MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 3, 2012
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 Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced that hard copies of an analysis by the City Attorney regarding the Special Events Policy were available to the Council and public. He went on to add a Consent Agenda item for a Resolution to correct the date for a Public Hearing for the Liberty Street LID. He also removed the Transportation Commission minutes from the Consent Agenda due to attendance concerns.
Councilor Voisin noted the passing of Paul Copeland and shared comments from his acquaintances regarding his civic efforts.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of March 19, 2012 and Regular Meeting of March 20, 2012 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s proclamations regarding April 2-8, 2012 as Arbor Week and April as Fair Housing Month were read aloud.
Michael Cavallaro, the Director of the Rogue Valley Council of Government (RVCOG) presented the annual report.
1. Approval of the minutes of the Boards, Commissions, and Committees
2. Appointment of Kenneth Schmidt to the Tree Commission
3. Appointment of Evan Lasley to the Housing Commission
4. Approval of grant request for Ashland Creek Park construction
5. Approval of Resolution setting a Public Hearing date for the Liberty Street LID and Repealing Resolution #2012-06.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained Ashland was a Certified Local Government (CLG) designed to promote historic preservation and needed to meet certain criteria to maintain certification. CLG cities had more opportunities for grants for historic preservation.
Associate Planner Derek Severson explained the standards applied to four historic districts in Ashland, the Skidmore Academy District, Downtown District, Siskiyou-Hargadine District, and the Railroad Addition District. The proposed ordinance would fine tune existing standards established in 1985. He provided a presentation on PA #2011-01523 that included the following:
Mr. Severson clarified an exterior finish related to materials and used stucco as an example. Mayor Stromberg asked staff to change the word “lavish,” in the first paragraph, last sentence of Section IV Historic District Development A. Development in Ashland’s Historic District, to “slavish.”
Public Hearing Open: 7:24 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:24 p.m.
Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to approve First Reading by title only of the ordinance titled “An Ordinance Adding New Sections 18.08.662 and 18.08.636 to the Definitions Chapter (18.08) of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance and Amending the Historic District Design Standards and Downtown Design Standards of the Site Design and Use Standards for Greater Clarity and Consistency with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation,” and place on agenda for Second Reading.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Slattery, Chapman, Voisin, Lemhouse and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
2. Approval of two quitclaim deeds to terminate a bicycle and pedestrian easement in Wildcreek Subdivision.
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson explained the existing bicycle and pedestrian easement granted to the City in 1995 was not well defined. The subdivision, Tolman Meadows required a new street and two pedestrian easements that would create better connectivity and replace the 1995 easement.
Public Hearing Open: 7:28 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:28 p.m.
Councilor Silbiger/Morris m/s to approve approval of two quitclaim deeds to terminate a bicycle and pedestrian easement in Wildcreek Subdivision and authorize the City Administrator to sign the Escrow Instructions. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Slattery, Chapman, Voisin, Lemhouse and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Brian Comnes/444 Park Ridge/Spoke regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO). GMO Free Jackson County had a draft ordinance banning GMO propagation and planting in the county. They planned to seek Council endorsement for a city ban since the County ordinance would not extend to city boundaries.
Mark Soderstrom/509 Barnum, Phoenix/Explained he was a candidate for Jackson County Commissioner and stated two major issues in his campaign were solar power and a Nurse Practitioner Clinic in Jackson County, provided details, and cost savings regarding the clinic. Additional information was available at http://electmarksoderstrom.com/.
Lisa Beam/400 Liberty Street/Represented the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and spoke regarding the behavior in the downtown core and its negative effect on businesses. The Homelessness Steering Committee’s statement that inappropriate behavior was not occurring in the downtown area prompted the Chamber of Commerce to conduct a survey of the businesses. It was anonymous and so far, the Chamber had received 76 completed surveys. She read survey comments depicting people harassed by transients when they walked through the Plaza, someone spit on one individual, a general sense of no security, as well as slashed tires. She submitted a letter from Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) into the record.
Graham Sheldon/70 Water Street/Owned the Ashland Creek Inn on Water Street shared encounters with people on his property that when asked to leave threatened to kill him and brandished a rock. Numerous guests were uncomfortable walking down Water Street after plays. It seemed the perceived rights of a small group held Ashland hostage. He wanted Council to take a leadership role in finding a solution.
Michael Majchrzak/2284 McColl/Introduced himself as a member of the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee and voiced concern disbanding the Committee.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Presented four complaints regarding Recology Ashland Sanitary. One involved garbage cans at multi-use complexes and Recology refusing pick up the cans if they are stored in a sheltered or screened area. The second was Recology did not pick up dumpsters on a regular basis. The third was when Recology finally emptied a dumpster, they did not move it back to where it originated but left it in the street. Four, Recology no longer cleaned out the dumpsters, expected citizens to rinse the dumpster and prompted concern the water used went into the storm drain system. He submitted a letter into the record detailing his concerns and suggestions.
Gerry Lehrburger/1639 Jackson Road/Addressed issues with the homeless and stated exclusionary zones would not work, and citations and time in jail were ineffective. He submitted into the record a document sharing solutions to the issue and photos of trash left by transients in the watershed. Ecoli was prevalent in the watershed. He listed the fires that occurred in that past associated with the homeless. He noted The Grove, Pioneer Hall, and the Ashland Community Center were underutilized and other facilities could absorb their events.
Allan Sandlar/1260 Prospect/Submitted into the record a solution that would have Council work with for-profit community and the homeless community to create structure within the law that protected citizens and homeless in general. He asked the Mayor to hold a meeting to hear the concept from business owners and homeless to help turn the counterculture from a negative to a positive connotation.
Mayor Stromberg agreed to meet with Mr. Sandlar and his constituents.
Pam Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Introduced herself as a Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce, a downtown business owner and shared her credentials including Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Community Connections Committee. Their goal was to raise awareness of activities within the community and listed events.
Richard Hansen/25 N Main Street/Explained he was the owner of Gold & Gems Jewelry and the recent fire was a wake-up call for something that could have been devastating. The Plaza needed 24-hour police presence and if that was not feasible at least from midnight to 6:00 a.m. He had empathy for the homeless but after 30 years of running a business in the Plaza, he could no longer help them and shared negative reactions he received from them when he had tried in the past. Another issue was the large amount of cigarette butts that littered the sidewalk and Plaza area. He suggested the City attach cigarette butt receptacles to lampposts and possibly trees.
1. Update on Planning Commission Review of Ordinance Amendments from the Pedestrian Places Project that Apply in the Detail Site Review Zone and Throughout the City.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the Planning Commission reviewed the Ordinance amendments and recommended no changes with the exception of two areas that might require additional discussion during future routine updates and they were the arterial setback and pedestrian circulation and walkway standards. The arterial setback item depended on the outcome of the Road Diet for North Main in relation to future bicycle lanes. The second item affected the pedestrian walkways and circulation and involved applicants designing their project to create a comprehensive approach when planning a multi family or commercial development that moved people safely through the development.
Councilor Morris/Slattery m/s to approve the Planning Commission recommendations to leave the recently adopted ordinance amendments in place that implement the recommendations of the Pedestrian Places Project, and direct the Planning Commission to monitor and suggest revisions to the Arterial Street Setback Requirements and Pedestrian and Circulation requirements as found necessary. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman thought they should reserve bike lane space along North Main in case the road diet did not succeed. Mr. Molnar responded the setbacks were currently non-existing right of way on private property. If they needed additional land beyond the right of way there would be costs associated with acquisition for commercial only since residential would retain a 20-foot setback. Councilor Silbiger confirmed one of the goals was creating space between the sidewalk and the streets. Mr. Molnar explained the setback would include a 7-foot parkrow and 5-foot sidewalk. Planning Commissioner Melanie Mindlin added the Planning Commission was interested in looking at all the arterials individually and the new standard measured from the curb instead of an arbitrary property line. Mr. Molnar clarified the current standard allowed a building to get as close as 18-feet from the existing curb line. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1.Report to the Council on Crime in Ashland and use of force by the Ashland Police Department
Police Chief Terry Holderness explained Ashland experienced a 22.4% increase in reportable crime during 2011 that was generally minor property crime.Due to jail overcrowding, if someone restricted thefts to Class C misdemeanors they would not go to jail and that knowledge contributed to the increase.The Police Department was researching strategies and now multiple offenders that normally went through Municipal Court went to Circuit Court.There were three multiple offenders in Ashland with one personally responsible for more than 100% of the increase in crime over the past 2 years.One of the three was currently heading for state prison.The Police Department increased their crime analysis capability to better predict and reduce crime across the board.Additionally they were considering booking serious offenders in other counties but at a substantial cost.
Violent crime remained in the quarter of the national average but would change in the future when the FBI redefined rape.The revised definition would add 6-8 crimes a year.
Use of force increased in 2011 with 32 incidents, from 20 incidents in 2010.Crime during 2010 was down and historically Ashland experienced 30 uses of forces a year.There was one situation where an individual was Tasered during a deadly force situation.Chief Holderness explained officers received 20-25 hours of training yearly that consisted of firearms training, use of force, and hands on defensive tactics.
Sarah Withers/Explained two days prior someone tried to break into her house during the night. She called 911, and when the police arrived, the suspect was still at her door trying to gain entry. It turned out he was extremely drunk and unaware of his surroundings. The police informed Ms. Withers this type of encounter happened frequently in Ashland. They did not arrest the individual but transported him to detox who released him two hours later. She thought his actions constituted a crime and would have shot the intruder if she had a gun because he represented a real and present danger and she felt vulnerable.
2.Discussion to extend the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) member Heidi Parker introduced present Committee members, provided background on the Committee charge, and shared her involvement with the La Clinica Mobile Clinic who offered free or low cost medical care and dental services.La Clinica just completed its eighth week offering services with more patients than they could handle, all from varying backgrounds.
Rich Rhode spoke on the success of the Porta Potty by the Community Development building.Regina Ayars shared her involvement with establishing a Day Center.Graham Lewis spoke regarding the donation boxes and how the Committee was working with City staff for locations and that St. Vincent De Paul would manage the funds.Sarah Powell commented on the communication process with community, groups, service providers, City staff, and downtown businesses and the possibility of establishing a police presence in the downtown area.Connie Saldana noted volunteers had listened to 80 people so far for the Listening Post services and described the people who accessed the service.
Sandra Coyner/1160 Fern Street/Attended most of the HSC meetings and was a member of the Citizens Coalition on Homelessness. She expressed appreciation of the HSC and the growing awareness regarding homelessness. She asked Council to extend the HSC and their charge to focus on issue of the Day Center. She referenced the individual who started the fire in the Plaza and explained how having a Day Center would have prevented that action.
Vanessa Houk/137 5th Street/Explained there were more than 71 reasons for extending the HSC and they were the homeless children in the Ashland School District. She shared encounters with people who were homeless and agreed with Ms. Coyner’s testimony to strengthen the Committee.
Jason Houk/137 5th Street/Shared the top concern for homeless people was safety. They were a community held hostage by violence. He encouraged Council to extend the HSC and enhance the mandate. This was an opportunity to create solutions.
Councilor Slattery shared his observations and process in deciding the HSC should continue. He made recommendations that included a Joint Study Session with Council for direction, did not think the Committee needed two Liaison’s from Council and another Councilor should replace both positions. He supported the Day Use Center and personally wanted to continue working on that project. He thought the Police Chief should develop rules to govern behavior in the downtown area and establish an exclusionary zone. All homeless support facilities and groups used and supported exclusionary zones to manage behavioral issues. Councilor Slattery emphasized this would apply to disruptive behavioral issues, and crimes, not people playing music or asking for money.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to give the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee another year, along with that focused goal setting with the Council, and member numbers strengthened and different Council leadership. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse agreed with Councilor Slattery. He wanted quarterly reports, supported a change in Council liaison, and thought it was time to address the behavior problem downtown in a fair and reasonable way. Councilor Voisin thanked the Committee for their efforts, wanted them to continue, and supported an urban rest stop. Councilor Chapman disagreed the Council should provide more direction to the Committee. They should solve the issues without Council input. He thought the Committee should be a community organization because a “city” committee could cripple what they are trying to achieve. Councilor Morris requested clarification on what would happen at the Study Session and wanted accountability, quarterly reports, and data on results. Councilor Slattery explained the HSC wanted a Study Session to clarify Council direction. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse and Slattery, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s that Council recommend Councilor Morris as Liaison to the Homelessness Steering Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Chapman shared the history of the exclusionary zone in the community and explained it was a similar tactic to a “time-out,” a temporary exclusion and never intended to exclude a class of people from downtown. Just having an exclusionary tool available could change behavior issues without ever having to take any action.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to request Police Chief Holderness to produce a policy and any supporting Municipal Code required to implement a “time out” to be enacted by this summer. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse commented that all homeless people were not responsible for the behavior issues downtown and was confident Chief Holderness would bring back a process that was legal, fair to all involved and would protect the community. Councilor Voisin would not support the motion. Mental illness was a real condition with the homeless and the community and there were few, if any services available. Additionally, she wanted to ensure the behavior that called for exclusion was justifiable and not based on the person being poor. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Morris, Lemhouse and Slattery, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Chapman m/s direct staff to approach Jackson County with a strategy to possibly have an office located in Ashland where County employees can address mental health walk-ins or referrals. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3.Approval of Amendment #1 to the Television Head-end Lease and Contract Between City of Ashland and Ashland Home Net
Interim Assistant City Administrator and Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained the contract adjusted terms set the prior year including fixed charges for reduced services. The impact was estimated at approximately $100,000 on both revenue and expense sides. The changes were similar to prior agreements where the City charged for services provided in a revenue sharing approach.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to approve Amendment #1 to the Television Head-End Lease and contract between the City of Ashland and Ashland Home Net. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Adoption of Special Event Policy, Repeal of Resolution 2011-22, and Adoption of a new Special Event Fee Resolution
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the policy incorporated Council input from the March 5, 2012 Study Session and suggested language from an event organizer regarding a neutral start for bicycle races. She added the two-hour time limit for closures required further clarification from Council.
Police Chief Terry Holderness researched flaggers and discovered state law required certified flaggers only. Additionally, staff recommended allowing rolling road closures without insurance liability.
City Attorney Dave Lohman referenced six points in a memo he wrote that stated:
1) The insurance required was permissible in the Special Event policy because an event planner could use alternative routes that did not require a permit, like a sidewalk or park. City insurance eliminated the need for liability insurance for rolling road closure events.
2) Hold Harmless agreements did not burden constitutionally protected expression provided it complied with the various cases that discussed hold harmless agreements. The City would require a Hold Harmless whether insurance was required or not.
3) The proposed Special Event policy provided for spontaneous expression with the $250 rush fee. The event could take advantage of a rolling road closure, or take place in an area that did not require a permit. Mr. Lohman proposed Council make an amendment to the road closure portion of the policy stating the City would provide a response to a permit request for an expedited road rolling closure within three business days after submittal.
4) The policy did not burden constitutionally protected expression by requiring fees as long as it met various court described criteria.
5) The Special Event policy was not required to provide reduced fees for organizers with limited financial resources.
6) It was constitutionally permissible for the Special Event policy to provide for disparate treatment of a Council-designated community-wide special event. The exception was the Fourth of July parade that did not constitute content-based favoritism. Mr. Lohman suggested the following change to be more consistent with case law: “The July 4th celebration is a community-wide event for which the permit fees are paid by the City. The City Council may, at its discretion, provide similar support for other community-wide special events.”
Mr. Lohman reiterated the City was not exposed to liability by not requiring insurance for large events with street closures for an extended period because the City was covered by insurance. However, there was more risk involved during a larger event. Regarding citywide event criteria, case law gave a legislative body a fair degree of discretion on that matter, other cities had delegated that determination to their City Manager but that presented risk of first amendment violations. He went on to address the term “exempt” and recommended adding language that would make the 4th of July celebration subject to the same requirements of any other event except the City would pay the normal fees outside of the Chamber costs. The City would cover the cost of staffing and overtime needed for the event where other events pay 60% of overtime costs for city staff.
Council suggested changing language under Community-wide Events to state the July 4th celebration was a significant, historical, and community-wide event. Under Pre-approved Routes, add language that an event organizer was not limited to use pre-approved routes.
Chief Holderness explained staff based the time limit for a road closure on the length of time given past history, how long it would take to hold the parade, stage appropriately, and then break it down.
Pamela Vavra/457 C Street/Thanked staff for their efforts regarding the Special Events policy. She explained Peace House provided liability insurance for events in Medford and not requiring liability resulted in a cost savings to the organization.
Ms. Seltzer read proposed changes:
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2012-08 and adopt Special Event Policy with the (first) three amendments as proposed by staff, repeal Resolution 2011-12 and adopt the new fee resolution.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to amend the motion and substitute City Administrator with Council. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Continued Discussion on main motion: Councilor Chief Holderness clarified if someone was Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) certified, he or she could flag anywhere the Police Department determined was safe for a certified flagger rather than a Police Officer, except at signalized intersections. The Police Department reserved the right to make that determination, including a state highway. Voice Vote on amended motion: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Second Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2.10.090 Council as Final Decision Maker and Chapter 2.10.100 Budget, Compensation and Expenses on the Ashland Municipal Code”
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #3057. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Chapman, Morris, Slattery, Silbiger, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
3. Second Reading of ordinances titled,
“An Ordinance Amending the Site Design and Review Chapter (18.72) of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance to Exempt Solar Energy Systems Meeting Specific Standards from Site Review Requirements”
“An Ordinance Amending the Definitions Chapter (18.08) and General Regulations Chapter (18.68) of the Ashland Municipal Code and Land Use Ordinance”
“An Ordinance Establishing Provisions for the Keeping of Chickens Within Residential Districts, and Repealing Fence Provisions Within the Health and Sanitation Chapter 9.08) of the Ashland Municipal Code”
Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to postpone item three to the April 17, 2012 meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
4. First Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Repealing AMC Chapter 10.24 Fireworks and Amending AMC Chapters 15.28.070 Amendments to the Oregon Fire Code and 15.28.100 Penalties”
Division Chief - Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman explained the ordinance would cleanup Definitions, address sparklers, advertising fireworks within city limits, and enforce fire code violations that related to overcrowding, blocking exits, and authorize the Fire Department to issue citations regarding those situations more than once in a day.
Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to approve First Reading by title only of the Ordinance and move the Ordinance on to Second Reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Slattery, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Voisin and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Lemhouse/Chapman m/s to put the discussion of improvement of the downtown plaza on a future agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor