Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

May 5, 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, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.

Mayor Stromberg commented on his participation in the deployment ceremony for the Oregon National Guard that occurred in Central Point. He shared his experience and the importance of supporting those that were serving and hoped to strengthen the community's connection and mindfulness.

Mayor Stromberg noted vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Planning Commission and Tree Commission.

Mayor Stromberg announced that agenda items number 3 and 4 under the Ordinances, Resolutions and Contracts section would be heard before items number 1 and 2.

The minutes of the Study Session meeting of April 20, 2009, Executive Session of April 20, 2009 and Regular Council meeting of April 21, 2009 were approved as presented.

Jenna Stanke from Jackson County's Bicycle Committee provided a presentation on "Bike to Work Week / Ride with the Leaders Events" the week of May 11, 2009. The event will begin and end in Alba Park. She also noted the "Bike to Work" fair event planned in Alba Park. Councilor Chapman added that anyone interested in participating could join others on this day at the Ashland Dog Park and bike to Alba Park. The "Bike Swap" on Saturday May 9, 2009 was also mentioned.

Proclamations of May 11-16 as "Police Week," May 15 as "Peace Officer's Memorial Day" and May 10-16 as "National Historic Preservation Week" were read aloud.

1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Waylon Zabriskie dba Lela's Café at 258 A Street?
3. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Denise Daehler dba Liquid Assets Wine Bar at 96 N Main Street #201?
4. Will the Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, approve the existing Change Orders and any other mandatory/necessary change orders not to exceed a total amount of $10,000 for the Reeder Gulch Hydro-Generator Maintenance?
5. Will the Council, acting as the Local Contracts Review Board, approve the Change order for $8,700 and the additional expenses amounting to $1,030 to complete the carport installation?
6. Should the Council accept the quarterly report as presented?

Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Will the Council authorize the increase of fees for the Ashland Community Center, Pioneer Hall, and The Grove facilities to recover 75% of operational and maintenance expenses?
Recreation Superintendent Rachel Dials presented the staff report recommending the fee increases for the use of the Ashland Community Center, Pioneer Hall and The Grove.

Public Hearing Open: 7:18 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:19 p.m.

Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to approve the recommendations for fee increases proposed by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas voiced his disappointment in the proposed increase stating the City had a responsibility to subsidize programs to a certain extent and expressed concern regarding budget cuts associated with the Parks Department. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Voisin, Chapman and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.


1. Does the Council wish to continue the current contract with RVTD to reduce transit fares in Ashland by 75%, or does the Council wish to change the contract to simultaneously restore Route 5 service and reduce the subsidy within Ashland to 50%?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented the staff report and introduced Page Townsend, the District Planner for the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD). He noted the following: the current transit subsidy program and costs to the City, a graph indicating annual ridership, and a map of Route 10 and the proposed Route 5. Mr. Faught presented additional information requested by the Council. This included the following: the cost and budget required running Route 5 13 hours a day with no fare subsidy and RVTD studies on "Frequency, Convenience and Cost" that RVTD did not have because the premise is based on national studies instead of local. Ms. Townsend explained that based on the national trend the City of Ashland saw no increase in ridership and the intent is to increase ridership by increasing services.

Mr. Faught further explained the studies determined transit ridership responded more to service improvements versus fare reductions. It was pointed out that Ashland was different from other Cities in that regard and required something unique to increase ridership. Mr. Faught commented on the difference between "dependent riders" and "choice riders" and agreed that Ashland had responded differently from other Cities because of the increase in service when the fare was free.

Mr. Faught continued with options for a pass or an alternative Fare Box Program for lower income riders and presented examples that included High School fixed-route, Senior fixed-route, Senior Valley Lift, Fixed Base, and Valley Lift. Further clarification was made on how these passes would work and suggestions and ideas were brought forward. The Council discussed the use of Oregon Trail Cards as fare reduction passes. Ms. Townsend stated that RVTD was not prepared to accept Oregon Trail cards as a pass at this time. City Administrator Martha Bennett added that staff had followed up on the suggestion to use the Oregon Trail Card and explained how this may work for qualification purposes when distributing passes. Concern was expressed on meeting the needs of lower income individuals who do not have an Oregon Trail Card. Mr. Faught explained there was a plan to develop a program to incorporate the methodology for additional free rides. Mr. Faught commented that Oregon Health Plan Plus clients could use Valley Lift services free for non-medical trips within the RVTD service area.

The presentation continued by noting the cost effectiveness of having free bus service for Route 10 and the approval of the State Business Energy Tax Credits (BETC). The summary included the proposed options and net cost estimates. Staff recommended proposal #3 that reinstated Route 5 10 hours per day, reduced the subsidy within Ashland to 50%, and allocated $260,000 to transportation services in the FY2010 budget.

Ms. Townsend clarified that the City does not subsidize fares to Medford and Route 10 currently operates 13 hours a day.

Mr. Faught explained the RVTD contract expires June 30, 2009 and if the Council chooses the option to reinstate Route 5, RVTD would initiate the Route September 2009 and ask for an extension of the current program until then.

Ms. Townsend further explained Route 10 as a "trunk line" that runs from 5:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. with the last bus leaving Ashland approximately 7:15 p.m. The proposed loop would start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. The 10-year plan will expand service hours from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. through out the entire valley.

Councilor Navickas/Silbiger m/s to approve staff recommended option which includes restoring Route 5 for 10 hours per day; provide a free bus pass allocation up to $10,000 for Oregon Trail Card holders; and direct staff to apply for BETC's. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson was in favor of reinstating Route 5 and supported the concept of transit but was not sure the City could afford it at this time. Ms. Bennett explained the two-year contact had a non-appropriation clause that would allow the City to revisit the contract in a year if there were budgetary concerns. Councilor Navickas encouraged the Council to support the motion and continue the commitment to public transportation and becoming a "green" City. Councilor Voisin supported the motion and understood it was limited because of the budget. Councilor Silbiger understood the current budget constraints and how the RVTD option would help put the subsidy level where it should be. Councilor Chapman was distressed at the level of transit service but acknowledged this was the best option at this time. Councilor Jackson did not feel the system supported transit; Ashland did not have the population density and lacked bus service in the evenings. As a member of the Budget Committee, she could not consider this a high priority when there were proposed cuts to Public Safety positions. There was a need to make hard decisions and reserve current discretionary funding for high priority issues.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Silbiger, Navickas, Chapman, YES; Councilor Jackson, NO. Motion passed 4-1.

2. Should the Council approve a Resolution supporting Senate Bill 29 - Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and direct staff to notify State Legislators of the City's support and urge a Yes vote on SB29 and on its companion Bill in the House upon its submission?
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/
Noted the previous support of the Council and clarified the procedure for tabulating Instant Runoff Voting. There are municipalities that have traditional runoffs who pay for the separate runoff election and this bill would provide a cost savings to those areas. The only opposition to the bill had been with the County Clerks and their concern was the language was not sufficiently clear on who would pay the initial costs. The issues were resolved and the jurisdiction that asks for this option will pay for use of the machine or they can count by hand.

Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to approve Resolution #2009-13. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas felt the relevant issue was not allowing the State to pre-empt a Cities authority to decide whether they want Instant Runoff Voting. Councilor Silbiger added the bill would enable legislation for something already in the Oregon Constitution. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Voisin and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

1. Will Council make an appointment of a Budget Committee member as liaison to the Audit Committee for a term to expire April 30, 2010?

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to appoint Dee Anne Everson as Budget Committee member liaison to the Audit Committee for a term to expire April 30, 2010. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

1. Should the Council approve first reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance, Site Design and Use Standards (Section 18.72.030) Concerning Public Art on Historic Structures" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.

Mayor Stromberg noted the Public Hearing had taken place prior and closed the public record.

Community Development Director Bill Molnar presented the staff report. He attended the Public Arts Commission meeting where a discussion on how the process would work and what types of items would be reviewed took place. There were concerns that Planning or Historic Commission members might get involved in the content of the art. One of the most pertinent standards for the Planning Commission in maintaining the integrity of a historic structure was placement, location and size of the art piece with respect to the visual characteristics of the building. Mr. Molnar explained applications would be based on administrative approval and not subject to a Public Hearing unless appealed. The administrative process consisted of a pre-application, sending out a notice of application to property owners within 200 feet of the proposed site with a 14-day comment period then scheduling it before the Historic Commission for their recommendations.

City Administrator Martha Bennett explained Historic Commission members could participate on the jury panel for art selection and how the Land Use Action was not the place to deal with content. The Council also had final approval on all art installations.

Councilor Voisin/Jackson m/s to approve first reading of ordinance amendments to the Site Design Review Chapter of the Ashland Municipal Code (18.72.030) relating to the installation of Public Art on buildings listed as contributing historic resources within a Historic District and schedule second reading of the Ordinance. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas understood the concerns raised and thought the Historic Commission would set up parameters where art would conform to the rhythm of a building.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.

2. Should the Council conduct and approve the Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "Ordinance Amending AMC 2.28.045, Relating to Delegations of Authority to the City Administrator, Providing for Authority to Enter into Month to Month Leases of Real Property, Authority to Administratively Waive Food and Beverage and Transient Occupancy Tax Penalties, Amending AMC 4.24.070 and Amending AMC 4.34.060"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full with changes to remove the proposed delegation to extinguish interest in real property less than fee title, a change in title, striking three Whereas clauses, paragraph C and re-lettering the remainder of text in sections C through E and two changes to the cross references.

Councilor Jackson/Voisin m/s to approve Ordinance #2983. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, Voisin and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

3. Should the Council approve first reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 13 to Establish Standard Forms for Right-of-Way Regulation and Providing for Donation or Loan of Functional Items" and move the ordinance on the second reading?
Project Manager Adam Hanks provided a presentation on Sidewalk Rights of Way that included: Background from the Downtown Task Force, current issues with news racks, encroachment permit process, private and commercial use of the right-of-way, existing codes associated with sidewalks, Ashland Municipal Code 13.02.040, purposes of sidewalk right-of-way and multiple use of sidewalks. As well as potential conflicts and competing interests, maintaining functionality and use of sidewalks. Mr. Hanks clarified the six-foot clear zone criteria would establish what is allowed in the right-of-way. He added the Public Works GIS Department had inventoried all the items that currently exist on the downtown sidewalk area.

The presentation continued by noting existing City Standard Functional Items such as publication racks, proposed City Standard Items, placement categories, proposed regulations for functional items, private use of sidewalk right-of-way for sidewalk dining and sidewalk sales and proposed modifications.

City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified the municipal code requires a sponsor to provide insurance for an approved sidewalk sale.

Mr. Hanks completed the presentation by providing information on the proposed fee schedule that connects to square footage use and the annual permit fee. Staff was seeking input from the public and the Council that included approval of the proposed ordinances and resolutions. Staff would report to the Council on the following: Fee Resolution, bench variation, downtown map, issue regarding news racks, commercial use minimums, length of lease and delayed effective date on usage (implementation strategy).

A suggestion was made to look at the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 4-foot allowance; the 6-foot and 8-foot allowance and possibly set up varying standards for different streets. The Council discussed establishing more kiosks, adding language that distinguished restaurant uses from other type of uses, providing ambience with sufficient right of way and enforcement. Further clarification was requested regarding donated or loaned items on "non-adjacent public areas," commercial use, possible use of concessions by current business owners, tighter definitions and sole right of commercialization in the public space.

Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to postpone consideration on ordinances until June 16. DISCUSSION: Staff would provide requested information to the Council prior to the June meeting. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Navickas, Voisin, Silbiger and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

4. Should the Council approve first reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the AMC Chapter 13 adding Uniform Sidewalk Regulations and Repealing AMC 6.44" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
Item postponed until June 16, 2009.

Councilor Navickas provided a report on the National Historic Preservation Week activities that included a Cemetery Walking Tour, archeological features and artifacts on display in the Community Development Building, a Historic Siskiyou Boulevard Walking Tour, the Ashland Memorial Mausoleum Self-Guided Tour of the Egyptian Revival Mausoleum, Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony and the Historic Open House tour of historic registry homes.

Councilor Jackson provided a report on the Green Cities Conference she attended that is included in the meeting packet for reference. She explained the three legs of Sustainability as Equity, Economy and the Environment and how Portland has put emphasis on creating green jobs and local food production to support the restaurant community and tourist sector. She attended sessions on the coordination of land use and transportation. A panelist discussed the benefits of preserving historic buildings noting high ceilings and windows allowed for light and air circulation and retrofitting those buildings made sense. Parks gained more importance for providing community space for higher density populations.

Councilor Jackson also provided a report on the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) committee and that the County is preparing to schedule the public hearing on the Participant's Agreement. Other agenda items included:

  • House Bill (HB) 2229 update
  • Possible Policy Committee meeting with technical staff and chairs from each Planning Commission and the County Planning Commission to discuss the adoption process in Public Hearings
  • City of Jacksonville's decision not to sign the RPS Participants agreement, and subsequent resolution formally withdrawing the from the RPS project
  • Tentative RPS meeting in June

City Administrator Martha Bennett provided a brief summary of the meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:09 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

John Stromberg, Mayor


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