Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 20, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Council Chair Amarotico called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Mayor Morrison was absent.
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 6, 2006 and Special Council Meeting of June 8, 2006 were approved as presented.
Retirement Plaques were presented to Mike Bianca and Russell Chadick.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Liquor License Application - The Jefferson State Pub.
3. Appointment to the Historic Commission.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.
1. Public hearing to Consider Appeal of Planning Action 2006-00282 - Request for Land Partition to create two parcels for the property located at 521 Fordyce Street.
Council Chair Amarotico read aloud the public hearing procedure for land use hearings.

Public Hearing Open: 7:13 p.m.

Abstentions, Conflicts, Ex Parte Contacts
Councilor Chapman declared a site visit and stated he spoke with the son of the applicant prior to the meeting. Councilor Hartzell made a site visit at the same time as Councilor Chapman. Councilor Silbiger declared an ex parte contact with one of the applicants, who asked him a general question about the appeals process. Councilor Amarotico declared a potential conflict of interest. The applicant is a tenant in his building; however, he has had no discussion with her regarding this application.

Staff Report
Interim Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Planning Action involves a request for a land partition to divide one parcel into two properties, an exception to the Ashland Street Standards that would allow an 8 ft. separation between the driveways, and a Tree Removal Permit to remove two trees greater than 18" in diameter.

Councilor Hartzell noted she and Councilor Chapman observed the distance between driveways during their site visit. They also noticed the existing driveway opened out into the curb cut, which is not included on the maps in the planning record.

Mr. Molnar stated Planning staff originally approved this project administratively; however, it was subsequently appealed to the Planning Commission Hearings Board. He explained it is general City policy to locate a driveway on the lower order street, which in this case is Old Willow, however during the Hearings Board meeting several neighbors expressed concern with the proposed installation of the driveway on Old Willow Lane. The Hearings Board ultimately approved the partition request, but denied the exception to the Street Standards and issued a condition for both properties to share the existing Fordyce Street access. The applicant has appealed the Hearings Board decision and the Planning Record includes why they believe it is best to access the property from Old Willow Lane.

Mr. Molnar commented on the driveway aprons observed by the two councilors and explained there are several aprons less that 24 ft. apart because the subdivision was approved prior to the adoption of the City's Street Standards.

Robert and Cynthia Monroe/562 Fairview Street/Explained they have appealed the Hearings Board decision because of their denial to grant access to the parcel from Old Willow Lane. Ms. Monroe expressed her concerns with the flag lot being used as a shared access and how this modification would affect the adjacent neighbors. She addressed the concerns raised by the neighbors and clarified the incorrect statements made at the hearing. Ms. Monroe stated the easement was an inefficient use of land, would need to be 12 ft. wide by 104 ft. long, and would result in additional impervious surface. She shared her concerns with the health of the two trees located next to the long driveway and noted this would require them to pave over the existing utility easement.

The applicants explained the variance request conforms to the surrounding area and noted there are no shared drives along the street. Ms. Monroe stated they are concerned about safety just as much as the neighbors are and noted their grandson would be living on the back parcel. She commented on the current and future traffic volumes of Fordyce Street as compared to Old Willow and stated a shared driveway on Fordyce would be more dangerous. She stated Old Willow Lane is wider than Fordyce and addressed the neighbors concerns regarding the alley traffic.

Ms. Monroe stated they own two to three times more road frontage than anyone else along Old Willow and feel they deserve to have a curb cut on that street. She commented on the parking situation and stated the neighbors would lose more parking spaces if they were only allowed the one access off Fordyce. She also stated they are splitting the lot to provide affordable housing for their son and his family, and stated their son is a contractor and will be building the home.

Those Wishing to Provide Testimony
Leona Miburg/1212 Old Willow Lane/Shared her concerns with the "bottleneck" condition and how she has to wait for other cars to pass in order to get through. She stated Old Willow Lane is hazardous for children and stated this street is designated to become a through street at some point, which will make it even busier.

Mark Allen/1222 Old Willow Lane/Stated that he was one of the builders of the adjacent subdivision and shared some of the issues he encountered. He commented on the lack of parking and bottleneck issues and shared how the applicant had declined to join the homeowners association. He also asked that the applicant plant a replacement Willow Tree since they will be removing two.

Scott Kurtz/831 Liberty Street/Spoke in opposition to the applicant's request and noted he was one of the original developers of the adjacent subdivision. He stated that Old Willow Lane is narrow and only has parking on one side. He stated the curb cut requested by the applicant would compromise the original design and would reduce the number of parking spaces by at least one. He also stated the applicant's design has the garage located at the front of the property which is opposite from what they were encouraged to do. Mr. Kurtz voiced his support for both parcels utilizing the flag drive on the north side of the property and stated this has been used for two single-family structures in the past.

