MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
May 1, 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 added agenda item Plaza Re-Design and Updating Downtown Plan to XIV. Other Business from Council Members/Reports From Council Liaisons.
COMMUNICATION FROM THE CITY RECORDER RE: MAYOR’S VETO OF GREEN CODES ORDINANCES
City Recorder Barbara Christensen provided Council with the language from the City Charter regarding the Mayor’s ability to veto an Ordinance or Resolution. She read aloud the veto submitted to her office by Mayor Stromberg on April 20, 2012 on two motions to approve along with his message of disapproval:
Ms. Christensen instructed Council that they could vote again on the two motions. A roll call would take place that required a 2/3 vote for passage. In the event of a tie, the Mayor would not vote and the tie vote would result in the failure of the motion.
Councilor Morris/Slattery m/s to approve an Ordinance Amending the Definition Chapter (18.08) and General Regulations Chapter (18.68) of the Ashland Municipal Code and Land Use Ordinance as amended.” Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, and Slattery, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve 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 as amended.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Passage of the ordinances resulted in the approval of the two ordinances effective May 17, 2012, 30 days after it was initially passed during the April 17, 2012 meeting.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to place the item on the agenda, discussion on revisions to the chicken ordinance specifically in regards to the distance for having chickens.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of April 16, 2012, Executive Session of April 17, 2012 and Regular Meeting of April 17, 2012 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s proclamations and presentations of May as National Historic Preservation Month, the week of May 5-12, 2012 as Ashland Firewise Week, May 6, 2012 as Firewise Clean-up Day, and the week of May 14-20, 2012 as American Craft Beer Week were read aloud.
1. 2012 Annual Appointments to Boards, Commissions, and Committees
2. Approval of a contract amendment in excess of 25 percent for architectural design service for the remodel of the Police station
3. Approval of a Quitclaim Deed to terminate a public utility easement
4. Request for sewer connection to a business located outside the city limits
5. Approval of a Liquor License Application for Brad Boucher dba Sauce
6. Approval of a Liquor License Application for Brian Dunagan dba Ashland Wine Cellar
7. Approval of a Liquor License Application for Susan Means dba Milagros Fresh Mexican
8. Appointment of Victoria Law to the Historic Commission
9. Amendment to contract with JBR Environmental Consultants for additional work required on the Wetlands Delineation at the Ashland Gun Club
10. Approval of a special procurement for forestry and education in Siskiyou Mountain Park by Lomakatsi Restoration Project
11. Approval of an IGA with Jackson County Community Justice for supervised work crews
Councilor Silbiger pulled Consent Agenda items #1, #2, and #8 for discussion. Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda item #9 for discussion. City Recorder Barbara Christensen pulled Consent Agenda item #5 from the agenda due to additional information requested by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #3, #4, #6, #7, #10 and #11. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger would not support the annual appointments to the Boards, Commissions, and Committees due to issues regarding the timing, and that Council had not received preliminary notification of the final list of appointees. Ms. Christensen recommended Council revisit the resolution that set the annual appointment process for possible improvements. Councilor Voisin added Commissions were proactive in recommending potential appointees.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #1. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Silbiger opposed the contract amendment for architectural services for the Police Station because he did not support contact amendments in general. Police Chief Terry Holderness explained the amendment included expenses incurred from shifting direction from using the The Grove to remodeling the Police Station.
Councilor Morris/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #2. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Silbiger would not support the Historic Commission appointment because preliminary notification to Council of applicants applying for Commissions had not occurred.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #8. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO.
Motion passed 5-1.
Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison addressed the contract amendment for JBR and explained the lead distribution study at the Ashland Gun Club was completed. The additional costs covered the wetlands delineation presently at the Department of State Lands (DSL) for approval. To date, the City had spent $135,259.09 on activities recommended by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to ensure an acceptable contract. The amendment before Council was the final action for this stage of the work but the DSL or DEQ could make more recommendations later.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #9. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
1. Two resolutions regarding Water and Wastewater utility rates.
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained Council adopted the Water and Wastewater Master Plans April 17, 2012 and the next step was implementing the proposed rates. Staff based the water rate increases on the Water Master Plan and projects recommended by the Ashland Water Advisory Ad-Hoc Committee (AWAC) totaling in $30,500,000 with implementation occurring in two phases. The first phase was a 10% base rate increase that would create revenue stability for under-recovery. The second phase was an 8% rate increase across the board to start paying for Capital Projects that included the new 2.5 million gallon a day treatment plant, water storages tanks, upgrading the existing water storage tank, piping the Talent Irrigation Ditch (TID), the Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) emergency line, replacing aging pipe and funding operational staff. He broke down the 10% and 8% increases that would overall increase monthly bills from $34.54 to $38.94 for a total impact of average use at 12.7%.
For sewer, the proposed rate was 10% to cover $10,800,000 of projects outlined in the Wastewater Master Plans that were primarily regulatory.
Public Hearing Open 7:45 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed 7:45 p.m.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to postpone indefinitely the discussion of a rate increase until there is a more reasonable proposal. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman thought the 18% increase was severe. Regarding conservation, goals with projects and expenses would happen farther in the future and allow the City to recover costs. The issue of ¾ inch and 1 inch meter lines was not resolved and he would not vote for an increase until it was. Councilor Lemhouse noted the need to build and maintain infrastructure, and agreed a better conservation model would create lower rate increases.
Councilor Voisin would not support the motion. The Master Plans would allow the City to apply for grants and loans to prevent rate increases over the next 10 years. She wanted to see a progressive rate. Councilor Morris would support the motion due to his concerns regarding implementation and funding. Mayor Stromberg thought the rate increase was worth considering, the base rate had been low for several years, and the City was unable to cover expenses.
Mr. Faught explained not passing the rate increases would delay the projects outlined in the Master Plans. Financial Consultant Ray Bartlett added that over the last few years the City depleted cash reserves in the Water Fund to less than $1,000,000 and the City was facing $35,000,000 in capital improvements over the next decade. The 10% increase in the base rate would make up the deficit and the additional increases beyond that would prepare them for future capital improvements. At some point, they needed to make the Water Utility credit worthy for borrowing. Councilor Slattery supported the plan but thought it was worth reviewing the proposed rates to minimize impact. Councilor Voisin was concerned not implementing the rate increase would result in even higher increases in the future. Councilor Silbiger would initially support a 10% increase in the base rate. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Slattery, Morris, Silbiger and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s directed staff to come back in two weeks with a 10% base rate increase for Water across the board and a model for recovery in the future. Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, Silbiger and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Council directed staff to bring back the wastewater rate increase with risks of postponing and alternatives.
Pam Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Represented the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and described the new Living and Doing Business Guide and contents.
Sandra Coyner/1160 Fern Street/Read from a document she submitted into the record in response to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s survey regarding negative behavior in the downtown area and her concern implementing an exclusionary zone.
Leigh Madsen/176 Orange Street/Participated in the Plaza Watch, described positive experiences he witnessed, and took issue with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s survey.
Ariana Rombach/607 Terrace Street/Represented the Ashland High School Griz Garden and spoke against genetically engineered or GE materials. The proximity of Syngenta’s genetically modified organisms (GMO) that produced Round-Up resistant crops put the Griz Garden’s organic practices at risk. Beet pollen traveled up to six miles and cross contamination with organic crops within that distance was extremely likely. The Griz Garden students adamantly supported the proposed Jackson County GMO ban and asked Council to support local farmers and students as they worked together to envision a more sustainable future.
Abraham Bettinger/779 Oak Street/Supported the initiative for genetically modified organisms (GMO) Free Jackson County, shared health risks, and abnormalities with GMO materials. He encouraged Council to listen to the supporters of GMO Free Jackson County.
Keith Haxton/1106 Paradise Lane/Was living on the Plaza and thought the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 10.46 Prohibited Camping was a major contradiction of values between local City government and Ashland citizens. He referenced a document he submitted into the record that addressed why AMC 10.46 was unconstitutional. He supported negative punishment for bad behavior but not an exclusionary zone. He urged Council to review the document.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Approval of an IGA between Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Ashland for the development of the Normal Avenue neighborhood plan
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the next step in the process was an intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to move the project forward. The project affected 100 acres within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) outside city limits and would last 12-15 months. Staff held a neighborhood meeting where attendees with larger lots were concerned with annexation.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman added mixed use was typically on commercially zoned properties. The Normal neighborhood had an existing comprehensive plan for housing and staff would retain housing as the predominant use of the property.
Councilor Voisin/Morris m/s to approve entering into an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Ashland and ODOT to undertake the Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan project. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman had not supported the Normal Neighborhood plan historically and would not support the motion. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Chapman, and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
2. FY 2011-2012 Quarterly Financial Report for January – March 2012
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained third quarter looked at funds that relied on property taxes. The Ending Fund balances were decreasing and there were no significant electric or water sales due to weather. Additionally, Capital Improvement projects were starting and there were many department funds requiring appropriation transfers.
The Reserve Fund increased from $149,000 to $1,000,000 over the past two years due to transfers from other funds. Per the resolution, the Reserve Fund was open for use as identified through the budget process. Since it did not have the restriction of a revenue stream, the money rolled into the General Fund, and increased the amount of the Ending Fund Balance in the General Fund but only in financial presentation.
Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to accept the Third Quarter Financial report for FY2011-2012. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Energy efficiency incentive program allocation for SOU housing and dining project
Councilor Slattery and Councilor Voisin stated even though Southern Oregon University (SOU) employed them both they did not believe any action they took on the agenda item would result in a direct conflict of interest and both could render an impartial decision. Councilor Silbiger declared a potential conflict of interest due to one of the options that would remove all the energy efficiency programs from SOU’s fiscal year resulting in possible client rebates.
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained the electric conservation program received approximately $500,000 each year from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) through their Energy Efficiency Implementation (EEI). City funded programs relied on $300,000-$400,000 each year from BPA. SOU’s project counted on incentive monies that roughly approximated one year’s worth of incentive monies from BPA. Staff provided 3 options in response but recommended option 2. Utilize the FY2013-14 Electric Fund resources instead of BPA EEI allocation for the SOU project. Option 2 would help the City avoid Tier 2 power purchase rates.
Project Manager Adam Hanks further explained SOU was unable to qualify to receive incentives directly from BPA due to a technicality.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to accept and approve the staff recommendation to utilize FY 2013-14 Electric Fund resources to “self fund” the SOU Housing and Dining energy efficiency project proposal and retain annual BPA EEI allocations for existing energy efficiency program offerings. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
4. Discussion on direction to staff regarding the ordinances recently vetoed by the Mayor and approved by the Council.
Councilor Silbiger suggested a setback distance approximately 20-25 feet from a neighbors’ residence along with a 10-foot setback from the property line to create a buffer. Senior Planner Brandon Goldman confirmed requiring a buffer on the chicken keepers’ property itself, from an adjoining dwelling with a minimum setback from the property line was feasible.
Councilor Voisin wanted to include that no one could keep or maintain poultry within 25-feet of another dwelling and/or between houses and dwellings.
Tonya Graham/2007 Mae Street/Could not have chickens in her backyard because she was on a regular sized lot. They could have them with the 25-foot buffer but not if it was imposed on the chicken keepers residence. She thought if people took care of their property and chickens, they should have as much freedom as possible in that space and let the Nuisance law handle offenses.
Elaine Delsman/555 Fairview Street/Supported an exception to the 75-foot setback and thought the 10-foot setback might work better.
Robin Haptonstall/341 Beach Street/Thought a no odor or sound problem was the best solution. If setbacks were required, a 20-foot setback from a neighboring residence made better sense.
Genie Long/1511 HWY 99 North/Described the eggs she receives from a friend who keeps chickens in Ashland and commented on people becoming more concerned where their food came from. She supported a 25-foot or 30-foot setback.
Gail Barkley/107 N Wightman Street/Asked Council to reduce the setback to 20-feet and did not think the additional 10-foot buffer from the property line was needed. The idea was a buffer between neighbors, not the fence. Urban farming was a heritage and the way of the future.
Martin Reece-Sullivan/1155 Tolman Creek Road/Encouraged Council to adopt the 20-foot setback and shared the history of “Liberty Gardens” during World War II. He suggested Council track complaints regarding the 20-foot setback for a year to determine if it was successful. The 10-foot buffer from the property line implied having two fences on the property.
Council majority supported a 20-foot setback from a neighbor’s residence, was interested in looking at a 10-foot buffer from the property line but thought AMC 18.68 prohibiting building structures against fences might eliminate the need for the buffer. Council directed staff to bring back setback and buffering options to amend the ordinance for keeping chickens at the June 5, 2012 meeting.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second Reading of 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”
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s approve Ordinance #3062. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Lemhouse explained there were two related topics regarding the Plaza. One was the need to look at an immediate improvement of the landscaping, cleanliness, and updating the furnishings of the Plaza, using tourism related capital project monies. The second was whether Council should update the Downtown Plan, or ask staff to put together a project list to improve the beautification, overall cleanliness, and aesthetics of downtown.
Pam Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Spoke on behalf of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and explained the Chamber appointed a task force April 12, 2012 to look at ways to improve the downtown area and added the need to address the Downtown Plan. She listed things that required updating, repair work, or better lighting and signage, in coordination with the upcoming Transportation System Plan.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the various departments responsible for planters, plants, and trees. Council noted there was $100,000 for downtown improvements or a Downtown Plan and supported spending it on improvements.
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s staff to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a landscaping and furniture improvement plan for the Plaza. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse reiterated the motion was not for a re-design of the Plaza but an RFP to improve landscaping and furniture. The RFP would attract professionals. Mr. Kanner and Parks Director Don Robertson both agreed on using experts outside of the City. Mr. Robertson noted the damage incurred from the sheer volume of traffic and people spending extended amounts of time in specific areas and the need to change the perception, use of the Plaza, and address enforcement. Councilor Chapman wanted improvements before summer and did not think it required an RFP. Councilor Slattery thought it might be easier and quicker to repair tree grates, and plants first than begin Plaza improvements. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Lemhouse, Voisin, Morris, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to direct staff to work with stakeholders in establishing a project list that identifies maintenance issues and improvements to the downtown area.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained the list would come to Council at a future Study Session and include stakeholders’ participation and input. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Lemhouse, Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Chapman suggested looking at the function of the Plaza. Mr. Kanner would send out a Request for Quotation (RFQ), determine a qualified person to refresh the landscape and then negotiate a redesign for the Plaza with that candidate.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:18 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor