MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
November 4, 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.
Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison noted vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Citizen Budget Committee (deadline for applications is November 7, 2008) and the three vacancies on the Tree Commission.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of October 20, 2008 and Regular Council meeting of October 21, 2008 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor's Proclamation of November as American Indian Heritage Month and Proclamation of November as National Family Caregiver Month and National Alzheimer's Awareness Month were read aloud.
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to ratify the new Labor Agreement between the City of Ashland and the Laborers Local No. 121?
3. Should Council accept the quarterly financial report as presented?
4. Should the Council approve the attached Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Planning Action 2008-00182 (500 Strawberry Lane) and transmit the Revised Findings to LUBA?
5. Should the Council approve a resolution titled, "A Resolution to Recognize the Conveyance of Property and Amending Resolution 85-47"?
6. Should the Council authorize an Agreement with the Waters-Oldani Consulting Group, Inc. for professional recruitment services at a bid price of $25,000?
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Does the Council wish to enter into a purchase agreement to acquire 10 acres on Clay Street to be used for a public park and an affordable housing project in partnership with the Housing Authority of Jackson County?
Conflict of Interest: Councilor Hartzell stated that she was recently appointed to the Board of the Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) by the County Commissioners Office and confirmed there is no conflict of interest. Councilor Hardesty explained that she had spoken to representatives of the Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) and visited one of their housing sites but did not believe it was a conflict of interest.
Mayor Morrison clarified that the Westwood property was not part of the transaction being discussed and not part of the decision Council would be making this evening.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained that the Clay Street purchase entailed trading the 7,000 square foot parking lot on Lithia Way, three half-acre lots at the top of Strawberry and Westwood and in addition $620,000 towards the acquisition. Council would determine if the value of the property being traded equaled or exceeded the value of the property received through the transaction. The appraisals showed a $165,000 amount in favor of the City. In addition, HAJC would contribute $1,280,000 towards the purchase and an additional $80,000 towards the restoration and mitigation of wetlands on the property. The City would acquire an asset of 6 acres with a value of $2,160,000.
Mr. Goldman explained that despite the economic down turn, rent and the demand for rentals in Ashland had continued to increase. Ashland's Housing Needs Analysis showed that 56% (6% college students) of the residents renting in Ashland were paying more than 30% of their income for rent. Salaries in the area had not increased in the past three years but rent had showing the need for affordable housing.
Various subsidies for affordable housing came to just over $11,000 per unit where subsidy ranges for RVCDC projects using Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) were between $49,000-$54,000.
The Housing Authority's proposal would inject over 10 million dollars in new construction costs into the local economy. They would receive these funds from Low Income Tax Credits and State Grants. The Oregon Housing and Community Services conducted a study of three recent affordable housing projects and realized there was a $1.96 increase in economic activity for every dollar spent on affordable housing construction. This multiplier could infuse 20 million dollars into the local economy. In addition, the Housing Authority recently applied for CDBG funding to offset the costs of full street improvements on Clay Street and the development of internal streets.
Mr. Goldman explained that of the 6 acres, the Parks Commission was interested in buying four at $1,440,000. If the Parks Department decided to contribute to half the cost of the wetlands, it would bring the total up to $1,620,000. The amount was sufficient to pay back the Lithia lot's $500,000 value and the inter-fund loan with a remaining $500,000 that could possibly go to the Housing Trust Fund. The property was zoned R2 Multi Family and had development potential on its own. If the Parks Department did not purchase the property, the City could extend the inter-fund loan two years then sell the property to a private developer to recapture funds. The City Parks Commission would use the property to expand the City YMCA Park to create active ball fields.
The Housing Authority identified they had the capacity to build the units but collaborated with the City in terms of buying the four acres of property. This addressed the original concern on how the City would get the housing built if they purchased the full ten acres. The proposal from HAJC indicated how that would be achieved.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that if the property did not sell, Council could lower the price or refund the inter-fund loan. The property would be an attractive purchase because the infrastructure was already established along with the development approval. With the one million dollar buffer, Council could sell a portion of the land to pay back the loan as well.
City Attorney Richard Appicello explained that Council was not constrained when purchasing property as long as it was a valid public purchase and there were available funds. The Public Hearing was for the disposition of the property, because of the land exchange. Council needed to make a Finding that they were furthering public interest in the disposing of the lots and that the land value associated with the disposition was equal. The Findings provided in the packet showed the proposed plan favored the City.
The Housing Authority's proposal to develop the four acres in their plan would be what was built if approved. The City would own the remaining 6 acres and decide whether it became parkland or additional housing. Ms. Bennett added that accepting the proposed plan would require an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Jackson County Housing Authority and Council approval.
The City obtained two appraisals by licensed professional appraisers that used different assumptions with one appraisal at $3,940,000 and the other at $3,200,000. The $3,940,000 appraisal assumed the affordable housing component could be sold to the Housing Authority for $300,000. When the City commissioned their appraisal, staff decided it was not reasonable to assign a $300,000 value on the affordable housing component when it had a market value with one entity to purchase it. The Appraiser discounted the $300,000 and reduced the value of the property from 117 to 107 units. At $30,000 per unit, it was further devalued another $300,000 and that accounted for the difference between the two appraisals. If the Housing Authority built 60 units on the five acres remaining there would be a 13.5 - 15 unit per acre potential which would exceed 107 units total.
Ms. Bennett clarified that the City was only required to charge interest on the inter-fund loan but could charge the Parks Department the interest on the opportunity costs of the City holding the land.
Public Hearing open: 7:57 p.m.
Mayor Morrison shared portions of comments submitted by local citizens. John Gaffey wrote opposing the land swap. Heidi Parker and Ruth Alexander supported the property acquistion, both noting the need to provide housing for younger families. Steve Ennis was in support of the proposal. Aaron Benjamin supported the project and stated it would represent a unique opportunity for the City to make a step toward achieving affordable workforce housing.
Egon Dubois/381 W Nevada Street/Spoke in opposition of the proposal. The estimates and the presentation were misleading. The properties up for trade did not take into account sell ability. The current proposal was vague and a gamble. The Council was being asked to vote on something without knowing all the facts. He did not believe Council should be rushed to make a decision without a clear proposal.
Jason Elzy/Housing Authority of Jackson County/Voiced his support and provided handouts to Council. The 60 units of housing the Housing Authority proposed to build would target working families. The two and three bedroom units would house 86-106 children at any given time. Currently the Housing Authority offered only six units in its inventory of nearly 1,000 managed throughout the region. The Census Status showed how Ashland exceeded the State's average of rent burdened households by 21% and was the 15th most rent burdened community out of 134 Oregon cities and counties. In 2000, Census data revealed that 72% or 922 low-income renters were rent burdened in Ashland, in the last 7 years it increased more than 10%. Oregon Housing and Community Services considered Ashland to be one of the highest priority communities in the state of Oregon.
William Smith/1131 Barrington Circle/Chair of the Housing Commission he explained the Housing Commission unanimously granted Jackson County CDBG funds based on the merit of their proposal. The Housing Commission visited Maple Terrace, found it family friendly, and well maintained with good quality construction. He supported the proposal.
Karen Clearwater/2510 Oakmont, Eugene/Represented the Oregon Housing and Community Services as the Regional Advisor for Southwest Oregon. She reiterated that Ashland was rent burdened and by being a priority one for the State the application to the State of Oregon would be enhanced. She encouraged Council to choose the Jackson County Housing Authority plan.
Eric Dukes/2325 Ashland Street/Explained he was not there to speak out against affordable housing but as the voice of fiscal responsibility. The economy was the worst since the great depression. According to Forbes magazine this was also the worst housing in 20 years and was not expected to get better any time soon. The proposal from a financial standpoint was based on speculation and a risky deal. He noted that there were currently 14 lots for sale in the Strawberry Lane area, all for less than what the City would sell their properties. The purchase did involve the Parks Department and could result in selling existing parkland. He strongly encouraged the Council to look at the project from a tight fiscal responsibility standpoint.
Ron Roth/6950 Old 99S/Noted how long he had lived in Ashland and where his employees resided. The proposal was potentially one of the greatest things that could be done for the community. He voiced his trust of staff and the other groups who had worked on the project and encouraged Council to approve the proposal.
Albert Pepe/321 Clay Street #21/Explained that he lived across the street from the proposed property. He agreed with affordable housing but adding 60 units to the area would create crowding. There were already issues with traffic. He recently received a notice about another new development near Clay Street that would block the left hand turn lane onto Ashland Street from Clay Street adding more traffic problems. He commented that a community garden or open space might be a better way to create community instead of ball fields. He advised Council to look at the whole picture and not just parts.
Beverly DeLeonardis/737 Gibbon Rd, Central Point/Represented Oregon Action and explained they were a grassroots social justice community organization that had long supported and worked for quality affordable housing in southern Oregon. She noted the how many families had moved out of town and two elementary schools were closed emphasizing the serious demographic imbalance in the community. The project location, size and scale met the best practice goals for developing a strong community. The economics for this project would provide a huge multiplier that would positively affect local economy.
Rich Rohde/124 Ohio/Explained he had been involved with Oregon Action and affordable housing in Ashland since the Housing Commission was formed in the 1990's. He thought the project was a good place to take affordable housing to the next step in Ashland and urged Council to support it.
Evan Archerd/550 E Main Street/Reiterated previous comments that the land was ideal because it was flat, easy to develop, close to bus stops and within walking distance to shopping. The project made financial sense because HAJC was willing to put up $1.8 million dollars to fund the project and the seller was willing to take a large percentage of the project in trade. By working with the Housing Authority, there was access to State and possible Federal funds to build the project. He urged Council to support the project.
Mark Knox/485 W Nevada Street/Spoke as a citizen and noted everyone's efforts who worked on the proposal. The size of the property would achieve the numbers that made the project feasible. He pointed out that the 107 units the Appraiser addressed was the minimum and the numbers could be 135-169 units for the 10 acres. He hoped that if there were room for more affordable housing that HAJC and the City would increase the number of units.
Nick Frost/963 Tolman Creek Rd/Explained he was there to talk about West Wood. He supported affordable housing for Clay Street but the process had created a false division in the community. One side viewed it as trading the parkland of rich people for homes for 60 families and the other side saw the trade of open parkland as more city-managed-pesticide-sprayed ball fields. Both sides were well intentioned. The project was a complex deal that's lack of public input had divided well-meaning citizens. Most of the advocates on West Wood were not opposed to affordable housing only to the trade of public open space for ball fields. He asked that future processes for projects like Clay Street be more public and urged Council to approve the proposal.
City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified that the seller had reviewed the purchase and sale agreement and had requested some changes. If Council made a motion, they should authorize the City Administrator to negotiate minor modifications to the agreement.
Public Hearing closed: 8:39 p.m.
2. Should the Council approve an AFN wholesale and retain rate increase to offset an increase in operating expense?
Interim Information Technology Director Michael Ainsworth provided the staff report. The rate increase would cover inflation driven expenses that were growing faster than revenue that was currently on target but would result in a $70,000 overage in expenses by the end of the fiscal year. The increase in expenses came from materials.
The proposed rate increase would affect the wholesale resident internet services and not agreements with SOU, the hospital or the school district. The minimum rate increase would cover the projected overage and expenses for the fiscal year and would be the first increase for 90% of AFN customers since 2005. Pending FCC approval, the industry was moving towards a consumptive base rate that would eliminate the need to come back to Council for future rate increases.
Public Hearing open: 8:56 p.m.
Public Hearing closed: 8:56 p.m.
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2008-38. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas and Hardesty YES. Motion passed.
CONTINUED DISCUSSION on item #1 Public Hearing
Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to approve of the land exchange of City Property including the disposition of three undeveloped residential lots on Strawberry Lane and Westwood Street and the Lithia Parking lot as expressed in the attached Findings of Fact, and enter into a purchase agreement for acquisition of the 10-acre Clay Street property in partnership with the Housing Authority of Jackson County and allowing minor amendments by City Administrator.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas explained by providing affordable housing, the community was focusing on economic development for businesses to invest in the community and the diversity of people and age groups the community was rapidly losing. He encouraged Council to move forward with the project.
Councilor Hartzell wanted to ensure that some of the reimbursement money associated with Lithia Way Lot was dedicated for parking related problems.
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to amend the motion on the table to ask staff to propose an easement for a street connection to Tolman when they return with the partitioning proposal. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson noted that ODOT might constrain the use and circulation on Ashland Street and establishing a public easement for future use that could be abandoned if the project failed was a relevant part of the land deal. Councilor Chapman commented the project should include higher density, conservation, zero net energy building as well as a long-range transportation plan for the area, with bicycle and pedestrian connections.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to amend motion to indicate that it is Council's interest in dedicating any recapture of funds related to the Lithia Lot from the future sale of a portion of this property be put back into addressing parking problems downtown. DISCUSSION: Council discussed the amount that would go to addressing parking issues. Councilor Silbiger commented the exchange would be a double negative for downtown parking by losing 13 spaces. The amendment was a fair way of recapturing that value and was a reasonable trade off. Councilor Hardesty asked to rephrase the motion so that no more than $500,000 would go towards parking related issues, including public transportation. Councilor Jackson supported returning the $500,000 into the downtown area. Councilor Navickas could support using the money in the downtown area for a plan or investment in pedestrian amenities but stressed it was important to look at the other priorities like housing and commercial space that would revitalize the downtown area.
Councilor Hartzell withdrew the motion.
Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to amend original motion that Council would direct staff to use the money recaptured from Lithia lot towards transportation and parking related issues in the downtown area. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett clarified that the inter-fund loan would be paid first.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson YES: Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Continued Discussion on original amended motion: Councilor Hardesty supported the project; it was not perfect but close. Councilor Jackson commented on fiscal responsibility noting the majority of the purchase was land trade. Councilor Chapman wanted a cost benefit analysis of the City prior to supporting the project stating it was too nebulous for a decision and would not support it as it was.
Councilor Silbiger supported the project. The City was looking at real economic problems in the future but in an economic crisis with a housing downturn, Public Works was one of the things that brought the country out of the great depression and this project would put people to work.
Mayor Morrison strongly approved the project explaining there had been a need for affordable housing in Ashland for the past ten years. It would bring 1.3 million dollars into Ashland from the outside of the community. There were details and land variables that would require attention but the timing was right for the project.
Roll Call Vote on original amended motion: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson YES; Councilor Chapman NO. Motion passed 5-1.
PUBLIC FORUM None
1. Will Council approve the attached resolution authorizing water revenue bonds up to $5,975,000 and giving sixty days notice of the potential sale?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and explained a recent correction to the resolution reflecting an amount change up to $5,975,000. The change in the amount provided a cash reserve for these bonds and the 2003 bonds. The 60-day public notice informed the public that the City would incur debt.
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2008-37. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Hardesty, Chapman, Navickas and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Should the Council authorize the City Administrator to execute a 20-year Load Following Power Contract with the Bonneville Power Administration?
Director of Electric Utilities Dick Wanderscheid and Bonneville Power Administration Account Representative for the City of Ashland Tina Ko presented staf
Mr. Wanderscheid explained that staff was exploring alternative energy options to bring to Council November 2009. In the event that residents decreased energy use or large uses like the University closing, the Tier 1 power would be so valuable Bonneville Power Administration would remarket it and credit it back to the City. The City currently used block rates, if a user consumes more power it is reflected on their bill. For the new rates, it could be set as a standard at the Tier 2 rates so they would pay the marginal cost.
The State of Oregon's renewable requirement is 5% of the City's load should be renewable energy by 2025. The City currently met that requirement by purchasing 5% of Environmentally Preferred Power from Bonneville Power Administration. The requirement for renewable energy cannot cut into Tier 1 power.
The contract with Bonneville Power Administration would guarantee a supply of the Federal Hydro system for 17 years with rate reviews every two-three years.
Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to authorize the City Administrator to execute a new 20 year Load Following contract with Bonneville Power Administration. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Silbiger, Jackson, Chapman, Hartzell and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 10.46, Prohibiting Camping, Revising Penalties, Clarifying and Amending Timeframes and Procedures, and Other Requirements"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full with additional language in Section 3 paragraph 10.46.050 Penalties, Sub-paragraph B: "…consistent with ORS 137.128, up to 48 hours of community service may be ordered by the court and such service may include clean-up of illegal campsites…."
Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #2972 with noted amendments. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.
2a. Should the Council conduct and approve the Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Annexation Chapter (AMC 18.106.030) Concerning Affordable Housing Standards for Annexation"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the equivalency values as structured provided an incentive to do rental-housing units because the City could provide fewer by the equivalency value of 1.5 times the regular unit. It was a density disincentive to move up the economic income range because more housing units would have to be provided at the ownership housing level.
Councilor Jackson supported the mixed income levels but voiced strong concern that Council was adding vague standards like comparable materials. Ashland had a complex approval process and it could easily make projects more costly.
Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to approve Ordinance #2973. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell clarified that the Planning Commission discussed comparable materials and the group arrived at a level of comfort with the requirements. Councilor Chapman commented that Council needed a metric tool to analyze whether annexation was beneficial to the City.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hartzell, Navickas, Hardesty and Jackson, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
2b. Should the Council conduct and approve the Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Type III Procedures Chapter (AMC 18.108.060) Concerning General Standards for Affordable Housing in Zone Changes"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full with additional language to Page 2 18.108.060 B Sub-section 1, "…one or more of the following…;" various changes to A-E and a typographical error on page 3 at the end of D where an "or" should not have been stricken.
Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Ordinance #2974 with noted amendments. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger and Hartzell, YES: Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
3. Should the Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2, Administration, Adding Section 2.13, Transportation Commission; Repealing Section 2.22 Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and Repealing Section 2.26 Traffic Safety Commission" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full along with the following changes to the language on page 2 of 5 section C. Powers and Duties, first bullet after #2 ending the following sentence after process: "The meetings of the Transportation Commission are not to be considered a part of any Land Use Hearings process." and strike the following "…and the records of the proceeding shall not be part of the record Land Use case however the Transportation Commission may review and submit recommendations to the Public Works Department regarding planning applications that may impact arterial or collector streets as they relate to the Transportation System Plan. This review will only take place in the pre-application phase."
Under #4 Advocacy, the third bulleted item, changed "multi-model" to "multi-modal".
In 2.13.050 Traffic Sub-Committee under paragraph B. Membership, following language was added to the last sentence following "The Public Works Director…" add, "…shall determine what matters warrant Sub-Committee involvement and meetings shall be convened on an as needed basis."
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading with noted amendments and place on agenda for second reading of Ordinance. DISCUSSION: Mr. Appicello clarified that the language concerning Sub-Committee involvement covered the frequency of meetings.
Councilor Navickas suggested giving the Transportation Commission quasi-judicial responsibility for Type III action. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified that allowing quasi-judicial responsibilities entailed amending Chapter 18, which was why Council had previously decided against it.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to amend original motion to change language in Page 2 of 5, Section C. Powers and Duties, Generally, #2. Planning: "Will make recommendations to the City's Transportation Plans; Add the following second bullet:
Add the following to the first bullet prior to the language regarding meetings:
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas and Hardesty, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading with noted amendments and place on agenda for second reading of Ordinance. Roll Call Vote on first reading with the City Attorney's amendments: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas and Hardesty, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 10:29
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor