MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
June 7, 2011
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
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.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Forest Lands Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Tree Commission.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The Regular Meeting minutes of May 17, 2011 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s Proclamation of Flag Day was read aloud.
Mina Turner, the President of the Ashland Amigo Club introduced Ashland High School Princesses Savannah Kahn and Jasmine Terry-Shindelman who gave a brief presentation of what they will perform during their stay in the City Sister of Guanajuato, Mexico June 15, 2011.
1. Will Council approve the minutes of City Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
3. Will Council approve a $10,050 amendment to the existing contract with KAS & Associates, Inc. for design and construction engineering services for the Jefferson Avenue project?
4. Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, approve an exemption from the competitive bid process to directly award a contract to Karin Onkka for graphic design services for a term of one (1) year beginning July 1, 2011 and expiring June 30, 2012?
5. Will Council approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Aviation for the 2011 pavement maintenance program?
6. Will Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, approve an exemption from the competitive bid process to directly award a contract to CVO Electrical Systems for electrical engineering services for a term of five (5) years beginning July 1, 2011 and expiring on June 30, 2016?
7. Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Catherine Gould to the Conservation Commission with a term to expire April 10, 2014?
Councilor Slattery requested that Consent Item #3 be pulled for discussion.
Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to approve all Consent Agenda items except #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson explained the amendment to the KAS & Associates contract was due to a swath of wet clay found during excavation that resulted in a redesign of the support structure. Additionally they encountered water that required drainage structures and road bases. Funding came from the grant and a loan that Craig Bramscher would pay.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Voisin, Chapman, and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
1. Will Council adopt the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Annual Budget?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg commented Budget Committee members questioned whether the Committee should take specific action on the General Fund Grants and suggested Council have a separate meeting to address the issue. He went on to explain changes due to program and project work in the current fiscal year that would carry forward into the next fiscal year. The amount totaled $208,500 and staff recommended re-appropriating the funds. Additionally, several projects totaling approximately $657,000 would be re-budgeted for the next year. There was no overall impact to the budget except in individual years. The new items resulting in $208,500 would reduce the Ending Fund Balance at the end of next fiscal year.
Public Hearing Open: 7:25 p.m.
Doug Gentry/574 Long Way/Served as a Budget Committee member for the current year. He voted against the proposed add item for a Conservation Manager position because it would not meet conservation goals. The money used to fund the position could go to other critical City functions that lost support in recent years. He was not confident a Conservation Manager would significantly increase conservation outcomes and thought the City Administrator should charter each department and program within the City to establish their own conservation efforts instead.
Tom Beam/358 E Main Street/Explained he was Vice Chair of the Conservation Commission and thought the City was remiss for the past 36-months in moving conservation projects forward. Tier 2 Power rates will increase and have the largest affect on low income, middle income, and fixed income families in the city. Conservation was the only way to mitigate those costs. He advocated restructuring City management positions and establishing conservation measures to address Tier 2 Power.
Bill Kauth/258 Greenbriar Place/Spoke in favor of the Conservation Manager position. It would provide leadership in supporting the City Council Goal of long-term water planning and the economic advantage of keeping Tier 2 Power rates at a minimum. The City should be a model for conservation and sustainability. The Conservation Manager would act as a liaison to City departments in the planning and implementation of the City Goal of developing concise sustainability plans for the community, City operations and through community based sustainability planning.
Brett Schumacher/2770 Diane Street/Was in favor of the City hiring a Conservation Manager and listed how the position would increase awareness, be accountable and reduce waste through conservation and sustainability efforts within the City and community.
Sheri Cellini/335 Kent Street/Spoke as a citizen and a Conservation Commissioner. She expressed disappointment there was a tie vote on the Conservation Manager position and that it failed. She referenced a study on four different cities that saved $500,000-$10,000,000 annually through conservation and sustainability efforts. These savings indicated the Conservation Manager position could pay for itself. She encouraged Council to give the position a chance.
Jim McGinnis/629 A Street/Noted in 2011, Council adopted four goals relating to sustainability. He wanted the Conservation Commission and the City to be accountable for meeting those goals by having a knowledgeable point person achieve them. A Conservation Manager would increase short and long-term benefits for financial and non-financial and greatly exceed the personnel cost for the position. Not having a conservation Manager increased the risk of higher energy costs, environmental impacts, and energy security issues. He urged Council to reconsider the Conservation Manager position.
Stuart Corns/577 Henley Way/Spoke as the Southern Oregon University (SOU) representative to the Conservation Commission. He explained why the sustainability goal required effective leadership and thought the Conservation Manager position was critical. He understood the budget implications but at some point, the focus needed to shift to the opportunity costs of not having a Conservation Manager.
David Runkel/586 E Main Street/Explained the Conservation division needed leadership. Ashland was a leader in the past for conservation but had fallen behind. He understood the budget concerns but thought there were ways within the proposed budget to accommodate the position and sustainability efforts.
Risa Buck/170 Oak Street/Served on the Conservation Commission and spoke in support of the Conservation Manager position. The existing conservation analysts deserved adequate leadership from a qualified manager. The position could acquire funding to support City Conservation programs. It was important to have someone who could collaborate with other relevant city positions throughout the city on all of these issues.
Janice “Zoe” Goldstein/258 Greenbriar Place/Spoke on the benefits of conservation division activities. Filling this position would help the City extend beyond the levels they were operating at two years before. There was local expertise within the area and the City should aggressively help other businesses and seek funding to accomplish more programs. The security of energy availability was directly at stake by not having strong conservation leadership in the city. This was an opportunity to invest in the future.
Sylvia Medeiros/449 Euclid Street/Shared research and details on findings from the City of Palo Alto that achieved cost savings of $586,000 from resource reductions and initiatives.
Caia Cupito/745 Creek Stone Way/Gave details on her work background that described the importance of having an individual in a leadership role and equated it to the Conservation Manager position. She noted specific cities and cost savings that resulted from having sustainability departments.
Will Wilkinson/2940 Hwy 99 South/Supported the Conservation Manager position and thought a delay would create more catch up and expense over time. The Conservation Manager would help the City and community conserve resources. The return of investment on having a Conservation Manager was incredible. He encouraged Council to lead the way adding the citizens would follow.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:03 p.m.
2. Does Council wish to affirm, reverse, modify or remand back to the Planning Commission the decision to approve a request to convert an existing 614 square foot home into a 599 square foot retail store, with a new 447 square foot residential addition attached to the rear of the existing structure, for the property located at 260 First Street?
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg opened the Public Hearing at 8:04 p.m. on the appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision in Planning Action 2010-01611 and read aloud the procedure for Public Land Use Hearings.
Councilor Chapman had no bias, conflict of interest, or ex parte communication and disclosed he made a site visit but encountered nothing that would influence his decision. Councilor Silbiger also made a site visit but had no conflict of interest or bias. Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Voisin, and Councilor Lemhouse had no conflict of interest, ex parte or bias. Councilor Morris disclosed he was the liaison to the Historic Commission and saw the request when it came before the Historic Commission prior to becoming a planning action and that information was in the record. Councilor Slattery declared no ex parte, conflict of interest, or bias.
Associate Planner Derek Severson provided a presentation that included:
· Components of the Application
o Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Site Review to convert a 614 square foot home into a 599 square foot retail store, with a new 447 square foot residential addition to the rear of the property.
o Variance to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces from the required three to only one. (Because the requirements for a disabled person-parking place requires an aisle adjacent to the space, the applicants are only able to provide one off-street parking place due to the lot’s 25-foot width).
o An Administrative Variance to the Site Design and Use Standards’ Parking Lot Landscaping & Screening Standards to reduce the required five-foot landscape buffer between parking areas and property lines.
· Vicinity Map, Zoning in the Vicinity, Existing Historic Non-Contributing Home, Proposed Building, Site Plan w/Landscaping Details, AMC 18.24.030 R-2 Conditional Uses
· Proposed Elevations, Main Floor Plan, Upper Floor Plan, Site Plan/Parking
· Planning Commission Decision
o Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Site Review to convert a 614 square foot home into a 599 square foot retail store, with a new 447 square foot residential addition to the rear of the property. Approved with requirements for a door between uses to better integrate the retail component with the residence (as empowered in 18.72.100) and to obtain CUP approval for any change of use or conditions.
o Variance to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces from the required three to only one. Approved noting that if accessible space could be provided off-site within two blocks, it would still be appropriate to have only one standard off-street parking space & an enhanced buffer to minimize parking impact on residential front yard character.
o An Administrative Variance to the Site Design and Use Standards’ Parking Lot Landscaping & Screening Standards to reduce the required five-foot landscape buffer between parking areas and property lines. Approved, with buffer to be increased if accessible space can be accommodated off-site.
· On the Road Appeals
o Appellants must identify, in writing, specific areas where they think the Planning Commission erred. This can be an error in interpretation of a fact, an interpretation of a rule or regulation, or in procedure. The City Council is to review only those specific issues raised as “errors.”
o The Council will decide: 1) whether there is substantial evidence to support the decision of the Planning Commission and 2) if the Planning Commission committed an error in procedure or the interpretation of law.
· Is the Appeal Request a “Clear & Distinct Identification?”
o Appeal request reference a submittal provided during testimony to the Planning Commission (and is thus not specific to the subsequent decision) in identifying grounds for appeal.
o The grounds for appeal were not restated in the appeal request, nor was a copy of the original submittal provided with the appeal request. (The item referenced was however part of the record and five specific objections to the proposal were clearly listed therein).
o Council has previously determined that incorporating grounds for appeal by reference from elsewhere in the record is not a sufficiently “clear and distinct identification” of the grounds for which the decision should be reversed or modified.
o Staff do not believe the appeal request meets the applicable procedural requirements from AMC 18.108.110.A.2 and the appeal could be rejected on that basis alone.
o The objections referenced within the record are themselves clearly and distinctly identifiable, and reference applicable criteria. Staff believes that if the appeal were rejected and ultimately appealed to LUBA, LUBA might refer the matter back to Council to address the specific items referenced.
o Staff recommends Council first make a finding that the appeal fails to meet the requirements for an appeal on the record as detailed in AMC 18.108.110.A.2 and is therefore rejected on that basis, but also make specific findings addressing the issues references in the appeal required and reaffirming the Planning Commission’s approval of the request (assuming that the Council sees no errors of fact or law in the approval).
· Appellants Grounds for Appeal (Referenced in P.C. Record)
Mr. Severson noted the transitional zone was germane to the appellant who stated it was not established in the code. Councilor Silbiger declared a potential conflict of interest regarding transitional zones because he lived on the boarder of a commercial neighborhood.
Staff explained if Council denied the appeal based on the lack of a proper appeal process then continued and discovered an error in the Findings, they could modify the conditions of approval or based on the denial, the appellant or applicant could appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). The question of the error was whether there was substantial evidence or not in meeting the applicable criteria.
Mayor Stromberg stated the only issues Council could consider were:
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Owned the property adjacent to the subject property and had several issues with the proposal. It did not meet the requirements for variances for parking, there were no practical difficulties, or hardships that prevented permitted or even some conditional uses of the property under Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Chapter 18.100 Variances. Granting a variance required that all three conditions stated were met. The property did not meet them nor were there unique and unusual circumstances.
The 25-foot lot width was a standard historic lot size for the Rail Road District and was not unique. Additionally, the proposal benefits did not outweigh the negative impacts on livability for neighbors and the commercial establishment in the E-1 zone.
According to AMC Chapter 18.24 R-2 Low Density Multiple-Family Residential District, Section 18.24.030 R-2, Conditional Uses the proposal did not meet any of the conditional use requirements. It would not primarily serve pedestrian traffic, and was not a retail commercial use located in a dwelling unit in the Rail Road District. The proposal reduced the size of the existing building to meet the limitations for a retail outlet with a separate new residential unit that violated the requirement of running a business and living in the same unit. The Planning Commission’s suggestion of having a door between the two buildings violated space and owner/operator dwelling requirements.
The parking variance included a 66% reduction with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) space possibly two blocks away. Parking was already difficult on that block and further parking demands would negatively affect the Ashland Coop’s business.
His property next to the applicant’s had been an affordable living unit for 25 years and the proposed development would make it less attractive and desirable as a living unit, was a target use of the R-2 zone and compromised not only his commercial value but the remaining residential units on both sides of the street. He did not think the area was a transitional neighborhood. He provided examples of how it had been stable for decades. Additionally there were no criteria or standards on what created a transitional zone and that made the proposed property unmerited, unacceptable and without qualification.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to extend the Public Hearing until 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Melissa Syken/270 North 1st/Spoke on behalf of the applicant and noted the demand for eco friendly baby products not currently sold in Ashland and explained the applicants intended to sew most of the product themselves. She addressed livability and noted she currently lived in the appellant’s dwelling adjacent the subject property and liked the location, community and proximity of the Ashland Coop. She thought the Ashland Coop created more of a parking impact than the proposed store would. The Ashland Coop was on a one-way street with four residential units across the street. Allowing two parking spaces on the subject property would decrease impact on parking. She also felt the proposal met the conditional use requirements.
Carlos Delgado/2030 Wine Street/Introduced himself as the architect for the applicant and explained the property was actually on the map as a transitional zone and the Historic Commission and Planning Commission recognized it as a transitional neighborhood from commercial use to residential use. The building was a 1,000 square foot building where 600 square feet would be dedicated to a small retail operation. They researched parking requirements and options by the State, ADA, and Ashland City ordinances and received approval for on street parking at the State level. As for livability, there was an active retail operation across the street from the subject property and there was nothing to compare on the impact of a 600 square foot operation versus the Ashland Coop.
Mr. Severson commented that State approval for ADA parking was not in the record and should not be considered in the decision.
Those who Support the Appeal – None spoke
Those who Support the Planning Commission’s Decision
Amanda Rockwell-Higgins/2050 Butler Creek Road/Did not think parking was an issue and explained she was a small business owner in Ashland. It took very few customers to make her successful and equated that to the applicant’s proposal.
Final Remarks – Appellant – No further remarks.
Final Remarks – Applicant – No further remarks.
Mr. Severson confirmed the Conditional Use Permit only allowed a business no greater than 600 square-feet of the total area of the residence.
Hearing Closed - 9:07 p.m.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to affirm the decision of the Planning Commission decision and reject the appeal and direct staff to prepare Findings for adoption by Council. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse supported the Planning Commission’s decision and did not think they erred in their approval. Alternately, the applicant’s submittal was not consistent and did not follow procedure. Councilor Chapman commented it was not an easy decision for the Planning Commission and there was ample evidence to support either position. He thought the appellant failed to identify errors of law made by the Planning Commission. Additionally, the Planning Commission and staff addressed each of the five objections made by the appellant at the hearing. Councilor Silbiger noted the appeal did not meet the criteria to form an appeal for Council and should not have come forward. The application clearly met conditional uses, the livability of the neighborhood was already impacted, and the small store would not affect the process. However, there was a compelling case that could go either way regarding the parking variance based on variance criteria. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Chapman, Slattery, Voisin, Silbiger and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
CONTINUED – PUBLIC HEARINGS
Will Council adopt the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Annual Budget?
City Administrator Martha Bennett based the Conservation Manager position on several Council Goals regarding conservation. Currently there was not sufficient staff support to perform the fieldwork the Conservation staff did and achieve the Council Goals. Due to some vacant positions, she thought staff could evaluate how these vacancies might free up existing resources to work on conservation while recruiting an Assistant City Administrator.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2011-18 Adopting the Annual Budget and Making Appropriations as amended by staff. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger explained the Conservation Manager position failed to get a majority vote and it was appropriate that Council honor that decision. Councilor Voisin thought Council should fund the position or change the goals. Not funding the position set staff up for failure. She would not support the motion. Councilor Lemhouse supported the Conservation Manager position at the Budget meeting and recognized the need to provide appropriate resources to accomplish Council Goals. Overturning the Budget Committee’s decision went against transparency and citizen involvement. Councilor Slattery supported a Conservation Manager position but thought it should occur in the future. He wanted the Conservation Commission to develop the position further and that lack of detail contributed to his vote against it during the budget process. He also thought the Assistant City Administrator should hire for that position when it was approved. Councilor Morris thought the Conservation Manager position was necessary but agreed the Budget Committee’s decision should not be overturned.
