MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
July 2, 2002 - 7:15 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 18, 2002 were approved with amendment on page 2, paragraph 8, last sentence should note "first quarter interest and penalties" rather than "third quarter interest and penalties."
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Budget Committee Member and Audit Committee Member Marty Levine presented an Award from the Government Finance Officers' Association to the City of Ashland for the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Certificates of appreciation were presented to Finance staff members Pat Caldwell and Kirsten Bakke for their hard work and dedication in preparing the annual budget document.
Mayor recognized Dan White who is retiring from the Ashland Fire Department after 21 years and noted the wonderful job that he has done.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Sixth Annual Report on implementation of the Valdez principles.
3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Dr. Richard Hendrickson to the Airport Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2003.
Councilor Hartzell requested that item #2 is pulled from the Consent Agenda.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Hartzell requested that in the future each item in the report be given a brief explanation, and that both successes and failures be monitored. She noted that during this past budget process, there was no budget allotted for educational videos and requested that this be considered in the next year budget process. City Administrator Scoles explained that funding for these types of videos have been done through the individual departments.
It was requested that the Valdez Principals be displayed somewhere in the council chambers and possibly in other city project areas.
Councilor Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Andy Dungan/260 Meadow Drive/Read aloud a letter submitted to the Council regarding a funding mechanism for affordable housing.
Malena Marvin/107 Alida Street/ Expressed concerns about the Rail Road Property development and felt that there is considerable public opposition to the plan.
Patti Morey/435 ½ Scenic Drive/Proposed replacing or modifying the statue on Carter Memorial Fountain as she feels the gun is inappropriate and devoid of aesthetic or historical value.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke regarding the recent pedestrian accident and questioned the need for three lanes in the downtown area. He felt that it is impossible to cross safely in some areas of the downtown and noted that the current construction project would provide an opportunity to reduce lanes.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Presented an invitation to those interested to hike Ski Ashland in the proposed expansion area. He will lead a hike tomorrow and one next week.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS:
1. Petition of Appeal regarding Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission. Rule 94-72-2 (Playing of musical instruments prohibited).
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that this appeal had gone before the Parks Commission who determined that there were no problems with the current park rule. Because the individual did not agree with the Parks Commission a second request for the council to hear his appeal regarding drumming in the park was made.
Scoles noted that the current appeal process in the city ordinance was originally set in 1916. He pointed out that there have not been any appeals that he was aware of in the past six years. Council discussed whether there was a need to amend the appeal process. Laws did not feel that there is a problem with the process and offered alternative ways to deal with an appeal that kept coming back to the council.
Michael Johnson/137 Garfield/Related a recent "illegal" incident of drumming and expressed disappointment that the beauty of drumming could be illegal.
Council reviewed their discussion from previous Council meeting regarding this park rule. Laws explained that the basis of denying the appeal was that it was not the place of the Council to reverse the decision of the Parks and Recreation Commission unless there was strong evidence that a mistake had been made.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to deny appeal. DISCUSSION: Hartzell asked that the Parks Commission considers any current problems in the parks with amplified music, and commented that she felt that drumming is being singled out. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Reid noted that it would be helpful if the Park Patrol had access to City owned decibel meters in order to measure noise levels.
2. Update from Parks and Recreation Commission on open space program and potential financing.
Parks & Recreation Director Ken Mickelsen and Park Commissioner Chair Rick Landt gave a presentation on the current Parks, Trails, and Open Space Program. He explained that the purpose of this presentation to the council was to request their approval of a Short Term Plan for parks, trails and open space.
Landt explained that this plan would help fulfill the Comprehensive Plan Goal of having neighborhood parks within a set distance. He noted that athletic fields are being considered in this plan and that the main part of the plan is trail corridors. He stated that the plan has the potential of doubling the amount of trails in our community and emphasized the amount of open space along East Main.
Landt explained that the Parks Commission would be coming back to the council with a completed map for a Long Term Plan. He noted that this has always been a joint process between the Parks Commission and the City Council.
Responding to questions regarding Willow trees in the proposed trail system area, Land stated that the Parks Commission is not in the business of cutting down trees, but to preserve trees and cutting trails that are sensitive to trees. He does not believe that the Parks Commission has any interest in a trail link that goes through these trees. He felt that if these trees were part of a wetland, they would be preserved. Mickelson explained that the intention is to use the existing path and utilize the benefits that these Willow trees would provide to the trail.
Reid raised the issue of the need for the Nevada Street Bridge and questioned if this had been considered in the proposed plan. Landt explained that the Nevada Street Bridge is on the Long Term Plan and that there is anticipation that a bridge would be placed at this location. Mickelson stated that that the connection from Nevada Street to North Mountain Park has been a priority for the Parks Commission and City Council. He commented on the potential donation of land in this area that would allow for the trail connections, but the difficulty in finding funds to develop the trail.
Landt explained that the Parks Commission has informally been contacted regarding affordable housing and land acquisition. He stated that the Parks Commission formed a committee consisting of the Parks Commission, three City Councilors and community members to look at ways of funding parks, trails and open space. He stressed that the Parks Commission is only acting within their purview, which are parks, trails and open space.
Hearn commented on the large number of community members who attended the public meetings and were involved in the process. He shared on the success of the recent Trail Work Party and the enthusiasm of community members. He commented on the importance and benefits of providing trail systems.
Landt clarified that the proposed plan does include remnants from the original plan, which was mostly open space and trail connections. The portions of the original plan that are not included in the Short Term Plan are included in the Long Term Plan. Hartzell suggested that the plan be labeled to indicate the plan year of 2002-2012 in order to differentiate the funding timeframe. She continued to express her desire that the Parks Commission would collaborate with the City Council when considering potential land acquisitions.
Morrison voiced his opinion that it is mandatory for the city to move ahead and continue to have land available because the opportunity in the future to acquire land will be less not more.
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Expressed appreciation of the Parks Commission for the work being done for the trail system.
Councilors Reid/Hearn m/s to approve Short Term Plan for parks, trails and open space. DISCUSSION: DeBoer reminded all that funding would be needed to implement this plan and noted the challenge of keeping our taxes low. He expressed hope that the committee that has been formed would seek the advice of Budget Committee members due to concern of increasing taxes in revenue. Jackson noted the importance in considering housing land needs and the difficulty in finding funding for programs. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Reid noted her concern with three councilors and staff working on the committee formed by the Parks Commission on finding funding mechanisms. She felt that the council, as a whole, should discuss and consider all options of funding mechanisms, which would take into account the various other needs of the city. DeBoer disclosed that the Parks Commission had asked him to form this committee initially, but he felt that this type of discussion would be better held at the annual goal setting session. He also reminded the council of upcoming moves by Community Development and Public Works, and the current heavy workload of staff. He encouraged the council to delay this discussion until the next budget season and goal setting session. Council members clarified that this is in the current goals for the Strategic Plan.
Laws voiced his opinion that funding for all projects as a whole may be difficult politically and that it may be necessary to take each project on individually. He felt that trying to find funding for all at the same time would only result in failure.
Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s to put an outline of options to integrate the funding needs for land acquisition on the July 16th or August 6th agenda. Discussion: DeBoer urged a no vote, favoring letting Staff set the date for inclusion on the agenda. Voice Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn AYES. Jackson NO. Motion passed: 5 to 1.
3. Update on potential consolidation of Ashland Police Department 911/Dispatch Center.
Police Chief Scott Fleuter introduced Dispatch Supervisor Gail Rosenberg and gave an overview of the proposals presented to the Council from the Medford 911 Central Communications Center and Southern Oregon Regional Communications (SORC). He explained that it is difficult to make any recommendation because it is not known where State funding will be finally placed in Jackson County, or what the selection criteria are.
Bill Greenstein/191 N Wightman/Spoke as a representative of Ashland's current 911 dispatchers and shared his opinion that Ashland cannot afford to not have the best service available. He felt that the savings realized with consolidation is so minimal that it would be worth giving up control of our 911 Service Station and noted the change in our community of citizenry. He does not believe that the quality of service would be as good if consolidation should occur. He also felt that the State mandate is a typical unfunded mandate and that there is not enough information to make a decision at this point.
Council discussed that various concerns raised which including adequate staffing levels, future investment and funding for level of service, providing quality of service, expense associated with keeping current service, and timeline required in making a decision. It was noted that joint service joint service between the Police Department and Fire Department is very important.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley clarified that any dispatch service for Ashland must meet State standards for emergency medical dispatch, which are more restrictive than those for fire, and that because of interoperability requirements, police and fire need to receive dispatch services from the same center. Flueter noted that he did not anticipate any delay in response time if dispatch centers are relocated because dispatchers are trained to become familiar with the area they dispatch and all agencies participate in a county-wide CAD system. He suggested meeting with other agencies who have switched control centers in order to learn how service was affected by the change.
DeBoer noted that the State requires a plan of consolidation by September 1, and that if that deadline is not met, the State will make the plan for us.
Flueter briefly explained that information on funding for Phase II is constantly being updated and is being provided to the various organizations.
Laws felt that staff should continue with this process and to assist in developing a countywide plan, and based on these results, wait until distribution of the 911 funds to base a decision. He hoped that a decision would not be based on antidotal stories and experiences from only a few cities, but based on, as many cities as we could that are similar to our community. He also noted the significant difference between the two outsourcing agencies; one serves only small cities, rural districts and Special Districts, while the other serves two of the three largest cities in our area. And, while one would allow council to serve on their board, the majority of the board must consist of Special Districts. He would be concerned that their interests would not be the same as ours.
Councilors Laws/Hearn m/s to ask staff to continue to pursue this and to work in developing a countywide plan to the best of their ability with the cooperation of the mayors. DISCUSSION: Hartzell requested that more detail be provided on the budget if we were to retain the service in our community. She noted that consolidation has worked in some counties and that it is specific for each situation, but there are counties that are resistant and have submitted their own plans. She requested that we continue to look at all aspects of each of the options. It was suggested that a study session be held in the future for further discussion. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading "An Ordinance Modifying the Street Dedication Map of the Ashland Comprehensive Plan for the Area Known as the Railroad Property between Clear Creek Drive, Williamson Way, Mountain Avenue, and "A" Street.
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that the Planning Commission had approved this modification of the Street Dedication Map and that this modification requires an Ordinance amendment to incorporate it into the Comprehensive Plan. It was clarified that the Planning Commission took public comment during the process, and the issue was the subject of a lot of study and meetings with public input. He noted that the Planning Commission rezoned the property and then adopted this plan.
Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to extend meeting past 10 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Noted that approving this would be approving an entire project without an overall approval of the Master Plan. He noted that the plan has significant impact on riparian areas, area merchants, the scale of the community, and the downtown area.
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Noted that this property has footpaths that have been used by the public for many years. He explained that in Oregon law, the public has the right to continue to use areas that have been in common use for 10 years.
Mayor expressed concern that the plan might impact the willows and riparian areas, noting that if the Council is going to adopt the Valdez Principles, they need to live by them. He expressed concern about the railroad crossing at 4th street, noting that every new railroad crossing provides a chance of accidents and of trains blowing horns.
Scoles clarified that these streets don't go through the willows. Also, that the crossing itself is already in the plan so it is not a new location for the crossing, and that the Council had already endorsed the crossing. He noted that the crossing issue could be sent back to the Planning Commission but he didn't think that that would speak to the circulation guidelines or transportation objectives in the plan since it would make a very long connection without another street in the area. He clarified that he doesn't believe that the street pattern goes through the willows, and that this doesn't plan trail systems -- it is a road dedication system only.
Concern was expressed about neighborhood isolation, and it was noted that the traffic on the tracks is down to two trains per day. It was noted that is legal development happening in this area already, and that the developer, without the adoption of the street plan, has the freedom to put roads in any way they want to. The Council noted that the City Attorney and Community Development Director were absent from the meeting. Laws suggested that there might be legal questions about how developers could put streets if the Council does not approve this plan. Laws stated his unwillingness to act on this item until the plan and legal options are clarified. He noted that if there were opportunity he would like to see the plan approved before any further development of the area.
It was suggested that since Council needed questions answered by legal council and the Community Development Director, that the issue be continued. Scoles noted that there was no problem in continuing this item to the next meeting, but there might be a problem if it were continued a long ways down the road.
Council consensus to postpone item until next agenda.
2. Reading by title only of "A resolution authorizing an Interfund loan to the Telecommunications Fund."
Councilors Reid/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2002-21. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Laws, Hearn, Reid, Jackson and Morrison. All AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Request from Councilor Hartzell to expedite the date for the study session on Ski Ashland Expansion.
Council discussed possible time frames for discussion with the suggestion that the study session take place before the end of summer.
2. Study Session for 911 Service.
Council discussed if a study session is needed. It was noted that the issue is countywide and might be better addressed at a Council meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30pm.