Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Continued Meeting

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

July 20, 2005 - 12:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Council Chair Kate Jackson called the meeting to order at 12:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Morrison was absent.
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.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley and Division Chief Margueritte Hickman presented the Staff Report to the Council. Ms. Hickman clarified that in 2004, 10% of the building fees were used to cover the fire protection plans review, however the proposed resolution increases that amount to 24%. She also clarified that the resolution proposes no changes to the fire hydraft flow test.

Councilor Amarotico/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2005-30. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Amarotico, Jackson and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.

2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Updating the Forest Lands Commission Membership, Quorum, Powers and Duties and Repealing Resolution 96-21."
Fire Chief Keith Woodley explained that at their annual goal setting and planning meeting, the Forest Lands Commission reviewed the resolution establishing their duties, powers, quorum and membership and are recommending the following revisions:

Section 1: Delete the requirement that one member of the commission be a owner of forest management lands.

Mr. Woodley explained that the commission preferred to have this restriction removed so that they could draft a member from the community who may not live within forest lands, but had the technical expertise that would be a benefit to the commission.

Section 2: Add the language "without notice", so the amended phrase would read "Any Commissioner who is absent from four or more meetings without notice in a one-year period shall be considered no longer active and the position vacant, and a new person shall be appointed to fill the vacancy."

Section 4: Remove the word 'management' from the term "Ashland Forest Management Plan".

In terms of consistency, it was questioned why the Forest Lands Commission resolution listed the Council member assigned to the commission as an ex-officio member instead of a Council liaison. Mr. Woodley explained that it was listed this way when the Council adopted the original resolution. Suggestion was made to remove "a member of the City Council" from the list of ex-officio voting members listed in Section 1, and add a sentence at the end that states "a member of the City Council shall serve as a non-voting liaison."

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-31 with the modification that the council position be added as a non-voting liaison of the committee. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.

1. Request by Councilors Cate Hartzell and Jack Hardesty regarding Proposed Resolution for Follow-up to Mount Ashland Expansion Activities.
It was noted that the Council had made a motion at their previous meeting to ask the City's Legal Staff to look at the items presented for Mt. Ashland Expansion and bring back options regarding the lease. The Council was unable to take public comment at that meeting and will allow those who signed up to provide their testimony at this time.

Michael Dawkins/646 East Main St/Submitted a proposal to the Council. He explained that his father was a developer of Mr. Ashland and stated that he brought a unique perspective to this issue. Mr. Dawkins expressed his concern that the skiing and snowboarding industry would decline and stated that small ski areas like Mt. Ashland were situated well to keep on going as long as they stayed lean and mean. He also expressed his concerns regarding global warming and peak oil. Mr. Dawkins requested that the expansion meet all of the items put forward in the proposal, and stated that the proposal was not saying to stop the expansion, it was just putting forward actions that need to be followed before expansion can start.

Jeff Hanson/13880 Hwy 66/Stated that Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) takes their relationship with the City very seriously and welcomed public comments made to the City, the Forest Service or MAA. On the other hand, he stated that because they have a lease establishing a legal relationship with the City, MAA viewed it as inappropriate for comments to be made in the form of a Council resolution. He noted that they are working with Staff in a cooperative way on baseline monitoring projects and noted that compliance with federal and state law is mandated. Mr. Hanson stated that MAA will continue to act responsibly and intends to exceed the environmental standards implied in the proposed resolution.