Cleo Capo/1269 Old Willow Lane/Statement of opposition was read into the record by Council Chair Amarotico.

Staff Response
Staff clarified the street address is often determined by what makes sense for emergency response, and stated it would be more advantageous for the address of the new parcel to be on Old Willow, regardless of where the driveway is located. They also clarified the width of the existing driveway off Fordyce would have to be modified to a 12 ft. paved access.

Mr. Molnar clarified both Old Willow and Fordyce were built with prior street standards. He stated Old Willow Lane at its 25 ft. width is very comparable to the current standards; however, Fordyce is not consistent due to the parking bays.

Mr. Molnar commented on why the Hearings Board voted to overrule staff's decision. City Attorney Mike Franell clarified if Council concurs with staff's original decision to grant the variance, this would not set precedence because variances are project specific.

The applicants commented on the issues raised by the neighbors. They disagreed with the "bottleneck" description and stated the situation on Old Willow is the same as most other streets in Ashland. They noted the grade issue and stated it would require a lot of engineering to get the drainage right. Regarding the parking, the applicants stated the neighbors have longer driveways, which provide parking for their guests and stated if they have to use the driveway off Fordyce parking along Old Willow will become worse. They stated they intent to build a nice home with curb appeal and voiced their opposition to having traffic on three sides of the parcel.

The applicant clarified for Council they would agree to a condition that sets the garage further back on the property.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:29 p.m.

Council Deliberation
Council discussed the applicant's request and support was voiced for granting the exception as originally approved by staff. Comments were made supporting the smaller driveway off Old Willow and statement was made that the original proposal was the best use of land.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Planning Action 2006-00282 for a Land Partition, Tree Removal Permit and Exception to Street Standards with the attached conditions described in the staff report. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman questioned which staff conditions the motion refers to. Mr. Molnar suggested Council approve the initial conditions outlined in the staff report and not the additional conditions imposed by the Hearings Board referring to the shared Fordyce access.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to amend motion to read the conditions as listed in the staff packet, pages 12-15. DISCUSSION: Mr. Molnar clarified the conditions the Council wishes to include are listed on pages 13-15, but recommended deleting Conditions #5, #6, and #7 which refer to the shared driveway. Council Hartzell questioned whether they need to amend the motion again, or whether this discussion would sufficiently clarify. Councilor Hartzell/Chapman withdrew motion.

DISCUSSION (cont.): Councilor Hartzell clarified the conditions referred to in the original motion are on pages 13-15 of the planning record, with the elimination of Conditions #5, #6, #7 and #8. Councilor Jackson questioned if they should include a condition regarding the setback of the garage. Mr. Franell stated the Council could impose such a condition since the applicant indicated they would be willing to do so.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to amend motion to add a condition that requires the front of the house be no further away from Old Willow Lane than the front of the garage. DISCUSSION: Mr. Molnar clarified the standard setback for a garage is 20 ft. Councilor Jackson clarified this condition would require that at a minimum, the house and the garage would need to be flush. Councilor Chapman voiced his support for allowing the Planning Department and the applicant to come to an agreement on the design of the house. Voice Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger and Jackson, YES. Councilor Amarotico and Chapman, NO. Motion Passed 3-2.

Roll Call Vote on Original Motion as amended: Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger, Jackson, Amarotico Chapman, YES. Motion Passed.

2. Public Hearing to Consider Request for a Variance to Allow Early Morning Operation of a Street Sweeper.
Council Chair Amarotico noted the time constraints for the public hearing and suggested postponing this issue to a future meeting. Councilor Hartzell voiced her supporting for delaying the public hearing and shared her concerns regarding the noticing. She asked that staff further notify the public, including a notice in the City Source newsletter, and bring this back at a later time. City Attorney Mike Franell clarified staff would also publish the notice in the local newspaper.

Councilor Chapman questioned if Council could address this as an exception instead of a variance request. City Administrator Martha Bennett stated staff would look into this option.

Philip Lang/758 B Street/Commented on an ethics violation complaint he filed against the City Attorney, former Assistant City Attorney, Interim Community Development Director and a Senior Planner. He stated it is inappropriate for Mr. Franell to advise the Council since he is named in the charge and stated if the Council fails to investigate this complaint he will pursue other strategies.

Ambuja Rosen/Commented on the need to protect all animals from cruel tethering. She requested a law be established to protect against tethering, and stated although dogs are the most likely species to be affected, all animals need to be protected.

Gary Smith/137 A Street/Requested Council's permission to fly flags along Pioneer and Oak Streets in order to bring people towards the Railroad District. He presented the proposed flag design and noted various businesses in the Railroad District would pay for the flags. Mr. Smith was encouraged to contact Councilor Hartzell to discuss this issue further.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower Street/Requested Council's permission to provide testimony.

Council Chair Amarotico clarified Mr. Bullock was requesting to speak on an agenda item that's public hearing has been closed and stated it would be a violation to allow any more testimony on that issue. City Attorney Mike Franell stated the Public Forum is for items not listed on the agenda. He noted the Nevada LID Findings are listed on tonight's agenda, however the public hearing is closed and no additional public testimony may be taken.

1. Second Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance levying taxes for the period of July 1, 2006 to and including June 30, 2007, such taxes in the sum of $9,797,262 upon all the real and personal property subject to assessment and levy within the coporate limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon."
Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg stated this ordinance was discussed at the June 6, 2006 Council Meeting and has not changed since the first reading.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Ordinance #2927. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Amarotico, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Motion Passed.

1. Adoption of Finding Regarding the Formation of the Nevada Street LID.
City Engineer Jim Olson explained on May 20, 2006 the City received a judgment and opinion regarding two legal actions that had been filed against the City by Art Bullock regarding the Nevada Street LID. The City filed a motion to dismiss the writ of review to award the contract to LTM Incorporated, and the motion was granted. The second case was a writ of review where Mr. Bullock alleged the City committed 49 separate errors in the formation of the assessment district and the computation of the assessments. Judge Schiveley ruled that nearly all of those alleged errors were either without merit or without attached remedy; however, two required adoption of findings.

Mr. Olson explained the Court directed the Council to enter findings on how the boundary for the LID was established and to indicate why the Council decided to proceed with the formation of the LID despite stated conflicts of interest. The Court further directed the Council to adopt these findings and present them to the Court within 45 days from May 17, 2006. Mr. Franell clarified the Findings are based upon a review of what was in the record.

Mr. Olson explained the LID assessment district was limited to those properties with frontages along Nevada Street and the properties within the Billings Ranch Subdivision, which was a requirement of the development's approval by the Planning Commission. He commented on why side streets were not included and stated the City's ordinance is clear that the assessment is limited to benefited properties. He noted the only recent assessment district that varied from the front footage assessment was the Tolman Creek LID, which was due to the streets classification as an arterial and the number of subdivisions required to be included in the assessment district.

Mr. Olson commented on the stated conflict of interest by Public Works Director Paula Brown and noted that a declaration was made directly to the Council on September 7, 2005. Aside from the declaration, Ms. Brown also regulated certain decisions regarding the formation of the assessment district and computation of the assessments to Mr. Olson as project manager and made very concerted efforts to eliminate any conflict of interest. Mr. Olson stated the benefit Ms. Brown received was the same as any other property owner would have received and stated she received no additional benefit from being a City employee or the Public Works Director.

Council discussed modifying the language in Sections 3.2 and 4.2. Regarding Section 3.2, suggestion was made for the language to read, "Ms. Brown stated she took efforts to mitigate any conflict by relegating all decisions regarding the formation of the assessment boundary, the allocation of the assessment to each benefited property and other similar issues to Project Manager James Olson". Regarding Section 4.2, suggestion was made to amend language to read "Council further concluded that the establishment..."

Comments were made expressing interest in making sure this type of situation does not arise again and ensuring the Findings reflect what actually happened.

Councilor Hartzell suggested amending the language in Section 4.2 to read, "Council further concluded that the conflict of interest as stated by Paula Brown has been mitigated by virtue of the fact she was part of a class..." Regarding Section 3.2, she stated it was Council's responsibility to delineate in the Findings which decisions the Public Works Director made and which ones were made by the Project Manager. She also suggested specific language be included in Section 3.3 to read Ms. Brown did receive benefit improvements that was constructed by the Billings Ranch Subdivision and also received a half assessment, however Council determined those benefits accrued to her would have been available to any citizen that owned that particular parcel.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to accept the Findings as presented with the amendments to Section 3.2, which added "stated she" and removed the word "all"; and Section 4.2, which added "by virtue of her being a part of a class" and changed the word "conclude" to "concluded". DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell stated she thought they had also agreed to remove the phrase "and other similar issues" from Section 3.2.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to amend the motion to include the removal of "and other similar issues" from Section 3.2. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell questioned if the motion included her suggestion for Section 3.3. Councilor Jackson stated she did not include this language in the Findings because she does not recall the Council reading those. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.

Voice Vote on original motion as amended: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman and Amarotico, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion Passed 4-1.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.
2. Adoption of Findings for Planning Action 2004-141 - Annexation and Zone Change for an approximately 10-acre parcel located on the east side of Clay Street, north of Ashland Street, at 380 Clay Street.
Interim Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Council approved the annexation at the Public Hearing on March 21, 2006 and this is the adoption of the Council Findings. He noted the draft findings were prepared by the applicant's legal counsel and reviewed by staff. He explained the main issue involves Condition #28, which indicated a provision for a conservation easement for the wetlands and Poplar Tree grove. Mr. Molnar stated the City received a letter from the applicant's legal counsel listing their concerns with Condition #28 and he agrees that the duration and scope of the easement are unclear. He stated staff has drafted an optional Condition #28, which is included in the Council Communication. This option requires protection of the Poplar grove in accordance with the Tree Protection & Removal Plan and if there is any modification to that plan at a later date, the applicant or property owner would have to obtain a formal tree removal permit. In addition, if the applicant was approved to remove the trees and came back with a development proposal, that proposal would need to comply with the affordable housing guidelines as if it were part of the annexation today.

Councilor Jackson commented that her intention when she made the original motion was to preserve the open space. City Attorney Mike Franell explained the legal problem associated with the condition and stated because the motion came after the public hearing had closed, the applicant did not have an opportunity to accept the condition and therefore the City cannot require this of them.

Mr. Molnar stated staff's recommendation is to adopt the Findings with the optional Condition #28, which includes the provision for future development.

Councilor Amarotico/Jackson m/s to allow Councilor Hartzell to abstain as she was not part of the original discussion. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to adopt the Findings for Planning Action 2004-141 with the wording proposed by staff for Condition #28. Voice Vote: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger and Amarotico, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion Passed 3-1.

3. Purchase of Environmentally Preferred Power form BPA.
Electric Director Dick Wanderscheid explained the City has been purchasing environmentally preferred power from Bonneville Power Administration since 2001. This equals roughly 5% of the City's power supply and the City pays for this with the conservation renewable discount. He noted the discount portion in the new contract has changed slightly in that the City could be pro-rated if there are more regional requests; however if this occurred the City could reduce the purchase amounts. Mr. Wanderscheid stated both staff and the Conservation Commission recommend the City continue to purchase one average megawatt of EPP from Bonneville Power Administration.

Councilor Silbiger/Hartzell m/s to direct the City's Electric Department submit a pre-notice claim to BPA to purchase 1aMW of EPP for the next three year rate period. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.

Council commented on the amount of time remaining and discussed continuing the meeting tomorrow. City Recorder Barbara Christensen clarified the Council Chambers were available from 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
4. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution amending Resolution 2005-46".
Housing Coordinator Brandon Goldman stated the proposed resolution revises Ashland's Affordable Housing Program and establishes what constitutes an affordable unit and which affordable units are eligible to receive deferrals on system development charges and engineering services fees. He stated the resolution is a comprehensive assessment of the program and ensures that households that benefit from the program are not overburdened by housing costs.

Mr. Goldman explained the resolution establishes the housing cost for purchase price units are calculated by looking at the principle, interest, taxes and insurance is on a home and ensuring the monthly payment a household makes does not exceed 30% their monthly income. Additionally, the program establishes a 30-year minimum period for the units to remain affordable. The resolution establishes that units that are voluntary provided as affordable, and not triggered by land use requirements, be eligible for a waiver of engineering services and community development fees. The program also outlines affordable rent at the 80% and 60% income levels. In order to have a predictable calculation, staff is also proposing the interest rates used to calculate the purchase price be based on a 30-year fixed rate loan as established by the Oregon Bond Loan Rate Advantage Program. Mr. Goldman noted the resolution also includes a provision that allows the buyer to stay in a dwelling unit even if their income levels rise, and if they do sell the unit, they would not have to sell for less than the purchase price.

Mr. Goldman stated the Housing Commission reviewed the resolution several times and staff feels it constitutes a comprehensive affordable housing program and requested Council's approval.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2006-13. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman and Silbiger, YES. Motion Passed.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to continue this meeting until noon tomorrow. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson stated she would not be available. Councilor Hartzell stated she is available from 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.
1. Procedures on selection of Council Position #1.
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
2. DEQ Presentation on Revised PM Standards.
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
1. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution amending the pay schedule for management and cofidential employees for fiscal year 2006-2007".
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
2. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution of the City of Ashland clarifying certain conditions of employment for management and confidential employees and making such conditions consistent with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by repealing Resolution No. 97-18".
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
3. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution supporting the request for Oregon Department of Transportation's transportation enhancement funds in the amount of $275,000 to be used to construct the Laurel Street sidewalk project".
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
1. Re-visit RVTD discussion (David Chapman).
Continued to June 21, 2006 meeting.
Meeting was continued to Wednesday, June 21, 2006 at 12:00 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
Alex Amarotico, Council Chair

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