MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 19, 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 October 5, 2004 and Executive Meeting Minutes of October 5, 2004 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Award of Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting was presented to the City.
Proclamations were read aloud for Race Equality Week of October 18 - 22, 2004 and National Red Ribbon Celebration week of October 23 - 31, 2004.
It was noted that the Ashland Children's Halloween Parade would be held on October 31st, 2004, starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Ashland Library. Also, a celebration for the completion of the Ashland Street/Siskiyou Blvd. Project is scheduled for October 22, 2004 at 4 p.m.
|1.||Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.|
|2.||Authorization to Dispose of Surplus Property in Excess of $10,000.|
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing on Community Development Block Grant Award of past carryover and Program Income.
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman explained that the City provides Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) each year to eligible affordable housing projects. This year, the City received a proposal from Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) for the acquisition of land in order to construct 6 affordable housing units. These units would benefit low and moderate-income households as part of a self-help program that would be administered through RVCDC. The City has also received a request from the Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) to apply $80,000 in previously awarded CDBG funds for the purchase of a property at 39 Garfield Street.
Mr. Goldman clarified that the request from ACLT was independent of RVCDC's proposal. Staff recommended that Council award the full $274,000 to RVCDC for the purchase of the property at 795 Park Street, and further recommended that $80,000 be reallocated to ACLT so that they could acquire the property at 39 Garfield Street. It was noted that the Housing Commission had reviewed both requests and also recommended that the Council award RVCDC the full $274,000 and ACLT $80,000.
In regards to past recipients not having the funds spent in a timely fashion, Mr. Goldman clarified that the City would prepare a sub-recipient agreement, which would contain a timeline for the project development. As long as RVCDC stayed within the established timeline for completion, it would be acceptable to CDBG regulations and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ron Demele/165 Crocker/Rogue Valley Community Development Community/Explained that 60% of the units would be for households with 50% or less of the area median income; the other 40% would be for households with 80% or less of the area median income. Mr. Demele noted that they had received 21 applications for this project and have pre-qualified 5 applicants. He explained that RVCDC would like to begin working on this project in January or February of 2005, and that the first round of houses would be completed by the fall.
Jennifer Henderson/2799 Siskiyou Blvd./Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT)/Noted that ACLT had already completed one apartment project and stated that they had received a grant from the Community Housing Development Organization.
Public Hearing Open: 7:27 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:28 p.m.
Councilor Morrison/Hartzell m/s to approve the award of $274,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds to Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation for the acquisition of land for the development of 6 affordable units, and to approve the reallocation of $80,000 in CDBG funds to the Ashland Community Land Trust for the acquisition of property for 2 affordable housing units. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Tom Rose/430 Wiley Street #61/Spoke regarding the sewage plant located in Ashland's watershed. Mr. Rose stated that the DEQ had cited the sewage plant for being out of compliance and feels that the City should be involved in this matter. He stated that he had gathered data and found that the plant has been out of compliance for 5 years in regards to the effluent being submitted. He further stated, that the DEQ requires that a plant of this sort to have a ground water monitoring facility and stated that the ground monitoring facility for this plant consisted of 6 wells that were either drilled in the wrong place or was not drilled deep enough. That the DEQ had scheduled several public meetings to consider a new permit for the facility and is considering eliminating the need for ground water monitoring. He expressed his displeasure with the timing of the public meetings and felt that the DEQ was making an effort to submerge this issue.
1. Council decision regarding Administrative Appeal Process concerning the U.S. Forest Service Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion.
Public Works Director Paula Brown stated that this issue had been placed on the Agenda for Council deliberation and discussion regarding whether or not to file an administrative appeal with the U.S. Forest Service. It is Staff's opinion that the ski area expansion would have limited or no measurable impact to the watershed or to water quality. Staff's recommendation is to move forward with the Forest Service decision and develop a supplemental agreement or a specific memorandum or understanding between the City and Mt. Ashland Association to ensure that a QA/QC Team is established, that the City continues to be a part of the design review, and that the ski area assets be continually reviewed to ensure financial security. Ms. Brown noted that MAA staff and Steve Johnson with the Forest Service were available to answer questions.
Chris Chambers/590 Elizabeth Ave/Stated that the City had made a bad decision, in delegating its decision making process, over to Mt. Ashland Association and stated that none of the MAA Board Members opposed the expansion. Mr. Chambers noted the Valdez Principles and felt that the City would be violating these principles by allowing deforestation to occur. He encouraged the Council to keep the City involved in this process and suggested that the Council appeal the Forest Service decision if that is what's needed to ensure that the City's water quality and wildlife habitat remain intact.
Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer St/Noted the pristine areas in the watershed that would be destroyed by the expansion. Mr. Copeland stated that the MAA Board did not look at other alternatives and felt that they have behind the NEPA process. He stated that the Council had an obligation to address this issue and expressed concern with the handing this over to the Public Works Department.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Ave/Presented an alternative that would have been an option for the expansion area. Mr. Navickas noted the City's 1929 Agreement with the Forest Service and stated that the City had an obligation to appeal the Forest Service decision.
Frank Lang/535 Taylor St/Mentioned the Spruce grove and the White Bark Pine trees. Mr. Lang felt that MAA should have limited the expansion area, eliminated all expert runs, invested in a White Pine restoration project and set aside the remaining area as a high elevation Siskiyou Conifer research natural area.
Pat Acklin/270 Scenic Drive/Noted that she was a member of the Mt. Ashland Association and stated that this had been a long process. Ms. Acklin stated that the MAA Board did not hide behind NEPA process and felt that the NEPA process provided many opportunities. She stated the letters received by the Forest Service were carefully reviewed and the City's input was carefully examined. Ms. Acklin stated that the Forest Service determined that a phased construction process would ultimately stretch out the environmental impacts and that it would be better to accomplish the expansion in a rapid fashion to reduce impact during layover from season to season. She stated that MAA welcomed the City's participation in choosing a firm or interdisciplinary team to examine the plans for construction and urged the Council not to appeal the Forest Service decision.
Douglas McGeary/210 Renault Ave, Medford/Noted his professional relationship with several members of the Council and stated that he was a MAA Board Member. Mr. McGeary stated that the MAA Board had worked hard to reach out to the community and stated that MAA wanted to continue to work with the City and any QA/QC Team that is established. Mr. McGeary expressed support for Staff's recommendation and stated that MAA has the full intentions of cooperating with the City of Ashland.
Jim Teece/864 Neil Creek Road/Spoke on behalf of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and reminded the Council that the Chamber strongly encourages the Mt. Ashland Expansion Project. Mr. Teece stated that the ski area was very much a part of the foundation of this community and felt that this process was a continuation of the original Save Mt. Ashland Project. Mr. Teece encouraged the Council to continue to support this project.
Richard Hendrickson/444 Monte Vista Dr/Stated that the discussions regarding the ski area had been dominated by a small, noisy and relentless minority of people that kept providing the same information (or mis-information) all the time. Mr. Hendrickson stated that the Council had been bombarded by pseudo-science, much of it gathered by people who had no qualifications. He urged the Council to allow this project to move forward and noted that the City Staff had proposed a number of measures that could be counted on to assure a successful outcome. Mr. Hendrickson stated that he trusted the Public Works Department and felt that the Council should trust them as well.
Angie Thusius/897 Beach Street/Expressed her various concerns, including the clear-cutting of trees, how the MAA Board was self-elected and questioned how the expansion would be paid for. She stated that the City had not yet been provided with the final sedimentation information of the existing runs and stated that the model was based on Idaho soil conditions. Ms. Thusius claimed that the Forest Service dismantled the Community Alternative and felt that all of the accountability for this project would fall onto the City and its residents. She stated that as the leaseholder, the Council has the power to make changes and urged them to appeal the Forest Service decision.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 S/Noted that he was a MAA Board Member, although tonight he was only speaking as a citizen. Mr. Roth stated that the community was much broader than just the people who resided within Ashland and noted that currently, only 30% of the Mt. Ashland Season Pass holders had an Ashland address. He stated that he had complete faith in the City Staff and the Forest Service to work together to implement a monitoring plan that would protect the City's drinking water. Mr. Roth stated that it was time to enhance the facilities on Mt. Ashland and asked the Council to not appeal the Forest Service decision.
Ryan Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Requested that the Council continue to participate in the NEPA process to protect the City's watershed. He stated that people are fooling themselves if they believe that the expansion would not have a major impact on the watershed. Mr. Navickas stated that the City needed to ensure the safety of the City's water supply for future generations and urged the Council to file an appeal.
Ray Havira/33 Dahlia Terrace, Eagle Point/Noted his past involvement with the ski area and stated the growth of the community had increased the demand for the expanded ski area. Mr. Havira stated that Ski Ashland had a very good reputation with the skiing industry nation wide and felt that they were on the right path with the proposed expansion. He also stated that many more people visit the mountain during the winter than during the summer months and commented on the need to provide recreation for family and youth. Mr. Havira asked the Council to support the expansion.
Scott Harding/2025 Tolman Creek Road/Stated that the City was the permit holder and would be held responsible if the ski area were to fail. Mr. Harding noted the 1929 Agreement with the Forest Service and stated the City would be setting a precedent by not holding them to the Agreement. He stated that this was not a community based decision-making process, but rather an administration process at the Federal level. He noted that in 2001, MAA suggested to remove the public appeals option from the NEPA process. He stated that the ski area recently received a D on an environmental ski card and urged the Council to appeal the Forest Service decision.
Jared Cruce/1030 Park Street/Noted that the WEPP model was based on, at best, 50% accuracy. Mr. Cruce questioned why the City would hand over its water rights to the Federal Government and did not believe that the Forest Service had given a fair evaluation of the Community Alternative. Mr. Cruce asked the Council to reconsider handing the City's control to the Forest Service and urged them to appeal.
Stuart O'Neill/396 Bridge Street #2/Stated that the community had asked the Council many times to stand up for the City's watershed and oppose the Mt. Ashland Expansion. Mr. O'Neill stated that he would continue to oppose any expansion into the middle branch of the watershed and stated that in the future there would be trials for crimes committed against Earth.
Dan Buckley/300 Luman Road #15, Phoenix/Stated that it was time to expand the ski area and asked the Council to support the Forest Service decision.
Tracy Bungay/334 Bridge Street/Noted the number of comments received by the Forest Service and the length of the comments. Ms. Bungay stated that many of the citizens are opposed to the Forest Service decision and urged the Council file an appeal.
Michael Goldman/3624 Avion Dr, Medford/Disagreed with the previous speaker and stated that the majority of people are in favor of the expansion. Mr. Goldman stated that the expansion was an economic necessity for Mt. Ashland and stated that skiers are opting to go to Mt. Shasta because of the need for improvements at Mt. Ashland. He stated that he didn't understand why the Council wouldn't listen to the experts and move forward with this project. Mr. Goldman stated that Mt. Ashland needed to expand in order to remain competitive in its field and urged the Council to trust the process and not appeal the Forest Service decision.
Chris Adams/955 Pinecrest Terrace/Thanked all those who had shared their views, but stated that the reports showed that there would be minimal or no impact to the watershed. Mr. Adams stated he was in favor of following Staff's recommendation and felt that the parties involved had bent over backwards to accommodate the environmental concerns raised. Mr. Adams stated that those that are opposed to the Forest Service decision are against any type of expansion and thinks that this is unrealistic. Mr. Adams stated the crowding on in the ski area makes for an unsafe situation and felt that the expansion would benefit the community and ensure the ski area's long-term survival.
Chris VanNess/607 4th Street, Phoenix/Voiced his appreciation for the public comment process and thanked the Council for their efforts. Mr. Van Ness noted that he was a Mt. Ashland employee and stated that everyone that he worked with was environmentally conscientious. Mr. Van Ness asked the Council to allow the expansion to move forward.
Dan Thorndyke/Statement in support of Mt. Ashland Expansion was read into the record.
Judy Davidson/540 Allison St/Statement in support of Mt. Ashland Expansion was read into the record.
Tonya Graham/Statement opposed to the Mt. Ashland Expansion was read into the record.
Mayor DeBoer disclosed that he was a prior MAA Board Member but resigned when he became Mayor due to the conflict of interest. Mayor DeBoer stated that he was initially opposed to the expansion, but over the years realized the necessity for expanding and became a supporter. He also expressed his utmost confidence in the City's Public Works Director Paula Brown and stated that he did not understand why the City would appeal its own permit application.
Jeff Hanson, General Manager of Mt. Ashland Association/Spoke regarding MAA's ongoing work with the City and stated that they had been working closely with the City Staff in many areas. He stated that they had initiated a cooperative partnership with the Forest Service, the City of Ashland, and the United Stated Geological Service to develop a water quantity and quality testing regiment that would provide detailed data that would be utilized for the planning and monitoring portion of the Ski Area project. He noted that this regiment was in addition to the past monitoring completed by the Forest Service. Mr. Hanson stated that MAA was providing the funds for the monitoring work and that the monitoring activities had already started. He noted that they would continue to speak with Ashland's Finance Director to ensure compliance with the lease agreement and have agreed to provide updated information as additional assets are installed to assure sufficient liquidation value to meet the terms of the Forest Service Special Use Permit.
Regarding MAA's environmental record, Mr. Hanson stated that they take their responsibility very seriously and have demonstrated a record of superior care of the environment in their operations and construction projects. He stated that even though the nitrogen levels at the sewage facility had not met the standard, the water that is being put into the drain fields is over 200 times cleaner than what the previous system produced. He stated that MAA had developed a system that would meet the final standard.
Mr. Hanson stated that the ski area expansion would have minimal or no impact to the watershed or water quality as long as the construction activities are completed as anticipated. He also noted that the Record of Decision provided direction for appropriate mitigation measures, continual monitoring and corrective action taken both during and after construction. He stated that MAA welcomed input from the City and that MAA and the City had a shared interest in the long-term success of the Mt. Ashland facility and the protection of the Ashland Creek Watershed.
Steve Johnson/United States Forest Service/Clarified for Council that the term "consultant" used in their memo referred to a consultant firm or consultant team. They do not anticipate that just one person would be able to handle the variety of needs. He also explained that the Forest Service was very receptive to the QA/QC Team concept, however they had concerns about delegating that authority to another party.
Mr. Johnson clarified the appeals process for Council. He stated it was an administrative appeal process and that the last day to appeal would be November 8th. The appeal would go to the Regional Forester and she, along with an Appeal Reviewing Officer, would have 45 days to consider the appeal and respond. If there were no response in 45 days, it would be an automatic upholding of the local Forest Service decision. If the Regional Forester decided that there was an area warranted further review, than it would revert back to the local Forest Service and a decision would need to be made as to what avenue to proceed with. In addition, within the first 15 days of the close of the appeal period, there would be an informal disposition period where the Forest Service would be required to contact the appellant to set up a meeting that would be held locally in order to resolve the issues. Mr. Johnson stated that all appeals, whether it was from a citizen or the City, would be treated in the same manner.
Mr. Johnson explained why the Community Alternative did not warrant a separate review, and clarified that all components of the Community Alternative were analyzed and incorporated when possible.
In regards to recourse action after the appeal period had ended, Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified that the City's recourse would be to go to the Forest Service and explain what needed to occur. The Forest Service could then require MAA to implement additional measures or actions.
City Attorney Mike Franell stated that there was no clear definition to the term "full consideration", which was used in the 1929 Agreement with the Forest Service. He explained that the legal definition of the word "full" meant abundantly provided, sufficient in quantity or degree, complete, entire, and detailed. The term "consideration" or "consider" meant deemed, determined, adjudged, or reasonably regarded. Mr. Franell stated that in his opinion, the Forest Service's actions fully met the intent of the 1929 agreement
Councilor Laws stated that the City could not force the Forest Service to take action. All that the Forest Service was required to do was consider the City's requests and provide a full response explaining their decision. Laws explained the history behind the lease agreement with the Forest Service and MAA and acknowledged the conflicting views and interests by the community.
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Laws voiced support for continuing to work with the Forest Service and MAA. He stated that it was the City's responsibility to ensure that there would be no negative effects to the water. He stated that if the Council appealed the Forest Service decision, it would most likely not change their decision, but could reduce the ability of the City to cooperate with the Forest Service in the future. Councilor Laws voiced support for continuing to work with all of the parties involved to ensure that the expansion is carried out in a way that is as responsible and beneficial as possible.
Mr. Franell clarified the 3 basis for an appeal: 1) Council disagrees with a specific component of the decision and believes that there was a better alternative that would serve the needs of the application as well as protect the environment, 2) Council disagrees with a portion of the decision that was not related to a specific condition, or 3) Council does not believe that the Forest Service adequately considered the public comments. Mr. Franell and Ms. Brown both stated that it would be difficult for the City to establish a case for appeal.
Councilor Hartzell m/s to uphold the decision already made by the Council and ask Staff to move forward in compliance with what Council has already approved and sent to the Forest Service originally. Motion died due to lack of second.
Ms. Brown clarified that she could take the comments that were previously made by the Council, which were included in the Agenda Packet, and incorporate those into the discussion with MAA. Before a decision was made, it would come back to the Council for approval.
Councilor Laws/Hearn m/s to accept the recommendations of Staff and additionally ask Staff to come back to the Council with recommendations concerning the adequacy of the monitoring processes and recommendations for improvements if necessary and that Staff make sure that the City has a participatory role in monitoring processes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS (None)
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Amending Resolution 2004-14 reducing the BPA Electric Surcharge Pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.16.030."
Electric Director Dick Wanderscheid stated this would be an approximately $130,000 reduction and that Staff would like to pass these saving to the citizens of Ashland. Staff recommendation is to accept the proposed resolution and implement the new rates in November.
Councilor Laws/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2004-34. DISCUSSION: Mr. Wanderscheid clarified that this should not have any impacts on the budget. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hearn, Jackson, Hartzell, Amarotico and Morrison, YES. Motion passed 6-0.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Request from Councilor Jackson for adoption of "A Resolution to Oppose the Constitutional Amendment of Ballot Measure 36."
Councilor Jackson stated that she had consulted with her fellow councilors and felt that it was important to bring this issue to Council because this measure would impact some of the City activities. She stated that her biggest concern was that if this measure passed, it would amend the Constitution in a way that discriminated rather than provided fairness to all citizens.
Councilor Morrison suggested the following changes:
Section 1 - "We believe that it is inadvisable and unacceptable to introduce "
Section 3 - "We encourage voters to study the Measure and fully understand its impacts prior to voting to put unequal treatment into the Oregon constitution."
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s the adoption of the Resolution to oppose constitutional amendment of ballot Measure 36, as amended. DISCUSSION: Mayor DeBoer stated he did not mean to offend any of Ashland's citizens, but stated that this issue had no purpose on a City Council's Agenda. Mayor DeBoer stated that he supported equal treatment for all citizens, but felt that the Council should work on City issues and should allow the legislative process to take its course. Mayor DeBoer stated it was the Council's role to set policies for the City and stated that he could not sign this resolution if it passed. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Amarotico, Morrison, Hearn, Laws and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Alan DeBoer, Mayor
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
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