MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
December 4, 2001 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn. Councilor Hanson was absent as he was attending the conference for the National League of Cities.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Regular Council Meeting Minutes of November 20, 2001 were approved with clarification on page 2 under discussion of motion regarding Strawberry LID to reflect that Councilor Reid noted her concern regarding the Westwood/Strawberry development and the impact and safety concerns that should be considered due to the potential increase in traffic.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Traffic Safety Commission Chairperson, Bill Snell introduced members' Bill Lambe, David Dotterrer, Rob Joseph, Thomas Heumann and George Fardelmann, who were in attendance. Members Pattie Busse and Keith Massie were acknowledged, but not in attendance.
Snell reported on the accomplishments of the commission including six new stop signs, twelve new speed signs, lane changes on Walker Street and Bellview Avenue, and issues regarding handicap access. He noted that a commission focus is on the growing concern of speeding within the community, and supports the "3 Es" of Education, Enforcement and Engineering. Fardelman reported that the commission had been working on the "Keep Kids Alive Drive 25" campaign. Heumann reported on the "Street Smart" program, which promotes educational interaction of Parents and Young Drivers through a panel comprising various individuals and entities. Dotterrer reported on the goals and strategic plan of the commission. The goals included speed reduction and enforcement, community education involving traffic safety and establishing a proactive role with the Planning Department. Joseph stated that the mission of the Traffic Safety Commission is "Provide Traffic Safety for Ashland Residents, Promote Educational Opportunities, Promote Community Awareness, and Implement Safety Features."
Morrison noted his appreciation of the commission and the energy, dedication, and innovation that the commission maintains.
Councilors Morrison/Hearn m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Steve & DW Wood/210 Piedmont Drive/Offered their thanks to the City of Ashland for the support they received on the 1st Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival, noting the successes of the programs, including the programs offered free of charge to the public. They expressed their appreciation of the community involvement and help.
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/ Expressed appreciation of the Independent Film Festival and the programs the Festival offered. In addition, he offered his thanks and appreciation of Barbara Christensen, City Recorder, for making the council packet information available on the city web page. He commented on the importance of public access to background information on topics that the council would be discussing at council meetings. Further, he recommended that the position of City Recorder remain an elected position rather than appointed, and commented on the importance of keeping the Recorder's position neutral. Swales also requested that copy of the History Volumes, chronicling the relationship between the City and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, be made available through the public library. Currently they are available only through the City Recorder's Office. In closing, Swales expressed appreciation for the community inclusiveness of Mayor DeBoer's Christmas message as published in the City Source.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Spoke regarding Ashland Creek and announced a boycott of Ski Ashland due to the promotion of development into our municipal watershed. He presented a map where he indicated the areas proposed to be expanded and voiced his concern for future floods in this area.
Mayor DeBoer stated that staff would look into providing copies of the History Volumes to the public library, and voiced his support for Mt Ashland Ski Resort and encouraged use of the facility. DeBoer also commented that there is a public process for the Mt. Ashland expansion where all will have chance to speak.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Status Report on 2001-2002 Strategic Plan Priorities of the City of Ashland.
City Administrator Greg Scoles provided an update on the current status of the thirteen elements and various priorities of the strategic plan. He explained the helpfulness of the Plan in preparing for the upcoming Goal Setting for this next year.
Reid expressed her hope that the Housing and Conservation Commissions would work together on sustainable housing and density bonus issues. Electric & Telecommunications Director Dick Wanderscheid clarified various issues concerning power demand, usage, management, and rates. Laws noted that the plan is for the fiscal year and that time remains for completing priorities.
2. First addendum to OSF Lease.
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Noted the correspondence previously sent to the council on October 17, 2001, outlining three main issues with the lease that he feels have not been dealt with: 1) Determination that the public interest would be served by the lease, 2) Consideration - the law requires land and/or cash, and 3) Public access/use - which has declined significantly over the course of three leases. He noted that the correspondence also included a copy of an oral argument and his willingness to discuss with the council any questions they might have. Further, Lang expressed his belief that the proposed addendum did not contain any changes, did not serve the public interest, and was not formally legal.
Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Read aloud the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) mission statement, and noted that although he understands that this is what drive their business model, he was concerned that the City of Ashland was not mentioned. He believes that because OSF is a nonprofit private organization they should be held to the same accountability standards as any other private corporation doing business with the City. He voiced concern over the process used in forming the lease agreement and stressed the importance of determining both the legality of the lease, and the best interest of the citizens of Ashland. Swales gave his understanding of the history of how the original lease was drafted in 1954 and noted wording changes to the lease over the years since then. It was his understanding that the Ashland Parks Department owns a large portion of the property being leased to OSF and this portion is where the Elizabethan Theater now sits. He noted that this Parks' land was originally dedicated to the citizens of Ashland for recreational use, which was then amended by the vote of the citizens to allow OSF use of a portion of the land. Swales outlined excerpts from the original lease on the use of the premises by the public, and noted the public use of the facilities has been difficult and due to this difficulty has only been used by the public once per year for the last five years. He brought up the issue of "valuable consideration" which, he feels is lacking in the lease and questioned how a determination of consideration was made. Further, he pointed out what he feels is a discrepancy between land included in the original lease and land included in the proposed addendum to the lease. He noted that the land the foyer sits on is not included in the current lease, nor is the mechanical equipment room, which is buried beneath landscaping and trees on Hargadine Street. He also noted that an OSF building spans boundaries between City and private property. He asked for clarification on boundaries outlined in the lease, and concluded by stating the lease was ineffective, did not provide adequate consideration for use, and did not protect the public interest.
City Attorney Paul Nolte explained that the intent of the addendum was to take the footprint of the parking structure out of the lease. He explained that the package the council had been given in October did not contain completed descriptions, nor had the Parks Commission yet approved it. At this time, however, the descriptions are complete, and the Parks Commission has, conditioned upon council approval, approved the lease. He stated that the lease does not violate any law, and expressed his belief that it could not be successfully challenged in court. He noted that he would check with the engineers and surveyors as to the correctness of the description in the lease.
Reid asked about continuation of the alley walking access that services two levels of the parking structure. Nolte clarified that public right of way for a portion of that access was addressed on page 2 of the first addendum in paragraph 5, which modifies paragraph 3 of the lease. He said that while the public has used the walkway for years, OSF controls it and there is nothing in the lease that specifically permits public use. Reid suggested that a public easement be maintained in that area, and while she did not sense a desire, on the part of OSF to stop public access, she would like the issue clarified between the City and OSF.
Hartzell stated concern over the way ingress and egress was defined and suggested that on page 1, #1, Section D, changing, " the parking facilities' property" to, "the parking facilities' property shall include any adjacent right of way." Nolte suggested that a better phrase might be, "the additional property does not include any public right of way located within the description of addendum exhibit B." Hartzell questioned the addition of the words, "policies or," on page 2, under paragraph 5, # 3 Use of Property. Nolte noted that OSF suggested that language but he had not yet been able to discuss it directly with them. He suggested that if we were uncomfortable with the language that OSF would probably agree with taking it out. Hartzell proposed that monitoring be done to measure how much the public uses the facilities over time.
DeBoer suggested that council approve proposed addendum based on the original ground less just the parking structure and correct the description. Morrison requested clarification on the point that Swales brought up concerning consideration and determining public interest, noting that it appeared the council had discretion in determining public interest. Nolte explained that the council decision is a legislative one and that the court will not interfere with a legislative decision unless the decision is arbitrary and capricious. He expressed his confidence that the council that adopted the 2000 lease adopted it in the public interest. Morrison asked if, under G, "the valuable consideration," there is a determination of direct or indirect consideration. Nolte explained that there doesn't have to be any quantification of the consideration and that there is no issue if the council determines the contract is in the public interest.
Hearn noted that bringing up these issues is really a collateral attack on the 2000 lease rather than a new argument based on the present addendum. Nolte agreed and expressed his opinion the council need not concern itself with the present arguments.
Laws commented on two different philosophies about how large organizations should work together within communities -- one way being that organizations each have self-interests and the City as a government should act in an adversarial way in order to protect those interests, the other way being more collaborative. He noted that the theater got started with collaboration, and that the citizens at time saw the theater as something in the best interest of the entire city. With the changes in the community since that time concerns have been raised about the limits and capabilities of the community to handle more growth. He expressed his desire to continue to work collaboratively with OSF, but while understanding OSF's point of view, acknowledged disappointment in the amount of building use afforded the public. He stated that due to potential conflict within community groups, he did not support forming a group to monitor public use of OSF buildings.
Hartzell commented on the importance of governing bodies to always look at the reciprocity of agreements, to make sure the public is benefited, and that exchanges are balanced.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve mayor to sign first addendum to OSF lease with the following changes: 1) under Recital D of the 2000 lease the notation ("the Additional Property") should include the right-of-way, 2) not to include proposed addition under 3. USE OF PROPERTY. "policies or" and the last sentence "OSF shall allow the public to use the public right of way for ingress and egress to the Parking Facility Property and other adjacent public private properties." and 3) clarification on legal description included with addendum. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending Sections 15.04.200 and 15.04.212 by Changing the Composition of the Demolition Review Committee."
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to approve Ordinance #2878. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.
2.Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing the Mayor and Council of the City of Ashland to Execute and Endorse an Amendment to the Agreement with the League of Oregon Cities Governing the League Status as a unit of Local Government, similar to other Cooperative Intergovernmental Agencies in which cities create and participate."
Councilors Reid/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2001-33. Discussion: Hartzell commented that one of the changes that was alluded to in addition to what was noted, is that ex-board members would serve as ex-officio members of the board. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Laws, Hearn and Reid, YES. Motion passed.
3.Reading by title only of "A Resolution Establishing Residential Direct Connect Internet Rates for the Ashland Fiber Network and all other rates and Repealing Resolution No. 2000-26."
Electric & Telecommunications Director Dick Wanderscheid reported briefly on how this Resolution would help implement the revised business plan for AFN which includes a $2.00 per month increase in wholesale internet rates, adjustment of high-speed data rates, greater customer choice, and will better reflect the costs of providing services. He noted that the changes would not result in significantly higher bills for customers, but would provide about $57,000 in additional revenue for AFN per year. He noted the difference between ISP pricing in Ashland, $20 to $30 per month, and the rest of Oregon, at up to $60 per month, and explained that even with increases we are still priced under the competition. Further, he noted that the Resolution allows a change in business cable modem and high speed data rates, neither of which will result in significantly higher rates for customers, but rather will change the way customers are billed, allow the addition of new services, and better relate charges to the costs associated with providing services. He noted the change from 10 and 100megabit service to all 100megabit service, which results in better service and is easier to manage.
Scoles commented that AFN rates started out underpriced so there is currently a lot of room to move while still providing high quality service at very reasonable prices. He noted that in the business model, rates could be raised $2.00 every two years. Laws commented that while he thought the purpose of AFN was to serve the people of Ashland, he realizes AFN must still compete in the marketplace. He asked for more information concerning competitors' rates in regards to AFN as well as cable TV. Morrison voiced concern about falloffs from the rate hikes. Wanderscheid clarified that he did not anticipate a customer drop off, that the $2.00 rate increase is not "set in stone," and that rates can be evaluated through comparison market review. Scoles explained that the Business Plan model was based on numbers that we expect to exceed and suggested that the model may be adjusted or change based on various factors. Further he felt that a $2 increase would not make a difference in market penetration. Morrison questioned the method used to arrive at the $2 figure. Wanderscheid clarified that the Committee consensus was that $2 was an amount that would boost income while having little impact on penetration.
Reid commented that the council is responsible to the public and expressed concerns about being better informed by various committees and that the committees take only an advisory role, not a policymaking role. Laws noted that by Federal Law the council has to stay out of the Programming committee. Wanderscheid noted that Finance Director Lee Tuneberg is currently working on a report that will explain all the assumptions and how they were arrived at. He concluded that in the future, if rates again need to be raised, they would clearly let the council know what the competition was doing.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2001-32. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Laws, Hartzell, Reid and Morrison, YES. Motion passed.
4.Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Adopting a License Fee for retail sale of Tobacco Products as provided in Ashland Municipal Code Section 6.42.040."
Councilors Morrison/Laws m/s to approve Resolution #2001-31. Discussion: Nolte clarified the fee structure and that when businesses change hands, licensing depends on the form of the business. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Hearn, Morrison, Laws and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.
5.Reading by title only of "A Resolution Electing Application for Entry to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System State and Local Government Rate Pool and Repealing Resolution 2001-07."
Councilors Morrison/Reid m/s to approve Resolution #2001-30. Discussion: Finance Director Lee Tuneberg commented that the move to a statewide Rate Pool from just a Local Rate Pool potentially would give more stability in rates in the years to come. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hartzell, Morrison, Reid and Hearn, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL
DeBoer mentioned that the Siskiyou Blvd. final design preview would be discussed at the December 5th, 3p.m. City Council Study Session.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.