Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

March 21, 2000
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.

The minutes of the regular meeting of March 7, 2000 were approved with an amendment on page 8 to reflect that Mayor Shaw requested that continued discussion regarding spray irrigation be continued as soon as possible.


1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Approval of a street cut on Water Street to install a sanitary sewer service.
3. Termination of a Portion of a Public Utility Easement Located in the Mountain Meadows Development (39 1E 04AD Tax Lot 200).

Public Work Director Paula Brown clarified for council that the extension of Central Avenue goes down to Water Street, and this is all included in the LID for the Central Avenue extension. Stated that this street cut only affects Water Street.

Councilors Hauck/Laws m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.



Eric Navickas/711 Faith Ave./Requested that council place the issue of the Ski Ashland Expansion Plan on the agenda and make an official public comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). He noted the areas that he had the most concern with in the EIS. Presented a map of the areas involved, and pointed out omissions in addressing the streams and wetlands. Suggested that hydrologic studies are illegitimate as they are based on incomplete mapping, and requested that the Forest Service withdraw the document. Raised the issue of landslides from the soil hazards map. Asked that the council request the most objective analysis and the most critical science available and take an official a stance on this issue.


1. Second reading of "An Ordinance Amending Sections of Chapter 6.28 of the Ashland Municipal Code to Permit Boarding Signs for Special Vehicles, to Clarify Taxicab Standards Relating to Suspensions and Revocations of Certificates, to Change Vehicle Inspection Requirements, to Clarify Driver Approval Standards and to Remove Determination of Need for Issuance of Certificates."

City Attorney Paul Nolte clarified that the 24-hour service requirement had not been removed from the ordinance under this amendment.

Craig Hollingsworth/241 Tolman Creek Rd., #21/Spoke regarding his concern surrounding the low demand for night service. He feels that the ordinance is putting the cab service at risk by allowing competing taxicab services. He explained how difficult it will be to operate a taxi cab business 24 hours a day under the proposed ordinance.

Nolte explained that our ordinance is not exclusive, but does limit service according to population and is not out of the ordinary from other cities' ordinances. He clarified for council that the reason the ordinance amendment was proposed was due to a request for a taxicab service certificate. It was recognized at that time that the ordinance was too restrictive to issue an additional certificate, and the council requested the amendments.

City Administrative Mike Freeman read out loud the proposed amendments to the ordinance.

Councilors Hauck/Hanson m/s to approve Ordinance #2855. Roll call vote: Wheeldon, Hauck, Fine and Hanson, YES. Laws and Reid, NO. Motion passed 4-2.


1. Council meeting Look Ahead.
This item was presented for council information only.

2. Recommendation from Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee.
City Administrator Mike Freeman clarified that under Project Givens, item 1 was not meant to give incentives to developers. Shaw asked that this be replaced with the original wording.

Freeman explained that this process will lead to a new Economic Development chapter in the Comprehensive Plan. Further explained that if council adopts the recommendations tonight, a new comprehensive plan chapter will be prepared and public comments taken, prior to coming back before the council for a public hearing prior to adoption.

The council discussed the use of the term "laid back" in reference to the community. Wheeldon stated that this was put forth by the committee from their sense of the community as a relaxed, small town.

Freeman explained that the committee tried to recognize the importance of social services and non-profits both from the employment and social service points of view. Suggested that the intent was that the city should determine the role of non-profits and determine levels of support the city should provide in meeting the economic development goals of the city. Reid stated that she was not sure how this could be accomplished. Wheeldon explained that the discussion at the committee level had to do with acknowledging non-profits and how they helped to create a well-rounded community.

Laws suggested that the language here is vague, and while it is hard to disagree with the committee recommendations he would prefer to have more specific, pro-active recommendations. Stated that perhaps what is being done may be very close to what is needed, and noted that he looks forward to seeing the finished update to the Economic Development chapter of the Comprehensive.

Reid suggested that the city cannot socially engineer businesses within the community, and suggested that the development of the AFN by the city was a step in the right direction toward stimulating the local economy and the business environment.

Wheeldon reminded council that forming the committee was meant to gather feedback from the community, and the direction of the committee was not to write the element itself. Explained that her understanding was that writing the actual element would be the responsibility of staff. Wheeldon suggested that council take the time to discuss what the next step may be in a study session so that staff has clear direction.

Council discussion regarding the recommendations of the committee relative to the role for the city in ensuring that there is an availability of leasable or buildable land for commercial development. Suggested removing the portion discussing people without development skills.

Wheeldon noted that committee discussions had included mention of cities that create development for new businesses to come in and occupy. Reid noted that private developers do this. Shaw noted that the City developed infrastructure at Washington Street. Hauck noted the city's work through the grant process to help with a change-of-use development at the old Croman Corporation site. Shaw discussed the history of the city's efforts to this effect, and noted that the council and community had expressed concern with the city developing infrastructure in the Railroad District. Suggested that the airport property is an excellent candidate for infrastructure development by the city, and stated that great businesses would locate in Ashland if the airport were better developed. Shaw suggested that this component could be left in the Economic Development element to address the possibility of a future economic downturn.

Shaw stated that generally she does not feel that it is the city's job to provide incentives or free infrastructure. By providing great schools and looking after the natural environment the city makes the climate attractive for new businesses. Suggested that these items be more strongly addressed in this element of the comprehensive plan.

Fine voiced his disappointment in the recommendations, suggesting that an economic development strategy should provide a broad, visionary statement of how to position the city. Stated that this document contains only some essential, base-level value statements, and there is nothing that was not already known. Expressed his hope that staff can do a better job in drafting a strategy. Stated that he would include: ceasing to move toward a community that is made up of the very rich and very poor; trying to have living wage jobs; and positioning the community to attract employers that would offer these sorts of jobs on a scale compatible with the values of the community. Emphasized that this should be a broad statement of where the city wants to be and how to go about getting there. Suggested that identifying the types of infrastructure that the city wants and does not want should be included, and used telecommunications as an example of the type of infrastructure that our community would want to encourage.

Reid suggested that establishing the AFN has established the city's direction for the future. Fine explained that a strategy needs to be a comprehensive, visionary plan of action. Hauck suggested that this might go beyond the scope of the city's comprehensive plan, which is a land use document. Laws clarified that the comprehensive plan is not legally limited to land use.

Discussed the council members' perceptions of the charge that was given to this community. Wheeldon clarified that the committee has completed their charge in mapping the values of the community, and stated that the document has been made available for public comment. Shaw suggested that the next step is to take this document to staff to begin drafting the proposed changes to this chapter of the comprehensive plan. Freeman clarified that the committee had completed its work, and emphasized that the committee had addressed the items that were before them and raised issues that were not addressed in the plan currently to be fleshed out by the staff.

Laws clarified that it has not been the direction of council to take a big role in economic development due to the health of the economy. Stated that he feels that the community has done a great job in keeping up with the growth of the community and providing services based on the needs of the community, and that he looks forward to seeing the specific ideas that staff may be able to bring forward.

Council discussed placing this on the agenda at a study session for continued discussion and to get input from the council. Shaw requested that staff prepare a rough draft prior to a study session, to provide a starting point for further council discussion.

3. Discussion regarding the demolition ordinance.

City Attorney Paul Nolte clarified that this item came forward at the request of Councilor Wheeldon, and noted that there have been some problems identified with the implementation of this ordinance since its adoption in December. He explained that one of the problems has to do with the process requiring that every demolition go before the Demolition Review Committee. Suggested that the ordinance is quite broad, the criteria is very vague, and there has been difficulty in implementation. Stated that after reviewing the ordinance, the criteria could be made more clear and objective. Discussed the requirement that a site review occur prior to issuing a demolition permit.

Fine clarified that only two demolition permits have come forth in the last two months. Reid stated that she is agreeable to fixing the ordinance, but suggested that the fixes be specific to problems that have arisen rather than theoretical.

Sean Downey/915 Oak St./Clarified that the ordinance has only been applied since February 1st. Stated that the ordinance was self-contradictory and needs additional input. Suggested that defining "demolition" as altering 10% of a building's façade is not a real common sense definition. He feels that the ordinance needs to be clarified in what is trying to be accomplished.

George Kramer/Historic Preservation Consultant, helped develop the ordinance/Stated that he did not have problems with the changes Mr. Downey was requesting. Suggested that the definition of "demolition" may have come from the Uniform Building Code. He stated that the intent of the ordinance was to look at two kinds of issues (full demolitions or near complete demolitions) and that neither of these types of issues has come about as yet. Stated that he has no problem with finding a better middle ground in the definition between 10% and 90%.

Laws stated that as long as historic preservation is to be accomplished under the excuse of preserving materials, these sorts of problems will continue to arise. Stated that he does not believe this will work.

Fine explained that he is on the Demolition Committee, and recounted the two cases that had come before the committee. Stated that staff could easily handle these sorts of things, with the committee to serve as an appeals board.

Freeman clarified that the planning process is already difficult, and the demolition ordinance adds significant additional time in the process of the application. Shaw stated that she had spoken with Planning Commissioner John Fields, and he felt the process could mean delays of 1-6 months depending on the neighborhood. Shaw suggested that looking at proposed changes would be of value to the community.

Discussed whether further input from the building community is necessary. Council agreed to allow staff to bring forward proposed amendments to the ordinance.

4. Request for adoption of the findings supporting the Council's interpretation of the Land Use Ordinance on various issues (Planning Action #2000-008).

Councilors Hauck/Wheeldon m/s to approve findings of the interpretation of the Land Use Ordinance on various issues. Hanson explained that he was absent for the previous discussion, and requested that he be allowed to abstain. DISCUSSION: Reid raised the issue of looking at poles as not being structures as a way to avoid LUBA appeals relative to North Mountain Park. Hauck disagreed with Reid's interpretation. Shaw suggested that the definition was to avoid a requirement for permits for basketball hoops or volleyball nets in someone's backyard. Shaw stated that she does not believe there has been any attempt to avoid LUBA appeals. Nolte clarified that, by statute, council interpretations are given great weight by LUBA. If the council can interpret the ordinance to make it workable and meaningful it will be upheld. Suggested that he believed that this will help the public in understanding code requirements. Laws stated that this issue had been to LUBA and came back for clarification of council's intent. Stated that it was known up front that this clarification would carry weight with LUBA, but there was no attempt to avoid public process. Wheeldon stated that both the driving range and North Mountain Park received ample public process, and this merely represents a clarification for LUBA. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hauck, and Wheeldon, YES. Reid and Fine, NO. Hanson, ABSTAIN. Motion passed 3-2.


1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing the Acquisition of Real Property for the Purpose of Expansion and Renovation of the City's Fire Station No. 1."

Larry Yehudah Roven/417 Normal St./He stated that the demolition of the Blue Mountain Café and the Fire Station are subject to the current demolition ordinance and cited several areas of the ordinance that could be potential problems in the acquisition and use of the property.

David Frye/1260 Kirk Ln./As the owner of the Blue Mountain Café, he requested a 90-day eviction notice and a transfer of his SDC credits to an alternative location when one is found.

Nancy Bloom/223 Meade St./Read a letter from Alice Hardesty which questioned the previous study on siting of the Fire Station, which suggested that the city owned property at East Main and Mountain would be equally ideal. The letter stated that the body of the report does not support the conclusions and asked for either a new study or the establishment of an unbiased committee to take a fresh look at all possible alternative sites for the proposed Fire Station. Bloom stated her own position in support of the Blue Mountain Café and the Ashland Fire Department. She urged the council to find an alternative site for the Fire Station so that the ambiance of the café would not be disturbed.

Shoshana Alexander/478 Siskiyou Blvd./Stated her support of the Blue Mountain Café and the positive influence that the café provides to the neighborhood and the community. She commented on the negative impact that the architectural design of the Fire Station would have on the character of the neighborhood. She requested that other options be explored.

Elias DeChristo/247 Granite St./Suggested that the parking lot be reduced in order to allow the continued business of the Blue Mountain Café.

Shaw clarified that while the Copeland Lumber business is for sale, the land is not. Noted that Oak Street Tank & Steel's Oak Street building has already been purchased, and development is underway. Further explained that the property near the railroad tracks will be a Post Office satellite station. Discussed the need to clean up contamination in this area if other vacant sites were to be used. Shaw stated that the recent election had approved the design for this location, with the knowledge that the Blue Mountain would need to be removed.

Shaw recounted the history of the study that Hardesty's letter brought into question, and explained that despite population growth the physical size of the city remains unchanged since the date of the study. Noted that the study suggested that two locations worked in tandem to provide optimal coverage.

Reid noted that the property where the Blue Mountain Café is located is owned by another entity, and the lease could be terminated and the property sold at any time.

Nolte stated that ninety-day notice to the business owner would not be a problem, and explained that he would need to look into the details of the SDC ordinance to see about a transfer of the SDC credits. Shaw noted concern that council has been very firm in not forgiving SDCs. Hauck questioned that SDCs relate to growth impact, and suggested that the council could look at this situation's unique aspects.

Freeman noted that the city will follow the rules in regard to the demolition ordinance.

Wheeldon suggested that because the use of the Blue Mountain is being eliminated on the property, the SDCs could be credited.

Laws noted that it is true that the building will not be in character with the neighborhood on one side, but stated that it will be in character to the other side of the neighborhood with the gas station, library, and the downtown. Suggested this is inherent in its location at the boundary of two zoning districts.

Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to approve Resolution #2000-07. Roll Call Vote: Wheeldon, Hauck, Laws, Fine, Hanson and Reid, YES. Motion passed.


Councilor Reid inquired how the Tolman Creek sidewalk improvement project is progressing. Also noted that she was very happy with the sketches of the restrooms and trash receptacle area on Calle Guanajuato. Freeman stated that he would have Community Development Director John McLaughlin provide Reid with information on the progress of the Tolman Creek Road sidewalks.

Councilor Wheeldon asked for council feedback relative to the wastewater treatment issue relative to effluent spray irrigation. Suggested that there is a need to clarify parameters and open a full discussion in regular meetings. Reid suggested that she would prefer to discuss this matter during the study session tomorrow, as the session was noticed for a discussion of this issue.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m. Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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