Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Continued Meeting

Friday, March 23, 2007

March 23, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison reconvened the continued Council meeting of March 20, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.

Councilors Hartzell, Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman and Navickas were present. Councilor Jackson was absent.

1. Request for Council to appeal PA #2006-02354 (as outlined by AMC 18.108.110). Mayor Morrison informed the Council that there was a split vote on this action when it was before the Planning Commission and two City policies may be in conflict. He clarified the Council is not making a decision on the merits of the Planning Action, but rather whether they wish to review this to see if there are conflicting policies.

City Attorney Mike Franell explained the Council has the authority to call for an appeal, but generally, this type of action is reserved for issues that are of significant policy consideration for the City. Mr. Franell noted the applicants and the other parties involved in the action also have the ability to appeal. He explained this issue involves a conflict between two City policies. The first is the arterial setback standards and the other is the historical design standards. The Planning Commission weighed these issues seriously and determined that the historical design standards took precedence. Mr. Franell stated if the Council wishes to look at the policy implications involved, bring them forward, and provide guidance to the Planning Commission, it would be appropriate for them to bring forward the appeal. Mr. Franell cautioned the Council to not discuss the merits of this action until there is a full hearing, and to limit their discussion today to whether there is a policy implication significant enough to warrant the Council taking action.

Ex Parte Contact:
Councilor Hartzell noted she is the liaison to the Planning Commission, but did not attend this meeting or review the meeting materials. She indicated she met with the Planning Director on site to discuss the policy question she had and how it would relate to this action. She noted Councilor Chapman was also present at the site visit.

Mr. Franell clarified communications with staff are not necessarily ex parte contact; however any information gleamed from the site visit would need to be a more detailed disclosure if this issue is called up for appeal.

Councilor Hardesty stated she spoke with the Planning Director about this issue and also spoke briefly with Mr. Swales to let him know she had not received any information from staff on this issue. She also indicated that she read the Daily Tidings article on this issue.

Councilor Chapman stated he conducted a site visit and indicated he was on the Tree Commission when the landscaping for this project came before them.

Councilor Navickas noted he has been involved in the broader issue for some time and has made comments at Planning Commission meetings in the past, but not in regards to this specific project. He also noted he accidentally placed a lawn sign on this property when he was running for office.

Councilor Silbiger stated he read the Daily Tidings article, has driven past the site, and has received letters from Mr. Swales and one from Councilor Navickas suggesting an appeal.

Mayor Morrison indicated he has read the staff memos and reviewed the emails from Mr. Swales. He stated he does not believe there was anything he reviewed that would have an impact on any decision he would make.

All councilors indicated they had no bias and could make objective decisions.

Councilor Silbiger explained that he would have to leave early and urged the Council to not make an appeal.

Councilor Silbiger left the meeting at 1:13 p.m.

Council offered their comments and preferences in regards to this issue. Councilor Hartzell voiced her interest in making sure they are protecting arterials and ensuring the City has the space it needs to make future bicycle and pedestrian improvements on North Main Street. Councilor Navickas commented on integrity in the land use process and stated when citizens perceive land use decisions that contradict each other, it is the Council's responsibility to step in and issue a ruling. Councilor Chapman voiced his preference for a citizen to bring forward an appeal, rather than the Council. He stated he has not researched the issue enough to know what the conflict and policies are. Councilor Hardesty also indicated that she does not know enough about the policies in question and the degree of conflict, but stated that this is a problem that needs to be solved. Mayor Morrison noted the City is currently in the process of reviewing the Land Use Ordinance and stated he is reluctant for the Council to call this up. He added developing good policy and legislation is usually not best achieved through a judicial or quasi-judicial process.

Mr. Franell clarified there are ordinance provisions that require the design standards to be applied, and clarified the issue is balancing between which standard is more important. He stated that Council's role is to set the mechanisms by which that balance occurs and to have a process where an appointed commission applies the mechanisms the Council provides. He added that it would be appropriate for the Council to step in if they feel they need to provide additional guideance to the Planning Commission in the balancing between standards.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s that Council appeal PA #2006-02354 for a hearing. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty voiced support for calling this forward. Councilor Chapman shared his concern that they are getting dangerously close to prejudging this. Councilors Hartzell and Navickas clarified their general concerns are not with this specific proposal. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Navickas and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 3-1.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Setting a Public Hearing for Assesments to be Charged Against Lots Within the Nevada Street Local Improvement District No. 85."

Art Bullock/Request the Council not schedule the final public hearing and final assessment until the appeals process has been completed. He asserted that there were problems with this project that need to be resolved. Mr. Bullock also requested that Council alter the requirements listed at the bottom of the Speaker Request Form and stated this language could cause an unnecessary court case.

City Administrator Martha Bennett requested Council not debate the question of the Speaker Request Form until she has had the opportunity to consult with legal. In regards to the Nevada LID, she indicated staff would brief the Council on the status of the lawsuits during an Executive Session in April, and recommended Council proceed with scheduling the public hearing. She added if Council decides to postpone the hearing after the Executive Session it can be rescheduled. She encouraged them to adopt the proposed resolution and noted that staff cannot proceed with any of the next steps until Council sets the hearing.

City Attorney Mike Franell clarified that Mr. Bullock did not prevail at the Circuit Court level and stated that he was unable to show that the City acted inappropriately or in contradiction to the ordinances. He noted that Mr. Bullock has now appealed the Circuit Court decision. Mr. Franell stated he is confident that the Court of Appeals will uphold the Circuit Court decision and indicated that it is appropriate and financially prudent for the City to continue with the process.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution #2007-09. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Hardesty and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 3-1.

2. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending AMC 3.08.020 To Apply Ethics Provisions to Employees, Appointed Officials and Elected Officials."
Mayor Morrison noted that Councilor Jackson reqeusted that this item be deferred until she could be present to participate. He noted that he would be willing to hear public testimony at today's meeting since there are individuals present who signed up to speak.

Councilor Hartzell requested that Council honor these types of requests by other councilors and suggested possibly scheduling a special meeting to discuss this issue and stated she would like a better analysis of some of the issues.

Councilor Chapman left the meeting at 1:57 p.m.

Council agreed to take public testimony but defer a decision to the next meeting.

Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Stated that citizens are fed up with what has been perceived as a lack of ethics and noted that this item has been on the Council agenda since September, but has repeatedly been delayed. Mr. Swales commented that the proposed ethics ordinance is not perfect, but stated it goes a long way to solving some of the problems experienced in the past and urged the Council to recognize the urgency of this ordinance.

Art Bullock/Provided the following three complaints in regards to the proposed ordinance: 1) the ordinance does not apply the same provisions of the current policy applicable to city employees to elected and appointed officials, 2) there are no provisions in the ordinance that would allow for any kind of independent resolution of an ethics violation, and 3) claimed there is a serious problem with trust and integrity in the Planning Department and commented on the provision that prohibits commission members from representing clients before another body of the city.

Dale Shostrom/1240 Tolman Creek Road/Chairman of the Historic Commission. Expressed concerns with the proposed changes to the ethics ordinance and stated the changes would adversely impact the Historic Commission and its membership. Mr. Shostrom commented on Section E, Conflict of Interest, subsection 4 and expressed concern with the second part of the regulation which reads "... or in any action or proceeding before another board, commission or the City Council..." He stated this portion of the ordinance is too restrictive and would create a loss of professional members to the Historic Commission, Tree Commission, and the Building Appeals Board. He noted the Historic Commission could lose funds as a result of this ordinance, and the quality of plan review could also be affected.

Mayor Morrison noted this item would be scheduled appropriately.

3. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Sections 10.30.005, 10.30.020 A. and 10.30.030 A. of the Ashland Municipal Code Addressing Outdoor Burning and Requirements for Permitted Fires."
Suggestion was made for was made for staff to come forward to answer Council's questions, but for Council to postpone a decision until the full Council is present.

Fire Chief Keith Woodley addressed the Council and noted there are four options presented in the staff report. He commented on Councilor Chapman's request for staff to consider a burning ban in Ashland that would only be lifted on a site specific basis if the Fire Department felt there were no other alternatives to open burning. He noted staff's proposal is to restrict open burning to wildfire fuels and noxious weed eradication only.

Request was made for staff to provided an amended staff memo with the new alternatives when this item is presented to the Council. Mr. Woodley asked that Council share their preferences for burning outside of the zone.

4. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 9.24 to Require Removal and Disposal of Non-Certified Woodstoves and Fireplace Inserts Upon Conveyance of Real Property, Requiring Disclosure and Removal Certification."

Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to approve Ordinance #2936. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hardesty and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

1. Tripartite Housing Committee Report.
Item will be placed on future agenda.
Meeting adjourned at 2:24 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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