MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
June 5, 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, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman were present. Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:15 p.m.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Tree Commission, Public Arts Commission, Housing Commission, and the Audit Committee.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Executive Session of May 14, 2012, Study Session of May 14, 2012, Executive Session of May 15, 2012, and Business Meeting of May 15, 2012 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s proclamation of June 14, 2012 as Flag Day in Ashland was read aloud.
Senora Chela Day, representing the Ashland Amigo Club, introduced Ashland High School Princesses Nora Godfrey and Kyanna Kuriyama who gave a brief presentation of what they would perform during their stay in the City Sister of Guanajuato, Mexico June 13, 2012.
1. Approval of minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees
2. Approval of a Liquor License Application for The Tudor Guild
3. Appointment of Deborah Miller to the Planning Commission
Mayor Stromberg explained that Consent Agenda item #2 was pulled from the agenda. Councilor Morris pulled Consent Agenda item #3 for discussion and stressed the need to have applicants agree up front to Commission requirements and not terminate then re-appoint members when excessive absenteeism occurred.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 & #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the ordinance addressed the Council’s interpretation of the November 2010 appeal, included a third party review requirement, and clarified what equipment could be replaced with a building permit. A third party review required the applicant to submit an additional fee along with their application. The City would hire an independent contractor to review the application. Several nationwide firms focused on independent reviews for municipalities. Equipment replacement allowed a height increase but had to remain consistent with the original approval and design standards.
A resolution would cover associated fees. City Attorney Dave Lohman explained case law defined gaps in service and varied from district to district. Having a specific definition for gaps in service in the ordinance increased actual gaps in service claims.
Public Hearing Open: 7:22 p.m.
Rod Newton/1196 Timberline Terrace/Spoke in favor of the new ordinance and staff’s involvement with the citizenry. He thought ordinance should have stricter definitions for gaps in service and setback requirements. He provided examples why third party reviews were necessary.
Jim Fong/Leonard Street/Supported the ordinance, and appreciated how staff involved community in the process.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:27 p.m.
Councilor Lemhouse/Voisin m/s to approve the First Reading of an ordinance amending the Development Standards for Wireless Communication Facilities in 18.72.180 of Ashland Land Use Ordinance, and request that the ordinance be brought back for Second Reading on June 19, 2012. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse supported the third party review. Councilor Voisin expressed appreciation regarding staff and citizen involvement. Councilor Silbiger did not think the ordinance addressed current issues. He supported the third party review, but would not support the motion.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
2. Approval of three resolutions titled, “Resolution Adopting the Annual Budget and Making Appropriations”, “Resolution Certifying City Provides Sufficient Municipal Services to Qualify for State Subventions”, “Resolution Declaring the City’s Election to Receive State Subventions”
Approval of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Levying Taxes for the Period of July 1, 2012 to and Including June 30, 2013, Such Taxes in the Sum of $10,083,098 Upon all the Real and Personal Property Subject to Assessment and Levy Within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon”
Acting Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg noted a correction to a Public Notice regarding the budget message that did not include where budget documents were stored online. Budget recommendations included increasing staff levels in the Community Development and Fire Departments, allocating funds to the Police and Fire Departments, and adjustments to capital project work in the Public Works that would increase the Ending Fund Balance. Auditors recommended reclassifying the $263,000 from the Parks and Recreation Fund to the General Fund as a payment instead of an operating transfer.
Staff could request a rate increase to the Electric fund in August, depending on the outcome of the Opt Out Policy for automated meter reading, how revenues and expenses performed, and what Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) charged the City for wholesale power.
Public Hearing Open: 7:40 p.m.
Keith Haxton/110 7th Street/Spoke regarding the $485,000 appropriated for golfing and thought the money should go towards other things.
Councilor Slattery clarified the golf course was an enterprise fund that currently made a profit. Mayor Stromberg added the $485,000 allocation covered operations.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:43 p.m.
Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s to approve Resolution #2012-15 titled “Resolution Adopting the Annual Budget and Make Appropriations. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Lemhouse and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Councilor Chapman/Morris m/s to approve Resolution #2012-16 titled, “Resolution Certifying City Provides Sufficient Municipal Services to Qualify for State Subventions.”
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, Chapman, and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Chapman/Morris m/s to approve Resolution #2012-17 titled A Resolution Declaring the City’s Election to Receive State Revenues. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Slattery, Lemhouse, Morris, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to approve First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance Levying Taxes for the Period of July 1, 2012 to and Including June 30. 2013, Such Taxes in the sum of $10,083,098 Upon All the Real and Personal Property Subject to Assessment and Levy Within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon” and move the ordinance to Second Reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Morris, Voisin, Slattery, Silbiger, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
Thomas Beam/400 Liberty Street/Spoke regarding the Chamber of Commerce’s Best Practices Subcommittee that will look at reducing waste for the 4th of July celebration and Christmas parade.
John Tyler/812 Plum Ridge Drive/Submitted a document into the record and spoke on the Move to Amend movement, requested Council add it to the ballot for the fall election, and strongly encouraged Council to place the issue on an agenda to give citizens an opportunity to express their opinions.
Donna Swanson/863 Plum Ridge Drive/Submitted a document into the record, spoke on behalf of small businesses and asked Council to consider the impact of the Supreme Courts Citizens United decision. She urged Council to add it to the ballot for discussion.
Maryline White/930 No Mt Ave/Submitted a document into the record, shared her background and stated that corporations were not people, and asked if Council they would let their daughter marry one.
Elizabeth Hallett/938 Mt Meadows Circle/Spoke on abuses done to planet earth, descendants, and the 5,000 amputees in 1945 that she nursed. She equated their flesh and limbs to preserving democracy, supported Move to Amend, and submitted a document into the record.
John Limb/606 Iowa Street/Supported Move to Amend, wanted it added to the ballot for the fall election followed by a resolution from Council. He asked Council to discuss the item at the next Council meeting.
April Metternich/545 Pearl St, Medford, OR/Explained she was an artist and wanted to sell her artwork in Lithia Park but it was against City policy. She felt the policy violated her First Amendment rights and cited cases to support her statement.
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/Asked Council to make a statement supporting a ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) even if the County found they did not have the authority to ban them. This was a matter commonly disputed among attorneys.
City Attorney David Lohman addressed selling art in the park. He confirmed art and commercial art were protected by the First Amendment but municipalities regulated it using appropriate time, manner, and place. The Parks and Recreation regulations qualified as appropriate time, manner, and place.
Mr. Lohman went on to confirm that citizens could pass a resolution through initiative petition.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to add Move to Amend to the next agenda and have Council consider putting it on the November ballot. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin commented Council had the ability to add Move to Amend to the ballot for public consideration. Councilor Slattery wanted community to come forward with a petition in the fall. Councilor Silbiger added that Council approved Resolution 2012-07 Regulation of Campaign Contributions that specifically addressed the Citizens United ruling. He encouraged citizens to collect the signatures needed to put it on the ballot adding they did not need Council involvement to act. Councilor Voisin wanted to add it to an agenda and have staff clarify the citizen initiative and petition process. Councilor Slattery thought the motion was different from Resolution 2012-07 and more about clarification on adding an item to the ballot, the citizen’s role and how Council assists in that process. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, YES; Councilor Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
Ashland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra Slattery, Board member Jim Teece, and local consultant Rebecca Reid provided results from the Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Survey.
Ms. Slattery explained the intention of the survey was to identify strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities in the current economy to determine how to assist existing businesses to stay and grow in Ashland. Survey questions focused on educational needs, investment capital, and future physical growth needs and barriers, the variety of business, local reliance, sustainability, establishing an ongoing data set and improvement recommendations.
Mr. Teece provided background on the interview committee and process that resulted in interviewing 32 businesses representing 2,200 employees.
Ms. Reid shared highlights of the survey. One third of the companies deliberately moved to Ashland that resulted in hiring 55 people. There were gaps related to work force skills and training. The past three years showed that businesses maintained or grew with 41% of the businesses planning to expand over the next three years.
Recommendations for a healthy economic future included expanding communication between the City and business community, addressing the perception that Ashland was anti-business, maintaining balance between policies and politics regarding sustainability and pro-business policies. Promote Ashland’s assets like quality of life, environmental values, high-speed technology, and AFN. Encourage companies that provide high skilled jobs to move to Ashland. Provide more training in technical fields for workers and students. Focus on community outreach, and increase networking between businesses and resource sharing.
Ms. Slattery explained the next steps involved increasing marketing and communication, education and training, and addressing expansion needs. The Chamber would work with City staff to develop an economic development-marketing plan, educational training, and a business resource and assistance program in coordination with educational facilities in the region. Regarding expansion, there was interest in becoming part of the Jackson County Enterprise Zone and E-Commerce overlay. The Chamber’s Rapid Response Team would meet with existing businesses that identified expansion issues to determine how the Chamber can assist businesses to remain and grow in Ashland.
Professor Eva Skuratowicz, from Southern Oregon University (SOU) Anthropology and Sociology 401 class and SOU students Whitney Head-Burgess, Kim Lovelace, and Tori Jeter reported on the Local Quality of Life research the class conducted. They defined quality of life as how community residents perceived the key elements of living in Ashland.
Ms. Head-Burgess addressed the Affordability section of the survey. Focus groups indicated high housing costs affected diversity, impeded young families from moving into the area and negatively impacted economic development within Ashland and thought increasing availability of affordable housing would help strengthen the local economy. People moved to Ashland, made sacrifices to stay due to the quality of life.
Ms. Jeter spoke regarding Affordability and Economic Development. Two thirds of the respondents were neutral or dissatisfied with employment opportunities citing limited opportunities, difficulty finding employment that paid a living wage and the lack of career advancement. Local business owners expressed extreme difficulty finding full-time and long-term employees. Most people traded career advancement and having a larger hiring pool in order to live in Ashland. The majority wanted economic development to occur on a small and local scale and wanted sustainable growth while maintaining fundamental values of the city.
Ms. Lovelace shared results on the Nature, Community, and Raising Children portion of the survey. The sense of community was a major reason people chose to live in Ashland. The number one reason was nature and recreational opportunities. Raising children amidst the sense of community, and natural environment was worth sacrificing affordability. Additionally the schools were good.
Professor Skuratowicz summarized citizens were making significant sacrifices or trade offs for the sense of community, the natural environment, and education. She recommended future research and surveys overtime, and addressing the disconnect between employers and employees.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
Keith Haxton/110 7th Street/Submitted documents into the record and noted the main problem with the ordinance was that it expanded the definition beyond camping to sleeping and infringed on First Amendment rights. He urged Council not to pass the ordinance and at the minimum retain the ordinance as currently written.
Jesse Sharpe/2227 Dollarhide Way/Thought the methods to enforce the ordinance was a direct violation of the 1992 Supreme Court Decision in the case of Papachristou v. Jacksonville Florida. He explained how it pertained to the ordinance adding the ordinance itself was vague and citizens would universally break it. He urged Council not to pass the ordinance.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3063. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin would not support the motion because she thought it was unconstitutional and the City needed to provide alternatives for those who were homeless. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Lemhouse, Chapman, Morris, and Slattery. Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
2. Second Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Adding AMC 9.08.280 Feeding of Deer, Raccoon, and Potentially Habituated Wildlife Prohibited Within the City Limits of Ashland.”
Councilor Morris/Voisin m/s to approve Ordinance #3064. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Slattery, Silbiger, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Morris, YES.
3. First Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 10 Public Peace, Morals, and Safety by Adding Sections 10.120 ‘Persistent Violations’ and 10.125 ‘Persistent Failure to Appear’.”
First Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 1.08 General Penalties, Section 1.08.005F., 1.08.0101A.(1), and 1.08.020 to Effectuate Proposed Ordinance Adding AMC 10.120 ‘Persistent Violation’ and AMC 10.125 ‘Persistent Failure to Appear’.”
Councilor Slattery disclosed his wife was the Executive Director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and declared there was neither an actual nor a potential conflict of interest regarding the matter.
Police Chief Terry Holderness described the map areas that depicted 10 reporting districts. Area 4 was one of the smaller reporting districts and was located downtown. This section received 4,000 or 40% of the calls to the police as compared to the largest district, Area 1 that received 7,000 calls for service over the past year. Statistics showed 500 citations or arrests were made in Area 4 with 462 in Area 1. The second largest district, Area 10, had a total of 256 arrests and citations over the past year. Area 4 had 35 repeat offenders and Area 10 had 18. The significant concentration of repeat offenses in the downtown area justified the ordinance.
The ordinance would create two new violations, persistent violations that required someone to commit three violations of criminal statues or ordinances in the downtown area within a 6-month period. The second was persistent failure to appear and required someone to commit three violations of failure to appear within a 12-month period. Chief Holderness described the process for both ordinances and how the Municipal Court Judge retained the discretion not to use exclusion. He recommended removing illegal camping from both ordinances, it was not a common offense, and the community thought it targeted the homeless.
The range of offenses in the downtown area consisted of vandalism, public drinking, and use of narcotics, urinating, and disorderly conduct. The ultimate goal was less criminal behavior in the downtown area. Chief Holderness clarified they did not have many repeat offenders who were students or minors skateboarding on the sidewalks. Students concerned with maintaining good credit and minors having to appear in court with their parents served as deterrents.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to postpone the opt out policy for the automated meter reading program to the June 19, 2012 Council meeting. Voice Vote: YES. Motion passed.
Lisa Beam/400 Liberty Street/Thought it was interesting the discussion during the meeting had moved from quality of life to those who choose not to be respectful. If the ordinance was what it took to change a person’s decision-making, it was a good move for everyone. Giving someone three opportunities was more than adequate and she hoped people saw it as a positive in the downtown area.
Helga Motley/693 Clay Street/Shared a personal experience with a persistent violator who drank in public because he was not allowed to drink at home. She was not frightened or offended by his presence but voiced concern about petty ordinances that people cannot help but offend. She was reluctant to judge people for offending her sensibilities and did not want the downtown to become a reverse ghetto where only nice things occurred.
Allan Peterson/807 Beach Street/Thought the ordinance criminalized alcohol, littering, and camping to rid the downtown of unsightly elements. It would move the unwanted to other areas like the Ashland Food Co-op. Raising a nuisance to the level of misdemeanor was not how he wanted issues that were occurring across the nation addressed.
Cate Hartzell/892 Garden Way/Submitted a document into the record, shared 2011 citation statistics for illegal camping in 2011, and hoped Council would remove illegal camping from the ordinance. She read comments from a letter the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was sending to Council that recommended the ordinance have a reporting requirement, a sunset clause and the City analyze if the ordinance moved targeted conduct to other parts of the city.
Frances Dunham/807 Beach Street/Was new to Ashland, and had never encountered rude behavior by the diverse people she met in town or seen trouble. She thought the ordinance was distressing, mean spirited, and not honest. If the intention was to protect peace, morals and safety, why was there worry regarding open containers or sleeping? What she wanted corrected was people violating pedestrian crosswalks and running stoplights.
Keith Haxton/110 7th Street/Noted the ordinance was complaint driven and the only complaints he had seen were in the report submitted by Chamber of Commerce, all anonymous. He thought sleeping outdoors was a crime of status and asked Council to remove illegal camping from the ordinance. The other behaviors cited in the ordinance would move to different areas and continue.
Leigh Madison/176 Orange Avenue/Equated repeat offenders cited for open containers to the public drinking that occurred during First Friday Art Walk nights and wondered how many people received citations for alcohol during those events. He questioned the fairness and thought the ordinance targeted the poor and homeless.
Sandra Coyner/1160 Fern Street/Agreed with the rationale of dealing with repeat offenders but did not think the ordinance would achieve those goals. The majority of people who were repeat offenders were homeless and alcoholics. She supported the persistent failure to appear ordinance but did not think the police and judicial system should have to enforce quality of life and being respectful.
Jesse Sharpe/2227 Dollarhide Way/Urged the City to amend the ordinance and remove minor violations. Under the new ordinance, people could face Class B misdemeanors for littering, open containers, unnecessary noise, or sleeping on public property and face up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $2,500. Anyone could easily violate the ordinance and some who did needed medical help instead of jail and huge fines.
Vanessa Houk/137 5th Street/The ordinance would jail people for sleeping and that was not right. People trying to get out of homelessness who violated the ordinance would have difficulty obtaining Section 8 and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing due to criminal records. She did not want Council to pass the ordinance but if they did, requested they amend it, have a three-month trial, and remove the misdemeanor offenses, especially the camping.
Ryan Navickas/2060 Mill Creek Drive, Prospect OR/Thought the intention of the ordinance was to exclude homeless people from downtown. He considered it cruel and unusual punishment to jail or fine people who had no alternative places to sleep. The City had not attempted to remedy this problem. Alcoholism was a disease and courts had ruled that punishing people seeking to satiate the disease of addiction was cruel and unusual punishment. Other violations in the ordinance clearly associated with homelessness. The City’s negligence in providing safe shelter for the homeless was the root cause for many complaints of community members aimed at the homeless. A good start would be funding a day shelter instead of enacting the exclusion zone policy.
Don Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Favored a semblance of an exclusionary zone essentially for safety issues. As a business owner, he employed 15-18 employees downtown who frequently encountered people from the surrounding bars. He thought the ordinance was a tool that should not be used to control or oppress the homeless community. People with no place to sleep still needed to sleep. He encouraged the City to pursue all options to provide shelters, temporary camping for the homeless, and coax Interfaith Care Community of Ashland (ICCA) back into town as well as other organizations to help.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve by title only the First Reading of an Ordinance entitled “An ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 10 Public Peace, Morals, and Safety by Adding Sections 10.120 “Persistent Violation” and 10.125 ‘Persistent Failure to Appear and move said ordinance for Second Reading but to remove sections related to prohibited camping.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse agreed that camping was never the behavior issue causing problems downtown. Councilor Slattery noted many shelters, missions, and meals groups used an exclusionary zone effectively. It made sense to stop behavior that reached an abusive state and the ordinance would do that.
Councilor Voisin commented the Economic Development report showed most businesses maintained or increased sales and did not see how the violations downtown affected business. Her concern was AMC 10.120.020 A. (4) listed violations a shelter or day center would have alleviated and Council had not done enough regarding these issues.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend motion to have the Police Chief report monthly on the progress of the exclusion zone. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin motioned to add a sunset clause of three months to get through the tourist time and have an assessment of exclusion zone. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Silbiger explained arresting and fining persistent violators did not work. Most of society would take it very seriously and alter their behavior if arrested. This was a criminal issue, not homeless. He was not sure the ordinance would work but thought it may give repeat offenders a reason to stop. Councilor Morris commented how often people told him they were uncomfortable going downtown. He thought the ordinance would generate change. Repeat violators were smart people and the ordinance would change their behavior. He supported the motion as amended. Mayor Stromberg would have used clearly violent situations for the ordinance before extending it to open containers in public.
Councilor Slattery/Chapman m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on main motion: Councilor Silbiger, Lemhouse, Slattery, Morris, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve by title only the First Reading of an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 1.08 General Penalties, Sections 1.08.005F., 1.08.010A.(1), and 1.08.020 to Effectuate Proposed Ordinance adding AMC 10.120 ‘Persistent Violation’ and AMC 10.125 ‘Persistent Failure to Appear’” and move said motion for Second Reading, removing the section pertaining to prohibited camping.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse observed the people concerned the City was creating an elite area downtown were actually creating a reverse elite group of individuals acting without consequence by defending their actions. An exclusionary zone already existed for citizens not comfortable going downtown due to others who might violate their rights without repercussion. The ordinance addressed behavior, not homelessness. He hoped it worked as a good deterrent and no one reached the level of exclusion. Councilor Slattery added the ordinance was about people having consequences for actions that put everyone at risk. The City owed it to all populations, homed and homeless, to establish rules.
Councilor Voisin thought bad behavior was in the eyes of the beholder, did not think the ordinance would work, and wanted to look at options. She addressed equal punishment and explained many people failing to appear were mentally ill, disabled, and alcoholic, and therefore not equal. She would not support the motion and thought Council should empathize with repeat offenders and find out what was happening to cause their behavior. Councilor Chapman agreed with Councilor Voisin there were people with medical and mental issues who needed help but this was a separate issue. The ordinance was an extra tool for the Police Department to use and he wanted to see if it was effective. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Lemhouse, Morris, Slattery, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Postponed to the next Council Meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor