These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
MINUTES FOR THE SPECIAL MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 26, 2006
Siskiyou Room, Community Development Building
51 Winburn Way
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way.
Councilors Hardesty, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 1:13 p.m. Councilors Amarotico and Jackson was absent.
Discussion of Judge Panner's ruling on Mt. Ashland
It was noted this meeting was requested by Councilors Hardesty and Hartzell. Mayor Morrison stated he would have to leave by 1:30 p.m.
The letter received from Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) was noted. The letter stated MAA would not take action for 30 days and agreed to meet with the City to set the ground work for the business plan. It was recommended the City work with MAA to outline what is needed in regards to the selection of the QA/QC Team.
Councilor Hardesty stated she appreciated Mt. Ashland Association's willingness to work with the City, but voiced concern with the Forest Service beginning work on or around October 5, 2006. Hardesty questioned what the City's legal rights were and felt that the council had not been provided with adequate information. She stated that there were a lot of legal questions that needed to be asked, including whether there would be adequate funding for restoration. She also questioned the impact of the Roadless decision.
Ms. Hardesty stated that if the contract was allowed to cut timber she had concern that there would be no opportunity for the council to ask MAA to wait. That once there is a contract, there is not much the council would be able to do to stop any cutting of timber. She requested that MAA comply with the 2005 Resolution and that they provide a Business Plan that is adequate for expansion.
Councilor Hartzell arrived at 1:13 p.m.
Councilor Hardesty stated that this is more than about the Business Plan. That legal questions need to be answered which include the impact of the Roadless Condition. She questioned that if the meetings with MAA don't provide enough information what the city's legal rights would be.
It was clarified that the Roadless Condition is a separate decision but Ms. Hardesty did feel it would be impacted. Councilor Chapman stated that this is classified as recreational and Ms. Bennett explained that the Roadless Condition would be a question for the Forest Service. The task before the council was to implement the 2005 Resolution with MAA.
Ms. Hardesty stated that Ashland's City Attorney is not a specialist in this area and suggested the City bring in another attorney to help with these legal matters.
Councilor Hartzell voiced support for bringing in someone with this type of legal specialty. She noted the lease with MAA states they need written permission from the City for the improvements. She voiced her concern with how the restoration costs will be dealt with and stated the liability might be higher during construction than after. She noted that there is nothing in the current lease that covers the expanded area.
City Attorney Mike Franell noted there is no survivorship clause in the event the lease agreement expires, however the lease does contain a formula to process assets. He stated that the city as permit holder is responsible for restoration.
Mayor Morrison suggested they move ahead with MAA to resolve the business plan issue. He stated several legal questions had been raised and that Council should forward their concerns to staff which they would bring back to the October 3, 2006 Council Meeting.
Councilor Chapman voiced his desire to speak with MAA about a Business Plan which spoke to their financial viability and his concern with needing to move quickly. He noted the importance of establishing the QA/QC Team and to have the disturbances evaluated before the expansion happens.
City Attorney Martha Bennett stated that staff would need direction from council if it were their desire to delay the upcoming timber sale. She explained that there are federal regulations that govern timber sales.
Councilors Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to give staff authority to look into hiring legal counsel in order to address questions raised. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger voiced his desire to have this discussion with the full council. He would like the council to deal with the 2005 Resolution as it was intended. Mayor stated that staff should look at the issues raised, identify the legal questions involved and allow staff to bring a recommendation to council regarding seeking additional legal counsel. Ms. Bennett stated that staff needs clarification on what the options are. Councilor Hardesty questioned what would happen if the council were not satisfied with the outcome of a submitted Business Plan from MAA. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion Passed.
Meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor