Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, April 02, 2007

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
at the April 17, 2007 City Council Meeting.

Monday, April 2, 2007 at 5:15 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 5:16 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, Navickas and Jackson were present. Councilor Chapman arrived at 5:19 p.m.
Mayor Morrison reviewed the agenda and requested Council identify which items on the April 3, 2007 Regular Meeting agenda they would like further information from staff on.

Councilor Hardesty requested they discuss the Schofield/Monte Vista LID, Council Rules, and the Outdoor Burning Ordinance.

1. Look Ahead Review.
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Look Ahead. She noted staff will add an overview of the city attorney selection process to the April 16, 2007 Study Session and staff will also be adding an Executive Session to April 17, 2007 Council Meeting to discuss pending litigation. Ms. Bennett noted the items to be covered at the April 17, 2007 Council Meeting include: the swearing in of the new Police Chief, an update of the ordinance that will need to be amended if the charter measure passes, a public hearing for the supplemental budget, and the condo conversion ordinance. She stated there will be a Study Session on April 30, 2007 to discuss parade permit procedures, and the May 1, 2007 Council Meeting will include the possible appeal of the Glenn/N. Main project and a public hearing for the Nevada Street LID final assessment. Ms. Bennett noted there will likely be an Executive Session on May 1, 2007 to discuss the selection of the City Attorney and stated staff has tentatively scheduled an update on the PERF Report for May 15, 2007. She also noted the new section listed at the bottom of the Look Ahead document titled "Future Topics Not Yet Scheduled".

Request was made for staff to add the Transient Occupancy Tax to the "Topics Not Yet Scheduled" section.

2. Discussion of Local Improvement Districts (LIDs).
Public Works Director Paula Brown requested the Council discuss whether they want to continue to use Local Improvement Districts (LIDs). She noted the packet materials include the historical perspective of LID's in Ashland, the background of specific LIDs, and information on Resolution 1999-09. Ms. Brown clarified Resolution 1999-09 indicates the percentages at which the City contributes as the following: sidewalks (60%), storm drains (75%), street surface (20%), with the engineering and administrative costs split between the City and the assessment district. She added that due to the rising cost of materials and labor and the assessment cap included in the Resolution, the City's is currently paying approximately 75% of the LID costs.

Ms. Brown explained that it is up to the Council whether the City should continue with LIDs. She explained if they decide to stop this process, they will need to reevaluate their policy for paving streets. She added that depending on the outcome of this policy decision, staff could turn to the Street Financing Task Force to determine how future street paving could be funded. Ms. Brown noted that there is roughly 10 miles of streets and alleys within the City. She stated that there are some activities that staff can do to maintain the streets if they are not paved, but due to the Council's current paving policy, staff does not typically go out more than twice a year to grade the unpaved streets.

Ms. Brown clarified the Council is responsible for making the decision on whether to continue with LIDs. Should they move forward and continue using LIDs, staff's recommendation is to send to the Street Financing Task Force the finance element only, including: how does the City finance LIDs, what is the cost to the City, what is that added benefit from the local improvement area, and is the pain of an LID worth the financing the City receives. She stated the Street Financing Task Force would look at the data and bring a recommendation to the Council. She added that staff is not recommending that this group look at modifying Resolution 1999-09.

Ms. Brown clarified Resolution 1999-09 identifies that the assessment is based on the number of potential units and noted the Planning Department is responsible for computing the number of lots based on the zoning, infill requirements, and the policies of the Council.

Art Bullock/Suggested the Council separate the issue of should Ashland pave all remaining unpaved streets from the issue of changing the LID policy. He noted he had conducted a survey and the majority of individuals felt that the majority of a neighborhood should be in support of an LID before one can be formed. He stated that the current LID process is broken and noted that individuals with several potential lots can be assessed large amounts. Mr. Bullock stated that LIDs can create hard feelings amongst neighbors and stated that the boundaries are a big issue.

Council discussed their preferences on whether to continue with LIDs. Councilor Jackson voiced her support in continuing with LIDs, but suggested that the resolution could use some refinement. Councilor Navickas suggested the Council reevaluate their policy for paving all Ashland streets. He stated an LID could be a good tool when there is a greater percentage of approval in the neighborhood and noted the need to adjust the resolution to make LIDs fairer. Councilor Hardesty voiced her preference for there to be less emphasis on LIDs at this time, and recommended that they concentrate on LIDs for areas where sidewalks are needed for school children. Mayor Morrison commented on the benefits associated with the current policy of paving streets and recommended they come up with a more easily determinable policy for assessing the LIDs costs. Councilor Chapman shared his experience with having to pay for the installation of sidewalks and a fire hydrant in front of his home because the City did not require the developer to put them in. He stated there are elements he does not like about the way LIDs work, however he has not yet figured out a better way to do things. Councilor Hartzell stated she is in favor of continuing to pave streets, but agreed that the resolution should be looked at. She recommended this issue not be forwarded to a committee to tackle the policy questions, and suggested staff provide a list of all LIDs with criteria in order for Council to prioritize. Councilor Silbiger stated that LIDs are a useful tool, but the resolution needs to be reviewed.

Council consensus was to maintain LID's, but to review the Resolution 1999-09. Ms. Brown recommended not taking on this project until after the budget season. She stated it is important that the Planning Department be involved in this process and suggested a Study Session be held in October.

Comment was made requesting that staff prepare a memo on the ideas and concerns that have been brought forward at tonight's meeting. In addition, request was made for staff to bring forward a recommendation for an annual target to be spent on LIDs. Suggestion was made for a subcommittee of members of the Council and Planning Commission be formed to discuss what the appropriate improvements for a neighborhood are.

3. Review of Regular Meeting Agenda for April 3, 2007.

Outdoor Burning Ordinance
Councilor Hardesty questioned if the purpose of the burning of noxious weeds is for wildfire fuels reduction. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified in some cases removing noxious weeds can cause them to spread and it is beneficial to burn these on site. She noted in other instances it may be difficult to get to an area to remove the weeds and burning may be the only way to eliminate them. Comment was made noting that a burn permit is required regardless of whether the property is inside or outside the wildfire reduction area. Ms. Bennett noted that the Fire Department is recommending a reduction in the amount of burning that can take place, the question before Council is whether this is enough of a reduction.

Council Rules
Councilor Hardesty voiced her concern with having this on the agenda and stated that there are two elements that have yet to be resolved. Councilor Silbiger offered a brief explained as to why he believed this item was ready to officially come before the full Council.

Schofield/Monte Vista Local Improvement District
Councilor Hardesty requested clarification on "half street standards". Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified half street standards is typically sidewalks on one side, curbs and gutters, and often a curb on the other side as well. She indicated the developer in question did meet the minimum standards from a planning standpoint. Ms. Brown clarified the width of Monte Vista Street is not sufficient for sidewalks and there is only enough width on Schofield Street for sidewalks on one side. She also clarified the potential units identified for the City's cemetery land were based on the size of the lot (per Resolution 1999-09).

Meeting adjourned at 6:49 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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