MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
December 18, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the council chambers.
Councilors Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, and Hearn were present. Councilor Laws arrived late. Councilor Morrison was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting Minutes of December 4, 2001 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Presentation by the Housing Commission on current activities.
Larry Medinger gave brief history background on the formation of the Housing Commission. Members were introduced as Aaron Benjamin, Nancy Richardson, Richard Seidman and Diana Goodwin Shavey. Richardson reported on median household income data and how it relates to purchasing a home in Ashland. She noted the negative social impacts due to the difference in range between income and housing. Benjamin reported that there were four areas identified by the commission: 1) public education and outreach; 2) employer assisted housing; 3) land use practices; and 4) staffing. Commissioners reported on the different methods and actions the commission is taking to address these issues. It was noted that the council and the community need to take seriously the need for affordable housing, just as transportation, etc. has been taken seriously.
Discussion was held regarding how the median house price was determined and the different formulas that are part of this. Richardson reported that there are rental assistance programs available through Jackson County Housing Authority for public housing. Benjamin stated that a "Needs Assessment" will be conducted and will provide more comprehensive data. Medinger briefly reported on the connection that the commission has with the Ashland Land Trust.
2. Proclamation was read for Christmas Tree Recycle Day in Ashland on January 5, 2002.
3. Mayor noted the Certification of Recognition by the League of Oregon Cities to the City of Ashland for the Siskiyou Boulevard Re-Design Process.
4. Mayor recognized Rada Jackson's retirement from the City Municipal Court.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Acceptance of Audit Committee Report dated November 28, 2001 and June 30, 2001 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Reported on his circulation of a petition to boycott Ski Ashland and to oppose expansion of the Mt Ashland area. Navickas reported on what he believes was intimidation by Ashland Police officers when distributing posters. He voiced his right to distribute posters and felt that his 1st amendment was violated. He felt that there is an attitude of "cleansing" in the downtown area and is destroying the urbanization of our community. He requested that the council allow posting of posters on light poles.
Clay Ganges/5525 Upton Road, Central Point/of Classic Trolleys presented a proposition for a valley wide trolley system. He explained that the proposed trolley system would be a nonprofit agency operating in partnership with the Rogue Valley Transit System. He noted that implementing such a system would result in fewer cars on the road and less pollution. He expects to return in January with a firmer plan.
The Mayor encouraged Ganges to contact the City Administrator to discuss placing the Trolley System on a future council agenda. He also noted that it is currently illegal to place posters on light poles, but that there is a public bulletin board available in the downtown area to post flyers.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council election of Citizens' Budget Committee members.
City Administrator Greg Scoles related Councilor Morrison's support of Marty Levine and Regina Stepahin for reappointment, and appointing Diana Goodwin Shavey.
Reid mentioned that at one time there was a two-year term limit for committees and commissions as there was once a desire to integrate new people. Hartzell noted that it takes a while to come up to speed on the committee and that consistency and knowledge is a good thing to have in place. In terms of her recommendations for appointment, she favored more of a mix, both in terms of longevity and turnover, as well as gender balance. Laws commented on the importance of looking at the quality and qualifications of all applicants.
Councilors Laws/Hanson m/s to reappoint Marty Levine and Regina Stepahin to a three year term for the Citizen's Budget Committee. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hanson and Hearn YES, Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilors Hanson/Hartzell m/s to appoint Diana Goodwin Shavey to a three year term for the Citizen's Budget Committee. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson and Hearn YES. Motion passed.
2. Approval of Design Elements regarding Siskiyou Boulevard.
Public Works Director Paula Brown reported on the preview of the design standards and update of the design process. She offered the following recommendations: 1) Reject initial concept of the roundabout and use more traditional signalized intersection at Siskiyou/Lithia Way/E. Main; 2) Accept compromise solution for the Ashland Street to Walker Avenue section of the project; 3) Close end of Iowa at Siskiyou with a closure detail that will be acceptable to the Fire Department and their access requirements; 4) Realign Beach Street, modify current traffic signal and negotiate with property owner for these improvements; 5) Not to include signal at Morton Street, as it does not meet current signal warrants. Brown indicated that a signal at Sherman Street is recommended. The design could include necessary under grounding of elements so that a future signal could easily be accommodated; and 6) Use original design of 6 foot bike lanes and two 11 foot travel lanes in order to provide safe bicycle movement and encourage use. The center median would remain at 16-14 feet.
Pedestrian and bicycle safety issues were raised and Brown explained that safety has been the main focus in the redesign process. Brown explained the access issues surrounding the Ashland Street/Siskiyou Boulevard area and agreed to determine ownership status on the location of Omar's Restaurant. She reported that continued discussion with Southern Oregon University and Omar's is taking place, with emphasis placed on safety issues. Brown noted her appreciation for the local business owners due to the difficulty of design for this area. Hartzell recognized and appreciated the work by Brown and the Boulevard Citizen Design Committee (BCDC).
Brown explained that the closure of Iowa Street will address speed issues and noted that alternative routes are available and staff will continue to address property owners' needs in this area. Brown reported that the project is within budget and noted the support received from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Councilors Laws/Hanson m/s to accept six recommendations by staff. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Highway 66/Ashland Street Project.
Public Works Director Paula Brown briefly spoke on the past options presented to the council on an agreement between the City and ODOT. Brown offered the following recommendations: 1) Accept ODOT agreement; 2) Direct staff to move forward with an expedited design and construction schedule; 3) Utilize current Siskiyou Boulevard Citizen Design Committee (BCDC) members and added community business members to include Bill Cobb (State Farm); Tim Simonson; Randy Watt (Good Times); Steve Meister; and Dennis Sweet as the Ad Hoc group; 4) Negotiate a change order with W&H Pacific so that the design of the Ashland Street project is completed as a change to W&H Pacific's current Siskiyou Boulevard Project; and 5) Incorporate construction of this project as a part of the overall Siskiyou improvements so that it is completed by April 30, 2003.
Reid voiced concern that current large projects, specifically the Tolman Creek project, would suffer if this project were undertaken. Brown explained that this is too good an opportunity to pass up, it is consistent with the Siskiyou Boulevard plan, and that the Tolman project is moving forward. She stated that combining the two projects would lower total costs, and by using the existing design team, would allow project streamlining and incorporation of some design concepts being utilized on the Boulevard.
Scoles stressed the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity and commented on safety issues that would be addressed sooner than anticipated. Brown assured the council that staff is fully informed and capable of moving these projects forward. Scoles noted that by using the same consulting team adding this project is a minimal effort, and is not like managing two separate projects. He noted that the real change was in ODOT's attitude concerning jurisdictional exchange in that this agreement does not require the City to take ownership of that section of the highway, but instead requires good faith negotiations at some point in the future.
Laws commented on past discussion regarding aesthetics for the Ashland Street area and pedestrian safety and access. He voiced his concern that these ideas not are lost, and that special efforts are made to create a pleasing entryway. Hartzell requested that the council continue to be made aware of any new information pertaining to jurisdictional exchange. She requested that other types of users from this neighborhood be included at the committee level.
Hearn commented on the importance of aesthetics and expressed his hope that prior work by the Planning Commission is not wasted. Laws commented on the importance of responsibility and control of this street, but noted that it must be within the budget of the city. Laws expressed his personal aversion to using money from taxpayers in other parts of the state to pay for Ashland improvements. Hartzell noted that according to the ODOT agreement the city would bear the cost for improvements not completed by the April 2003 deadline. Brown noted that the work would be coordinated and contractors would have to meet interim milestones.
Councilor Hartzell motion to approve staff recommendations 1, 2, 4 and 5, and modify recommendation 3 to add 3 or 4 committee members from the affected neighborhoods. Motion died due to lack of second.
Reid noted that while she wants neighbors involved in the process she does not support holding up the process contingent on finding 3 or 4 people living in the affected areas who want or are able to serve. She does not see a need to appoint a certain number of people. Hartzell clarified that what she wanted was a good faith effort to include neighborhood people from the affected areas, and to give equal weight to their concerns and expertise.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to accept staff recommendations as presented and to actively invite applications for committee membership from affected neighborhoods. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
4. Process for Annual Review of Goals and Goal Setting for Fiscal
City Administrator Greg Scoles outlined the Goal Setting process and mentioned that the public input process is already underway. Council attempted to coordinate schedules and tentatively set Council Workshop for February 1st. Laws suggested that in the future, the public input process be finished before the beginning of the year.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (None)
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS/FROM COUNCIL
Reid suggested the council think about how to go about conducting town hall meetings. She would like to generate more community input on an annual basis and would like to discuss the issue at the Goal Setting meeting.
Laws asked that written reports from department heads be given to the council before the yearly goal setting session. DeBoer noted that reports are already being gathered for the Mayor's Annual Address.
Hartzell commented on the community block grant process and noted that in a future meeting staff will present possible changes in how these grants are solicited for various projects. Scoles noted that one of the goals is to minimize the overhead costs associated with administering grants.
DeBoer mentioned that a successful bid was received for the new Public Works building and that Brown would be bring it to the council at the next meeting. He noted that there would not be a council meeting on January 1st. He issued a reminder about council appointments and asked that member preferences be returned to him soon.
Scoles clarified that the Hillah Temple bid was within budget and that while it does not require council action, information on the process would be provided to the council.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.