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, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced that the City was accepting applications for annual appointments to the various Commissions and Committees. The deadline for applications was March 15, 2013.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of January 14, 2013, Executive Session of January 14, 2013, Business Meeting of January 15, 2013 and Executive Session of January 24, 2013 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s proclamation of February 10-16, 2013 as Violence Against Women Prevention Week was read aloud.
Fire Chief John Karns invited Council and the public to attend the dedication of Fire Station No. 2 and public art element, “Open Minded” 4:00 p.m. February 14, 2013.
Police Chief Terry Holderness provided an update on the Police Department remodel and expansion.
1. Approval of minutes from Boards, Commissions, and Committees
2. Resolution authorizing signatures, including facsimile signatures, for banking services on behalf of the City of Ashland
3. Approval of a Fire Prevention & Safety grant application
4. Liquor License application for Warren Anderson, dba BIMOR Station, Inc.
5. Liquor License application for Steve Hoxmeier, dba IDA’s, Inc.
6. Approval of a special procurement for installation of playground equipment at Garfield Park
7. City of Ashland risk management report for FY 2011-2012
8. Report on City of Ashland’s sweatfree purchasing policy, program, and participation in the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium
Councilor Slattery pulled Consent Agenda item #3 to acknowledge staff’s efforts on the Risk Management report. Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg noted the dedication of the staff involved, the importance of an active risk management program, and the City’s focus on safety. Councilor Marsh commented on the low level of worker’s compensation claims.
Councilor Slattery/Rosenthal m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Planning Manager Maria Harris provided an overview and explained the amendment to the Ashland Comprehensive Plan was the Transportation System Plan (TSP) update that resulted in amendments to the Street Dedication Map. The TSP was a planning document that outlined the projects, studies, and programs needed to address the transportation demand over the next twenty years. Amendments to the Street Dedication Map related to the analysis that came from developing the TSP and served as a long-range map showing future street network and access to undeveloped areas primarily in the Urban Growth Boundary (UBG). A TSP was required to address the statewide planning goal on transportation and the content and structure of the document followed state requirements outlined in the Administrative Rule on implementing the plan.
The Transportation and Planning Commissions worked together throughout the project. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the adoption of the amendment with seven revisions:
During the initial Planning Commission meeting, public comment included concern regarding the location and feasibility of a street connection from Wimer Street to Ashland Street. Public Works Director Mike Faught indicated staff would remove the street dedication from the map with a notation added to the roadway projects table stating they would define the exact location and design of the street at the time of annexation.
Planning Commission Chair Melanie Mindlin shared background on the Planning Commission’s role in the TSP. Weaknesses in the plan included railroad crossings in the Railroad District, referencing a Railroad Master Plan in the TSP where the City adopted parts instead of the whole plan, a failure to address the impacts to the Railroad District when they removed the 4th Street crossing and not knowing the outcome of the Normal Street crossing. At times, there were disconnections with the work the Planning and Transportation Commissions did together. The Commissions did not adopt any of the consultants’ ideas and Commissioner’s ideas never gained traction. There were issues regarding connectivity with Clay Street not addressed and Chair Mindlin did not think they did enough for the downtown area.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar clarified the 4th Street crossing was not eliminated but identified as an at grade pedestrian crossing. The general nature of the Planning Commission discussion that occurred was the implications on future business mixture on the north side of the tracks should the City go to an at grade pedestrian crossing and eliminate the vehicular.
Chair Mindlin did not think the TSP needed to be re-done but thought the group did not address the more challenging issues. She noted the four goals of a green template for other communities, safety in corridors, restoring small town character and system wide balance for modes of transportation. The Commissions addressed all of them except the green template for other communities.
Transportation Commission Chair Dave Young explained the Joint Commissions tried to strike a balance between visioning for the future, anticipating growth in the economy and population as well as infrastructure and transportation demand. It was an imperfect science given many exigencies such as economic jolts or upticks. The analysis was gap driven and how to fill those gaps over a twenty-year period, prioritize them cognizant of the resources available and leverage funding from State and Federal revenues.
One of the key elements of the TSP was modal equity, livability, and fully functioning infrastructures for all modes of transportation, and transit. Plan elements included policies that added street classifications, person trips, looking at all potential modes of transportation regarding development and assessing the SDCs (System Development Charges). The Joint Commissions filled in gaps for connectivity, sidewalks, bicycle network, changed classifications of streets, and established a fee in lieu policy based on certain development. They included new transit proposed routes, a transit hub for future needs at 4th Street and recommended no railroad closures. They took the highest priority projects and built a constrained financial plan. The Commissions did not address the downtown because it was too big and important of a project, and there were more stakeholders than the Commissions had at their disposal.
Public Works Director Mike Faught shared transit improvements that established a new transit route down Oak Street to North Mountain, then North Main, Ashland Community Hospital, and the Senior Center. They were able to increase ridership for Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) through 20-minute routes and expanded service to evenings and Saturdays. Listing detailed projects on master plans set system development charges and made the City eligible for state and federal grants.
The fee in lieu of policy would allow the City to put in sidewalks using fees from streets with topography constraints that prohibited sidewalks. They identified specific streets for shared roads with all modes of transportation. Additional studies on Siskiyou pedestrian crossings would occur as well as bikeway networks. A rubber tire trolley shuttling tourists from downtown to Exit 14 was a viable consideration in the future as well. The Road Diet pilot came from the TSP multi modal process. The Washington Street extension was an important connection regarding future congestion on Highway 66 that may require a median all the way to Tolman Creek Road.
Some of the top priority projects within the financial constraint plan were gap fills in existing sidewalks, reviewing pedestrian crossings on Siskiyou Boulevard and establishing bikeways. The East Nevada Street extension and intersection improvements for East Main, Siskiyou Boulevard, Lithia Way, and Ashland Street and Oak Knoll would improve traffic.
Mayor Stromberg provided background on the rubber tire trolleys. RVTD was interested in incorporating them in the Rogue Valley as shuttle service and the Mayor thought it might work in Ashland.
Public Hearing Open: 8:12 p.m.
Matt Warshawsky/821 Indiana Street/Noted he served on the Transportation and Traffic Safety Commission for five years. He supported the TSP and thought it was forward thinking in its multi modal design. The goals presented were reasonable and achievable in scope and cost. It struck a balance offering solutions to encourage other forms of transportation while maintaining and improving the driver experience and making everyone safer. He referenced Planning Commission Chair Mindlin’s earlier testimony and questioned why a Commission Chair would present a personal opinion during a presentation and not represent their Commission.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison Street/Thought the scope of the project exceeded the capacity of the Commissions and during the course of the project lost several commissioners. He stressed the need to ensure the money was there to pay for implementation. The railroad tracks made it complicated and he did not agree the City needed to give something up to create railroad crossings. The Federal Transportation Commission should modify or no longer apply criteria for towns with railroad tracks but no train traffic. A crossing at 4th Street would create a tremendous opportunity for the Railroad District. They still needed to address parking issues around the Ashland Food Coop. The TSP was a marathon project and he hoped the City could come up with the funds to implement the priority projects.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:18 p.m.
Council expressed appreciation for the commitment of the Commissions and their efforts on the plan.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to approve First Reading of ordinance and place on the agenda for Second Reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse noted it was a large project and could never be a perfect plan but served as a guide. He agreed with the decision not to assume the downtown portion of the plan. Councilor Marsh added the plan required a high-level view versus a detail oriented one. Council would prioritize the projects and the TSP was a wonderful road map. Councilor Rosenthal thought the argumentation was sound, the rationale clearly articulated, the over all goals were logical, defensible and pertinent and the concepts plausible. However, he did not think the deliverables or the need for the downtown parking analysis was clear enough and Section 13 Sustainability Plan seemed more editorial than policy.
Council Voisin supported the plan. It gave the City the opportunity to be shovel ready for state and federal government grants. She wanted transit and ordinances brought forward first as priorities. Councilor Morris thought there were many good things in the plan and would support it but if the City did another one it needed to be more focused and better defined. Council also needed to be careful how they used volunteers and resources. Mayor Stromberg thought the public transit backbone needed to be accurate in case the city had to depend on public transportation and it would guide future development of the community. The three areas identified as pedestrian places along the public transit route would become the heart of the structure of the community. He thought the City should allow more height for high-density nodes and streamlined development processes. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Marsh, Slattery, Morris, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
Cate Hartzell/892 Garden Way/Requested Council add an agenda item to their next Council meeting to discuss allowing homeless people with dogs to use the City provided facility for shelter on Thursday nights.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to put at the end of the meeting consideration of allowing pets in Thursday shelter. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin noted volunteers running the shelter indicated they were turning away a significant number of people due to pets and had a proposal for Council to allow pets in the shelter. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Marsh, Slattery, Morris, and Rosenthal, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained Council directed the Parks Commission to conduct the advertising and interview process for the vacant Parks Commission vacancy and were asking Council’s approval of their recommendation.
Councilor Rosenthal/Slattery m/s to appoint Michael Gardiner to the vacant seat of Park Commissioner Position #3 with a term ending December 31, 2014.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal served with Mike Gardiner for 8 years on the Parks Commission and was very pleased with the Parks Commission recommendation. Councilor Slattery and Voisin supported the recommendation.
Voice Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Slattery, Marsh, Voisin, Morris and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (None)
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Lemhouse announced signup for Little League would occur February 9-10, 2013 with details at http://ashlandoregonlittleleague.org/. The Ashland High School Football team was hosting a fundraising event at the Old Ashland Armory February 9, 2013 to raise funds for the Pacific Rim Bowl in Japan.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to put on the agenda for February 19, 2013, reconsidering allowing pets in the Thursday night shelter. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin explained the volunteers running the shelter were tracking the number of people turned away with pets. They also contacted the faith communities hosting shelters to learn their process and results regarding pets in their shelters. Both shelters had not experienced any issues allowing pets and those same people with pets accessed the Thursday night shelter. Councilor Rosenthal was interested in hearing the new information. This issue was a barrier to a service the City voted unanimously to provide.
Councilor Slattery was not in favor of allowing pets. It was important to run the shelter as originally designed to ensure success. He had concerns regarding liability issues that came with dogs and dogs that were unlicensed and not vaccinated. He preferred addressing changes in policy next season. Councilor Lemhouse did not support allowing pets because of the potential risk issues involved. Public entities could not afford to make decisions that added risk the way private entities could. Councilor Morris noted his original concern allowing dogs was vaccinations and licensing but was willing to listen to new information. Councilor Marsh thought the request was essentially reconsideration for the shelter but supported allowing pets initially and still did. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Rosenthal, Marsh and Voisin, YES; Councilor Slattery and Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Meeting adjourned at 8:51 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor