These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
August 21, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson and Silbiger were present. Councilor Chapman was absent.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Citizen's Budget Committee, Tree Commission, Forest Lands Commission, and the Traffic Safety Commission.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Executive Session minutes of August 7, 2007 and Regular Council minutes of August 7, 2007 were approved with the following clarification: Page 5, under the Planning Commission Ordinance discussion, Councilor Hardesty clarified she had voiced support for a Transportation Commission to handle transportation issues and for the City to take more responsibility for economic and industrial development.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Quarterly Financial Report: April - June 2007.
3. Mayor's Appointment to Various Commissions.
Councilor Hardesty requested Item #2 be pulled for further discussion.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Consent Agenda Items #1 and #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg clarified there was less money from franchise fees due to the utility rates not being raised until the end of the year. He also noted the City had anticipated the selling of property, which did not occur, there were projects that were not completed, and a reduction in building
activity contributed to the drop in revenue.
Comment was made that this raises a "flag" for the future and they need to be mindful of these problems at the next budget session. City Administrator Martha Bennett noted that staff had explained this was going to happen at the last budget session and noted that staff has seen this coming and has been planning accordingly.
Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 5-0.
1. Council Appeal of PA2007-00455, 247 Otis Street Final Plan.
Mayor Morrison read aloud the procedures for public Land Use hearings and opened the public hearing at 7:13 p.m.
ABSTENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACTS
Councilors Hartzell, Jackson, Hardesty, Silbiger and Mayor Morrison reported no ex parte contact. Councilor Navickas disclosed he had attended the public hearing at the Planning Commission, but did not provide any comments.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen read aloud the list of applicable substantive criteria for this decision. Community Development Director David Stalheim clarified the applicable criteria for tonight is the final approval criteria set forth in Ashland Municipal Code 18.88.030(B)(5).
Community Development Director David Stalheim noted the appeal proceedings set forth in AMC 18.108.110 and stated the applicable approval criteria is contained in AMC 18.88.030(B)(5). He listed the seven criteria and noted this information is also outlined in the Council Communication.
Mr. Stalheim stated the Planning Commission voted 7-1 to approve the subdivision with the conditions outlined in the record. A timely appeal was filed by Art Bullock;however, Mr. Bullock has failed to identify any specific issues as to why this planning action does not meet the applicable criteria. Mr. Stalheim explained the Council Findings contained on page 65 of the planning action record address the alleged traffic mitigation errors and noted that no changes have been made between the preliminary plan approval and the final plan.
Mr. Stalheim commented that both the Planning Commission and staff find that the planning action complies with the criteria for approval of final outline plan.
Mr. Stalheim explained the Council must base their decision on the criteria listed in AMC Section 18.88.030(B)(5)(g) and noted they cannot go back and address the layout of the subdivision or any other issue that has been concluded. He stated the basis of the appeal is whether or not the project complies with the street standards and noted that Council had extensive discussion and resolved this issue at the preliminary plan approval.
Devian Aguirre and Kerry KenCairn addressed the Council. Ms Aguirre stated they are uncertain how to proceed because they are unaware of what the specific issues are. She noted the outline plan was approved and their final plan is substantially the same. Ms. Aguirre stated she believes they are in compliance and stated they are interested in finding out what the appellant's issues are.
Ms. KenCairn clarified the changes to the sidewalks were done in order to protect the wetlands and trees. It was also clarified they would be installing a pervious concrete path and noted the pavement would need to be cleaned periodically to maintain its perviousness.
OPPONENTS AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVES
Art Bullock addressed the Council and questioned if the packets, record, and DVDs for the prior proceedings before the City Council and the Planning Commission were included in the current record.
Mr. Appicello clarified the minutes of the Planning Commission meetings as well as the packet information is included in the record. He stated the videos are not included unless they are specifically incorporated or someone presents them and enters them into the record.
Mr. Bullock requested the record be kept open for an additional seven days in order for him to present this information; however, if Council decides to enter this information themselves, he will consider withdrawing his request.
Mr. Bullock provided the following seven alleged errors regarding the planning application:
1) Swimming Pool Leak. Mr. Bullock stated the neighborhood has had a problem with this for decades and it has leaked for so many years that it has created a permanent wetland on the north side of the poolhouse. He stated the outline plan requires this to be resolved with a utility and stormdrain plan, and stated this is not included in the record. Mr. Bullock also commented that the wetland needs to be held in perpetuity.
2) Wetland Runoff. Mr. Bullock stated the wetlands flood the curb and gutters and overflows into the stormdrain, which empties at the end of Glendower Street. He stated the water from the hot springs creates a different kind of ecosystem and stated the environmental solution required by the outline plan has not been met. He also noted the runoffs proximity to Bear Creek.
3) Pedestrian Path. Mr. Bullock stated the Planning Commission did not resolve the issues regarding the surface, depth, and tree protection of the path and stated the specifics mentioned by the applicant are not included in the plan. He also commented that this should have gone before the Tree Commission and it would be a legal error to approve this without the Tree Commission's approval.
4) Access Streets. Mr. Bullock stated the Ashland Municipal Code requires the developer to improve major development access streets to City standards; however, this information is not included in the plan. He commented on the concentration of traffic on Drager and Laurel Streets, and stated neither are shown in the plan to be improved to City standards. He also questioned if Drager Street would be changed to "Draeger" Street inside the subdivision.
Mr. Bullock commented on the developer's participation in a Local Improvement District (LID) for Laurel Street. He stated the application shifts the financial burden of improving Laurel Street from the developer to the property owners and he feels that the developer should be required to bring Laurel Street up to City standards. Mr. Bullock noted under Resolution #1999-09, the developer could revoke their participation agreement. He also commented that the final plan should show the documents in detail that will satisfy the conditions of the outline plan and this has not been done.
5) Water Permit Requirement. Mr. Bullock stated this requirement has not been met.
Mr. Bullock clarified the plan does not include a sidewalk from the development to Laurel Street and stated the sidewalk only covers the area on Otis Street next to the development.
Comment was made questioning what Mr. Bullock's sixth and seventh alleged errors are. Mr. Bullock stated the application has not been signed by the property owner and the identity of the signer is not clear, and the seventh error is regarding the delegation of discretion. He commented on the improper transfer of discretionary authority from the Council to staff and stated the Council needs to maintain this authority.
THOSE WISHING TO PROVIDE TESTIMONY (None)
REBUTTAL BY THE APPLICANT
Devian Aguirre and Kerry KenCairn commented that the alleged errors listed by Mr. Bullock are not relevant to the approval criteria. Ms. KenCairn noted that aside from this, they would still take this opportunity to respond to Mr. Bullocks claims.
Issue #1 - Swimming Pool Leak. Ms.KenCairn explained the drainage issue of the pool and the wetland is addressed in the outline plan and the final plan, and the final engineering plans are a condition of approval. She stated it is standard for conditions of approval to be met after the approval of the Planning Commission and stated it is staff's discretion to work with the applicant to make sure these conditions are carried out.
Issue #2 - Wetland Runoff. Ms. Aguirre noted the wetland on the west side of the property will be maintained and Ms. KenCairn explained the runoff will be collected into a drainage system. It was noted that it is natural for these waters to flow into Bear Creek and it was clarified that the wetland itself cools the water.
Issue #3 - Pedestrian Path. It was expalined that the entire project was approved at outline plan and the path has not been altered. Ms. KenCairn noted the Tree Commission did review this application at one time. She stated it was not taken back before the Tree Commission for a second time; however, they do not see this as an issue since the plan did not change. Ms. KenCairn also noted she is a Landscape Architect and used to serve on the Tree Commission and understands how to properly build a path under trees.
Issue #4 - Access Street. Ms Aguirre explained the access path does extend to Laurel from both Randy and Drager Streets, and noted this is shown in the narrative portion of the plans. She noted this issue was discussed at great length and is one of the conditions of approval.
Issue #5 - Water Permit. Ms. Kencairn clarified the well on the property is of a size and capacity that does not require permits.
Issue #6 - Signing the Application. Ms. Aguirre clarified they signed as an agent and this is included in the record.
Issue #6 - Delegation of Discretion. Ms. KenCairn explained that conditions of approval are the way planning actions are carried out and stated it is the discretion of staff to work with the applicant to finalize details after it is approved with conditions. She stated this is not illegal as claimed by the appellant and noted that most of the issues dealt with at that point are highly technical and are typically worked out with the City's Engineering Department.
Ms. Aguirre clarified they agreed to extend the sidewalks to Laurel Street from Otis and Randy Streets, not Drager as incorrectly mentioned earlier. She also noted they are not trying to separate themselves from the neighborhood and will participate in any LID and are prepared to pay their share of the costs.
Ms. Aguirre clarified based on the traffic study that was completed, the access streets do comply with the street standards, with the exception of the sidewalk. She added there is no evidence that suggests these streets are overburdened from a transportation standpoint.
Councilor Hartzell questioned if the applicant would be willing to include the use of pervious concrete in Condition 15. Both Ms. Aguirre and Ms. KenCairn stated "yes". Councilor Hartzell also noted a typographical error in Condition 15, and stated it should read "... fencing should be a minimum of 3 feet".
Ms. KenCairn addressed Mr. Bullock's claim that the stormdrain and utility plans are missing. She explained they have provided everything that was required of them both at outline and final plan and stated the plans were displayed as part of their public testimony at two previous meetings.
Ms. KenCairn clarified "Drager" was spelled incorrectly in their materials and it is not their intention to change the spelling of the street name.
Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello commented on Mr. Bullock's request for staff to incorporate the meeting videos into the record and questioned if Mr. Bullock would withdraw his request to leave the record open if Council incorporates these materials. Mr. Bullock clarified he would also like the packets and records incorporated. Mr. Appicello requested clarification on which meetings information he is requesting. Mr. Bullock stated he is interested in all records that have been previously before Council and the Planning Commission pertaining to this project, including the DVDs of the meetings.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s for all proceedings, documents, and DVD recordings of Planning Commission and City Council meetings specifically related to the outline and final plan of the current action be included in the record. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hardesty and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Silbiger and Jackson, NO. Motion passed 3-2.
Mr. Bullock requested that the public record be kept open for an additional seven days.
Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to deny the request to keep the record open for seven days. Motion was withdrawn.
Mayor Morrison closed the public hearing.
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to reconsider the motion to include all proceedings, documents, and DVD recordings of the Planning Commission and City Council meeting specifically related to the outline and final plan of this project in the record. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen read aloud the original motion: "Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s for all proceedings, documents, dvd recordings of Planning Commission and City Council meetings specifically related to the outline and final plan of the current action be included in the record."
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Jackson, and Hartzell, NO. Motion fails 5-0.
Mayor Morrison annouced the record will close Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 5 p.m. The applicant indicated they would like the opportunity to submit final written argument.
Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to continue deliberations to the September 18, 2007 Council Meeting. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the timing issues regarding the record being kept open for an additional 7 days and giving the applicant time to submit final written argument. The applicant agreed to an extension of the 120 day requirement. Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Jackson and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed 5-0.
PUBLIC FORUM (None)
1. Library Update.
City Administrator Martha Bennett noted County Administrator Danny Jordan was present to provide an update on the progress the County has made in regards to reopening the libraries.
Mr. Jordan commented on the work that has been done since the failure of the Library Levy and stated many things have happened over the last week. He explained the County does not know what the actual amount of the reauthorization from the Federal Government will be, but they believe it will be within 1% of what they received last time, which was $23 Million. Mr. Jordan explained of that money, $15.3M would go to General Fund Services, and $8.3M would go towards library services.
Mr. Jordan commented on the legal boundaries regarding the facilities and clarified the County does not have 15 libraries; it has one library with 15 branches. He commented on the unique circumstances regarding the various facilities and stated these circumstances limit their ability to consolidate and have fewer branches.
Mr. Jordan stated the recommendation to their Budget Committee is to appropriate out of the General Fund Reserve $2.3M in addition to the $1.5M they have already budgeted and open all 15 branches of the library at a reduced level of operating hours. He explained five of the branches would be open 24 hours per week, four would be open 8 hours per week, and the remainder would be open 16 hours per week. Mr. Jordan stated Ashland is one of the five branches to be open 24 hours per week.
Mr. Jordan provided an explanation of the criteria used to evaluate the proposals and noted that LSSI was the successful bidder. He stated the County is currently in contract negotiations with LSSI and clarified if Ashland wishes to increase the hours of operation to 40 hours per week, it would cost an additional $240,000 and to go from 24 hours to 48 hours per week would cost $360,000. Mr. Jordan stated the base contract with LSSI allows the County to negotiate, by jurisdiction, individual desires from the various communities and cited examples of how other jurisdictions are considering supplementing the system. He added the County plans on opening all of the libraries at the noted service levels this November.
Mr. Jordan clarified the contract would guarantee the price for 5 years; however, they would renew the contract annually.
Comment was made questioning LSSI's record in other communities. Mr. Jordan noted the 2004 report and stated there were issues, both positive and negative, listed about LSSI's performance. He explained he performed a considerable amount of background work and stated LSSI's proposal addressed the issues raised in the 2004 report. He noted other government agencies working with LSSI, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute and stated that any issues would need to be handled through contract compliance. He commented on the need to build a contract that addresses all of the issues and noted the contract would have a 60-day termination clause.
Councilor Navickas expressed his concerns regarding privatization and outsourcing and questioned if it is possible for Ashland to have a certain level of independence regarding book purchases and staff hiring, while maintaining a level of connectivity. Mr. Jordan commented on a possible "hybrid" option and stated if Ashland has a proposal, he would take it to the Board of Commissioners for consideration. He also explained that the book-buying element would be a part of the contract and LSSI would be required to work with each of the local advisory committees and Friends of the Libraries for each jurisdiction in terms of multiple issues within the contract, and not just the book-buying element.
Mr. Jordan clarified that as the contractor, the County does not control the number of employees, what they are paid, or how they get the work done; all they have control over is what they are requiring as the outcome.
Mayor Morrison noted the City's ballot measure and stated that he believes this is something the City still wants to do, even give the County's decision. Mr. Jordan confirmed the City could use the funds from a local tax levy to seek enhanced services from LSSI.
Comment was made questioning if LSSI would be required to pay the City's living wage. Mr. Jordan stated it would difficult for LSSI to hire employees unless they offer a competitive wage package.
Mayor Morrison noted the intent to open the libraries as soon as possible and to find a long-term solution and thanked the County for the efforts in working towards this direction.
City Administrator Martha Bennett noted there are some choices that the Council must make. She stated there is no option at this point to remove the ballot measure and they do not have an option to not certify the property tax levy by October 1, 2007. Ms. Bennett listed the following options the Council does have, and noted they do not need to make a decision tonight:
Option #1: Augment the services the County is proposing to purchase through LSSI by adding hours.
Option #2: Do nothing.
Option #3: Attempt a hybrid option, which would entail the City hiring its own employees, but still using the County's collection and infrastructure system.
Option #4: Go it alone and have Ashland operate its own library.
Councilor Hartzell suggested the Council hold a Special Meting to take public input on this issue.
Amy Blossom/140 Susan Lane/Commented on the importance of the levy to operate Ashland's library and stated it is essential that this levy passes so that Ashland can expand on the basic level of service to be provided by the County. Ms. Blossom noted the need to bring the service level back up to where it was when the library closed and encouraged everyone to vote.
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/Noted she is Co-chair of the Committee to Open Ashland Library. She noted this committee has been holding meetings every week to gather input from the public and stated they have received mixed views regarding the benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing and privatization. Ms. Vavra stated the community needs to come together and pass the Ashland levy to augment the County's service level and encouraged the citizens to vote.
Joshua Gordon/945 Cedar Way/Voiced support for passing the levy and keeping the City's options open. He stated that 24 hours a week is not what the community wants, and stated the library should be open a minimum of 40 hours per week.
Mayor Morrison stated it is important for the citizens of Ashland to understand that the City is asking for the passage of a levy that will authorize the expenditure of up to $0.58 per $1,000 assessed property value, and clarified that the City has no intentions of spending more than is necessary.
Council offered their comments and input regarding the options before them. Councilor Silbiger voiced support for focusing on getting the levy passed. He stated the service levels the County is offering are not acceptable to the citizens of Ashland. He requested clarification on whether the City's Living Wage Ordinance would apply and voiced support for holding a public meeting to take public testimony and provide clarification. Councilor Navickas commented on the importance of the passage of the levy, and voiced support of a hybrid option in the long run. Councilor Hardesty voiced support for holding an additional meeting and agreed that it is very important for the levy to pass. Councilor Hartzell requested legal guidance on how the ballot language would be impacted by their choices, and which of the choices would gain them the highest likelihood of getting the ballot levy passed.
Mayor Morrison reiterated the key issues and stated that augmenting what the County is offering is the best way to proceed. He noted that this is not a permanent solution and once the libraries are back open they can begin working on a long-term solution.
Mr. Jordan commented that there are job positions that would not qualify for the City's living wage and stated that the County cannot expect the contractor to pay more than they did.
Ms. Bennett questioned what date the Council would like to hold the Special Meeting on. Council agreed on Monday, June 27, 2007. Ms. Bennett recapped the Council discussion and stated: 1) Council is interested in local community input and influence over the service, 2) Council is interested in the quality and content of the materials and services being offered, 3) Council is interested in fairness to the employees, and 4) Council is interested in preserving a local option and the potential independence of the Ashland branch or the potential for a new governing structure to be formed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS (None)
I. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Adopting a Supplemental Budget Establishing Appropriations Within the 2007-2008 Budget."
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg stated this is one of the three ways the budget can be adjusted and explained the supplemental budget is necessary due to revenue that was received late in the fiscal year from a regional task force operation. Mr. Tuneberg stated staff's recommendation is to approve the resolution, creating $66,900 in appropriations in the Police Department for a variety of different items including training, equipment, and professional services.
Councilor Hartzell requested the public be made aware of the general orders that are being written. Police Chief Terry Holderness requested Councilor Hartzell specify which general orders she is interested in, such as the Taser Policy or the Use of Force Policy. Councilor Hartzell noted she is also interested in the policies dealing with mentally ill individuals and the youth.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mr. Holderness briefly commented on the segway purchase. He stated the segway offers advantages that a bicycle doesn't and stated this is a good use for this type of funding.
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-33. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas noted his preference for the majority of the funds to be spent on training rather than facilities, and stated he does not support the purchase of the segway unit and would rather this money be spent on purchasing bicycles. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, and Jackson, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
2. First reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, Regarding Conversion of Existing Rentals Into For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Family Zoning Districts."
Community Development Director David Stalheim noted the public hearing for this item has already occurred, the hearing and record is closed, and it is now time for Council deliberation. He stated that since this item was last before Council, the Housing Commission has given their support, and the Legal Department has completed its review of the ordinance. Mr. Stalheim noted the Legal Department has recommended the ordinance be amended regarding the reference to Resolution #2006-13 and stated this amendment is neccessary in several sections.
Councilor Jackson left the meeting at 10:07 p.m.
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman noted there are members of the Housing Commission present and prepared to speak.
Housing Commissioners Carol Voisin, Aaron Benjamin and William Smith addressed the Council. Ms. Voisin noted she is speaking on behalf of the Commission and commented on the need for workforce housing. She stated this ordinance helps secure rental units that are essential for affordable housing and noted the Housing Commission unanimously recommended the Council approve the proposed ordinance. Ms. Voisin stated this is an essential tool that will help build a viable affordable housing inventory in Ashland and stated it is their moral responsibility to provide affordable housing to residents and workers.
Mr. Benjamin stated this is one of the strongest pieces of legislation that the Housing Commission has been able to support. He stated the ordinance is not perfect, but it does provide the City an instrument where by some degree it can control the number of affordable rental units that remain on the market.
Mr. Smith stated Ashland will become a victim of its own success if they cannot allow people in the service industry to live here and stressed the need for workforce housing.
Councilor Hartzell commented on the concern that this ordinance could potentially diminish or serve as a disincentive for new apartments to be built and questioned if there is language that could be inserted that would serve as an incentive for individuals to build apartments. Mr. Goldman stated language regarding the incentive for new units is outside of the scope of this ordinance and suggested they consider an ordinance amendment to the R2 or R3 zones that regulates the develop of new housing.
Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas clarified the motion includes the amendments requested by the Legal Department. Councilor Hardesty noted concerns raised regarding this ordinance, but voiced support for moving this to second reading. Councilor Silbiger noted his disappointment in the rental needs analysis and the lack of the Planning Commission's approval. He indicated he is willing to move forward with this ordinance, but would like to hear from the Planning Commission what their issues are. Councilor Hartzell suggested staff provide a summary of the Planning Commission's core issues and also suggested staff return within 6 months with a strategy to promote the creation of rental housing. Mr. Stalheim indicated that he does not feel it is possible for staff to produce a strategy within 6 months. Councilor Hardesty questioned if it is possible to hear more from the Planning Commission before this ordinance comes back for second reading.
Mr. Stalheim noted this ordinance will be back before Council in two weeks, and does not believe it is possible for the Planning Commission to weigh in before the Council meets again. Mayor Morrison voiced his support for the ordinance. He stated it is not perfect, but believes it is a step in the right direction. He also voiced his support for looking at ways to provide incentive to build new rental housing in Ashland. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Jackson was absent. Motion passed 4-0.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS (None)
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor