Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4, 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.
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Minutes of the Study Session of November 19, 2007, Executive Session of November 20, 2007 and Regular Council Meeting of November 20, 2007 were approved as presented.
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a change in ownership for a Liquor License Application from Torsten Hirche dba Apple Cellar at 2255 Ashland Street?
3. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Connie Morris dba Bonsai Teriyaki II at 2305 Ashland Street?
4. Should the City Council accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee?
5. Does the Council approve a second amendment to the existing contract for engineering services with Marquess and Associates Inc. for an additional $51,520 in professional services, an increase of 47.6% over the current contract amount of $108,293.00?
6. Does the Council wish to confirm an appointment by the Mayor for the vacancy on the Forest Lands Commission for a term ending April 30, 2009?
7. Does the Council wish to consolidate the legal service contracts with Hurrang Long Gary Rudnick PC and authorize the approval of one contract, exclusive of Mt. Ashland, with a total not to exceed $175,000?
8. Should the Council approve and authorize the execution of the attached amendment to Intergovernmental Agreement #90G00091 with the Oregon Building Codes Division to receive payment for work performed between October 1, 2007 and November 30, 2007?
Councilor Hardesty requested Item #7 be pulled for discussion.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda Items #1-6 and #8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

Comment was made questioning how much of the $175,000 would actually be spent for legal services. City Attorney Richard Appicello stated that Jens Schmidt indicated the "not to exceed amount" is accurate. He clarified the Nevada Street final assessment case is now at $5,000 instead of the $3,000 projected in the memo, and if that case is dismissed, the appellant might appeal the judge's decision, which could result in additional legal costs to the City.

Comment was made questioning what portion of the costs is a result of suits filed by Art Bullock. Mr. Appicello indicated Mr. Bullock is involved in 8 of the 14 cases, which accounts for approximately $150,000 in legal costs. Councilor Navickas expressed his discomfort with this line of questioning. Mayor Morrison commented on a citizen's right to appeal, but stated the Council and the citizens need to be aware that these cost the City a lot of money.

City Administrator Martha Bennett noted the City had budgeted $95,000 for outside legal counsel. The reason for the increase is due to a higher number of outside legal cases than what was anticipated as well as the vacant position City Attorney position in the Legal Department.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #7. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

1. Does the Council approve a statement of intent to limit the use of the Glenn Street Railroad Crossing to bicycles and pedestrians only?

Public Hearing Continued: 7:21 p.m.

Those Wishing to Provide Testimony - In Favor or Opposed
Ken Lindsay/180 Ohio Street/Stated the Council was not elected to serve the interests of the railroad and recommended they place the long-term interests of Ashland above the interests of other entities. Mr. Lindsay voiced his opposition to closing the Glenn Street crossing and stated it would increase traffic onto previously quiet side streets, degrade property values, and put children at risk. He suggested a new access road be created from Quiet Village to N. Main Street and stated the money used to pave City alleyways would be better spent on improving the Glenn and Hersey/Laurel railroad crossings.

Julie Norman/596 Helman Street/Voiced her concerns regarding traffic safety and encouraged the Council to keep Glenn Street open.

Ron Elterman/355 Glenn Street/Stated if the Glenn Street crossing is closed, vehicles traveling south on N. Main will use Hersey instead, and this is already one of the most dangerous intersections in Ashland. Mr. Elterman also voiced concerns with the neighborhood not being better noticed on this matter.

Rich Rohde/124 Ohio Street/Noted the number of years he has lived in this area and voiced his opposition to the closing of the Glenn Street crossing. Mr. Rohde shared his concerns regarding the safety in this neighborhood and commented on how dangerous the intersection at Hersey Street and North Main is. He requested the Council think about the nature of democratic procedures and stated the entire neighborhood is speaking out against this proposal.

Mike Sturgill/477 N. Laurel Street/Voiced his opposition to the closing of Glenn Street and shared his traffic experience in this area. Mr. Sturgill commented on the increase of housing in this area and questioned the motives of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the railroad.

David Adams/509 Drager Street/Shared his experience as a retired Fire Captain and Safety Officer and noted the location of fire hydrants in this area. He stated that it would be a grave mistake to cut off fire access to this area and an injustice to the individuals in this area to close Glenn Street.

Claire Collins/482 Lori Lane/Spoke on her medical experience and stated if Glenn Street were closed, it would make Lori Lane a thorough lane. She noted the traffic safety issues involving speeding vehicles and its relationship to pedestrians.

Leigh Madison/176 Orange Avenue/Spoke regarding safety concerns and the intersection at Hersey Street. Photos were presented that indicated visual clearance at the intersection at Hersey and N. Main.

Ellie Read/398 N. Laurel Street/Transferred speaker time to Mr. Bullock.

Mary Yount/130 Orange Avenue/Transferred speaker time to Mr. Bullock.

Linda Thomas/843 Fox Street/Transferred speaker time to Mr. Bullock.

Carol Starr/546 N. Laurel Street/Transferred speaker time to Mr. Bullock.

Councilor Navickas voiced his opposition to the process of allowing individuals to transfer their speaking time to another person. Councilor Hartzell voiced her support for this process and noted not all individuals are comfortable speaking in this environment. Mayor Morrison commented that if individuals care enough about an issue to attend the meeting, they should be allowed to elect someone to speak on their behalf.

Art Bullock/Stated the proposal worsens the safety in Quiet Village and stated the interests of ODOT Rail are not mirrored by the residents of Ashland. Mr. Bullock voiced complaints regarding the public hearing procedures and the involvement of the Public Works Director. He commented on the traffic flow for the Quiet Village area and stated the proposal adds pollution and driving time, and moves traffic to the dangerous Laurel/Hersey intersection. Mr. Bullock voiced his support for councilors who represent the public safety of Quiet Village, neighborhood meetings before Council considers this proposal, notices to affected property owners, open and transparent government, Council working with the School Board, and the safety of children.

Margaret Dole/456 Lori Lane/Transferred speaker time to Mr. Gronberg.

John Gronberg/470 Lori Lane/Stated he is speaking on behalf of the Glenn Vista Board of Directors and the 92 residents and owners of Glenn Vista. Mr. Gronberg stated the closure of Glenn Street would result in additional traffic on Hersey, exacerbating the already dangerous condition of the Hersey/N. Main/Wimer intersection. In addition, it would increase traffic on Lori Lane, which is barely wide enough to allow two cars to pass. He stated additional traffic on Lori Lane would create a dangerous situation for the residents of Glenn Vista and requested the Council do everything they can to prevent this closure from happening.

Kindler Stout/130 Orange Avenue/Noted on an article in the Mail Tribune newspaper and questioned how the Council could consider this closure when the railroad has such an uncertain future.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:06 p.m.

City Engineer Jim Olson reviewed the additional materials submitted to the Council, including the grade crossing rankings, vehicle crash summaries, and average daily totals for the Glenn Street area. He commented on the CIP projects that have some level on impact on this proposal, including: 1) the E. Main Street rail crossing which is scheduled for completion this fiscal year, 2) the Hersey/Laurel crossing improvements, which are scheduled for design in FY 07/08 and construction in FY 08/09, 3) the Oak Street rail crossing, which is scheduled for construction in FY 07/08, 4) the Laurel Street sidewalks, which are scheduled for construction in FY 08/09, and 5) the Walker Avenue rail crossing, which is scheduled for construction in FY 10/11. Mr. Olson also noted that the memo submitted by Fire Chief Woodley indicates the major response corridors for Fire Stations #1 and #2.

Comment was made requesting further explanation of the Hersey/Wimer/N. Main intersection project. Mr. Olson stated staff has been working with ODOT to identify suitable grant opportunities, and have made two grant requests, but both were denied. He explained this project has two phases, the first is the realignment of Hersey and Wimer streets to make it a standard, perpendicular intersection, and the second phase is the installation of traffic control devices. He noted that ODOT has been reluctant to install a signal at this intersection, but the City is continuing to work with them on this issue.

Mr. Olson clarified he spoke with ODOT Rail after hearing of the closures and was told that the Siskiyou line, which runs through Ashland, is very vital to them and they would find additional carriers if needed to avoid closing this line.

Mr. Olson explained that ODOT Rail has refused to allow the City to move forward on the Laurel/Hersey crossing without also addressing Glenn Street. He stated the City no longer has the option of ignoring this issue and must decide whether to improve the Glenn crossing or close it. He clarified ODOT Rail has offered $100,000 for the Hersey/Laurel improvements, however they have also indicated it may be possible, depending on their budget, for them to pay for the four crossing gates, which would be considerably more than $100,000. Mr. Olson noted the City has not received anything in writing guaranteeing the $100,000 and have only received verbal assurance at this point.

Mr. Olson clarified the definition of "improvement" means improved to ASHTO standards. He commented on the problem with the visibility of the Glenn crossing and explained that according to ASHTO standards, there are two locations where you judge visibility. The first is at the stop sign, and the second is 150 ft. back. Because of this standard, the City may be required to install crossing gates at the Glenn Street crossing. Mr. Olson stated what we have now does not meet the ASHTO standards and leaving it alone or doing a partial improvement are no longer options.

Comment was made questioning if the City decides to improve both crossing, could they expect to receive any grant funding. Mr. Olson stated the City would certainly ask for this. He also clarified it would be difficult to administer a Local Improvement District for the crossing improvements.

Mr. Olson clarified if the City received a grant for the Hersey/Laurel intersection, the total cost for the improvements would be much higher due to the red tape and extra requirements.

Councilor Chapman shared his observations of the neighborhood and stated the real problem is the Laurel Street crossing. He stated he is not against closing Glenn Street, but recommended: 1) a traffic study to be completed, 2) the Laurel/Hersey and the Hersey/Wimer/Main intersections be improved, and 3) a trend for increased rail service be established before the decision to close Glenn is made.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to improve both crossings and go to ODOT and request financial assistance for both crossings. DISCUSSION: Mayor Morrison clarified the two crossing referenced in the motion are Glenn and Laurel. Councilor Navickas voiced his support for keeping both streets open for the long term. It was clarified the estimated cost to improve both crossings is $1,700,000. Councilor Hardesty suggested the motion include a specific timeframe, such as five years.

Councilor Hardesty/Navickas m/s to amend motion that in negotiations to specify "over a five-year time period." DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty explained why she proposed the amendment and noted they do not know at this point, what is going to happen with the railroad. Councilor Hartzell questioned how ODOT would react to this type of a proposal. Councilor Jackson commented that this motion moves the City in a direction that ODOT has been unwilling to go. Councilor Hartzell questioned if it is possible to incorporate the actions proposed by Councilor Chapman. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Navickas, Hardesty, Hartzell and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

DISCUSSION on amended motion: Councilor Jackson voiced support for a traffic study before any possible closure, but stated at this point, she is hesitant of keeping both crossings open. Councilor Hardesty voiced support for the motion, and in the mean time move forward with a traffic study. Councilor Navickas voiced support for keeping both crossings open. Councilor Silbiger stated improving or closing the Glenn Street crossing has not been a high priority for the City and it is unfortunate that they are being forced to make a decision. He noted the City's severe budget limitations and voiced support for improving the Laurel/Hersey crossing and leaving Glenn Street alone (Option 2). Councilor Navickas noted the consequences of this option and stated ODOT Rail would likely declare an impasse and submit the entire issue to arbitration before an administrative judge and most likely, they will rule to close Glenn Street. Councilor Hartzell questioned if they have enough information at this time to make this decision.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to add a full traffic engineering study be conducted. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett indicated that if the Council decides to keep both crossings open, the traffic patterns are not going to change, and questioned what would be the purpose of the traffic study. Councilor Jackson clarified the Council is struggling with this decision due to the lack of information. Ms. Bennett suggested the Council pass a motion that that tables this issue until staff completes a traffic study. She added her concern is that if they pass a motion to keep both routes open, a traffic study would be a waste of money. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, YES. Councilor Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, and Hardesty, NO. Motion failed 5-1.

