MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 16, 2001 - 7:00 p.m
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order in the Civic Center Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.
ROLL CALL Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 2, 2001 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor presented retirement plaque to Captain Wes Eaton of Ashland Fire & Rescue.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees
2. Liquor License Application from Lawrence J. Brody, PC Market of Choice #11
3. Presentation of Audit Management Letter
4. Annual Review of City Burning Regulations
5. Consideration of an Equitable Servitude and Easement (ESE) for the former Reeder Pistol Range.
Councilor Fine requested that item #3 was pulled.
Councilors Fine/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1,2,4, and 5.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Fine noted that the auditor had recommended, and staff agreed, that the Audit Committee should receive quarterly financial statements, and, when they become available, the Public Contracting Reports. This information will better enable them to meet their responsibilities. City Administrator Greg Scoles verified that staff intends to provide this information, and that no formal action is required of the council.
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public input on the 2001/2002 Strategic Plan Goals/Priorities.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy/Noted his 24 years in the city, and his growing concern for the lack of affordable housing. He feels the supply is shrinking as the demand grows, and requested that both the council and the community recognize this situation and take it seriously. As an employer, he recognizes problems associated with finding affordable housing. Roth requested that council direct staff to study the issue to determine how many people work in the city and drive from other areas. In addition, he requested that council consider, through the budget process, funding the Community Land Trust with monies that could be used to save existing units targeted for other uses.
Reid noted she recently met with citizen Lisa Buck, Community Development Director John McLaughlin, and Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderschied concerning affordable and sustainable housing. She explained that two of the current city programs, Super Good Sense and Density Bonuses for Subdivisions, were discussed as items for strategic planning. Review, to make sure they are applicable and working to the future in ensuring sustainable and affordable housing, were suggested.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED
Fine noted his intention of circulating a paper in advance of the Strategic Planning session as he felt there are a number of issues being considered individually that could be considered globally. These issues have a common objective in preserving the city as a community of diversity, both economically and demographically. The council has various policies relating to transportation, affordable and sustainable housing, conservation of resources, and economic and job development. Fine suggested adding the reexamination of the City’s tax package, as tying all of these together would achieve a coherent goal.
Hartzell noted that the Strategic Planning session for the Housing Commission is January 27, and the intention is to bring these issues to the meeting. She requested copies of citizens’ responses to strategic planning, and encouraged other council members to attend meetings outside the normal committee/commission type meetings in order to obtain additional input. Hartzell feels it is important to get the information out on current priorities and goals of strategic planning, as well as obtaining feedback from the public.
Tamara Henderson/132 S. Mountain/Represented the Southern Oregon University Student Association, and gave an update of student activities. The SOUSA plans to focus on lobbying for additional funding this year. She noted a certification program would help with student housing issues.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Handed out copies of Resolution #79-51;A Resolution of the City of Ashland Relative to the Interim Management Plan Prepared by the U.S. Forest Service Concerning the Ashland Municipal Watershed; He highlighted sections of the plan, from Attachment A, for the council’s attention, noting concerns and recommendations related to fire management in the watershed. He voiced his desire for the council to fall back on the Interim Plan as adopted in 1979 and 1929, which phased out the relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and the City, and required that the Forest Service completed the plan without any timber removal. He feels this could be done with under-burning, and hand pile/burn methods. He noted available federal funds allocated for this type of fire management.
1. 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 stated that staff recommendations are to accept a public pedestrian easement on Lot 14 of Lithia Creek Estates subdivision, and once the easement is granted, vacate the easement located on Lots 17 and 18. The new easement on Lot 14 shall be of adequate width to allow for the development of a trail at least 20 feet away from the property lines of adjoining lots 15 and 16. He requested that the council direct the city administrator to sign all necessary documents to complete the relocation. In addition, the applicant will deposit, with the city, a sum equal to the estimated materials and construction costs for the development of the stairs and trail on Lot 14, for construction at a future date as determined by the city for the development of the public trail system.
McLaughlin explained that deferring construction of a dead-end trail, until the next segment and easement of the trail is negotiated with the future property owner, was discussed and became part of the agreement with the neighborhood. The improvement funds will be held until it is prudent to build this section of the trail. If the section was built now, and does not get much use, it could wear out in ten years, which would not be as useful as when there is a full trail connection. He is not aware of inflation costs for the future, but noted the funds would accumulate interest, which may offset the difference.
Hartzell noted that the timing for access is unknown and that the argument in favor of building the stairs now is the visible commitment for establishing the trail. She questioned the likelihood of individuals using the trail without the construction of the stairs.
McLaughlin explained that the commitment is to clearly outline the trail for future property-owners. He further explained that staff is investigating another outlet for trail users coming from the direction of Strawberry Lane. Signs will be posted to deter trespassing, along with the costs associated, depending on the location of the trail head. Fine suggested a sign that indicates a future pedestrian trail.
David Burns, a property owner affected by the pedestrian easement, clarified his comfort level with the proposed 20-foot easement, noting that he and another property owner were reviewing the possibility of purchasing the lot next to the trail.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to accept staff recommendation with correction that the lots involved are Lots 18 & 19.
Hartzell acknowledged the opportunity for building the trail at this time, and noted that the city will pay the difference of the cost of construction when it is built.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Update on the Ashland Library Project.
Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderschied reminded the council that the original bids for the project were $570,000 over budget, and that the council requested staff to negotiate with the apparent low bidder to execute a contract. Staff and SERA Architects engaged in negotiations and identified changes needed to meet the project budget. The deadline with 2G Construction was extended from December 24, to January 10. Due to a lack of clarity regarding changes and the absence of exact drawings, the City, Jackson County, and 2G Construction were uncomfortable moving forward. The bid was not extended past January 10, and negotiations ended.
Wanderschied reported that staff discussed the situation with Jackson County, and it was deemed appropriate to rebid the project. If the council approves the rebidding of the project, staff will direct SERA Architects to redraw all of the proposed changes, which would give the opportunity for review. He stated that this process would allow a level playing field and competitive bidding on all the changes.
Wanderschied stated that staff would meet with Jackson County to prioritize items identified for either elimination or change. These additions would be bid as an add alternative. The initial plan review was received from the third party plan reviewer dealing with code issues. There were no significant problems, but there were additional changes. Added information would be incorporated into the revised drawings. Wanderschied reported that an individual was hired to help with the project and has identified additional cost savings that will be discussed with the county and incorporated into the plans.
He anticipates 30 to 45 days to redraw the plans. Notice and bidding requirements will result in the selection of a bidder in three to four months. Efforts will be placed on securing as many bids as possible. Based on the amount of price reduction negotiated with 2G Construction, rebidding the project should result in bids under budget. Wanderschied requested the council's approval to move forward and rebid the project.
Dennis Donahue/54 Gresham/Passed out photos of the library alleyway and street area. He indicated his concern regarding traffic congestion and parking problems. He suggested that the citizens, who voted for this project, did not understand what they were voting for, and he feels this is an opportunity to review the plan. This is a good project, but not the location. Donahue requested that the council consider his suggestion.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Felt there is an opportunity to save taxpayers’ money by scaling down the size of the building.
Scoles clarified for the council that there would be some cost associated with rebidding the project, and that over $500,000 had been expended so far on the project. Wanderschied clarified that in the original bond, $607,000 was budgeted for design, and approximately $500,000 had been expended. The cost associated with redrawing the designs has been discussed with the architects and there should not be significant additional costs. The architects agreed to redraw the designs, without additional cost to the city, as part of the original cost. The contract states;any redrawing the architects would have to do, to negotiate, has to be done on the architects time.; It is the architect's opinion that this would be the same during the rebidding process. He reported additional expenses relating to noticing are expected, but it should be less than $10,000.
Morrison voiced his concern regarding the project, noting they are similar concerns passed on to him by a number of dismayed citizens. He questioned the possibility of better parking, and the costs associated.
Wanderschied explained that the original plan, which voters voted for, showed parking on Siskiyou Boulevard and Gresham Street, and the addition of one space to the current number. There would be additional costs associated with securing parking on Gresham Street. Adding parking to the site or reducing the building size would be difficult. Jackson County and the library staff feel the project, as designed, are the best utilization of the site. If the size of the building is reduced, it could result in the loss of programs, and the planning process would have to be revisited. Jackson County has indicated that some changes would be appropriate, but if the size of the building is significantly altered in order to add parking, it would result in a substantial change to the bond measure.
Scoles clarified that parking has been an issue for all parties involved. Acquiring additional property was originally considered, but the grade of the lot would not allow for a significant number of spaces. By adding parking to the site, the building addition would not be possible. In order to create a building with the amount of parking everyone wants, it would have to be in a different location. Scoles stated that the council, along with the Planning Commission and others, made value judgements on the issues that have been raised with major concern. The people, overall, have decided this is the best plan. Scoles explained that the proposed rebidding process on the project, with the recent changes, is the best way to keep the project under budget. Because this is a county wide bond measure, the assessment will remain the same for the city whether or not a library is built. Morrison voiced his concerns for a building that is not worth the expenditure.
Hartzell commented that she has also heard from library staff, and that they agree that this is the best use of the site. However, they do not agree that this is the best site. She noted that traffic does transcend the site, and questioned when the investigation for parking on Gresham Street would be discussed again as was mentioned at the Siskiyou Boulevard Redesign meetings.
Scoles explained that staff understood from the council, that the Gresham Street proposal should wait until the library project moved forward. He explained, in regards to the Siskiyou Boulevard Redesign, that staff has agreed that additional parking could be provided along this stretch of the boulevard without moving the curb lines. It is under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and will require the normal process through ODOT.
Laws noted that Public Works Director Paula Brown has continued to note that the redesign of this intersection will need to be completed, including parking in front of the library, prior to commencing the Siskiyou Boulevard project. It is his understanding of the county ballot measure, that the incorporated action of the measure previously passed by the Ashland voters does not give any leeway in the location of the library.
Reid pointed out that parking across the street, with the Fire Station project, has always been discussed as part of the process. Redesigning access between the fire station and the library will provide better and safer street crossing between these two points. Traffic has changed in the past 15 years, and to install parking on the other side of Gresham Street would reverse progress.
Councilor Reid/Laws m/s to authorization initiation of rebidding on the Ashland Library Project.
Hartzell noted the challenging decision, and stated that if she were to vote in favor of the motion and it did not result in a successful bid, she would bring forward alternatives and options that have not been expressed.
Fine commented that he would vote in favor of the motion with reluctance, and although this is a beautiful project, the site will not sustain what the people have indicated they want. He feels the site will present a significant public safety problem. He noted rebidding is a technical exercise, and that voters voted for the project at this site. The consultants advised bidding the project in a certain way, knowing the budget for the project, and it failed. They then advised negotiating with the lowest bidder, and that failed. He has a low level of confidence with the consultants on this third round of advice. He is afraid it will not provide a contract, but only a three to four month delay. He noted the importance of a functioning library in the community, and felt obliged to support the will of the voters.
Morrison noted the difficulty of his decision, and was concerned about a three to four month delay. The reason for renegotiating with the low bidder was to take away the delay, but it happened anyway. He hoped the council uses this opportunity to make a serious attempt at addressing the parking issue. He is troubled with what he feels has been a dismissive attitude toward the reality of the parking situation. He would like to think, but feels that reality dictates otherwise, that mass transit, utilization of parking lots across the street, and adequate parking in the neighborhood would help the situation. He is not willing to second guess the voters, but will continue to be concerned with parking and the responsibility of the city for its projects in providing public safety.
Voice Vote: Laws, Reid, Hanson, Morrison and Fine, YES; Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead
The study session scheduled for January 17 was moved, with the council approval, to February 7. It was also noted that a Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for January 18, at the Hillah Temple.
City Attorney Paul Nolte clarified for the council that the Living Wage ordinance would be revised for codification and stated that meeting with representatives from Living Wage or input from the council was needed. Hartzell requested a meeting, before February, with the city attorney to discuss the proposed ordinance. Fine asked to be notified of the date of the meeting.
2. Motion to designate Finance Director as budget officer.
Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to designate Lee Tuneberg, Finance Director, as budget officer for 2001-02. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Update on implementation of the 2000-2001 Public Information and Communication Plan.
Wanderschied gave brief background information and explained that the report is a 2000-2001 version. Attachments to the council were provided, which gave a status update on the action items of the plan. When the Strategic Planning update and Budget process is completed, staff will present a draft of the 2001-2002 plan to the council for review, revision, and adoption.
Wanderschied explained that the neighborhood meetings did not happen due to council and mayor changes. He felt that the new members could take the lead on this and noted that staff would be working with commission and committee members.
4. Update on remaining Wastewater Treatment Plant construction work and funding authorization.
Public Works Director Paula Brown extended an invitation to the council and mayor to tour the new wastewater treatment plant facilities. The following actions are needed to complete the wastewater treatment plant construction: 1) Purchasing the Zenon "Zeeweed" Membrane Filtration technology for installation by Slayden Construction; 2) Pre-purchase of the belt filter press mechanism so that final design of the long-term biosolids de-watering facilities can be completed; and 3) an increase of the loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by an amount not to exceed $3,676,068, which increases the total loan to approximately $21,767,068.
Brown reported that the membrane filtration pilot-testing program was completed in December and that two different manufacturer membrane pilot units were tested: Zenon and US Filter/Memcor. The cost of the facility, piping, pumping, ancillary equipment, and the Zenon unit itself are estimated at $5.5 to $6.0 million.
Bob Eimstad, Carollo Engineers, explained that both pilot units use a hollow tube to filter the water. The difference between them is the Zenon system, which pulls the water through with a vacuum, and the US Filter system, which uses pressure to drive the water into the tube. Adding alum to the waste helps to remove phosphorus by creating a coagulant, which is then filtered out.
Brown clarified for the council that the contract with Zenon can be written with performance standards meeting DEQ requirements for phosphorus removal. Eimstad stated performance standards are related to equipment. Zenon cannot be held responsible for operator error at the WWTP. He will negotiate with Zenon regarding performance standards.
Eimstad explained that the membranes have a 10-year life-span warrantee. On going costs will include chemicals, and additional staffing will be needed because the WWTP is larger than the one previously in operation.
Brown gave an update on Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The loan increase of $3,676,068 is the amount that DEQ can give this year. There is potential for additional funding next year.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing an Increase in the Amount Borrowed from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Project and Repealing Resolution 2000-05."
Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2001-03. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Laws, Morrison, Reid, and Hartzell, YES. Hanson was not in the room at the time of the vote. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Designating Representatives from Ashland to Participate in the Bear Creek Regional Problem Solving Process and Repealing Resolution 2000-21."
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to designate Laws and Hartzell as representatives, and approve Resolution #2001-02. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Reid, Laws, Fine, and Hartzell, YES. Hanson was not in the room at the time of the vote. Motion passed. 3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing Outdoor Burning under Certain Conditions between March and October 2001."
Councilors Fine/Reid m/s to approve Resolution #2001-04. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Fine, Laws, Reid, and Hartzell, YES. Hanson was not in the room at the time of the vote. Motion passed.
4. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending Section 15.04.212 of the Ashland Municipal Code to Change the Composition of the Demolition Review Committee."
Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
5. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending the Requirements for Taxicabs by Permitting Flat Rates and Cell Phone Dispatching, Exempting Limousines and Medical Transports, and Requiring a Fee for Annual Renewal of Driver Permits."
Craig Hollinsworth/215 Tolman #21/Voiced his confusion regarding exemption of non-emergency vehicles. One-third of his fleet is used for wheelchair-bound people. He questioned why these vehicles are exempt. Nolte explained that the intent was not to authorize additional passenger vehicles for exemption from the ordinance. Non-emergency medical transport is for people who cannot ride in a passenger vehicle. Hollinsworth explained that there are three levels of transportation: taxicabs, Netcare (stretcher or gurney transportation), and wheelchair accessible. He transports people to and from medical appointments.
Laws suggested providing a definition of "non-emergency medical transportation." Nolte stated the definition could be brought at the time of second reading.
Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Laws, Hartzell, Morrison, Reid, and Hanson, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
The Strategic Planning meeting was set for February 10, 2001. A tentative, informal meeting for the evening of February 9, was also set. Scoles will send an agenda to all participants.
Reid noted a memo she received from Scoles regarding money from the state for the parking garage on Hargadine. She questioned whether bathrooms could be added to the project. Scoles clarified that previous discussion of this project did not preclude adding facilities to the project. Reid noted that even if bathrooms are not built, plumbing could be set up to allow them to be added later.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen noted the LOC City Elections Institute is having a seminar in Ashland on March 16, and 17. It is open for all elected officials.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.