MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 18, 2003 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
ROLL CALL: Councilors Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The regular Council Meeting Minutes of February 4, 2002 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS:
February 28, 2003 was proclaimed as Peace Corps Day in Ashland.
Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Liquor License Application from Gary Mallicoat dba Ashland Hills Shell at 2495 Ashland Street.
Liquor License Application from Steve Apted dba Good Times at 1951 Highway 66.
Lithia Springs Property.
Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Pam Hammond to the Traffic Safety Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2003.
Item #4 was pulled from the Consent Agenda at Councilor Hartzell's request.
Councilors Morrison/Laws m/s to approve Items 1, 2, 3, and 5 on the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
It was clarified that the Gun Club lease was last modified at least five years ago and is a 15-year lease.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve item #4 on the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing and First Reading of an Ordinance Modifying Chapter 18.40 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, Allowing Theaters and Similar Entertainment Uses as a Conditional Use in the E-1 Zone.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained that currently, theaters are not an allowed use in the E-1 zone due to a 1998 modification of the zoning ordinance, in which theaters were inadvertently left out as a use. The proposed Ordinance would allow theaters and similar entertainment as a conditional use in the E-1 zone. "Conditional Use," lets certain things happen under certain conditions, with the Planning Commission and, upon appeal, the Council, addressing the needs and concerns of the surrounding neighborhood. Restrictions, such as hours of operation or noise levels, could be imposed as part of the conditional use process. He noted that this modification fills a need that Ashland has in terms of its economic base as theaters and performing arts are seen as a critical part of the community.
He explained that the Planning Commission held a public hearing on this ordinance amendment and unanimously recommended adoption by the City Council. Presently there are theater groups waiting to apply for conditional use so they might open for business this spring. The Council has the option to declare an emergency so that the ordinance could become effective immediately. He clarified that commercial zoning sometimes occurs in proximity to residential zones such as in the case of the Cabaret Theater. He felt that a "Tinsel Town" type of development was unlikely, as Ashland does not have the population to support it.
Public Hearing Opened: 7:20
Phillip Lang/758 B Street/Spoke in opposition to the proposed ordinance, stating that the issue is not about supporting theaters, but about protecting the R-2 overlay. He felt that obfuscation was going on and that this is a case of violating the rules and then rewriting them. He cited concerns with noise, traffic, and other negative impacts on neighborhoods.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Spoke against the Ordinance, stating concerns with the possibilities of "Cinema Plex" and "Tinsel Town," types of development destroying the downtown area. He suggested that if the ordinance is passed to allow only performance types of theaters.
Elizabeth Cara/3306 S Pacific Hwy #46/Treasurer for the Board of Directors of Art-Attack Theater Company/Spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance and how it relates to the theater she is associated with. She stated that their company rented a facility without understanding that they could not use it as a theater. She requested the opportunity to apply for a conditional use permit in order to open their season in March.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:31
McLaughlin clarified that the 1998 modification of the zoning ordinance was done in order to control where businesses selling liquor, such as bars and nightclubs, could locate within Ashland. He noted that if a business allowed under conditional use is out of compliance, a revocation hearing could be held and the approval could be pulled.
Councilors Morrison/Laws m/s to approve the first reading of the Ordinance. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hearn Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison, and Amarotico: All AYES. Motion passed.
Daniel Ruff/Homeless/Spoke regarding the camping ban and if the issue could be put on the agenda. He asked the Council what they are going to do with the homeless?
Rich Rohde/124 Ohio/Addressed the evictions at The Pines mobile home park. He felt that the families are facing expensive relocation costs and hoped that the Council would have signed the resolution letter regarding mediation. He made three suggestions: 1.) The Council should sign the letter; 2.) The Council should put the mobile home closure ordinance back on the table; and, 3.) The Council should get together with ACCESS to see if the renter assistance fund could be used for mobile home owner relocation relief.
DeBoer noted that people are welcome to make appointments with him to discuss issues.
1. Report on change in Food & Beverage Tax.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg reported on the financial impact of raising this tax from 5% to 6%. The annual impact would be about $336,000 in additional revenue which would be about $2,780,000 over the life of the ordinance given a 3% growth in revenues. Parks SDCs are currently providing $200,000 per year and projecting out about $2,000,000 with one quarter of that already dedicated to paying back debt related to properties purchased through SDCs leaving a net of $1,500,000. With the proposed 30% increase, the net would be about $2,200,000. He noted that donations, grants, and public partnerships are difficult to estimate, budget for, and count on.
If the Council decides to go forward with this, action would need to be taken by July for the September election, or by the first meeting in March for the May election.
Mike Buckley/793 Wharton, Grants Pass/Asked the Council to reconsider increasing the meals tax because he felt it unfairly targets the Food & Beverage Industry. The Food & Beverage industry should not be the only ones who should have to support Open Space and Parks, and the sewer system.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99S/Asked that the Council considers other possible changes to the meals tax ordinance, including 1.) Allocating a portion of the tax to affordable housing program; 2.) Allocating a portion towards continuing the build-out of the Ashland Fiber Network; and 3.) Repealing the meals tax.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Supported Parks acquisition but felt that it is a regressive tax on small business owners. Restaurants have one of the lowest profit margins of any business in the City.
Bryan Holley/324 Liberty Street/Urged the Council to support the Parks proposal and continue to acquire park lands, noting that the tax was passed by a majority of Ashland citizens. He welcomed the new City Administrator, Gino Grimaldi.
Jack Hardesty/757 Dogwood Way/Protested the proposed increase in the meals tax. He felt that people who like to eat out are being asked to pay for the pet project of another group of citizens. He suggested that if there is concern over having more parks, to be direct about it. Voters should make the decision and the Parks Department should live within its means.
Guy Nutter/1037 Pinecrest Terrace/Stated that he had previously supported an increase in the meals tax, but has since changed his mind. He was disappointment that trails, which are inexpensive parks, had not been given a high priority by the Parks Commission. He requested that the Council refrain from placing this before the community until trails become a priority.
Dal Carver/2132 Birchwood/Owner of the Wild Goose Café/Supported acquiring more open space, but not on the backs of the restaurant business. He stated that the tax impacts overall revenue shares for restaurant business and that they compete with restaurants that do not have to collect tax. He felt that a retail tax would be more acceptable.
Richard Hendrickson/444 Monte Vista Drive/Did not support the tax increase due to failure of the Parks Commission to budget for, and to fund the acquisition of trails.
Beth Reid/147 Strawberry Lane/Requested that the Council explains: 1.) Why they feel it is moral or just to single out and burden only one industry with the tax; 2.) Why Jacksonville raises funds for Open Space through grants and contributions and we don't.
Alex Reid/147 Strawberry Lane/Spoke regarding finding funding through grants, noting that Jacksonville has a 70% success rate in getting grants. He supported Open Space acquisition, but not at the cost of business for restaurants, and suggested the Council look for alternative methods of funding.
Fred Caruso/102 Garfield/Felt it important to consider making elderly and disabled individuals exempt from paying the meal tax.
Jim Lewis/Chair of the Parks Commission/Supported funding the Open Space Plan noting the need to complete the short term plan. He felt that 1% is a modest increase and a small price to pay. He explained that they do not have formula that says an exact percentage goes to each area of the plan, but history shows that open space and trails connections have been acquired with meals tax funds. He hoped that they could work with trail people to acquire easements and develop trails.
Council discussed the issue, noting the following:
The budget process starts soon and the issue could be worked through the budget committee to see what ideas they come up with.
The committee that already worked on this could meet again, along with the Finance Director, to explore options.
More details are needed on how priorities are set for each phase of the plan.
The voting public is not supporting new tax measures.
Having both an activities levy and another tax measure would pit voter against voter.
We should work toward reduction in the City budget rather than increasing it.
Creative and alternative funding options should be explored.
Additional Open Space could be deferred.
The meals tax hits people who have some choice in and control over their expenditures, while an increase in sewer rates impacts those who can not afford it.
The question before the Council is whether to put this issue to the people for a vote, not to approve the tax or not.
The need for an emphasis on trails can be addressed through public processes.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS:
1. Review of Draft 2003-2004 Council Goals.
Interim City Administrator Brian Almquist explained that this is a draft and that each Councilor was to mark up the draft with their comments and then give it to City Recorder Barbara Christensen. A final Goal document would be prepared for adoption at another public meeting.
2. 2003 Citizen Survey.
Almquist reported that every two years a telephone is survey done and is currently underway. He asked the Council to review the proposed questions and provide feedback to Communications Director Ann Seltzer.
It was noted that the City is under contract for survey services but there are provisions allowing the City to get out of the contract. The $15,000 cost of the survey was questioned and it was wondered if there might be a less expensive way to accomplish it. It was noted that currently $15,000 was the lowest price found. Laws noted that Bill Hughes in the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Political Science Department has a lab with banks of telephones where this could be done. DeBoer suggested doing the survey in the fall so the results would be available for the next year's goal setting. The accuracy of the survey's representation of Ashland's population was questioned because in previous surveys homeowners were a disproportionate number of the respondents.
Council directed that Seltzer research cost, options, and survey methodologies and to report back at a future Council meeting.
3. Request for Co-sponsorship of Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF).
Ron Hulteen/87 Granite Street/Ashland Independent Film Festival Administrator/Thanked the Council for past support and gave an overview of the Festival's planned activities for this year. He noted that the success of the Festival means increased economic activity for Ashland and asked that the City co-sponsor the event.
Councilors Morrison/Hearn m/s to approve co-sponsorship of the AIFF. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS:
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties."
City Attorney Paul Nolte reported that there are two versions of the Resolution before the Council: 1.) Originally proposed by Paul Copeland and a group know as the Ashland Patriots but with various mutually agreed upon wording changes; and, 2.) A shortened resolution based in part on similar resolutions adopted by other cities.
Law asked that the consequences and impact of making the names of persons detained under the Patriot Act a matter of public record is considered.
Paul Mensch/451 N Main Street/Spoke in opposition to the resolution, stating that the Patriot Act is a Federal law and it is the duty of the Congress and President to enact those laws. It is not the duty of the City Council to direct the police department not to participate in the enforcement of those laws. He read aloud from the City Charter, noting that it allows the Council to pass laws not in conflict with the laws of the United States. He did not find direction there indicating that these clauses applied only to laws of the United States that the Council happens to agree with, and felt this is not a City issue.
Joseph Powell/21752 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Felt that this is a City issue and that the Patriot Act is un-American, unconstitutional, and Stalinism. He supported the rights of people to defend their freedoms.
Genie and Glenn Hardon/269 N 2nd/Urged the Council to adopt the resolution as it is all of our responsibilities to uphold the Constitution and defend everyone's civil rights. She felt that the City Council is the first layer of representation.
Ron Tracy/185 Beacon Hill/Spoke in opposition to the resolution and expressed concern over the safety of his family if the local police force were handcuffed by the resolution. He supported local police departments and peace.
Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Read aloud a quote in support of civil liberties, due process, and privacy. She urged the Council to adopt the resolution and act with the leadership for which Ashland is so well known. We as a community must speak up while we still can.
Steve Traisman/1001 N Main/Felt that the real terror in America is the terror against health and a clean environment. Stated that the Patriot Act is unpatriotic and unconstitutional. He felt that we are the terrorists.
Lance Hill/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Quoted Benjamin Franklin noting that choosing freedom over security is never easy. He urged the Council to support the resolution in order to protect citizen's rights
Ralph Temple/150 Myer Creek Road/Spoke in favor of the proposed resolution submitted by Paul Copeland. In speaking to the issue raised by Laws, he noted that when people are arrested and detained, public records are vital in order to prevent people from just "disappearing" as is happening in other countries. He felt it is the duty of the Council to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Bill Ashworth/201 Gresham Street/Spoke in favor of the resolution and explained how it directly affects his household and the international student exchange program. He noted that exchange students can be deported at any time and that no one would be notified that authorities took them.
Rev. Patt Herdklutz/384 Clinton Street/Voiced concern regarding racial profiling. She encouraged the Council to adopt the resolution and stand with other cities in support of civil liberties.
Marilee Jenkinson/144 N 2nd Street/Spoke in support of civil liberties and peace, and read aloud from a document downloaded from the internet.
Fred Caruso/102 Garfield/Spoke in support of the resolution and civil liberties. He explained his view of how the U.S. Constitution came about and what it means.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to extend meeting past 10:00 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer/Spoke in support of the resolution and noted the wide support shown for it. He felt the issue is non-partisan and not a threat to security or the ability of the police to co-operate with other law enforcement. He highlighted various parts of the Patriot Act that he felt were in violation of civil liberties and the Constitution. He felt that the espionage rules of the CIA are being substituted for domestic law enforcement. He asked that we hold to the higher standards of the Bill of Rights and not to the relaxed standards of the Patriot Act.
Leslie Adams/no address/Felt that is clear that the Patriot Act is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. She suggested that the recent flag burnings were a physical representation of our democracy, which, in her view, is going to fascism.
DeBoer noted disappointment when he went to listen to Senators Widen and Smith yesterday because not one person asked them a question about the Patriot Act. He noted that both senators had voted for the Act. He favored the second version of the proposed resolution and deleting item "D," regarding search and seizure.
Council discussed which version to pass noting that the first version makes a stronger statement and the shorter one gets right to the point. Nolte clarified that in terms of enforceability, both versions carry the same import.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to adopt the original Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties. Discussion: Nolte noted wording changes that would help clarify and improve some provisions of the Resolution. The changes were read aloud and shown to the Council.
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to amend the motion to adopt the original Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties with the wording changes proposed by Paul Nolte. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on the original motion as amended: Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn: All AYES. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution establishing Cable Television and Internet Rates for the Ashland Fiber Network."
Councilors Laws/Hearn m/s to approve the Resolution establishing Cable Television and Internet Rates for the Ashland Fiber Network. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Laws, Hearn, Jackson, Amarotico: All AYES. Motion passed.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution supporting the Oregon Department of Transportation, Transportation (ODOT) Enhancement Grant Application in the amount of $580,000 for Construction of the North Ashland Multi-Use Path."
Councilors Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve the Resolution supporting the Oregon Department of Transportation, Transportation Enhancement Grant Application in the amount of $580,000 for Construction of the North Ashland Multi-Use Path. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn: All AYES. Motion passed.
4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, authorizing the issuance of Water Reserve Bonds for a total of not to exceed $2,943,000 and Providing for Publication of Notice."
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg clarified that with financing costs and reserves the maximum is $3,500,000. It was noted that we are refinancing the 1994 water bonds.
Councilors Amarotico/Jackson m/s to approve the Resolution as amended. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Morrison, Jackson, Hartzell, Amarotico, and Laws: All AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS:
It was noted that the City Attorney annual evaluation was extended until November and the City Administrator 6-month evaluation would be done at the same time.
The Lower Pines issue was noted as being in the courts and that DeBoer had requested information from the tenants with one tenant responding. He commented that the owner is willing to discuss the issue, and that the tenants are not currently paying rent.
Hartzell asked that a study session be scheduled in April concerning the City's contract with Rogue Valley Television (RVTV) and the cable franchise agreement.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:29 p.m.
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