Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



May 20, 2008

Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street




Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order to at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.



Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, and Silbiger were present. Councilor Chapman arrived at 7:05 p.m.



Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Airport, Forest Lands, Public Arts, and Tree Commissions.



The minutes of the Study Session of May 5, 2008 and Regular Council Meeting of May 6, 2008 were
approved as presented.



Proclamation of May 18-24 as National Emergency Medical Services Week was read aloud by Councilor Silbiger. Members of the City’s Fire & Rescue Department were present to accept the proclamation.




1.      Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?

2.      Should Council accept the quarterly report as presented?

3.      Will Council accept two utility easements and authorize the Mayor to sign each document
indicating the City’s acceptance?

4.      Does the Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Nick Frost for a term to expire April 30, 2011 to the Housing Commission?

5.      Should Council declare certain equipment as surplus and authorize a public sale?

6.      Will the Council confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Michael Faught to be Public Works Director and approve the attached employment agreement?

7.      Will the Council approve Amendment #1 to IGA 90G000119, relating to building inspection services, which will extend the agreement to June 30, 2009?

8.      Shall the Council approve a Resolution that authorizes approved signatures on the City of Ashland Parks bank accounts with Bank of America?

9.      Should the City Council extend the Charter Communications Franchise for one year to facilitate negotiation of a new franchise agreement?


Mayor Morrison noted the addition of Consent Agenda item #9. Council requested items #6 and #9 be pulled for discussion.


Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #7, and #8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.


Councilor Hartzell noted Consent Agenda item #6 was the appointment of the new Public Works Director and asked when Mr. Faught would begin. City Administrator Martha Bennett indicated June 16 would be his start date. Mayor Morrison and Ms. Bennett voiced their support for this appointment.

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


City Attorney Richard Appicello provided a brief overview of the Charter Franchise Agreement that was
added to the agenda. He clarified granting the one year extension would provide the City time to negotiate a new agreement.


Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #9. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.



1.      Should the 20-foot front yard requirement for properties abutting arterial streets be repealed for the north side of Lithia Way and be replaced with the revisions to the Special (arterial) Setback Requirements and associated Street and Street Tree Standards?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Senior Planner Maria Harris provided a presentation to
the Council on the Arterial Front Yard Setbacks. The presentation included several maps, photos and examples, and addressed the proposed changes to: 1) the Special Setback Requirements, 2) the Street Standards, and 3) the Street Tree Standards. Ms. Harris explained the proposed revisions to the Special Setback include repealing the 20 ft. front yard requirement and making the downtown sidewalk standards apply to the north side of Lithia Way. Changes to the Street Tree Standards include tree wells and tree grates to be 5 ft x 5 ft in size and for structural soils to be used in hardscape parkrows. Staff commented on the benefits of these amendments and indicated these changes would: 1) preserve the downtown character, 2) provide consistency with the Downtown Design Standards and city-wide commercial development requirements, and 3) provide clear direction in the land use application process.


Ms. Harris noted the Tree Commission had reviewed the proposed changes to the Street Tree Standards and shared the Commission’s concerns regarding the requirement for structural soil. She suggested the Commission’s concerns could be addressed by changing the language to read “structural soil may be used” instead of making this a requirement.


Mr. Molnar clarified the Planning Commission voted 5-2 in support of the proposed amendments.


Public Hearing Opened: 7:40 p.m.


Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Disagreed with staff’s assertion that the current setback requirement cause confusion. He commented on how Lithia Way was different from Main Street and stated that Lithia Way was “under width-ed.” Mr. Swales stated that Lithia Way was lacking in pedestrian amenities and stated they may need this extra space for future improvements. He questioned why the City would choose to apply only the minimum standards to the downtown area and recommended they not give away this space without first completing a comprehensive study.


Art Bullock/Stated approving the proposed ordinance would hinder the City from taking action in the future
to widen Lithia Way. Mr. Bullock commented on the shift towards public transportation and alternate means of transportation and stated the City may need this space to accommodate a variety of multi-modal transportation purposes. He recommended the City conduct a transportation plan before they commit to these changes.


Mark Knox/485 W. Nevada Street/Disagreed with some of the statements made by the previous speakers

and stated this 20 ft. space is not the City’s property. He stated if the City needed to use this space for future needs there was an appropriate way to go about obtaining it. Mr. Knox provided some history on this issue
and stated the goal of the Downtown Design Standards was to ensure new buildings be modeled in context

with their surroundings. He voiced his support for the proposed amendments and stated the current ordinance was archaic and prohibited advancement of the City’s land use goals.


George Kramer/386 North Laurel/Provided some history on the creation of Lithia Way. He stated the 20 ft. setback area does not belong to the City and if they need to use this space for future transportation purposes they would need to purchase it from the various property owners. Mr. Kramer stated the lots along Lithia are not deep enough to absorb a 20 ft. setback requirement and felt a 10-12 ft. sidewalk was ample room to create the vibrancy the City desires. He commented that opposition to this amendment stems from a fear of growth and encouraged the Council to move forward with the proposed amendments.


Mr. Molnar offered his opinion that keeping the current standard would be going in the wrong direction. He stated that requiring a 20 ft. setback was contrary to the direction the City wanted to take and stated this amendment would duplicate the pattern that has been successful along East Main and the south side of Lithia Way. Mr. Molnar added that staff believes what is being proposed would still accommodate any future traffic needs.


Mayor Morrison commented on the concept of reducing street widths to reduce traffic. He added that the  downtown area should be focused on pedestrians rather than vehicles.


Mr. Molnar commented on the claim that Lithia was “under width-ed.” He clarified street widths were reviewed during the creation of the Transportation Plan and Lithia was not identified as having a substandard street width.


Comment was made questioning if the Council should discuss/approve the amendments to each standard separately. Mr. Molnar clarified staff proposed this as a package and had not considered separating these out. He stated Council could choose to act on these separately, but restated staff’s desire to create consistency between the three policies. Ms. Harris commented briefly on how the recommendations all fit together.


Mr. Molnar commented on how they came to the 15 ft. recommendation. He noted the desire to create a balance and to adopt a standard that would be consistent with the other areas of downtown.


Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to extend public hearing to 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.


Ms. Harris clarified the table on pages 2 and 3 of the ordinance was intended to be used for quick reference and should be used in conjunction with the classification standards.


Concern was expressed that modifying the setback could create a slippery slope. Additional comment was made that the proposed language may be too vague. Mr. Molnar disagreed and stated incorporating a certain amount of flexibility into the requirements was important.


Council briefly discussed the requirement for using structural soil and whether this should be sent back to the Tree Commission for further review. Mr. Molnar noted the Council could insert language that allows for more flexibility. He noted this technology is changing and they may want to include wording that would allow for a similar treatment of the soil.


Comment was made questioning how the setback would apply to development underneath street level. Mr. Molnar clarified the underground portion could only extend to where the sidewalk was.



Public Hearing Closed: 9:30 p.m.


Mayor Morrison suggested Council postpone deliberations in order to proceed with the remaining agenda items.



Ambuja Rosen/Voiced support for the adoption of an anti-tethering ordinance and commented on a conversation she had with Councilor Jackson. Ms. Rosen shared her concerns with pets that are excessively chained and stated adoption of this ordinance could help save thousands of animals’ lives.


Nick Frost/963 Tolman Creek Road/Thanked the Council for his appointment to the Housing Commission. He also commented on the need to protect affordable housing and examining alternative financing.



1.      Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, accept a bid from LTM, Inc. and award a contract in the amount of $122,902.00 for construction of the East Main Rail Crossing Improvement Project No. 2005-15A?

Interim Public Works Director Jim Olson explained D. Britton Enterprises was awarded this contract at the
last City Council Meeting, but due to issues regarding the time it would take to receive ODOT Rail’s approval and conflicts with other projects, Britton has asked that they be released from this contract. Mr. Olson stated LTM was the second lowest bidder for this project and stated staff’s recommendation is to allow Britton to rescind and award the contract to LTM.


Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to accept the second bid and award the contract to LTM. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Jackson, Hardesty, Navickas, Silbiger, Chapman and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed



1.      Should the 20-foot front yard requirement for properties abutting arterial streets be repealed for the north side of Lithia Way and be replaced with the revisions to the Special (arterial) Setback Requirements and associated Street and Street Tree Standards?

Council continued their deliberations on the proposed ordinance.


Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to deny the ordinance. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas recommended they look at long range planning and voiced discomfort with moving forward in a “piece meal fashion.” He noted the opportunities the setback would allow for and suggested they consider long range transportation and transit options. Councilor Hartzell agreed with the need for long range planning and was supportive of retaining a larger sidewalk space. Councilor Hardesty noted the language regarding the soil for the tree wells and stated structural soil may not be good for every type of tree. She suggested this requirement could be changed to require structural soil or horticulturally suitable soil. Mayor Morrison voiced his support for the proposed ordinance. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Navickas and Hartzell, YES. Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Motion failed 4-2.


Councilor Hartzell voiced her preferences to: 1) return the section regarding the trees back to the Tree Commission for further study, 2) change the width of the sidewalk from 15 ft. to 17 ft., and 3) ask staff to  look into regulating the first floor activities of building locating in the downtown area. 




Councilor Hardesty/Silbiger m/s to accept the following changes to the ordinance: 1) Request the
section dealing with tree soil go back to the Tree Commission, 2) Change the language on pages 3, 5 and 7 to read “a minimum 5 ft. hardscape parkrow”, and 3)  Change the 10 ft. sidewalk standard on page 6 to read “a minimum of 10 ft.” DISCUSSION:
Councilor Hardesty clarified just the last sentence in paragraph 6 (page 14) regarding structural soil should be sent back to the Tree Commission. She also commented that the memo to the Council spoke in terms of minimums and felt these changes would make the ordinance consistent with the intent.


Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to amend for all of paragraph 6 on page 14 be sent to the Tree Commission for review. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell commented that there is a lot of research on the use of structural soils and would like the Tree Commission to provide a recommendation on the best language to ensure the viability of the trees. Councilor Chapman stated he does not feel this is necessary since the Tree Commission has already reviewed the requirement for structural soil and recommended the language read “may” instead of “shall.” Councilor Jackson voiced her preference for the motion made by Councilor Hardesty. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Navickas and Hartzell, YES. Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Motion failed 4-2.


Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to amend to create a minimum sidewalk standard of 12 ft. DISCUSSION: Staff noted this change would need to be made to pages 4 and 6 of the ordinance. Councilor Jackson voiced support for defining a minimum of 10 ft. Councilor Silbiger noted the sidewalk in front of Lithia Springs Hotel and stated you could do a lot with 15 ft. of space. He voiced his support for the original motion made by Councilor Hardesty. Councilor Navickas voiced his support for the amendment and feels this would allow for more street cafe opportunities. Councilor Hardesty indicated she was comfortable with expanding the minimum by a couple of feet. Councilor Chapman voiced support for certain areas to have a wider sidewalk width to accommodate tables, but does not feet the entire street should have a sidewalk of this width. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Navickas and Hartzell, YES. Councilors Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion failed 4-3.


DISCUSSION (Continued on Original Motion): Councilor Navickas commented on the need to set up the infrastructure for long range planning and prioritizing the public good over private interests. Councilor
Silbiger voiced his support for the proposed ordinance and stated it would make the standards clearer. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Councilors Navickas and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-2.


City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title of the ordinance aloud.


Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading as amended and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Councilors Navickas and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-2.


Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s for: 1) the Planning Commission to discuss the types of inhabitants of the first floor in commercial areas, and 2) for the Planning Commission and Planning Department to explore the subject of bumpouts on the south side of Lithia Way so as to provide more sidewalk space. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Jackson, Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES.
Motion passed 6-0.








Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m..




____________________________                            ____________________________

April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder              John W. Morrison, Mayor


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