Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, March 05, 2012

March 5, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Voisin, were present.  Councilor Morris arrived at 5:34 p.m.   
Mayor Stromberg explained the new format for Study Sessions would allow more free-flowing discussion.  It would still prohibit public testimony but take written submissions from citizens prior to the meeting.  City Administrator Dave Kanner further explained the provision in the code restricting Council from deliberating had been misinterpreted over the years and that Council could discuss items and provide staff with direction on an action and suggested changing the code provision to reflect that.
City Attorney David Lohman added it was difficult using the words ‘deliberate towards a decision’ because that language was in Public Meeting Law.  However, the meaning was different in the code provision.  Under State law, a closed meeting could not obtain information regarding items to deliberate but the Ashland code stated it was ok to get information from staff that may lead to a Council decision. 
As long as the purpose did not involve public input, occurred during a time when Council conferred with each other, and Council did not make final decisions.

  1. Look Ahead Review

Item not addressed.

  1. Will Council provide staff direction on policy issues for the proposed special events policy?

Public Works Director Mike Faught addressed the following nine policy issues that required further direction from Council:

  1. Scope:  “This policy does not apply to the following community events:  July 4th celebration, Children’s Halloween Parade, Festival of Lights Parade.”

Mayor Stromberg noted information received from the Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra Slattery that the Chamber was interested in having the July 4th celebration exempt since it was more of a community event.  However, the Chamber would cover the fees for the Children’s Halloween Parade and the Festival of Lights Parade since it was more business oriented.  Police Chief Terry Holderness clarified all three events still required fees from the Chamber.  They were on the list as ongoing events and therefore looked at differently.  The Festival of Lights Parade would require modification due to the road closure.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained co-sponsorship was no longer in the policy because it was covered under Resolution #2012-03 Commissions and Committees Guide.
Staff would add narrative that clarified the fees for the Children’s Halloween Parade and the Festival of Lights Parade.  Council wanted to know actual City costs for the July 4th celebration.   

  1. Fees:   “All event applicants pay the base fee of $130.” 

Mr. Faught explained the $130 did not cover staff time to review an application.  Staff costs were approximately $224 an hour and a review could take up to 4 hours.  Additionally, staff recommended a $60 refund for cancelled or unapproved applications.
Council discussed automatic refunds and decided the City Administrator and staff would determine refunds and amounts. 

  1. Fees:  “Events that require City staff overtime (determined by the City).  City staff will review the proposed route and determine how much City staff overtime will be needed.  In addition to the base permit fee of $130, the event applicant will be charged 60% of actual costs.”

In an effort to reduce costs, staff recommended pre-approved routes, and monthly Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) certified flagger training for non-City flaggers for events that needed to control intersection traffic.  Council supported having ODOT certified flaggers.
Staff recommended and Council majority agreed to charging applicants 60% overtime costs instead of actual costs.  Council wanted to see actual costs.

  1. Rolling Road Closure:  “Some special events on roadways with two or more lanes of traffic in each direction can be accommodated with a rolling road closure of one lane of traffic.  A rolling road closure event is one that lasts 45 minutes or less, does not block intersections for more than 5 minutes and can be managed with a minimum number of on-duty city staff.  These events are subject to the $130 base fee and will not be charged a Rush Fee.  Permit approval is subject to staff availability.”

Council agreed to the recommendation to add hours of daylight because a rolling road closure was not safe after dark.

  1. Application and Deadline Rush Fee:   “With the exception of rolling road closures, applicants for a special event permit who cannot meet the 90 day requirement will be charged a Rush Fee of $250 if requisite City staff can be made available within the time frame requested  Otherwise the permit will be denied and the $250 refunded.”

The 90-day timeframe provided time for staff to review the application and gave the applicant at least 30-60 days to prepare for their event.  Council approved the 90-day requirement and the rush fee.

  1. Time Limit for Road Closure:  “Roads will  be closed for no longer than two hours.”

Chief Holderness clarified the 4th of July Celebration, Children’s Halloween parade and the Festival of Lights parade were exempt from the entire list.  Staff would add language to the policy dealing with them specifically.  Alternately, Council could add future ongoing events to the exempt list.

  1. Bicycle Races:  “The downtown area, particularly the Plaza, becomes extremely busy with pedestrians, vehicles, merchants etc.  For the safety or the general public and due to the high number of cyclists and the speed of travel, all bicycle races must clear the downtown area 9:30 a.m.”  

Council directed staff to remove bicycle references and have it apply to all races in the downtown area.

  1. Neutral Start for Bicycle Races:  “A neutral start is used at the beginning of bicycle races to create a parade atmosphere as the event gets underway.  This controlled pace protects riders, pedestrians, and vehicles in highly congested traffic zones.  A neutral start will be used until the signal is given by an event official.  City staff will determine at what point the neutral start ends and the racing begins.”

Council suggested having a neutral start as the preferred option for bicycle races but not a requirement and if they chose not to have a neutral start, the applicant would pay 60% of the actual cost.

  1. Certificate of Insurance and Hold Harmless Agreement:  “The City of Ashland requires a Certificate of Insurance in the amount of no less than one million ($1,000,000) dollars to protect the City against claims for personal injury or property damage that could occur because of the event.  The certificate will name the City as an additional insured.  A copy of the certificate must be submitted with completed permit application.  In addition, the City requires the applicant sign a hold harmless agreement (provided by the City) in order to receive a permit.”

Chief Holderness explained this applied mostly to protests and insurance companies did not insure demonstrations.  Councilor Voisin would research the possibility of challenges to first amendment rights and equal protection.  Council majority was in favor of staff gathering additional information regarding insurance for further review.
Mr. Faught read the criteria for approval and denial of the applications:

  1. Another event is scheduled for the same day/weekend
  2. The event is reasonably likely to cause injury to persons or property
  3. The event will substantially interfere with the safe and orderly movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic in the area
  4. The proposal location is adequate for the size and nature of the event
  5. City equipment, staff, and services are available
  6. All permit requirements have been met
  7. ODOT and/or Jackson County Permits secured
  8. All required insurance documents are submitted
  9. Previously identified issues have been addressed in the application

Torsten Heycke, the organizer of the annual Mt. Ashland Hill Climb Run, Allan Goffe, the organizer for the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb Bike Race, and Rob Cain who worked for both events expressed their concern regarding the certified ODOT flaggers’ requirement, the number needed, and how the requirement affected their events.  Mayor Stromberg asked them to submit their concerns and suggestions in writing to the Council.
Council suggested staff revise the second paragraph on the first page of the Special Event Policy regarding exclusive use of public right of ways.
Meeting adjourned at 7:33 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,                                
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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