MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
August 7, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
OATH OF OFFICE
City Recorder/Treasurer Barbara Christensen administered the Oath of Office to newly appointed City Councilor Chris Hearn for a term to expire December 31, 2002.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Hearn were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
July 17, 2001 Regular Council Meeting Minutes were amended on page 3 to note that Suzi Aufderheide is a Living Wage Subcommittee Member. July 18, 2001 Study Session Minutes were corrected to clarify Morrison as absent. August 1, 2001 Special Council Meeting Minutes were amended under section one, number five to read "Do you see yourself representing a particular constituency or group?" August 1, 2001 Executive Session Minutes were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Johanna Fisher to the Ad Hoc Transportation, Transit & Parking Committee.
3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Patti Busse to the Traffic Safety Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2002.
4. Consider granting the Riley Family Trust an Access Easement across a portion of the City's Tolman Creek Road access to the Alsing Reservoir.
5. Authorization to Initiate Litigation to Enforce Quest Franchise.
6. Request for approval to construct an addition to Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) in accordance with the facilities lease.
Councilor Reid/Morrison m/s to approve Items 1, 2, and 3. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Reid questioned the approval of Item 4. Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified that the City can grant an easement only for City property. The Riley Family has agreed to build just one house on the lot and will maintain the 100-foot easement on a 50/50 basis. Nolte clarified on page 5, third "whereas" that a conflict exists in the wording. The property would be approved for a single-family residence, not a subdivision.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #4 with the corrected wording. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Reid noted her discomfort with Item 5, as litigation is already under way elsewhere. Nolte clarified that Portland has initiated litigation. Quest has stopped paying franchise fees and the suit could force them to live up to the bargain they made. As was agreed, taxes billed through the phone bill would be collected by Quest and then returned to the City, but this has not happened. The City of Portland has agreed to share information gathered in their suit to aid the City of Ashland.
Councilors Reid/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item 5. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Hartzell questioned Item 6 and the number of floors planned for the hospital. Hospital Administrator Jim Watson clarified that the Master Facility Plan is being upgrading to solve space needs and includes six phases. Phase 1, where the MRI wing is added, is planned as a single floor unit, but future improvements could be more than one story.
Councilors Reid/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item 6. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
1. Request for Site Review Approval to Construct an approximately 15,000 sq. ft. Fire Station and Administration Building (Station 1) on the Property Located at 455 Siskiyou Boulevard (intersection of Siskiyou and Main Street).
OPENED: 7:21 p.m.
Hearn noted his participation in the Planning Commission and decisions made on this matter. Councilors Morrison/Hanson m/s to allow Councilor Hearn to abstain from voting. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained the purpose of the hearing was to request site review approval, as outlined in Chapter 18.72 of the Land Use Ordinance, to construct a new fire station at the current location of Fire Station #1. The Planning Commission approved the action on May 8, 2001 with conditions. The fire station and Blue Mountain Cafe would be destroyed and replaced with a larger and easier access building design.
City Administrator Greg Scoles stated that the City would rely on the record and staff's presentation. Fire Chief Keith Woodley was available for questions.
Abram Max/321-½ Bridge/Questioned the design of the project and the aesthetics of the outside of the building. Laws offered to have staff send the citizen a letter outlining expenses and design in relation to aesthetics.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Noted that he did not oppose the construction of a Fire Station, but questioned the ability of the new building regarding maneuvering fire trucks. He submitted Exhibit-1, a picture of a fire station in Boston, Massachusetts, demonstrating a new Land Use paradigm as specified in Ashland’s Comprehensive Plan. He felt it was in the City's best interest to build up rather than out, and the majority of the new station is on a single floor. As such, this project does not conform to the Plan's requirement for the frugal use of resources. Thompson noted letters he sent to the council in early May 2001. By adding a second story and reducing the footprint, increased parking could be made available for both the fire station and the library. In addition, a two-story building would fit the historic neighborhood design better.
McLaughlin explained specific design standards, including a requirement for maximum height limits. No minimum height requirements exist. The design meets all standards adopted by the City. The Historic Commission has approved the building as compatible to the historic district. Most cities utilize 1-¾ to 2-¼ acres for housing a fire station and administrative offices. This project uses 3/4 of an acre. Efficiency studies, including response time, have shown that the current location is best for the community.
Woodley noted the site was not selected from a development standpoint, but from an emergency service provision standpoint. Standards for a fire station are not the same as for a business. Studies were conducted to find the best location for both fire stations and it was found that the current sites are best for the City.
Reid noted the many buildings in the historic district that do not have two stories. She felt the design was a compromise between the City and the neighborhood.
Hartzell questioned whether the building would be made structurally sound to allow a larger second floor should expansion be needed. Woodley clarified that the portion of the fire station that does not have a second floor is located at the point over the fire equipment garages. To put another story would make the building very tall. Scoles reported that he spoke with the architect regarding this issue. The building would be constructed with load-bearing walls and columns could be added to the garage to allow for a second floor. Although the building would be very tall, it would still fit within height standards.
Elizabeth Bretko/1372 Oregon/Noted suburban signs representing the City and the possibility of a negative representation. She asked for consideration during the construction phase, noting the disturbance caused by the library construction.
Scoles explained that the ability to respond to emergency needs has not changed. The design for the project was developed to promote safety by keeping apparatus within the building. In addition, landscaping and other aesthetics were taken into consideration.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED 8:05 p.m.
Councilors Morrison/Reid m/s to deny the appeal, to uphold the recommendation of the Planning Commission, and to direct staff to prepare findings for adoption. DISCUSSION: Laws noted that the Appellant's only objection was to the size of the building, and noted his feeling that the design fit within the values of the community. Hartzell stated that this is the second issue regarding size that has come up since January and urged planners of future projects to consider compact size design. Morrison agreed with Hartzell's statement, adding that it was important to allow buildings to grow up, not just out. Roll Call: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, and Morrison - Yes. Motion Passed.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Spoke regarding Railroad District parking. He noted the July 1997 Parking Plan, which allows for parking on one side of B Street. The information would be forwarded to Rick Nagle, the Chamber of Commerce liaison to Traffic Safety.
Andrew Bangsberg/398 Bridge/Stated his opinion that the council does not represent all segments of the community. He felt there was a need for a youth representative on the council. Bangsberg presented a sign stating "Unofficial Youth Council Seat #7" and asked the council to leave the sign in the chamber.
DeBoer requested that no signs are displayed in the Council Chambers as it distracts others. Nolte clarified that the Mayor could ask that signs are not posted, but as long as they do not disrupt the meeting, signs could remain.
Jennifer Audet/364 Kearney/Was not present to speak, but DeBoer read her statement voicing a concern for a more bike-friendly community and noted water issues.
John Freedom/442 Holly/Commented on the significant number of young voters in the community and their desire to fit into the process, and noted Bangsberg's suggestion to create a youth representative for youth in the community. Freedom urged the council to seek out youth with a desire to be a part of the community to give them a voice.
Mayor noted his work in forming three youth councils at Southern Oregon University, Ashland Middle School, and Ashland High School. He is committed to meeting with all three groups. The League of Oregon City has developed a package to help in forming youth groups. Hartzell corrected an impression made by the local newspaper regarding her support for a 7th seat on the council, which was not particularly true. She noted her interest in encouraging youth commission, as well as other minority groups. Morrison noted his interest in supporting a youth commission and encouraged youth and others to become involved. Hearn offered his support for youth and noted two slots on commissions that he vacated upon his acceptance to the council. Laws noted that many groups within the community are under represented on the council. In addition, the youth in the community are not a united group, but are very diverse in their values. It would be difficult for any one person to represent an entire age group. Reid stated her hope that the youth would continue their interest.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Fireworks use in Ashland.
Woodley briefly explained the impact of fireworks upon fire safety, including laws already in place to regulate the sale and use of fireworks. No fireworks can be sold within the city limits. Fireworks cannot be used along the Bear Creek Greenway, which passes along the edge of the city, or in any city park. Staff identified options for action: 1) No action; 2) Establish a fireworks ban within the city on a year-a-round basis; 3) Establish a ban for the remainder of the 2001 fire season; 4) Establish a ban during fire season only; and 5) Establish a ban, except for the period when fireworks sales are allowed. Staff recommended, if council chooses to allow the use of fireworks, the implementation of a citywide prohibition, except during the period of time when fireworks sales are permitted within the State of Oregon or another limited period of time.
Scoles noted an option of banning during the fire season and allowing fireworks use during the period when the state allows the sale of fireworks (June 23 - July 6). At the very least, a ban for the remainder of this fire season is necessary.
Diane Grasso/253 Meadow/Stated she was the owner of the home that burned due to the use of fireworks and noted the difficulties all parties have endured. She supports banning fireworks altogether with the exception of the 4th of July.
Matthew Eldridge/1401 Oregon #291/Southern Oregon University student/Noted the number of fire units involved in the fire and ability of the city to handle a fire in an extreme fire situation. He urged the council to approve banning fireworks.
Andrew Bangsberg/398 Bridge/Noted that prohibition would cause people to use fireworks in possibly more dangerous areas in an attempt to hide their actions. He suggested consideration of an education program rather than prohibition.
Woodley explained that outdoor burning is prohibited at the open of fire season and continues until termination. The use of power-driven machinery in areas of dry vegetation was prohibited as of August 6.
Reid supported moving ahead on the ordinance as recommended by staff, with the use of an education program during the period when the sale of fireworks is allowed.
Hartzell suggested separating the issues by moving forward with the emergency ban on fireworks for the remainder of the fire season and allowing for discussion for another for the next fire season.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to make a declaration of emergency to ban fireworks for the remainder of the fire season. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Scoles read the ordinance in full. Councilors Laws/Hartzell m/s to move the ordinance to second reading. Roll Call: Hartzell, Morrison, Reid, Hanson, Hearn, and Laws - Yes. Motion passed.
Scoles read the ordinance by title only. Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to adopt Ordinance #2871. Roll Call: Laws, Hartzell, Hanson, Reid, Morrison, and Hearn - Yes. Motion passed.
2. Update on Water Use, Conservation Successes, and Curtailment Options.
Public Works Director Paula Brown reported on the monitoring of the water situation. Due to efforts by the community to voluntarily conserve water, there has been a measurable success. Although voluntary conservation and no-waste provision efforts have been successful, they may not be enough to carry the community through the remainder of the drought. Brown presented graphs charting water use, temperature, and in-flow of water into Reeder Reservoir. Comparisons were made to last year’s use, which was higher. Brown recommended leaving the curtailment option open, which authorizes the City Administrator to institute emergency water curtailment measures upon determination that a water shortage emergency condition exists. Staff would continue delivering an intensive wise-water use program to the community. Council would be updated until the concern is over. Protecting the water supply through October is going to be very challenging. The City is required to leave a certain amount of water in the creek for water rights. A significant fire would put the City into a Stage 1 curtailment. Scoles explained that staff brought this forward for information purposes only and no action was needed.
Laws stated that the use of water for outside watering is causing the shortage and urged the community to limit their use to support conservation efforts. Morrison assured the community that immediate action is possible if the need arises. Hearn noted a citizen's concern regarding allotment and the feeling that it should be a per-person amount, not a per-resident amount. Brown explained the exemptions. The ordinance is based on a 4-person household. Reid noted the larger number of individuals in the community during the summer months due to tourism and summer-only residents.
Zachary Stevenson/488 N. Main #3/Spoke regarding the ecosystem, which is a larger concern. He was concerned with future expansion, including Ski Ashland and the impact on the watershed. A solution must be found looking to the future.
3. Adoption of Ashland Historic Cemeteries Preservation Plan and Preservation Guidelines.
Brown briefly gave an overview of Kay Atwood’s thorough review of the City’s three Historic Cemeteries. The outcome of her detailed review was a comprehensive Ashland Historic Cemeteries Preservation Plan and individual Preservation Guidelines for each of the three cemeteries. Staff presented ordinance modifications, including recommendations from Atwood. Staff recommended adoption of the plan and a motion to move to second reading an ordinance updating code provisions regarding city cemeteries by replacing Chapter 2.64 of the AMC.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Updating Code Provisions regarding City Cemeteries by Replacing Chapter 2.64 of the Ashland Municipal Code."
Councilors Reid/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading by the council for approval. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Hearn - YES. Motion passed.
2. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Updating Code Provisions regarding Traffic Safety Commission by Replacing Chapter 2.26 of the Ashland Municipal Code."
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading by the council for approval. DISCUSSION: Reid noted her concern regarding giving a false sense of authority to a commission for the development of traffic safety programs. She felt the Police Department should generate a policy that would then come through the council. Brown explained that the Police Department plays an active role in the commission. Morrison spoke as a liaison to the commission, and agreed that they are aware that the council sets policy. It is the commission's desire to play a stronger role to achieve a safer community. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Reid, Hearn, Laws, Hartzell, and Hanson - Yes. Motion passed.
3. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Requiring that a Living Wage be paid to Employees of the City, to Employees of Contractors of the City, and to Employees of Recipients of City Grants insofar as Employment relates to City Grants."
Patti Walker/531 N. Laurel/Spoke in favor of the proposed Living Wage Ordinance, noting the efforts of the committee. The proposed ordinance was a compromise by committee members. An opposition document was presented by a small group of committee members to the council. Concerns raised by this action included the recommendation that the council fail to pass a living wage ordinance. She felt a vote for or against indicates where the City stands, and a watered-down version does nothing to face the issue at hand. Citizens are not encouraged to become involved when behind the scenes lobbying occurs.
Carol Bonney/900 Clay/Spoke as a member of the committee, noting that modifications were made to meet the needs of many. She felt there were no problems with adopting the ordinance, as it is simple and easy to understand.
Jim Teece/864 Neil Creek/Voiced his concern with the proposed ordinance as it discriminates based on age and hours allowed to work. He questioned why the ordinance discriminates against those it should be helping.
Dane Cofer/1035 Eureka #5/Commented on his experience working below a living wage and gave his support for the ordinance.
Greg Williams/744 Helman/Small business owner in Ashland/Stated that if the ordinance was passed, he would cease to sell to the city because it would be too expensive for his operation. Ironically this would force the City to purchase plants from another higher-priced organization. He has been encouraged by his accountant to relocate to another less-expensive place to operate. This would be one more incentive to move elsewhere.
Bill Mansfield/408 S Oakdale, Medford/Small business owner in Medford/Stated that State law does not allow an extension outside city business. Minimum wage was established to create a living wage. Congress and legislative branches have failed to keep up with inflation. He advocates the passage of the ordinance.
Emile Amaratico/195 Randy/Shared his perception of the concept of a living wage. The wording of the ordinance is so specific that it would not affect many positively or negatively. The limited scope makes it unjustifiable to expend city resources to monitor. It would be a hollow victory for a living wage. He strongly recommended opposing the ordinance.
Rick Nagel/290 N Main #8/Commented on the difficulty in speaking against the ordinance due to the perception of being cruel. It should not be passed simply because it is a "feel good" law. It is not harmless and may affect the city budget through contracts with profit and non-profit organizations. Once it becomes law, it opens the door to possible amendments.
Councilors Reid/Hartzell m/s to extend the meeting past 10 p.m. Voice vote: all Ayes. Motion passed.
Connie Saldana/1650 Sunset/Spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance. The economy effects wage earners at different levels and benefits are not the same for everyone. She noted a recent national study that determined a basic budget for a family of four. Ashland is above the national average, but below the state the average. The community needs to take a stand to provide a living wage for everyone.
Rich Rohde/124 Ohio/Oregon Action representative/Read a portion of an article from Business Week regarding the living wage. Studies show that, of the 66 cities that have adopted living wage ordinances, none have experienced problems. He urged the council to stand with workers and support the ordinance.
Caren Caldwell/124 Ohio/Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ Pastor/In June 1998, her congregation passed a resolution in support of the living wage. Without laws passed in the last 150 years to protect workers, there would not be a 40-hour work week, retirement and social security benefits, health benefits, safety standards, vacation and sick leave, protection against child labor, and the minimum wage. The United Church of Christ urges the City Council to ensure a living wage so that at least public workers would be supported above the level of poverty.
Valri Williams/744 Helman/Explained her role in the subcommittee to develop the ordinance. She was not in favor of the ordinance and made her position clear. It was extremely difficult to determine the financial impact. Although a few would be impacted by the ordinance, the potential increase in city costs and a decrease in entry-level jobs would overshadow it. Williams urged the council not to adopt the ordinance.
Bob Mayers/4890 Hwy 66/Was opposed to the ordinance as an employer in the community for 23 years. He pays his employees a living wage by choice. The cost of promoting or implementing prevailing wage is huge. The bookkeeping alone is daunting and monitoring would be impossible. The burden of increased costs would be passed on to the city.
Sandra Slattery/1405 Pinecrest Terrace/Chamber of Commerce/Stated the ordinance is not simple. The language is open-ended, especially in how it applies to subcontractors. She questioned who would be notified for non-compliance. The issue is just too complex.
Gerald Cavanaugh/560 Oak/George Hutchinson read a statement for Gerald Cavanaugh speaking in favor of the ordinance. No evidence exists showing a living wage ordinance adversely effects communities.
Jerry Barnes/1210 Ashland Mine/Spoke in favor of the proposed living wage ordinance. He shared his difficulty in supporting his family due to the lack of a living wage.
Terry Adams/580 Weller/Commented on the great goal, but felt it was a bad ordinance.
Wes Brain/298 Garfield/Supported the living wage ordinance. He urged the council to "do the right thing."
Zachary Stevenson/488 North Main Apt #3/Agreed with Mr. Brain's comments and added nothing more.
Hartzell suggested meeting to discuss some of the issues by discussing modifications to the proposed ordinance. Laws suggested postponing until the next meeting, as there was no time to discuss the issue. Morrison agreed that there was a need for further clarification. Reid was disappointed that the council was not ready to vote.
Councilors Reid/Hanson m/s to not allow further public testimony. Voice Vote: Laws, Reid, Hanson, Morrison, and Hearn - Yes; Hartzell - NO. Motion passed.
The meeting was continued to August 8, 2001 at 12:00 p.m.