DISCUSSION continued on original motion: Councilor Silbiger expressed concern with the costs of improving the Glenn Street crossing, and stated this does not seem fiscally prudent given the limited use of the crossing.

Councilor Hardesty motioned to postpone this decision for two weeks. Motion dies due to lack of a second.

Councilor Jackson called for the question. Motion dies due to lack of a second.

DISCUSSION continued to original motion: Councilor Chapman voiced his support for: 1) conducting a traffic study, 2) designing and improving the Laurel and then the Wimer intersections, and 3) dealing with Glenn Street last. Councilor Navickas stated he does not believe this is a valid option. He stated ODOT is breathing down the City's neck and they will force the City into arbitration if they do not act soon. He stated a traffic study would be costly, and they already know the citizens do not want Glenn Street to be closed.

Roll Call Vote on original motion: Councilor Navickas and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman, and Silbiger, NO. Motion failed 4-2.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s keep Glenn Street crossing as is and request authority from ODOT Rail to improve just the Laurel/Hersey intersection. DISCUSSION: Mayor Morrison noted this is Option #2. Councilor Navickas expressed concern that this motion defers the decision to ODOT and could result in the closing of Glenn Street.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to amend motion that in the mean time staff conduct the study as outlined by Councilor Chapman. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson voiced support for the motion, but noted this is a more costly study than staff can do. Ms. Bennett clarified staff will have to contract this out for a consultant and if the estimated cost is outside their ability to spend, staff would return to Council for further discussion. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, and Chapman, YES. Councilor Navickas and Jackson, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Aaron Corbet/423 N Main Street/Commented that the nature of business in Ashland are tourism and real estate, and there clearly needs to be a third leg to stabilize Ashland's economic table. Mr. Corbet suggested the City form an Ad Hoc citizens committee to assess the viability of various green industries, how to recruit these resources and relocate them to Ashland.
1. Does the Council wish to direct staff to correct, change or modify the Ordinance Declaring the Approval of the Verde Village Development Agreement, including the attached development agreement, land use findings, or real property exchange findings?
City Attorney Richard Appicello reviewed the changes that were made to the documents after the packet information was released.

Councilor Jackson commented on how the annexations are sequenced and stated her concerns relate to the fact the City is taking voluntary action that it need not necessarily take in order to enable this agreement. She stated the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) could be considered the external boundary and make the properties that back up to it eligible for annexation without having to be "an island".

Councilor Navickas voiced concern with the annexation criteria and stated they have an opportunity to require that the houses not back up to the creek. He stated the current design creates security and privacy issues and does not believe it is good planning. He added that he does not believe the applicant has met the requirements for the physical constraints permit for the pathway in the riparian area.

Councilor Navickas motioned to deny this, not send it to second reading, and request the applicant come back with a plan that complies with the Street Standard Criteria and protection of the Riparian Area. Motion dies due to lack of a second.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading with the changes discussed this evening. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Chapman, Jackson, Hartzell and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

1. Will Council approve the attached resolution to establish a public hearing date of February 5, 2008, to consider the formation of Assessment District No. 88 to improve both Liberty Street and the alley between Harrison and Morton Street?

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2007-41. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas, Chapman and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

2. Does the Council wish to adopt, by approving first reading of an ordinance, amending the Ashland Municipal Code 2.04 Rules of the City Council?

Don Stone/395 Kearney Street/Commented on confidentiality in Executive Sessions and stated there should not should be a "gag" placed on council members in regards to what they say to the press. Mr. Stone stated sufficient guidelines have been laid down at the state level and does not see the need for the Council to expand on them. He proposed a revision to Section 2.04.080 and stated any contact with staff or concerns with staff should be channelled through the City Adminsitrator's Office.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to adopt Rules of the City Council with the following modifications: 1) Remove paragraph three under Section D - Executive Sessions, and 2) add "in accordance with state law"to paragraph two under Section D - Executive Sessions. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger stated the rights and responsibilities of the media are set forth in state law and does not feel these need to be repeated in the Council Rules. Councilor Navickas stated the wording "must maintain" in paragraph 2 is pretty strong and suggested "should" be used instead.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to change the word "must" to "should" in paragraph two under Section D - Executive Sessions.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

DISCUSSION on proposed amendment: Councilor Hartzell suggested the following language be used in paragraph two under Section D - Executive Sessions, "Unless authorized by the full Council, the Mayor and City Councilors will act in accordance with state law regarding the confidentiality of the information discussed in executive session." Support was voiced for this modification. Councilor Navickas/Hartzell withdrew motion.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to amend motion to modify the second paragraph under Section D - Executive Sessions to read "The Mayor and City Councilors will act in accordance with state law regarding the confidentiality of the information discussed in executive sessions." Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Councilor Hardesty noted the Council had previously discussed using the following wording in Section 2.04.080(c), "They shall not pressure or direct City employees in a way that could contravene the will of the Council as a whole or limits the options of the Council." Council voiced unanimous consent to this change.

Councilor Hartzell questioned the first "housekeeping" amendment listed on page 1 of the Council Communication which reads, "Any topic may be added to an agenda by a majority vote of the Councilors present. Generally these items should be limited to items of timeliness or emergencies." Council decided to include this amendment in the Council Rules.

Councilor Hartzell suggested the word "other" be stricken from the second housekeeping amendment listed on page 2 of the Council Communication. Council agreed to this change.

Councilor Jackson proposed the following modifications: 1) Section 2.04.080, amend to read "The City Council will work with City staff in a spirit of teamwork and mutual cooperation", 2) Section 2.04.080, Section II(d), add "Discussion and disagreements should be focused on the content of the topic at hand", and 3) Section 2.04.040, second paragraph, add "Comments and disagreements should be addressed to the topic at hand and avoid negative personal remarks." Council agreed to the proposed amendments.

Ms. Bennett noted one additional housekeeping item is to delete Section 2.04.130 and insert "R" in Section 2.04.100. She also noted the phrase "as a whole" need to be deleted from Section 2.04.080(C) and delete "attempt to" from the first sentence in Section 2.04.080.

Mayor Morrison noted Mr. Stone's suggestion for Section 2.04.080(E) and voiced his support for concerns to be expressed to the Mayor, City Administrator or City Attorney, and to delete department head. Council agreed to this change.

Mr. Appicello read aloud the proposed changes.

Councilor Hardesty/Jackson m/s to approve first reading of an ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.04, Rules of the City Council with the changes discussed this evening and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Chapman and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

3. Does the Council wish to adopt the Gentle Person Agreement by resolution?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
4. Does the Council wish to adopt the Public Art Master Plan?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
5. Should the Council finalize the last step of including within the Ashland City Limits approximately 8.4-acres of industrial and employment zoned land, by approving second reading of an ordinance formally annexing the property and withdrawing the property from Jackson County Fire District No. 5?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
1. What should the process be for the Mayor and City Council to interview and select a new City Attorney candidate?
Item pulled from agenda.
2. Does the Council wish to make appointments for the three vacancies on the Budget Committee for terms ending December 2010?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
3. Does the Council wish to approve a video (Cable Television) franchise for Ashland Home Net and Ashland TV?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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