MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 21, 2004 - 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, Hartzell, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 7, 2004 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Proclamation of October, 2004 as Disability Employment Awareness Month was read aloud by Councilor Jackson.
Announcement in Memory of Ken Hagen was read aloud by Mayor DeBoer.
Mayor DeBoer also noted that Wednesday, September 22 was Car Free Day and urged the citizens of Ashland to participate.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Councilor Morrison/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Tracy Bungay/334 Bridge Street/Spoke regarding Car Free Day. Ms. Bungay stated there will be a free bike clinic in the Plaza and they will be distributing free water bottles and snacks. In addition, there will be an open house at Front Street Station and RVTD will be free valley wide.
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Presented a presentation on textured crosswalks and explained that they could be difficult for drivers to see. Mr. Bullock presented various examples of textured crosswalks to demonstrate their lack of visibility. He also noted that the paint on textured crosswalks would fade over time and the crosswalks would create maintenance problems. In addition, he commented that the textured crosswalks were hard on wheelchair users.
Robert Owens/67 ½ Alida Street/Spoke regarding the Mt. Ashland Expansion. Mr. Owens thanked the Mayor and Council and stated that he trusted our land use managers to handle the expansion.
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Reiterating its Policy of Relating the Expenditure of Monies for Economic and Cultural Development to the Hotel/Motel (Transient Occupancy) Tax and Repealing Resolution 2004-11."
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer introduced Public Arts Commissioner Bruce Bayard. Ms. Seltzer explained that the Economic and Cultural Development Subcommittee had not allocated all of the TOT funds and that the Public Arts Commission has requested that these funds be dedicated to them for the acquisition, installation and maintenance of public art. In order to do this, an amendment to Resolution 2004-11 was necessary, which would allow the Public Arts Commission to receive funds and compete for future TOT funds. Adopting the new resolution would illustrate the City's support for the Public Arts Commission and would allow them to leverage additional funding. Staff recommended a modification of the resolution to allow the Public Arts Commission to be a recipient of the TOT funds, and recommended that the Council allocate the remaining TOT funds ($5,925) to the Public Arts Commission. Ms. Seltzer stated the charge of the commission directly met the requirements of the resolution for cultural development.
Jennifer Longshore/2388 Abbott Ave/Requested that the Council approve the proposed resolution and allocate the funds to the Public Arts Commission. Ms. Longshore stated the Commission needed funding in order to move forward, and noted that public art is free to everyone and enhances the community.
Ann DiSalvo/621 A Street/Urged the Council to make the TOT funds available to the Public Arts Commission. Ms. DiSalvo stated that public art was a direct and visible indicator of cultural development and felt that it was important for the City to show support for the Public Arts Commission. She also stated that the TOT funds were an appropriate use for this effort.
Bryan Holley/324 Liberty Street/Stated the Public Arts Commission was only asking for a small portion of funds and that the City should support the Commission they created. Mr. Holley explained that this was a one time allocation and that the Commission was not requesting perpetual funding.
Joyce Epstein/1094 Linda Ave/Stated she was a public advocate for the arts and noted her involvement with the community. Ms. Epstein noted that she attends Chamber of Commerce meetings to speak about public art and stated that Ashland has a reputation as an arts community. Ms. Epstein respectfully requested that the Council approve the proposed resolution and dedicate the remaining TOT funds to the Public Arts Commission.
Jim Young/1102 Holton Road/Stated he was the Chair of the Lithia Arts Guild and voiced his support for the resolution modification. Mr. Young explained that public art allows people to explore different ideas and provides a new way of looking at things. He stated that public art is culturally significant and is free for all to use and enjoy.
Melissa Markell/518 Oak Street/Voiced support for modifying the resolution and allocating the funds to the Public Arts Commission. Ms. Markell stated she supported funding for public art and believed that the Commission should be granted the TOT money. She also stated she would like to see public art funding as a line item in the budget.
Sharon Dvora/1050 Clay Street/Stated she had served on the Public Arts Commission and was also an art educator at the public schools. Ms. Dvora voiced support for allocating the remaining TOT funds to the Public Arts Commission and felt that the Commissions' charge fit perfectly into the Economic and Cultural Development goals. She stated that denying the Commission's request would send a negative message to the funding agencies, the public and the commissioners. Ms. Dvora stated she would like to see funding for public art as a line item in the budget and felt that the Commission deserved a larger sum of money on a more regular basis.
David Bjurstrom/140 Union Street/Stated he was President of the Ashland Gallery Association and stated that approving this request would have a positive impact on the community. Mr. Bjurstrom explained that public art was a way to make Ashland more visible to the arts community and would have a positive economic impact on the City. He also stated that allocating the remaining TOT funds to the Public Arts Commission would allow them to leverage additional funding. Mr. Bjurstrom urged the Council to approve the Commission's request.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Lane/Stated he did not object to giving the Public Arts Commission money, but felt it was best to allocate money out of the General Fund and recommended that the Council not change the resolution. If Council does decide to modify the resolution, Mr. Silbiger suggested that they allow the other city commissions to compete for funding as well.
Mary Gardiner/329 Orange Ave/Stated she was the Director of the Schneider Museum and voiced support for allocating the TOT funds to the Public Arts Commission. Ms. Gardiner stated it was important for the Commission to demonstrate that they had local support in order to obtain future funding. She stated she supported a line item in the budget for public art and felt that the TOT funds should be given to the Commission to support their efforts.
Bruce Bayard/621 A Street/Stated he was a Public Arts Commissioner as well as a member of the Ashland Gallery Association. Mr. Bayard stated there was no stipulation to not ask the City for money when the Public Arts Commission was established. He stated the Commission fulfills the general guidelines for a Cultural and Economic Development Grant and noted that the Commission was also seeking funds from other sources.
Council noted there was a provision in the ordinance that stated the grantee of a Economic and Cultural Development grant should not be a governmental agency. Council commented that when the group of citizens approached the Council and asked them to form the Public Arts Commission, they said nothing about requiring City funding. Council discussed who should be responsible for selecting the placement and design of the public art. It was noted that because the art would be placed in a public right-of-way, it was important to ensure that the artwork was not offensive.
Ms. Seltzer clarified the Commission had been developing a Policies and Procedures Guidelines that would address many of the Council's concerns. It was also clarified that separate RFPs would go out for each identified space with particular criteria for each piece of art. From there a jury would review all of the designs and recommend one proposal that would then go back to the governing body for final approval. Ms. Seltzer added that the money for the art would not be expended until the project had been approved.
Council discussed whether is was fair to modify the resolution to only allow one of the commissions to compete for funds and whether it would be more appropriate to provide funding for public art through a line item in the budget. Comment was made that there were many ways to define culture and that some of the other commissions were also performing activities that would fall under the purpose of an Economic and Cultural Development Grant. It was suggested that the Council not override the decisions made by the Economic and Cultural Development Subcommittee. Request was make to have the Public Arts Commission provide additional information on how they planned on attaining long term funding. Comment was made that the Parks Commission should be involved, especially since some of the art would be placed on park land. It was noted that if the City approved the Commission's request, it would not require Staff or Council to provide any future funding.
Councilor Hartzell motioned for Staff to allocate $5900.00 from the General Fund to the Public Arts Commission and have the Public Arts Commission return to the Council with a recommended strategy for long term funding. Motion died due to lack of a second.
It was mentioned that the Public Arts Commission was unique from the other City commissions in that the Public Arts Commission's charge fit perfectly into the objectives of the Economic and Cultural Development guidelines.
Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2004-32. DISCUSSION: Comment was made that the Public Arts Commission should have a specific department within the City that they are required to report to. It was clarified that the Administrative Department, with Ann Seltzer as the Staff person would oversee the Commission. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, Yes. Councilor Laws and Hartzell, No. Motion Passed 4-2.
Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to allocate the remaining $5,925.00 from the Economic and Cultural Development fund to the Public Arts Commission for the development of public art in Ashland. DISCUSSION: It was clarified that this motion would not require the Economic and Cultural Development Subcommittee to reconvene and was a strait allocation to the Public Arts Commission. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, Yes. Councilor Laws and Hartzell, No. Motion Passed 4-2.
Mayor DeBoer noted that the Lithia Arts Guild had an unexpected expense for their work at the Briscoe School and that donations could be sent to the City of Ashland, care of Lithia Arts Guild.
2. Discussion of Request for Proposals for the Development
of Affordable Housing above downtown City-owned Public Parking Lots.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin noted that the Staff Memo addressed the issues raised at the last meeting and provided options for the Council to consider. Staff is looking for Council's decision as to how they would like to proceed on this project. Mr. McLaughlin stated that maintaining some flexibility in the RFP would allow for a broader range of proposals to choose from. Affordable Housing Specialist Brandon Goldman added that the Housing Commission had recommended that the Council maintain a greater degree of flexibility in the RFP.
Allan Sandler/1260 Prospect/Stated that Staff had done a great job with the RFP and felt that a working agreement between private money and the City could be reached. Mr. Sandler explained that he had agreed to develop this project as a test and to see if a project like this would be acceptable to the Ashland residents. Mr. Sandler stated it was important to prove that affordable housing could be just as attractive as the other downtown structures and it needed to be designed so that the tenants would honor and appreciate the units. He stated the RFP should only reflect the 60% median income, which would work well with the State and Federal Guidelines for tax credits. Mr. Sandler stated the affordable housing tenants should share the public parking, and that no parking should be set aside for one group of people. He stated the units should be rented and not owned, so that the City could regain ownership later down the road. Mr. Sandler stated the timeframe should be set for 20-30 years because of the way the tax credits worked. Mr. Sandler noted he had worked out a formula which would be noted on his RFP proposal.
Robert Owens/67 ½ Alida St/Stated that all RFP's should be ceased until the Big Box Ordinance was revisited and until the City has had the opportunity to look into dense and sustainable developments in the downtown area. Mr. Owens stated that he does not think the City would be able to accommodate the desires of the residents until they can provide more housing in the downtown area than the current statute allows. Mr. Owens stated the types of proposals being considered would run their useful life quickly and that the City would be left with an inability to house the people of Ashland. Mr. Owens voiced support for increasing the amount of rental units available in the downtown area.
Mr. Sandler noted that the larger developments as mentioned by Mr. Owens tend to look like tenements and it would be better to have smaller units in various locations.
Megan Mitchell/601 N. Mountain Ave/Spoke regarding the parking crisis in downtown Ashland. Ms. Mitchell stated the proposed project would further hamper the ability to park in that area. She suggested that before the City committed to using its valuable parking resource in a housing experiment, they should first complete the Downtown Plan. She stated that utilizing the Lithia Parking Lot for affordable housing should be the City's last resort. Ms. Mitchell asked the Council to consider the impacts this proposal would have on the Railroad District. She also noted the new Jasmine Building that has been built on Lithia Way, which would also create a demand for parking.
Mr. McLaughlin agreed that parking was an issue in the downtown area and stated that Staff had taken this into consideration. He noted that it was Staff's goal to maintain the spaces in the parking lot and to build the affordable housing above the lot. He explained that overall, residential and commercial parking needs could exist together because they tend to peak at different times.
Mr. Goldman stated it was difficult to determine exactly how many cars and drivers each household would contain. He added that the idea of mixed use developments had to do with offsetting the parking needs. Mr. Goldman explained that at 8 a.m. the occupancy rate for parking in the proposed area was less than 20% and increased to 85% during the day largely from tourists and people coming to shop and work. However the occupancy rate dropped back down in the evening and there were parking spaces available at night. Mr. Goldman noted that the current zoning requirements do not require housing to provide parking spaces for residential uses, and this was done specifically to encourage housing in the downtown area.
Mr. McLaughlin stated that Ashland's housing needs should not be compared with the policies used in Portland, as they are very different. He also clarified that the Council could determine the number of units they would like and state that in the RFP.
Mayor DeBoer stated that this was a great opportunity for the City of Ashland and would like to move forward with this project. He noted that if parking was an important factor to a tenant, than they would not likely want to live in the proposed units. Regarding the RFP, Mayor DeBoer stated he would remove the option to purchase the units and maximize the number of units built.
Councilor Jackson/Morrison m/s to approve the issuance of an RFP for rental units above the Lithia Lot; Level of affordability at 80% AMI at the minimum, a range of lower incomes is encouraged, the term of affordability be 40 years, with a minimal loss of parking spaces. DISCUSSION: Mr. McLaughlin noted there could be a loss of one or two spaces. City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that at the end of the 40 year period, the entire structure and air rights would revert back to the City. Mr. Goldman clarified the level of affordability would be targeted at 80% AMI or less. He also clarified that at the end of the determined term, the structure would revert back to the City and the Council would be able to set the level of affordability. It was also clarified that Staff would be able to deal with the management of the property through the lease. Concern was expressed that Staff needed to ensure that the proposals reflect that they have adequate funding sources to complete and maintain the building. It was noted that the RFP would be reviewed by the City Attorney before it is sent out. Voice Vote: Councilor Laws, Amarotico, Jackson, Morrison and Hearn, Yes. Councilor Hartzell, No. Motion passed 5-1.
3. Summary of Council Goals for FY 2004-2005 and
Postponed to a future meeting due to time constraints.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley introduced the Chair of the Forest Lands Commission Steve Jensen, Forest Grant Work Coordinator Chris Chambers, contracted Forester Consultant Marty Main, and Darren Borgias from the Nature Conservatory. Mr. Woodley explained that the Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) was the community alternative for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project and would be submitted to the Forest Service. It was noted that the Plan was still in development and they were still receiving community input and reviewing some of the assumptions contained in the Plan. This review process would continue up until the time it is submitted to the Forest Service, and it is their hope that the CWPP would continue to evolve through the implementation phase.
Steve Jensen stated that over 900 volunteer hours were spend creating the CWPP and thanked those involved for sharing their expertise and volunteering their time. He noted that Chapter 8 of the Plan offered a significant community management alternative to the US Forest Service for major restoration work done in the Ashland Watershed. Mr. Jensen stated the Forest Lands Commission had unanimously recommended that the City Council endorse the entire CWPP. He noted that this would not be the final word from the City and that the Plan was a living document that would undergo constant adaptation. He noted that the CWPP would cement the City's role in the continuing work regarding the watershed.
Chris Chambers briefly explained the contents of the 10 chapters of the CWPP. He explained that the three basic things required of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan were: 1) Collaboration, 2) Prioritized Fuels Reduction, and 3) Treatment of Structural Igniteability. Mr. Chambers noted that the City has had a long history of wildfire management and awareness. He noted that each chapter of the CWPP contained an action summary and noted that the Plan was intended to be reviewed at least twice a year by the Forest Lands Commission. Mr. Chambers added that the Plan was meant to be reviewable, accountable to the public, and would keep the City Council up to date.
Marty Main mentioned that the group was only given four months to complete the CWPP. He explained that their three objectives in the Plan were: 1) Forest Health, 2) Municipal Water Supply, and 3) Reduce the likelihood and severity of a wildfire. He commented that some of the objectives conflicted with each other and also noted that they had to rely on data provided by the US Forest Service, which was a concern. Mr. Main displayed the treatment areas by category and priority and briefly explained each one to the Council. (see page 16 of the CWPP)
Darren Borgias stated he was the Southwestern Oregon Stewardship Ecologist for the Nature Conservancy and was also a citizen of Ashland. He stated the Nature Conservancy was dedicated to the protection of bio-diversity. He also noted that the Siskiyou Crest site, which includes the Ashland Watershed, was one of the most critical sites for the conservation of bio-diversity in the entire Klamath Mountain eco-region. He stated the Nature Conservancy was very supportive of what the City had done to preserve the conservation of the bio-diversity. He stated the citizen's alternative was a highly informative statement of the agreements that the community had and that the City should feel confident in supporting this proposal. Mr. Borgias briefly explained how the proposal came together, stating the community approach was to start with the areas they were most concerned about. Mr. Borgias presented various slides displaying the affected area and displayed where the CWPP proposes the fuel breaks. He noted that the CWPP works from both an ecological perspective and from a fire protection perspective.
Councilor Hartzell /Laws m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mr. Borgais clarified that one of the ways the CWPP was different from the Forest Service Plan was that it focused on thinning the smaller diameter materials.
Tonya Graham/418 Lit Way/Executive Director of Headwaters/Stated that Headwaters had worked with this team and was very impressed with the work they had done. She noted that the CWPP would need some final edits before its submission to the Forest Service, but that this should not be a problem. She also stated that they would clarify the necessary pieces and ensure that what the community provided to the Forest Service was clear and concise.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Ave/Presented a diagram of what the Forest Service was proposing in their preferred plan. Mr. Navickas noted the City has historically taken the position of supporting prescribed fire as a means to handle fire management and noted the 1929 agreement with the Forest Service. He explained that the Forest Service's plan would remove a significant portion of the canopy closure, which would dry out the site and create a higher oxygen to fuel ratio in the event of a forest fire. Mr. Navickas stated the best treatment for fire protection was to maintain a closed canopy with minimal understory. He also voiced support for non-commercial work only.
It was noted that the watershed would need to have natural wildfires in order to reach it's full bio-diversity potential.
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to accept the Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan in concept. DISCUSSION: Fire Chief Keith Woodley assured the Council that he was comfortable with the proposed plan. He noted that as additional data was gathered and analyzed there would be further developments and enhancements to the Plan. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion Passed.
2. Designation of Voting Delegate for NLC Meeting.
Councilor Morrison/Jackson m/s to designate the councilor that signs up first and second as the voting delegate and alternative for the NLC Meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (None)
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Request from Councilor Cate Hartzell for adoption of "A Resolution Opposing State Initiative Ballot Measure 37."
Mayor DeBoer and the entire Council voiced their full support for the proposed resolution. It was noted that Measure 37 was very misleading and could possibly bankrupt the State. It was also noted that the citizens needed to fully understand what they are approving if they vote in support of this Measure.
Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Rd/Applauded Councilor Hartzell for bringing this issue forward and voiced support for the proposed resolution. Ms. Vavra stated that the Council was providing a tremendous service to the citizens by making them aware of this issue.
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve resolution. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
Mayor DeBoer noted there will be a Study Session on Wednesday, September 22, 2004. Topic of discussion will be Master Planning in Ashland - Approaches to Address City Council Goals.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30
April Lucas, Assistant City Recorder
Alan DeBoer, Mayor