MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 18, 2014
1175 E. Main Street
Ex. E, #30 - Phasing. That Phase I and Phase II refer to specific portions of the development, and the applicants shall have the ability to construct Phase II prior to Phase I, or to construct both phases at the same time. If the project is built in a single phase, 24 lots (50 percent of the total number of lots in Phase I and Phase II) would need to meet the timetable for Phase I. If the project is built in phases, whichever phase is constructed first shall include the construction of Almeda Drive from its current terminus out to Helman Street, and the construction of Perozzi Street (formerly ‘Canine Way’) from Almeda Drive to the Dog Park. Both streets shall be completed according to the approved plans (including paving, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and parkrow planting strips with street trees on both sides), inspected, and approved prior to the construction of any homes for either phase.
Ex. E, #31 - Multi-Use Path & Nevada Street Sidewalk Timing. That the multi-use path and the sidewalk on Nevada Street, from Helman Street to Oak Street, shall be tied to the construction of Sander Way as part of Phase II, rather than as a part of Phase I. A revised plan (replacing Sheet R-1 from December 1, 2008) shall be provided prior to pathway installation illustrating the proposed pathway installation and the redefined limits of the slope stabilization and associated re-vegetation and shall include the planting of additional trees both inside and outside the pathway corridor to be selected based on recommendations of Parks Department staff as to the number, type and placement. The multi-use pathway improvements shall be installed with Phase II of the development, but no later than five years following completion of the first phase.”
Mr. Severson explained the conditions the Planning Commission recommended to Council included the recommendations from the Parks Commission and the Conservation Commission. Staff recommended Council adopt the ordinance with the two additions.
Valerie Williams/744 Helman Street/Explained they met with the Planning Department and went over issues with the development agreement, and concerns regarding the Rice Park project. They also talked to the Conservation staff. Following those discussions, the applicants put together the plan. Having the project in two phases would allow them flexibility. The multiuse path was tied to the phasing and withholding building permits was a big incentive for the developer to adhere to the phases and complete the path.
Ms. Williams addressed landscaping the multiuse path. The Parks and Recreation Department estimated it would cost $39,000 yearly to maintain if the original acreage was completely landscaped creating a burden for the developer and long-term for the City. Starting with a smaller area made sense. The modification would have 18-feet of vegetation with 14-feet on one side and four feet on the other side of the path while retaining what currently grew beyond those areas.
She went on to address the energy efficiency component and explained when they initially did the agreement they already had buyers and net zero was in the plan at the time. Going to Earth Advantage and being photovoltaic ready more than met the City code requirement. The Subdivision was very energy efficient.
Greg Williams/744 Helman Street/Explained many things involving Rice Park was onerous to track and implement. They realized they needed to simplify the project, there were heating systems that worked better than what was available in 2007. Currently they were unable to build the project as specified in the agreement and the modifications would change that.
Ms. Williams went on to clarify the Parks Commission requested planting trees closer to the path for watering and maintenance purposes.
THOSE WISHING TO PROVIDE TESTIMONY
Rick Landt/468 Helman Street/Introduced himself as a Park Commissioner but did not speak for the Parks Commission. He explained the Parks Commission voted 5-0 for a smaller mitigation area adjacent to the proposed pathway between Ashland Creek and Verde Village. The reason for his vote was the approved plan, consistent with the water resource ordinance was impractical and would result in a significant increase in maintenance costs for the Parks and Recreation Department with very little benefit. The shrub layer was challenging and expensive to grow to maturity. The applicant’s request for a change in the riparian landscape and that the Public Works Department spent $17,000 to interpret the water resource ordinance pointed to the flaws in the ordinance. He urged Council to approve the recommended changes from the Parks Commission and revise the water resource ordinance to a more user friendly, practical ordinance.
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Thought it was unclear if this was an actual land use hearing, and requested to keep the record open. He thought it was disingenuous of the Planning Department to show a photo of Rice Park during their presentation, it was not part of the development. Mr. Swales provided his interpretation of the history regarding the land in Rice Park, which was given to RVCDC to build the units. He stated that in 2008, a trust deed for $400,000 was granted for financial security for construction of the multiuse path and landscaping, which was reduced to $180,000 in July 2009. Mr. Swales questioned if that was sufficient funds to cover the project. His main concern was the opportunity of the property owner to remarket and sell the property. He wanted to ensure the City was well protected and the taxpayers did not end up paying for replanting along creek bed.
Cate Hartzell/881 East Main Street/Spoke on the prospect that the community would get a walkway along the creek. She thought net zero was important because it cut the demand the City had to meet. She understood tradeoffs and questioned why the sidewalk and greenway were now in Phase 2. The applicants had explained it was because of the cost. She recognized the hardship on the developers and did not want to lose the one last thing the City had in the deal originally made. The other aspect was the pathway reduction. She thought it was possible to design a pathway and landscaping within a budget and in a way where the maintenance was not high. She urged Council to do whatever they could to protect the one real public benefit and not reduce it further. She also encouraged Council to read the contract carefully and ensure details were clear prior to signing.
REBUTTAL BY THE APPLICANT
The applicants clarified Rice Park actually paid the bills for the roads but the applicants were paying them back through a $200,000 loan. Costs for the multiuse path were unknown when they wrote the initial security. The applicants signed the trust deed with the intention that once they signed the development agreement, they could change the note for the true value and they did by getting bids. Regarding net zero, making the homes photovoltaic ready and facing the south made them close to net zero. Going Earth Advantage Gold, photovoltaic ready the homes would be passively solar heated.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:21 p.m. with the record remaining open seven days until 4:30 p.m. February 26, 2014 for new submittals, followed by another seven days until March 5, 2014 for rebuttal by the applicant.
Mr. Severson explained the criteria for the action was on page 11 of 13 in the February 11, 2014 Planning Department Staff Report. If the property sold to a different developer, they were bond by the development agreement unless they proposed a different agreement that Council approved. The current development agreement would end in 2023. By then, if a developer had not met the obligations of the agreement, whoever assumed development was responsible to continue those obligations.
REQUESTS TO SUBMIT FINAL WRITTEN ARGUMENT
The applicants requested the full seven days to respond to written arguments.
ADVICE FROM LEGAL COUNSEL AND STAFF
Mr. Lohman noted this was a limited amendment and did not think it undermined other parts of the development agreement. Staff confirmed the record would remain open for seven days, until Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. for new evidence. The applicant would then have seven days until Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. to submit written argument but no new evidence.
COUNCIL DELIBERATION AND DECISION
Postponed due to the record remaining open.
Bill Skillman/635 Oak Knoll Drive/Opposed the proposed gun control ordinance that Council may consider. He saw no benefit to public safety in changing open carry regulations. He cited Police Chief Terry Holderness’ discussion regarding the few incidents involving guns and those that occurred were criminal acts. Firearms are safety equipment that must be available instantaneously.
Natalie Richie/598 East Main Street/Referenced a recent statement by Police Chief Terry Holderness that banning open carry would not improve public safety. The City attorney made it clear the proposed gun control ordinances would attract litigation and be expensive. She questioned why Council was still discussing the ordinances since it would not provide public safety and ultimately cost the taxpayers. The estimated cost of a single lawsuit was a minimum of $150,000. That money could go towards another police officer or gun safety for children so they could embrace their second amendment rights. The push to restrict citizens’ rights pertaining to guns seemed driven by hunger for political gain and a grab for headlines. She shared her personal history of growing up around guns, referred the 1979 abduction and murder of two young girls, the murder of David Michael Grubbs, and wanted to be able to continue to defend herself.
Heidi Weeda/313 Cambridge/Explained she went through a gun safety class as a child and thought everyone should go through some form of gun safety. She shared her heartache over mass shootings involving children. It was the people’s right to protect themselves and a God given right to bear arms. The government did not have the right to tell anyone how to self protect or protect family and homes. The proposed gun ordinances risked wasting countless dollars on a problem that did not exist.
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Stated that it was not a God given right to bear arms but a right from the founding fathers. He expressed his concern with the signs outside Council Chambers that anyone with a concealed weapon permit was subject to searching. He addressed the possibility of putting the gun ordinances on the ballot for citizens to decide. He wanted Council to take leadership on the gun ordinances and not hand it off to the electorate.
Chief Holderness addressed Mr. Swales testimony and clarified it was against the law in Oregon to carry a firearm into a public building without a concealed weapons permit. Alternately, the City could not regulate open carry with a concealed weapons permit in a public building. Citizens raised concern after the open carry of assault weapons during the February 3, 2014 Study Session in Council Chambers. Police staff posted the signs to alert people they could bring in weapons if they had a concealed weapons permit. He added that no was searched during the process only told they needed a permit.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Request for a boundary line adjustment at the corner of 511 Clinton and 625 N. Mountain Avenue
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Rachel Dials explained the boundary line adjustment was for a property at 511 Clinton Street and 625 North Mountain Avenue that inadvertently encroached on City property. When the River Walk was constructed, the corner of the home was built on park property. The mistake went undiscovered until 2013 when new homeowners moved in and unknowingly encroached further onto the Park property located behind them.
Staff contacted the property owners and worked with them to move the soil that was encroaching. Parks and Recreation Department staff also worked with the homeowners to secure a surveyor to mark the corners at the homeowner’s expense. The Parks Commission directed staff to continue to work with the homeowners to ensure the lot met the basic setback requirements and the owners incurred charges at real market value for any property transfer and paid the associated planning fees. The boundary adjustment was approximately 842 square feet with the price per square foot just over $38. Total cost to the homeowner prior to boundary line adjustment will be $30,948.28.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve the recommended boundary line adjustment for 625 North Mountain Avenue, adding 814 square feet for a total cost of $30,948.28 per the attached tax lot map. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
2. Approval of an emergency procurement for engineering services for the Talent Ashland Phoenix Pipeline Intertie project
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury explained one of the priority recommendations in the Water Master Plan was an emergency TAP (Talent Ashland Phoenix) hook up that would provide 1,500,000 or 3,000,000 gallons of water to supplement existing water storage as needed. Given current weather conditions, and future forecasting, staff anticipated potential supply issues late summer on a yearly basis. The biennium budget allocated $2,000,000 for TAP construction in Fiscal Year 2015. Staff requested Council approve expediting the process to the current fiscal year with an emergency procurement process to construct the pipeline by late August, early September 2014. Public Works Director Mike Faught added another element was a contract with the Medford Water Commission that staff would bring to the next Council meeting.
Mr. Fleury confirmed the Ashland Municipal Code did allow water services within the Urban Growth Boundary (UBG) with specific requirements for residents located in the UBG. The project was aggressive but staff was comfortable with the August-September completion date. Mr. Faught explained the emergency procurement would not increase costs and depended whether Council decided to choose the 3,000,000 or 1,500,000 million gallon capacity. Additionally, staff would piggyback the pipe purchase with another city to cut costs. City Administrator Dave Kanner added under state law the City could not bid engineering services. The selection process was qualification based with a price negotiated after the selection.
Councilor Rosenthal/Morris m/s to approve an emergency procurement process for services for the TAP intertie project. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, Slattery, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Rosenthal/Morris m/s to approve giving contracting authority to the City Administrator in an amount greater than $100,000 for the TAP intertie project. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, Slattery, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
3. Addendum clarifying Mt. Ashland Association Agreement
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained at the November 5, 2013 meeting Council considered an addendum to the agreement with the Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) that if passed then, would have outlined certain conditions MAA had to meet going forward with future projects. Council asked for additional clarification that MAA took back for consideration. MAA requested adding the words “if any” to the addendum (1)(c) to read: “substantiate by means of a Forest Service financial ability determination, or other means acceptable to the Forest Service, that MAA has sufficient financial resources available to pay for completion of the project and all interconnected projects, if any, as determined by the U.S. Forest Service.” The purpose of adding the words would make clear that MAA might or might not do all of the projects listed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Reported that MAA had not paved the car park and the cost overruns were huge. MAA was still trying to raise money and yet his understanding was the US Forest Service did due diligence to ensure MAA had sufficient funds to proceed. He noted that Mt Ashland might not open this season and that season passes were not going to be refunded. He questioned whether they could protect the watershed.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s Council to approve the proposed addendum.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Slattery thought the addendum was straightforward. Councilor Marsh added the addendum strengthened the City’s position. Councilor Voisin did not understand how the addendum protected the City by removing the performance bonding. Given the cost overruns, inability to complete the project and the possibility of no ski season this year, Council should restore the performance bond to the agreement. Councilor Slattery thought the US Forest Service required the performance bond and the City did not have any legal standing to enforce a performance bond. As long as MAA could pay for cost overruns, it was not an agreement concern. Councilor Voisin explained the City required a performance bond and did not think the US Forest Service was actually requiring one. Councilor Lemhouse clarified the proposal before Council was an addendum to the agreement and a motion would be needed to propose another agreement. Councilor Morris added Mr. Lohman had explained that the performance bond was part of a funding combination and not necessarily required if other parts of the combination were secured. Many of the delays for MAA were due to last minute appeals. He supported the addendum and thought it made it stronger.
Mr. Lohman clarified the agreement required some form of security and offered three options, as long as one of those options was provided for, then the City was covered. MAA did not have to provide all three and did not have to include performance bonding. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, YES; and Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 2: Rules of City Council; Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures for Advisory Commissions and Boards; Recreation Commission; Conservation Commission; and Certain Administrative and Operating Departments”
Item postponed to a future meeting.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Voisin noted the grand opening for the Ashland Community Resource Center was well attended. The new donated shower and laundry mobile unit would be available March 4, 2014. Councilor Lemhouse added it was a good experience working with the Center and Lee Madsen.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned 9:28 pm
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor