Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, April 19, 2011




April 19, 2011

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 Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.



Southern Oregon University (SOU) President Mary Cullinan described how Senate Bill 242 would change the Universityís status from a State agency to a public university system and enable SOU to control resources.  She read the letter of support to the Joint Ways and Means Education Subcommittee and asked the Mayor and Council for their endorsement.


Mayor Stromberg added the letter supporting Senate Bill 242 to the CONSENT AGENDA as item number 3.  He went on to combine agenda item number 1.  Should Council approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, ďAn Ordinance Relating to Setting Business License Fees by ResolutionĒ? under ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS with agenda item number 1.    Will Council approve Business License Fees consistent with those formerly incorporated within the Ashland Municipal Code? under PUBLIC HEARINGS.



The minutes of the Study Session of April 4, 2011, Executive Session of April 5, 2011, and Regular Meeting of April 5, 2011 were approved as presented.



1.   Does Council wish to approve the Mayorís recommendations for the Annual Appointments to the various Commissions and Committees?

2.   Should Council approve a resolution to adjust budget appropriations for changes in operational expenses to remain in compliance with Oregon Budget Law?

3.  Should Council send a letter in support of Senate Bill 242 on behalf of the City?


Councilor Slattery and Councilor Voisin declared potential conflicts of interest regarding Consent Agenda Item #3 due to their associations with Southern Oregon University but both felt they could make an unbiased decision.


Councilor Silbiger requested that Consent Agenda item #1 be pulled for discussion.


Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to approve items #2 and #3 on the Consent Agenda.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Councilor Silbiger explained why he was not comfortable voting for two appointments to the Commissions.  Mayor Stromberg shared why he was appointing one of the applicants in question and Council discussed Commission attendance requirements regarding the other applicant.


Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s approve all the appointments with the exception of the Transportation Commission.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s vote to approve Transportation Commission appointments.

Voice Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.



1.      Should Council approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, ďAn Ordinance Relating to Setting Business License Fees by ResolutionĒ?  


Will Council approve Business License Fees consistent with those formerly incorporated within the Ashland Municipal Code?

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained the ordinance would amend the Ashland Municipal Code by removing the business license fees and having them set by resolution. The resolution would reestablish the fees stated previously in the ordinance.


Public Hearing Open:  7:16 p.m.

Public Hearing Closed:  7:16 p.m.


Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to approve Resolution #2011-12.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Chapman, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Voisin, Morris, and Slattery, YES.  Motion passed.


Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3047.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Chapman, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Voisin, Morris, and Slattery, YES.  Motion passed.



Brandon Ducherme/1401 Oregon Street/Expressed concern Council only tabled the idea of an exclusionary zone discussed during the April 5, 2011 City Council meeting and urged Council to remove it permanently from future consideration.   


Keith Haxton/1106 Paradise Lane/Explained a program that would allow residents to install solar panels and pay for the panels through the electricity generated. 



1.   Will Council approve ODOTís request to extend City water and sewer services outside of the urban growth boundary to the proposed Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area?

Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) estimated the Welcome Center and Rest Area would need 1400 gallons of water per day that was equivalent to 3.7 single-family units.  ODOT would contract with Talent Irrigation District (TID) for irrigation water.  Mr. Faught provided history on the sewer line connection.  The water and sewer request would have little if any affect on the current system.


Staff explained Jackson Countyís land use was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) who cited Goal 11 that prohibits the extension of City water services to serve urban use on rural land and required an exception to that goal.  ODOT would request the exception to Goal 11 at an upcoming meeting May 11, 2011 with Jackson County.


Area Manager Art Anderson and Project Manager Tim Fletcher from ODOT were present to reaffirm Councilís earlier commitment to provide water and sewer to the rest area. Mr. Anderson described the proposed safety measures and aesthetics for the Welcome Center and Rest Area that included separating trucks from vehicular traffic, fences, gates, and a 1,750-foot ramp for merging traffic as well as an office for Oregon State Police (OSP) at the Welcome Center.  He went on to summarize points from the Frequently Asked Questions submitted into the record.  


Mr. Fletcher explained ODOT would use six-foot high chain link fences with barbwire around the parameter.  The access road would have an additional fence with an automatic gate system.  For additional privacy to residences along the northern part of the property, the chain link fence would have slats. 


Mr. Anderson confirmed if Council approved the Welcome Center and Rest Area and Travel Oregon was unable to build the Welcome Center, ODOT would build the Rest Area.


Chief Strategy Officer Scott West of Travel Oregon explained they would seek Federal and State funds, infrastructure loan funds, and strategic reserve funds and was confident they would be able to raise the money to build the Welcome Center.  The operations portion was already committed.  The Welcome Center would have 2-3 fulltime employees year round from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., hours may vary.


Mr. West further explained funding was not secured but the Welcome Center was a strong candidate for Transportation Enhancement funding.  Travel Oregon estimated it would take two years to raise the $2 million for the Welcome Center.  Operations funding would come through the Statewide 1% Lodging Tax.


OSP Officers Lt. Kelly Collins and Sergeant Dave Beck explained the Rest Area and Welcome Center were in a patrol tactical zone considered one of the worst crash areas in Jackson County and had a strong police presence as a result.  Having a facility where officers could stop and process work on their laptops would be beneficial.   



Nancy Parker/456 Euclid Street/Thought the Welcome Center and Rest Area one mile from Exit 14 would detract from local businesses.  She was concerned about water usage and costs and hoped Council would consider the interests and needs of Ashland community in making their decision.


Jerry Stein/806 Cypress Point Loop/Commented on the increased fire risk the proposed Welcome Center would bring.  Travelers could drive the extra mile to Exit 14.  He urged Council to vote against extending water and sewer to the project.


Dan Folliard/1032 Oak Knoll Drive/Pointed out contradictions on projectís history and issues with the current proposal. 


Allen Walters/775 St Andrews Circle/Explained he worked with ODOT for 25 years and questioned what agency would run the Rest Area when ODOT was taking mandatory furlough days.  He also asked if the 20 people on Crowson Road could tap into the sewer line and if the water runoff from the parking area would go into the sewer.  Additionally, he questioned if the Rest Area would shut down during water curtailment and how will they maintain irrigation when TID shuts down for the season?


Bonnie McCormick/1321 Neil Creek Road/Noted she had worked for the Welcome Center since 1994 and commented how the numbers at the Welcome Center dropped dramatically since they moved from the I-5 location.  However, the response to the Visitor Center has never changed with many repeat customers.  The Visitor Center provides a variety of information for travelers that extended statewide. A large part of Oregonís income came from state visitors and she supported having a Welcome Center to provide friendly assistance and promote Oregon locally and statewide.


Sandra Slattery/110 East Main/Introduced herself as the Executive Director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and noted the Chamberís involvement in funding for the Welcome Center over the past 16 years.  She explained the need a Welcome Center would fulfill.  The Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Visitorís Bureau supported a Welcome Center that would operate seven days a week year round and never supported a rest area without a Welcome Center run by staff.  The Chamber encouraged Council to extend water and sewer service with the financial commitment from Travel Oregon and the Governorís office that the Welcome Center w built.


Galan Otto/760 Salishan Court/Expressed concern about the use of water outside of the City.  The City was setting a dangerous precedent extending water outside City limits.  He observed trucks coming down I-5 traveling at high speeds and noted it was a very dangerous place.  The addition of the Welcome Center increased the risk for vehicular crashes that could roll into the yards of residents on Crowson Road.  He hoped Council would not extend water outside City limits.


Matthew Folz/1 Mazama Dormitory Drive/Crater Lake, OR/Explained he was the Environmental Director at Crater Lake National Park and how waterless urinals and low flow dual flush toilets used at the Park contributed to a 40% reduction in water usage.  The Welcome Center would allow guests to not only stop but also potentially stay in the region.  Sustainable design in the Welcome Center and Rest Area would represent Oregon, minimize the carbon footprint in respect to energy and water usage and could offset concerns regarding water from the City. 


Gigi LaRossa/212 East Main Street/Represented Don Anway from the Ashland Springs Hotel and explained she was the Concierge at the hotel.  She shared a personal story regarding the Visitors Center and noted how the Welcome Center would be beneficial for travelers.  Having the Welcome Center manned 7 days a week would help offset service the Hotel and Chamber of Commerce could not provide during off hours.


Drew Bailey/455 North Laurel Street/Explained he was a representative of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association and supported the approval of the Siskiyou Welcome Center.  The economy was beginning to rebound and it was important to support the industries who were the leading economic drivers for Oregon.  The Welcome Center would help visitors who will spend money locally and bring more revenue through the Ashland Food and Beverage Tax and the Transient Occupancy Tax.  The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association urged Council to support the Welcome Center.


Carolynn Hill/673 Market Street/Medford, OR/Supported the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area.  She was the CEO of the Southern Oregon Visitors Association (SOVA) that covered a seven county region and explained how important tourism was to economic development.  An average visitor to the Rogue Valley spends approximately $158 a day.  The Welcome Center would provide the opportunity to help extend visits to the area.  A great number of businesses established in Southern Oregon came to the area first as visitors.


Stephen Stolzer/1120 Oak Knoll Drive/Expressed concern Travel Oregon did not have the $2 million for the Welcome Center and the location was one of the worst crash areas on I-5 in Jackson County.  His primary concern was how rest areas breed crime.  It was his understanding there would only be one OSP officer patrolling I-5 and questioned how they would be able to handle crime problems at the Welcome Center.  He noted that most people do not stop at rest areas to avoid putting themselves in harmís way.  Council approving the rest area would put citizens in harmís way.


Kate Jackson/359 Kearney Street/Explained the Rest Area and Welcome Center would serve I-5 and therefore all communities within the state and Council needed to weigh public benefits to the entire community against risks and precautions.  Ashland had always supported the location of the Rest Area and the inclusion of the Welcome Center.  The tourism industry was fairly recession proof.  She was confident current legislatures would work on the Cityís behalf to reallocate funding.  She did not think a town of 11,000 houses would notice the water consumption of 3.7 homes.  Council had to weigh public health benefits and safety gained by having the Rest Area and the economic benefits versus the risks. 


Ron Roth/6950 Old 99 South/Commented there were public health issues at other rest areas using septic tank systems and having a sewer connection would alleviate those issues.  He supported using TID for irrigation water and thought it would be easy to set up.   He suggested Council approve the sewer connection and request ODOT dig a well to flush toilets.  It would remove Goal 11 issues and the project would have a smoother approval process.


Bob Rasmussen/1530 North Mountain Avenue/Supported granting sewer and water to the Rest Area and Welcome Center.  It was good for travel and as a gateway to Oregon and Rogue Valley.  He frequently used rest areas and never had a negative experience.  Having a State Police presence would add to safety and the fence would be a determent to trespassers.  He encouraged Council support the project.  


Council discussed having the authority to deny water and sewer if Travel Oregon failed to raise the funds to build the Welcome Center as well as adding approval conditions to the IGA.


Councilor Lemhouse/Chapman m/s to deny ODOTís application to extend water services and hook up to the existing sewer services when the Welcome Center is constructed.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse had issues extending water service outside city limits and concerns regarding funding for the Welcome Center.  Councilor Voisin supported the motion and noted Ashlandís tourism industry survived the recession fine without a Welcome Center.  Councilor Silbiger observed if there were no rest area, travelers would go to Exit 14 and use the same amount of water and sewer within city limits anyway.  He would not support the motion.  Councilor Chapman supported the Welcome Center but not the Rest Area based on land use issues. The land was adjacent to the urban growth boundary and went against Goals 3, 11 and 14.  Mayor Stromberg thought the facility made sense if there were a fully staffed Welcome Center.  He would oppose the motion and would only vote in favor if there were full funding for construction and operations.  Ms. Bennett commented on the difficulty shutting water off to the facility once it was operating.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Morris, Slattery, and Silbiger, NO.  Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a NO vote.  Motion denied 3-4.


Councilor Morris/Silbiger m/s approve ODOTís application to extend for water and sewer contingent upon Welcome Center being built, water use from the City of Ashland be limited to potable use only, and adequate funding for maintenance and staffing with a four year limit. 


Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to amend main motion to include an Oregon State Police (OSP) substation.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse stated there would be safety and security issues and it was unfortunate but unavoidable.  Councilor Voisin thought Council should wait for funding and not expand their services.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Morris, Slattery and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.


Continued DISCUSSION on main motion:  Councilor Silbiger amended the main motion to replace the TID agreement language with ďwater use from the City of Ashland be limited to potable use only,Ē with Councilor Morrisí consent.  Ms. Bennett confirmed the motion was a conditional approval subject to the execution of an IGA that would not provide water and sewer until the Welcome Center was built and the staffing plan funded.  Additionally, it would allocate City water for interior domestic uses only and not irrigation.  Council added a performance clause with a 4-year time limit to the motion with Councilor Morris and Councilor Silbigerís consent.  Roll Call Vote on main motion:  Councilor Morris, Silbiger, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin and Chapman, NO.  Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a YES vote.  Motion passed 4-3.


Staff will convey Councilís decision to Jackson County.



1.   Does Council have questions about the results of the survey?

Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the majority of cities conduct citizen satisfaction surveys every other year or third year.  The total cost for the survey was $15,650.  City Administrator Martha Bennett added every department would have a citizen satisfaction expectation.  Ms. Seltzer noted the Cityís ratings were low in economic development, affordable housing, and transit service.


Staff recommended conducting the citizen survey every other year.  Council suggested adding a question on how children get to school for the next survey. 



1.   Should Council approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, ďAn Ordinance Relating to Setting Business License Fees by ResolutionĒ?

Item moved to Public Hearings.


2.   Should Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, ďAn Ordinance Annexing Property and Withdrawing an Annexed Area from Jackson County Fire District No. 5Ē and move the ordinance on to second reading?



Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Voisin, Morris, and Slattery had no conflicts of interest.  Mayor Stromberg had nothing to declare.  Councilor Lemhouse disclosed he lived near the Oak Knoll neighborhood but had no conflicts of interest and nothing to declare.


Interim City Attorney Doug McGeary read the ordinance title aloud.


Councilor Voisin /Silbiger m/s direct staff to approve first reading of the ordinance and set second reading for May 3, 2011 by title only.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Slattery, Chapman, Morris, Voisin, and Silbiger, YES.  Motion passed.



Meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.


Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor


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