ad hoc City Hall Advisory Committee
June 7, 2017
Methodist Church, 175 North Main 1:30 p.m.
Committee Members: Boldt, Dichiro, Kramer, Miller, Nickels, Pearce, Thalden
Staff: Fleury, Morrison, Seltzer
Absent: Finklea, Kenefick, Richards, Shaw
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS: Dichiro called the meeting to order.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Changes to the May 24 meeting Minutes included:
- Kramer noted that ‘what’ needed to be changed to ‘want’ on page 7 in the sentence: ….the committee did not want to begin developing….”
- Nickels asked that the May 10 Minutes (already approved at the May 24 meeting) be clarified to read on Page 4: “Shaw’s point that the distance between the library and City Hall is the same as one end of the Rogue Valley Mall to the other end.”
- Pearce gave significant changes to his report on the City Hall Deed, which were incorporated into the May 24 Final Minutes. He said there are a lot of unknowns in the deed and it was not the committee’s job to make legal assumptions so recommended the changes.
MOTION by Kramer, second by Boldt to approve as revised the Minutes of the May 24, 2017 ad hoc City Hall Advisory Committee meeting. Carried unanimously by a quorum of the committee.
DISCUSSION – LITHIA WAY AND PIONEER PARKING LOT AND ELKS PARKING LOT:
Seltzer had available the two pages from the ORW Architecture Feasibility Study Options report on Option 5: New Construction at Lithia Way and North Pioneer. It stated: “Option 5 consolidated City Hall and Community Development departments on the Lithia Way and North Pioneer site with all new construction including some surface parking spaces. This option can be implemented as Option 5A (with one level of underground parking to satisfy zoning code requirements), or Option 5B (with two levels of underground parking to satisfy the zoning code and provide additional public parking). Option 5 of the Feasibility Study noted:
- Area needed: approximately 24,400 square feet
- Area available: approximately 26, 135 square feet
- New 2 level building with 2 levels of underground parking
- Consolidation enhances pubic convenience and governmental efficiency
- Largest floor plate increases useable space & flexibility
- Maintains existing public parking
- Reduces downtown parking demand by providing code required parking for new building
- Access easement to adjacent property
- Relinquish City Hall Building to original owners or maintain for alternate City use
- Sell Community Development Building to offset project costs
- Eliminates temporary staff relocation during construction
- Site outside of Hosler Dam inundation zone
The ORW Finding on Option 5 was that it offered organizational flexibility and the option to build another level for multi-use or future expansion. Because of zoning, parking is required. An access easement to the adjacent multi-use building for access and egress requires underground parking to maximize the use of the site. Parking quantity can be provided at the code minimum (surface parking plus one level underground parking) or with an additional level of public parking.
Pearce noted that the Lithia Way building was cantilevered and that there is an easement to the parking lot. Seltzer added that there is access to that property from a site that is undeveloped and the easement is temporary through a City lot, but that there would be access to the property once it is developed. Kramer noted that the Elks Property does not cantilever like the Lithia Way option. Dichiro wondered what advantage there would be for the City to build across the street from a property they already own. Boldt thought the Elks lot may be bigger. Seltzer believed that the piece adjacent to the Elks was leased to the City by the Elks and it is not owned by the City. The Elks property would be a consideration if more space was needed and we would not have to do underground parking, which is very expensive. Seltzer noted that the Elks had proposed to the City our using the property, but details of their intent and what they had in mind are not known. Kramer said that the underlying criteria is how much it costs, and that there would have to be incredible advantages but that it could be much more expensive. Pearce said the Elks option would increase parking downtown, and Kramer noted that was not something that could be done on Lithia Way. Kramer asked if there was a City fund to pay for adding more parking and Seltzer said that there was a downtown
business fund that businesses paid into, which grew and accommodated beautification projects, but it no longer exists.
Kramer said the committee needs to know the parameters of the Elks lot and clarify who owns the property opening of the building on Second Street. . Nickels added that there may be an option to buy.
Dichiro said Option 5 is third on her list at this point because of the expense. Dichiro said it centralized everything moving to the Police Station area and added we could get some additional parking, but the option did not wow her. Thalden said that if we built two levels of parking, we would be adding additional parking. The first layer was code required and the second layer is not a gain of parking spaces except for City staff. Seltzer said that the cost is based on selling the Winburn Way property and the ComDev building would be consolidated with City Hall. Fleury noted that the Elks lot is .71 of an acre and the Lithia Way lot is .63 of an acre with the encumbrance of an easement. Kramer noted that the initial option proposal was to sell City Hall, sell ComDev and consolidate all of the functions in a new building, using the proceeds from ComDev for the new building. Kramer thought there was an advantage initially to consolidating all staff in one building. Thalden noted that the cost is much higher. Dichiro added that the City invested money not that long ago in the ComDev building and to walk away from it could be a harder sell to the public. Kramer added that ComDev does not have a parking load – you have to create parking for all the people in ComDev and that underground parking is very expensive. Seltzer said we need to keep going back to the original presentations from the April 26 meeting and look at the intent and the gain. When the committee starts looking into criteria, we will be looking at assumptions that help guide that feasibility study.
Thalden said building two levels of parking would address public concerns about parking, and we could then put two floors of City Hall above two floors of parking. He added that staff leaves by 5pm and that is when we need the parking downtown. Kramer said if you are building underground parking, you would do it on the whole lot. Nickels thought we would run into problems not having any retail on the lower floors. aThalden loves the idea that City staff has to walk a block to get to work. Kramer said that the Elks Lot is not significantly larger and the City does not own it so why keep it in the mix? Dichiro thought we should keep it in the mix but when the committee comes up with their criteria, she felt it would drop down on the list of options.
Pearce asked what would happen to the old City Hall if we vacated and Dichiro thought some kind of City function usage. Seltzer said meeting space usage. The Chamber could be on the ground floor with meeting space above. There is no definitive answer of what would happen to that space. Kramer said we have the
deed restriction and it is a good opportunity with that building to turn it into something other than what it currently is that satisfies the deed and keeps a presence on the City Plaza. Boldt added that we cannot continue to use the existing City Hall without some seismic retrofit. Seltzer added that also assumes that the City could acquire a clear title to it and we can do what we want with it. Kramer noted that people rent and pay top dollar for buildings that are not seismic-sound. Nickels added – but not from the government. If we are going to retrofit City Hall, we can use it for City Hall. Kramer wondered if there are any prescriptions in the City for the City to rent City space, in which we would be assuming the role of a landlord. Dichiro added that when two elementary schools were closed and rented, it opened a whole other level of consideration that the City may not want to enter into. Seltzer added that it would not be unusual to have vendors and concessionaires in the space.
Dichiro asked the committee what additional information is needed and if there was any additional information needed from staff? Miller said more information on the cost of parking. Proposed underground parking could be $26,000 - $30.000 per space for underground and $12,000-$15,000 per space above ground. Miller said it is half the cost to go above ground. If $2.2 million dollars is for 50 parking spaces, we are looking at $42,000 per space for underground parking, or an estimated $20,000 per space above ground and $40,000 per space for below ground. Kramer added that there are security issues with underground parking. Pearce said in big cities there are always security issues with underground parking.
Kramer said that all of the projected numbers in the ORW study are based on staff growth of eight more people at City Hall and asked where did that number come from and what are those people’s roles going to be? Each of those people has a multiplier effect and he would like that information – what is the growth projection based on? Thalden said that people are more productive and what we have seen is staff levels going down as productivity goes up. Seltzer questioned that. Dichiro said we do not want to decide to build and then find we do not have enough space. Kramer said that at some point the committee will need to explain who the eight people are and what they will be doing.
Seltzer asked the committee if it would be appropriate and helpful to have the ORW representative attend a meeting and answer questions. Seltzer said that ORW may bid on a future project so was that a conflict of
interest? Fleury responded that they would only be answering questions on the work that they have done. Kramer said we do not want to build a building too small that does not accommodate our needs. Thalden asked how ORW got to the answer they did on staff growth and needs. Morrison said they met with a lot of people on staff and asked them what their future needs would be. Morrison said that Public Works
has increasing regulatory requirements all the time and that means more staff. ORW made educated estimates based on current and future needs. Kramer added that we have that information and the space requirements. Dichiro noted that on the tour of City Hall, she felt the spaces people were working in were inadequate – that we needed to take care of cramped quarters and put the people in more functional spaces. Fleury added that all of that was is in the ORW report and that ORW had used a planning effort to get the maximum size effort and when you get into refinement you can adjust that and reallocate. There is space needs analysis data on page 5 of the ORW report and what they are projecting. Pearce said it would be helpful if ORW could explain that in more detail.
Dichiro said the committee wants to be reasonable on our time requests of City staff. Fleury asked if site map aerials would be helpful at each meeting. The committee said yes – this would be very helpful – along with cost line estimates for each site option. Seltzer will invite ORW to a future meeting to address questions and Fleury will work on aerial site maps. Nickels and Kramer said we should get an idea of what the Elks had in mind about the property – donating it? selling it to the City? If the Elks lot is kept on as an option, we need to get clarification from the Elks. Seltzer said she would follow up on that. Kramer said we should look at what the County thinks the Elks property is worth. Nickels said we also need to come back with a solid estimate of cost for parking spaces, not just projected estimate. Fleury said we are looking at $42,000 per space under ground and above ground at service level $20,000 per space. He added that just pavement at grade asphalt is $8,000 per space. Seltzer will find out if the parking space figures are sound. Kramer said that we have five and a half options on the ORW report and one to two more, plus variations on a theme and at some point, the committee will have a top three selected and that is when we should bring in a professional estimator to drill down on some of the numbers.
CHALLENGES AND LOGISTICS OF CONSTRUCTION STAGING: Seltzer asked if the committee wanted to incorporate this discussion into their discussions about the options and the committee said yes. Staffing location issues are true no matter what decision is proposed.
PUBLIC INPUT: Peter Smeenk said he was involved in the very beginning of the discussions about City Hall not being seismically sound. He felt that the safety of the employees was a primary concern that
needs to be addressed now. A proposal to go to a bond measure over time may occur, but he recommended addressing the seismic, retrofitting and safety concerns now. He recommended the
committee do the minimum possible on retrofitting the current City Hall and when a decision is reached the committee can decide how much more you have to do. He added that there are five levels of safety
you have to go through and that doing some minimum retrofitting now is appropriate. He added that the original idea in 1994 was looking at remodeling City Hall but we have not done any seismic safety.
Dichiro adjourned the meeting at 2:40
Shelly D. Hensarling