MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 3, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting the order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hanson, Morrison and Fine were present; Hartzell was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 20, 2001 were approved as written.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Mayor proclaimed the week of April 1 - 7, as "Arbor Week."
2. Mayor proclaimed the week of April 8 - 14, as "International Building Safety Week."
3. Mayor proclaimed the week of April 16 - 22, as "Oregon Respite Awareness Week."
4. Mayor announced the Blue Atlas Cedar at 391 Liberty Street as "Tree of the Year 2001."
5. Presentation of "Tree City USA Award."
U.S. Forestry Service Representative Steve Strong presented the award to the council in recognition of Ashland's efforts and accomplishments in the development of a plan for the continued care of the community's trees.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Felt it was ironic that the City won the award considering its plan to cut down trees at the library, including a 100-year-old gingko tree. In addition, clear-cutting is planned on Mt. Ashland for the expansion of Ski Ashland. Navickas felt it was unfortunate that the City received the award because it does not deserve it.
6. Presentation by the Tree Commission on current activities.
City Conservation Energy Analyst Robbin Pearce introduced the Tree Commission members. Members presented a slide show illustrating the commission's activities. The commission works to evaluate the development of proposals for landscaping requirements per ordinances; advise applicants on tree and shrub selection; serves as a resource to planning staff on tree and landscape issues; reviews parking lot design, new street proposals and redevelopment plans to ensure City design standards have been met; and sponsors the Annual Tree of the Year election. There is no City tree ordinance, but the commission is developing a proposal. The commission recently presented a proposal to fund the services of an Urban Forester, who would educate staff and citizens on tree selection and care, and would help to ensure compliance with City ordinances. The commission's primary goal for 2001 is to work with neighbors to develop a tree vision for this Tree City USA. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Termination of Public Utility Easement located at 558 Fordyce Street.
3. Mayor's appointment of Bill Tuck to the Demolitions Review Board for a term to expire April 30, 2002.
4. Adoption of Findings for the Hillah Temple Appeal.
Fine requested pulling Item #4. Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to approve Consent Agenda Items #1 through #3. VOICE VOTE: all AYES. Motion passed.
Fine requested changing section 2.6, line 7 of Item #4, to read ". . . based on the idea that it either . . . " as the connotation of the word "notion" is vague, which was not the intention of staff
Councilors Laws/Fine m/s to approve Item #4 with the change. VOICE VOTE: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
PUBLIC FORUM (None)
Reid requested adding the discussion, of the purpose of the Public Forum portion of the meeting, to the agenda if time allows.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Introduced a letter from "Alternatives to Growth," which promotes the end of growth and the beginning of sustainability through the protection of environmental quality for future generations. Three bills have been introduced to the State Legislature: 1) Full Costs of Growth Act (HB3179), 2) Growth Impacts Disclosure Act (HB3466), and 3) Local Development Control Act (HB3713). Thompson requested that the council place this issue on a future agenda to allow for the discussion of raising money to promote this legislation.
1. Update of Perozzi property sale by Southern Oregon University.
City Administrator Greg Scoles gave a brief update regarding the property. SOU has accepted the full-price offer of $890,000 from Barbara Coffman. Negotiations continue among City staff, SOU, and Coffman to resolve issues of access, services, density, donations, and development standards. Scoles requested direction from the council regarding the level of participation that would be required of staff.
Reid expressed her desire to reduce fire hazards to the City and noted that the agreement does not address this issue. Nolte explained that the statement was a synopsis of the Letter of Intent from the buyer. The actual wording clarified that "four acres of each lot be maintained in its wild state, but that wildfire fuels be appropriately attended to on an ongoing basis."
Scoles explained that extending city sewer to the property violates State Statute. Nolte explained that it is a matter of the interpretation of Goal 11, which states that counties shall not allow the establishment of new sewer systems. An extension may not fall under this goal.
DeBoer noted that staff was looking for a recommendation and suggested asking staff to continue negotiations to provide an easement, which could include exchanging the existing trail easement for a better easement; reviewing the legal ramifications of moving the sewer; and continue negotiations for the purchase of a portion. Staff could then return to the council with its findings.
Fine added to the suggestion by recommending that the university could be reminded of the obligation, under State Statute, to dispose of surplus property in a manner most consistent with general values of the State and the people.
Ron Bolstad/Vice President Southern Oregon University/481 Thornton/Reviewed the status of the sale. SOU has countered the buyer's offer, which was accepted. The counter offer included numerous contingencies, not all of which are named in the formal proposal to the City. The proposal was a condition placed on the buyer based on discussions between the buyer, SOU officials, and City staff. No formal proposal has been forwarded to the State Board of Higher Education, but will be sent in early June, which allows time for discussion to continue regarding buyers’ proposal. The buyer has included a condition for four wells, with a minimum threshold for a volume of water. If it was not possible to hook up with the city sewer system, the issue will go to the county regarding building adequate leach lines. Upon the condition that seven lots cannot be developed (if the City purchases five acres, it would be six lots) negotiations would be reopened.
Law was concerned that the conditions required by the university were not tight enough and seemingly unenforceable. He urged the council to allow staff to continue participation in the negotiations.
Morrison preferred to see the property remain undeveloped. He felt that staff should not help the buyer, but should monitor the situation.
Hanson did not agree with Morrison as he felt that the buyer should be allowed to use the property as they see fit. He supported staff recommendations.
Fine agreed with Morrison. Staff should work with the university to ensure that the property is used in accordance with the State of Oregon. If values cannot be fully met and land cannot remain recreational and educational in the purpose, staff should ensure that any development of the land creates the least possible impact on citizens and the environment.
DeBoer suggested sending a letter to the Department of Higher Education urging that the land remains in the same condition and negotiate with the City or oppose the sale. Staff could continue working with the buyer to ensure that the citizens of Ashland are least impacted by development.
Nolte clarified that the words "to intervene" were chosen very carefully. Should negotiations prove unproductive on behalf of the City, staff needed an option to participate in the land use procedure by becoming a party before Jackson County. Scoles explained that if staff feels the application was insufficient or incomplete, an option to intervene could create an opportunity for changes.
Laws felt that legally, the language of the State Law could be interpreted differently. The City should attempt to get the most acceptable contingencies, including fire hazard control, protection of Roca Creek, and access for recreational purposes. He was concerned that the buyer could be alienated should too strongly of a stance be taken against development. He urged the council to adopt the recommendation as worded, giving the staff some discretion in approaching the goals.
Councilor Fine/Morrison m/s to recommend that staff take steps to assure that the land remains in an educational and recreational state, and if that is not possible, to pursue the course of action outlined in the recommendation.
DISCUSSION: Nolte stated that it could be explained to the Department of Higher Education that the offer does not meet the statutory guide for the protection of public values on property. Hanson did not agree that the Department of Higher Education should be involved in this manner and that the council should work with the new owner to make the property what it can be. He urged a no vote on the motion.
Reid agreed with Laws regarding the trail interface and Roca Creek. She felt that going to the State to dissuade the sale of the property was not a good way to work toward the goals, but rather to work toward the goals through the offer. This does not preclude sending a letter to the State, but she could not support a motion attempting to dissuade the State.
Laws added that he wanted the City to take a strong position on the limitations to the number of lots. He stated that new laws have limited the development, but the university applied before the new ruling, and has received an extension to keep open the possibility of more lots. If this cannot be accomplished within the extension period, the City could object and ask the county not to grant the extension.
Morrison felt the City's position was to preserve the property in a natural state, but not necessarily to stop the sale.
Reid stated that the council should not tell the university what to do with the property and that the council should notify the State of the City's priorities (fire hazards and Roca Creek) and work with the buyer to accomplish this.
Fine added septic system pollution and erosion during construction to the list of priorities.
ROLL CALL: Laws, Reid, Hanson - No; Morrison, Fine - Yes. Motion failed 2-3.
Councilor Hanson made a motion to accept staff recommendations and to direct staff to write a letter to the State outlining council's concerns. Motion died due to lack of a second.
Councilor Reid/Fine m/s to accept staff recommendations and to direct staff to put an emphasis on the issues related to fire hazards, erosion, and public access. VOICE VOTE: Laws, Hanson, Reid, Fine - AYE; Morrison - NO. Motion passed 4-1.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Presentation regarding "Southern Oregon Quality of Life Index" by Ross Finney of Rogue Valley Civic League.
Ross Finney/225 Ohio/Stated that the League covers both Jackson and Josephine counties. The mailing address is P.O. Box 336, Medford, Oregon 97501, and the website is www.rvcl.org, which includes contact information. A mailing was sent to all elected officials in February. The Healthy and Sustainable Communities Project was developed throughout the 1990s, which resulted in a regional vision plan impacting health, human services, and education. Employment and university enrollment has increased over the past five years. Positive trends continue to improve, including youth substance abuse, child poverty, and air quality. Continued concerns include population growth, low wages, housing costs, lack of health insurance, and child abuse. Although the incidence of high school dropouts has declined, the numbers are still above the state average. The report can be obtained through the website or mailing address. Finney explained that indicators were chosen based on the availability of information.
2. Update on Hosler Dam - Early Warning System.
Public Works Director Paula Brown gave a brief update of the system, and recommended that the council direct staff to complete the final design to install a reliable visual and audible warning system for the unlikely event of catastrophic dam failure. She further recommended that staff be directed to hold a public meeting in April for all residents and businesses to explain the proposed warning system.
Laws stated that he was skeptical of the effectiveness due to the short warning period, especially when associated with the cost. The power plant at the dam has had its generator replaced, and he questioned adding another expense. Scoles stated that the power plant has not, and will not for quite some time, produce much income. Brown stated that the regulatory authority requires a warning system with or without the dam. Eliminating redundancies such as cameras and audible alarms could cut costs in half. Fine stated that the City must comply with the law, but that the system is not the most cost-effective way of spending $200,000. In addition, he was skeptical about the redundancy.
Laws stated that the system should be reliable and should not scare people with false alarms. He felt that before he could make a decision, he would need to more information.
Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to support staff recommendations. VOICE VOTE: All Ayes.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading of "An Ordinance Amending the Official Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map of the city of Ashland for the Property located at 51 Winburn Way."
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Stated that under the Ashland Downtown Plan, the project does not fit the design directives. He felt the building should be redesigned.
Councilors Fine/Morrison m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Reid stated that although she agrees that the design could be better, the issue was about zone changes. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Laws, Fine, Hanson, Morrison, and YES. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution accepting the Grant Offer of the State of Oregon through the Department of Aviation in the Maximum Amount of $10,000 to be used under the Financial Aid to Municipalities Program Project No. 5-7-0012-0 in the Development of the Ashland Municipal Airport."
Councilors Hanson/Reid m/s to approve Resolution #2001-06. DISCUSSION: Brown clarified for the council that for the grant, the City must match the funds, but this will have no effect on the General Fund. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Fine, Reid, Morrison and Hanson - YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Reid stated that Public Forum was intended to be a type of "soapbox" for citizens. In order for council to comment on the issues raised by citizens, it must be added to the agenda. She felt that it should be clarified for citizens. DeBoer noted that he intended to explain the procedure at future meetings. City Recorder Barbara Christensen offered her resources with the intention of bringing examples of how other cities handle this situation.
Scoles explained the Gypsy Moth Eradication Program, instituted by the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture intends to spray 160-acre area to help control the moth population, which partly covers an area above the university. Public hearings have been held at the university. The question before the council will be the method of application, not the question of whether to do it.
DeBoer explained a request from the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, for a council representative to attend their regular board meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. Councilor Hanson volunteered.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder/Treasurer