MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 2, 2008
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.
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison noted that there are vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Tree Commission, Conservation Commission and Citizen Budget Committee.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Executive Session of August 4, 2008, Study Session of August 4, 2008, Executive Session of August 5, 2008 and Regular Council of August 5, 2008 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Paul Maurer dba Harper's at 36 S. 2nd Street?
3. Should the Council tentatively deny the Measure 49 claim for approximately 27.25 acres of W-R zoned land located at the end of Hitt Road and notify DLCD and the claimants of the tentative decision?
4. Should the Council delay the discussion of the Transient Occupancy Tax revenue distribution to the October 6, 2008, Study Session to allow the Finance Director to be in attendance?
5. Will Council approve a personal services contract with Hardey Engineering and Associates, Inc. in the amount of $33,750.00 to design, develop, and implement the Ashland Creek Trunk Sewer Rehabilitation Project No. 2007-16?
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Will the Council approve a contract for $15,000 between Carollo Engineers PC and the City of Ashland for design and engineering services required to identify a location for the Talent Booster Pump Station?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented the staff report that included background information, the timeline on previous council actions, information on the 1998 Comprehensive Water Supply Study, water supply options presented by the Water Advisory Group (WAG), and a review of WAG alternatives by Carollo Engineering.
He explained that the evaluation by Carollo Engineering identified the Talent/Ashland/Phoenix (TAP) project as the only "stand alone" option that would meet the community water supply needs through 2050. The following was recommended:
Buy-in to the TAP project but do not extend the pipeline to Ashland.
Purchase 450 mg or 1380 acre-feet water rights from Lost Creek Lake Reservoir.
Pursue water supply by reclamation or co-op projects.
Staff recommended completing additional elements of the TAP project, purchasing land in Talent for the Talent Booster Pump Station and purchasing the final 25% of Lost Creek Water Rights. Mr. Faught also recommended a new water supply study that would include emergency water sources or redundant systems. The Oregon Water Resources Department offers a grant for water conservation, reuse and storage with a dollar for dollar match up to $500,000. If approved by the Oregon Water Resources Department, the grant request would be $400,000 with the City paying $200,000 and the remainder covered by grant monies.
Concern was expressed that the TAP Booster Station would supplant other projects that could maintain primary water sources at a higher level and asked the City's stance on sediment removal from the upper catchment basins. Mr. Faught explained there were several issues regarding sediment in the reservoir and that the plan would look at increasing the capacity there. The TAP project is a separate alternative water system that would act as a redundant system for the City in the event a catastrophe shuts down the reservoir. TAP would provide water to citizens during repairs to the reservoir.
Mr. Faught further explained that the new study would look at all information that is or might be a resource for the City. The study would include Bear Creek and should help with water temperature issues. The new study would pull any relevant data from the 1998 study and use it as a base. He emphasized that completing the first phase outlined in the 1998 study was important.
Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to approve a contract for $15,000 between Carollo Engineers PC and the City of Ashland for design and engineering services required to identify a location for the Talent Booster Pump Station.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas urged the Council not to support the TAP project until a comprehensive study of alternative water sources occurred. He explained that the growth patterns from the 1998 study were most likely based on single-family detached housing with ornamental yards. A new study would allow the City to look at different patterns that allow growth and reduce water consumption. Eventually, the City will be unable to provide water by reaching out to other sources.
Councilor Hardesty voiced her agreement with Councilor Navickas but added she supported the study. She explained now was the time to identify and purchase the land, that if the pump station was not built, the land could be sold and that the new study would provide valuable information.
Councilor Jackson supported the motion and said the study would provide a broader picture of multiple sources for water use in town. Councilor Silbiger voiced his support of the motion, noting the safety net of an alternative water supply, climate changes, and natural disaster issues and concluded that it was a good time to purchase property. Councilor Chapman felt that the 1998 study was comprehensive but 10 years later other elements exist that did not then. He supported the 2004 Council goals and a system that looks at the entire water supply holistically.
Councilor Hartzell commented that fresh water supply should not be overlooked. She asked if the $15,000 would cover looking at different options for bringing the line from Talent to Ashland because location would determine whether the City needed to purchase easements. Mr. Faught responded that Carollo Engineering would look at available property and review which route made the best sense then help with the acquisition process. The City does not have the technical expertise to do this project in house.
Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman, Hartzell, Jackson, YES and Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Should the Council accept the recommendations of the Downtown Task Force relating to employee parking restrictions in the downtown area, proposed changes to the City's sign code and permissible use of public sidewalk area, and direct City staff to prepare ordinance language for review and adoption by the Planning Commission and City Council, as necessary?
Community Development Director Bill Molnar presented the staff report that included background information on the issues reviewed by the Downtown Task Force. These issues were related to employee parking restrictions in the downtown, sign code and permissible use of the public sidewalk area.
Pam Hammond, Chair of the Downtown Task Force, Adam Hanks, Permit Center Manager and John Stromberg, Chair of the Planning Commission presented the summary report that included the following 9 issues along with recommendations:
Issue #1: Particularly in the Downtown area, the current limitation of two exempt signs per business, with each sign not exceeding a size of two square feet, does not seem to meet the needs of many local merchants.
Recommendation: Increase the number of exempt signs from two to three; increase the third sign from two to three square feet.
Issue #2: The Sign Code currently prohibits three dimensional statues, caricatures or representations of persons, animals or merchandise from being used as a sign or incorporated into a sign structure.
Recommendation: For properties within the Downtown or one of Ashland's four Historic Districts, allow one of the three exempt signs to be three-dimensional; allow an additional exempt 3-D sign for properties outside the Historic Districts with a volumetric maximum.
Issue #3: Some businesses, by virtue of their physical location and entrances, such as smaller side streets and alleys, have limited signage opportunities along the main streets within the downtown area.
Recommendation Increase the maximum distance that a sign can project from the building face from the 18 inches to 24 inches.
Discussion on these issues:
Permit Center Manager Adam Hanks responded to an inquiry regarding issue #3 and explained the 24-inch sign could display on the front side of buildings for shops located down alleyways, etc.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that Council could only regulate time, place and manner of signs, not content.
Issue #4: Sign Code compliance efforts have included enforcing the current prohibition on off-premise signs, generally consisting of the placement of temporary, movable signs (i.e. sandwich boards) upon the public sidewalk or other public property. Some merchants feel that due to specific characteristics associated with location of their business frontage they lack adequate exposure. Off-premise signage is one means of drawing attention to the business location.
Recommendation: Create a set of policies and implement guidelines for the placement of information/directional signs by the City in the right of way or other publicly controlled property.
Issue #5: The use of the public right of way, for private commercial use is limited by the Municipal Code to Sidewalk Cafes (AMC 6.44), which may not be the most equitable method for allocation of our limited public resource, downtown public sidewalks.
Recommendation: Amend the ordinance to allow any abutting properties (within a commercial or employment district) the opportunity to obtain a permit for private use of a portion of the public sidewalk, as long as merchants meet specific public safety and access standards.
Issue #6: The business community has noted that there is inconsistency within the encroachment permit process, which does not have clear standards for what types of functional objects are encouraged, allowed or legal for placement upon a city sidewalk or within the public right of way.
Recommendation: Create an ordinance or an appropriate approval process by which specific functional items may be established upon the City sidewalk. It would be contingent upon the items meeting City specifications, as well as retaining minimum clearance, public safety and placement standards. Additionally, Council would direct staff to explore an exemption to have free use of the shy zone, the area along the sidewalk within the 12 to 18 inches of the building face, for placement of such amenities as flower boxes, doorstops, etc.
Issue #7: The proliferation of newspaper and other miscellaneous publication racks within the downtown is creating a variety of problems, both functional and aesthetic.
Recommendation: Create an ordinance specific to installation of newspaper and other publication racks.
Discussion on these issues:
Ms. Hammond provided examples for Issue 5 explaining merchants could display fresh flowers, t-shirts, etc.
Concerns regarding regulations for the Sidewalk Sale and café tables were noted. City Attorney Richard Appicello explained they would address permits for the sidewalk sale when they expire. Ms. Bennett explained that café tables would come to Council as a right of way issue later.
Issue #8: Downtown business owner and employees are frustrated with the seemingly inconsistent enforcement of the downtown employee parking ban and also have expressed concern over its potential overreaching effect of limiting owner and employee access to the downtown area while not at work.
Recommendation: Remove the existing seasonal ban on employee parking in the downtown area.
Issue #9 The City has several parking management items that need to be resolved to more efficiently administer the downtown-parking program.
Recommendation: Create ordinance language that allows the City to tow vehicles that have either five unpaid parking tickets or a total unpaid parking ticket balance of $250. Develop a final, visible, warning placard to be placed upon a vehicle at least 24 hours prior to the vehicle being towed. The Task Force does not recommend the use of a booting/immobilization device over the option of towing the vehicle.
Discussion on these issues:
Mr. Appicello explained that the ordinance would allow noticing for individuals who had five violations prior to towing or booting the vehicle.
The Task Force identified additional issues for consideration that allocate staff resources to review sign code amendments every two years and exempt Public Art from the sign code, sign code review and education.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison St/Submitted a letter from Garrett Furuichi that requested a modification to the sign code. He asked Council to add an exception that would "allow signage on the side of the building that is the primary entrance or only entrance to the business." Currently signs are precluded on the third or fourth sides of a building.
Jeff Compton/770 Acorn Circle/Owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Stated that the Task Force was too restrictive. The City can dictate what goes outside of his business but not inside.
George Kramer/386 N Laurel/Encouraged Council to add language to the code that would allow signs where the entrance to a business was on the side of a building. He commented that the sign code was complicated but necessary and that the Task Force had attempted to make it a little better.
Councilor Hartzell asked that Staff reconcile the word "prohibited" versus "exempt" in Issue 2.
Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to accept recommendations of the Downtown Task Force and direct staff to develop a work plan and timeline for developing implementing ordinance language that addresses Task Force recommendations with the addition of what was noted by the City Administrator as well as the question raised about signs on non-dominate sides.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty commented that the Task Force had accomplished a lot and it was worthwhile. Councilor Navickas was not sympathetic to the proposed changes, stating they seemed more a reaction to staff enforcement and Council should be very careful about creating legislation around these recommendations. Councilor Hartzell emphasized that the intention was to send the recommendations to the Planning Commission for another committee review. Councilor Silbiger appreciated the businesses that complied when informed of their sign code violation. Mayor Morrison said the purpose for forming the Task Force was to find a middle ground between the need for regulation and the need to re-examine. The Task Force did a tremendous job even though not everyone was happy. He complimented Pam Hammond and the committee on completion of this task.
Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.
2. Will the Council direct staff to prepare and transmit a written communication opposing RVTD's proposed Route 10 modifications significantly limiting the hours that the bus will complete the East Main Loop?
Public Works Director Mike Faught introduced Julie Brown, the Executive Director of the Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) and presented the staff report.
Julie Brown, Executive Director of the RVTD provided background on the change. Route 10 was initially designed for a two-hour window. Due to ridership, construction and fuel prices, it now takes over two hours and causes transfer delays because buses are not reaching the transfer station in time. Riders were notified of the proposed schedule change with a provided comment period. The comments received from Ashland riders on the proposed change consisted of one rider adamant about not changing the schedule, four who were neutral and two that said they would work around RVTD timeframes. RVTD is looking at turning around the route and adding express service but that will not be available until 2014.
She further explained the proposed route change, stating that it is not ideal but there is not enough money to add more buses to the route. The City of Ashland could help to place more buses in service but it is expensive. Until the Transportation System Plan (TSP) study is completed, the City will not be able to help alleviate the problem. The route change is a short-term fix and will be reviewed in three months.
Mayor Morrison explained the concern is the investment that the City has made in developing ridership with incentives and investments and the schedule change feels like both parties are going in the wrong direction. He emphasized the need to work together on the solution.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that the intent of sending a letter opposing the change was not meant to alienate or threaten anyone. She suggested a letter that has the City and RVTD exploring alternatives together prior to reducing service.
Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s that staff construct a letter that explores options between the City of Ashland and RVTD. Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Hartzell and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.
3. Does the Council approve the proposed contract with the Chamber of Commerce for FY 2008-2009 in the amount of $305,000?
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented the staff report and noted that there were minor changes that resulted from the increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). She proposed Council add two tasks in the contract under Visitors and Convention Services and one under Economic Development.
Visitor and Convention Services Tasks
6. The VCB should develop specific marketing campaigns targeted at attracting visitors in the shoulder and winter season and at extending the length of stays of visitors in the summer months.
7. The VCB should develop an electronic marketing campaign that encourages return visits and assists in developing a more accurate profile of the types of people who visit Ashland and of the types of activities, events, campaigns, or festivals that would encourage expansion and diversification of the visitor base.
2. Add to the end of the paragraph: "The City also requests that the Chamber work with the lodging industry to produce reports about occupancy rate in local lodging establishments, by quarter, in such a way that this data can be tracked over time.
Economic Development Tasks
Add the following new item:
10. Participate or develop an outreach technical assistance program for businesses working with City sign and right of way codes - staff will provide the language.
Councilor Hartzell proposed the following changes:
Replace the word "shall" with "will" on page 2 of the contract.
Required Reporting - #2 Performance Measures replace the word "success" with "effectiveness" in the following sentence: The Chamber shall include data that measures its effectiveness in both economic development and in tourism promotion in its report.
Required Reporting - #6 replace the word "coordinate" with "support" in the following sentence: A report about the VCB's analysis of the viability of new festivals and events for supporting additional tourism in the fall and spring, including efforts the VCB made to support with other recipients of cultural and economic grants from the City.
Required Reporting - #7 Amendments: Remove the word "summary' from the sentence and have Staff re-write to note specific actions or activities the Chamber took versus phone calls made.
Ms. Bennett explained Council would not see the report until January and that Council would need to sign this year's contract before receiving the report from the prior year's grant.
Councilor Hardesty suggested adding the word "small" prior it the word "businesses" in the first sentence of Economic Development #3: Continue efforts to retain and expand existing small businesses, particularly businesses that are non-tourism related, with an emphasis on additional family wage jobs.
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve the grant agreement with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce for FY 2008-2009 with the suggested amendments as stated in discussion. Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to criminal records information, requiring review of criminal record information for applicants of employment, volunteers, personal service contractors of the City, and declaring emergency" and move the ordinance to be passed by emergency?
City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified that the ordinance met the requirements for declaring an emergency and read the ordinance in full.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to declare emergency for proposed ordinance. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading and second reading of Ordinance #2963. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS- continued
4. Does the Council wish to make an appointment to the Audit Committee of a Budget Committee member and Council Member/Mayor member for a term to expire April 30, 2009?
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to appoint Dee Anne Everson to the Audit Committee for a term to expire April 30, 2009. Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Navickas, Hardesty, Jackson, Chapman and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to appoint Councilor Navickas to the Audit Committee for a term to expire April 30, 2009. Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Navickas, Hardesty, Jackson, Chapman and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS-continued
2. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to parking regulations, allowing use of immobilizing device, authorizing towing, removing downtown parking limitations, updating and correcting parking processes and procedures, amending AMC Sections 11.08.080, 11.28.060, 11.28.080, 11.28.090, and 11.28.110, and repealing AMC chapter 11.30 AMC Section 2.28.215" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Councilor Hartzell suggested adding language to Section 4 stating that points A, B, and C were not cumulative. Additionally, the following changes were requested:
Section 6-A: define loading or unloading vehicles.
Section 7 first paragraph - rewrite the following sentence: A person who commits a parking violation may not suffer any disability or legal disadvantage based upon conviction of a crime.
Section 8-A Fine: Eliminate 3 or 4, and 5 or more, and have a specific cut off. City Attorney Richard Appicello suggested adding a table.
Section 8-B Immobilizer: Specify that violations are cumulative on all cars registered to a single owner.
Mr. Appicello read the ordinance title in full.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve first reading of Ordinance with suggested amendments and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas was strongly opposed to the ordinance stating there were better ways to deal with parking through investing in transit, promoting bicycles use, walking, development patterns, etc.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to amend motion to remove Section 8-A. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Hartzell explained this was a big change did not understand why more time was needed on cumulative tickets.
Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to table the item until next meeting.
Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Jackson, Hartzell, and Navickas: YES: Councilors Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Motion passes 4-2.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 10:26 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John W. Morrison, Mayor
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor