MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 7, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 17, 2006 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
|1.||Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.|
|2.||Appointment to Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission.|
|3.||Liquor License Application - Pasta Piatti.|
|4.||Approval of an Electric Department Contract for Wood Pole Inspection in Excess of $75,000.|
|5.||Perpetual Easement Agreement Between Members of TAP and the City of Medford.|
Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Ambuja Rosen/Requested that the Council consider a law restricting tethering of animal family members.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Spoke regarding the Ski Ashland expansion project and the recent floods in our areas. Voiced his concern with the intent to cut in our watershed due to the potential impacts in these areas. Requested that the Council demand of the Forest Service that there be a complete assessment on the flood impact area and to complete mitigation on these impacts.
Ryan Navickas/711 Faith Street/Made brief statement in regards to an ordinance that bans tying of dogs outside of businesses in town for long period of times. He does not support a complete ban on tethering of dogs and voiced his concern with possible incarceration of dogs, which may lead to euthanizing. He also noted that this might be a hardship on the homeless and their pets.
Mayor Morrison clarified that due to time constraints the Council had not had the opportunity to discuss whether this is a topic that they want to take on at this time. He acknowledged that there has been misunderstanding on both sides of the issue on what is being proposed.
Art Bullock 791 Glendower/Spoke regarding the illegality of Nevada Street Local Improvement District and his interpretation that the City did not follow its resolution setting the percentage of assessment and that the taxpayers are subsidizing the Billings Development. He questioned who is being harmed by the "City's deviation"? (Handout submitted into the record)
City Attorney Mike Franell disagreed with the characterization that the LID is illegal. Resolution 1999-09 does have an allocation methodology and it works well when doing a full street project. This resolution was put forth to allocate the cost sharing between the City and property owners for LID projects. He explained that the purpose of a pedestrian project is to go back and retrofit where streets were constructed without pedestrian pathways with pedestrian pathways. This is the case in the Nevada Street LID and followed the same methodology used in the Helman Street LID. Instead of doing a technical breakdown in accordance with Resolution 1999-09, the City chose instead to characterize the entire project as a pedestrian improvement project. In doing this, it provides that the City will participate 60% of the cost of the project. This works out to the property owner benefit. If the City followed 1999-09, it would only participate at 20%. He also noted the project has a couple of storm drainage catch basins that need to be relocated and which play into the percentage method that the City would participate. He does believe that the City has the authority to characterize the entire project as a pedestrian improvement project and to participate at the 60% level for the improvements.
Mr. Franell clarified that the City has an ordinance that specifically speaks to when a bid comes in higher than estimated, and the City could only charge the property owners 10% above the estimated assessment.
Mayor Morrison announced that there are a number of vacancies in our Commissions and asked anyone who is interested to contact the City Recorder's Office.
|1.||Approval of Grant Distribution Greater than $75,000 for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Chamber of Commerce to receive Economic and Cultural Development Grants.|
Executive Director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Sandra Slattery and Graham Lewis, President of the Board for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, presented their report to the Council. Ms. Slattery began by commenting on the long-standing positive partnership that the Chamber has had with the City of Ashland. The willingness to work together has resulted in effective promotion of tourism and has created a program on economic development designed to retain and attract businesses to Ashland that pay family wage jobs. She stated that it was the Chambers desire and intent to continue to maintain a positive relationship with the City. Ms. Slattery noted the detailed report for grant activities that had been distributed to the Council for their review.
The report submitted to the Council identified line-by-line expenditures and budget for the grant along with current plans for the programs and projects that are currently being implemented to promote tourism and economic development. She noted that the Chamber is working very hard to promote the amenities, the desirability and livability of this community to insure the success of existing businesses and to encourage new business and family relocation.
Ms. Slattery reported that their tourism model to promote other forms of economic development is innovative and has great potential for the business sector, future expansion and new development for creating family-wage jobs. She noted the newly created phrase "Destination Ashland" which has been incorporated into their publication "Living & Doing Business in Ashland."
Ms. Slattery pointed out that the Chamber is currently overhauling their website that will allow for testimonials from businesses and stories about businesses operating in Ashland.
She explained that while the Chamber receives funds to promote tourism and other forms of economic development, it is important for the Council to know that these programs are supported in no small part by their membership who contribute significantly to the Chamber annually both financially and through volunteer time.
Ms. Slattery stated that the Chamber believes in working together with mutual respect and collaboration, which results in a better future for our City. She concluded by requesting support and partnership by the City for the Chamber.
It was suggested that the Council have an opportunity to review the report and work with the Chamber through the upcoming budget process. Council requested that the report from the Chamber be submitted at the end of their activity year rather than in the middle of their year. It was clarified that January 31 is what is in the current ordinance and an amendment to the ordinance would need to be done in order to change this date. It was noted that the Council has discussed Economic Development in their goal setting.
Cathy Shaw/866 Oak Street/Spoke on her experience with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce through her position on the City Budget Committee and as a former Ashland City Mayor. She provided an example of how grant distribution is conducted in the City of Medford and how there are few cities where the Transient Occupancy Tax is shared with the government. She stated that there is a general agreement by the State Tourism Agency that this money should all go to the Chamber of Commerce for advertising and encouraging tourism in the state.
Ms. Shaw noted our unique relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and their willingness to work with the City. She read letters submitted by Representative Peter Buckley and Senator Alan Bates in support of the Ashland Chamber. (Letters submitted into the public record)
Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to approve Grant Distribution Greater than $75,000 for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Chamber of Commerce. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
|2.||Second reading of, "An Ordinance Amending Chapters 18.24, 18.28, and 18.88 of the Ashland Municipal Code - Land Use Ordinance, Regarding Conservation Density Bonus Point Calculations for Residential Development"|
Mr. Wanderscheid explained that at the time the City negotiated a contract with Portland General Electric, the City had the ability to make the standards tougher but could not make them less stringent. He stated that there is a computer program and that the energy use is modeled. It has to exceed the energy code modeled house by at least 15% to comply. The City conducts inspections during the building process, tests the ducts to make sure they meet the performance requirements and pays the builder $1,000 to build this home.
Mr. Wanderscheid is not clear what the mechanism for compliance would be and explained how the system works. He stated that they have never had a situation where a house that was required to be built to the old standards, did not comply.
City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that the Certificate of Occupancy could not be withheld, because the Certificate of Occupancy is based upon the building requirements. Once a building meets the building code requirement, the Certificate of Occupancy needs to be issued. He stated that because there is a deed restriction placed in the deed, the City would have to go back against the property owners, sue them under the deed restriction, and require them to comply with the deed restriction.
Mr. Wanderscheid stated that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is proposing to pay approximately $1,100 under the Conservation Acquisition Program for homes that are certified as Energy Star. He explained that the City could certify homes as Energy Star. There is a little difference between Energy Star and Earth Advantage, which has to do with lighting, but the City has petitioned with BPA to call them equivalent programs. If BPA approves this, then the $1,100 incentive would be available from BPA to the City to pay the homeowner or developer who builds Earth Advantage homes.
Mr. Wanderscheid clarified that the density bonus would only apply to those that are subdividing lots. Interim Community Director Bill Molnar clarified that density bonuses are done under the performance standards in a subdivision and that our code states this needs to involve three or more lots.
Dave Dotterrer/538 Sutton Place/Stated that himself, Allan Douma and John Stromberg had been working on this for some time. They believe that energy conservation is important for all and want to encourage City policies that maximize energy savings. He cited the need for life saving changes, which involve several factors needed for success, these goals should be: 1) easily understood, 2) flexible, and 3) as few hurdles as possible in order to achieve. (Analysis Chart was submitted into the public record)
He reported that they did not believe that the information provided on the Earth Advantage program indicates it would maximize the long-term potential for energy savings. They feel the rules are complicated and only provide a minimal incentive for the minimum amount of energy usage and not energy savings are layered on top of energy savings efforts.
Mr. Dotterrer offered the suggestion of a complete staff analysis, which provides the Council with a decision-making analysis required and tools on this issue. He stated that it should be the Council that drives the policy options and trade-offs that lead to a decision. The analysis would include a wide range of options, which covers potential ways to address the issues. They believe that a full analysis of the options would be necessary. This would be the only process that allows the Council to mitigate some of the negative aspects of whatever option is chosen. In addition, the preparation of these options should include all the stakeholders involved. Mr. Dotterrer provided the Council a template that could be used to review options. They requested that the Council not pass the proposed ordinance but send back to staff for a full analysis.
Chapman commented that the Super Good Cents program was not a good fit for the City according to our Comprehensive Plan.
Council discussion continued on the value of the program and the need to maximize the amount of energy savings we get for the least amount of resources. It was noted that this would apply to a small percentage of homes built and that Council would like to hear about more options.
Comment was made that this is a good first step but that should not deter the Council from hearing more on further options. It was noted that Earth Advantage offers more than what Super Good Cents offered and although there is a desire that more could be applied, it was a good planning tool. It was pointed out that staff had spent a substantial amount of time researching this program and there was a preference to move forward.
Council discussed dropping the proposed 15% to 10% but retaining the $1,000 bonus and for staff to continue to work and evaluate programs. Additional discussion was had on whether the ordinance should have a sunset clause; however there was not general support of a sunset clause. Staff reported that the program would need to run for one to two years in order to develop data that shows participation levels.
Council directed staff to provide annual reports on the progress of this program. Staff stated that a Resolution could be brought back for Council consideration if there is a desire to charge the developers $1,000 per unit.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2923 for a term of two years. DISCUSSION: Hartzell stated she could not support the motion with the inclusion of the density bonus and that she did not believe that we are getting as much as we can. Councilor Jackson commented on an article from Sunset Magazine in regards to a communities where the development included zero net energy homes and stated that she believes that this is the right thing to do at this time. Jackson clarified that that two-year term would be based on results. She stated that if it were best to request annual reports instead of having a sunset clause, she would rescind her motion and make another without the sunset clause. Staff assured Council that the annual reports would happen. The matrix submitted by Mr. Dotterrer was noted as a good model to use.
Councilor Jackson withdrew the motion with approval by Councilor Chapman.
Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve Ordinance #2923. DISCUSSION: It was clarified that the maximum 15% bonus means that no one can get more that 15%. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Amarotico, and Jackson, YES; Hartzell and Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Hartzell requested information on programs that the City currently has on energy efficiency and expected budget.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
|1.||Renewable Resource Discussion|
He explained that the City has been purchasing 1aMW under a current 5-year contract that expires in September 2006. He explained that with the new rate base and if we want to continue, we need to make a commitment. He said that it appears that the EPP may cost less than in the past, and if the Council wants to continue renewable resources, we could buy more with the same amount of money or buy the same amount with less money, or buy a little bit more with more money. Mr. Wanderscheid stated that it is a budgeting issue because staff needs to figure out what the wholesale power costs are going to be in order to do budgets.
Mr. Wanderscheid reported that the recommendation from the Conservation Commission was to buy $100,000 worth of EPP. There was no recommendation from the Conservation Commission on whether to sell it on a voluntary basis as a premium, as this is what most utilities do, or to continue to rate base it.
He explained one thing that has changed the situation. In the state of Washington, there is a ballot measure that would mandate a "renewable portfolio standard." If this happens, many of the big BPA customers and utilities in the state of Washington would probably buy their EPP from BPA. This means that if the City wants to do this, they should do it for three years as BPA is telling the City that it may cost more if the ballot measure passes. A decision about selling as a premium or include it rates could made later.
In addition, he is requesting direction from the Council in regards to a large solar project. He reported that staff has many ideas for projects. He reported that Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which is a source of interest free money (Clean Renewable Energy Bonds "CREBS") available to the City to do exactly what staff is proposing. He reported that the motivation behind this was due to an article that ran in the City Newsletter that talked about our Solar Program and our rebates, and the response from the community.
An idea that has come forward is for the City to put up a system and sell parts of it to those that cannot afford a full system or do not have a good enough solar access to put a system on. Because of the way these bonds work, the City could borrow the money for 14 years with no interest fee. Depending on how this is financed, the City could sell chunks to customers who make payments, or the City could be a funding source and do this on a year-to-year basis. He explained that the $500,000.00 Bonds are not going to be given out on first come first serve basis, but are going to be given out based on applications received by April 25, 2006 and ranked on size of project. The way that these bonds work, is that they are interest free because people who buy the bonds get a tax credit on their earnings. Mr. Wanderscheid gave examples on how this would work.
Staff is requesting direction from Council on whether they would like the staff to budget for these bonds. He explained that submitting an application and getting funding does not commit the City to selling bonds. It just gives the City the ability to do it. He noted that the recommendation from the Conservation Commission was to submit an application for $500,000 under the CREB financing model. He noted the size of the proposed kW system and where it could be located.
Staff is also asking for direction on other renewable resources. He noted that the Dry Creek Landfill as a local resource, Methane Gas being built in the near future as a resource, and the White Creek Wind Project, which is a public utility wind farm in Eastern Washington. He explained that there is a risk for getting any new resources between now and 2011 if the City weaned itself from BPA too soon.
Staff is seeking budget direction purchase for EPP, the amount and size of a Solar Bond application, and allowing staff to continue exploring other renewable resources.
Councilor Hartzell noted her desire to bring the EPP back into the City. She would like to know how this could be positioned into an investment when the City needs to reduce power and demand. She would like to see investments in our own projects, which could be the solar project and supports the recommendation of seeking the bonds.
Councilor Jackson voiced her support for the two recommendations from the Conservation Commission and she would be open to discussing the excess money in regards to EPP. Silbiger voiced his support of the solar program and the interest free bonds. Council discussed their options on applying for the Energy Bonds and how it could be used. Councilor Chapman supported purchasing the EPP, suggested that there are many who would be willing to purchase large chunks of "green power" and he would prefer that it not be tied to Ashland power bills. Councilor Amarotico supported the recommendation of the Conservation Commission.
Councilor Hartzell proposed that the EPP money should be used to help those in our community that are struggling with their power bills or help with retrofitting senior homes. She would like to see this benefit more people of different income levels that live in the community and to prepare for the future.
Mr. Wanderscheid clarified that the allocated budget is spent on an annual basis, and an additional allocation of $67,000 a year for electric heat assistance. He continued to clarify that the BPA is not going to penalize the City for any conservation efforts between now and 2011, but in 2011 the City will get their allocation and it will probably not be enough to cover our current demand load. The City's choices will be to either purchase higher priced power from BPA, buy power from someone else, or generate it ourselves.
Direction to staff was to apply for a $500,000 CREB funding in April, provide an analysis staff recommendation on EPP, and to watch closely for resources in order to take advantage in the future.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
|1.||First reading of, "An Ordinance Vacating an Unopened Public Alley".|
Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Jackson, Amarotico and Chapman, YES; Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
|2.||Second Reading, by title only of, "An Ordinance Vacating an Unopened Public Alley".|
Councilor Amarotico/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2924. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Silbiger, Jackson, Amarotico, Chapman, YES; Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS cont.
|1.||Request for Approval of Draft Trail Master Plan Document|
Committee Chair of the Ashland Trails Master Plan (ATMP) Scott Kurtz and member Jim McGinnis presented the Ashland Trails Master Plan and stated that they were seeking the approval of the Council on this plan.
The presentation included:
|•||The cooperative effort by many in the community,|
|•||Background information on how it began in 1989 with the Food & Beverage Tax,|
|•||Process which included Council/Parks involvement, filling gaps in the Open Space Plan, formation of the ATMP committee and the review and recommendation by Parks Commission in December 2005,|
|•||Acknowledged the members of the ATMP Committee,|
|•||Stated the Mission of the Committee, and|
|•||Reviewed the pubic input process.|
The presentation also included the following:
|•||ATMP Vision as "A Diverse Network of Trails that connects Downtown, Schools, Neighborhoods, and Surrounding areas."|
|•||Vision goals as: 1) Transportation: Trails are an inherent part of Ashland's transportation system; 2) Trail Access & Connectivity: A continuous network of trails is easily identifiable and readily accessible and 3) Natural Environment and Citizen's Rights: Stewardship of the natural environment, and rights and concerns of citizens are addressed.|
|•||ATMP Vision's Goals as: 1) Planning for Trails; 2) Trail Management; and 3) Partners and Collaborators.|
|•||ATMP Goals' Objectives as: 1) Each goal has a series of objectives; 2) Recommendation accompany each objective; and 3) Recommendations will be reviewed and approved.|
|•||Provided recommend trail routes|
Kurtz stated that they are looking for willing participants to grant easements on their property and that this trail plan is a visionary document that may take decades to complete as pieces of property develop and trail corridors are granted through that planning process.
Kurtz explained that they have been working with private property owners with securing easements that take the liabilities away from private property owners and place the liability on the City. City Attorney Mike Franell explained that there is a recreational immunity statute with the State of Oregon that states as long as the property is used for recreational use, without a charge to the public, that the immunity statue applies. He stated the difficulty is when someone leaves the trail and the City has drafted language where it would take on the liability.
It was suggested that when trail easements are obtained from private property owners and require Council approval, that these come before the Council in a timely manner.
Rich Vanderwyst/888 Glendale/Noted that he is a member of the Ashland Trails Master Plan and voiced his support of the draft Trail Master Plan. He noted his work on securing easements from property owners and how having a plan that individuals could review, would make securing easements easier. He also noted the need for connectivity within the plan.
Councilor Hartzell pointed out that accepting a plan is contingent upon funding different pieces of it and the will of the public at that point.
The Imperatice property owned by the City was mentioned, and the City was strongly encouraged to allow easements on that property while they still own the property.
It was requested that the Forest Commission review the plan and clarification was made on the attempt to make City departments become more familiar on the importance of trails and affordable housing developments is one of those issues where awareness is importance.
Mr. Franell explained that this is a guiding document, but if varied from the guidelines that are set forth in the document, there needs to be an explanation. This would not preclude from varying from the recommendations.
Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mr. Kurtz stated that he hoped that the City would adopt a series of performance standards that they were to operate by and the intention is to incorporate some set of performance standards, along with the objectives in the future, in order to help the City. This would strengthen the ability to follow through on this plan.
Councilor Hartzell voiced her reservations in regards to the waterline replacement and would be more comfortable if this were referred to as a "such as." Parks Director Don Robertson suggested wording as "as appropriate."
Mr. Robertson explained that the next steps include utilizing the Plan with the Open Space Program and looking at opportunities to make connections when available.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to accept and adopt the Draft Trail Master Plan Document as amended to include language of "as appropriate" in regards to the waterline area and "in a timely manner" in regards to trail easements. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
|1.||Request from Councilor Hartzell to reconsider the motion made at the January 17th meeting to approve the contract with LTM, inc. for $372,320.|
Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to reconsider the motion from the January 17, 2006 meeting to approve contract to LTM Inc. for $372,320. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson stated she did not support reconsideration of the motion and stated that she had no problems with the Nevada Street LID. She also has no hesitation to make safety improvements even if it is for a short term.
City Engineer Jim Olson clarified for Council that LTM is available to keep the scheduled price for multiple schedules if necessary. He confirmed that by City ordinance the contract is required to be signed within 30 days and we are working on with extension by approval of the contractor.
Councilor Silbiger stated that Resolution 1999-09 specifically stated how allocations should be made. City Attorney Mike Franell provided the exact language from Resolution 1999-09 and following the pattern used for the Helman LID, the City chose to categorize the improvements as sidewalk improvements. He stated that the street surface work that has to be done is incidental to the purpose of the project and the purpose of the project was for sidewalk improvements. He believes that the Council has the discretion to do this under this Resolution. The decision was made early on to categorize this project as a sidewalk improvement project and allocate the 60% cost, if the Council should change this and allocate under each of the four categories of Resolution 1999-09, a public hearing would need to take place because it would increase the cost that each property owner would need to bear under this project by more than 10%. Silbiger noted that if this project were to be re-done under the four allocations, and it was re-calculated, we would be where we are now, but the cost to the property owners would be much higher. Councilor Hardesty voiced his desire for further information.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Chapman, Hartzell, YES; Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, and Silbiger, NO; Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion denied 4-3.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS cont.
|2.||Quarterly Financial Report: October - December 2005.|
Councilor Amarotico/Hardesty m/s to accept the Quarterly Financial Report. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
|3.||AFN Report - July 1 to December 31, 2005|
|4.||Food and Beverage Tax and Transient Occupancy Tax Collection.|
|5.||Discuss Allocation of Unused Transient Occupancy Tax Grant Monies.|
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
|2.||Proposal by Councilor Hartzell for forum on community policing ordinance.|
Councilor Jackson stated that she is not in favor of this ordinance, agreed that there is a need to have dialog about community policing, but she understood that this wouldn't move forward until there were results regarding the current activities involving the police department. She does believes that a Resolution may be more appropriate, and then a process of evaluating what aspects of our current adopted accreditation standards and procedures are needed and what would need to be changed or added.
Councilor Silbiger noted that after researching Community Policing he found that it was more than just an ordinance. He stated that Community Policing has nothing to do with the community and suggested a City forum in order to get public input.
Mayor Morrison suggested that this is a good start and should be done by the City, with broad representation by the community and that staff may help with directing this. He voiced his concern with moving forward with an ordinance under a short time frame.
There was consensus by the Council to move forward with the idea of public forums sponsored by the City and to bring back to the Council for further discussion.
|3.||Request from Councilor Hartzell to discuss Federal lobbying efforts known as the "United Front"|
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor