Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, April 16, 2007

April 16, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the Study Session to order at 5:15 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

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

City Administrator Martha Bennett asked each councilor to identify which agenda items they have questions on.

Council noted the following agenda items they have questions on:
A Resolution Updating the Powers and Duties of the Forest Lands Commission.
Approval of Sole Source Procurement and Public Contract (Small Woodlands Services, Inc.)

An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Concerning Conversion of Multi-Family Rental Units into For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Family Zoning Districts to Provide Additional Incentives, Contractual Commitment, Density Bonus and other Voluntary Mechanisms to Increase Affordable For-Purchase Housing Stocks and Affordable Rental Units.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified pages 21-23 of the packet materials for the condo conversion ordinance lists applicable sections of the Oregon Revised Statutes.

1. Look Ahead Review.
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Look Ahead document. She explained the Study Session scheduled for April 30, 2007 will not be held on Parade Permit Procedures. She stated the Council Meeting on May 1, 2007 will include public hearings on the Glenn/North Main Street Appeal and Final Assessment of the Nevada Street LID. On April 14, 2007, the Council will hold a Study Session to receive an update on the Emergency Operation Center. Ms. Bennett noted the Regular Council Meeting on April 15, 2007 will include two public hearings, one on the McDonald Property Appeal and the second on the sale of two of the four lots of the City's Strawberry Lane Property. Ms. Bennett commented that the majority of the items scheduled for the June meetings are budget items.

Request was made for a summary of the RVTD issue be provided to the Council prior to them making a decision on the RVTD Contract. Ms. Bennett clarified staff would bring forward an analysis of the different options.

Ms. Bennett noted a Study Session with the Chamber of Commerce will be held on June 18, 2007 in the Siskiyou Room. Suggestion was made for this to be held sooner and Ms. Bennett stated she would check with the Chamber and see if this is a possibility.

Councilor Hardesty noted a date for the Council Goal Setting is missing from the Look Ahead. Suggestion was made for the Council to discuss the process they will use for goal setting at the April 30 Study Session since the Parade Permit discussion has been cancelled. Councilor Silbiger noted that he will not be present at this meeting. Request was made for Councilor Silbiger to submit his input prior to the meeting so that it can be incorporated into the discussion.

Councilor Jackson noted her lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. is next week and requested members of the Council contact her prior to her departure to discuss the applications and their requests.

2. Discussion of Right Water for the Right Use.
Public Works Director Paula Brown introduced Bob Elmstad with Carollo Engineers. She also noted members of the Water Recycling Task Force and Robbin Pearce with the Conservation Department were present.

Ms. Brown explained the purpose of this Study Session is for Council to discuss the City's long term water needs and sources, determine if this is still a Council priority, and to provide direction to staff. She stated staff recommends that Council acknowledge that water is a significant resource and direct staff to aggressively pursue the Right Water for the Right Use by:

1) Directing staff to talk with TID and gain their support for the Right Water for the Right Use,

2) Increasing the membership of the current Water Recycling Task Force as outlined in the staff report, and

3) Renaming the ad hoc committee to the Right Water for the Right Use Task Force and provide them with a set of challenges.

Ms. Brown commented on how the City should tackle the issue of irrigation water and noted the option of using effluent for irrigation purposes. She also commented on improving the City's conservation efforts.

Ms. Brown explained the City will need to perform engineering solutions to meet the requirements from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). She stated non-engineering solutions by themselves will not reduce the temperature levels enough to comply with the DEQ requirements, however she recommended the City pursue these activities and incorporate them into the City's long term solution. Ms. Brown added that it will take some time to bring the right program to the community and to overcome any initial stigma.

Ms. Brown clarified that she would provide a summary of staff's last meeting with the DEQ. She also clarified that staff is recommending that the Right Water Right Use Task Force meet for one year to look at the options available and determine what the community wants.

Mr. Elmstad commented on the incremental steps communities can take to improve water quality, such as riparian planting to provide shade along Ashland Creek. He stated that Ashland has multiple water products and sources of water in the community, and each product has their own range of different issues. He recommended the Council allow the Committee to sort through this complicated matrix and see if they can arrive at something that works to the benefit of the community and the benefit of local streams.

Ms. Brown requested Council's input as to whether looking at the bigger picture is a priority to them, or if they would rather take things one piece at a time as issues arise. She noted her desire to talk with the TID Board and stated this could bring about a long term solution for the City. She also clarified that staff would come back to Council and bring forward updates to make sure they are on the right path.

Ms. Brown clarified the largest cost the City would face would be creating the infrastructure in order to have a separate piping system. She stated this would be a very expensive improvement, but noted the Council's decision to keep the treatment plant was also a big and expensive decision.

Council shared their preferences in regards to staff's recommendation. Councilor Jackson voiced support for expanding the Committee and suggested they put more emphasis on conservation of water for landscape purposes. Councilors Hardesty and Hartzell also voiced support for staff's recommendation. Councilor Hardesty questioned if a councilor would be added to the Committee, and Ms. Brown clarified that she would welcome this participation. Councilor Hartzell commented on her desire to make sure there is an open process in regards to the Committee and questioned what kind of policy direction would be helpful to the Committee at this point. Ms. Brown suggested a policy direction could be to reduce the use of potable water.

Mr. Elmstad provided a brief description of the activities and purpose of the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies and clarified why a member from this agency has been recommended to join the Committee. Ms. Brown clarified that financing options and cost specifics for any suggested activities would come from staff and not the Committee.

Council continued providing their input. Councilor Navickas voiced his support for this program and suggested the emphasis be on conservation first. He also shared his concerns that this might lead to the purchase of more water rights or expediting the TAP project. Councilor Chapman stated this is a high priority and offered the following comments/suggestions: 1) did they consider shading the tanks at the treatment plant to reduce temperatures, 2) the City should encourage conservation by adding tiers to the water costs and consider adding water use restrictions before there is an emergency, 3) the City should make it easier to use rainwater and gray water in individual houses, 4) he is dubious about the suggestion for the City to build a parallel system, and 5) feels one year is a long time to wait before any action will be taken. In response to Councilor Chapman's comments, Mr. Elmstad stated the treatment plant itself has very little impact on the temperature; however shading is a positive thing regardless. In regards to the use of rainwater and gray water, Ms. Brown noted that many of these requirements are imposed by the State.

Request was made for the Committee's meetings to be noticed and for the Council to be forwarded meeting notes from the Committee on a regular basis. Ms. Brown clarified the meetings will continue to be noticed and stated staff would include the minutes from the meetings in the Council packets.

3. Review of Regular Meeting Agenda for April 17, 2007.

Small Woodlands Services Contract
Councilor Navickas noted his concern that this contract was not submitted for open bidding. Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello explained this is exempt to public contract bidding, and Fire Chief Keith Woodley noted that the previous two times the City requested proposals, Small Woodlands Services were the only ones who replied.

Forest Lands Commission
Councilor Jackson questioned the removal of reference to the Fire Management Plan under the Powers and Duties section. Mr. Woodley explained the Committee felt the focus should be on improving the overall health of the forest. He also explained the Fire Management Plan was removed because preparation has been completed and the Committee felt it was best to include general language and to not date the document by including specific references.

Condo Conversion Ordinance/Land Use Title 18
Councilor Hardesty questioned the provision regarding the new negotiated development agreements. Mr. Appicello provided an explanation as to why this was incorporated and clarified this provision is not required, but is one of the additional mechanisms available.

Community Development Director David Stalheim noted that this ordinance has been brought forward due to the noticing that was completed in accordance with Measure 56, however it is staff's opinion that this ordinance is not ready to be adopted as currently drafted. He explained that although the content of the ordinance amendments are in large part similar to those versions reviewed by the Housing Commission and Planning Commissions, notable changes have been incorporated following review by legal. He suggested that the two other ordinances being put forward could stand alone and staff could bring back a final ordinance for adoption in July and might not have to take this document back to the Planning Commission.

Suggestion was made for staff to put this ordinance "in concept" before the Planning and Housing Commissions in order to get a sense of where they want to go with this.

Request was made for staff to provide a visual timeline regarding asking for a conversion and tenant rights both in the old and new systems.

Councilor Hartzell noted that notice was only sent to the property owners and not those living in the rentals and voiced support for hearing testimony from all types of individuals. She also expressed concern that this issue could create political problems in the neighborhoods.

4. Discussion of City Attorney Recruitment Process.
City Administrator Martha Bennett provided a suggested outline of how the City Attorney hiring process could proceed, but stressed that this is Council's process. She noted that the position closes on Friday, April 20, however currently they have only received three applications. Because of this, she noted that they may need to advertise again and consider adjusting the salary in order to obtain more candidates.

Ms. Bennett proposed the following process be used for the City Attorney selection:

1) Have a subset of the Council review the resumes by April 30, 2007 and recommended 4-6 applicants to move forward to the interview process. (Ms. Bennett restated that this subset may need to recommend that the City re-advertise in order to obtain a sufficient number of applications.)

2) Staff would perform an initial background check and prepare a short written exercise for the finalists to complete prior to the interviews.

3) The full Council would then conduct formal interviews with the finalists the week of May 21 - May 29, 2007.

4) In regards to community involvement, Ms. Bennett suggested a televised panel, similar to what was used for the Police Chief recruitment, be used. She also noted a citizen's suggestion to have a citizen panel consisting of local attorneys also be used.

5) Lastly, a site visit would be conducted and the Mayor would recommend his selection to the Council for appointment.

Council voiced support for the process outlined by Ms. Bennett, including the lawyer panel and the televised interview. Comment was made that they could mix attorneys and citizens on one panel. Ms. Bennett clarified that the Council will be the only ones conducting a formal interview and the rest will just be providing feedback.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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