Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May 1, 2007
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.
Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Forest Lands, Historic, Housing, and Tree Commissions.
The minutes of the Executive Session meeting of April 17, 2007, Regular Council meeting of April 17, 2007 and Executive Session meeting of April 23, 2007 were approved as presented.
Mayor's Proclamation of National Historic Preservation Week and Police Week and Peace Officer's Memorial Day were read aloud.

Jim Olney presented information on the 2nd Annual Rogue Valley Ride with Leaders event.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Request for Approval of Easement for Public Trail Purposes.
3. Liquor License Application - Kobe Restaurant.
4. Third Quarter Financial Report: January - March 2007.
Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
1. Council Appeal of PA 2006-02354, Kistler.
Mayor Morrison called the Public Hearing for a Land Use Hearing to order at 7:15 p.m. to hear Planning Action No. 2006-02354, a request for an appeal by the Ashland City Council of the Planning Commission decision to approve a request for Site Review approval to construct a two-story office building located on the vacant parcel at the southeast corner of the intersection of N. Main and Glenn Street. Mayor Morrison stated a variance is requested to allow a 10-foot front yard setback where a 20-foot front yard setback is required, and the applicant is also requesting an exception to the Street Standards to provide a curbside sidewalk on Glenn Street.

Mayor Morrison announced the public hearing procedure that will be followed.

Councilor Jackson stated her only contact regarding this application was when Colin Swales addressed the Council.

Councilor Chapman indicated he received emails from Colin Swales requesting the Council appeal this matter. He also conducted two site visits where he observed the setbacks and hiked along N. Main Street where he observed the positions of the buildings.

Councilor Hartzell stated she had met with the Community Development Director and conducted a site visit where she observed traffic conditions. She also declared that she had received emails from Colin Swales on the following dates: March 14, 2007, March 15, 2007, March 17, 2007, March 19, 2007, March 21, 2007, March 22, 2007, and April 3, 2007.

Mayor Morrison stated he had read the packet materials for this action and received emails from Mr. Swales, which are already included in the record. He also indicated that he has driven by the property.

Councilor Silbiger declared the following: 1) he has driven past the lot, 2) he read the articles in the Ashland Daily Tidings published on February 14, 2007 and March 26, 2007, 3) on March 15, 2007 he received emails from Mr. Swales and Councilor Navickas, and received an additional email from Mr. Swales on March 22, 2007, 4) he has reviewed the City Council meeting minutes from the March 23, 2007 Continued Meeting and suggested these be included in the record, and 5) he overheard a conversation where Councilor Navickas was informing Mr. Philip Lang he could not discuss this matter. Councilor Silbiger stated that he does not feel he has prejudged this application in any way.

Councilor Navickas stated he conducted a site visit and vaguely remembers a conversation between himself and Mr. Lang, and does not feel this will affect his opinion on this matter in any way. He indicated that he mistakenly placed a lawn sign on the property while campaigning and has also received and responded to an email from Colin Swales. Councilor Navickas stated that he could apply the facts to the law and make an objective and non-biased decision.

Councilor Hardesty declared the following: 1) she received the emails from Colin Swales already mentioned, 2) Mr. Swales approached her at a previous Council meeting and questioned if the Council had received any information on this planning action, and she responded 'No', 3) she has read the articles in the Daily Tidings, 4) she attended a Joint Planning Commission meeting where the subject of the Council appeal came up, and 5) she frequently drives past the site. Councilor Hardesty stated she can judge this application on the facts and not be biased.

Councilor Hartzell added that she also attended the Joint Meeting mentioned by Councilor Hardesty, but removed herself from the room when the issue of the appeal came up.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello recommended that the emails sent by Mr. Swales and the minutes from the March 23, 2007 Continued Council Meeting be incorporated into the record. He also suggested the Council consider incorporating the minutes from the Joint Planning Commission Meeting into the record as well.

Mr. Appicello read aloud the disclosure of bias and all members of the Council indicated that they have not prejudged this application or are biased by prior contacts and will make their decisions based solely on the application and the relevant criteria and standards.

Councilor Chapman added that he had noticed, as buildings are placed closer to the street it is resulting in a loss of tree canopy and greenery.

Councilor Hartzell noted a planning action from several years ago she was involved with and stated that her action with that particular application would not influence her decision on the planning action before them.

Mayor Morrison explained that any person has the right to rebut the ex parte disclosed and noted the appropriate time to do so. He then read aloud the criteria pursuant to the City Land Use Code and ORS 197.763(5).

Mayor Morrison asked the City Recorder if any challenges had been received and it was reported that three challenges had been submitted.

Mayor Morrison summarized the first challenge. He stated it was submitted by Mike Morris and is directed towards Councilors Hartzell and Navickas and includes a DVD of the March 23, 2007 meeting. He stated the challenge requests that both councilors recuse themselves for bias or for the Council to vote for reconsideration of the motion to appeal PA 2006-02354. In the challenge, Mr. Morris outlines his claim that both Councilor Hartzell and Navickas made comments at the March 23, 2007 Continued Council Meeting that indicated preference of one policy over another and stated that these comments bring into the question the ability of these members to remain impartial.

Councilor Navickas declared he can objectively apply the facts to the law and will do this in an unbiased manner. Councilor Hartzell commented on the discussion held on March 23, 2007 and stated Council did not discuss the specifics, but policy that was in conflict with this planning action. She declared that she could address this matter in an unbiased manner.

Councilor Chapman noted his discomfort with the discussion that was had on March 23, 2007.

Council agreed to allow Councilor Hartzell and Navickas to participate in the hearing.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to incorporate all minutes of the meetings that were referenced and the DVD of March 23, 2007 which was submitted with the challenge into the record. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Mayor Morrison noted challenge no. 2 submitted by Art Bullock is directed towards himself, and Councilor Silbiger was asked to summarize the challenge. Councilor Silbiger explained the challenge alleges that Mayor Morrison has actual and personal bias against Mr. Bullock and cites 17 points as evidence for bias. Copies of the challenge were provided to the Council. Mayor Morrison commented that there does not seem to be anything in the challenge that applies to the planning action before Council. Mayor Morrison announced he has no prejudgment of this case and is not prejudiced or biased by his prior contacts or involvement and will make any decision based solely on the application of the relevant criteria to the facts and evidence in the record.

Council agreed to allow Mayor Morrison to participate in the hearing.

Councilor Navickas commented on the process of written challenges and voiced his opinion that this is taking up substantial time and it might be better to allow individuals to come forward and express their challenge.

Mayor Morrison explained challenge no. 3 submitted by Art Bullock is directed towards Councilor Jackson. He stated the challenge alleges that Councilor Jackson has an actual bias against Mr. Bullock and cites 3 points as evidence for bias. Copies of the challenge were provided to the Council. Mayor Morrison stated that there does not seem to be anything in the challenge that applies to the planning action before the Council. Councilor Jackson announced she has no bias applicable to this planning application, has not prejudged this application, and is not prejudiced or biased and will base any decision solely on the application of the relevant criteria to the facts and evidence in the record.

Council agreed to allow Councilor Jackson to participate in the hearing.

Community Development Director David Stalheim submitted to the Council copies of an aerial photograph and survey of the area (Exhibits #11 and #12). Mr. Stalheim explained this is a Council-initiated appeal of a Planning Commission decision to approve Site Review to construct a two-story building at the intersection of N. Main and Glenn Street. The planning application also asks for an exception to the Street Standards to install a curbside sidewalk on the Glenn St. property frontage as well as a variance request to reduce the special setback requirement for front yards abutting arterial streets from 20 feet to 10 feet.

Mr. Stalheim stated the Planning Commission approved the request with support from the Historic Commission and the Community Development staff. He stated staff believes the decision of the Planning Commission is supported by the facts in the case and there are not sufficient grounds to overturn the decision. He explained Council's options are to affirm, reverse, or modify the Planning Commission's decision.

Mr. Stalheim noted the right-of-way width in this area varies between 69 ft. and 71 ft. He explained that staff had identified in a previous report to the Planning Commission that there appeared to be adequate space for N. Main Street to be a four-lane boulevard with parkrows and bicycle lanes. Mr. Stalheim stated Council would need to consider any associated impacts for the potential widening of the right-of-way.

He noted the corridor is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, there are several historic and significant trees located within the corridor, and any street widening would need to comply with the Historic District standards. Mr. Stalheim explained the Council could consider adding a condition to this application that states a 7 ft. bicycle and pedestrian easement shall be granted to the City along N. Main Street, which would allow for any future widening of the road for sidewalks, parkrows, or bicycle lanes.

Mr. Stalheim noted the City Planning and Engineering staff, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Tree Commission, and the Historic Commission have supported this application. In addition, he stated there were no comments, either written or verbal, received from any property owner or residence within the immediate vicinity of the application. He stated at the public hearing before the Planning Commission, testimony was received both in favor and in opposition to the planning application, but based on the lack of immediate neighborhood concerns, the special setback requirement in AMC 18.68.050 regarding light, air, vision and to permit the widening of streets should not be compromised by granting the variance request.

Mr. Stalheim commented on Planning Actions 2000-039 and 2000-074. He stated neither of these actions involved the required front yard setbacks. He added the Council never adopted Findings for PA 2000-039 and explained PA 2000-074 differs from the current planning action in that the term "adjacent" is not used in conjunction with the Historic District Design Standards. Mr. Stalheim also commented on Planning Action 2006-00088, which requested and was granted a 10 ft. setback on N. Main Street. He added that PA 2006-00088 was not located in a Historic District, but the same variance criteria did apply.

Mr. Stalheim listed the related City policies as AMC 18.108.110, the special setback requirements in AMC 18.68.050, the Site Review approval criteria in AMC 18.72.070, the exception to the Street Standards criteria in AMC 18.88.090, and the variance criteria in AMC 18.100. He noted Council's options outlined in the staff and stated a decision must be made by June 1, 2007 because of the 120-day deadline.

APPLICANT'S PRESENTATION (allowed 15 minutes)
Applicant Raymond Kistler provided some background information and explained that 6-8 years ago he designed a 4,400 sq. ft. office building for this site, met with staff for a pre-application conference, and at that time heard nothing negative from staff about doing the project. After meeting with the Historic Commission, they stated the structure looked too commercial for N. Main and suggested a more mixed-use look. A few years later, he returned to staff with a smaller building design and at that time was informed about the 20 ft. setback requirement.

Mr. Kistler explained his decision to request the setback variance and stated his opinion that the historic design is a better look for the street. He stated his proposed structure is not a large building for the site and stated his belief that the streetscape is enhanced by placing commercial buildings closer to the sidewalk. He noted the two building forms included in the packet materials and stated it is up to the Council to decide which one they feel is most appropriate for N. Main Street.

Mr. Kistler clarified he would welcome a parkrow and sidewalk and would consent to such a condition.

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

Bill Street/180 Meade Street/Submitted a print out from National Register of Historic Places for the Skidmore Academy Historic District and commented on period of significance, historic functions, and current functions. Mr. Street commented on the motel on N. Main Street, Big Al's Restaurant, and the historic property at Glenn and N. Main. He stated these three buildings in the immediate vicinity are not as applicable to the Historic District as the entire Historic District corridor. He stated the majority of the buildings in this corridor have a historic facade line that is close to 20 ft. or more and asked the Council to honor the original facade line that was established between 1850 and 1949.

Art Bullock/Stated that the variance request approval criteria have not been met. Mr. Bullock stated there are no, "unusual circumstances" that would require a variance and it was willfully self-imposed. He also stated that all of the requirements need to be met and if the applicant has a building design that can accommodate the setback without a variance, it should be used. Mr. Bullock voiced his preference for parkrows on both N. Main Street and Glenn Street but stated it would be illegal for Council to impose an easement condition as a condition of approval. Mr. Bullock requested the record be kept open for 7 days.

Jerome White/253 Third Street/Stated the property lines that the City inserted over the aerial map are inaccurate and submitted a drawing that that he claims accurately reflects the property line. Mr. White explained that drawing shows that they can accommodate a four-lane boulevard with parkrows and bike lanes within the existing street right-of-way. He stated it is not possible to meet both the historic setback and the 20 ft. setback requirements for this site and stated the project as approved by the Planning Commission would allow for future improvements to the street in conformance with the Ashland standards. Mr. White noted there are many different setbacks in this area and questioned how they decide which the right one is. He also noted that the Transportation Plan states that N. Main Street will not be widened and stated Council would need to update the Plan if they change this.

Mayor Morrison noted the remaining time allotted for the public hearing. Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello suggested the Council consider a motion to continue the hearing to a date certain. It was also recommended that the Mayor open the public hearing for the Nevada Street LID assessment and continue it to a date certain as well.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to continue this public hearing to May 9, 2007 at 4 p.m. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, and Chapman, YES. Councilor Jackson, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

2. Adoption of a Resolution Levying Special Benefit Assessments for the Nevada Street Local Improvement District No. 85 and Adoption of Findings.
Mayor Morrison opened the public hearing at 9:20 p.m.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to continue the hearing on the Nevada Street LID to the May 15, 2007 City Council meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Ambuja Rosen/Spoke regarding an anti-tethering ordinance and noted that she has been campaigning for this law for 16 months. Ms. Rosen stated that she has contacted twelve communities with similar tethering laws and one animal control officer informed her that the law only takes about 1 hour to enforce. Based on the number of complaints these communities get, she expects that after a brief flurry of complaints, Ashland will only get a handful of complaints each month. Ms. Rosen voiced her opinion that the Police Department could find 4-5 hours each month to enforce this law and does not believe the City would need an animal control officer. Ms. Rosen briefly commented on the proposed City Charter and stated she no longer believes there is no money to support this chaining ordinance.

Art Bullock/Commented on the revised charter placed on the May ballot and commented on the provision that allows four councilors to remove another councilor for violating the prohibition to indirectly coerce the city manager. Mr. Bullock stated this provision was removed by the Council with the stated intent to not allow this, but by removing the language they have actually expanded the power and requested the Council clarify their intent.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Supporting Measure 15-75 Local Option Tax for Operation of Public Library."
Councilor Silbiger noted there is a measure on the May ballot for the local option tax for operation of the public libraries and requested the Council adopt a City resolution supporting this measure.

Councilor Silbiger/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2007-16. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Chapman, Hartzell, Navickas and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

Councilor Silbiger read the Resolution aloud in full.

1. Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Adding a New Chapter 10.115, Tenant Rights in Conversion of Existing Multi-Family Rental Units into For-Purchase Housing."
Community Development Director David Stalheim noted the first reading of this ordinance occurred at the April 16, 2007 Council meeting and the following modifications were made based on the Council's motion: 1) section 10.115.030(c) further defines Fair Market Rent to specify "as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and 2) section 10.115.050 regarding recommendation to extend tenancy has been reworded.

Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to approve Ordinance #2939. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman explained that he is in favor of a tenants bill of rights, but voiced concern that the Planning Commission did not review the specifics of this ordinance. Councilor Jackson voiced her concern that this ordinance does not achieve the goal of improving the rental stock. Mr. Stalheim clarified this ordinance was part of the package that was presented to the Planning and Housing Commissions, however at that point all three ordinances were combined. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, and Jackson , NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

2. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 15.04, Regarding Conversion of Existing Multi-Family Rental Units into For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Family Districts."
Community Development Director David Stalheim noted the first reading of this ordinance took place at the April 17, 2007 Council meeting and a modification was made based on the Council's motion to omit "Owner shall also furnish a copy of the report and approve final inspections to the buyer, at least 10 days prior to the sale of the unit" from section 15.04.115.

Mr. Stalheim clarified the building code standards that would be applied at the time of inspection and stated if there are no changes to the structure, staff will use the existing building code requirements; however, if any improvements trigger new building permits, it will require consistency with the new standards. He also clarified that this is only for conversions to for-purchase units, and anything that remains as a rental would not require an inspection.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Ordinance #2938. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Navickas, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Jackson and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Repealing Resolution Nos. 81-20, 81-63, 89-14 and Appointing Park Commission to Facilitate Senior Program."

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-14. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

4. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Updating the Forest Lands Commission Membership, Quorum, Powers and Duties and Repealing Resolution 2005-31."

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-15. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman, and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

2. Discussion of the Imperatrice Property Proposal.
Councilor Chapman requested the Council begin discussing what to do with the Imperatrice Property and listed the following potential uses for this property: 1) preserve it as a natural area to be used for recreational purposes with corridors for hiking, biking, and equestrian access, 2) preserve the area as farmland to be used for agricultural purposes and the generation of local food, or 3) utilize the property for future energy generation. Councilor Chapman requested Council's permission to form a group of people, including a staff member, to start looking into this.

Councilors Jackson, Chapman, and Navickas voiced their support for this effort. Councilor Hartzell also voiced support, but expressed concern because this relates to what they will be discussing during Council Goal setting. She also stated she is uncertain with the request for assistance from City staff and stated she is not comfortable with discussing a possible sale of the property. Mayor Morrison stated this is a subject that needs to be discussed, but stated this needs to be done in a manner that does not generate rumors and anxieties within the community.

City Administrator Martha Bennett suggested they dedicate a small portion of staff time between now and the July goal setting session, in order to provide Council will some framework thoughts about what would be entailed in a master planning process.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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