MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 5, 2002 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order in the Civic Center Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Hearn were present. Councilor Laws was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 15, 2002 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Community Development Associate Planner Maria Harris gave a brief synopsis on the proposed modifications to the City's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. She explained that the changes to the program are considered a "substantial amendment" under federal regulations and require the modification of the CDBG Consolidated Plan for 2000-2004. Harris stated that this is the first of two public hearings to give interested parties opportunity to comment. The public comment period is February 1 through March 5, after which the council would make a decision. If program changes are approved, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be sent out shortly after the March 5 public hearing, with a subsequent RFP sent out in August/September 2002 for the 2003 program year.
Harris explained that the proposed changes include 1) Modification of the allocation of the annual grant -- 75% for competitive grant programs, 5% for accessibility improvements, and 20% program administration, 2) A limit of two projects funded per year with one project being funded through the annual grant award process, the other being the accessibility project, 3) The use of a two or a three-year funding cycle for the grant award project if workable, 4) A change in the annual grant award process making the City Council the final decision making authority, and 5) A change to the calendar year from the fiscal year to the calendar year.
Hartzell expressed her desire that the Housing Commission have the flexibility to respond to different things that happen by allowing more than one grant to be given.
Reid expressed concern over a perception of conflict of interest or competitiveness in having the Housing Commission in charge of selection. McLaughlin explained that it is common for the Housing Commission to review CDBG funding applications and that this commission would not be a competitor for these funds. The Housing Commission is charged with creating policy for the community and is an appropriate commission to review applications.
Hearn questioned the 20% administration cost figures and the likelihood of cost reduction. McLaughlin explained that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is asking for an increase in program administration, for example, enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. In picking up these other areas of administration, staff recommends staying at 20% for now and if things change in the future the percentage could be modified. He noted that his experience on working with Federal programs is that paperwork is not reduced.
Morrison asked for clarification on the reasons for switching to the Housing Committee for review. Harris explained that the Housing Commission is more up to speed with Federal regulations, is likely to have a more relevant background, and have a better understanding of the CDBG program.
Public Hearing OPEN: 7:30 p.m.
Public Hearing CLOSED: 7:30 p.m.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to add the following language for the allocation of CDBG Funds as, "75% for preferably one, and not more than two projects, funded through the competitive grant process...". DISCUSSION: Reid noted that while she is not in opposition she wanted to make it clear that by having two projects staff could come back and say the cost of administration is greater than 20% which would reduce the amount of money available to give to the community. Morrison stated his understanding is that there are presently more than two projects and while we should remain sensitive to keeping administrative costs down, he believes it will not pose a problem. Hearn clarified the language of the motion to show that the preference is for one project unless there is a special circumstance. Hartzell noted that up to eight projects have been undertaken before so the reduction to one or two will be significant. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC FORUM Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Spoke regarding space for putting up public posters in the downtown area. He felt that one kiosk is not sufficient to ensure adequate public outreach and requested that additional space for posters be created. He suggested the Chamber of Commerce and the new Library as potential locations for new kiosks.
Zane Jones/223 W Hersey/Spoke about the issues of speed limit enforcement and right-of-way law in the downtown area, and expressed disappointment that the issue was not on this meeting's agenda. He encouraged immediate action by the council.
Wil Thomson/539 Walnut/Spoke regarding the redevelopment of Siskiyou Boulevard and safety issues for bicyclists and pedestrians. He suggested timing the traffic signals on Main Street and felt that installing additional signal lights would obstruct the flow of traffic. He encouraged the use of drought resistant landscaping on the Boulevard.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke concerning the new parking structure, noting the lack of use by the public, the accumulation of litter there, lack of buffering for neighboring property owners, and how the structure negatively affects the look of the area. He also commented on how the blocking of Main Street during rush hour seemed to help in traffic calming, and expressed concern about the proposed closure of Union Street in the Siskiyou Boulevard project, especially in terms of Library access.
Sydney Simas/210 California St #A/Director of Communication for Student Government at Southern Oregon University (SOU), spoke concerning plans to facilitate a relationship with the city.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Spoke regarding Affordable Housing including accessory dwellings, land trusts, and possibly allowing substandard size lot partitions in certain neighborhoods.
Mayor commented that additional kiosks are a good idea and will pass the idea on to staff. He voiced the support of the council for enforcing traffic safety and noted that measures are moving forward to address the issues.
Hartzell requested that this item be placed on a Study Session schedule in March in order to allow time to further explore various issues. Community Development Director John McLaughlin gave a brief background on the recent history of the "Big Box" ordinance, and noted that it could result in a change in footprint interpretations.
Amy Godard/396 Bridge Street #2/Supported the current "big box" ordinance and voiced her concern with the changes that have already taken place in the community. She feels that large buildings change the "feel" of the community and that it is important to keep the buildings small.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Felt that we need to keep the current ordinance in place in order to maintain Ashland's "small town" atmosphere. He stated that a 45,000 square foot footprint is beyond the scale for a small town community. He urged the council to consider reducing the footprint limit to 30,000 to 40,000 sq. ft., and encourage building to expand upward instead of out.
Bill Street/180 Mead Street/Commented on his choice to live in a "small town" atmosphere and questioned how to keep it this way. He felt that there are few ways to control growth, and that the current "big box" ordinance provides a tool to help manage growth. He urged the council to seriously consider the size of the footprint. He requested that adequate time be allowed for public input and that an evening discussion meeting be scheduled.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Commented that the Mark Anthony building (currently Ashland Springs) has a 43,000 square foot gross size, and urged consideration of that when assessing allowable footprint limits. He cited the Mo Jo Café as an example of a good size for downtown buildings.
Stan Druben/125 Brooks Lane/Stated that a new interpretation of the "big box" ordinance would mean major changes to the community. He requested that there be an additional evening public meeting scheduled in order to allow public input and stressed the importance of educating the community on the consequences of the proposed changes. He suggested that guidelines need to be better not bigger, and that a 45,000-sq. ft gross size is a very different thing from a 45,000-sq. ft. footprint.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Presented photos of various sized buildings in town in order to illustrate how a 45,000 square foot building footprint impacts the scale and feel of the city. He noted the problems associated with contiguous buildings and how design standards are not being followed with current projects. He suggested tightening design standards.
Elizabeth Bretko/1372 Oregon Street/Commented on the need to protect our "small town" and that the proposed changes to the "big box" ordinance require public input before any changes are made. Spoke regarding the intention of proposed changes and the resources that go into large-scale buildings. She stated that while growth is inevitable, conscious growth is possible.
The council discussed possible future meeting times in order to allow additional public input. The need for clarity, understanding, and consequences was noted. It was suggested that a regular daytime study session be scheduled and that another study session be scheduled just prior to a regular council meeting. Barbara Christensen, the City Recorder, noted that council packet information on this issue is available to the public via the City's website. Hanson voiced his support of the current wording of the ordinance and did not see the need to make changes. Nolte clarified that what is in effect today is a council interpretation of the ordinance and the proposed changes would clarify that interpretation.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
Electric & Telecommunications Director Dick Wanderscheid gave brief background information regarding the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) as an open network and the status of the nine current agreements with certified ISP's who provide retail Internet cable modem service via AFN. He explained that currently AFN has no policy that deals with inquiries from companies interested in becoming new ISPs and how this creates operational problems. He outlined three possible ways to remedy the situation: 1) Limit ISPs to the nine currently certified; 2) Grandfather the present nine, and increase entry requirements for new ISPs; and 3) Initiate a moratorium on certifying new ISPs until July 2003. Staff recommendation is option 3.
Councilors Hanson/Morrison m/s to accept staff recommendation and the City temporarily limit the total number of AFN ISPs to the nine that are currently certified with the City until July 2003, when the issue will again be reviewed. DISCUSSION: Staff was directed to measure the requirements and production of the existing ISPs under current agreement with the City. It was explained that all current agreements expire in July 2002 and that staff is revising new agreements with additional requirements. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Morrison stated his indirect relationship with the TAP project through his employment at Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG).
Public Works Director Paula Brown gave a brief overview of staff actions based on the Council's 1998 direction, including review of 1) Lost Creek Water Rights: Evaluate the strategy for the purchase of these water rights; timing, quantity, etc.; 2) Review the process of changing the City's Talent Irrigation District (TID) water rights from the City's "Imperatice Property" for beneficial use within the City; 3) Begin discussions with the City of Talent regarding their TID municipal water rights and future use of those rights; and 4) Continue with the conservation programs in an effort to meet the goals for 20% peak day summer time reductions.
Brown stated that it is the staff's recommendation that the council direct staff to bring back funding options so that the TAP pipeline and ancillary improvements and connections to the City's distribution system can be completed by fiscal year 2008. She explained that due to drought conditions brought on by the summer of 2001 and the requirement for aggressive conservation and mandatory curtailment, there have been numerous suggestions to accelerate the connection of the TAP Intertie between Ashland and Talent. She stated that the city did not meet its 20 percent curtailment conservation program goal and expressed concern about meeting that goal in the long term even with continued conservation efforts. She suggested three steps in moving forward 1) Pre-engineering design with a time frame for the fiscal year 2006 budget. 2) Continue negotiations with Talent for use of their water rights on a temporary or interim basis. 3) Continue strong conservation efforts.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Voiced his concern that the TAP project would lead to further development in the community. He supported alternative sources and systems for the use of water, such as rainwater collection and limiting growth. He requested the council give careful consideration to completing Siskiyou Boulevard before undertaking more large projects.
Ashley Henry/235 5th/Voiced her concern on proposed change to policy without public input and proper noticing.She suggested that if the same amount of time were spent on conservation as spent on the TAP project, that conservation efforts might be more successful. She encouraged the council to be leaders in conservation and resource management, and asked that citizens learn to live within their ecological budgets.
Hartzell requested clarification on what the council would direct staff to do and how it relates to future impacts, noting concern that policy drive funding and information drive policy. She stressed her preference that conservation be a priority. Morrison agreed that conservation should be held as a priority, but to still look at supply. He suggested that the council needs further information.
Mayor DeBoer voiced his support of moving forward with the engineering plans on the TAP Intertie, and noted that he does not look at it as a growth issue at all. He stated concern as to how the city would fulfill its responsibility to provide water in emergency situations and the huge economic impact of a water system failure. He favored going forward with pre-engineering and the 2008 date. Reid felt that the best thing the council could do for the community is to plan, and asked that staff be directed to bring back specific information in order to help the council make the best decision for the long term.
Hanson noted his support of the TAP Intertie in 1998, and that it is brought all the way to Ashland. He explained that he sees it as an emergency water supply that will eventually be needed and that the longer it takes to move forward on this the more it will cost. Hearn supported having the water line available for emergency purposes while continuing conservation efforts.
Hartzell supported asking staff, as time allows, to examine the different facets of what was approved in 1998 and all the different facets of how a plan is put together. She asked that a concerted effort be made to develop strategies and funding to meet conservation goals, and suggested that the council prepare to work with the community to set examples and provide conservation leadership. Reid noted that a redundant water system would not only be beneficial to Ashland, but to the Rogue Valley as well.
Councilors Reid/Hearn m/s to direct staff to move ahead with a preliminary plan that includes conservation, engineering, and funding. Discussion: Hartzell noted her support of having a plan and requested further information on funding. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve first reading of ordinance
and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Hartzell,
Reid, Morrison and Hanson, YES. Motion passed.
Councilors Hartzell/Hanson m/s to approve Resolution #2002-02. Roll Call Vote: Hanson, Reid, Hartzell, Hearn and Morrison, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL
Brief discussion by council concerning the use of certified wood for the new City Hall addition at the Hillah Temple construction site. Staff was directed to spend approximately $3000 extra to support certified wood use in the construction.
Staff was directed to confirm maintenance service at the new parking facility.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.