MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
August 1, 2000
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 18, 2000 were amended on page 1 under Consent Agenda, paragraph four with the following:
Fine felt this is a case where the private individualís financial interest is at stake and is not a situation where the public interest is jeopardized. Fine suggested that the current ordinance be modified in either of two ways, whichever the Public Works Director, in her professional opinion, recommends as being the more practical alternative:
to required that Either the ordinance might be amended to require that when a person is given extraordinary permission to cut a newly paved street, there would be two options given. One would be a that person would be required to give a personal undertaking to come back at their his own expense and patch the street whenever it needs patching for a period of a few years,-; or, alternatively, the ordinance might be amended to require that person to post a bond so that if the city has to patch over their his patches, the public is not bearing the expense. He stated, with respect to the current request, that he is not persuaded that the public interest justifies this exemption.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointments of Carol Lee Rogers and Alexis Rewcastle to the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission for terms to expire April 30, 2002.
3. Approval of emergency street cut on Park Street to install sanitary sewer service.
Councilor Wheeldon clarified for Fine, the minutes of the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission meeting of June 15, 2000, where it indicated Siskiyou Blvd would be closed for demonstration tests. She explained that the commission was exploring suggestions, but when they found it would cost $12,000 to close the street, they determined it would not be an option.
Councilors Hauck/Hanson m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith St/Provided information to the council regarding road conditions in the watershed. He passed out current mitigation information, which was done by the US Forest Service following the 1977 flood. Of thirteen major landslides on roads in the watershed, only five of have been corrected. The remaining eight continue to erode into Reeder Reservoir. He requested council seriously consider the effect this has on the watershed, and suggested they put pressure on the Forest Service to clean up the streams in these areas. Mayor Shaw responded with appreciation for this information, noting she would call Linda Duffy at the US Forest Service.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council meeting Look Ahead
City Administrator Greg Scoles clarified for Reid on item thirteen, regarding contracting with BPA wholesale power remaining scheduled for September. Reid noted recent events in the utility market and questioned if waiting until September was reasonable for the City to do. Scoles explained that he was advised by the Electric Director regarding the proper time to look at the contract, and he would check again.
City Attorney Nolte explained the recent spikes and other events BPA is reconsidering on the terms of the contract, and does not believe this could be done any earlier than September. He stated it was not his understanding that if the contract was signed early, the City could get in under the existing language of the contract with BPA. Reid stated it was her understanding it was not too late for the City to sign and then for BPA to countersign. The question is whether or not BPA was to countersign. If BPA does not, the City would be caught under new regulations which could spike up rates, but if BPA does countersign the City would be better off.
Scoles stated John Labens from BPA did not relay this information to either himself or City Attorney Nolte. He agreed to check on whether or not this was an option and inform council of his findings.
2. Presentation by Ad Hoc Committee for the Watershed Protection Plan
Councilor Wheeldon introduced Ad Hoc Committee members Richard Hart and Howard Heiner. She also reminded council of their comments added to the comments of the Watershed Alliance, which were submitted to the Forest Service. These comments stated that the City supported the idea of exploring alternatives to the Watershed Protection Plan. She explained that the Forest Service, as a result of public comment, would like to add a sixth alternative to the five existing in the draft EIS. Wheeldon stated some members of the Watershed Alliance have been working on an Ad Hoc Committee with the Forest Service to look at conditions and discuss what the sixth alternative might comprise of.
Hart noted that Linda Duffy from the Forest Service had been invited to comment at their committee meetings and give an update on alternative six. Duffy provided information on the specialists working on the protection projects and noted that members of the inter-disciplinary team are also Ashland community members who have a vested interest beyond their professions. He stated the committee met with the Watershed Stewardship Alliance for briefing and they spent a day in the watershed with many of the specialists. The committee has had an opportunity to discuss the common vision evolving into the alternate sixth project. He feels the concerns of the committee, sent in the draft comments to the Forest Service, are being addressed in a very positive way. They are continuing to meet and discuss current concerns, which will be presented to Linda Duffy. These issues are mostly about implementing alternatives. Hart noted committee members are continuing outreach to the community in various ways.
Heiner noted the Los Alamos fire which is creating a sense of urgency around wildfire protection. He explained the Forest Service is trying to explore how to package the Ashland Watershed Project for funding by mixing Service and Timber Sale Contracts. This is a new way to package these types of projects throughout the northwest, as it is a challenge for the Forest Service to find funding for wildfire protection. He explained that alternative six includes reduction of the density of the forest in the Ashland Watershed, which will be a touchy point within the community. This involves judgement decisions in regard to thinning. He wants the council to understand that the issues will be controversial, and that the committee is trying to work with the Forest Service and the community so there is a mutual understanding. In conclusion, he noted the tendency for the Forest Service to move away from the shady fuel breaks to larger area treatment. He explained there will not be the same diameter specifications on the shady fuel breaks there were before.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Presented a map of the Ashland Watershed indicating the current Forest Service proposal. He noted from 1955 until 1969, the Forest Service performed various logging projects in the Watershed for wildfire protection. Areas of clear-cutting are now filled with little trees. The Forest Service received huge amounts from the sale of the timber. He wants the council to support Resolution 79-51, where the City stands firmly against any form of extraction, and all fire reduction is done through under-burning or hand-piling projects. He feels the Forest Service has exploited their privilege of doing management in our watershed by years of clear-cutting water units for fire hazard reduction. He suggests the City hire an independent firm to look at the entire watershed as the Forest Service has direct interest and conflict.
Wheeldon announced that a public meeting in mid-August is expected. Fine questioned when a watershed less prone to wildfires could be expected. Shaw stated the various governmental agencies are better now than previously, but some are better than others in working together. She explained the work on this problem has been ongoing for twelve years.
Wheeldon stated Linda Duffy is planning to issue the Draft EIS at the end of September, and a Record of Decision is expected in November. Duffy has indicated the desire to bring this to a close, but there is always the chance it could be appealed. Shaw stated the plan should be determined by public response and hoped that whatever plan comes forward, will meet the concerns of the community, as well as the need to reduce fire hazard within the watershed in a reasonable amount of time. Wheeldon noted she feels the Forest Service does feel a great sense of urgency, as do many others in the community at different levels.
Laws noted a great deal has been done over the past fifteen years, and it is an on-going process. Although some things have been done, they may not have been the best way, but it has been an educational process. He stated the Forest Service is in the middle of a change of philosophy through environmental laws, at the national level, and they have not been keeping up with their costs for funding. Laws noted the participation of the individuals involved, and he feels it will be done much better and hopefully will be urged to be completed as rapidly as possible.
Reid noted Navickasí point regarding dense growth of small diameter trees, for which there is no market. An unnatural condition has been created, whereas wildfire is a natural occurrence. She feels all the undergrowth, which has been allowed to accumulate along an urban area, is an unnatural and dangerous situation. Wheeldon commented there is a market for small diameter material and manufactures will slowly realize there is commercial value.
3. Review of parking needs, options and selection of a conceptual solution for Gresham Street
Public Works Director Paula Brown reviewed the parking options, and the selection of conceptual solutions for Gresham Street. Three parking revision options were presented to the City Council during the study session, and it was the general consensus to further explore the third option, which shows parking on both sides of Gresham up to the alley beyond the Library. This issue was presented to the Traffic Safety Committee, and they requested council consider an option for a one-way street. An engineer can develop a plan considering the grade of ascent of the street and the effect of parking on both sides. Should council agree on making Gresham a one-way street, Brown strongly advises Second Street and Union as well as Allison Street are also made one-way.
Laws suggested looking as far as Pioneer Street and Vista when determining a plan. Two citizens have come forward requesting a one-way street, and the Traffic Safety Commission agreed this plan would potentially offer more parking while improving traffic problems. He noted illegal maneuvers involving drivers attempting to navigate East Main and questioned whether this street should be made one-way. He added that traffic on surrounding streets would need to be reviewed as well.
Shaw stated that the Bicycle Commission strongly urged council to take stands against one-way streets. She noted those living on the opposite end of Gresham would have to drive down Allison, down Sherman, cross to Lithia Way, and back up Gresham in order to reach the library. In addition, those living on Hargadine, in order to reach Siskiyou, may begin taking the alley behind the library, turning it into a street. Although making Gresham one-way would cure problems with traffic and parking, how well would it serve those living in the neighborhood? She suggested moving the island across from the fire station further down the boulevard toward the university.
Brown stated a traffic engineer will be hired to analyze the situation, making sure standards are being followed. She explained that making a one-way street could cause more problems, or make a difficult situation worse. Fine agrees a decision made without a report from a traffic engineer would be a mistake. He would also like the Traffic Safety Commission to review the report and then make a suggestion to the council. Fine suggested that if Gresham be made one-way, a two-way bicycle lane could be made.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained city standards, including street widths. Currently the street is 28 feet wide, and standards are 32-34 feet. By removing one park row, it makes it possible to have parking on both sides while maintaining street width. Council engaged in a general discussion of one-way streets, the turn-around on Siskiyou Boulevard, and standard street widths. Laws recommended streets with sidewalks should have park rows in order to protect pedestrians. He suggests the one-way street idea be added as the fourth option. Discussion was opened for citizen comment.
Bob Arago/370 Coventry/Feels that parking should not be allowed on both sides of the street. He noted the improvements on Hargadine, an already slow-moving area. He suggested a signal be installed on Siskiyou at whichever intersection council decides will be the crossing point to allow for northbound traffic. He voiced his concern regarding traffic from 3rd Street onto Gresham where traffic crosses over, and cautioned council to consider this area when making determinations. He suggested eliminating southbound traffic from 3rd Street, making it a left-turn lane only.
Craig Wright/25 Gresham/Voiced his concern regarding preserving the park row for property owners. He supports the suggestion of one-way traffic on Gresham, noting safety issues and weather-related accidents in icy conditions. He noted drivers, turning right from Siskiyou (a one-way street) onto Gresham (a two-way street), end up driving on the wrong side. Putting in parking on both sides of the street will only worsen this situation. There are four streets within 150 feet of the library, which were made one-way for safety reasons, and the same consideration should be used for Gresham.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading of "An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 2856 to Segregate the Rates of Taxation, to Reduce the Youth Activities Tax Rate and Therefore the Total Tax Rate by $0.0006 and Declaring an Emergency." (Ordinance to be read in full and then by title only so it is effective immediately)
Nolte explained that the reason for declaring the emergency provision for the taxing ordinance. He stated that it would take effect too late, but also noted that the tax assessor had extended the deadline to October 1. Fine stated his concern for using an emergency provision when it is not needed. Nolte voiced his agreement and added it is his desire to have tax ordinances in effect by July 1, every year. Fine asked if removing the emergency provision would cause a problem, and Nolte responded as long as the tax assessor continues to agree to an October deadline, no problems are expected. However, if he does not, the City has no authority to tax for this portion. Council engaged in a discussion of the merits of the emergency provision, and agreed to go ahead as written.
Councilors Reid/Wheeldon m/s to accept first reading of Ordinance 2860. Voice Vote: Fine, Wheeldon, Reid, Laws, Hanson, Hauck: all Yes. Motion passed.
Councilors Wheeldon/Reid m/s to approve Ordinance 2860. Voice Vote: Wheeldon, Reid, Laws, Hanson, Hauck: Yes; Fine, No. Motion passed 5:1.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing 'Amendment for Special-Use Authorization' regarding changes to the Mt. Ashland Ski Area permit fees paid to the Forest Service."
Scoles explained the resolution outlining how fees are collected for the existing use permit for Ski Ashland. Essentially this results in a substantial savings in the amount of money Ski Ashland pays the Forest Service.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Noted the SAPF is equal to a percentage of the adjusted gross revenue. The revenue the Forest Service receives is directly related to the amount of money Ski Ashland makes. He questions whether the Forest Service should be allowed to run an environmental impact statement on a project where they have direct interests. He thinks an independent study should be done in order to receive an impartial accounting.
Jeff Hanson/13880 Hwy 66/Mr. Hanson is the general manager of Ski Ashland. He noted the fees paid on a special use permit go to the General Treasury of the United States, not to the agency directly.
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s to approve Resolution #2000-20. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hanson, Hauck, Fine, Reid, Wheeldon, Yes. Motion passed.
Councilors Wheeldon/Hanson m/s to add resolution as item 3 to agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Resolution designating representatives from Ashland to participate in the Bear Creek Regional Problem Solving Process, and establishing certain facts.
Scoles explained that the mayor had been acting as a representative, and that this is a formal resolution designating the mayor as a permanent representative. Scoles stated that an alternative was requested, and Laws voiced his desire to be the alternate.
Councilors Wheeldon/Hanson m/s to approve Resolution # 2000-21 designating Mayor Shaw as its permanent Representative on the RPS Policy Committee, with Councilor Laws acting as Alternate. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hanson, Hauck, Fine, Reid, Wheeldon, Yes. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Reid asked the council to look at existing rules for enforcement of noise ordinances regarding drumming in the park. She suggested Nolte work with Parks Director Ken Mickelson to make sure police officers understand the noise ordinances and have decimal readers available for their use in order to enforce the laws.
It was clarified for Reid, that the budget for the Elkís parking lot, which was listed in the current budget summary document and mailed out to residents, may have been confusing, as this is a multi-year project. It was suggested that this be indicated in future summary documents.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder/Treasurer