Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Continued Meeting

Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the Continued Meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilors Hartzell and Amarotico arrived at 12.05 p.m.
Continued Public Input on Mt. Ashland Expansion Resolution
Mat Marr/955 North Mountain Avenue/Encouraged the Council to reflect on what is contained in the lease agreement between the City and Mt. Ashland Association (MAA). He stated the lease clearly states the relationship between the two parties should be that of landlord and tenant. It also states significant alternations shall not be made to the permit area without the written consent of the leaser. Mr. Marr stated there would be a significant increase of financial liability to the City should the expansion proceed and stated Council should concern itself with: 1) Maintaining the quality of water in the watershed, and 2) Preventing increased liability to the City.

Art Bullock/Commented on: 1) The financial liability to the City if the appeals process undoes the decision of the lower court, 2) Erosion control, and 3) Community relations. He voiced his support for a resolution that protects these interests without interfering with MAA's running of the business or the court case.

Councilor Hartzell requested City Attorney Mike Franell to share his comments on this issue and asked for this topic to be discussed at a Study Session. Mr. Franell explained the agreement with Mt. Ashland Association will cease if there is a termination of the lessor's rights under the permit; he also noted there is no survivorship clause in the agreement that addresses restoration requirements. Mayor Morrison clarified discussion of this issue would be held at a Study Session.

1. Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Adoption of the 2004 Oregon Fire Code."
City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified this would correct an error that was made when the Council adopted the new Building Code and requested Council adopt the ordinance and restore the Fire Code to what was adopted in November 2005.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #2829. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

2. First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Section 9.08.170C to Exempt Transitory Vehicles From the Nuisance Noise Provisions."
City Engineer Jim Olson presented the staff report. He explained the Public Works Department operates two vacuum-style street sweepers and one of these vehicles operates from 4 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the downtown commercial zones and on the main arterials. Mr. Olson stated the sweepers exceed the allowable noise levels specified in the Ashland Municipal Code and requested transitory vehicles be exempted from the noise provision requirement.

Mr. Olson provided an explanation of the sweepers. He stated both are advanced machines and are very effective at removing microsized particles. He noted 3,000 cubic yards of debris was picked up last year and stated the use of mechanical sweepers or hand sweepers would not be effective for pm10 reduction.

Mr. Olson stated this issue came about as a result of a citizen complaint. He explained the sweepers are large pieces of equipment that travel slowly. He stated operating this equipment in the early morning hours is often necessary because the sweepers have to travel against the flow of traffic for short distances to sweep around islands and curbs and it is imperative that this be completed when traffic is lightest. He stated the Streets Department currently sweeps four days and week and stated staff has done everything possible to make the vehicles as quiet as possible.

Mr. Olson clarified the noise levels of the equipment has been measured by staff and also clarified the City does maintain a sound level meter. Councilor Hardesty shared her experience with this matter and offered to assist staff with this problem. It was questioned if the Ashland Municipal Code addresses conditions in which exemptions may be made. City Administrator Martha Bennet clarified the noise ordinance has a specific process for exemptions. She stated when staff previously brought this forward as an exemption for the street sweeper, Council indicated they were interested in looking more broadly at whether the ordinance should regulate these types of vehicles.

Councilor Hardesty questioned if staff had attempted to sweep by hand. Mr. Olson stated there is not adequate staff to do this. He noted that the City does design curb radiuses and bump outs with the street sweepers in mind and clarified one of the sweepers will be up for replacement shortly. He also clarified the downtown core, public parking lots, bike path, bike lanes and main arterial streets are all swept once a week.

Tom Marr/955 North Mountain Avenue/Mayor Morrison read Mr. Marr's statement aloud. The statement requested the Council not change the noise provisions and requested all be held to the same rules.

Lars Svendsgaard/183 Vista Street/Commented on the topography of the City and stated their home is located one block from the theatre. He explained there is a sudden and dramatic elevation change that has a great effect on the sound that is carried to their home and stated twice a week they are woken up at 4:30 a.m. by the street sweeper. He stated this noise can be heard miles away and voiced his concerns with how this matter has been handled by City staff. Mr. Svendsgaard requested that the City's Public Works Deparment be held to the law.

Tracy Svendsgaard/183 Vista Street/Stated she does not object to clean streets, however at least 104 mornings a year they are woken early, are unable to go back to sleep, and suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation. She read aloud a section from the noise ordinance and stated a 4:30 a.m. operation violates the ordinance and this has had a detrimental affect on her health. Ms. Svendsgaard requested the noise ordinance remain in place for protection of the citizens.

Dan Gunter/247 Oak Street/Stated he lives on the downtown route and has never been woken up by the street sweepers. He noted the sweeper used to come by three times a week and now it is down to just once. He agreed with the topography issue mentioned in the previous testimony, but stated he never hears the sweepers. Mr. Gunter stated that the sweepers, garbage trucks and delivery trucks are a necessity and this work needs to be done before traffic picks up.

Mark Antony Salvioli/1015 B Street/Stated he is against changing the noise ordinance for the street sweeper and stated the ordinance is in place to protect the citizens. He stated the street sweeper starts at 4 a.m. behind him home and comes back every hour to dump the refuse. He stated it smells, there is dust, and it often puts out more dirt than it picks up. He shared his concerns that the Street Department intents to switch to a 24 hour program and requested the Council not change the law to make it legal for City services to ruin his neighborhood.

Mat Marr/955 North Mountain Avenue/Stated the discussion is not about individual citizens or the street sweeper, but rather about the integrity of the noise ordinance itself. He stated the proposal before Council would make a significant exemption to a key City ordinance. He questioned the definition of a transitory vehicle and stated the ordinance would allow all cars to be exempt. Mr. Marr stated this would create a bad precedent and asked the Council to hold themselves to the same standards they hold everyone else to.

Art Bullock/Asked Council to not move this ordinance to a second reading because: 1) The term "transitory vehicle" is undefined, 2) The ordinance would exempt virtually any truck and the language is far broader than the problem, and 3) The language "guts" the entire noise ordinance and would allow any amount of noise from any vehicle that doesn't stay in the same place longer than 10 minutes. Mr. Bullock also suggested that the word "has" be inserted into Section 2 between "be" and "described", Council strike the phrase "to a commercial or industrial use" from Section 6, and insert the phrase "not less than 30 days after notification" after "public hearing" in Section 6(a).

Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Mayor Morrison read Mr. Swales written statement aloud. The statement noted Mr. Swales experience with the street sweeper noise, stated the historic residential neighborhoods above the downtown act like a natural amphitheater, and stated the use of the street sweeper would be best left until citizens are awake. The statement also requested the noise ordinance include a provision for backpack blowers.

Tom Giodarno/2635 Takilma Way/Explained the area near his home is becoming a truck stop. He stated that trucks traveling the I-5 corridor frequently pull off the interstate and park their vehicles behind his residential area. He stated the residents have complained and are preparing a petition to submit to the Council. Mr. Giordano stated the drivers leave their trucks idling all night long and asked the Council to look into this issue.

Councilor Hartzell stated she is not willing to support the proposed ordinance and suggested staff return with a range of options, including information on how often the sweepers operate, the equipment that is used, and cost effectiveness to provide this service in other ways. She stated the proposed ordinance is unacceptable due to the reasons brought forward by the public and stated it would create unintended consequences.

Councilor Jackson agrees that they have identified some larger issues and clarified that staff is aware of the issue raised by Mr. Giordano and are working to resolve this problem. She stated that public vechiles and delivery trucks need to be able to operate efficiently, but stated the proposed ordinance broadened the restrictions too much.

Mayor Morrison suggested Council direct this issue back to staff for a broader look at the options and policies involved, and a potential rewrite of the noise ordinance.

Councilor Chapman voiced support for looking at a new ordinance and possibly restricting noise in the City from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. He suggested the noise ordinance include a ban on two cycle engines and requested they look at different ways to sweep the streets. He questioned if Council could issue a temporary permit so the City could continue to sweep the streets without breaking the law until these issues are resolved.

Councilor Silbiger stated he does not support the proposed ordinance and agreed with Councilor Chapman. He noted he lives at the edge of a commercial zone and experiences truck noise.

Councilor Hardesty noted she is willing to work with staff to review the noise ordinance and explore quieter options.

Councilor Hartzell left the meeting at 1:25 p.m.

Staff requested direction from Council on a short term basis.

Lars Svendsgaard/Stated his complaint never took a formal basis, stated they are defending habitability of their home, and thanked Mr. Peterson in the Streets Department for his efforts.

Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison suggested the Streets Department not start until 7 a.m. for one month on a trail basis and see how it goes. Council voiced their support for this suggestion. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified staff would not begin sweeping until 7 a.m. for one month and staff would schedule this item to come back to Council for additional discussion and direction.

Mayor Morrison suggested the ordinance make a distinction between commercial, industrial and municipal use. He noted the necessity for municipal activities and stated they need to take a clear look at this in order to not hinder municipal activities.

3. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution Accepting the Grant Offer of The State of Oregon Through the Oregon Department of Aviation in the Maximum Amount of $20,000 to be Used Under the Financial Aid to Municipalities Program in the Maintenance of Ashland Municipal Airport."

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution #2006-23. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

4. First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Annexing Property and Withdrawing an Annexed Area from Jackson County Fire District No. 5 (593 Crowson Annexation)."

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Chapman, Jackson and Amarotico, YES. Motion passed.

Meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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