MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
CALL TO ORDER
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 17, 2015
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, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced the City was accepting applications for annual appointments to the various Commissions and Committees. The deadline for applications was March 20, 2015. There were two vacancies on the Budget Committee as well.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of February 2, 2015, the Business Meeting of February 3, 2015, and the Joint Meeting with the Parks Commission of February 11, 2015 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Semi-annual update from the Ashland Community Resource Center
David Mulig, director of Support Services for ACCESS and Leigh Madsen the manager for the Ashland Community and Resource Center (ACRC) provided the update on ACRC, a collaborative effort from ACCESS and Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland (OHRA). To date, ACRC used $55,529.72 of the $100,000 provided by the City of Ashland. ACRC raised and received grants for an additional $20,000 and several organizations and agencies contributed over $13,500 in services to the Center. Mr. Madsen explained the Center served 600 individuals over the past year, 350 were homeless. ACRC housed 29 families. He shared three client stories that demonstrated the unique ways the Center helped community members over the past year.
Next steps included a second year budget revision and fundraising. Grants enabled ACRC to hire Mr. Madsen as a full time employee that would extend Center hours. Other grants would contribute to the jobs program.
Mr. Madsen addressed transition housing and explained housing in Ashland was incredibly unaffordable and often failed to meet the reasonable standard set by the federal government. He thought it would take a consortium that included the Housing Authority of Jackson County, ACCESS, and other agencies to look at what it would take to have units in Ashland that people could afford. Mr. Mulig added ACCESS did have a housing department and owned and managed affordable housing throughout Jackson County.
ACRC provided services to housed families that included vouchers for clothing and vehicle repair, and rent assistance. One issue was making housed families that were struggling aware of the Center and services available to them. The Center held a Fall Fest event specifically marketed to homed families struggling to keep their homes that was very successful and planned another event for spring.
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/
Added to testimony he gave at the January 6, 2015 and February 3, 2015 Public Forums regarding the proposed Ashland Renewable Energy Acquisition Department consisting of three de-carbonizing divisions, City Policy Procurement Generators, a Home Energy Upgrade Program, and the Structural Body Community Center. The Structural Body Community Center will have the best zero net energy generation design to construct a mixed-use retail shop downtown with a solar roof. He explained the shop would have an interior display cutaway of the R70 wall assembly, and a functional model of the automatic window coverings. An animation of the solar roof voltage switching options for space heating, electric vehicle charging, or both and views of the utility room tracing the air to water heat pump in various water tank heat tank battery mode and real time see-through fresh air heat recovery ventilator showing air movement through transfer channels which can be adjusted. The floors above would be overnight accommodations. The roof would have various attic configurations on display as well. He referred people to view a video on YouTube titled Structural Wattage for more information. Global warming solutions were here and everyone needed to learn them quickly.
1. Minutes from boards, commissions, and committees
2. Request for approval of AFG SAFER Grant application through the Department of Homeland Security
Councilor Morris/Rosenthal m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution of the City Council approving an Oregon Department of Transportation request to the City of Ashland to extend water and sewer service to the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area facility located outside the city limits of Ashland and repealing Order No. 2011-June,” and approval of an intergovernmental agreement with ODOT for the provision of water and sewer service to the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area
Mayor Stromberg explained at the end of the last meeting time ran out during deliberation on a motion regarding the Welcome Center and Rest Area. The item continued to this meeting and the motions under consideration fell to the floor and were no longer a part of the agenda item.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Ashland was not the land use approval agency in this matter. Jackson County was the approving agency and had already granted land use approval to the project. The approval went through multiple appeals and survived them all. The decision before Council was not to approve or disapprove the land use. The City of Ashland agreed in 2011 to extend water and sewer service to the Welcome Center and Rest Area with a contingency the project completion occurred within four years. The question before Council was whether to lift that contingency. If the Council decided to lift the contingency, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) needed to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City. Council could seek to include assurances about many of the issues raised at the February 3, 2015 meeting in the IGA including security, landscaping, and staffing.
If Council decided not to lift the four-year completion contingency or reject the negotiated IGA, the City would not extend water to the project. That would not necessarily stop the project. It meant ODOT upper management would have two options. One, they could identify another source of water and build the Rest Area possibly with or without a Welcome Center. That would require them to seek a modification of their conditions of approval from Jackson County that could lead to a new round of appeals and delays. The second option, ODOT could abandon the notion of replacing the closed Rest Area altogether and face whatever consequences the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) might impose, assuming the FHWA would allow ODOT to do that. The possibility of moving the Rest Area to a different location meant ODOT would write off $2,000,000 already vested in the project.
Council could discuss whatever it wanted to discuss but the City adopted criteria upon which it relied to determine whether to allow water connections outside city limits. Straying beyond those criteria as a basis for a vote on the matter would be legally problematic. Many issues raised during the February 3, 2015 meeting were best addressed during the IGA negotiations. However, if Council voted not to lift the four-year contingency, the IGA and discussion of what might be included in an IGA was moot.
Councilor Voisin questioned why there was no public input when there was new information regarding the reason why ODOT failed to meet the four-year requirement. Citizens had responded to the new information claiming there were delays directly related to ODOT not just citizens delaying a process. Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary clarified it was Council’s prerogative to determine the scope of the discussion. The Mayor could allow people who had testified earlier to speak on a fact they had knowledge of regarding the resolution and not stray from that topic. Councilor Rosenthal noted the timeline in question was part of the February 3, 2015 meeting packet at which point people had the opportunity to comment during the public testimony period. Councilor Voisin responded Council comments during that meeting were slightly off target and should have focused on that chronology. Mayor Stromberg ruled that people who spoke at the February 3, 2015 could speak to the timeline. No one was interested in speaking to the timeline.
ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher explained ODOT was in the process of completing the design for the site civil piece that would address parking lots and ramps. The second phase would include the buildings. They wanted to bid the project for the site civil piece June 2015. The contractor would decide which building to build first. ODOT already had sewer rights from the previous rest area located at milepost 10 established in 1975 that extended to Exit 14. ODOT would use that line with the new facility. They had Talent Irrigation District (TID) water rights for irrigating the landscape as well.
ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson addressed what might happen if ODOT did not build the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area. ODOT received funding through federal and state gas tax dollars. The original Rest Area was well used but in a bad location. The FHWA looked at Rest Area locations in terms of passenger safety and attempted to space them 30-60 miles apart. There was a significant need for a Rest Area in that location and the FHWA could withhold federal interstate maintenance funds from ODOT if they did not comply. The FHWA did not take into account businesses as potential Rest Areas and looked to independent facilities to fulfill those needs. Councilor Lemhouse expressed concern regarding the FHWA’s ability to withhold funds as a punishment for not complying on projects. Mr. Anderson clarified the federal government had expectations of the individual states like mandatory interstate maintenance and used funding appropriately for compliance. The federal government had the authority to direct state transportation departments regarding maintaining and operating the interstates. ODOT would have to use state dollars to maintain the interstate fully instead of using federal funds in the event the FHWA withheld federal dollars for non-compliance.
If the City did not extend water and sewer rights for the Welcome Center and Rest Area, ODOT would research options. The federal government mandated Rest Areas and ODOT could end up building one without a Welcome Center. He confirmed ODOT did not staff Rest Areas other than cleaning and garbage. Oregon Travel Experience maintained Rest Areas throughout the state.
Rest Areas every 30-60 miles was a guide established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The site civil project would take approximately nine months and the buildings another 10 months depending on weather. Both projects would overlap.
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary confirmed ODOT had the infrastructure to obtain sewer and would require a renewal of the permit. Public Works Director Mike Faught added in 2011, staff determined the City would allow ODOT to reconnect to the sewer system since they had the previous connection. He confirmed the City had the capacity to extend water and sewer to ODOT. The amount was equivalent to 3.7 homes. The Water Master Plan annual population growth forecasted an increase of 561 with an actual increase of 217. The Plan also anticipated more droughts in the future. The City’s capacity to provide water to this facility had not changed. If the IGA had a 100-year term, the City would provide no more than 1,400 gallons of water per day. That amount would not change over time.
Councilor Marsh/Rosenthal m/s to approve Resolution 2015-03. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Marsh spent that last two weeks reviewing some of the thousands of pages of testimony regarding this issue on file in Jackson County. Four years ago, Council set forth findings based on criteria for approving the extension of sewer and water to this site. Council needed to determine if the criteria was still valid and if so, were there grounds for extending, suspending, or amending the four-year deadline. The conditions were still valid. ODOT complied and met the criteria. Mr. Faught confirmed the City still had the capacity to extend sewer and water to the site. She did not see any grounds in the criteria for not extending. She watched the video from the 2011 meeting establishing the four-year limit. Council added the four-year deadline to the motion at the last minute to keep ODOT diligent. Over the past four years, the project had moved forward. She suggested adding a new deadline for a one-year extension for the start of the project.
Councilor Rosenthal explained Council did not have the ability to prevent construction of a building. Faced with the prospect an unsupervised Rest Area or a supervised Welcome Center and Rest Area the latter was the safest option. The best approach was negotiating the IGA. Councilor Morris would support the motion. Given the constraints Council had to operate, this was the only motion to make. The ODOT Rest Area would happen either way. Councilor Seffinger felt for the community and the safest vote for the community was supporting the motion and ensuring safety measures in the IGA. It was far safer than a facility with no supervision at all.
Councilor Lemhouse was against the project for six years and thought the tourist and economic benefits were exaggerated. There would be negative impact on Ashland with this project. He could not recall a single issue so unanimously rejected by so much of the community and felt the community was ignored by the county, state, and federal governments. The City of Ashland did not violate the agreement. He thought the same issue with the federal government would come back during the IGA. He would vote against the motion. Councilor Voisin would also vote against the motion. ODOT had four years to complete the project, and did not. The four-year limit was seriously set, Council knew what they were doing, and ODOT did not do their due diligence. She rejected the argument the delays were caused by the citizens appealing the project. The citizens expressed their serious concern per their rights. Mayor Stromberg added Council was aware of the public’s concerns and took them seriously. Extending the water and sewer would allow the City to negotiate the IGA. If negotiations failed the City would not supply water.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Morris, and Seffinger, YES; Councilor Voisin and Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Council suggested a Study Session to discuss the IGA and wanted the following elements considered in the IGA:
- Perimeter fencing
- Site security: surveillance, fencing, crime deterrents, consistent presence at the site, police presence
- Crowson service road gated and fenced
- Amount of staff at the Welcome Center
- Water curtailment
- Maintain landscape and facility appearance
- Background checks on personnel
- Pesticide use on grass – no Roundup
- Fire retardant roofing material on the buildings
- Establish a process to monitor 1,400 gallons of water per day with penalties for exceeding usage
- Monitor City water to ensure it is not used for irrigation
- Build the Welcome Center before the Rest Area or at the same time
- Water not supplied until construction for the Welcome Center is complete
- Establish a two-year dead line to complete construction instead of 10 years
- Annual reports from the Public Works Department on water and irrigation usage
- Ensure there are accommodations for volunteers or community groups to provide coffee
- If ODOT transfers maintenance responsibility to Oregon Travel Experience, they adhere to the IGA
- Explore the possibility of providing City water for a fire prevention sprinkler system
- Include the mutual right to terminate the agreement
- Provide a first aid station and a defibrillator
- Prohibit smoking within 20-feet of the site and provide cigarette butt containers
- Give the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor Convention Bureau a prominent area that highlights tourism activities in Ashland
- Provide charging stations for electric cars
- Provide wifi
Staff would work with ODOT on what suggestions were viable and bring that information for Council to discuss at a Study Session. Council would submit additional suggestions to staff. The IGA would eventually go before a regular Council meeting for public input and further discussion.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Information on hanging flower baskets
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained staff identified twenty-eight light poles in the downtown along Main Street and Lithia Way for approximately 56 flower baskets. The maintenance cost for each basket through Four Seasons Nursery was $300-$330 per basket for a total of $15,000-$18,000. If the City purchased the brackets, it would reduce overall costs by $50 per basket. If Four Seasons Nursery provided the brackets, they would own them and remove them if the City discontinued the service. Four Season Nursery would plant cascading petunias, water them daily, and deadhead, trim and fertilize them every week. The brackets would fit on utility poles if the City decided to expand. The recommended height of the basket was 12-15 feet. The program ran from early May through October. Maintenance cost $1.23 per basket and approximately $68 daily for all 56 baskets for a monthly cost o $2,000 and $12,300 of the total $18,000 for the program. Initiating the program then discontinuing would cost $5,600.
City Administrator Dave Kanner commented the $18,000 for the program would be an intermediate procurement. Councilor Marsh added the Chamber of Commerce, and Barry and Katharine Thalden were interested in collaborating with the City with the Chamber of Commerce willing to fundraise for the cost of the flowers. The Thalden’s were willing to pay for one third of the cost for the first year, leaving the City with only one third to pay. The City could use Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) money, purchase the brackets, and transfer the balance from General Fund revenues. She addressed the drought and noted using 300 gallons of water a day for the baskets was a focused use of water and a way to make a tremendous impact on the downtown in a constrained way.
Councilor Seffinger questioned why the flower choice was petunias, whether they would be multi colored, and if the City considered using polymers in the soil. Ms. Seltzer responded the City did not choose petunias this was what Four Seasons Nursery provided through their program. She would find out if they used polymers in the pots. Mr. Kanner added the baskets in Central Point last summer were multiple colors. Councilor Seffinger thought mixed flowers presented a prettier image.
Ms. Seltzer clarified if the City purchased brackets the City was responsible for installation.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s that Council direct staff to move forward on hanging flower baskets project. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lemhouse thought beautifying the downtown was vital to Ashland’s economic and livability interests. The cost was not high and the plan Councilor Marsh shared mitigated costs for the first year. Councilor Marsh thought after the first year local businesses could get involved and help sustain the program over time. Councilor Morris thought it was a good program and expressed concern the program would incur unseen costs. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. 6th Quarterly Financial Report of the 2013-2015 Biennium
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained the report covered the sixth quarter ending December 31, 2014. The City was in full compliance with the resolutions that established appropriations. The SDC Water Project showed an over expenditure and there were adequate funds in the Contingency to transfer and resolve the appropriation level. The City utilized $1,000 of the Contingency. Staff would request adjustments from Council if needed.
Mr. Kanner addressed the difference in Intergovernmental Revenues budgeted for $10,000,000 with a year to date of $4,000,000. Grant funds were budgeted in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for particular projects. If the grants did not come in, the revenue did not show in the statement but the money was still budgeted. If the grant came in, the City had the appropriation authority in the CIP to spend it.
Councilor Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to accept the sixth quarter financial report for the 2013-2015 biennium. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Marsh commented staff needed to get this information to the Budget Committee before it came to Council so the Committee could provide input to Council. Mr. Tuneberg responded that was the intention. However, the report was written the week before and due to workloads and staff absences they were unable to send it earlier. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance establishing guidelines for film and media productions and repealing AMC 6.36”
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the proposed ordinance would require a permit only for filmmakers that needed exclusive use of public property. This approach eliminated the need to exempt types of film production. The ordinance addressed two primary points, mandatory requirements for all filmmakers regardless of whether a permit was required, and permit requirements. Ms. Seltzer noted that Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFAM) helped establish the guidelines. SOFAM helped filmmakers vet their project prior to moving into the regulatory process if needed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An ordinance establishing guidelines for film and media productions and repealing AMC 6.36.”
Councilor Lemhouse thought the ordinance addressed his concerns of being overly regulatory and directed people to the right places and permits if needed. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Seffinger, Voisin, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
2. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland allocating anticipated revenues from the transient occupancy tax for the biennium 2015-2017 budget and repealing resolution 2013-15”
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained the resolution went along with the allocation and format identified in fiscal year 2012 and 2013 for the biennium. Council could estimate the proceeds from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and allocate it towards the state required amounts for tourism, 26.67% with the remaining going to non-tourism activities.
Councilor Marsh noted problems with the non-tourism part of the allocation and relying on percentages. This year anticipated a significant increase for the biennium in the TOT. Small grant funds would increase in the range of $35,000 per year. She suggested putting the non-tourism funds into the General Fund that funded economic development and small grant programs and allow those programs to go through the regular budget cycle and make a case for an increase.
Councilor Voisin wanted the Budget Committee to attend a Study Session and review TOT allocations and the process.
Mr. Kanner addressed the $110,000 set allocation amount for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Council changed the amount from a percentage to a set figure in 2010. Mr. Tuneberg confirmed Council could make a policy change regarding the allocation for OSF.
Councilor Voisin motioned that Council have the Budget Committee meet with Council in next month in a Study Session to review TOT for the biennium 2015-2017 budget. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s that the non-tourism portion of the TOT be placed 100% into the General Fund operations to be allocated through the Budget process. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Lemhouse was concerned in the past with how much money the City gave away in grants. This would make it less automatic. Councilor Voisin’s concern was not having enough money for the grants and would vote against the motion. Mr. Kanner explained Council could take this motion as an amendment to the motion and vote on the amended resolution. Mayor Stromberg would take the motion as an amendment to the resolution stated in the Council Communication. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Rosenthal, Seffinger, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to approve the tourism related portion of the TOT to be allocated as indicated in staff report. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Rosenthal, Seffinger, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
3. First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.04.030(B)(1), Agendas”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the amendment would clarify the right of a Councilor to place any item to any agenda with the caveat the Mayor could defer the item if the Mayor deemed it was not time sensitive or the agenda too full with the proviso the Mayor may not defer the item more than three months.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to approve First Reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.04.030(B)(1), Agendas.”
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, and Seffinger, YES. Motion passed.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS Continued
2. Continued discussion of proposed ordinance updates, including request for discussion of an ordinance to prohibit outdoor marijuana cultivation in residential zones
City Administrator Dave Kanner and City Attorney Dave Lohman scored each one based on urgency and importance to create a prioritized list. If Council agreed on the ranking, staff would work their way down the list as time allowed. Currently staff was working on a list of ordinances Council already approved, one included the film and video ordinance. The short-term home rental would go before Council next meeting. Staff had draft ordinances for requiring dog licenses and vaccinations.
Additionally there were internal discussions from the Conservation and the Electric Departments whether the City should consider modifications to the utility rate structure for large-scale indoor agricultural operations. Beginning July 1, 2015 it would be legal to grow marijuana for personal use and January 1, 2016, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would start licensing large-scale commercial marijuana production facilities. Last fall the City responded to six odor complaints all over town from people growing medical marijuana outdoors.
The City of Arcata CA experienced many problems with people growing marijuana in residential areas and had an extensive code section that dealt with the issue regulating indoor and outdoor grow operations. Another issue the City of Arcata experienced was people renting houses and converting them into commercial indoor grow operations. They addressed this problem through electric rates and an ordinance that limited the use. Colorado adopted an ordinance that addressed the same issue. Mr. Kanner suggested Council look into an ordinance that placed reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the outdoor cultivation of marijuana in residential zones and create ordinance language prohibiting turning a residence into a commercial grow operation. The City of Arcata at one point had 635 houses empty and used specifically for growing marijuana. The City’s Code Enforcement Officer suggested rather than prohibiting growing marijuana outdoors since Measure 91 limited four plants to one household, screened from public view, the City focus on large-scale operations. Staff could work on a land use ordinance similar to the keeping of chickens ordinance and apply it to medical marijuana grow operations. Additionally, the City should have an ordinance recognizing the legal right to grow marijuana but only if the grow is in a house that is the primary residence. Mr. Kanner was also interested in working with the Electric and Conservation Departments. Ashland was an attractive location due to the low electric rates. Large scale commercial grow operations required a lot of power and could push the city into Tier 2 rates.
City Attorney Dave Lohman confirmed Colorado was experiencing the same problem as Arcata regarding rentals. Colorado had large industrial areas and blocks of homes rented out for marijuana grows and was actually running out of industrial space.
Council supported the prioritized ordinance list, developing new ordinances regarding marijuana and giving the ordinances regarding marijuana higher priority.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Voisin explained she did not attend the State of the City Celebration due to a prior commitment at Southern Oregon University. She thanked Executive Secretary Diana Shiplet for her incredible efforts organizing the event. Councilor Marsh added the 2016 State of the City Celebration was already reserved the room for January 26, 2016.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained he would attend the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) regional listening session regarding their rule making for legal marijuana in Ashland February 18, 2015. Part of the regulations would create energy efficiency standards for commercial indoor growing operations. Council supported Mr. Kanner attending and state support for energy efficiency standards.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained he would attend the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) in Ashland February 18, 2015 for a regional listening session regarding their rule making for legal marijuana. Part of the regulations would create energy efficiency standards for commercial indoor growing operations. Council supported Mr. Kanner attending and stating City of Ashland support for energy efficiency standards.
Mayor Stromberg asked Council for input regarding the new seating arrangement. Council was fine with the configuration. Councilor Lemhouse suggested moving the Recorder’s position down to allow the City Attorney and City Administrator to sit to the right of the Recorder’s station. Mr. Kanner responded the IT Department could not move the Recorder’s station. The equipment involved required a fixed station. Councilor Lemhouse accepted the explanation but thought if they wanted it moved staff should be able to do it. Mayor Stromberg agreed and would address the seating arrangement and the Recorder’s station with Council after a couple more meetings took place.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned at 10:03 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor