MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 1, 2003 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Laws, Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 7:20 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 18, 2003 and Executive Session Meeting of March 18, 2003 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Proclamations were read aloud as "Arbor Week" April 6 through 12, 2003; "Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month; and "National Library Week" April 6 through 12, 2003.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Update on Fiscal Year '03 Capital Improvements Program and Related Council Goals.
3. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Update.
Councilor Morrison requested that item #3 is removed from Consent Agenda for discussion.
Councilors Jackson/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Community Development Planner Maria Harris clarified that each project update would have a Staff assessment and at that time, if there were questionable areas, these would be brought back to the Council. She commented that if the money is reallocated we have to go through the Federal process of updating the plan. She noted that Staff is dealing with constraints but felt that they could get those resolved.
Councilor Morrison/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing regarding Planning Action 2002-089, 3151 East Main Street request for Annexation and Zoning Map Change from Jackson County Zoning RR-5 (Rural Residential) to City of Ashland zoning E-1 (Employment).
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:15 p.m.
EX PARTE CONTACTS: None
Community Development Associate Planner Maria Harris and Senior Planner Bill Molnar presented a synopsis of Planning Action 2002-089 and noted that this hearing was properly noticed. Harris explained that the Planning Commission approved the site review request and recommended approval of the annexation and zone change with five conditions outlined in the February 11th Staff Report.
Harris reviewed requirements and illustrated how those requirements have been or will be met, including public facilities, storm drainage, fill, curbs, sidewalks, and bike lanes. It was noted that the sidewalk would be 6 feet instead of 8 or 10 feet due to the isolation of the parcel and the light industrial zoning designation. She explained that the applicant proposes a riprap to disperse storm drainage and will need a permit from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) for direct discharge and may also need a physical/environmental constraints permit for the development activity of the riprap area. She noted that the applicant has agreed to the conditions of approval.
Councilor Hartzell arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Ely Schless/1348 Prospect Street/Stated that their intent is the same as the City's and this application moves forward with it.
Jerome White/253 Third Street/Project Architect/Spoke to issues raised during Staff's report:
Flood Plain: The Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) map was used for the 100-year flood plain. Buildings are purposely close to the street in order to keep away from the flood plain and to be close to the street according to City site review standards.
Drainage: There is not intent to connect it to the City system. Drainage for the site will fan out and disperse the water over the site.
Airport Overlay: Way below the requirement for the height and the roof will be a non-reflective surface.
Fill: Fill in the front part was compacted as it was brought in. In the back the fill is not really compacted. No fill was brought in to encroach into the riparian area.
Conditions of Approval: The applicant agrees to all conditions of approval placed by the Planning Commission with the exception of the 6 inch curb on the back parking. He asked that this requirement be reevaluated.
Sidewalk: The neighboring property owner does not want a sidewalk. He concurs with Staff that a 6-foot sidewalk is adequate for this area. Also, an easement for a future bike path would be granted.
Extending Water Line: This was done previously and an easement was granted to the City for water and electric to the Airport. We proposed to extend that water main along the front of the property.
IN FAVOR OF APPLICANT: None.
OPPOSED TO APPLICANT:
JT Saloma/593 Crowson Rd/Commented on how his neighborhood has deteriorated due to development and questioned the motivations of the applicant. He opposed the annexation due to the potential of over-development of the area.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Commented on the good design of the project but voiced concern with annexing land, especially farmland, to the City. He favored discouraging annexations and promoting higher density.
Public Works Director Paula Brown commented on the Storm Drain Master Plan and how it relates to the application. She recommended that the Council condition the applicant to have an approved storm water and water quality facility with engineering approval.
White commented on E-1 development noting that according to the Buildable Lands Inventory the majority of developable acreage is currently outside of the City limits and requires annexation to develop commercially as planned. Regarding bio-swales, the engineer will work with the Public Works department to determine the best method of cleaning the water.
He noted that this development does not extend into tillable lands and is surrounded on three sides by the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 8:20 p.m.
Council discussed the options regarding the bio-swale and water cleaning issue. It was noted that present wordings of conditions are sufficient.
Councilors Jackson/Morrison m/s to accept Staff recommendation to approve request for Annexation of the 2.2 acre parcel. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Eric Navicas/711 Faith Street/Spoke of concerns with the Growers and Crafters Market, noting that today should have been the opening day of the Market. Many small farmers and crafters are suffering due to the lack of a place to conduct the market. He asked further Council assistance in locating the Market close to the downtown area. He felt the City should support the market and small business.
Marilee Jenkinson/1102 Holton,Talent/Spoke concerning war, civil liberties, and the right to speak out.
Daniel Rueff/Homeless/Spoke regarding war and the vulnerability of the homeless. He voiced frustration with how he feels the community handles the homeless situation.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Presentation by Mike Cavallaro of Rogue Valley Council of Governments.
Mike Cavallaro of the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) presented a RVCOG program and Financial status update, highlighting the varied selection of programs and services provided. He explained that RVCOG serves as a collective voice for the region, provides cost-effective services to small and large public entities, implements programs that cross jurisdictional lines, brings outside funds into the area in the form of grants and contracts, and provides an apolitical forum for regional collaboration and cooperation. He reported that the RVCOG's financial situation continues to improve.
2. Request to Support Resolution for Real Estate Transfer Tax.
Senior Planner Bill Molnar reported that State statute prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting a local real estate transfer tax. Currently a number of groups in Oregon want to repeal the prohibition through House Bill 2595 (HB2595). Passage of this would give communities the opportunity to consider if a real estate transfer tax would be an appropriate revenue source and adopt such a fee locally. The Housing Commission is in support of this proposed resolution.
It was noted that if HB2595 is passed a vote is not required of the people, and that the Council alone could initiate the fee.
Andy Dungan/260 Meadow Drive/Chair of the Housing Commission/Explained that this issue is about local control. He encouraged the Council to support this.
Rich Rohde/144 Ohio Street/Oregon Action/He felt that this is a serious option for affordable housing. He noted that exemptions could be discussed locally. He noted that Alan Bates supports a local transfer tax. He would like dialog with realtors concerning the possibility of a transfer tax. .
Jennifer Henderson/321 Clay/Real Estate Broker/Explained that HB2595 repeals the ban and gives local jurisdictions the option to choose this path for funding. She explained that if the tax had been in place this last year, the Housing Trust Fund could have had $150,000 and could have leveraged that into 8 more houses on the ground. She felt that this fee is not a penalty for home sellers and that it makes sense to have a property based tax.
Chris Oswald/542 Fairview Street/Housing Commissioner/Noted that the Housing Commission voted unanimously to support the resolution. She felt that Ashland should be deciding how best to run Ashland's business, not the State. She noted that we can learn from the experiences of other communities who have this tax, and adapt it to our situation.
Rick Harris/320 E Main/Real Estate Broker/Felt that a local real estate sales tax is inappropriate because 1.) It raises the cost of housing. 2.) Affordable housing is an overall community issue and the tax would put it on the backs of 3% of the public. 3.) In 1992 the citizens of Ashland voted 2 to 1 against a sales tax on property. 4.) It is impossible to make things more affordable by taxing them. 5.) It is a failure on the part of the City to look at raising funds for affordable housing when the biggest issue making homes in Ashland unaffordable is excessive regulation. 6.) Inappropriate for the Council to say, "Let's give the voters the option," and then not give it to them. He asked that if the Council supports the resolution to repeal the ban, to put the issue to the voters.
Council expressed support of local control and repealing the ban. It was noted that Oregon is supposed to be a "Home Rule" state, which means that cities are supposed to be able to decide for themselves what they do as long as there isn't a State-wide interest.
Laws commented that affordable Housing is one of many financial needs in the City, and not necessarily the most important one. He favored giving the people working on this the greatest degree of freedom possible. Hartzell commented that she was not ready to give up reference to affordable housing in the draft resolution. It was noted that it could be debated later how funds would be used.
Councilors Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to direct staff to use provided resolution to draft a proposed resolution for Council approval. DISCUSSION: Council discussed the wording of the proposed resolution and the inclusion of a reference to affordable housing. It was noted that Council's message has been that we want local control and are against bills that pre-empt cities from making their own decisions. The possibility of a letter as opposed to a formal resolution was raised. It was commented that a resolution shows more force and consideration. Voice Vote: Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, YES; Laws NO. Motion passed 5 to 1.
Laws felt it a mistake to tie this issue to affordable housing instead of taking a neutral position and leaving it free. It was noted that the language could be watered down and made into a background statement of needs, and that the Council reserves the right to look at this when it comes back and to reopen issues.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to extend meeting past 10:00 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Setting a Public Hearing with intent to form a Local Improvement District for Construction Improvements to Tolman Creek Road consisting of Sidewalks, Parkrows, Parking Bays, Bicycle Lanes, Pedestrian Safety Improvements to Intersections, Traffic Diverter Islands, Drainage and Associated Improvements."
Public Works Director Paula Brown explained that this resolution is only to set the public hearing and that testimony and discussion would take place at the public hearing. She noted that the project is moving forward very well.
Councilors Morrison/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2003-10. Discussion: Nolte called attention to a typo in "Exhibit A" which used an old address, and asked for a correction to be allowed. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Amarotico, Hartzell, Hearn, Morrison, and Jackson: All AYES. Motion passed.
2. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Modifying Chapter 18.108 and 18.106 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, Regarding Approval Standards for Zone Changes and Annexations."
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve first reading of Ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Jackson, Morrison, Hearn, Hartzell, Amarotico and Laws: All AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
DeBoer reminded the Council that he needed input on appointments to commissions and committees by Friday. He would make recommendations on Tuesday for inclusion in the next Council Packet.
It was noted that the Ashland Film Festival is this weekend.
Council discussed the issue of personal attacks being made by speakers during the public forum. Concern was expressed over the language and attitudes of some speakers toward Council members. It was suggested that policy be made that requires that speakers use courtesy and back up allegations with fact. It was commented that the public forum should not tongue-tie the Council and that Council should be able to respond at the end of the public forum. It was commented that responding at that time could result in dialog that could take time away from the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.