Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman were present. Councilor Silbiger was absent.
1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items listed on the Council Look Ahead and noted the following changes: 1) the Executive Session scheduled for June 12, 2008 has been moved to June 19, 2008 (following the Study Session), and 2) the Croman Mill Site Update has been pushed back to June 2, 2008. Councilor Hartzell questioned if the materials for the LID Policy discussion could be provided in advance of the packet distribution. Ms. Bennett stated she does not know if this is possible but staff would do their best to accommodate this request. Ms. Bennett also clarified that: 1) Linda Duffy with the U.S. Forest Service would be invited to the July 14th Study Session on the Ashland Fire Resiliency Update, and 2) the "old rules" would apply to the Strawberry Property appeal hearing scheduled for June 17, 2008.
2. Review of Regular Meeting Agenda of May 6, 2008.

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee
Comment was made questioning why the Committee was requesting a 4-year levy as opposed to a 1-year levy. Management Analyst Ann Seltzer noted the Committee's desire to get in sync with the County's funding cycle and stated they also felt there was insufficient time to craft a proposal for permanent funding in time for the November ballot. She noted the information contained in the packet materials and stated the Committee would be providing a presentation to the Council at tomorrow's meeting.

Resolution Opposing the BLM's Western Oregon Plan Revisions
Comment was made questioning the appropriateness of placing this under Special Presentations since there is a resolution involved. Ms. Bennett explained how this issue came forward and stated staff felt sufficient information was presented by KS Wild to warrant bringing this forward for Council consideration. She stated Council could hear the presentation and if they decide to adopt the resolution they could do so after the presentation, or add it to the agenda under "Ordinances, Resolutions, and Contracts".

Contract with HBH Consulting Engineers to Conduct Traffic Impact Analysis
Interim Public Works Director Jim Olson provided a brief history of this issue. He explained ODOT Rail had previously required the City to complete full improvements to the Glenn Street crossing if the City moved forward with the planned improvements to the Hersey Street/Laurel Street intersection. He stated that ODOT Rail has since backed off of that requirement and the final approval for the Hersey/Laurel project has been issued. Mr. Olson commented on the scope of the Traffic Impact Analysis and stated it would include analysis of the following intersections: 1) Orange Avenue/Laurel Street, 2) Laurel Street/Hersey Street, 3) Laurel Avenue/North Main Street, 4) Hersey Street/Wimer Street/North Main Street, 5) Glenn Street/North Main Street, and 6) VanNess Avenue/North Main Street.

Mr. Olson provided a brief overview of the consultant selection process used by staff. He also noted a small typographical error on the map included in the packet materials and clarified the Glenn Street/North Main intersection should have been circled.

Councilor Hartzell requested staff provide information at tomorrow's meeting on why they are reviewing the Orange Street intersection and requested an accident history report be provided for this intersection.

Talent Ashland Phoenix Intertie
Councilor Navickas requested staff provide clarification on the financial figures listed in the Council Communication and how these compare to the City's Capital Improvement Plan. He also questioned how stable the use of SDC funds were since development has been dropping off and expressed concern with water rates being increased to compensate for a shortfall of SDC funds. Ms. Bennett indicated staff would be prepared to discuss this at tomorrow's meeting.

Woodstoves Ordinance
City Attorney Richard Appicello provided a revised Woodstoves Ordinance which includes the modification made at first reading to make the fine a flat $500.00.

Solicitation Ordinance
Mr. Appicello submitted a revised ordinance for Council's consideration. He explained the revision includes a new section (6.24.025) which addresses the Police Department's concerns regarding the use of sidewalks to conduct business. Mr. Appicello stated if Council's wishes to include this provision in the ordinance, he could read the change in full during second reading.

3. Does the Housing Work Plan 2008-2010 appropriately outline the housing activities the Council would like to see completed in the next two years to address the Council's affordable housing goals? Should the Council establish priorities for the activities within the Housing Work Plan?
Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman addressed the Council. Mr. Goldman provided a presentation on the Housing Work Plan and Housing Goals. He commented on the Council's Housing Goal, which indicates the generation of 200 affordable/workforce housing units by the year 2010, and he listed the elements of the Housing Work Plan as the following: 1) Program Administration, 2) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Administration, 3) Housing Trust Fund Development, 4) Land Use Amendments, 5) Housing Project Development, 6) Commission Support, and 7) Education and Outreach. Mr. Goldman provided a pie chart which outlined the time allocation for each of these activities, and requested Council provide input on whether the Housing Program Specialist should allocate their time differently.

Mr. Goldman reviewed the figures on the "Progress Toward Unit Goal" chart and explained the various ways affordable units are created. He noted the annual figures and stated staff anticipates a total 117 units to be created. He added this figure would increase to 160 units if the Clay Street project goes forward and they could hit 172 units by utilizing funds created by the sale of the Strawberry Property.

Comment was made questioning how much time the Housing Program Specialist spends monitoring the units. Mr. Goldman explained more staff time is involved with monitoring the units created by private development than those provided for by non-profits. He noted the current backlog of un-built projects and suggested the Rental Needs Analysis might identify the creation of a Rental Registry to assist with the monitoring element.

Mr. Goldman clarified the Housing Commission is looking at modifying the annexation and zone change ordinance to include timing requirements for when affordable housing units would need to be provided. He also explained the Housing and Planning Commissions have been working on the issue of regulatory barriers and this matter would be coming before Council.

Council offered their opinions and suggestions in regards to the Housing Work Plan.

Councilor Hartzell suggested the Work Plan go back to the Housing Commission for their review and asked if the 6 elements from the adopted Housing Action Plan could be incorporated into the Work Plan. She commented on the value of retaining current properties over developing new units and recommended the Housing Commission provide an annual goal to the Council.

Councilor Chapman asked whether a non-profit organization could handle the monitoring element. Mr. Goldman indicated staff had spoken with Access Inc. about this possibility and stated if this action was farmed out, the 20% time allocation for project administration would be decreased and this would free up time for other uses. Councilor Chapman voiced support for allowing an outside organization to monitor the affordable units and suggested they focus on the CDBG and finding ways to encourage market rentals.

Councilor Navickas suggested staff emphasize on housing development instead of legislative changes. He stated he is skeptical about the regulatory relief and requested they focus on housing development in the downtown area. He also suggested some of the Housing Program Specialist's time be allocated towards the homeless issue.

Councilor Jackson commented on obtaining units through public/private partnerships and stated the Land Use Code may need to be updated to make this easier to do. She also expressed concern with there being too many small pieces in the Time Allocation pie chart and stated it might be beneficial for the Housing Program Specialist to focus on a fewer number of items.

Councilor Hardesty voiced support for housing in the downtown area and suggested they look at some of the other development clusters in the City that may be enhanced with affordable housing. She also noted the annexation and zone change ordinance was almost complete and would be presented to Council in September.

Meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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