Councilor Chapman agreed the Conservation department needed a leader but was unsure of the level of leadership it required. He noted an observation that the previous Director of the Electric Department also served as the Conservation Manager and questioned the need for a new position. Councilor Voisin explained the Budget Committee’s primary responsibility was review the proposed budget to determine if it met the policy and strategic goals of the City Council and the Parks and Recreation Department. She reiterated the need to either fund a Conservation Manager position or eliminate some of the goals. Mayor Stromberg appreciated the work by the Conservation Commission and the importance of leadership in conservation and sustainability plans. He also supported not overturning the Budget Committee’s vote but there was a need to clarify the Budget Committee’s role to ensure it implemented the priorities and goals of Council and the Parks and Recreation Department. He cautioned on setting precedents and the potential to transfer power from the Council to the Budget Committee. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Slattery, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2011-16 Certifying City provides sufficient Municipal Services to Qualify for State Subventions. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Silbiger, Chapman, Lemhouse, Slattery and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2011-15 Declaring the City’s Election to Receive State Revenues. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to approve first reading of an Ordinance Levying Taxes for the period of July 1, 2011 to and including June 30, 2012, such taxes in the sum of $9,997,229 upon all Real and Personal Property Subject to Assessment and Levy within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse expressed the need look at ways to cut property taxes. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Chapman, Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to schedule a short Budget Committee meeting prior to the next Council meeting for the purposes of accepting the recommendations of the Economic and Social Service of the sub-committees. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger explained the entire Budget Committee accepted the Economic Development Grants annually and the Social Service Grants biannually and that process did not occur this year. Councilor Voisin did not think it was necessary to have a meeting. Councilor Silbiger clarified the purpose of the meeting would ratify the decisions of the two Sub-committees and amended the motion with Councilor Slattery’s consent. Councilor Slattery declared a conflict of interest regarding the meeting and recused himself. Councilor Chapman did not support having the meeting.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Silbiger, Morris and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Slattery, and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
PUBLIC FORUM - None
1. Will Council approve an agreement with Standing Stone Brewing Co., for the lease of 265 acres of the Imperatrice Ranch property?
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson provided background on the Imperatrice property and a request from Council that staff identify an equitable, definable, and acceptable rental rate for the property. Appraisals on unimproved native grasslands for cattle purposes were rare but eventually the property was appraised at $50 per acre annually for a total yearly lease of $13,250. Mr. Olson confirmed that acreage above the east lateral canal were left fallow per Council and the Standing Stone Brewing Company would lease the 265 acres below the canal.
Council directed staff to research the possibility of leasing the land above the canal to Ron Anderson who currently used the land for cattle grazing as well as any environmental impacts to that area.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve the attached lease to Standing Stone Brewing Company (SSBC). Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
2. Does the Council wish to adopt findings to formalize the Council’s decision on the 163 Hitt Road appeal (PA 2010-01622)?
EX PARTE CONTACTS, BIAS, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Council and the Mayor had no ex parte, bias or conflicts of interest to declare.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Findings identified the four alleged errors the appellants made with the Planning Commission’s decision. The errors related to the disagreement on the failure of the Planning Commission to apply land use regulations appropriately concerning lot coverage. The Findings reiterated how the Planning Commission addressed lot coverage and performance standards.
Councilor Silbiger/Morris m/s to adopt the Findings as presented. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Voisin, Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, and Silbiger. YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Will Council approve a resolution that implements Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 54, standardizing the terminology and categorization of the elements of fund balances for governmental funds for the City of Ashland?
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2011-17. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS - None
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Will Council agree to co-sponsorship of the Annual Southern Oregon Pride event, in order to qualify the event to hang a banner over East Main Street?
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to co-sponsor the Annual Southern Oregon Pride event and allow them to hang a banner over East Main Street. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett confirmed Council would waive the fees for staff overtime for closing the street for the parade and clean up. Council already co-sponsors the 4th of July, Halloween, and Festival of Lights parades, as well as the Martin Luther King Day celebration and waives fees for all of those events. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 10:01 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor