Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, November 01, 2010



Monday, November 1, 2010

Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way



Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.


Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Voisin, Navickas and Chapman were present.  Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 5:39 p.m.


1.         Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.


2.       Does Council have direction about the projects and work priorities of the

      Community Development Department?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained department projects spanned an 18-month period with seven projects related to Council Goals, several ongoing projects and potential projects.  In regards to developing a strategy for funding Public Facilities and Infrastructure for Economic Development Projects staff was moving ahead with a feasibility study that will look at areas for economic development in the downtown area, the Railroad District and the Croman-Jefferson-Washington location.  It would look at public infrastructure projects for those areas and possibly incorporate Urban Renewal and Tax Increment Financing as well as identify exact boundaries for these districts and evaluate a project list of raw infrastructure.


One of the issues with the Transportation Growth Management (TGM) grant projects was the City received the awards six months into a 12-month scope of work and the projects needed to go through the adoption process.  The Railroad Plan was partially adopted.  The Downtown Plan never made it to implementation and required additional traffic analysis beyond what the TGM could provide.  Staff identified the Railroad Plan as a potential additional project but not the Downtown Plan because an aspect of the TGM would address downtown parking scenarios and could be a candidate for Urban Renewal.


Planning Manager Maria Harris addressed the Transportation System Plan (TSP), explained it was an 18-month project scheduled to conclude January 2012 and was a collaborative effort for the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission.  The Community Development Departmentís role was keeping land use integration on track.  The end of project would require more work because the TSP was a supporting technical document to the Comprehensive Plan and would go through the formal adoption process.


The Pedestrian Places Project was approximately a 10-month project based on three locations with five and 10-minute walks from each core area.  It would focus on Transit Oriented Development and transforming the areas into neighborhood centers that encouraged walking, bicycling and transit.


Another project was Homeless Services and convening stakeholders to develop a plan that included identifying previous services provided by the Interface Care Community of Ashland (ICCA), gaps in service and barriers for individuals getting services and transportation.  The project would also evaluate the need for youth shelters.  Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid was chair of the Homeless Task Force.


Council discussed with staff various types of homelessness and the need to address the pan handling and loitering issues.  

There was a Council Goal to complete the sale of the Clay Street property to the Parks and Recreation Department and propose development scenarios for the remaining land.  Phase 1 of the project issued permits for the 60 units currently developed or under various stages of construction.  Phase 2 was the sale of the parkland and street improvements through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Money received from the sale would repay the loan from the City Equipment Fund, relieve parking demand issues downtown with a small amount remaining to be used at the discretion of Council.  


Staff explained the Council Goal to Improve Clarity and Responsiveness of the Development Process and referenced the 2007 audit by Zucker.  The audit identified nine recommendations that included improvements to development processes and communication between departments.  Staff was preparing a questionnaire similar to the one that went out in 2007 to measure changes and improvements over the past three years.


Mr. Molnar addressed the goal of adopting land use & building code fee structures to create incentives to promote green development.  Staff was in the process of drafting a revised scope of work and noted the citywide ordinance for building permits and LEED land use actions as well as green building standards adopted as part of the Croman Mill plan and other areas for fee reductions. 


Staff described the non-Council Goal project to update the Historic District Rehabilitation and Remodel Standards and the Buildable Lands Inventory.  The Buildable Lands Inventory would help identify new locations for economic opportunities.  Currently the building permits software did not connect with the geographic information system (GIS).  Staff wanted to create a data system that would transfer building permit information automatically to GIS. 


Mr. Molnar provided an update on the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) and that RPS would adjust the population figures, look at Council comments, and address density regulations and the urban fringe issue.


Other potential projects included reviewing the Railroad Master Plan for additional aspects the City might want to adopt and look at developing properties in the east Ashland Street redevelopment area.  Circulation could pose an issue and possibly affect pedestrian places.


Council discussed concerns changing the Albertsons-Rite Aid area to a pedestrian friendly environment and the projects generated from revisiting the Railroad plan.  Staff clarified the street network was adopted shortly after the draft plan was completed and the street dedication portion was on the books.


The Normal Neighborhood Master Plan was another project staff scoped that was outside city limits in the urban growth boundary (UGB) and was the last big residential piece of land.  Jackson County would eventually classify the area as large lots single-family development.  The project would determine how to accommodate future growth in the area.    


Council noted the project was a low priority and thought staff should extend Normal Street to East Main when they had the opportunity.  Staff confirmed that project was on the list. 


Meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,                                   

Dana Smith

Assistant to the City Recorder


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