Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, October 15, 2007

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

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.

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

1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the Look Ahead with the council and noted several changes. She also presented for council review/discussion what an agenda would look like if crafted in the form of questions.

2. Review of regular meeting agenda for October 16, 2007
Interim City Attorney Richard Appicello announced he had received a recent Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the County in regards to Library Services, and he handed out the revised IGA to the Council. Management Analyst Ann Seltzer clarified that the suggested amendment states the Branch Manager will attend the Citizen Library Ad Hoc Committee's monthly meetings with the County. Mr. Appicello stated the County had sent the revised IGA and noted the revised sections. Ms. Seltzer stated the City's concern is that funds are not used to supplement the library's base services. Ms. Bennett clarified that the FTE's are noted in the contract as outlined in the ballot measure.

Councilor Silbiger noted that the mayor normally makes appointments with council approval and questioned the way the communication, in regards to SDC committee members, was written. Mayor Morrison stated he will review the communication prior to the regular council meeting.

Public Works Director handed out a news release in regards to odor in the City's water system and explained that this has to do with algae growth in the reservoir, which is normal for this time of year. She reassured the Council that the water has been tested to ensure it meets drinking water standards.

Ms. Brown clarified the Fire Department will review the Glenn Street closure. Additionally, although no driveways will be impacted, traffic will be impacted as a result of a "hammer-head" turn-around. Council requested the Fire Department investigate any possible safety issues in regards to emergency vehicle traffic. Ms. Brown stated the Oregon Department of Transportation Rail will allow bicycle and pedestrian traffic on Glenn Street, but noted she is not sure if they will allow emergency vehicle traffic.

Councilor Jackson announced that minutes associated with the Regional Problem Solving item are available on the Rogue Valley Council of Government (RVCOG) website. She asked that councilors call her if they have any questions regarding this item prior to the regular meeting.

Mayor Morrison clarified that the Ethics Ordinance is on the agenda for clarification purposes during second reading.

Ms. Bennett clarified that staff will be prepared to explain what the priorities are for the Housing Coordinator. She also stated that the Council needs to make it clear that they are "un-adopting" what was adopted in December 2006.

Council requested boundaries on discussion in regards to Mt. Ashland Association (MAA). Councilor Hartzell clarified that her request is to further discuss the direction that should be given to staff about the implementation of the 2005 Resolution. Mayor Morrison stated the Council should decide at that time if this is an item they want to discuss. Council requested staff provide the language in the resolution relating to the lease with MAA. Councilor Chapman requested direction on the inquiry of investigating potential permit violations as brought forward by Councilor Navickas. Councilor Navickas explained his concern and was curious about an update from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

3. Discussion of adoption of 2007 Oregon Fire Code with Ashland Amendments
Fire Division Chief Margueritte Hickman presented the proposed amendments to the 2007 Fire Code and stated that this is the beginning of the normal cycle for adopting the new code. She noted there are some minor changes and that most of the amendments are housekeeping.

Ms. Hickman reviewed the following sections:

15.28.050 Explained that the proposal is based on what is in the current fire code and that there would be no changes based on what is currently happening.
15.28.060 Noted references adopting the section of the current fire code.
15.28.070 (a) Deleted -This amends the Fire Code so that it is more restrictive and requires turnaround. Explained that this section was brought to the Planning Commission for their review and noted staff was requested to provide variances for the 150 ft. turn around. Chief Keith Woodley explained that the primary concern by the Planning Commission was that geological barriers could make it difficult to meet the code. The Planning Commission requested staff come back with other alternatives.
15.28.070 (c) New section that addresses fireworks.
15.28.070 (d) Modifies appendix and Section 15.28.080, which creates an Appeals Board.

4. Land Use Amendment Ordinance
Community Development Director David Stalheim, Planning Commissioner Chair John Stromberg and Senior Planner Bill Molnar presented the proposed Land Use amended ordinance.

Mr. Stalheim presented the third draft of the ordinance and noted it will go before the Planning Commission for approval. He reviewed the process of this proposal and the timeline of how it was brought forward since February 2006. He stated the scope of the amendments include the following: 1) Readability, 2) interpretation or internal consistency in application of the code, 3) minor policy issues, usually in concert with interpretation or consistency issues and 4) permit procedures.

Readability Improvements

Conditional Use Permits identified by zone, rather than scattered throughout code
Distinction made between what development triggers Site Design Review (18.72) from procedure or permitting process (918.108)
Definitions amended and added for clarity

Interpretation and Internal Consistency Issues

Lot Coverage
Gross Floor Area
Site Design Standards
Permit Expiration Date

Standards Addressed

Accessory Residential Units, Density and MPFA in multi-family rooms
Non-conforming uses and structures
Mechanical equipment
Tree protection
Setbacks and Yards
Permit expiration
North Mountain zones
Residential Ground Floor in C-1 and E-1 zones
Vision Clearance
Temporary storage

Procedure Amendments Proposed - 1) New Expedited Land Division procedures, 2) Amended Type I, II and III Permit procedures, 3) Ordinance Interpretations and 4) Application Requirements.

Expedited Land Divisions

Required by ORS 197.360
Land zone residential
Creates enough lots or parcels to allow building residential units at 80% or more of the maximum net density permitted by the zoning designation of the site

Amended Type I Permits

Staff Permits - This permit eliminated and integrated into Type I permits with the same basic procedures associated with Type 1, except the notice area is now expanded from 100 to 200 feet.
Notice Requirements and Decision Process
Proposed process - Two notices, 14-day period to submit written comments during the Notice of Application stage and staff decision final, subject to reconsideration or appeal. No review by Hearings Board.
Reconsideration and Appeals - Adds ability for someone to identify a "factual" error in the decision, reconsideration can be granted; stays appeal period and new notices must be provided.

Type I Appeal Process

Appeals would be heard by Planning Commission or Planning Commission Hearings Board
"De Novo" public hearing required with new notice
Planning Commission recommended NOT to have appeal fees for public hearing - Planning Commission felt it was important to try the new procedures out, appeal fees could be added later if necessary - If the council wanted to institute appeal fees, they would be limited by ORS to $250 which must be refunded if the appellant prevails at the hearing or upon subsequent appeal - fees cannot be assessed to any neighborhood or community organization recognized by the City whose boundaries include the site

Noted there are costs for simple hearings and provided an example.

Type II Permit Procedures

Movement of some Type II permits to Type I permits - Buildings 100 feet in width or length in Detailed Site Review would not automatically be Type II
Add an Initial Evidentiary Hearing - Staff could hold an initial hearing to collect evidence which then becomes part of the record and is transmitted to the Planning Commission
Add a Reconsideration Process - Allows the Planning Director to approve reconsideration when a factual error is made (purpose is to avoid appeals when clear errors are made that were not previously discovered)
Change the Appeal to Council Procedures

Type II Proposed Appeal Procedures

Council Initiated - Appeal could be "on the record", City Administrator can determine if a limited public hearing is necessary to correct a factual error or address new substantive information
Citizen or Applicant initiated
De-politicizes land use decisions - encourages input to happen through citizen groups - Encourages input to happen through citizen groups
Procedural errors can still be corrected by this process

Mr. Stalheim stated that there are many options and variables that could include a Hearings Officer.

Mr. Stromberg explained that the Planning Commission will be hearing this proposal and once they have heard the proposal it will come back again to the council. He explained that there is a small core group made up of staff and citizens that are working on pieces of this proposal to help answer questions to either the Planning Commissioners or City Councilors. He suggested that they submit written questions to this core group.

Councilor Hartzell requested that these recommendations are done in steps and to try not to place policy changes into the document but to stick with procedural changes.

Mr. Stalheim noted that some of the questions brought forward by the council were not addressed by the Planning Commission because it did not relate to them. He clarified that the proposal does include allowing the City Administrator to contract for a Hearings Officer if necessary.

Ordinance Interpretations

Current Procedures - current ordinance ahs all interpretations having to be forwarded to the Planning Commission and City Council, there is uncertainty about what constitutes an interpretation, there are no mechanisms for formalizing request for interpretations, including appeal of such decision
Proposed Procedures - Makes Planning Director decision final, but all decisions are still forwarded to Planning Commission and City Council, Planning Commission and City Council could choose to review, but if not, then the decision is final and a formal request for interpretation process is added, which gives the ability to then appeal that interpretation to the Planning Commission.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:04 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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