Kindler Stout/130 Orange Ave/Questioned why the previous City Council did not require the Mt. Ashland Association to apply for the expansion alternative that left the wetlands that fed Reeder Reservoir intact. He stated the he believes the Council is intending to provide for lost water by purchasing water from the northern part of the county and mentioned the TAP intertie. Mr. Stout noted language used in the Charter Review Committee's report which referred to water being used as a "primary commodity" and requested that the Council propose language to the voters that makes it clear that water is not viewed as a commodity at all.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith Ave/Voiced his support for the proposed resolution. Mr. Navickas noted the consistent problems with sedimentation in the reservoir and stated that he did not believe more ski runs could be added without having a negative Effect. He spoke regarding the power cable expansion that was pushed into the winter season and stated that eventually equipment had to be removed with a bull dozer and that mitigation should have been done. Mr. Navickas spoke regarding the waste treatment facility and displayed photos of the collapsing wall. He stated that the proposed resolution would give the City a tool for addressing these issues and encouraged the Council to pass the resolution.

Angelika Thusius/897 Beach St/Stated that the middle fork of the watershed was a delicate, but balanced ecosystem that needs to be protected. Ms. Thusius stated that Expansion 6 would involve clear cutting and stated that these trees would not be able to be restored. She noted that the NW Forest Plan states that mitigation or planned restoration should not be used as a substitute for preventing habitat degradation. She stated that the City has the power to avoid a potentially gigantic liability risk and stated that the City was not obligated to implement Expansion 6. Ms. Thusius voiced her support for the resolution and suggested that the City ask that the Forest Service to review the Community Alternative in its entirety.

Darwin Thusius/897 Beach St/Questioned if the Mt. Ashland Association had considered the threat of global warming to their expansion plans and questioned if they had considered the current trend away from the traditional ski resort experience in favor of wilderness and ecologically friendly activities. Mr. Thusius suggested that MAA explore the creation of a niche market based on the resources at hand, and stated that a more conservative approach would be preferred.

Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer/Clarified that it was not necessary to speculate on the affects of global warming or the viability of the long term ski area market to accept the proposals in the resolution. He stated that all that was necessary was to look at the City's financial liability. Mr. Copeland stated that the City was the special permit holder, not MAA, and stated that the City would be the ones responsible for restoration if the ski area closed. He suggested that the Council ask the Legal Staff to look at the implications of the special permit being held by the City, and requested that the City protect the tax payers in a reasonable way.

2. Discussion regarding Instant Runoff Voting.
Colin Swales/461 Allison St/Submitted written statement urging the Council to place IRV on the November ballot.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Rd/Spoke regarding the history initiative process and stated that widespread abuse of the process has made it increasingly difficult for earnest citizens with worthy initiatives to obtain the needed signatures. Ms. Vavra stated that proponents of IRV began working on this back in 2003, and for the past year they have been working with the Charter Review Committee and waiting to see if the IRV legislation sponsored by Peter Buckley would pass. She stated that IRV legislation died in committee, however the City has the right to adopt IRV; it just cannot compel the state or the county to process rank choice ballots. She stated that for IRV to be implemented prior to the county getting the necessary software, Ashland might have to conduct its own elections. Ms. Vavra added that the proposed charter amendment would permit the Council to suspend the implementation. Ms. Vavra noted the citizen's support of IRV and requested that the Council honor her request and bring this issue to a vote of the people.

Shaktari Leslie Belew/345 Alta/Voiced her support for IRV and questioned why the Council would not go ahead and let the people vote on it.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Stated that the Council was being asked to place an already-filed initiative on the ballot and stated that these were uncharted water. He requested clarification from the Council on the following three questions:

1. When does Council put a filed initiative on the ballot without public hearings on the merits?
2. When does Council put a filed initiative on the ballot with discussion, but without a recommendation?
3. For what reasons would Council decline to put something on the ballot, with or without hearings and discussion on merits?

Council briefly discussed whether they wanted to honor Ms. Vavra's request and place the charter amendment on the ballot. Comment was made that the Council would be able to discuss this further during the upcoming Charter Review. Additional comment was made that at current time, this provision would violate State law and it was noted that adopting this voting system could have a budgetary impact on the City. Suggestion was made for Ms. Vavra and the other supporters to continue to work with the City Council during the Charter Review process and see if they can work something out.

Council reached consensus to take no take action on this item.

ADJOURNMENT: Meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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