Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
Councilor Silbiger, Morris, Slattery, and Voisin were present.  Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 5:38 p.m.  Councilor Chapman was absent. 
Mayor Stromberg moved the Discussion of the Conservation Commission Report from number 3. on the agenda to 2.

  1. Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead. 

  1. Discussion of Conservation Commission Report.  Moved to position 2

Conservation Commission Chair Jim McGinnis submitted a corrected brochure into the record and referenced the January 26, 2011 letter to Council asking for support regarding four environmental goals:

  1. Adopt land use codes, building codes, green building standards, and fee structures that creates strong incentives for development that is energy, water, and land efficient and supports a multi-modal transportation system.

The Conservation Commission recommended a minimum LEED Silver certification for new City buildings and retrofits.  Council noted actual LEED certification was expensive.  Additionally, a policy did exist that suggested but did not require LEED Silver standards. 

  1. Develop a concise sustainability plan for the Community and for City Operations

The Conservation Commission will bring in a sustainability framework expert to City Council to discuss the guiding principles and framework for sustainability.
This would consist of a two-hour meeting and involve Council, Commission members and interested public.
Conservation Commission will recommend and ask the City Council to adopt an Ashland Sustainability Resolution that sets the foundation for sustainable City government operations.
The Conservation Commission will further research other Oregon Cityfs Sustainability Plans and provide feedback to the City of Ashland.
The City of Ashland will develop a City Operations sustainability plan with support and input from the Conservation Commissionfs research.
The City of Ashland will appoint a Sustainability Program Manager to work across all City Departments. This position could be part time, part of a job description or combined with the Conservation Manager.
Continue to educate and enforce anti-idling ordinance 2882 for city vehicles operations. Chair McGinnis confirmed this rule applied to city vehicles only, and exempted public safety and emergency vehicles.

  1. Develop a strategy to use conservation and local renewable sources to meet Tier 2 power demands.


  1. Implement specific capital projects and operational programs to ensure that City facilities and operations are a model of efficient use of water

Road Diet Environmental Impact Study (EIS)
The Conservation Commission recommended an EIS on the proposed North Main Street Road Diet because additional green house gas and idling issues could result from the project.  Conservation Commissioner Tom Beam explained they based the recommendation on Public Works calculations that it would take a car 2.2 seconds per mile, per car to move through North Main.  With an average of 11,700 trips a day, they believed the amount of green house gas would increase from idling vehicles.
Mayor Stromberg suggested adding the issues to the criteria that would determine whether the Road Diet was a success or not and confirmed it was a one-year experiment.  City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the goal was to have the Road Diet in place by the start of school next fall.  However, there were some issues in acquiring right of way property for the Wimer-Hersey intersection realignment. Once that was resolved, he estimated the realignment would take three months to complete.  The actual striping for the road diet would take two days.  Staff intended to create baseline travel and wait times at the cross intersections for before and after measurements. 
Council thought adding data points were fine but did not think an EIS was necessary.  The 6 points addressed in the letter were not measurable.  Other Council comments thought pushing the project out a year would allow time to collect a full set of data but would require confirmation from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) they would hold the funds for restriping.
Chair McGinnis added the Commission had funding for the Sustainability Principles consultant through June 30, 2012 and wanted to allocate funds towards that training.
Council wanted information regarding LEED Silver certification and retrofits as a possible resolution and what the threshold for LEED Silver certification was regarding retrofits, remodeling and maintenance.  Council directed staff to add the four points and relating bullets recommended by the Conservation Commission to the Council Goals as part of the greater plan, with the understanding they were recommendations only.  Council could add them to the Goals as action items via a motion at a future Council meeting. 

  1. Discussion of Closing the feedback loop with the City Administrator.

City Administrator Dave Kanner addressed six recurring points that resulted from individual conversations he had with Council.

  1. The Council does not find much value in the regular written communication tools provided by staff except for the look-ahead.

Council consensus approved the new Council Communication format.

  1. The study sessions are unproductive and too often involve simply receiving staff reports.  The study sessions need to be improved.

Council could structure the Study Session making them more informal and make decisions by giving direction to staff.  State statute refers to a decision as a final action that would be an ordinance or resolution.  Building census on information for staff to bring back to Council was appropriate.  Mr. Kanner considered consensus a general agreement and not unanimity. 
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained Council Rules stated Council could make decisions during a Study Session but not final decisions and suggested it might be useful to amend the ordinance to reflect that.
Council discussed televising Study Sessions.  Supportive comments included it would increase transparency and stifle innuendo and potential misinterpretation.  Opposing comments shared examples where televising Study Sessions impaired the ability to have informal, real discussions and debate.  Council did not reach consensus but Mr. Kanner would research televising costs and feasibility.

  1. The Council believes the number of board and commission meetings have become unmanageable.


  1. The role of the Council liaisons is not clear.

Council discussed having dedicated time on the agenda for Commission Liaison reports, possibly from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Other suggestions included having individual Commissions provide reports at Council meetings, outsourcing Commission minutes for transcribing and increasing efficiency during Council meetings.  Mr. Kanner noted there were 21 Commissions and all were required to provide an annual report to Council and suggested having one Commission attend each meeting throughout the year.

  1. There was frustration expressed with the Comment to the Council list serv and a desire that we create a way for citizens to contact the Council through the web site without having to post something on the list serv.

Mr. Kanner explained the listserv link was still active as a public forum but no longer accessible on the website.  Council could subscribe to the listserv but were not obligated.  A new comment to the Council email replaced the listserv on the website so individuals could contact the Council directly. A slight majority of Council supported retaining the listserv as a public forum on the condition the public knew Council might not read the comments posted. 

  1. There is frustration with the Council rule that requires an item to be placed on the Council agenda upon request from just one Councilor.

Council discussed the results that occurred when a single Councilor added an agenda item to the main agenda without notifying the remainder of the Council leaving them no time to prepare or research the item or be ready for public discussion, even though the action followed Council Rules.  Council suggested discussing agenda items submitted by one Councilor in a Study Session prior so everyone was aware and informed.  Opposing comments thought it would diminish Council power.  Supportive comments noted Council was a policy making body, and in order to maintain good group dynamics, it was beneficial to discuss proposed agenda items during a Study Session first or have the initiating Councilor contact the rest of Council individually.
Mayor Stromberg asked Council what constituted a political agenda item that was unacceptable.  Council stated adding a controversial item to the agenda, not informing the rest of Council so they could study the issue, and then having people misinformed regarding Councilfs stance constituted political theater. 
Mayor Stromberg would like to bring back sample guidelines on how Council communicated with each other.  Council agreed that if they thought a Councilor broke a Council Rule, the first step would be contacting that Councilor directly and that Councilor needed to be willing and available to that discourse.  Council needed to communicate honestly with each other and trust what they had to say.
Councilor Slattery left the meeting at 7:58 p.m.
Council added Councilors should confront each other personally if there were problems and ensure what they relay to the public regarding Council was accurate.

  1. Other business from the Council.

Item not discussed.
Meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,                                
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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