Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014
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, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
The minutes of the Study Session of January 6, 2014, Executive Session of January 7, 2014, and Business Meeting of January 7, 2014 were approved with the following correction to the Study Session minutes, second to last paragraph.  Councilor Lemhouse called for a point of order regarding the proper use of a Study Session, not the relevance of the questions.  Staff would make the appropriate changes.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Tree, Public Arts, and Firewise Commissions, and the Band Board.
1.   Acceptance of Commission minutes
2.   Approval of contract amendment in excess of 25% with American Industrial Door for the fixed base operator hangar door replacement project
3.   Request for sewer connection to a residence located outside the City limits and within the Urban Growth Boundary
4.   Approval to apply for two grants for public art
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the Public Arts Commission was interested in applying for two grants, one for the National Endowment of the Arts titled “Art Works,” and a second through a grant foundation called ARTPlace for the Gateway public art project.  Staff and two Public Arts Commissioners were writing grants the City would submit for approval when completed.  Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) funds would pay for the project.  Currently there was $80,940 in TOT available through 2014.    The estimate in the resolution for fiscal year 2015 was approximately $17,300 with a similar amount available Fiscal Year 2016 that would bring TOT funds up to $115,000. The total budget for the Gateway project was $110,000.   Recent updates to the National Endowment of the Arts grant changed the grant amount from $25,000 to $100,000 and required a match not known at this time.  The Public Arts Commission built the timeline on TOT revenues through Fiscal Year 2016.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve the Public Arts Commission to seek 2 grants, one from the National Endowment for the Arts and one for ArtPlace in the amount of $100,000 that may require matching funds to offset the cost associated with the Gateway Public Art project. 
Voice Vote:  all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Bruce Cook/5128 Beagle Road, White City/Spoke regarding his position on gun control.  He did not believe there was a problem in Ashland.  The City did not have the authority to ban firearms, only to ban loaded firearms for those without proper permits and licenses.  He continued to cite the law regarding the City’s authority to ban or regulate firearms.
Bill Skillman/635 Oak Knoll Drive/Expressed his concern regarding the possibility of Ashland being a gun free zone.  He was a strong Second Amendment advocate and would not give up that right to anyone, anytime, ever.  Sheriff Departments across the country were speaking in support of concealed carry.  The majority of people carrying concealed weapons were not the problem.  He questioned the benefit of having a list of individuals with licenses to carry concealed weapons.  He categorized guns as safety equipment and provided examples.  He hoped he never had to use his gun but if he did, there was no substitute for it.  He opposed Ashland becoming a no gun zone.  He would debate with anyone whether it was a good idea or not.
1.   Approval of Council Liaisons for 2014
Mayor Stromberg and Council discussed the process that determined the following Council Liaisons assigned for 2014:
  • Airport – Councilor Morris
  • Band Board – Councilor Voisin
  • Conservation – Councilor Rosenthal
  • Fire Wise – Councilor Lemhouse
  • Forest Lands – Councilor Slattery
  • Historic – Councilor Morris
  • Housing and Human Service – Councilor Marsh
  • Parks & Recreation – Mayor Stromberg
  • Planning – Councilor Morris
  • Public Arts – Councilor Slattery
  • Transportation – Councilor Voisin
  • Tree – Councilor Voisin
  • Help Center – Councilor Marsh
  • SDC Committee – Councilor Rosenthal
  • Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Committee – Councilor Rosenthal and Slattery
  • Recycle Center & Waste Reduction Committee – Councilor Rosenthal and Slattery
  • Council & Parks ad hoc Committee – N/A
  • Parks/CC Planning – Councilor Marsh and Mayor Stromberg
  • Chamber of Commerce – Councilor Marsh
  • Mt. Ashland Board – Councilor Slattery
  • RVACT – Mayor Stromberg
  • RVCOG – Councilor Lemhouse
  • RVMPO – Councilor Rosenthal
  • SOREDI – City Administrator Dave Kanner

1.   First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 6.04, Business Licenses”
City Administrator Dave Kanner clarified the City did not have a medical marijuana license code, did not issue medical marijuana licenses and were not proposing to issue medical marijuana licenses.  Medical marijuana dispensaries were legal under state law but still illegal under federal law.  Current language in Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 6.04 Business Licenses would not allow the City to issue a business license to a medical marijuana dispensary.  The proposed amendment would remove the following language from 6.04.100 Issuance of License, “If the city has knowledge that the applicant is engaging in, or proposes to engage in an unlawful activity, the City shall return the fee to the applicant, along with the reason for so doing, and shall refuse to issue a license,” and add “Issuance of a business license shall not preclude enforcement against the license of any City ordinance, state statute, federal law or any other applicable law.”  This would allow the City to issue a business license to any business that applied.  The fact that someone had a business license did not make his or her business legal.  They still had to comply with all state and federal laws.  Without the regulatory provision in the code, it would become a registry of who was conducting business in the city as well as raise revenue for the General Fund.
Staff requested direction regarding zoning and suggested Council consider prohibiting dispensaries in the C-1D, downtown zone and any E-1 zone with a residential overlay on it.  City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the state issued temporary Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) effective March 1, 2014 when the statute went into effect.  Permanent rules would be issued later and it was unknown at this time what changes might be made.
Mr. Lohman added the federal government was interpreting “Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors” to mean they would go after a dispensary within 1,000 feet of any place where minors tended to congregate and that might include libraries.
Bill Ericson/147 Blue Heron Lane/Explained he was a cancer patient with terminal cancer and wanted free and safe access to marijuana.  He was looking at opening a dispensary himself and understood the intention of the state to make marijuana accessible to patients while keeping it away from kids.  One problem was getting a business license in Ashland to conduct business.  He encouraged Council to look at patient needs and explained how marijuana was the only drug that had worked for his cancer treatment.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to refer the issue of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Ashland to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations in regards to the Land Use Code. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained business licenses were not regulatory and the zoning needed more discussion. It was incumbent on Council to abide state law, protect the community, and ensure proper use of legal dispensaries.  Councilor Slattery agreed Council needed to know the exceptions, any zoning issues as well as protect people investing in a dispensary.  Councilor Rosenthal questioned forwarding the issue to the Planning Commission and thought it should stay with Council.  Mayor Stromberg clarified changes to the Land Use Ordinance had to go through the Planning Commission.  Councilor Lemhouse added it was important to look at the long-term regarding future changes to state law and have a solid plan.  Councilor Voisin thought Mr. Kanner was asking for direction not a full decision.  This was a Council issue and she preferred not forwarding it to the Planning Commission.  Councilor Marsh noted the Planning Commission would have to look at it at some point.  The Commission would be able to focus on the zoning, set aside the other issues, and provide Council with the best land use recommendations.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Marsh, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s to approve First Reading of an ordinance by title only and place it on the agenda for Second Reading.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Slattery thought the motion complied with state law and aligned the business code.  Councilor Marsh explained a clerk should not have to determine the legal nature of a business.  People with an illegal business most likely would test the law or the City’s commitment to the law.  Decisions regarding those actions were better calculated by the police, city attorneys, and elected officials.  Councilor Lemhouse added the motion aligned city code to state law and would ensure compliance, whether an individual supported medical marijuana dispensaries or not.
Councilor Morris noted Council earlier specified business licenses were a registry and not regulatory, the motion would clarify that.  Councilor Voisin added it was an important correction and took the burden off staff. Councilor Rosenthal observed it was 15 years since the law passed, and had taken the state this long to regulate it as business.  The motion reconciled local codes.  Mayor Stromberg explained medical marijuana when properly regulated was a helpful and humane thing to do.  Full decriminalization of marijuana could occur eventually.   How the City handled it appropriately, fairly, and preserved public safety would make the difference.  Roll Call:  Councilor Marsh, Voisin, Rosenthal, Morris, Lemhouse, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse announced an event the following night January 22, 2014 at the First Presbyterian Church from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. on human trafficking in the Rogue Valley.
Meeting adjourned at 8:11 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                            
John Stromberg, Mayor          

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