MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 17, 2009
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson and Silbiger were present. Councilor Chapman was absent.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Stromberg announced that applications are being accepted for the annual appointments to Commissions & Committees and the deadline for submitting applications is March 13, 2009.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Regular Council meeting of February 3, 2009 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 Anne Root dba Myron Root & Co. at 17 N. Main Street?
3. Does the Council wish to confirm the Mayor's appointment of Laurence Blake to the Planning Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2009?
4. Does the Council wish to confirm the Mayor's appointment of the following individuals for the newly formed Transportation Commission?
5. Will the Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, approve the additional public contracts required to complete the Distribution Rack Expansion Project at the Mountain Avenue Substation?
6. Will the Council approve two contracts for flexible surveying services that will exceed a 24-month contract period and may exceed the $50,000 contract threshold?
7. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Lisa Beam dba Sesame Asian Kitchen at 21 Winburn Way?
8. Does Council have any questions about the quarterly financial report as presented?
Councilor Voisin requested that Consent Agenda item #6 be pulled for discussion.
Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-5 and #7-8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson explained the Council approves contracts that exceed 24 months or $50,000. The contract before them is for two years with two additional one-year contracts to cover possible extensions. It was unlikely the project would exceed $50,000 and presenting the contract in this format provided time and cost savings to the City.
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #6. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Zach Brombacher/640 Tolman Creek Road/Voiced concern with truck congestion near his property when the freeway is closed due to weather and requested the City provides police direction. He added the lights on Siskiyou Boulevard were inadequate, and that the Croman development will increase traffic in the area and suggested having another interchange on Siskiyou Boulevard.
Julie Norman/596 Helman Street/Spoke regarding a proposed ordinance on the Water Resource Protection Zone that will be on the City Council Agenda March 3, 2009 and extended an invitation to a meeting February 25, 2009 to build on the information already gathered.
Mayor Stromberg added he was hosting a community dialogue the same night, February 25, 2009 in the Gresham Room at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the use of chemicals in watercourses.
Arlen Gregorio/474 Williamson Way/Shared the problems with glare neighbors are having due to the lighting at Falcon Heights (479 Russell Street). He stated there is warehouse type lighting on the (14) fourteen exterior lights with (4) four additional lights on balconies that have not been lit yet. The building is above the neighborhood and the lighting disturbs sleep and affects the streetscape. The developer made some adjustments but it is still excessive and intrusive. He asked the Council to set a hearing to look into the possibility that this could be a public nuisance under Section 9.08.190 and to strengthen the ordinance.
Janet Tuneberg/327 Starflower Lane/Explained her home is exposed to the orange light from the back of the building and (8) eight lights from the streetscape not including the balcony lights. The second story lights are often on all night and noted additional (6) six streetlights along Russell Street. The lighting is overkill, looks very industrial, and eliminates the night sky.
Surya Bulow/470 Williamson Way/Noted her house is flooded with light from the 479 Russell Street development all night long, disrupting her sleep patterns even with the blinds closed. She was concerned with the quantity and type of lights used and that the lights were on continually. The development is the entire south side of her property. With lights lit during the day, she is unable to open her blinds because of the glare. She added the lights from the storage unit and roof create a glare. She would appreciate motion lights and stated the current lighting makes the development look like a factory or prison.
Cheryl Briggs/472 Williamson Way/Explained her property is directly behind the development and the glare in her bedroom make it difficult to rest. She would support the Council's consideration that the lighting is a public nuisance and would appreciate any help the Council could provide.
Councilor Lemhouse/Voisin m/s to place item on agenda for discussion. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Monica Trocker/Noted the history for managing cougars is to kill them and hoped that process would be reconsidered. She expressed concern on the number of people present during the incident that should not have been there. She suggested ongoing education on living with wildlife versus having to kill them.
Sally Mackler/Explained she is the Wildlife Chair for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club and explained that Clay Street is somewhat of a wildlife corridor. Oregon State ordinance allows public killing of bears and cougars for safety reasons, Ms. Mackler did not believe this incident reached that bar. The State rule is not to re-locate bears or cougars; the response is always to kill them. Public safety is a matter of concern but there are other ways to deal with these situations and even prevent them from occurring using non-lethal control methods prior to going to lethal. She encouraged the City to consider non-lethal methods. The best way to prevent these types of conflicts is to educate people on how to deal with wildlife and how to avoid confrontations. Research over decades show that constantly killing the cougar population disrupts its social system and actually creates better conditions for conflict with humans, by removing the adult cougars, the younger juveniles move in and they are the age-class structure likely involved in conflict. Fifteen cougars have been killed in Oregon over the last 15 years is possibly contributing to current conflicts. The public needs to be better educated about big predators and wildlife and learn how to minimize conflict by keeping things that attract wildlife in check.
Elise Thiel/321 Clay Street/Commented on her personal experience on viewing the cougar and the consequences she and her daughter suffered due to what they witnessed. She suggested the City adopt a coherent policy for Ashland Police on how to proceed with large predators. She noted Jackson Wyoming's three-strike policy where cougars are tagged and moved out of town, if the cougar returns, the third time it is terminated. She encouraged the City to establish a bear and cougar friendly policy where animals are removed in a humane and respectful manner.
Helene De Martinez/321 Clay Street/Stated that the City of Ashland is trying to become a sustainable City where people want to visit and experience all of its beauty, which includes wildlife. She requested that policy be adopted that law enforcement, public figures and citizens could follow. She commented that during the incident, the Ashland Police were calm, sensitive to the situation and trying to protect the citizens that had gathered. The City should research other States where the policy is tranquilizing and transferring wildlife.
Karen Salley/801 Pinecrest Terrace/Requested that the City of Ashland to create a policy and eventually change Oregon State code on wildlife. She shared information on the wildlife policies from other states.
Larry Laitner/801 Pinecrest Terrace/Explained that 15 people have been killed due to cougar attacks in the entire United States since record keeping began and that the risk of a cougar attack is low. He asked if it was appropriate for public safety people, the police and wildlife officials to protect every individual from every risk and suggested that individuals should be responsible for their own welfare. Public education efforts to inform people of some of these risks would be beneficial. He felt that Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife's (ODFW) policy is out-dated and it is not reasonable to kill cougars that just appear in Ashland. An acceptable approach would have been to do nothing. He asked the Council to form a citizen commission to work with City and State Police, ODFW, the Council and community on establishing a policy that reflects modern values.
Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to place item on agenda under Other Business From Council. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Voisin, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
1. Does the City Council agree with the recommendations of Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Jackson, and Councilor Voisin regarding 2009 City Council Goal Setting?
Councilor Voisin stated that the City should not pay for a facilitator and that an effort to find someone in-house or free from the Rogue Valley Council of Government (RVCOG) would be the better solution. City Administrator Martha Bennett noted the meeting was scheduled for March 14, 2009. Councilor Jackson emphasized that goals be short term, address the current economic situation in the community and that staff make additional information available at the meeting or prior to the meeting about the Strategic Sustainability Plan. Council requested staff provide them goals that they thought had the most impact and were achievable for the community in a 12-18 month period. Ms. Bennett responded staff would bring a draft agenda and homework assignments to the next Council meeting.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Will the Council direct staff to begin the process of adopting the Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan and to prepare the necessary accompanying Ashland Land Use Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan Amendments?
Councilor Silbiger declared a conflict of financial interest and asked that the Council recuse him from the discussion.
Councilor Voisin/Navickas m/s to allow Councilor Silbiger be recused from this discussion.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger left the room at 7:58 p.m.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar and Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a presentation that included:
Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 9 Economic Development
Economic Opportunity Analysis 2007
Draft Plan Development Timeline 2007/2008
Ashland's Employment Centers - Maps and Aerials of Ashland's Commercial, Employment and Industrial Zones C-1, C-1-D, E-1, M-1 and acreage
Draft Plan Contents - Goals and Objectives
Context - Plan Concept - Maps/PhotosCroman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan
Implementation -Priority Projects
Draft Croman Mill Site Redevelopment Plan www.ashland.or.us/croman
Jerry Powell/2565 Eagle Creek Lane/Requested further information on funding for this development and questioned a proposal for an 11-story building. He thought the height would obstruct the natural beauty and requested a height limit for the buildings.
Mayor Stromberg clarified the actual height limits would be worked out in the process of implementing the plan and would not be implied at this point.
Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to direct staff to initiate the planning for creating a Croman Area Master Plan. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson, Lemhouse and Voisin thought it was a great opportunity and public comment would be taken seriously. Councilor Navickas supported the concept but had concerns regarding height issues, the plan was not as eco oriented as proposed. Other issues were parking and the potential for hotels in residential areas. Mayor Stromberg agreed with Councils support and observations and added one major failing for the plan was the need for workforce housing in the proposed area. Councilor Navickas agreed with the Mayor noting the high-end condominiums built in the E-1 Zone dominated workforce housing.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Lemhouse and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
2. Does the Council wish to consider changes in the allocation of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue different from those dollars and percentages identified in Resolution 2008-35 because of the projected decrease in revenue to be generated and changes in economic conditions?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report that recommended the Council consider revising the allocations of TOT revenue, given the impact on the City's grant program from declining revenue. Staff is predicting $100,000 less in revenue generated than currently budgeted. He explained that earlier in the year Council had identified how to allocate monies for this year predicting $1,775,000 as part of the budget process.
With $1,720,000 for 2009-2010 revenue generated from the 9% tax, the calculation would be $1,262,079 for non-tourism as opposed to the $1.3 million and $457,921 for tourism. The formula and how the resolution is written shows more allocated towards tourism than non-tourism activities, the targets suggested in the resolution leaves $112,079 for small grants and the Chamber for economic development or cultural activities and more money on the tourism side. The resolution requires a shift in the money to meet State requirements. The question is how to budget for next year and what programs to fund in order to meet the State requirement of spending money on tourism.
Mr. Tuneberg clarified the City is required to use $457,921 for tourism. The percentages used for the allocations identified by the Council last year could be changed by repealing the resolution. The resolution allows the Council to make decisions on how to allocate in both categories. There is $112,000 in non-tourism and $45,790 in tourism that through the resolution, the Council decides how to use that money.
City Administrator Martha Bennett commented staff could bring back a recommendation for consideration if the Council wanted to change the allocations.
Councilor Navickas suggested putting the entire $112,000 into Small Grants in the non-tourism related category and shifting tourism monies so the Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) receives $275,000, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) receives $110,000, the Small Tourism Grants receive $45,000, Public Art $13,000 and retain the remaining $14,000 as a buffer for the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects. The intent is to look at the original resolution, shift more money into small grants, have the Chamber of Commerce handle tours and promotions, and do more of the economic development on the side of the City.
Chuck Young/1313 Clay Street/Stated that he was the Vice President of the Ashland Bed and Breakfast Network and owner of Country Willows Bed and Breakfast. He noted the economic downturn and stated that the City should increase, not decrease, marketing. The Bed and Breakfast community had concerns that some of the TOT money earmarked for tourism would shift towards to non-tourism and wanted to go on the record as being against shifting funds from that general category.
Tom Olbrich/356 Alta Street/Stated he was the Executive Director of the Southern Oregon Film Festival and voiced his concern with the shift in percentages. As a non-profit organization, they rely heavily on City grant monies that come from non-tourism funding. Mr. Olbrich was glad to see the recommendation to have small grants going to non-tourism grants, but voiced his surprise on the large shift away from something that had been discussed for months.
Councilor Navickas responded the Council was looking at moving all of the non-tourism related money into small grantees pulling it out of tourism promotion. In the past, many of the grants focused on promoting tourism but in the end, it did not happen. The Council would rather have the VCB focus on tourism promotion and give all the economic development money to the small grantees instead.
Pam Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Stated that she owned Paddington Station and shared some of the tasks associated with the business. The most challenging is marketing and the Chamber of Commerce provides marketing through the tourism program. It would be impossible for Paddington Station to provide these services themselves and there is a need to continue to fund the Chamber of Commerce's VCB. As the current President of the Chamber of Commerce, she hoped the Council had reviewed the Chamber's Annual Report and that it was apparent the Chamber has proved it is the best organization to carry out marketing and tourism for the benefit of the City.
Don Anway/212 E Main Street/Stated that he was the General Manager of the Ashland Springs Hotel and current Chair of the VCB for Ashland. He appreciated the proposal that Councilor Navickas made and stated that it is important to organize the money for marketing campaigns that are successful and provided examples. It is crucial to keep the money in one fund and offer to help in small tourism grants and important to keep the amenities of the community alive.
Josh Hamik/555 Siskiyou Blvd/Stated he is manager and family owner of the Stratford Inn. He explained that they had worked hard to meet the current percentage and reinvest in tourism. Taking money away from Chamber or VCB and allowing the Council to allocate it was not a good decision for the community. He supported the VCB and the Chamber of Commerce keeping and allocating the funds.
Mark DiRienzo/931 Beswick Way/Stated he was the Executive Director at Science Works Museum. Science Works brings in a completely different demographic to the community in tourism, employment and education and it is important to have funds available to pull people in from outside of 50 miles. It is equally important to have a broad marketing path and funds available for the Science Works education programs that extend to nine counties. Science Works cannot deliver these services without grant monies. The museum is creating an economic development benefit by hiring teachers, bringing in summer camp educators as well as people exiting I-5 and staying to visit the museum. As much money that can be spread to organizations who are bringing in people from beyond 50 miles is critical and is the original intent of this money.
Sandra Slattery/1405 Pinecrest Street/Stated she was the Executive Director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's job is to help businesses succeed and the community move through the current economic situation the best way possible. The Chamber is a partner in promoting the economy, creating materials to showcase the City, to those interested in expanding or relocating their companies, growing their families, visiting the community and accessing the City's organizations and services. The Council's support to the Chamber helps their effort through economic development and the VCB to promote the entire community and that now is not a time to cut back. The Chamber needs programs and promotions to help the City get through these difficult economic times and supports the industry that brings in $3.5 million through TOT and the Food Beverage Tax. It is imperative to work together in these unprecedented times.
Ms. Slattery provided a letter from Dr. Mary Cullinan, the President of Southern Oregon University (SOU) that encouraged support for grant monies to SOU and the Chamber of Commerce. SOU depends on the Chamber's publications and website to attract visitors, employees and students to the region along with the special partnership the Chamber has with SOU's School of Business and conferences. Dr. Cullinan encouraged the Council's strong support for economic development and the VCB.
Katherine Flanagan/110 E Main/Stated she was the Director of the VCB and marketing for the Chamber of Commerce. For 27 years, Ashland has relied on the VCB to promote the community to visitors traveling more than 50 miles to Ashland. The VCB mission is to promote visitors year round with the prime focus on fall, winter and spring. The VCB committee is comprised of representatives from each of the industries that relate to tourism that rely on the VCB to gain the most effective market exposure for the Ashland experience. The VCB offers cooperative advertising opportunities that do more than individual businesses. According to Travel Oregon, every $1 spent on marketing tourism equals $159 in visitor spending and translates to $6 in State and local tax revenue. Providing the VCB with funding for promoting tourism brings money into Ashland and supports the local tax base. Ms. Flanagan appreciated the Council's support through the funding that enables the VCB to promote Ashland.
Ms. Bennett explained it was the beginning of the grant process and staff needed direction on allocation.
Council commented on Councilor Navickas' grant allocation proposal that consisted of putting the non-tourism amount into small grants and for tourism, allocating $275,000 to the VCB, $110,000 to the OSF, $45,000 to Small Tourism Grants, $13,000 to Public Art and the remaining $14,000 as a buffer. Clarification that small grantees were not doing tourism promotion and allocating promotion dollars to the VCB would make the process cleaner.
Council commented that the Chamber, OSF; Small Tourism Grants would all be affected and that by allocating $275,000 to the Chamber and giving the Chamber Economic Development funds to the City makes sense. It was noted that the Council was doing what the people suggested by giving the money to the group that knows best how to spend it and that the City was constrained by the tourism split requirement on the funds. Concern was raised that the economic development portion of the resolution, which allocated $150,000, would suffer. That it was going backwards to repurpose the economic development to strategic planning and that the Council should be wary of economic development being a slice of the strategic plan. It was suggested that a portion of the economic development money should go to the Chamber.
Ms. Bennett shared that staff had delayed filling the staff position associated with economic development due to the decline in TOT. Reducing the funding jeopardizes the Strategic and Economic Development Plans because it eliminates the staff position for those projects. If the Council decided to reduce the amount and shift funds in grant form for economic development, it should not exceed $10,000-$15,000.
Council continued their discussion with the following comments:
Councilor Silbiger noted that this year was for developing the plan, and next year would be for implementing the plan. Currently the City is a year away from the plan and he could not speak to the activities associated with it because the plan was not developed. Giving money to the Chamber for economic development would maintain what is in place until a plan is developed. Councilor Navickas added this is not the Chamber's complete budget, they have other revenue sources they could put into economic development.
Suggestion was made that a cap at $112,000 for small grants, with additional revenue going to the Chamber Economic Development was made. Ms. Bennett explained that all would need to be distributed through the budget process.
Mayor Stromberg commented that the intention is to have an Economic Development Plan in place and at that point, no longer deal with trade offs because it would transfer to the City. Councilor Silbiger clarified the intention was to have a certain amount of revenue for this coming fiscal year so there would not be these issues. Councilor Jackson added one of the other purposes of creating small tourism grants as a separate category was to facilitate the distinction that exists within the small grants; some are clearly used as tourism. She was most comfortable with Councilor Navickas' suggestion.
Councilor Lemhouse shared the view voiced by Councilor Silbiger and asked if the City could afford to wait one year on economic development. He was uncomfortable taking money from the Chamber and not filling the gap it would create for a year.
Councilor Navickas thought the focus should be on what the Chamber of Commerce wanted to support which was tourism promotion. The Council was offering the Chamber the opportunity to increase tourism promotion, and wanted to see the Chamber promote tourism in other cities, not necessarily local events.
Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to approve TOT allocation that sets small grants at $112,000 and change in non-tourism category, in tourism category the VCB grant would be $275,000, the OSF grant would be $110,000, small tourism grants would be $45,000, Public Art would be $13,000 and change and the amount allocated to City projects would be $14,000 and change and additionally, to direct staff to come back with a revised resolution.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger clarified that that there is no dollar amount that would make sense without eating into the Economic Development Program. Ms. Bennett clarified that if the projected revenue were less, it would come out of the General Fund, Economic Development, Public Art and the $14,000 buffer. Mr. Tuneberg added that if it came out higher it would require a budget transfer for the current year, moving monies from contingency to spend on tourism, recognizing additional monies that have come in. Councilor Navickas commented his intent would be to cut into the $14,000 buffer first.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Lemhouse, Navickas, Voisin, YES; Councilor Silbiger NO. Motion passed 4-1.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should Council approve Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.36.030 Initiatives and Referendums - Deposit Required?"
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.
Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #2979. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Voisin, Lemhouse, Navickas and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
2. Should the Council approve a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Establishing Deposit Required on any Initiative or Referendum Petition for Final Filing?"
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.
Councilor Voisin/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2009-05. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Should Council approve Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Ambulance Response Times and Amending AMC 6.40.060?"
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.
Councilor Lemhouse/Voisin m/s to approve Ordinance #2978. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS-(continued)
3. Discussion regarding lighting on Russell Lane as noted during Public Forum.
Mayor Stromberg noted a provision in Chapter 18.72.140-stating lights in one zone cannot shine directly into another zone. Community Development Director Bill Molnar added the code also states lighting shall not directly illuminate a residential area and currently the Planning Department is evaluating the situation on Russell Lane. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the criteria in the code is opened ended and subject to interpretation and applying it to this situation could result in a counter suit form the property owner saying the City has abused their authority.
City Attorney Richard Appicello explained the Land Use Enforcement Provision 18.112 contains language regarding the enforcement of the Land Use Code. Mr. Molnar added the project has not received the final Certificate of Occupancy and the Planning Department was in the process of coming to a determination.
Mr. Appicello further explained there could a planning enforcement action depending on the solution. If Council wanted to change the code, they should do it through legislative action in a possible dark sky ordinance establishing limitations on lighting that applies everywhere. Ms. Bennett suggested staff bring a draft ordinance to the Council if the decision was to pursue a legislative amendment.
Council consensus was to allow staff to continue with the conditions of approval on the Planning Approval process, address the mitigation of light, and glare issues. It was noted that the "dark sky" ordinance has been on the Council's list of goals for years.
Mr. Molnar stated he has been working with Russ Dale and the general contractor, who is working with the neighbors, to evaluate the specific issues. There are five or six more lots to develop and with the Planning Department focusing on lighting for the remainder of the project, it would be prudent for the developers to remedy the situation now. Mr. Molnar will keep the neighbors apprised of the progress and currently was trying to arrange a meeting for the neighbors and developer to discuss the issues.
4. Will the Council adopt staff's recommended pavement management strategy?
Councilor Voisin/Navickas m/s to approve staff recommended pavement management strategy. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Voisin, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
5. Discussion regarding Wildlife Management Policy for the City due to recent by Ashland Police shooting of cougar on Clay Street.
Councilor Lemhouse requested staff provide information regarding the cougar shooting. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained staff had spoken to ODFW and would forward information when received.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 10:29 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor