Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)


Tuesday, July 19, 2005



July 19, 2005

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street



Council Chair Kate Jackson called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m.



Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Morrison was absent.



The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 21, 2005 were approved as presented.



Electric Director Dick Wanderschied offered an explanation of the “Power Shift” program, and an award for the program was presented to the City of Ashland by the Bonneville Power Administration.


Presentation by Charter Review Committee and Final Report to City Council.

Members of the Committee John Enders, Carole Wheeldon, Laurie MacGraw, Pam Marsh, Don Montgomery, Michael Riedeman, Hal Cloer and Staff Liaison Ann Seltzer presented the committee’s final report to the council.


Co-Chair Enders briefly explained the amount of time and work that went into the final report.  He stated that the committee had ten recommendations for the Council to consider for ballot placement; the report listed items contained in the current Charter that the committee has agreed should be removed, and stated that the committee has recommended further study into two areas. Mr. Enders requested that the council dissolve the committee upon the completion of their report.


Committee Member Pam Marsh noted the areas that the commission focused on, which included “house keeping” issues.  These issues included: Mayor-manager relationship, Mayoral veto/ability to vote on council issues, appointment of city commission/committees, election of city council positions, election of city recorder, election of municipal judge, election/power of the Parks Commission and related issues, and City and council salaries.


The key recommendations from the commission are as follows:


1)      That the City of Ashland should be governed by a partnership between the elected mayor (the political leader), a city manager (the administrative leader), and the council (the legislative body).  The commission felt that the elected officials are charged with responsibility for developing policy and the city manager should implement that policy.  The manager’s administrative power should be expanded to include staff supervision (hiring, firing and general accountability).

2)      The Ashland Mayor should vote on all issues before the council; at the same time, the mayor’s veto power should be eliminated.  If approved, the mayoral vote will eliminate an anomaly in the existing charter.  Under current conditions, the council is allowed to meet if three members plus the mayor are present.  In this circumstance, as few as two council members can constitute a majority.  If the mayor becomes a voting member, at least three votes will be required to approve any measure.

3)      The current position for selecting council members should be eliminated in favor of citywide, at-large elections in which the top three vote getters win the council seats at issue

4)      The Ashland City Band should be retained in the charter; however funding language should be removed and budget issues delegated to the Citizen’s Budget Committee.  The commission recommended that the Band be placed under the authority of the Parks and Recreation Department.

5)      The city council should convene a citizen-based Charter Review Commission at least every 10 years. 


Committee Member Carole Wheeldon spoke regarding charter clean-up and explained that there are numerous items in the current Charter that are superseded by State law and can be removed.  She stated that retaining the language would have no bearing on the Charter and clutters the document with unnecessary language.


Ms. Wheeldon presented the following examples of clean-up items:


1)      Article IV Section 2 – Duties of the Mayor

2)      Article VI Section 2 – Powers and duties of Recorder

3)      Article IX – Special powers of the council

4)      Article XIV Section 2 – Monthly report of the court to city council


Committee Member Michael Riedeman presented the items recommended for additional study, which are: 1) Judge and Recorder, and 2) Public Utilities (water language), Hospital and Cemetery. 


Mr. Riedeman noted the concerns regarding the Recorder’s treasury duties and also the lack of mandatory qualifications for this position.  In regards to the Municipal Judge, the concerns were regarding the salary for this position. 


The committee also recommended that the Council further study and clarify the language in Article XVI, Section 2 regarding the Water Works provision.  Concerns regarding the current language were brought to the attention of the committee and it was noted that the City Attorney had prepared alternative language for the Council to consider.  It was noted that the committee did feel they had adequate time to review and understand the particulars and that the language associated with the selling of water would be best handled by the Council.


In regards to the Hospital and Cemetery provisions, the committee felt it was important to include a reference to these items; however they did not have a full understanding of the relationships as they exist today and felt it appropriate for the Council to addresses these two provisions.


Committee Member Don Montgomery presented the suggested next steps for the council:


1)                  Voter awareness campaign (first priority)

2)                  Ballot language

3)                  Additional research committees

4)                  Develop timeline


He made several suggestions on how to engage voter awareness, noted the need to work with consultant to draft the charter language, noted the need for a timeline, and invited the Council to seek the committee members for help or advice.


Mr. Enders concluded the presentation by giving thanks to City staff.


Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Distributed the newspaper to the Council.  Mr. Bullock explained the organization’s goal and stated that their work has been a parallel process to the Charter Review Committee.  He noted the number of people involved and the variety of activities they had organized, including dialogue sessions, conversation cafes, and support surveys.  Mr. Bullock stated that the result of this process has produced five specific amendments that should be added to the current Charter:

1) Articulate seven core values guiding city government,
2) Establish an Ashland Code of Ethics for public servants,
3) Revamp the public forum process,
4) Public interest vote, the purpose of which is to give a voice to the “silent majority”, and

5) Process of condemnation of private property and LIDs


Mr. Bullock requested time at an upcoming meeting to present these five draft amendments and to present the results of the survey regarding the charter committee’s recommendations.  He also noted that his organization had studied the water rights issue and their results are listed on their website and in the paper distributed to the Council.


Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Spoke regarding her high regard to the committee members and staff for their work in this process.  Ms. Vavra requested the need for clearly specified criteria on which to base decisions on which items should be considered, how they would be prioritized and how to decide on which ones to place on the ballot.  She stated that this criteria was lacking from the committee’s process and hoped that the council incorporated it into theirs.


Council voiced their appreciation of the committee.  When asked why the committee did not recommend IRV to the Council, Mr. Enders explained that the committee did not have consensus on this issue and did not have enough information to feel comfortable making this recommendation to the Council.  Mr. Riedeman added that, in general, the committee found the idea of IRV intriguing, however there were certain concerns including the conflict with state law and budgetary implications that prohibited the committee from making this recommendation. 


Mr. Enders requested that the committee be disbanded.  Request was made by to postpone the formal disbandment of the committee until the Mayor is present, and suggestion was made to take formal action at an upcoming Study Session.


Councilor Amarotico requested that the Endangered Species Pledge be postponed until the next agenda and council agreed.



1.      Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.

2.      Liquor License Application from Susan Powell dba Pilaf Restaurant at 18 Calle Guanajuato.

3.      Annual Approval of Renewals on Liquor Licenses.

4.      Bid Award for Replacement Ambulance.

5.      Authorization to dispose of surplus property in excess of $10,000 for two fire engines.

6.      Request for an easement for a Residential Gas Service across Parks Property.

7.      Approval of a Personal Services Contract for Police Consultant Services.

8.      Agreement for Services with Rogue Valley Public Television.

9.      Confirmation of Mayor’s appointments to the Ashland Fiber Network Options Committee.

10.  Confirmation of Mayor’s appointment of James Olney to the Ashland Fiber Network Programming Committee for a term to expire April 30, 2007.

11.  Confirmation of Mayor’s appointment of David Chapman as council liaison to the Bear Creek Greenway Committee.

12.  Confirmation of Mayor’s appointment of Christina Lacy to the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2006.


Councilor Amarotico requested that Consent Agenda item #3 be removed for discussion and Councilor Hartzell requested that Consent Agenda item #9 be removed for discussion.


Councilor Hardesty/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, #2, #4, #5, #6, #8, #10, #11, and #12. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve allowing Councilor Amarotico to abstain from Consent Agenda item #3 due to conflict of interest. Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed.


Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. DISCUSSION: City Recorder Barbara Christensen briefly explained the process used for approving Liquor Licenses. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Councilor Jackson noted that one of the six candidates selected by the Mayor has asked to be removed, so the item before the council is to confirm the remaining five candidates to the AFN Options Committee.  Councilor Hartzell requested postponing this item until she has had time to consult with the Mayor and stated that she was not comfortable with the make-up of the committee.  Councilor Jackson provided an explanation of how the Mayor came to this selection of members.  Comment was made noting that originally, there were only suppose to be five members on the committee and support was voiced for moving ahead with the appointment.      


Former Mayor Catherine Shaw addressed the Council and stated that it is the job of the Mayor to appointment committee members, and if a councilor does not agree with his selection, they should vote no.


Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #9. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell responded to Ms. Shaw’s remarks and stated that she was not willing to support the proposed committee.  It was suggested that Councilor Hartzell speak to the Mayor about appointing a sixth member to the committee.  Support was voiced for allowing the Mayor to appoint one more person if he so chooses.  Voice Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Silbiger, Jackson, Chapman, YES; Councilor Hartzell and Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 4-2.


Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #7. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.



1.   Continuation of Public Hearing of Planning Action 2005-008 – Annexation, Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map change from Jackson County zoning RR-5 (Rural Residential) to City of Ashland Zoning E-1 (Employment) for an approximately 1.6 acre parcel located at 593 Crowson Road. The portion of the parcel adjacent to Crowson Road is proposed in the Residential Overlay (R-Overlay) that allows a residential component and in the Detail Site Review Zone which requires additional building design features.


Public Hearing Re-Opened: 8:38 p.m.


Senior Planner Maria Harris addressed the Council and noted that the applicant and the neighbor who had voiced objection at the last hearing had come to an agreement.  Ms. Harris noted the two additional conditions recommended by Staff and requested that the Council include these if they choose to approve the application.


Alan Harper/717 Murphy Rd, Medford/Attorney for the Application/Stated that after extensive negotiations between the applicant and the Bustamante’s, they were able to come to an agreement and submitted into the record the statement from the Bustamante’s, withdrawing their objection to the annexation.  Mr. Harper provided a brief explanation of the elements in the agreement. 


Cody Bustamante/Voiced his support for the agreement reached.


It was noted that the agreement had not yet been submitted to Staff and questioned if it would become part of the record for this Planning Action.  Mr. Harper stated that he had no objections to providing this to Staff.


Public Hearing Closed:  8:41 p.m.


Continued Council Deliberation

Comment was made that the Council was not required to approve an annexation just because it meets the criteria; however support was voiced for this approval.


Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve the application for Annexation, Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map change in PA 2005-008 with the three attached conditions recommended by the Planning Commission on March 8, 2005; Condition #4 and #5 as stated in the Council Memo; Condition #6 be compliance with the agreement that was presented by the applicant tonight. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


2.      Public Hearing re Adoption of “A Resolution Levying Special Benefit Assessments in the amount of $415,847.98 for the Strawberry Local Improvement District for Improvements to Strawberry Lane, Scenic Drive, Nutley Street, Alnutt Street and Westwood Street consisting of Paving, Curbs, Gutters, Storm Drains, Sidewalk, and Associated Improvements.”


City Engineer Jim Olson explained that the purpose of this public hearing was to hear any objections in regards to the formation and final assessment of the Strawberry Local Improvement District.  Mr. Olson presented a brief background regarding this LID and noted that the development of the Strawberry Meadows Subvision and aided in this project. 


Mr. Olson presented the one comment that was submitted by Linda and Barry Katzen voicing objection.  He noted their concerns and explained his prepared response, which is included with the Council Memo.


Public Hearing Open: 9:03 p.m.

Public Hearing Closed: 9:03 p.m.


Councilor Chapman/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-29.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger, Jackson, Chapman and Amarotico, YES.  Councilor Hardesty, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.



Daniel Rueff/240 Ohio Street/Noted that he had organized a rally in support of Police Chief Mike Bianca and stated that Mr. Bianca was the best Chief of Police the City ever had. Mr. Rueff stated that a police officer tried to hit him with a police car during a peace rally, and stated that he would continue to fight for Police Chief Bianca.


Albert Pepe/321 Clay Street #21/Spoke regarding continued development of open space and annexation of large parcels of land into the city for development.  Mr. Pepe stated that he moved to Ashland because of its community feel and that the City will lose that by annexing large parcels of land. He noted the division of class lines and stated that it is getting very difficult for families to afford to live here.  Mr. Pepe requested that the 10 acre parcel located on Clay Street remain open space.   


Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Requested that the council pass a resolution to place the IRV proposed charter amendment on the ballot.  Ms. Vavra clarified that they are not being asked to support IRV, only to place it on the ballot and let the voters decide.  She noted that the Charter Review Committee received more comments on the need for IRV than comment received on all other issues combined, and requested the Council’s help to place this issue on the ballot.


Catherine Shaw/886 Oak Street/Expressed support of placing the IRV on the ballot.  She stated this was not about putting policy to a vote of the people, but was simply about putting to the vote how policy makers would be elected.  Ms. Shaw asked the Council to allow the proponents of IRV to present their case to the voters and to let the voters decide if this is something they support.


Marilu Johnson/1102 Holton Rd, Talent/Expressed her support for IRV and read an article which supports alternative methods for electing candidates.


Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to have a discussion on IRV under Unfinished Business.  DISCUSSION: Objection was voiced to placing this under Unfinished Business, which would place it in front of other items already on the Agenda.


Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell amended motion to place the discussion on IRV under Other Business from Council Members.  Voice Vote: all AYES.


Voice Vote on amended motion: All AYES.


Bruce Davis/4120 Douglas Blvd #306, Granite Bay, CA/Representing the LLC that owns Siskiyou Village, stated that the Crowson Road Business Park has created a conflict.  Mr. Davis provided a brief explanation of his issue and noted that he had submitted a letter to the developer of the project requesting that they split some of the costs.


Council questioned if this issue should have been voiced during the public hearing.  City Administrator Gino Grimaldi stated that Staff would work with Mr. Davis and report back to the Council.





1.      Adoption of Findings and Fact and Conclusions of Law for Planning Action 2004-150 – Unitarian Universal Fellowship Church – 87 Fourth Street.

Councilor Silbiger requested two modifications to the Findings:


Section 2.3 - Amend sentence to read “The Council finds that the addition of five spaces is an improvement in the non-conforming parking situation given that the sanctuary will not be expanded.”  (and delete the remainder of the sentence “...and services and secondary church activities will remain at the same level as current services and activities”)


Section 2.6 - Amend sentence to read “Since the social hall addition will not result in a change in the size of the sanctuary, the material effect on the surrounding neighborhood should remain similar to current levels.”


Comment was made regarding the language in the Findings pertaining to the sanctuary being the equivalent of nine houses.  It was clarified that this language was used in the applicant’s materials as well as the Staff Report; in addition, the Conditional Use Criteria requires that the proposed use be compared to the target use.


Assistant City Attorney Mike Reeder clarified for the Council that the Findings were prepared by the Planning Staff, and reviewed and edited by the Legal Department.   City Attorney Mike Franell stated that he did not feel the conditions would be confusing for future councils, but suggested that at some point in the future the applicant may come back and apply to have the conditions changed or removed because they are so restrictive.


Councilor Amarotico/Silbiger m/s to approve Findings for PA 2004-150 with proposed amendments by Councilor Silbiger.  


Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to allow Councilor Chapman to abstain. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Voice Vote on original motion: all AYES. Motion passed.


2.      Discussion of Electric Rate Increase.

Electric Director Dick Wanderschied explained that the city has a 10-year Power Sales contract with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), and stated that this contract runs from October 2001 through September 2001.  The first five years of the contract included a 5-year rate period of which the final year commences on October 1, 2005.


Mr. Wanderschied explained that in the budget, the city estimated that the whole sale power cost would go up by about 3.3% and Staff included a 5% rate increase and a 10% reduction in the BPA surcharges as part of the budget.  It was noted that this issue came before the Council at their June 7th meeting, but was pulled from the Agenda with the Council request to look at an AFN subsidy that was outside of the electric rates.  In addition, a recent court ruling was noted in which could increase Bonneville’s costs by approximately $70 million dollars a year.  BPA has appealed that ruling and should find out whether the ruling will be overturned in the next week.


Given the situation, Staff recommended that the City postpone the electric rate increase and leave the rates at their current level until the BPA informs the City of the CRAC levels for October 2005.  Once the City has been given this information, Staff will return to council with an appropriate electric rate increase.  Mr. Wanderschied noted the Council’s two options, which are outlined in the memo, and stated that the main disadvantage to having no increase, is that it will affect the General Fund by roughly $90,000.  He again stated that Staff believed it would be most appropriate to leave rates as they are until more information from BPA is received.


Finance Director Lee Tuneberg stated that he supports postponing the rate increase at this time and waiting for more information.  He stated that it may not have end up having an impact on the budget, but would like to have the opportunity to come back later in the year and proposed a rate increase if they see a change in the costs. 


Council agreed to Staff’s recommendation to hold off on the rate increase and to bring this issue back to the Council in the fall.

3.      Council Consideration of Citizen Request for Council to call up Planning Action no. 2005-00328 on Appeal.

City Attorney Mike Franell presented the Staff Memo and stated that this was before the council upon request from a citizen.  He explained that the Council could only call up an action within 15 days of the findings being adopted and mailed, and stated that if the Council wished to take action they would need to do so tonight.


Mr. Franell provided an explanation of the issues raised by Mr. Swales, one of which being whether Commissioner KenCairn had an actual conflict of interest in Planning Action 2005-00328.  Mr. Franell stated that KenCairn did declare a potential conflict of interest at the hearing.  He noted Ms. Kencairn served as the Landscape Architect when the initial building was constructed, but that this portion of the landscape was installed over a year ago and the Legal Staff did not feel that this created a direct conflict of interest.


Mr. Franell noted that concern has been raised regarding KenCairn’s contractual relationship with Archerd & Dresner and whether or not this presented an actual conflict of interest given that they list her as a team member on their website.  Mr. Franell stated that Legal did not find that this was an actual conflict, and explained that it would only have be an actual conflict if she were the Landscape Architect on the application being presented to the commission.  Mr. Franell clarified that in these situations, the potential conflict needs to be declared at the hearing, but if no one challenges her ability to make an unbiased decision, that defect is waived.  In this instance, there was no challenge to her ability to make an unbiased decision.


Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Mr. Franell noted the interpretation regarding the definition of a motel.  He stated that the Hearings Board decided that the application met the definition of a motel, however it was an interpretation and the council does have the option to call this issue up due to the policy implications. 


Mr. Franell clarified that a citizen has the right to request that a hearing be moved from the Hearings Board to the Planning Commission, but Staff is not required to accommodate their request.  In this instance, Staff reviewed the potential implications and determined that given the work load that the planning commission had, they did not feel they could move this to the Planning Commission.


Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Stated the conflict of issues is just one part and noted the importance for the Hearings Boards process to be fair and equitable.  Mr. Swales noted a memo from Planning Department employee, indicating that it is common practice for commissioners to fill in for one another on the Hearings Board.  He stated that the powers & duties of the Hearings Board do not allow them to hear a CUP application on a new commercial building, and stated that half of this building was still unbuilt and stated that the Hearings Board should not have heard this application in the first place.  He added that the interpretation that a new condo could be turned into a motel with a conditional use permit had huge policy issues and ramifications. 


Kerry Kencairn/147 Central Avenue/Stated that she was at the Hearings Board because she felt she was clean.  She commented on the value of having planning commissioners that understand planning issues, and stated that the  reason she is on the Planning Commission is because she cares about this community and has an understanding of how projects are built and the ramifications of decisions.  She noted the amount of support she has received from the community, and stated that there are only two citizens who wish her to step down.  Ms. KenCairn stated that her volunteer position on the Planning Commission was a hard job and stated that she does not make more money because she is on the Planning Commission; she actually loses work because of it.  Stated that she did state her potential conflict for that planning action, and stated that she has and will continue to be clean in her process.


Mike Morris/720 S Mountain/Spoke in support of Kerry Kencairn and cited instances where Mr. Swales has been wrong.


Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Stated that the process being followed does not follow the law, and quoted a State statute regarding this, which states that the conflict must be declared in writing, it must sent to the appointing authority, which in this situation is the Mayor and the Council, it requires that the written document explain the conflict, and the appointing authority resolves the conflict. 


Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Stated the Council has an obligation to stop this process and to challenge what Ms. KenCairn has done.  He encouraged the council to reinforce what Mr. Swales has brought forward.


Gary Turner/108 N Second Street/Stated that the issue with the hotel was a matter of interpretation, but both staff and the hearings board agreed that it qualified as a motel.  Noted that the commissioner in question had already offered her explanation and stated that given the record it would be right for the council to exercise their discretion to take this matter up, but should let the citizen do so.


Randall Hopkins/Statement was submitted into the record and read aloud by the City Recorder.


Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s that the Council call up PA 2005-00328 on appeal. DISCUSSION:

Mr. Reeder clarified that currently the city code does not have any criteria for how an action gets placed before the Hearings Board rather than the Planning Commission, other than the limitations that are imposed on the Hearings Board in the code.  He stated that the Hearings Board did have the auhority to hear the Planning Action in question.  He added that currently, it is the discretion of the Planning Staff whether to move the action before the full commission.  Mr. Franell stated that there are many gray areas in our code and interpretations get made all the time.  He stated that just because there is an interpretation made, doesn’t mean it rises to the level of establishing policy.  He noted that the council is not bound by the the interpretations made by staff or the commission.  If the council sees something that they feel does not meet the intent of the Comp. Plan or the code, than it is incumbet upon them to make a change.

Voice Vote: Councilor Harzell, Silbiger, Jackson, Hardesty, and Chapman, YES; Amarotico, NO. Motion passed 5-1.


Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to ask Legal to look at the items presented to the council regarding Mt. Ashland Expansion and see what their options are for looking at the lease.   Voice Vote: all AYES.


Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to continue this meeting to tomorrow’s Study Session. Voice Vote all AYES. Motion passed.



1.      Reading by title only of “A Resolution Authorizing the Amendment of the Fire Protection Plans Review and Inspection Fee Schedule Adopted by Resolution 04-16.

Item postponed to the July 20th Continued Meeting.


2.      Reading by title only of “A Resolution Updating the Forest Lands Commission Membership, Quorum, Powers and Duties and Repealing Resolution 96-21.”

Item postponed to the July 20th Continued Meeting.




1.      Request by Councilors Cate Hartzell and Jack Hardesty regarding Proposed Resolution for Follow-up to Mount Ashland Expansion Activities.

Item postponed to the July 20th Continued Meeting.


2.      Discussion regarding Instant Runoff Voting.

Item postponed to the July 20th Continued Meeting.




Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder  

John W. Morrison, Mayor


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