Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 17, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

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.
Mayor Morrison announced there is a volunteer position currently available on the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission and that applications are being accepted from citizens interested in serving on the Historic Commission and the Citizen's Budget Committee for terms beginning in December.
The minutes of the Special Meeting of September 26, 2006, Executive Session Meeting of October 3, 2006 and Regular Council Meeting of October 3, 2006 were approved as presented.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing and Reading by title only of, "A Resolution Adopting Modifications to the Methodology for Calculating Water and Wastewater Systems Development Charges, Pursuant to Section 4.20 of the Ashland Municipal Code, and Repealing Section 1 of Resolution 2000-29."
Public Works Director Paula Brown, Administrative Services & Finance Director Lee Tuneberg, and Shaun Pigott with Shaun Pigott Associates, LLC addressed the Council.

Mr. Pigott presented a PowerPoint presentation on the Water and Sewer System Development Charges (SDCs). He explained that an SDC is a one-time charge imposed on new development to equitably recover the cost of capacity needed to serve new customers. He provided a summary of Reimbursement SDCs and Improvement SDCs and reviewed how the fees are set. He noted the recommendations from the SDC Committee, which included: 1) that residential wastewater SDCs continue to be based on habitable square footage, 2) that commercial water SDCs be based on meter size, 3) that commercial sewer connection SDCs be based on fixture count, 4) to replace brackets in the SDC calculation with actual habitable square footage, 5) to consolidate SDC funds from five to two, and 6) for the SDC Committee to meet annually to review the project list and expenditures.

Mr. Pigott clarified habitable square footage would not include a heated garage and explained the SDC Committee attempted to affect a reduction in the footprint size by sending a price signal through the SDC. Mayor Morrison questioned the rational behind using the habitable square footage as opposed to the total square footage and requested staff look into this.

Council questioned how a swimming pool would be handled. Ms. Brown clarified there is language in the resolution that allows the City to apply a different fee for water use over and above that of standard housing. Mr. Pigott added that SDCs typically do not address pools, but this does not preclude the City to apply a different methodology for that development.

Councilor Hartzell expressed concern with only counting heated space and does not believe the City will capture the cost of growth if they start having a lot of houses with indoor and outdoor pools. Ms. Brown recited the language in the proposed resolution that allows for different calculations to be applied to developments with special or unique situations such that the calculated fee is grossly disproportionate to the actual impact of the development. Councilor Hartzell stated that she does not think this is adequate.

Mr. Pigott reviewed the remainder of the SDC Committee's recommendations, which are to include: 1) a cost allocation between existing and future ratepayers for larger projects, 2) a basis for allocating costs between residential and commercial, and 3) a reduction in sewer SDCs. Mr. Pigott also reviewed: 1) proposed revisions since the last Council briefing, 2) project cost revisions, 3) new water and sewer projects, and 4) the revised SDC calculations for water reimbursement fee, water improvement fee and wastewater reimbursement fee. He also noted the overall SDCs in the Rogue Valley.

Council questioned if there would be an advantage for the City to reallocate the Food & Beverage Tax to something else so they would gain the reimbursement element for the City's treatment plant. Mr. Pigott stated if the City were to allocate sewer rate revenues to pay the debt service than as those revenues are paid for, that service would become SDC eligible. Mr. Tuneberg agreed and added that shifting the Food & Beverage would require payment for the debt service through rates, so rates would go up.

Councilor Hartzell commented that it doesn't seem that the mechanism is there to appraise the level of demand for yard and pools. Ms. Brown stated that there are two pieces, the SDCs themselves and rates. She added the mechanism is in place, however it has not been used in the past.

Councilor Hartzell voiced her interest in seeing more of a blend of the development community and lay community on the SDC Committee. Ms. Brown clarified the Mayor and Council could change the make-up of the Committee.

Public Hearing Open: 7:45 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:45 p.m.

Support was voiced for moving forward with the proposed resolution. Councilor Silbiger commented that they need to get something in place and if they come up with a better methodology, they can act on it at that time.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to accept the change in water and wastewater SDC methodology and approve the SDCs established by the resolution. (Resolution #2006-27). Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Chapman, Silbiger, Hartzell, Amarotico and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hartzell motioned to bring this back before the convening of the SDC Committee, to look at the composition of the Committee, and ask the Committee to look at that form of assessment (habitable space or fixtures). Motion died due to lack of second.

Comment was made that the Committee resolved the fixture issue and there was no real benefit to the fixture versus square footage assessment.

Councilor Hartzell explained her motion and stated the intent was to ask staff to look again at this issue. Mayor Morrison stated this is sufficient direction for staff and added that he would look at the make-up of the Committee.

2. An Appeal of Planning Action 2006-00078 - Request for an Outline Plan approval under the Performance Standards Option Chapter 18.88 for an 18-unit single-family residential subdivision for the property located at 247 Otis St. An Exception to the Street Standards is requested to allow curbside sidewalk in sections of the Otis and Randy Street frontages to preserve trees, wetlands and the residence at 247 Otis St.
Mayor Morrison read aloud the Public Hearing Procedures for Land Use Hearings and called the public hearing to order at 7:56 p.m.

Exparte Contacts
Councilor Amarotico declared a potential conflict on interest; he has a family member who lives opposite this property on Randy Street. He stated this would not affect his ability to make an unbiased decision and he has not discussed this project with that person.

Councilor Chapman stated he was the Council Liaison for the Tree Commission when this application came through, but this would not affect his ability to make an unbiased decision.

Councilor Jackson noted she is the Council Liaison for the Planning Commission; she was not present for any of the public hearings, but was present when the Findings were adopted.

Councilor Hardesty stated she has briefly discussed the project with staff and has driven by the property.

Mayor Morrison stated he has only read the record.

Councilor Silbiger stated he had an inadvertent site visit about a month and a half ago.

Councilor Hartzell stated she has read the materials.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified a site visit is not technically exparte contact, but it is required to be disclosed. He also clarified if an individual councilor has received information beyond what is included in the planning record that also needs to be disclosed at this time.

Staff Report
Interim Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Senior Planner Maria Harris presented the staff report. Ms. Harris stated the application needs two planning approvals. The first is for outline plan approval of the subdivision; the criteria are listed in 18.88.030(a). The second piece requires an exception to the street standards; the approval criteria are listed in 18.88.050(f). Ms. Harris displayed a vicinity map and explained the property is zoned single-family residential, R-1-5. There is currently a single-family residence, a large out-building that houses an indoor pool, and a small accessory building on the site. Ms. Harris noted the trees and wetland areas on the property, and pointed out the site is the location of the historic Helman Baths.

Ms. Harris provided an overview of the proposal. She noted the project includes a new street through the project, explained where the sidewalks would be located, and stated the utilities to serve the development are available. She explained the proposal is to divide the property into 18 lots for residential purposes; 17 of the would lots would accommodate new single-family residences, and the large parcel which is referred to as Lot 18 would incorporate the existing home, pool house, and some of the wetlands. Ms. Harris stated the Planning Commission approved the proposal and explained the condition they added for open space to be created at the wellhead that serves the pool. They also required a conservation easement or deed restriction be placed on the spring that would protect the resources and perpetuity and that the homeowners association would have the first right at the remaining water rights. Ms. Harris noted the majority of the Planning Commission's discussions focused on the significant existing and natural features and on the street improvements.

Ms. Harris reviewed the approval criteria and explained the hearing authority needs to make a decision as to what is a "significant" feature and therefore preserved in open space or common areas. She stated the Planning Commission approved the outline plan to create 18 single-family residential lots and the exception to the Street Standards with 34 conditions. She noted the Findings are included in the Planning Record and stated this is a time sensitive issue. Staff's recommendation is that the Planning Commission's decision be upheld.

Staff clarified that the Historic Commission did not review this project since the property is not located within the Historic District.

Devian Aguirre/Ms. Aguirre explained this appeal is unusual and that it is a joint appeal. She explained she and the appellants are united in that there are issues they wish to further discuss and tighten.

Chris Hearn/Representing Co-Appellant and Applicant Sage Development, LLC/Mr. Hearn noted that the applicant has joined the appellants and stated Ms. Aguirre does not want anything to go into the neighborhood that will not work and be livable for everyone. Mr. Hearn presented a PowerPoint presentation that addressed: 1) water issues and language change, 2) water related errors, 3) traffic mitigation errors, 4) procedural errors, and 5) issues deferred to final plan. Mr. Hearn applauded the applicant for taking so much time to meet with the appellants to find common ground. (Presentation was submitted into the record as Exhibit 2.)

Robert Coffman/Senior Hydrologist, Cascade Earth Sciences/Commented on the geothermal analysis that was done and noted the second report included a much more rigorous assessment of the different springs on the site and the geothermal potential.

Council questioned why it is significant to make the wording change to "geothermal" in the language. Ms. Aguirre stated this would simplify it and give all the water one name, and clarified all the water has the same source.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to extend public hearing until 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Opponents and Their Representatives
Cyndi Dion/897 Hillview Drive/Noted Chris Hearn does not represent her and she is one of the five appellants. Ms. Dion thanked Ms. Aguirre for signing onto this appeal. She commented on water issues and stated the well is an artesian well and they do not know how much water is emerging from it. She explained how the water flows from the well to the pool holding tank to the pool itself and explained how it eventually enters Bear Creek. She expressed her interest in diverting this water to the wetlands and if possible reducing the amount of runoff that is happening. She also stated she would like to make sure the pool, holding tank, and well are all considered existing features as well as the springs.

Lila Appleberry/704 Willow Street/Stated her childhood was spent in a culture that holds reverence for nature and natural features, and stated Ashland has culverted, capped and paved so much of the natural springs and water. She stated they need to ensure they preserve and enhance this special piece of property.

Kindler Stout/130 Orange Street/Commented on the policy for setting LIDs and stated the non-remonstrative agreements are no longer viable. In this appeal, he noted they are asking the Council to set a new policy on developer participation in neighborhood traffic costs.

Art Bullock/Commented on AMC 18.80.020(b)(7) which requires access streets into the development to be improved to existing city standards, which he stated was not done in this case. He commented on the non-remonstrance agreements and stated they are effectively worthless and there is no replacement. He asked the Council expedite a solution to this issue. He also stated there is no requirement that the developer be involved in the Laurel Street LID. Mr. Bullock commented that normal plants would not grow in geothermal water, and stated it is important to distinguish what kind of water is going into the wetlands. He stated there were dozens of errors in the planning record, but they have resolved those with Ms. Aguirre and are bringing forward remedies for the Findings.

Those wishing to provide Testimony
Thomas Doty/2025 Tolman Creek Rd/Commented on the Native American significance of the Helman Springs and stated this is a sacred site. He explained the springs were part of a healing path of springs, and noted the other springs along this path. Mr. Doty urged the Council to consider the Native American significance of the springs as a sacred site and asked for some accommodation to be made in this natural area for a Native presence. He offered to act as a liaison between the City, the developer, and the Native American groups to see this happen.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified if Council has questions that are not in the record they need to be asked before the close of the hearing. If Council has questions of staff about things included in the record, they can ask this after the close of the hearing.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to continue the Public Hearing until November 7, 2006. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Spoke regarding the city's ordinance prohibiting placing literature at residences. She questioned whether this applies to notes left by neighbors and candidates running for public office. She believes that this is inconsistent with the community's desire to keep campaign costs low.

Ambuja Rosen/Requested the City adopt an anti-tethering ordinance and asked that they establish a minimum space size that cats and dogs can be confined in.

Lois Hamilton/686 Helman Street/Stated the expansion of Mt. Ashland is a huge issue and does not think Mt. Ashland should be expanded. She suggested Mt. Ashland Association use what they have and make it better, not expand, and asked that they not encroach on the watershed.

Art Bullock/Commented on the Jackson County commissioner's ordinance on rural use zoning and stated the City of Ashland and Friends of Jackson County have filed an appeal to LUBA. He requested an opportunity to discuss these issues and work together and stated he appreciates the City filing this appeal.

Nick Frost/224 Third Street/Commented on Mt. Ashland expansion and stated he does not think they should be logging until the business plan has been released and the appeals are done. He stated the damage to the watershed could increase sedimentation and reduce flow and voiced his opposition to using the Medford TAP, except under emergency circumstances. Mr. Frost stated there is a chance Medford could begin fluoridating their water and stated the City needs to consider the costs and implications of using Medford water.

Anna Boyd/216 Central Avenue/Thanked the Council on behalf of the participants of watershed week. Ms. Boyd commented on the events that took place and encouraged the Council to look at the larger picture if MAA is allowed to proceed without an inquiry into the economic and ecological costs of the project. She stated such an inquiry would likely reveal there is not adequate money for phase one of the expansion and for restorations, that growth projections are unrealistic, that MAA does not have a reasonable hope of completing the project through phase three, and it is the fully realized development that the proponents support. She stated if MAA proceeds with a lawsuit against the City, they will view it as a lawsuit against the taxpayers and urged the Council to stop the expansion and work with MAA to address current environmental damage and creative solutions to upgrade existing development.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified AMC Section 9.08.180 states that you cannot leave any paper materials, flyers, etc. on public or private property without permission from the property owner. Council asked staff to look into this issue.

1. Second Reading by Title Only of an Ordinance Titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Adoption of the 2004 Oregon Fire Code."

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2932. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Chapman, Hartzell, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.

1. Release of Draft City Charter for Public Comment.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer presented the staff report. She explained the draft Charter reflects the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee with the exceptions of Recommendations #1, #2, and #4; and reflects input from the individual councilors. She stated the draft should be viewed as a springboard for public comment, not as the final document to be sent to the voters. Staff's recommendation is to release the draft Charter in its current format for public comment, with a Special Meeting scheduled for November 2, 2006.

Art Bullock/Shared his concerns with the design of the public comment meeting and suggested the Council propose three different options for the ethics language: 1) what is currently in the draft charter, 2) an outline of the code of ethics, and 3) the full code of ethics. Mr. Bullock also commented on the water language and asked that the Council present the draft with options.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Thinks it is confusing to have the new charter and a separate amendment on the ballot. She suggested placing two separate charter proposals on the ballot, one that is consistent with the current form of government and the second with the change to city manager form. She also asked that the Council consider including other options, such as Instant Run-Off Voting.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified the underlined language in the draft reflects additions that were made based upon comments from the Council and the bold underlined text reflects changes from the model charter. He added the text that is not bolded is consistent with the model charter. Mr. Franell also provided an explanation of how the charter and form of government amendment would appear on the ballot.

Mayor Morrison asked the Council if they supported releasing the draft Charter for public input. He stated staff needs direction on this issue, and if the Council does not want to move this ahead they need to say so.

Councilor Jackson voiced support for moving forward and noted the reason the Council decided to have a separate measure for the city manager form of government was because the Council could not agree and felt the voters should decide this. Councilor Hardesty also voiced support for moving this ahead and suggested that the November 2 meeting be arranged in such a way that provides the public ample opportunity to provide input. She suggested they set up different tables for each issue, and for the Charter Review Committee members to be present.

Councilor Hartzell commented on Section 31(b)(2) and asked if this language would allow the Council to remove a fellow councilor without voter input. Mr. Franell clarified this language was carried over from the existing charter and noted staff was given direction to retain the powers of the Council as they are in the existing charter. He stated in this situation the Council would have to follow due process and are required to submit a notice and have a public hearing. He added the Council could insert a definition for disorderly conduct if they wish.

Councilor Silbiger noted that Section 32 needs to state that the vacancy will be filled within 60 days.

Mr. Franell shared his concerns with the existing water provision language. He noted he has four alternate language scenarios and would be happy to include any others. He also clarified the final document will be in readable form and all of the bold, underlined and italic editing will be removed.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified staff has discussed an open house format for the November 2 meeting. She stated they would establish a way to record the comments from the different stations and transcribe them afterwards so they can be distributed to the Council. Mayor Morrison suggested the councilors be free floating during the meeting so they can visit all of the stations.

Councilor Chapman expressed his desire to resolve the water language issue.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to send the Charter out for public comment. Voice Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passes 5-1.

2. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2.52 of the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Rules of Procedure for Personal Service Contracts."
Delayed due to time constraints.
1. Report from Council Committee on Council Rules.
Delayed due to time constraints.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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