Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

November 6, 2012

Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Silbiger were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Transportation Commission, Tree Commission, Firewise Commission, Audit Committee, and the annual Budget Committee.   The City was also accepting applications for City Council Position #6 with a 5:00 p.m. November 14, 2012 deadline. 
The minutes of the Study Session of October 15, 2012, Executive Session of October 15, 2012 and Business Meeting of October 16, 2012 were approved as presented.
The Mayor’s proclamation of November 5-11, 2012 as Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon Week was read aloud.
Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) Board Chair Doug Gentry explained the board was surprised that Dignity Health had withdrawn their offer but planned to move forward and seek affiliation elsewhere.  The Board met with the CEO’s (Chief Executive Officer) from Providence and Asante/Rogue Valley Medical Center who expressed interest in renewing their previously submitted proposals.  The Board anticipated choosing a new partner prior to Thanksgiving and closing the new arrangement by the end of the year.  Currently the hospital was functioning normally with no layoffs.  The Board would update Council as the process unfolded but was not sure at this time how the Board would communicate progress to the community.
The Mayor and Council discussed replacing Councilor Silbiger as the Council Liaison for ACH with Councilor Slattery as interim since Councilor Silbiger’s term ended soon and the affiliation process for the hospital might extend into 2013.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s pursuant to Municipal Code 2.04.110(E) Councilor Silbiger stepped down as liaison to ACH and moved to make Councilor Slattery the ACH liaison. 
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Approval of Commission, Committee, and Board Minutes
2.   Adoption of the new City of Ashland Emergency Operations Plan
3.   Approval of Statewide Transportation Improvement Program grant applications for Public Works
4.   Ratification of labor contract with the Local Union No. 659 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Clerical/ Technical)
5.   Approval of a special procurement contract with GE Water and Process Technologies for purchase of wastewater membrane filters
6.   FEMA 2012 Community Resilience Innovation Challenge Grant Request
7.   Liquor license application from Alyssa Brooks dba 7-Eleven at 1281 Siskiyou Blvd.
8.   Special procurement for the purchase of Badger Water Meters
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-6. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the cost benefit analysis for the purchase of Badger Water Meters assumed a $445,000 over a 20-year period by reducing staff and inflating labor costs.
Councilor Voisin expressed concern renewing the liquor license for 7-Eleven. Alcoholism was a primary issue at the university and the store was in close proximity and made obtaining alcohol easier.  She wanted to red flag the store.  City Administrator Dave Kanner was doubtful OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) would comply with the request. He would follow up with the City Recorder on whether Council could note location concern on the renewal application.  Council majority was not supportive of the suggestion.  It was not fair to red flag a business that had followed the rules.
Mayor Stromberg suggested not approving Consent Agenda item #7 until they talked to the City Recorder and moving Consent Agenda item #8 to the next Council meeting so the public and Council had time to review the cost benefit analysis.
1.   Ordinance amending the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan to adopt the Housing Needs Analysis as a technical supporting document
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the Housing Needs Analysis would become a technical supporting document to the Ashland Comprehensive Plan.  Cities completed Housing Needs Analysis’ in order to provide a factual basis for legislative decisions cities made.  It addressed statewide planning goals as well as a goal within the Comprehensive Plan to provide a variety of housing types commensurate with population needs within the city.  The City used the Housing Needs Model developed by Oregon Housing and Community Services.  Mr. Goldman and Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid provided a presentation on the Housing Needs Analysis that included: 

  • Purpose
  • State of Oregon Planning Goals: Encourage the availability of adequate numbers of needed housing units at price ranges and rent levels which are commensurate with the financial capabilities of Oregon households.
  • City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan: Ensure a variety of dwelling types and provide housing opportunities for the total cross-section of Ashland’s population, consistent with preserving the character and appearance of the city.
  • Housing Needs Model - The Housing Needs Model calculates housing needs as driven by the demographics of the study area as opposed to the past trends in housing production.
    • Population changes
    • Demographic changes
    • Household incomes
    • Household sizes
    • Vacancy rates
    • Housing tenure
    • Housing costs
  • Population Projections – Age Cohort changes 2000-2010 Chart
  • Questionnaires
  • Rental Property Owner Questionnaire
    •  488 mailed – 47 respondents
    •  Responses representative of 1240 units in Ashland
    • Online Resident Questionnaire SurveyMonkey
    •  177 respondents

Rental pricing was lower than fair market rent for Jackson County and the survey showed rental pricing the least satisfactory for renters most likely due to a deficit of units in demand.  Currently there were 2,376 Southern Oregon University (SOU) students traveling from out of the area or residing within the city in non-group housing. 

  • Rental Owner Questionnaire
  • Rental Rates (February 2012) Chart
  • Annual vacancy rate averages Chart
  • Satisfaction with Rental Housing Options Chart
  • Housing Types
  • Single Family Detached
  • Townhomes/Rowhouses
  • Cottage Housing
  • Multifamily (duplex, triplex)
  • Apartments (larger scale)
  • Accessory Residential Units
  • Ownership Units Needed (Figure 6.2) Chart
  • Rental Units needed (Figure 6.3) Chart

The Housing Needs Model found a large deficit of lower cost ownership units and lower cost rental units per the need within the community.  There was a gap regarding the higher cost of housing in terms of rental units between how many could afford paying rent as 30% of their income and those who could not.
The lowest end contained the largest deficit, they were government funded federally subsidized units and it was not economically feasible for the market to provide units at that low cost.  The predominant housing type built in the last decade was single-family detached ownership units that addressed demand, not need.  Additionally, median incomes did not keep up with medium priced homes.

  • General Findings
  • Over the last decade, new housing built in Ashland has primarily been single-family ownership units.
  • Households earning the area median income cannot afford the median priced home in Ashland.
  • The fastest growing employment sectors in Ashland do not pay enough for a household to afford fair market rents.
  • Low-income households cannot afford market rate rentals in Ashland.
  • General Recommendations
  • Encourage more multi-family housing.
  • Encourage more affordable single-family housing types

The Housing Needs Analysis would substantiate or refute any policy a commission or Council might consider.  Council could modify, eliminate, or add items to the strategies.  Communities used and encouraged potential strategies to develop different housing types, and were not necessarily something Council had to assume.  The Housing Needs Analysis would serve as a starting point.  As part of the unified Land Use Ordinance, the Planning Department was currently working on potential strategies to present to the Planning Commission and ultimately Council.  Staff would also bring the Housing Work Plan to Council that identified staffing availability, work priorities for the Housing Program Specialist and what the Planning Department would be doing regarding housing.
Mayor Stromberg thought the document should explain the need to reduce parking and promote building close to public transit.   Open space should be included when considering small lots for small buildings.  The School District wanted the City to encourage affordable housing for families.  Other points to consider were co-housing and vacation rentals by owner.  
Councilor Morris observed affordable housing equated to subsidized housing.  There was never a tax cut, just a transfer, and waiving Community Development fees raised house values.  He questioned if there were a way to amortize affordable housing through the RPS (Regional Problem Solving) throughout the region.
Ms. Reid explained affordable housing was amortized in that people could look in other communities if Ashland lacked affordable housing.  Ashland was a small and desirable place to live but there were low wage issues where people worked in Ashland but could not afford to live here.  People commuting to Ashland triggered the parking and transportation problems.  For a household, transportation and housing were the two biggest expenses.  The City calculated median income using the HUD (Housing Urban Development) calculation that put out an adjustment number annually and the Census had a number specific to Ashland.
Public Hearing Open: 8:03 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:03 p.m.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve First Reading of an Ordinance amending the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan to adopt the updated Housing Needs Analysis with staff amendments as a supporting technical document and move it to Second Reading. 
DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought both the Housing and Planning Commissions vetted the document well.  Councilor Slattery agreed it was a good starting point and something Council could address at the Council Goal Setting. Councilor Lemhouse thought the analytical value did not rise to the level of a technical document and would not support the motion.  It provided good information but made assumptions.  Councilor Slattery agreed it was not a technical document but information to continue the conversation.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Morris, Voisin, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen addressed Consent agenda item #7, the Liquor License for 7-Eleven and explained it was a change in ownership.  The Police Department approved the annual renewal process, and the applicant met the requirements.  Police Chief Holderness noted there were occasional “shoulder taps” by minors asking adults to purchase alcohol but no other issues.
Councilor Silbiger/Voisin m/s to approve Consent agenda item #7.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery and Silbiger, YES. Motion approved.
Cate Hartzell/892 Garden Way/Commented on the failed Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) affiliation with Dignity Health, the rumor citizen input contributed to Dignity Health pulling out, and information on Dignity Health’s history of managing and selling community hospitals.  She requested Council ensure citizens received information in a timely way regarding future partnerships with ACH and allow public input.  She went on to suggest Council cancel or reschedule future Council meetings that fell on an election day.
Mayor Stromberg responded staff and Council had discussed rescheduling meetings on election nights and he would work on a policy with the City Administrator to bring to Council.  Regarding citizen input for future negotiation processes for ACH, the City was working on ways to get information to citizens in a more timely way.  The lease negotiation would have public input.
1.   Acceptance of Operational Sustainability Plan framework
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg introduced Conservation Commission Chair Tom Beam and Project Manager Adam Hanks and explained the Sustainability Plan framework was directed at the City side of sustainability versus the community.  The Conservation Commission was ready to hand off the document to staff and subsequently go through the budget process. 
Mayor Stromberg thought the document was comprehensive and would help the City with a specific energy and resource sustainability plan for City operations.  With the PERs assessment coming, the City needed $700,000 of ongoing funding to keep city government operating.  Innovation would play a key role because of limited resources.
Councilor Lemhouse added there were times when it was more cost effective to hire consultants rather than pay internal costs.  Moving forward he was interested in hiring consultants if needed.
Mr. Tuneberg noted the plan had various levels to operate, with initial and ongoing work that required staff time.  A cost benefit analysis was included in the program.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to accept the Operational Sustainability Plan Framework document as drafted and presented by the Conservation Commission and City staff.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2.   Fiscal Year 2012-2013 First Quarter Financial Report: July – September 2012
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained staff focused more on concepts than numbers identifying the changes in cash from the year before, how changes in investments occurred, and reviewed major funds.  Overall City finances were good.  The City had improved since 2008 and recovered some of the unrestricted ending cash balances.  However, the aging infrastructure and needs going forward were and would be a continuing issue as well as how the City funded financial improvements.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to accept the First Quarter Financial Report for FY2012-2013.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1    Second reading, by title only, of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 10.110 Fair Housing”
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #3077.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Voisin, Silbiger, Lemhouse, and Morris, YES.  Motion passed.
2.   Second reading, by title only, of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Chapter 2.13 of the Ashland Municipal Code, reducing the number of established members on the Transportation Commission ”
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve Ordinance #3076.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Morris, Slattery, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
3.   First reading, by title only, of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 3.08, General Personnel Policies, and Employee Responsibilities”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained staff rewrote the City’s code of ethics to make it consistent with State ethics law, added language that any violation of State ethics law was also a violation of City code, and updated other elements.  
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 3.08, General Personnel Policies and Employee Responsibilities.  
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
_______________________________                      ________________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                 John Stromberg, Mayor

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