Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March 1, 2005
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

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

Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Hearn were present.

The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 15, 2005 and Executive Meeting of February 15, 2005 were approved as presented.

1. Charter Review Committee Update to Council.
Charter Review Committee member Carole Wheeldon informed the Council of the Committee's progress. She explained that the Committee had identified and researched a number of topics relative to the Charter Review, drafted white papers for each of the topics, and they have held a Public Forum, which was attended by approximately 80 citizens. As a means to increase public involvement, the Committee has spoken with various service groups and Ms. Wheeldon noted that the Daily Tidings has agreed to publish a series of articles on the Charter issues. In addition, the Charter Review Meetings are televised on RVTV and the public is welcome to attend the open meetings held in the Council Chambers.

Ms. Wheeldon explained that the Committee's next step was to hold a series of public meetings on each of the topics, the first of which will be on the structure of government and will be held on April 7th at SOU. She stated that the Committee would be forwarding their final recommendations to the Council by June 21st, which will allow them sufficient time to review the proposed Charter and determine if they would like to place it on the November ballot. Ms. Wheeldon concluded her presentation by asking the Council to decide when they would like Mr. Sponsler, who is the consultant hired buy the City, to prepare the final draft of the Charter.


1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Liquor License Application from Andrew Chester dba Agave LLC located at 92 N Main Street.
3. Request to Approve Night Construction Work at the Ashland Municipal Airport.

Councilor Hartzell requested that Item #3 be pulled in order to allow opportunity for discussion.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda Items #1 and #2. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hartzell/Hearn m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #3. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

1.   Request for a Zone Change from R-1-5-P to R-2 and Comprehensive Plan Map change from Single Family Residential to Low Density Multi-Family for an approximately 1.3-acre parcel located on the west side of Fordyce Street, between Orchid Street and Kirk Lane. The application includes a request for Outline Plan and Site Review approval for a 13-unit, multi-family subdivision under the Performance Standards Option, as well as a Physical Constraints Permit to establish a driveway crossing over an existing drainage way. A Tree Removal request is also included with this application.

Mayor Morrison called the Public Hearing to order at 7:20 p.m. and read aloud the procedure for Public Hearings for Land Use Hearings.

Abstentions, Conflicts, Ex Parte Contacts
Councilor Hartzell disclosed that she attended the Tree Commission meeting when this project was discussed, and noted that she removed herself from the Housing Commission meeting last week in order to avoid any conflict. Councilor Hearn disclosed that he had performed a site visit and noted that he was telephoned by a citizen, but ended the call because they wanted to discuss this issue. Councilor Jackson disclosed that she had received two emails regarding this issue. Councilor Silbiger disclosed that several neighbors approached him, however he informed them that he was unable to discuss this issue. Councilor Amarotico disclosed that he had performed a site visit. Mayor Morrison noted that Melanie Mindlin had contacted him over a month ago where she introduced herself and briefly mentioned this project. He stated that his visit with Ms. Mindlin did not affect his ability to remain impartial.

Staff Report
Planning Director John McLaughlin and Senior Planner Bill Molnar addressed the Council.
Mr. Molnar explained that this proposal involves a zone change and a Comprehensive Plan Map designation change for a 1.3-acre parcel located on Fordyce Street. The change involves rezoning the property from a Single-Family (R-1-5) designation to Low-Density Multi-Family (R-2). Also included in the application is an outline plan and site review approval to develop a 13-unit multi-family subdivision, a physical constraints permit to allow for the driveway crossing over a drainage way and a tree removal permit.

Mr. Molnar gave a brief explanation of the surrounding area. He explained that the proposal was for 13 zero lot line units and there would be a common kitchen, meeting room and kids area. It was also noted that the proposal includes the construction of a private road, which would end at a hammerhead turn-around. Mr. Molnar noted the landscape plan and explained that 5 of the 8 trees on the property are intended for removal.

Mr. Molnar explained that the Planning Commission voted to deny the zone change and noted that most of their discussion focused on the merits of the zone change, not the design issues. He explained that an applicant could only apply for a zone change if their proposal met one or more of the four criteria. This Applicant has chosen to meet the criteria regarding affordable housing. Mr. Molnar explained that two of the proposed units in this development would be made available for purchase for households with 60% median income or less. He explained that the Planning Commission wrestled with whether this structure would be appropriate in the proposed location and the Commission ultimately determined that although this project had merit, the density and pattern established by a zero lot line development was incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Mr. Molnar clarified for Council how the roads and sidewalks would connect.
In regards to Policy IV-2, Mr. McLaughlin clarified that the Planning Commission determined that the number of units proposed by the development was incompatible with the surrounding development pattern.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that if the Council approved the Applicant's request for a zone change, that decision would likely establish precedence, although LUBA would probably not require the City to grant a rezone in a similar situation.

Council received clarification on the policies the Planning Commission used to base their decision.

Alan Harper, Attorney representing Fordyce Street Co-housing Community Applicant Melanie Mindlin/Noted that the definition of compatible is "capable of living together in harmony", and attested that his development would be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Harper explained that the proposed development would be single-family residential and would have a very strong community and homeowner feel to it. He noted the Comprehensive Plan, and noted that it provides the Council guidance, but allows for some flexibility in determining what a compatible development is. Mr. Harper stated that the Applicant has provided a unique solution to help solve Ashland's affordable housing problem, and asked that the Council look at all of the factors including the size of the structure, layout of design, parking and accessibility.

Mr. Harper stated that this situation would not set legal precedence and noted the Clay Street church project, which was very similar. He noted that the Comprehensive Plan contains the term "generally", not thou shalt, when referring to the zoning that dictates density and also clarified that the Applicant has provided substantial documentation regarding how they are going to implement affordable housing on all 13 lots.

Melanie Mindlin/1338 Seena Lane/Explained that she would like the opportunity to provide affordable co-housing in Ashland and stated how important it is for people to be able to live close to where they work. She explained that she purchased this land with the sole intent of providing affordable co-housing and noted that she has an agreement with the Fordyce Street Co-Housing Community to pass this land to them without taking any profit. Ms. Mindlin stated that her proposal was exciting and unique and asked that the Council approve her application.

Ms. Mindlin clarified that they have established a $266,000 cap for each of the units, although they are hoping that the final price will be lower, and clarified that they will be offering an equity limit program to keep the units affordable. She also noted that one builder would complete the entire project.

Those Opposed to Application
Beth Lippert/1233 Orchid Street/Stated that her property is adjacent to the Fordyce parcel and noted that she purchased her home 16 months ago for $245,000. Ms. Lippert explained that her primary concern was the increased density and presented a chart to the Council. She explained that the neighborhoods other concerns include increased street parking and traffic. She noted that once this parcel is rezoned they cannot go back and expressed her concern that this application would set precedence with the other adjoining property.

Dea Nason Collins/1269 Orchid Street/Stated this project would double the residency and negatively impact the neighborhood. Ms. Collins stated the size of the proposed units was not in scale or compatible with the neighborhood and expressed her concern that this project could lower property values. She stated that the zone change proposal did not meet the criteria and expressed her support for the Planning Commission's decision. Ms. Collins noted that the affordable housing could be done without a zone change and asked that the proposed development comply with the current zoning restrictions.

Jim Boeckl/Stated that when he purchased his house he did not expect the adjoining property to be developed in a different zone. Mr. Boeckl stated that the neighborhood has repeatedly opposed the zone change and noted that the majority of the neighbors do not support this project. Mr. Boeckl stated that increasing the zoning to allow 13 units would be inconsistent with the surrounding area and thinks that it is reasonable to ask that the Applicant develop their parcel under the current zoning laws. Mr. Boeckl expressed his concern about setting precedence, and questioned if the Council would be required to approve a similar zone change for the adjoining parcel.

Those In Favor
Dan O'Connell/184 Van Ness Avenue/Expressed his support for co-housing and the Fordyce Project, and noted the time and energy spent by those involved. Mr. O'Connell stated that this was a wonderful opportunity and asked that the Council support this proposal.

Ryan Langemeyer/1700 E Nevada Street/Spoke regarding community responsibility and stated that Ashland has a responsibility to embrace and model concepts that encourage sustainable community values. Mr. Langemeyer noted the Valdez Principles and encouraged the Council to support this project.

Christine Hjelt/870 Blackberry Lane/Stated that most of the neighbors concerns were without merit and shared her positive experience with co-housing living in Colorado. Ms. Hjelt stated that this development would be a benefit to the community and asked that the Council approve this project.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to continue the Public Hearing to 7 p.m. April 5, 2005 in the Council Chambers. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Melissa Mitchell-Hooge/271 High Street/Presented an update on the "Save Our Schools & Playgrounds" program. Ms. Mitchell-Hooge noted that the group was established in May 2004 in order to save the Briscoe Elementary School playground and they have since expanded their focus to the Lincoln School playground as well. She noted that they have had several meetings with the School Board and Parks Commission and urged the Council and Staff to participate in their discussions.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Spoke regarding the Charter Review process and noted that Council's #1 goal for 2005 is citizen involvement, yet the Charter Review Committee process has low voter involvement. Mr. Bullock recommended that Council ask the Charter Review Committee to determine voter support or opposition to their proposed Charter changes using five public forums. These forums could be held April 7 on the issue of City Manager, May 5 on Planning and Parks Department/Commissioners, June 2 on Electing City Council, July 7 on City Recorder and Municipal Judge, and August 4 on Code of Ethics, City Band and Fire & Police.

Council received clarification that the proposed timeline was the suggestion of Mr. Bullock, not the Charter Review Committee.

1.   Reading by title only of "A Resolution in Support of Repealing the Ban on Real Estate Transfer Taxes."
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman explained that there is currently a State statute that prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting a local real estate transfer tax. If the Council repeals this prohibition, the City could then ask the community to consider adopting a local real estate transfer tax as a means to establish a revenue source for the establishment of the Housing Trust Fund. Mr. Goldman stated that it was important to note that at this time, the Council is not being asked to consider the establishment of a tax, only to request that the State Legislature lift the prohibition. Mr. Goldman noted that the Housing Commission forwarded this recommendation to the Council by a unanimous vote. He stated that the local media has speculated on what the possible tax might be, and clarified that the Housing Commission discussed a ½% tax, however the Affordable Housing Action Plan sites that the tax could range between 1/10% and ¾%. He added that there has been no discussion that the tax would exceed 1% of the assessed value. Mr. Goldman asked that the Council follow the Housing Commission's recommendation and support the proposed Resolution.

Mr. Goldman clarified than a similar resolution was passed by the City Council in 2003, but due to changes in the Mayoral and City Council seats, Staff has proposed that the Council adopt the new resolution so there is no question of the Council's support.

Kristy Alberty/795 Park Street/Spoke in support of lifting the ban on the real estate transfer tax. Ms. Alberty stated that Jackson County was in the midst of a severe housing crisis and stated that the community needed to have an open discussion on how best to address affordable housing policies and programs. She noted the importance of establishing a Housing Trust Fund and stated that with the tax and possible matched funds, Ashland could have nearly 3 million dollars a year for affordable housing.

Rich Rohde/124 Ohio Street/Offered an alternative resolution and stated that the City needed to secure long term funding for affordable housing. Mr. Rohde stated that the real estate transfer tax was a viable funding solution to the affordable housing problem and suggested that the City engage in discussions around the tax and the creation of a Housing Trust Fund, and asked that this issue be brought to a vote by the people.

Alice Hardesty/575 Dogwood Way/Submitted her testimony in support of repealing the ban on real estate transfer taxes.  [TESTIMONY IS ATTACHED TO THE ORIGINAL MINUTES]

Suzie Aufderheide/321 N. Mountain Avenue/Shared her personal experience with affordable housing and stated that the real estate transfer tax would allow Ashland to make its own determination on how to establish diversified housing. Ms. Aufderheide expressed her support for local dialogue regarding affordable housing.

Staff clarified that the Council was only being asked to request a repeal on the ban; the establishment of any new tax would need to be approved by the voters before it would be enacted.

City Attorney Mike Franell explained that the resolution adopted in 2003 was still in effect and the Council could motion to reaffirm their support of that resolution if they did not feel comfortable adopting the new one. He added that there was no harm in passing the new resolution.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-08, as amended to include "by passing House Bill 2520" to the end of Section 1. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Hartzell, Hearn, Hardesty, Jackson and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.

2.   Draft Request for Proposals - Planning Division Operational and Organizational Review and Land Use Ordinance Review.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin requested Council's approval on the Draft RFP as submitted. He explained that one of the Council Goals is to conduct an internal audit of operating procedures as well as a review of the Land Use Ordinance. Staff has presented the RFP for Council's review and would like for them to direct Staff to finalize the proposal with the City's Legal Department and send it out for bids.

Council suggested that the RFP be split up into two separate proposals, one for the Planning Division operational and organization review and the other for the review of the Land Use Ordinance. It was also suggested that the Community Development Director be removed as the contact officer and that Staff deal with the issues one at a time.

Mr. McLaughlin clarified that Staff had drafted the RFP based on what other communities had done, and stated that they were open to the Council's suggestions.

Council reached a consensus to split the RFP into two separate sections, to allow more time to perform the Land Use Ordinance Review, to change the contact officer to the City Administrator, and to try to not overlap the timeframes.

1.   Approval of Land Purchase of 430 North Main Street.
Interim Public Works Director Joe Strahl explained that Staff is proposing the purchase of the property located at 430 N. Main Street as a means to mitigate the impacts in the event that Hersey Street needs to be moved in order to solve the problems at the intersection of Hersey, Wimer and North Main.

It was noted that addressing this intersection was a Council goal. Comment was made that acquiring the property would give the City more options in addressing this issue, however they could still decide to take a different course of action and could sell the property without losing any money.

John Colwell/410 N Main Street/Stated that he was one of the principle property owners who would be affected by any action that the City takes. Mr. Colwell submitted a letter which outlined some of his concerns and noted that he could potentially lose 5 of his 11 parking spaces. Mr. Colwell stated that he has witnessed 1-2 accidents per month at this intersection for the past 24 years and commented that it would take more than just straitening out the intersection to solve the traffic problems. He requested that the Council balance the needs of the City with the surrounding businesses and residents and asked that Staff consult with the property owners regarding their needs and asked that Staff keep them informed with the issues related to this property and intersection.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hearn/Hartzell m/s to approve the land purchase at 430 North Main Street. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

2.   Termination of Water & Electric Easements Over Property Located at 590 Glenview Drive.
Interim Public Works Director Joe Strahl stated that this item and the Main Feeder Waterline Replacement Project were related, and stated that the proposed easement terminations would ensure that the City obtained the rights to build a new water feeder line across this property.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve the Quitclaim deed and authorize Mayor to sign at the appropriate time. DISCUSSION: City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that he would review the documents before this action was carried out. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

3.   Contract Approval for the Main Feeder Waterline Replacement Project.
Interim Public Works Director Joe Strahl stated that over the years the City has determined that the replacement of the feeder waterline was a high priority, however noted that it would be an expensive project to undertake. He explained that the City has received bids for this project and Staff is recommending that they award the contract to R&G Excavating Inc. The amount of the contract would be $2,018,876, which exceeds the City's estimate original by a substantial amount. Mr. Strahl explained that there are sufficient funds available to cover the increased costs and requested that Council approve the contract for the above amount.

Mr. Tuneberg clarified that the City could shift appropriations between projects, and stated that there was an adequate fund balance in the Water Fund to cover the entire project costs.

Councilor Amarotico/Hearn m/s approve of City Staff to enter into the contract with R&G Excavating Inc. for the replacement of the main feeder waterline from the Water Treatment Plan to Crowson Reservoir. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

4.   Ashland Fiber Network Quarterly Report.
Postponed due to time constraints.

1.   Second reading of "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Rules of Procedure for Public Contracting and Personal Services Contracts; Repealing Chapters 2.50 and 2.52 of the Ashland Municipal Code and Resolutions No. 2000-15, No. 2000-14, No. 99-68, No. 99-64, and No. 99-30; and Declaring an Emergency."
Assistant City Attorney Mike Reeder noted that the information provided to the Council contained the changes from the first reading as well as the new changes recommended by councilors. He noted that Staff had changed the contract threshold for personal services to per contract rather than per year as originally proposed and stated that the Council needed to make a policy decision regarding deleting banking services from the exemptions.

Mr. Reeder read aloud all of the Ordinance changes made since the first reading.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s approve Ordinance #2719 as amended. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hearn, Hardesty, Amarotico, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

2.   Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing the Sale of General Obligation Refunding Bonds."

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-09. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hearn, Jackson, Silbiger, Hardesty and Amarotico, YES. Motion passed.

3.   Reading by title only of "A Resolution Setting a Public Hearing to hear a Petition for And Any Objections to, the Vacation of a Portion of Placer Run."

Councilor Amarotico/Hearn m/s to approve Resolution #2005-10. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Jackson, Hartzell, Amarotico, Silbiger and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.

4.   Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing Signatures, including Facsimile Signatures, for Banking Services on Behalf of the City of Ashland."

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2005-11. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hearn, Jackson, Silbiger, Hardesty and Amarotico, YES. Motion passed.

1.   House Bill 2445 and Senate Bill 359 regarding mandatory fluoridation.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve the attached letters for signature by Mayor Morrison and sent to Salem regarding House Bill 2025 and Senate Bill 539 on mandatory fluoridation. Voice Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Silbiger and Hearn, YES. Councilor Jackson, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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