Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March 3, 2009
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

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

Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.

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. It was also noted that the Senior Board is looking for a volunteer.

The minutes of the Executive Session of February 17, 2009 and Regular Council meeting of February 17, 2009 were approved as presented.

Mayor Stromberg's Proclamations of March as National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (NIDDA) and March 8 as International Women's Day were read aloud. Invites were extended for March 9, sponsored by Southern Oregon University celebrating International Women's Day.

It was announced that Wednesday night from 6:00-7:00 p.m. was the monthly RVTV Town Hall meeting with the following subjects: Proxy Education Project supporting "streams", review on the history of "Roots of Sustainability" hosted by Jeff Golden. In addition, the Mayor was hosting a community conversation regarding wildlife in the City of Ashland at the Ashland Library in the Gresham Room at 7:00 p.m.

1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Vin Mehta dba Taj Indian Cuisine at 31 Water Street?
3. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Marlene Webb dba Ashland Bistro Café at 38 E Main Street?
4. Should the Council continue the public hearing on adoption of ordinances adding Chapter 18.36 Water Resources Protection Zones to and modifying Chapter 18.62 Physical and Environmental Constraints of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance (ALUO), amending the Ashland Comprehensive Plan to include a Water Resources Map and revising the Floodplains Map, and adopting the Local Wetlands Inventory (LWI) as a technical study from March 3, 2009 to April 21, 2009?
5. Should Council approve a resolution authorizing the Administrative Services/Finance Director to refinance the remaining portion of the bank loan used to fund T-hangar construction in 2004?
6. Will Council endorse a letter in support of two federally earmarked ODOT projects on Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon?
7. Will the Council consider selecting street overlay projects as a top priority for the anticipated transportation-related federal economic stimulus package funds?
8. Does the Council wish to authorize the City Administrator to send a letter to Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) that waives the City's right to terminate the Facilities lease and resume responsibility for operation of the Hospital?

Councilor Chapman requested that Consent Agenda item #6 be removed for discussion.

Councilor Lemhouse/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items 1-5 and 7-8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Chapman voiced his concern regarding safety issues associated with these projects and was opposed to spending up to $100 million on another interchange. He preferred that the Council take no action by not sending a letter of support for these Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects.

City Engineer Jim Olson clarified this was a $75 million project that involved two phases. These include signalization on both sides of the freeway and relocation of the Fern Road. He stated that there are significant traffic challenges and without safety improvements, conditions would degrade within 10 years. The second phase of the project has been underway since 2004 and meetings with all the major stakeholders have consistently occurred since that time. He expected the City of Ashland would experience similar situations in regards to Exits 14 and 19. He confirmed that residents of the City of Phoenix have been deeply involved and that a majority of funds had been received. He explained that the letter of endorsement from all entities is being sought by ODOT and anyone with interest is invited to comment. He clarified that the City of Ashland has not been involved in the planning aspect of this project.

Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s that Council take no action on the matter. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse understood the concerns, but because this project is in the second phase and monies have been committed, it was important to move forward. He felt that this project would provide needed employment and supported the efforts of those that have been involved. Councilor Silbiger noted the controversy regarding Exit 24 is more on the "where" rather than the "if" and that those involved understood the need. He did not see any harm in sending a letter of support.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Voisin, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Jackson and Navickas, NO. Motion failed 2-4.

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to approve consent agenda item #6. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Jackson and Navickas, YES; Councilor Chapman and Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-2.



1. Does the Council wish to adopt criteria for prioritizing City services and programs during the FY 2010 Budget Process?
City Administrator Martha Bennett commented that these criteria would be used internally by staff when developing the budget. Comments by Council on the criteria were sought by staff. She shared the process in which the criteria were determined in that these are the things that the City needs to protect as opposed to things that may be cut. The intent was to speak positively rather than negatively.

Council voiced support for the category of priorities and the approach that staff had taken. Ms. Bennett clarified that the "local control" under the category "Lower Priority" had to do with decisions made involving other jurisdictions and provided some examples. She explained that there would be opportunity to make changes on the proposed criteria during the budget process with the Citizen's Budget Committee. It was noted that the critical point was in giving staff direction and consensus was voiced that this was a good starting point on prioritization.

Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to adopt the criteria as proposed. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett clarified that the Parks Department was involved in the prioritizing and believes that the Parks and Recreation Commission will adopt similar priorities. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Navickas, Lemhouse, Voisin and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

2. Should the Council approve an ordinance authorizing execution of the Regional Problem Solving Participants' Agreement, which establishes a process for the participants to implement the Bear Creek Valley Regional Plan?
Mayor Stromberg asked if the Council wanted to consider adding an email submitted by Richard Whitman to the record. City Administrator Martha Bennett added that the email addressed questions asked by the Council regarding a letter submitted into the record February 2, 2009.

Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to enter item into the record. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

City Attorney Richard Appicello explained the agreement contained a minor amendment process for 50 acres or less to amend urban reserves. City Administrator Martha Bennett added anything larger than 50 acres would follow the major amendment process in the agreement and would require approval by a super majority of the stakeholders. It was further explained that in a case of a major amendment to the County's Comprehensive Plan, the County would put together a technical and advisory committee to act as a super majority vote on how to handle the amendment.

Staff explained the City would not be liable, incur damages claims or tort liability from the Participants Agreement, it was an intergovernmental agreement. The City would be expected to participate and defend any appeals to the process.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve Regional Problem Solving Participant's Agreement. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger did not see any restraints in the agreement greater than what the City had itself. Having a plan to accommodate growth is better than not having one.

Councilor Navickas thought the plan was one-dimensional and should look at the many facets of growth not just expanding the urban growth boundary. He noted the intent of Senate Bill 100 was to force high-density urban cores versus urban sprawl. He felt the Participant's Agreement undermined Senate Bill 100 by going outside of urban growth boundaries and establishing the new allocation of urban reserve and could not support this type of planning. Collaborative long range planning should bring in economic development and create a compact urban form. The heart of this issue was the concept of sustainability and the City should look at the difference between "finite resources" and "renewable resources." Moving forward with this plan would incur sprawl at significant service costs to the City. He encouraged Council to retain their strong position around sustainability and enforce high-density urban development over sprawl.

Councilor Jackson did not agree the plan was one-dimensional and shared the groups and processes involved in the agreement. She agreed with Ashland not moving the urban growth boundary noting there were 150 acres within the UGB not yet urbanized. The region as a whole will grow and the project placed more constraints on communities' ability to move urban growth boundaries. The Participant's Agreement addresses urban reserve management agreements, conceptual transportation plans, mandating and adopting agricultural buffers, etc. She acknowledged that no government would over extend themselves to create suburbs in this economic environment. She sited three goals identified years prior, these were collaborative land use problem solving in the Valley, preservation of agricultural land and sustainable planning. Signing the Participants Agreement and allowing it to move forward into a full public participation project at the County level was the correct action to take.

Councilor Lemhouse thought that Ashland could not participate in solving some of the regions problems without participating in the agreement. It would allow the City to be part of the problem solving and this was an opportunity to do that. The agreement deserved a public airing and he supported it.

Councilor Voisin learned after conducting research on comments provided by community members that the RPS statute was the worst way to create urban resource and was being used as a basis for planning for the next 50 years. The agreement seemed messy and the legal language was difficult to understand. She had concerns the 50 acres that would be added for land reserves was not subject to the LCDC review. She preferred to wait until the hearings were over before considering signing the Participants Agreement. The current economic climate with regard to long range and regional planning should be incorporated in the Council's decision-making processes. She was not willing to take the risk of losing valuable farm and forestlands to urban expansion. Alternately, she believed in participating with other cities in the region but could not support the seriously flawed statute in the agreement or the plan that would come from it.

Councilor Chapman shared the views of Councilor Navickas and Voisin. He did not support the agreement or plan and agreed it was seriously flawed. He liked the effort of communities working together but did not think this was right route. He wanted the situation with the City of Jacksonville resolved before considering voting in favor of the agreement.

Councilor Jackson noted that policy makers and staff contributed to the agreement and despite its lack of clarity, the majority of the Cities in the valley see value in continuing to work on a collective way of assessing long term planning needs in the valley. The agreement establishes a framework for the future of land use planning in the region. She clarified how mandatory agricultural buffering standards will create setbacks inside the urban reserves and protect farmland. The plan will establish a Resource Lands Review Committee that will determine if land requested by a City for urban reserve is valuable agriculture land. Moving an UGB would require a Comprehensive Plan process through the County with the LCDC, ratifying it was properly done.

Mayor Stromberg commented that he would vote in favor of the agreement although he had concerns regarding the possible land use implications. He could not see any practical value in voting no. It was important for the community to build bridges within the region and find ways of working together.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Lemhouse and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Voisin, Chapman and Navickas, NO; Mayor Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

Mr. Appicello read the title in full.

Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Navickas, Chapman and Voisin, NO; Mayor Stromberg, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

Michael Cavallaro explained that each jurisdiction had a voting member and an alternate on the RPS committee. Mayor Stromberg appointed Councilor Voisin as alternate to the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving committee.

Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to approve Mayor's appointment of Councilor Voisin as alternate liaison to the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Will the Council approve the recommendation of the Public Art Commission to implement the Peace Banner Public Art Project?
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer introduced Public Art Commission chair Melissa Markell. Ms. Markell introduced the individuals who had spearheaded the project.

Jean Bakewell/299 East Hersey/Explained that this had begun almost three years ago and has developed into a strong statement by the people who live here and hundreds of people have participated. There are over two hundred panels that have been created by a number a various artists, ranging from children to adult and from different parts of the country. The request is to install a permanent Peace Wall that displays all the different panels that they have been able to transfer to ceramic tiles.

Susan Springer/19 Gresham Street/She provided the background on the process involved and the intent to make this community project permanent. A graphic picture of the proposed panel was displayed. It would be a 54-foot banner with approximately 200 tiles. It would be permanent, stable, vandal resistant and designed to be repaired onsite. The expectation is that it would be a volunteer community project.

Darrell Boldt/1950 Tamarack Place/He presented the concept for the project as an artwork that was beautiful, made a statement and was durable. He explained the construction of the panels, that they would be permanently colored and how the panels would be secured. The wall would be 42-inches high which is at a viewable height. The panels are extremely durable; maintenance should be minimal and would blend into the natural landscape.

Ms. Springer further explained the fundraising process for the proposed project, which includes use of volunteers. She stated that they had looked at a number of different locations. Because the concept of peace is important, the Ashland Library gateway location could be viewed by many in many different ways.

Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to approve recommendation of the Public Arts Commission to implement Peace Banner on the retaining wall of the Ashland Public Library. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Navickas, Voisin, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

2. Will Council approve by motion the acceptance of the Ashland Fiber Network Business Plan update as presented by staff?
Interim Telecommunication Director Mike Ainsworth presented a brief overview of the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) Business Plan. Despite the current economy, connections were up and staff was planning to end the year on track through 2009. For 2010, AFN is looking at advanced wireless services, rolling out retail business services, a phone-email solution, and retaining the customer base.

Industry experts expect bandwidth use to double by 2012. AFN is currently at 200mg a month and are researching a cap at 250 gigabyte per month with a $15 add-on expense for every additional 10 gigabytes used. The cap would affect 20% of the customer base. The ISP will provide metering information and customers can check modem usage on the website now.

There was some discussion of AFN becoming an ISP. It was explained that there is an agreement where ISP and AFN established a benchmark of 3% total ISP growth rate per year collectively. AFN connects approximately 90 customers per month, 70 to internet and 20 to Ashland television.

Mr. Ainsworth explained Wi Max was a microwave based, wireless broadband internet solution and is the most efficient method for internet users to access internet that currently cannot get AFN service. Wi Max requires two towers and could be built in 90 days. Staff is communicating with State Representatives regarding Federal Telecom Stimulus Funds. The best way to receive funding was through the Rural Utility Service under the US Agriculture Department. The City meets 4-5 major criteria and is in a good position to receive funding. One tower for Wi Max would extend coverage to a five-mile radius. If the City did not receive the stimulus money, staff placed $150,000 in the 2009-2010 budget with a three-year pay back period for the initial start-up.

Councilor Chapman suggested he and Councilor Voisin review the plan with staff, meet with the ISPs and have Councilor Silbiger look at final numbers. City Administrator Martha Bennett noted that this would be a committee of the Council and would have to meet the State Public Meetings Law requirement. The Council discussed issues on forming a sub-committee, meeting Public Meeting Laws and the need for confidentiality in regards to competition. The Council supported moving forward on Wi Max and approving the Business Plan but requested more time for analysis.

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to adopt the AFN Business Plan as presented with the expectation that staff will update and present to the Council for review and adoption on an annual basis.

Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to amend motion that Councilor Chapman and Voisin be allowed to review the Business Plan and return to Council in four months with a report and recommendations and possible amendments to the plan. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett will address the issues regarding competition with the private sector without breaking Public Meetings Law. Councilor Chapman thought the business plan was not aggressive enough for where the City wants to be. Councilor Lemhouse looked at the plan as a guide to start with.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Voice Vote on amended original motion: Councilor Lemhouse, Navickas, Voisin, Jackson and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

3. Will the Council consider halting the adoption of the recent partial Transportation System Plan (TSP) update in order to begin a comprehensive TSP update that incorporates the work that has been completed to date?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented the staff report explaining the Council approved a partial TSP update during the 2007/2008 budget that was primarily intended for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and never considered a full update. The Transportation Planning Rule requires all TSP updates, full or partial, go through a Comprehensive Plan Amendment process. The TSP is a component of the Comprehensive Plan and the CIP is included in the TSP as part of the Master Plan. An update requires 45-day notice to the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), Planning Commission Hearings and a City Council Public Hearing.

The partial TSP update consists of the CIP, Systems Development Charge (SDC) and the transit component only, not the entire system. The Comprehensive Plan is a transportation vision for a 20-year period that will address access management issues, future roads, multi modal, infrastructure for traffic and buses, commuter rail analysis, bicycle-pedestrian transit and green street standards. If the Council decided to halt the partial TSP update, it would role into the Comprehensive Plan.

Currently, the City is applying for grant money through the Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) to fund the complete TSP update. The Transportation Commission will work on the update if the City is awarded the grant. The partial TSP is paid for and the Comprehensive Plan is $350,000 with potential grant money covering up to $220,000.

Councilor Jackson expressed concern that the Transportation Commissions work and the TSP update could take longer and wanted to see work done on the CIP projects. She suggested focusing on the CIP projects and leaving out the transit piece. Councilor Navickas agreed with Councilor Jackson but voiced concern that separating transportation planning from the overall visioning process could have detrimental impacts to non-transportation values. Procedurally the visioning process should be more incorporated into transportation instead of isolating transportation. Mayor Stromberg commented this part of the Comprehensive TSP is a transportation and land use plan and public transit will be a central part of the visioning process and was not intended to be autonomous.

Mr. Faught explained initially staff thought the CIP update did not require a land use process when it actually did and was more complex than originally thought. The TSP needs to comply with the new Transportation Planning Rule. The Comprehensive Plan Update has the TSP referencing the CIP so future updates to the CIP will not involve the land use process.

Ms. Bennett summarized that the Council could request a list of projects on the CIP list, consider removing the transit portion, examine the new streets and determine if they can be adopted, pull the CIP out of the Comprehensive Plan so future updates would not require a land use process and update the SDC related issues.

Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to direct staff to formulate a partial TSP adoption process along the lines the City Administrator just summarized. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas thought deferring the projects was not a move in the right direction. Mayor Stromberg wanted to see the list pared down and projects started. Councilor Lemhouse commented it was time to move forward with the CIP. Councilor Chapman noted the motion was contradictory to what staff recommended.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Voisin, Lemhouse and Jackson, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.


1. Does the Council want to establish a policy for wildlife management within the City limits?

Karen Salley/801 Pinecrest Terrace/Read from appendix B from the Oregon Cougar Management Plan, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) cougar incident response plan. This included when sightings are reported by the public, intent to educate the public and safety precautions that the public can take. She stated that her intent was not to criticize the Ashland Police department and that they did what they felt was best. She does feel that the action violated the ethics of humanity that our community appreciates and that other actions could have been taken. She requested that the Council consider a plan for wildlife management that would include how to handle large wildlife.

Larry Laitner/801 Pinecrest Terrace/Questioned if the City had followed the State Cougar Management Plan and if the City would follow it in the future. If not, what plan would the City follow? He felt that the behavior of the cougar that was killed did not meet any of the four criteria. He questioned what the City would do the next time.

Elise Thiel/321 Clay #19/Stated that she unofficially represented those affected by the killing of the cougar. She felt that there was a lack of education to the public on large wildlife and would like to see a management plan for the City.

City Administrator Martha Bennett explained that City of Ashland officers followed the State recommendation and it was unfair to say the officers did not follow the State management plan. It was important to understand that the officers were very concerned on acting with State policy and believe that they did act accordingly.

Mayor Stromberg stated that he was not critical on the action taken by staff. He felt that there is a difference between a written policy and an implicit policy. That the criteria did not completely apply and that in the future there should better understanding on action that should take place during a tense situation.

Ms. Bennett clarified that the State agencies gave specific direction to Ashland officers and any complaints should be with the State agency. That it is not reasonable for law enforcement officers to argue with State agencies and they should not be asked to make these kinds of decisions.

Council commented that this is a confusing policy in regards to procedure and that officers are required to follow State guidelines. It was suggested that a letter be sent to ODFW regarding the incident, that an educational seminar or just available education would be helpful. That unless the State was willing to change the policy, this is not a high priority for the City.

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to encourage continued education to the public on how to interface with wild animals. Voice Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen,  City Recorder

John Stromberg, Mayor


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