Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, February 19, 2002

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 19, 2002 - 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 Civic Center Council Chambers.

ROLL CALL
Councilors Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Hearn were present. Councilors Laws and Reid were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 5, 2002 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
  2. Liquor License Application from Joel Thomas dba Cozmic Pizza.
  3. Quarterly Financial Report.

Councilors Hanson/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

  1. Public Hearing for Planning Action 2001-103, Kaufmann Crossing Zone Change and comprehensive plan map amendment for property at the old Croman Mill site.  (Withdrawn at request of applicant).

PUBLIC FORUM

Mary Ellen Cole/286 8th Street/Volunteered to research sidewalk options for 8th Street. Voiced her concern with the current proposed sidewalk plan, which would put the sidewalks up to her front porch and impact trees. Noted possible state grant monies that might be used for funding on this project.

Elizabeth Bretko/1372 Oregon Street/Spoke regarding the goal of her business, which is helping local business succeed without depending upon the tourism trade. Noted the City Economic Development Plan and the incentives it provides. She voiced her desire for her business to utilize these grant monies and requested that the plan be revised to allow businesses for profit.

Alan Adelman/886 A Street/Voiced his concern with the proposed sidewalk's close proximity to houses, and that more public input be allowed before the project is a done deal.

John Cole 286 8th Street/Voiced concern that there had been no real public process or input for the proposed sidewalk project. Suggested that the sidewalk be placed closer to the street.

Janet Larmore/248 8th Street/Voiced her concern regarding the sidewalk project and noted the historic value of the trees in this neighborhood that would be damaged with the proposed project. Commented that the original agreed upon sidewalk proposal was dismissed and a new plan decided upon without public input. She stated that placing the sidewalks up close to the homes and taking away porches and trees will take away the neighborhood atmosphere.

Colin Swales/461 Allison/Stated his belief that bump-outs do not slow down traffic and the proposed sidewalk project will only infringe upon the streetscape in this neighborhood. Swales stated that it would also negatively affect the area's tree canopy.

Linda Datz/156 8th Street/Voiced disappointment in the public process and her difficulty in attending a daytime meeting. She felt that many property owners were unable to make the meeting due to the meeting's time and scheduling. She commented on how the proposed project was presented by staff as already having been decided upon and that the meeting was only informational and not meant for public input. She felt that the proposed plan would destroy mature landscaping and that the charm of the Railroad District neighborhood is in its diversity. She asked that the council not end the process here, but to continue dialog and consideration of other plan possibilities.

Mayor commented that the sidewalk policy and procedure could be e-mailed to those that spoke and that it was too late in the budget process to make any changes to the Economic Development Plan procedure.

Councilors Hartzell/Hanson m/s to place discussion regarding sidewalks on 8th Street on the current agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS:

  1. Presentation by RVCOG regarding status of cash reserve fund.
    Michael Cavallaro, Executive Director for Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) presented background on a strategic planning /problem solving session with Board members and partners to discuss a solution to the COG's chronic cash flow difficulties. The final strategy called for a one-time contribution by member jurisdictions to total $200,000, spread out over a period of up to three years. The amount from each jurisdiction was to be proportional to the annual dues amounts each member jurisdiction pays for FY 01/02 budget.

    Cavallaro reported that information concerning the need for a cash reserve fund for RVCOG was distributed to member jurisdictions in early spring of 2001, and presentations were made to those city councils and county commissioners that requested them. The results were as follows: 1) One jurisdiction (Josephine County), citing severe budget constraints, declined to participate; 2) Two jurisdictions (Medford and Grants Pass) elected to provide a 3-year interest-free loan instead of an outright contribution; 3) All other jurisdictions did participate as originally proposed.

    The COG's financial situation continues to improve, and through policies that oversee budgeting, project design, implementation, and personnel best practices, the COG is now several years into a steady improvement in all aspects of operations. One major contributory factor to RVCOG's cash flow problems was the considerable delays in reimbursements for work performed.

    COG now has just over $80,000 in its cash reserve, which has already played a crucial role in improving the payables situation. The financial and operational policies put into place in the last several years have produced the important changes in RVCOG's financial situation that are crucial to the organization being able to continue to provide worthwhile services to its members. The specific strategies devised by the Board to address the issue of cash flow appear also to have been successful so far, dramatically reducing a number of issues around the COG's chronic lack of cash flow. By the time the full cash reserve is assembled in two years, issues with cash on hand, receivables, and payables will cease to be limiting factors on RVCOG's operations.

  2. Discussion regarding downtown pedestrian safety improvement in connection with ODOT and paving project on Main and Lithia.
    Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the initial phase on the pedestrian safety improvements in the downtown area. She reported that unidentified funding would be necessary for improvements that could be done in partnership with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODOT is currently in the process of scheduling pavement overlay, concrete ramps, curb work, and signage through the downtown area beginning in May 2002.

    Brown recommended that the council direct staff to take the following actions: 1) Change to the European ladder-style (zebra crossings) crosswalk markings at all intersections through the downtown couplet; 2) In conjunction with the ODOT project this summer, design and construct additional curb bump-outs at several locations; 3) Evaluate the safety implications of installing imbedded LED crosswalk lights, and if feasible, consider installing one set as a trial at the intersection of Oak Street and Lithia Way or at East Main and First Street; and 4) Direct staff to develop a modernization/safety improvement project for the approved Ashland Downtown Plan Phase II to be submitted to ODOT for the State Transportation Improvement Program for funding in FY06 or FY07.

    Hartzell questioned if there are too many crosswalks and wondered if reducing the number of crosswalks might consolidate crosswalk traffic. She asked that the elimination of parking spots in low crosswalk visibility areas be considered.

    Hanson noted that an intersection is a pedestrian crosswalk regardless if it is marked or not. He expressed concern with the plan's moving the mail drop boxes on First and Lithia from the South side to the North side of the intersection. Brown clarified that at this time, the drop boxes will not be moved. Brown confirmed that the recommendations would be presented to the Traffic Safety Commission for their comments and recommendations. Morrison suggested that the four way pedestrian crossings at East Main and 1st Street be further reviewed for safety.

    Colin Swales/461 Allison/Voiced his concern on the use of "bump-outs" and how these need to be made very visible or will become a safety issue. He questioned the need for arrows indicating direction and suggested that the third lane be eliminated for traffic flow and designated for delivery trucks only. Noted the dangerous crosswalk crossings at Gresham Street and Siskiyou Boulevard.

    Elizabeth Bretko/1372 Oregon Street/Commented the need to partner with ODOT on these projects the reduction of crosswalks in the downtown area and supported the lighting of crosswalks.

    Brown explained that the traditional bump-outs will be used, that ODOT will pay for zebra crossings and the city will maintain them, and that LED crosswalk lights help mostly during the night time but not during the day. Mayor spoke with concern about bus stops obscuring driver's views of crosswalks, and what the impact of losing parking spaces might be on area businesses. Brown clarified that the goal will be to lose as few parking spaces as possible.

Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to accept staff recommendation. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

  1. Discussion regarding 8th Street sidewalk
    Hartzell noted that she is a property owner on 8th Street.

    Brown explained that there have been public requests for 8th Street sidewalks for a long time and that the project has been underway for a long time. She clarified that last Thursday's meeting was the first meeting but there is flexibility for additional public input, including night meetings. She noted that the city has 17 feet of right-of-way and is looking at design possibilities to meet standards that include an 8-foot or larger park row and 5-foot sidewalk. She stressed that design changes can still be made and the timeline for determining a design is the end of June.

    Morrison questioned how neighborhood support would be determined. Brown explained that feedback forms could be sent out and further public forums scheduled for residents to give input. Hearn noted that many people are more concerned with the impact of the park row rather than the sidewalk itself and that perhaps there is room for finding a middle ground. Brown clarified that using CDBG funds would not preclude forming a LID district.

    Mayor noted concern with the cutting of trees and encouraged letting the neighbors make the decision on what they want. Brown stated that the final decision on the sidewalks is up to the council.

  2. Review of draft 2002-2003 Council Goals.
    City Administrator Greg Scoles gave brief report on the February 1, 2002 meeting of the mayor, council and staff to develop goals for the next fiscal year (2002-2003). The council reviewed the 2001-2002 Strategic Plan priorities and considered new goals for the next 18-24 months.

    New goals were identified as the following: 1) Maximize Ashland's energy independence; conduct a Feasibility Study; 2) Ensure RR Crossing Safety; complete Hersey Street RR Crossing; 3) Improve the coordination of the management of natural resources; 4) Establish protection of riparian and wetlands areas; 5) Explore and develop ways to increase use of alternative transportation within the City; 6) Improve public trail system by developing a Comprehensive Trails Master Plan and address public conflicts; 7) Improve pedestrian crosswalks/bike/traffic safety; and 8) Water - Determine issues and time-line for TAP Water Project

    Continuing goals were identified as the following: 1) Library/Hillah/Siskiyou Boulevard Project; 2) Tolman Sidewalks; 3) Expand AFN; 4) Efficient use of City Hall; 5) Establish ways and means to encourage Citizen Participation in Community & Public Affairs; 6) Bear Creek Greenway (Dog Park to Mountain Avenue Park); 7) Consider a City Art policy and program; 8) Island annexation problems/safety issues; 9) Affordable Housing - Strategic Plan item 3A; and 10) Growth (rewrite 9A in Strategic Plan)/Address Impacts.

    Other items that the council requested to be brought forward were: 1) ask the Traffic/Safety Committee to consider ordinance for bus idling within the City, and 2) a report to the council on the inventory of vacant land owned by the city.

    Scoles explained that these goals would be incorporated in a final draft for consideration by the council and that preparation of the 2002-2003 budget document would be based on the adopted council goals. In addition, a summary will be provided to the council that identifies the responsible department and anticipated schedule for addressing each of the goals.

    Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke about the need to recognize the importance of citizen participation and involvement, and expressed his support of a tree preservation ordinance. He commented on the aesthetics of banner use in the community, and the need to make sure the banners reflect the city as a whole and not just a certain segment.

    Scoles clarified that once the council approves the final draft, he suggests that staff work with the council to prioritize the goals based on departmental workloads and project time schedules.

    The following suggestions were brought forward and discussed by the council:
    1) Item(f) under Transportation & Transit, change to "Explore and develop ways to increase the use and ptions of alternative transportation within the city."
    2) Bus idling issue be brought forward to the Conservation Committee as well as the Traffic Safety Commission.
    3) Item (2) (a) under Housing, "and implement" be placed back into the wording.
    4) Under Energy, Air and Water, "solar" changed to "alternative."
    5) Energy, Air and Water Resources, (a) "energy consumption," changed to "conservation," and to retain "Develop plans for alternative power…," as a bulleted goal in the Plan.

    Mayor stated concern over the wording of some stated goals and suggested softening the language.

Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to direct staff to prepare a final draft containing a prioritized matrix, and bring it back to the council for their input on prioritization and approval. That staff should have the latitude to deal with small language changes and to take department workload into consideration. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

  1. First reading of "An Ordinance Amending Sections 2.40.010 and 2.40.020 of the Ashland Municipal Code to Comply with the Charter and State Law regarding Filing of Nomination Petitions for Elected Officials."

    City Attorney Paul Nolte read the proposed Ordinance aloud in full.

Councilors Hartzell/Hanson m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Hearn. Motion Passed.

  1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Deleting Section 16.20.160 of the Ashland Municipal Code to Remove Requirements for Franchise Assignment Approvals when Corporate Control is transferred."

Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve Ordinance #2879. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Hearn, and Hanson. Motion Passed.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS

Council discussed the time frame for the "Big Box" issue. Hartzell suggested that rather than having an afternoon study session and a pre-council meeting session on the "Big Box" ordinance, the issue is moved to the Planning Commission for a study session discussion. Hanson noted his disinclination to revisit the process since he did not find the present ordinance lacking. Mayor expressed concern that shifting the issue to the Planning Department would disrupt their scheduled move into the new city building. Morrison noted that while sensitive to the Planning staff's workload, he believes the council owes it to the community to thoroughly examine the issue. Hearn agreed, and emphasized that presently there is no work in the pipeline that would be disrupted and that the community would appreciate having more input.

Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s that staff conduct a planning commission study session within 4 to 8 months on the concept of the "Big Box" ordinance, including identified issues related to the "Big Box" ordinance. DISCUSSION: Mayor again expressed concern over the time frame running into the planning department's move. Hartzell noted that departments are not put on hold in regards to the move and that leniency would be granted in regards to this goal. Planning Directory John McLaughlin clarified that taking the issue up again for public input would be a large and long process, and that other projects might be shifted in order to accommodate it. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Hearn - Yes; Hanson - No. Motion Passed 3 to 1.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

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