Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, January 02, 2001

January 2, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

City Councilors Don Laws, Cate Hartzell, and John Morrison: terms expire December 31, 2004. Mayor Alan DeBoer: term expires December 31, 2004. Parks Commissioners JoAnne Eggers and Jim Lewis: terms expire December 31, 2004.
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine were present.
Mayor DeBoer thanked the City of Ashland staff for their hard work. DeBoer reviewed the challenges he sees for the upcoming year, including the library and fire station expansions, highway issues, sewage treatment plant, public transit, recycling, and forest protection. He concluded by stating he looked forward to working with the council.
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 19, 2000 were approved as presented.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointments to the Airport Commission, with terms of expiration listed, are H. Lincoln Zeve (April 30, 2001) and Brent Thompson (April 30, 2002).
3. Confirmation of Mayor's reappointments to the Building Appeals Board of incumbents for three-year staggered terms (as indicated), are Darrel R. Jarvis (December 31, 2001), Tom Giordano and Darrell Boldt (December 31, 2002), and Carol Horn Davis and Dale Shostrom (December 31, 2003).
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Spoke regarding the library and stated that he felt the last council had pushed forward the project without giving the public the opportunity for discussion. He noted that the trunk of the Gingko tree does not sit within the footprint of the current building proposal. Due to placement of parking at the rear of the building, construction was pushed forward, encroaching on the tree. By pushing the building back five feet, and changing the parking from head-in to parallel parking, the tree could be saved. This minimal change would lose only one parking space. Another option is to move the back service section from the back of the new building to the area planned for destruction at the back of the existing library. This will keep the tree and the head-in parking. He asked the council to hold an outside meeting to discuss these options.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Spoke regarding the legislative session. Oregon is prohibited from charging System Development Charges for increased police and fire service, as well as school facilities due to new construction of houses, apartments and condominiums. Consequently in order to fund the services, the city has to pass bond issues, which raise taxes and rents, making Ashland less affordable for many people. He urged the council members to testify at state legislature committee meetings. Thompson also noted that he felt Measure 7 creates chaos and goes against case laws, and that it should be put back on the ballot, giving voters the opportunity to repeal.
1. Update on status of Ashland Public Library.
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained, that at the last council meeting, the council directed staff to continue to negotiate with the low bidder (2G Construction), to sign a contract provided that scope changes were included and that the bid remains under budget. 2G extended the bid to January 10, 2001, as well as holding the bid price plus any negotiated bid amounts. A consultant was hired to review the proposed modifications, along with the contractor and the architects, to determine if there is any additional savings potential in the project. The consultant is also reviewing the contract that will be developed with 2G. Staff met with potential project managers. Current negotiated savings are approximately $590,000 which is nearer the target of $700,000. Difficulties meeting during the holidays with 2G and SERA architects were experienced. A negotiating session is planned for the upcoming week. Scoles clarified that the consultant will review proposed modifications and help in the development of the contract. The city needs a consultant to protect its interests, and depending on his expertise, reliance upon the architects may not be needed. It is not necessary for the consultant to be an engineer. The consultant will need to follow the entire project. Scoles explained that design changes would involve additional expenses.
Reid voiced her concern with the statement made by Navickas, that attempting to answer questions without the architects present, is difficult. Fine agreed, adding that changing the shape or size of the library may cause increase in staffing for the library.
Scoles clarified for the council that a redesign of the entry was considered from the beginning, but that the grade of the site made construction difficult. Scoles explained that his objective is to keep within the budget as set by the bond measure.
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.
Reid requested that the Sustainable Housing issue be moved to an upcoming council meeting. This issue will be brought to a regular council meeting in March, along with a staff report, and then scheduled for a council study session.
2.  Council Election of Chair to City Council.
Laws nominated Councilor Reid as council chair. Morrison nominated Councilor Fine, but withdrew in favor of Reid. Council unanimously voted for Reid as council chair.
3.  Mayor's appointments of Council liaisons to various boards and commissions.
DeBoer read the list of council liaison appointments, noting that the liaison for the Forest Lands Commission had been changed from Cate Hartzell to John Morrison.
Councilors Laws/Hartzell m/s to approve the liaison appointments. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
4.  Election of Citizens' Budget Committee members (3).
The following citizens applied for the positions: Chris Hearn, Mary Ruth Wooding, Russ Silbiger, Sid Field, David Dotterrer, James Watkins, Donald Montgomery, and James Teece.
Reid/Hanson nominated Chris Hearn; Hartzell/Reid nominated for reappointment David Williams; DeBoer/Fine nominated Russ Silbiger; Hartzell nominated Mary Ruth Wooding, and Morrison nominated Sid Field.
The council agreed to bring Hearn, Williams, Silbiger, Wooding and Field forward for a vote by each councilor of three of these individuals.
Council vote result: David Williams, 5; Chris Hearn, 5; Mary Ruth Wooding, 1; Russ Silbiger, 6; and Sid Field, 1.
Reid/Morrison m/s to appoint David Williams for a 2-year term; Russ Silbiger and Chris Hearn for 3-year terms. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

5.  Request to Terminate a Public Pedestrian Easement on Lots #17 and 18 and accept a Public Pedestrian easement on Lot #14, Lithia Creek Estates Subdivision.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained that the pedestrian easement is part of an extensive public and private trail system beginning at Grandview Street and ending at the Lithia Creek Estates Subdivision. The trail has been used for recreational purposes for more than thirty years, and, except for the last 300+/- feet, the path follows along the Talent Irrigation Ditch. During the preliminary development stages of the Lithia Creek Estates Subdivision, staff was notified by trail-users that a portion of the trail would be severed once home construction began. The developer gifted a 6' wide public pedestrian easement along the eastern and southern boundary of lots 17 and 18. When lot 18 was sold and home construction began, the property owner was made aware of the existing easement by city staff.
McLaughlin reported that the title company did not report the easement on the Preliminary Title Report and is assuming all costs associated with the easement’s relocation and trail improvements. The original goal in the acquisition of this easement was to ensure that future opportunities for public access would be made available. Without the public acquisition of an easement through Lithia Creek Estates, there will be no access to this future trail system from a public right-of-way at the south end.
Staff believes that the proposed easement location at lot 14 would be better for trail-users than the existing easement location at lot 18. However, should the council decide that the new location is not as beneficial to the city as the existing easement, action requires not vacating the existing easement and not accepting the proposed easement. Staff believes that it is essential to plan for this important public right-of-way although the trail may not be used for some time.
Staff recommends accepting the public pedestrian easement on Lot 14 and the termination of the public pedestrian easement on lots 17 and 18 with the following conditions: 1) all conditions imposed are met prior to the termination of the public pedestrian easement on lots 17 and 18; 2) with the construction of the path on Lot 14, the applicant shall install a sign near Kennedy’s property stating: "No Trespassing" and 3) prior to construction of the stairs, the applicant shall obtain a permit from the Ashland Public Works and Building Department.
Kip Lombard/622 Siskiyou Blvd/Representing applicant’s Carroll & Michelle Lewis/He explained that the applicants were not aware of the easement. A copy of the Preliminary Title Report was presented proving that the easement was not disclosed and that the recording of the easement was not recorded at the time of the title report. Photos were presented showing the slope and proximity of the trail between the two houses. Michelle Lewis stated that no monetary compensation had been received and that statements made by others to the contrary is false.
Susan Powell/180 Nutley/Noted the importance of easements for the trail system. She is not in favor of removing trails.
Barry Pecham/46 Granite #8/Is in favor of continued construction of the trail system and noted the amount of use of the trails by the community.
Ben Benjamin/323 Maple/Proposed constructing 8-10 foot walls on either side of Lot 17 & 18 to shield property owners.
Andrew McDermott/300 Wimer/Requested the council to consider long-term access to the trail system.
Judith Foltz/406 So. Riverside, Medford/Representing John & Suzan Early, property owners in escrow for lot 18. She noted that the easement is six feet wide, greatly infringing on the property owner's privacy.
Chris Hearn/350 Wimer/Noted his involvement of this subdivision. He explained that the trail follows the historic Talent Irrigation Ditch, which irrigates the orchards, and has been used for 50+ years. Preservation of the ambiance of the existing trails is more important than the construction of new trails, except where a trail might need to be rerouted to a more agreeable position on a property. He noted possible litigation should someone be injured on an individual landowner's property. The property owners of Lot 15 are personal friends of his, and he understands that they would be adversely affected by the trail system, but he supports the creation of continuous trail access for future Ashland generations.
Sue DeMarinis/240 Strawberry Lane/Shared the positive experiences she has had with trail-users. She understood the property owner's concerns, and noted that with the right landscaping many of the concerns could be addressed. She supports moving the trail to Lot 14 and compromising with the Kennedy property owners. DeMarinis suggested building the connection now, including a gate notifying trail-users, as well as making future buyers of Lot 14 aware of the trail.
Lincoln Zeve/555 Ashland Creek Drive/Noted that he is a current property owner in the subdivision and had enjoyed using the trail before access was denied. Zeve asked the council to allow citizens the use of the trail.
Treg Scott/95 Scenic Drive/Offered easement through his property in order to continue the trail system. Scott hoped that Kennedy's will allow access to the trail system.
Margie McKinsey/122 Bush Street/Explained her misunderstanding that the trail was not a public easement. She was not aware that private property owners were allowing public access. McKinsey supports moving the trail to Lot 14.
Roger Ledbetter/112 Nutley/Feels that the trail system is an asset to the community and supported moving the easement to Lot 14. He felt that, by building the steps now, would give future property owners peace of mind.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/DeBoer read comment submitted by Thompson: That a trail, beginning at the end of a cul de sac, is the most convenient because people notice trail heads at that location most.
David Burns/676 Ashland Creek/Voiced his opposition for moving the easement from Lot 18 to Lot 14. Moving the easement would cause a dead-end at the Kennedy property where the "No Trespassing" sign is posted. This would entice trail-users to forge their own path through the Kennedy property. Vandalism will escalate. The terrain is more difficult, and he is concerned for the safety of the public.
McLaughlin explained that the side area setbacks are six feet, rear yards are ten feet per story. He clarified that the trail and irrigation ditch goes through the Kennedy property, but it is not dedicated for public use. Nolte explained that the property is used by the permission of the owner. A possible claim, for the prescriptive use by the public, could be taken to court establishing the trail as a permanent public easement. As of now, it has not been made prescriptive. McLaughlin noted that a public easement exists across the back of Lots 16, 17, and 18 at the property line. He noted that staff has always been in favor of placement on Lot 14. McLaughlin understands that some trail users are under the impression that the trail is public property and have been conflictive. Many options have been explored, and none are agreeable to the property owners. In addition, the slope of the trail is very steep at Lot 18 and 19.
Nolte clarified that there is no liability under Measure 7, because it speaks to regulations imposed by the city on the property.
McLaughlin clarified that the owner of Lot 13 is not willing to have an easement on that property. In addition, the map handed to the council is not entirely accurate, as there has been a lot-line adjustment between Lots 13 and 14, increasing Lot 14.
Reid felt it is important to keep the connectivity and trail system alive and supported moving the trail system to Lot 14.
DeBoer suggested that the council take no action at this meeting, but to bring it back to the council in two weeks. He stated that, before the next meeting, he would meet with Mr. Burns, Mr./Mrs Kennedy, Mr./Mrs Lewis, and the developer to negotiate a solution. McLaughlin offered to take the councilors on a tour of the trail. The council agreed to postpone the action.
1.  Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing Signatures, Including Facsimile Signatures, for Banking Services on behalf of the City of Ashland."
Councilors Fine/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2001-01. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
Council discussed and set a tentative date of February 10, 2001, for the Strategic Planning process.
DeBoer read a letter of feasibility from Rogue Valley Council of Governments requesting a three-meeting commitment from the council.
A tour of the sewage treatment plant is planned for the new council and mayor on January 11, 2001, at 3:00 p.m.
Council discussed setting January 18, 2001, as the first meeting of the Budget Committee.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

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