Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


December 6, 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.
Mayor Stromberg announced openings on the Planning, Historic, Housing, Public Arts, and Tree Commissions and the Audit Committee.
Police Chief Terry Holderness provided an update on the David Grubbs murder case.  At this time, there were no viable suspects.  He addressed the reward and clarified the Crime Stoppers phone number was actually a tip line.  The Crime Stoppers Board of Directors would allocate a reward if a tip proved successful.  The standard Crime Stoppers reward was $1,000 per case.  For this case, they were accepting monetary donations to increase that amount.  Individuals could send their donations to the Medford Police Department, Attn:  Ruth Cox, PIU Crime Stoppers, 411 West 8thStreet, Medford 97501.  Checks should indicate the money is for the David Grubbs case. 
Chief Holderness added that people phoning in tips should not expect a return phone call since many tips they received were similar and there was not enough time to respond individually due to the volume they were receiving. 
Mayor Stromberg announced a Town Hall meeting the following evening regarding water source and redundancy.
The minutes of the Study Session of November 14, 2011, Executive Session of November 15, 2011 and Regular Meeting of November 15, 2011 were approved as presented.
1.   Will Council Approve the Minutes of the Boards, Commissions and Committees?
2.   Will Council authorize the City Administrator to finalize and sign a Charging Site Host Agreement with ECOtality North America to participate in a pilot project for the installation and use of Electric Vehicle Charging units in two City owned parking facilities in the downtown area?
3.   Will Council approve an agreement with Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad, Inc. (CORP) authorizing construction of crossing improvements at the Hersey/Laurel rail crossing?
4.   Shall Council agree to legal representation of the City by David Lohman on matters relating to the Mount Ashland ski area?
5.   Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, approve a special procurement contract with GE Water and Process Technologies for the purchase of new wastewater membrane filters in the amount of $480,203?
Mayor Stromberg explained Consent Agenda item #4 was pulled from agenda for further consideration.  Councilor Silbiger pulled Consent Agenda item #1, Councilor Slattery pulled item #2, and Councilor Voisin pulled #3 for further discussion.

Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #5.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger noted the minutes of the Joint Planning and Transportation Commission reflected an approval to expense $10,000 to create a multi-modal Systems Development Charge (SDC).  Councilor Chapman clarified the intention of motion was the Commission approving presenting the recommendation to allocate funds to Council.
Councilor Slattery/Silbiger m/s to place the pilot project for the installation and use of the Electric Vehicle Charging Unit Installations on a future agenda to allow for public comment. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson addressed the CORP Agreement to improve the Hersey and Laurel Streets railroad crossing and explained the project would also add the necessary infrastructure when the railroad opened in the future.  It was a grant project funded 94% through the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) with the City responsible for the remaining 6% or $30,000.  The project had a tentative May 2012 completion date with extensions if needed. 
Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Will Council approve a 23% rate increase for solid waste collection?
Interim City Administrator Larry Patterson explained Recology was aware the 23% increase was difficult to accept and would provide an interim step to help stop some of their financial loss but not fix the whole problem.  Staff recommended Council approve a short-term step and provide resources to work with Recology to simplify the process in the future with a long-term solution early to mid 2012.
Recology General Manager Steve DiFabion introduced Bruce Gondry Vice President and Group Manager, and Tom Norris Regional Financial Manager.  Recology requested an immediate rate increase of 11.1% across all rate schedules as a stopgap adjustment to eliminate the ongoing operational loss Recology was currently experiencing.  The increase would equate to $1.84 a month to the average residential customer.  Recology proposed to reconvene with City staff early 2012 regarding the balance of the 23.3% increase.
Mr. Norris explained the $434,000 loss included the operating loss of $196,595 and the Franchise Fee expense of $238,496 and equated to an 11.2% percent increase based on the 2012 projections. 
Mr. Patterson added if Council chose not to take action the next step in the franchise would be arbitration.  He confirmed the interim step was the approval of an 11.1% increase then working with Recology to analyze the cost structure and review franchise adjustments.
Mr. Gondry explained Recology hired a local Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm to review the rate package prior to submitting it to the City.  He reiterated Recology would immediately raise the rates 11.1% and work with the City in January 2012 to review the rest of the package.  Recology was confident the 23% increase was the accurate amount.  The 11.1% would only cover the operating loss and the Franchise fee and would not produce the projected revenues.
Public Hearing Open: 7:46 p.m.
Brian Comnes/444 Park Ridge Place/He did not begrudge a private enterprise a net income but thought the City should be able to agree on a fair rate of return for Recology.  Individuals should not subsidize large trash producers and Recology needed to develop incentives to reduce trash levels.  The City ought to be in the position to agree on a fair rate of return.  Additionally, if Recology was raising rates they should fund expanded services like composting.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:48 p.m.
Councilor Slattery was interested in going through arbitration for the whole amount rather than a portion of it.  He was concerned Recology was utilizing an old paradigm for rate increases in a market that had radically changed and there was a need to review the whole spectrum.
Mr. Patterson thought Council could take what Recology presented and make a decision based on that or hire someone to do a rate analysis.  There was no guarantee a rate analysis would avoid arbitration.
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to deny a rate increase of 23% and direct staff to report to Council the cost and feasibility of doing a rate analysis.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse had a difficult time accepting a rate increase without knowing the cost increases Recology was incurring.  The rate analysis would confirm they had costs that justified the increase.  Councilor Chapman supported an increase but was not in favor of 11.1% across the board.  Alternatively, he did not want to delay the increase and spend $20,000 on a rate analysis.  Mr. Patterson explained arbitration would require a rate analysis and could be expensive.  Councilor Slattery thought the City and Recology could agree on some form of rate increase.
Mr. Patterson explained there were three options Council could take regarding the increase.  One was accept the 23% rate increase and decide how to implement it over time.  Another option was arbitration.  The third option was approve the interim step, perform a rate analysis, discuss garbage collection in general, and structure rates.  Mayor Stromberg thought the Franchise Agreement should be altered so the City controlled the bundle of services they purchased.  Mr. Patterson responded Recology was also interested in reviewing the Franchise Agreement.  Councilor Chapman suggested a 7.5% increase across the board with a 20% increase to the discounted commercial rates and then work with Recology on restricting rates.  Councilor Silbiger agreed Recology should receive a rate increase but was not comfortable with 11.1%.  He had concerns spending money on a rate analysis because it could end up costing more. 
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to call for the question.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Slattery, Voisin, Morris and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on Main Motion: Councilor Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Silbiger, Slattery, Voisin, Chapman, Morris, NO. Motion failed 1-5.
Councilor Chapman, staff, and Recology further discussed increasing the rate 7.5% across the board with a 20% increase to the commercial discount for customers with additional bins.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to direct staff to work with Recology for an interim rate increase of 7.5% increase across the board and come up with some reasonable number for decreasing discount rates for commercial bin customers.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Silbiger, Slattery, Voisin, Chapman, Morris, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Garrison May/220 W Rapp Road, Talent/Explained he was circulating a petition for lighting the bike path.  Currently they had more than 1,500 signatures of concerned citizens and lighting the bike path was a step in the right direction.
Matt Shilts/321 Clay Street/Spokeon lighting the bike path.  He referenced the David Grubbs case and clarified the incident occurred shortly after 5:00 p.m. and it was already dark.  The chances of the attack happening to David Grubbs would have significantly decreased had there been lights.  For other cities, it was almost a standard to light their bike paths without the incentive of an act of violence.  The incident occurred between the middle school and the elementary school.  He understood these were hard economic times but safety had to come first.
Keith Haxton/Explained he slept outdoors at night and stated the homeless issue was not going away.  He had given his jacket to someone who had slept outdoors the previous night whose facial hair froze from the cold.  He urged Council to be receptive to proposals for a homeless shelter or some form of mitigation of the camping ordinance that was illegal under the United Nations Resolution 217, the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, Ninth District Court case law, and Oregon State law.
Brittany Hamer/92 Church Street/Submitted signed petitions in support of lighting the bike path. She was a friend of David Grubbs and her husband worked with him daily for seven years.  In addition to the petition, she explained her proposal for lighting the bike path and establishing a memorial for Mr. Grubbs.  She described the efforts to gather 1,726 signatures from Ashland community members who supported lighting the bike path and the memorial and shared research on how well lit areas promote a more secure environment.  Umqua Bank created a fund, Greenway Lights, to receive donations to light the bike path.  She described a potential fundraiser and auction as well.  Kaylor Electric estimated the cost to furnish 88 lights for 2.5 miles of the bike path was approximately $150,000.
Asphen Mau/220 West Rapp Road, Talent/Spoke on lighting the bike path.  She had researched solar powered lighting using double lamp antique style lights at $1,000 per light.  It would take 462 posts to light the 7-mile greenway and cost approximately $500,000.
Interim City Administrator Larry Patterson explained staff had done some preliminary work on lighting the bike path as well and came up with a ballpark estimate of $385,484 for a specific lighting scheme.  He noted the need to involve the community in the process and suggested placing bike path lighting on a future work session early 2012 with Council consent.  In addition, Mr. Patterson would contact Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson to start the process for the bench memorial.
1.   Does Council wish to provide additional clarification to staff on changes to the proposed ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending the Development Standards for Wireless Communication Facilities in 18.72.180 of the Ashland Municipal Code”?
Councilor Slattery/Chapman m/s to reconsider the motion from  the November 15, 2011 City Council meeting directing staff to return with an ordinance change removing collocation requirements for wireless communication facilities if there is no visual or aesthetic impact.
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Slattery supported the motion made November 15, 2011 in order for staff to address the comments and issues raised and ensure the ordinance was strong, and thought that had occurred during the past week.  Mayor Stromberg explained his vote in support of the motion was a mistake, and now did not think the motion was necessary.  City Recorder Barbara Christensen read the motion from November 15, 2011 aloud.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Chapman, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Morris and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Ms. Christensen explained the motion from November 15, 2011 was now back on the table for discussion and decision.  Council agreed to allow public input before taking further action on the motion.
Dr. Sharvana Fineberg/484 Helman Street/Explained she was a member of the committee designated by the Josephine County Planning Commission to write a new ordinance regulating the placement of new cellular PCS antennae in Josephine County.  Collocation was the accepted first option in newer laws required by local governments and never challenged.  Other trends never questioned were requiring monies for the County to hire an independent technical consultant and the concept of setbacks.  Ashland focused on visual and aesthetic impact as a siting criterion but there were other criteria also accepted by the courts that included the effect on property values, businesses, and neighborhood character.  She urged Council to update the law with recent trends in mind so they had the authority needed to uphold the wellbeing of their citizens.
Will Wilkinson/2940 Old Hwy 99 South/Questioned whether the intention was to strengthen or weaken the law.  Encouraging collocation was the preferred strategy and he was alarmed with the idea of removing it from the ordinance.  If it would function better within the framework of aesthetics, he supported that.  He commented on AT&T’s prior application and feasibility study and thought the third party verification would help applicants take the process seriously.
Rod Newton/1196 Timberline Terrace/Although he thought the current ordinance needed updating, it would work for the time being as long as the definition of feasible and third party verification was added.  The Respect Ashland Coalition of Citizens had three objectives, to give the City as much control and flexibility in locating wireless installations within the limits of the 1996 Act, mitigate the possibility of a lawsuit and determine future locations so citizens could make informed decisions.  Removing collocation from the ordinance would affect those objectives.
James Fong/759 Leonard Street/Advocated strongly that Council vote against removing collocation from the ordinance.  The ordinance needed updating.  Council needed to decide whether to remove collocation, engage in a long-term process to update the ordinance in a more comprehensive way and what to do during the interim.
Marvin Ratner/1125 Village Green Drive/The law regarding cell towers needed to be strong enough to protect Ashland by making it more difficult to put up cell towers anywhere.  Using aesthetics as the only criteria would allow houses to set up a hidden cell tower that would devalue the surrounding properties.  He encouraged Council to strengthen the law and use collocation as a preferred option.
Reconsideration of Motion: Councilor Silbiger/Slattery to direct staff to return with an ordinance change removing collocation requirements for wireless communication facilities if there is no visual or aesthetic impact.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Silbiger read the purpose and intent of the wireless communications facilities ordinance and noted the motion acknowledged that purpose and intent by removing wireless communications facilities that do not have a visual and aesthetic impact. 
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, YES; Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Chapman, and Voisin, NO.  Motion failed 1-5.
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to direct staff to update the Ashland Municipal Code regarding development standards for wireless communication by codifying the actions taken by Council in interpreting and applying the municipal code.  DISCUSSION:Councilor Lemhouse explained this was a first step in clarifying the code and wanted Council to update the code during a future Study Session to make it clear and easily understood by the community and future applicants.  Councilor Slattery supported a strong third party review.  Councilor Chapman questioned how the motion was different from what City Attorney Dave Lohman and Community Development Director Bill Molnar presented weeks earlier.  Councilor Lemhouse responded the last time it came forward, it included the third party review and that failed.  It also did not reflect Council decisions defining feasibility and the preferred alternative.  Councilor Silbiger added there were changes to the ordinance that were not part of the decision.  Mr. Molnar explained staff looked at the AT&T decision and updated the ordinance to reflect Council Findings. The substantive changes to the draft made it clear that collocation where technically feasible was the preferred alternative and an applicant could not descend the hierarchy until they had exhausted the previous standards, starting with collocation.  As part of Council Findings, there was discussion in terms of clarifying the requirements for the collocation study.  The new items introduced were the third party review and associated fee.   Additionally, staff reformatted existing parts of the ordinance.  He confirmed the motion would retain the definition of feasibility, clarified requirements, and would not include the third party review or associated fee. 
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Silbiger, Lemhouse, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to bring the item back to a future work session.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin wanted to review residential setbacks during the work session.  Voice Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Council will forward their suggestions to staff for consideration and discussion at the future work session.
1.   Should the Council accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee?
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Will Council approve First Reading of ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2.12 and Chapter 2.19 of the Ashland Municipal Code, Reducing the Number of Established Members on the Planning Commission and Housing Commission” and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained both the Housing and Planning Commissions recommended reducing membership from nine to seven members.  Both Commissions thought the reduction would benefit dialogue and make deliberation more efficient.  
Planning Commission Chair Pam Marsh clarified the Planning Commission’s request was not about being unable to find Commissioners.  A smaller group would allow more time during meetings for discussions and achieve a general understanding of working styles.
City Attorney Dave Lohman read the ordinance title aloud.
Regina Ayers/199 Hillcrest/Explained she was the Chair of Housing Commission and encouraged Council to vote in favor of reducing the number of members.  The primary reason for the Housing Commission requesting a reduction in membership was the difficulty achieving the maximum number of Commissioners. Currently there were six members. 
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve First Reading of the ordinance and move it to Second Reading.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin, Slattery, Lemhouse and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Voisin reported on the Conservation Commission retreat and explained the Commission came up with several suggestions to help complete some of the Council Goals regarding the environment.
Councilor Silbiger noted when Council approved the Pedestrian Places Ordinances they were not informed that some of the changes made were effective citywide and not specifically to the Pedestrian Places Overlay and Council needed to address this omission.
Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to direct staff to bring back at the next Council meeting a concise list of changes made to the Pedestrian Places Ordinance that were not in the Overlay Zone and applied citywide.  Voice Vote:  Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:44 p.m.
___________________________                  _____________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                 John Stromberg, Mayor

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