applicants to five. Selection criteria for artists included professional qualifications, proven artistic merit, body of work, experience with the public process, demonstrated skill fabricating and installing large outdoor artwork, artistic excellence, and proven ability to create and deliver high quality, easily maintained durable large-scale art on time within budget.
The Public Arts Commission relied on the ordinance and the Public Art Master Plan for the selection process. The final four applicants had several months to create art concepts based on information in the RFQ, citizen input word clouds, and visiting Ashland. Public outreach efforts involved letters to the editor in the Sneak Preview newspaper, distributing handouts with a commission presence at the Plaza for two First Friday events, announcements through the Ashland Art and Galley Association, and the Chamber of Commerce, and the City utility billing newsletters. The Commission utilized Open City Hall and had a table in the library regarding the Gateway art project. The Public Arts Commission received 70 citizen responses for each of the four questions posed along with importance.
In March 2015, the four finalists submitted artistic concepts. Three finalists remained in the process and presented their concepts at the library twice. The following day the selection panel reviewed the criteria and selected “Gather.”
Ms. Seltzer addressed the selection panel and explained the Commission sent out a request for qualifications for participants. The panel consisted of art professionals and enthusiasts, residents near the proposed site, community members and City administrators. They evaluated the proposals and made a recommendation. AMC 2.29 stated the selection panel was chosen after an advertisement went to the newspapers, postcards sent to property owners within 300-feet of the proposed site and a notice went on the City website. The Public Arts Commission did not place an ad in the newspaper or post a notice on the website. Past actions indicated ads and website notices were ineffective in generating responses from candidates willing to serve on the selection panel. However, postcards to neighbors were successful. She listed the selection panel participants. The panel relied on the Public Art Master Plan and code to make their recommendation.
The Commission thought the request for qualification benefited the process. For narrowing applicants, the Public Arts Commission took the criteria in the RFQ and requirements in the ordinance to create a matrix then ranked all the artists through seven meetings. Public art was an industry within an industry and the Gateway piece required an engineer and a fabricator. For the scale and location, it was important to ensure the artist was qualified and experienced. The Commission called all the references provided.
The Public Arts Commission clarified Historic Commission member Allison Renwick participated on the selection panel as a professor of art. The Public Arts Commission had not heard any of the concerns and objections the Historic Commission had regarding the art piece until the newspaper article a month before and were surprised. There were several opportunities to hear negative comments from the Historic Commission or other commissions regarding the project and the Public Arts Commission heard nothing.
Council suggested having the finalists possibly submit multiple concepts. Chair Garrington explained the PAC paid for the artists to develop their concepts. Requesting multiple concepts would cost the City more money. Alternately, not paying the artists for their concepts could result in lesser quality of work.
Ms. Seltzer further explained the Commission worked on the RFQ and language over a three-year period. The ordinance did not require a review by other commissions.
The Public Arts Commission explained contemporary was anything done by an artist living today. Requesting contemporary art left the options open. Including information that the location was within the historic district was not a requirement for the RFQ.
Councilor Voisin asked how the Public Arts Commission saw their relationship to the Historic Commission regarding artwork in the historic district. Councilor Lemhouse raised a point of order and explained questions should pertain to the selection process and not the relationship between commissions. Mayor Stromberg ruled with Councilor Lemhouse.
Council comments agreed the Public Arts Commission followed policy and suggested including the Historic Commission and the Community Development Department in the review process for RFQs in the future.
Councilor Voisin read AMC Chapter 2.29.130 Guidelines for Recommendation by the Commission, A, Selection Guidelines for Works of Public Art, 3 History and Context and wanted to know how the Public Arts Commission considered history and context when they wrote the RFQ. Chair Garrington responded they wrote the location in the RFQ as a gateway site for the City along with a description of Ashland. Commissioners gave the artists a tour of Ashland. Ms. Seltzer added history and context was used to evaluate the proposals that came forward. City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified 2.29.130 (A)(3) History and Context referred to the site, not the project. History was being used in two different ways.
The Public Arts Commission wanted to bring something forward that started a dialogue about art. The piece would have detractors and lovers. There would always be differences of opinion about art.
Mr. Kanner explained Council would make their decision by applying their best personal judgment, value regarding the piece, and vote accordingly. Mr. Lohman added the ordinance laid out specific guidelines. Council could not vote against the piece because the artist was not local. The code was detailed so Council could rely on a group of experts and not make aesthetic decisions.
Ms. Seltzer addressed the cost and estimated of the $100,000, $60,000 would go to fabrication, $12,000 for transportation, $5,000 to the artist’s fee, $10,000 contingency, and the rest would cover installation that included renting a crane and pouring the pad. Exact amounts would be available at the December 15, 2015 Council meeting. Commissioner Newman added public art was a large industry with a small group of artists. The amount allocated was very reasonable. The Public Arts Commission started saving for the Gateway art project in 2008, allocating $12,000 to $14,000 annually and would reach the $100,000 goal in 2016.
The Commission was confident that they should determine recommendations for Council versus submitting 3 to 4 options for Council to select. The selection panel were not only experts but represented the public in Ashland.
The Historic Commission voted unanimously the selection process needed changes. Council suggested adding language to the RFQ that included input from the Historic Commission regarding a project. Councilor Lemhouse thought a study group consisting of people from the Public Arts Commission, the Historic Commission and the community review the current process.
Councilor Voisin read suggestions from the Historic Commission had on working with the Public Arts Commission that included a joint study session to review the process when a selection related to historic districts, and commission liaisons that would attend meetings to prevent a disconnect in the future.
Councilor Lemhouse raised a point of order explaining comments made by Councilor Voisin to the Public Arts Commission were not appropriate. Council established liaisons, not a commission. Alternately, the Public Arts Commission was always open to input and he did not want the inference they were not. Councilor Voisin raised a point of order regarding Councilor Lemhouse’s comments. She thought it was derogatory to her comments and taken out of context. Mayor Stromberg ruled in favor of Councilor Lemhouse and thought the comments spoke to whether the recommendation implied a decision by the Public Arts Commission.
Council majority directed staff to bring a proposal for an ad hoc working group to review the selection process to a future Council meeting.
4. Discussion of Land Use Ordinance Amendments for Homegrown Marijuana and Marijuana-Related Businesses
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Planning Commission thought the original draft limiting indoor production on a commercial level to 10,000 square feet (sq. ft.) building was too large. There were employee density and job growth concerns as well. The Planning Commission reduced building size to 5,000 sq. ft. due to energy and water consumption. Planning Manager Maria Harris added the state adopted rules limiting the size of indoor commercial growing and production based on energy and water use from 5,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft. The draft ordinance coordinated with state rules regarding size.
City Administrator Dave Kanner added the energy concern was peak hour use and suggested an ordinance that would allow the City to enter into purchase agreements with large electric consumers that encouraged them through incentives not to use electricity during peak hours. Off peak use would not push the City to Tier 2 and was straight revenue.
Ms. Harris clarified the maximum allowed for outdoor recreational marijuana was four plants. The Planning Commission was trying to balance allowing people to exercise their rights under Measure-91 while being mindful of close housing and keeping size and scale away from adjoining residences due to the odor issue. The 10-foot height limitation and number of plants kept the size and scale compatible with the residential environment. House Bill 3400 specifically allowed local governments to adopt time, place, and manner restrictions on marijuana growing.
The Planning Commission thought there should be some allowances to grow outside to take advantage of sunlight and natural precipitation. State law allowed six mature plants for medical marijuana and under the new regulations, 12 plants per site. State law did not address the amount outdoor or indoor except for the commercial production piece. In the draft ordinance it did not matter if it was personal or commercial, four plants outside was the rule.
Per state law, plants could not be viewed from a public street or public place that included commonly owned open space or places that operated like a public right of way. Setback regulations primarily addressed odor. The City code compliance officer determined through complaints that more than four plants became odoriferous. Most of the complaints involved properties with 10 to 96 plants. Four plants produced a tolerable odor for a reasonable person. City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified the nuisance ordinance was still in place. If four plants created an odor a reasonable person would find obnoxious, the City could have the owner cut down some or all four plants even though they were allowed. Ms. Harris added the Planning Commission looked at land use control to address nuisances.
The draft ordinance included medical and recreational marijuana sales. The Planning Commission carried forward existing rules. Medical and recreational marijuana sales were allowed as a special use in the commercial zone if located on a boulevard street. It was a conditional use if located 200-feet from a residential zone. The Commission included a stipulation that retail sales were 1,000 feet from each other and schools. State law required medical marijuana dispensaries be 1,000 feet from schools and each other. Recreational was 1,000 feet from schools but not each other. The Planning Commission decided initially the City should be conservative and relax regulations later. Ashland currently had four existing dispensaries. The state would start taking applications for commercial sales January 2016. To date there were no police calls regarding the dispensaries.
Mr. Lohman spoke to the City of Denver’s assistant city attorney responsible for marijuana regulations. They reviewed their ordinances every few months due to discovering new things. Another issue was commercial operations affecting industrial land. In Colorado, industrial space was no longer available due to commercial grows. The City of Denver’s assistant city attorney recommended leaving space for non-marijuana grows.
Councilor Voisin left the meeting at 7:45 p.m.
Mr. Kanner added Denver had not imposed rules on commercial indoor grows and that resulted in large-scale operations the used tremendous amounts of energy and very few employees. The state of Oregon put rules in place to prevent that from happening here.
Ms Harris confirmed resident growers could grow indoors in residential zones as long as the house was the operator’s primary home and they lived there. One standard stated the majority of the home could not be used to grow marijuana. The initial draft allowed a maximum of twelve plants per property with four outside. However, the ability to enforce that number for indoor grows was not feasible.
The Planning Commission applied the 200-feet from a residential zone to commercial grows, processing and labs. They wanted to start at a more conservative level and relax standards over time. Mr. Molnar added it was an unknown in terms of potential security issues and attractive nuisances.
Council Lemhouse was concerned allowing grows in R-1 zones and allowing too much industrial growing in town.
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder