Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


September 16, 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 Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Wildfire Mitigation, Forest Lands, Historic, Public Arts, and Tree Commissions.
The minutes of the Business Meeting of September 2, 2014 were approved as presented.
1.   Annual presentation by the Airport Commission
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury and Airport Commission Chair David Wolske presented the annual report on the Airport Commission.  Chair Wolske noted the recent passing of Commission member Richard Hendrickson and shared some of his accomplishments and contributions to the Commission.   He went on to describe the role the Ashland Airport played in the community and valley, listed projects, and explained how the Commission handled complaints.
The Mayor’s proclamations of September 21, 2014 as International Day of Peace and October as Mayors United to Help Fight Hunger Month were read aloud.
Polly Hodges/33 Morse Avenue/Addressed the road work currently underway on East Main Street between Morse and Alida.  This was the third time this summer excavation occurred in that area.  Neighbors did not receive any notice regarding the project and did not know the purpose or the length of project.  Sleep was difficult with cars speeding over the metal plates.  She tried to call Public Works office and Avista with no response from either.  She asked Council to institute a policy of notifying residents when road construction work would occur, the reason why, duration, and find ways to slow down traffic around the metal plates during the night. Residents needed some consideration.  It was disruptive to daily life. 
City Administrator Dave Kanner would follow up and get back to Ms. Hodges.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison Street/Spoke on relocating the City Hall building, shared history on previous attempts, the controversy and public opposition that occurred.  He thought the Community Development building on Winburn Way was a disaster and should have been two stories. He urged Council to look at alternatives and not move from the downtown area.  He went on to address the changes in Commission size.
Amy Felmley/187 Gresham Street/Shared her experience surviving a deer attack in her backyard and asked Council to increase public awareness by posting information on the website.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to add to the end of the agenda a discussion about education on interfacing with wildlife. Voice Vote All AYES.  Motion passed.
1.   Approval of commission, committee, and board minutes
2.   Procurement for tires and related services
3.   Fire Prevention and Safety Grant application 2013
4.   Liquor License Application for Michael Leslie dba Vinyl Club
5.   Contract with KOGAP Enterprises, Inc. for the Mountain Avenue Overlay Project
6.   Approval of recommendation from the Public Art Commission for painting electrical utility boxes on the corner of A Street and Oak Street and on Pioneer Street near A Street
Staff removed Consent Agenda Item #5.  Councilor Lemhouse and Rosenthal pulled Consent Agenda Item #4 regarding the Liquor License for the Vinyl Club for further discussion.  Councilor Rosenthal expressed concern the club had 56 case numbers assigned over the past three years and wanted to know the process for analyzing data for liquor license approvals.
Deputy Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained issues with the Vinyl Club had decreased over time. It was the only dance club in Ashland and common for dance clubs to have issues.  City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the City’s role regarding liquor licenses was advisory to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).  The City did not have the power to prevent someone from getting his or her liquor license unless the City had unmitigated evidence of crime involving the venue and that was not the case with the Vinyl Club.  It was common practice throughout Oregon that the governing body provide advice to OLCC regarding liquor license applications.  City Attorney Dave Lohman added the City Recorder circulated liquor license applications including change of ownership to specific departments for feedback prior to placing it on the Consent Agenda.
Brent Thompson/LL Consent #4/582 Allison Street/Thought the new owners of the Vinyl Club should address whether they had a clean and inviting bathroom since often patrons used the alleyway as a restroom outside of the club.  He suggested the last employee leaving the Vinyl Club police the alley when to ensure there was not any vomit, trash, or urine in the alleyway.  This had been a problem for 30-years and the new owners needed to be vigilant.
Deputy Chief O’Meara explained the midnight shift sergeant contacted the owner and staff of a new bar and let them know of any problems that existed in the past.  That conversation could include discussions regarding cleanliness.
Council comments wanted to know background policy implications, a possible Study Session, and possibly postponing the approval of the liquor license.  Other Council comments noted OLCC vetted the applicant, the police approved moving forward, the City Recorder indicated the application met the standards, and there was no reason to delay approving the application.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s Liquor License Application for Michael Leslie dba Vinyl Club at 130 Will Dodge Way.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse did not think Council should punish the new owner.  Council had made the concerns regarding the club known.   He suggested adding a reference section from the Police Department on the Council Communication.  Councilor Marsh thought the police review was implicit in the fact that it came before Council from the City Recorder and supported the motion.  Councilor Voisin wanted the owner to prevent patrons from using the alley as a bathroom. 
Councilor Slattery would support the motion, and wanted information on what happened if Council denied an approval.  Mr. Kanner commented in the last jurisdiction where he was administrator, liquor licenses were approved administratively unless the sheriff’s office wanted to make a recommendation to OLCC not to approve.  Mayor Stromberg thought the main thing was making the business owner aware of the concerns.  Councilor Morris would support the motion and noted the lack of a visible standard to deny an application and that was something he wanted to review in the future.  Councilor Voisin wanted a Study Session to review the liquor license process and to learn the City Recorder’s responsibilities in the process.  She would support the motion.
Councilor Marsh thought Council was overreacting to a system that worked fine.  The City Recorder ensured approving departments had the opportunity to respond and did not think it needed further discussion.  Mayor Stromberg was dubious regarding a Study Session but was interested hearing more about the process.   Councilor Slattery suggested the City Recorder send an email that outlined the liquor license process and Council could decide whether to have Study Session for further discussion.  Councilor Voisin wanted the public to know more about the process.  Mr. Kanner clarified the OLCC was required by state law to solicit a recommendation from local jurisdictions and not required to act on recommendations.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda items except for Consent Agenda Item #5. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Designation of voting delegate to LOC annual meeting
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained no one from the City was attending the League of Oregon Cities conference. 
2.   Recommendation from the ad hoc Downtown Improvement and Beautification Committee for the use of TOT funds for “other City projects that qualify”
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer introduced Brent Thompson, Stefani Seffinger, Sandy Friend, and Michael Dawkins from the Downtown Beautification Committee.  Council had approved Committee project recommendations for the current biennium and recommended the following projects for the 2015-2017 budget:
  • Historical Markers
The Historical Commission identified fifteen historic locations where markers would be appropriate and had applied for a grant.  The Downtown Beautification Committee allocated $11,000 towards the project to supplement potential grant funds.
  • Downtown sidewalk repair
Sidewalk repair was the responsibility of property owners.  The Committee took into consideration that business owners often did not own the property and could not afford to repair the sidewalks.  Alternately, the property owner would most likely pass the cost to the business tenant.  The Committee allocated $11,000 towards the project with the understanding the Downtown Transportation Committee would possibly recommend more extensive sidewalk improvements in the downtown area.
  • Tree wells
The project would fix potential trip hazards caused by tree roots or loose bricks.  The Committee would allocate $10,000 for the project with the understanding the Downtown Transportation Committee would possibly recommend more improvements in the future.
  • Replacement of downtown pedestrian lights to accommodate hanging baskets of flowers
The project would replace pedestrian lights with LED and HPS lights that were tall enough to accommodate hanging baskets, irrigation lines, and holiday decorations.  The Committee recommended replacing 10-15 lampposts each budget cycle and allocated $49,000 to the project.
  • Unidentified Beautification Projects
The Committee thought it was important to have funds available for unanticipated projects and allocated $25,000 for that purpose.
The Downtown Beautification Committee did not think public restrooms or recycling were in their purview but received concerns from the public regarding both.
Council suggested a local improvement district (LID) of the downtown for sidewalk improvement.  City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Street Funds could pay for the sidewalk improvements although that fund was short and confirmed the City could create a local improvement district (LID) for downtown sidewalk improvements.
Council was not comfortable with the rationale supporting the sidewalk repairs.  Downtown Beautification Committee member Brent Thompson explained the Committee thought the City had some culpability regarding sidewalk repair due to the City’s tree requirement for sidewalks.
Ms. Seltzer further clarified pedestrian lampposts had plates that the existing footing would accommodate eliminating extensive concrete work.  The irrigation would take years because the lines ran down the center of the sidewalks and would not happen until project work involving the sidewalks occurred.
City Attorney Dave Lohman confirmed the City would potentially be liable if one of the hanging baskets fell and hurt someone.  Ms. Seltzer added the City would work with the Parks and Recreation staff regarding maintenance for the hanging baskets. 
Kristina Lefever/2359 Blue Sky Lane/Explained she was a member of the Pollinator Project of Rogue Valley (PPRV).  She spoke at the July 15, 2014 meeting on Ashland becoming a Bee City USA.
PPRV suggested Council use the $25,000 designated for unanticipated projects to plant pollinator friendly plants in areas the City maintained, including hanging baskets and submitted documents into the record.
Council could offer some of the funds to local businesses in the form of a matching grant to encourage pollinator friendly and drought tolerant plants.  PPRV could meet with the City and bring suggestions.  She invited everyone to attend a PPRV presentation More Butterflies, More Bees, More Flowers, Please at the Bellview Grange September 22, 2014 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Councilor Rosenthal/Slattery m/s to approve the replacement of downtown pedestrian lights to accommodate decorations.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Slattery would support the motion.  Councilor Lemhouse supported the motion and wanted to make sure the pedestrian lights had the brackets included.  Councilor Voisin would support the motion and had concern using annuals in the baskets.
Ms. Seltzer explained staff would order the lights, arms, and irrigation lines.  Installation of the irrigation lines would occur in the future.  Mr. Kanner clarified TOT funds could not be used for hanging baskets or paying someone to hand water plants.  The streetlights, arms, and irrigation would qualify for TOT funds since they were improvements to real property.
Councilor Rosenthal explained he supported the lights and was uncomfortable with the hanging baskets being mutually exclusive with the lights.  He withdrew the motion with the knowledge the project would return to Council for approval regarding implementation.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to approve the recommendation of the Downtown Beautification Improvement ad hoc Committee and direct staff to come back to Council with plans to  implement the projects, subject to approval of appropriate budget cycle authority in that for projects to be undertaken in the 2015-17 budget cycle.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh noted there was time for implementation questions since the projects would not start until the 2015-17 budget.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to amend the motion and allocate the remaining portion of $25,000 towards developing a master plan for future Plaza improvements. 
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse explained the Plaza was an ongoing improvement effort and having a master plan as a base would be helpful.  Councilor Marsh agreed on having a coherent plan moving forward.  It was the right direction but she wanted more discussion prior to allocating the $25,000.  Councilor Slattery agreed on having a long-term plan and had some hesitancy waiting to start a plan in the 2015-2017 budget cycle.  Councilor Morris questioned whether a master plan was an improvement that qualified for TOT funds.  Mr. Kanner thought it was questionable and could be challenged unless Council worked with the opposition, and gained support.  Councilor Marsh suggested scheduling the master plan for a Study Session.  Councilor Lemhouse responded if approved, it would come back to Council for implementation approval and further discussion.  Councilor Rosenthal would vote against the amendment.  The $25,000 might be needed to cover the other projects.  Councilor Morris would not support the amendment and thought Council should use other funds for a master plan.  Councilor Voisin would vote against the amendment.  It was a good idea that might cost more than $25,000.  She preferred holding the money in reserve for other projects.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Voisin, Slattery, and Marsh, NO.  Motion failed 1-5.   
Roll Call Vote on main motion:  Councilor Morris, Rosenthal, Marsh, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Voisin, YES.  Motion passed.
Councilor Marsh requested adding the Plaza master plan to a future Study Session with Council consensus.
1.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance repealing AMC Chapter 6.36, Film and Television Productions and enacting replacement AMC Chapter 6.36 Film Productions”
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained regulating film production would:
  1. Ensure the safety of participants, spectators and the general public
  2. Minimize the inconvenience and disruptive impacts to citizens, businesses and City services
  3. Minimize the liability risk to the City, the general public and public property

Significant changes included exempting filming on private property, requiring film companies to notify neighbors, exempting permit requirements for personal film or video productions using personal devices, and allowing the City Administrator to waive permit requirements, fees, and liability.  Staff worked with Southern Oregon University (SOU) and created a list that would trigger a permit.  SOU would determine the assessment of safety, impact, and liability and whether a permit was required.  City Attorney Dave Lohman added another significant change was adopting general requirements that did not require a permit under Section 6.36.020 General Filming Regulations.  He went on to address an email from Erik Palmer with language from New York City that explicitly stated who did not need permits.  Mr. Lohman thought normal light users were covered by the personal filming exemption in the ordinance.   Council questioned how light commercial users factored into exemptions.  City Administrator Dave Kanner noted in Section 6.36.030 Required Permits – Applications (D)(2) an exemption from permit and fee requirements for someone holding a camera or making a personal film.  That did not mean someone could obstruct a sidewalk. 
Bob Ayers/302 West Nevada Street/Spoke on behalf of the Public Access Advisory Board of Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV).   RVTV was concerned by the of lack of input from the  public television access community and appreciated Council listening to Erik Palmer, Brandon Givens, and Howard Schreiber and supported the revised ordinance before Council.  RVTV suggested additional language that would strengthen first amendment rights and suggested language from the New York City ordinance.     
Biome Michael Erickson/Ashland/The motion to repeal and replace the existing film and television production ordinance came from City staff and not the citizens.  He cited staff introduced the amendment during the February 4 Council with language that assaulted first amendment rights.  Staff also had not adequately demonstrated why the current ordinance needed to be repealed.  Certain City staff members had declared themselves enemies of the community, intent on violating rights based solely on their February 4 performance.  If he had sufficient evidence, he would arrest them and deliver them to a peace officer per Oregon Revised Statutes 1.33.225. 
Brandon Givens/Phoenix OR/Supported updating the ordinance.  It would provide good learning experience for SOU students.  He endorsed the document Erik Palmer sent and wanted more clarification regarding personal devices and infringing on public space.  Most students did not engage in elaborate set ups and were low impact.  He also wanted further definition regarding personal devices and public property.
Gary Kout/425 Clinton Street/Explained he was the executive director of Southern Oregon Film and Television (SOFAT).  The new ordinance had moved forward in a good direction.  Student productions did not rise to a big level in filmmaking.  Many members of their productions were amateur and non-commercial.  Section 6.36.030(D) listed exemptions and (F) permit requirements that were a step in the right direction. 
Erik Palmer/111 Willamette Avenue Medford, OR/Explained he was an assistant professor in the Communication Department at SOU and coordinator of the Southern Oregon Digital Media Center.  If enforced, the ordinance would cause many citizens to check in with the city staff or complete significant bureaucracy before making videos with portable cameras like cell phones.  The ordinance included exemptions for personal productions that specifically encompassed for profit productions no matter how trivial.  The City’s intent to require individual review of every instance of academic production by SOU students in Ashland no matter the low impact was a bureaucratic overstep for the 242 film students at SOU.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to suspend Council rules to ask questions of Gary Kout, Brandon Givens and Erik Palmer and Bob Ayers.  Voice Vote YES.
Council discussed the possibility of an umbrella permit for SOU that Mr. Palmer was not sure would work since advanced film students should experience the permit process.  Also discussed was the need to better define low impact users and expanding language to include commercial low impact and professional.  Council expressed concern the ordinance was overcomplicated and questioned whether the focus should be on equipment, activity, or behavior.  Mr. Kout suggested an interface with specific questions that scored an applicant on whether they needed a permit or needed to talk to the City.
Mr. Lohman clarified under general requirements there was a requirement that stated film activities may not inhibit pedestrian access on sidewalks.  Low impact filming would not require a permit and the filmmaker would have to abide City regulations. 
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to reinstate Council rules, Voice Vote: all AYES.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to approve First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance Repealing AMC Chapter 6.36 Film and Television Productions and Enacting Replacement AMC Chapter 6.36 Film Productions.” 
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s amend the motion and add under 6.36.010(H) the definition of low impact filming means filming which uses hand-held cameras and no other equipment or vehicles; which does not necessitate exclusive use of City property or right of way; and which otherwise Complies with section 6.36.020 and also related to 6.36.030 (D)(6) adding low impact filming.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin explained establishing a definition for low impact filming and exempting it from the permit process would work well for SOU and professional filmmakers.  Councilor Lemhouse thought Council was overcomplicating the ordinance, mired with defining low impact filming and getting away from the original mission to protect safety and the public.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s amend the amendment to read low impact filming means a  film production excludes the use of a vehicle and does not necessitate exclusive use of City property or right of way and which otherwise Complies with section 6.36.020. 
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh explained the amendment would satisfy student questions, address small professional productions, and narrow who would require a permit.  Councilor Slattery would not support the amendment.  He agreed with Councilor Lemhouse and thought Council should focus on who was expected to obtain a permit instead of who was not.  Councilor Lemhouse thought the ordinance should be simple, if a filmmaker was not obstructing a right of way, not violating laws or needed exclusive use of City property, they should not require a permit.  Councilor Voisin responded if Council wanted a simplified ordinance, they should retain the current one.  Council had directed staff to develop a detailed ordinance that identified what the City meant regarding filming and videotaping.  She would not support the amendment but would support the original amendment.  Councilor Morris noted earlier testimony that the ordinance would confuse people and agreed with Councilor Slattery.
Mr. Kanner suggested Council repeal the old ordinance, not adopt the proposed ordinance, and rely on code provisions that took place in the public right of way instead.  Councilor Slattery noted the information could go on the website.  Ms. Seltzer explained the Special Event Permit covered exclusive use of City owned property. 
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to suspend Council Rules.  Voice Vote ALL AYES.  Motion passed. 
Council agreed to add the discussion regarding the deer attack to a subsequent Council meeting.
Ms. Seltzer explained staff could revise the Film and Video Production Guidelines and Policies to serve as a guide for someone interested in filming in Ashland and put it on the city website with links to the Chamber of Commerce and other pertinent sites.  The film production of the movie Wild was a Special Event Permit that involved multiple departments, closures, multiple uses, days, and parking. 
Mr. Lohman clarified with or without the ordinance, anyone conducting business in Ashland was required to get a business license.  Liability insurance was required for special events.  Street closures typically occurred for construction and did not require insurance.  Pyrotechnics fell under the Fire Code and required a permit through that department.  Mr. Kanner further clarified the $2,000,000 liability insurance requirement pertained to large-scale productions.
Councilor Slattery/ Voisin m/s to reinstate Council Rules.  Voice Vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed.
Councilor Marsh withdrew the amendment she made.  Councilor Voisin withdrew her amendment.  Councilor Lemhouse withdrew the motion.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s ask staff to examine the direction they suggested and come back to Council with a proposal to handle filmmaking in the future.
 DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh noted the need for further examination of how the process would work in the future.  Councilor Lemhouse commented on the process and appreciated the work done.  Councilor Rosenthal would support the motion but was not sure the process did not need some form of regulation.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Marsh, Slattery, Morris, and Rosenthal. YES.  Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse congratulated Councilor Slattery on his upcoming confirmation by the Oregon State Senate to be a part of the Oregon State University (OSU) Board of Trustees. 
Councilor Voisin reminded everyone of the More Butterflies, More Bees, More Flowers Please Presentation at the Bellview Grange September 22, 2014 starting at 6:30 p.m.  Additionally, Uncle Foods Diner would host dog vaccinations soon.  Finally, the Healthcare Coalition of Southern Oregon Jackson County Health and Human Services Prevention Program was sponsoring the formation of a youth council for ages 13-19.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
_______________________________                                  ___________________________
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder                 John Stromberg, Mayor

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