MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 20, 2015
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg was absent. Council Chair Marsh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers Civic Center.
Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Seffinger, and Rosenthal were present. Councilor Morris was absent.
Councilor Voisin raised a point of order and asked the City Attorney to explain whether the Chair could make motions and vote. City Attorney Dave Lohman explained as presiding officer the acting chair could not make motions but could vote unlike the Mayor.
Council Chair Marsh announced the annual appointments to the Citizen Budget Committee and Municipal Audit Commission. The deadline for applications was November 13, 2015. Mayor Stromberg would hold his second “Listening Session” along with Councilor Seffinger Wednesday, October 28 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The discussion would focus behavioral problems in the downtown area and Exit 14.
Councilor Seffinger/Lemhouse m/s to add a discussion regarding fencing on the downtown Plaza area to the agenda. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Marsh, Seffinger, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of October 5, 2015, Executive Session of October 5, 2015, Study Session of October 6, 2015 and Business Meeting of October 6, 2015 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Annual presentation by the Housing and Human Services Commission
Housing and Human Services Commissioners Regina Ayars and Coriann Matthews presented the annual update to Council:
Social Service Grant Process
Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF/HTF)
- The Commission successfully distributed 2016-2017 Social Service Grant funds to eligible applicants.
- The Commission allocated funding in accordance with the Strategic Plan priorities and implementation strategies adopted by Council December 2014.
- The Commission reviewed the Grant making process and is working on implementing improvements to the process, which includes an evaluation of grant funded activities.
Student Fair Housing
- The Commission established a sub-committee to address the directives provided by Council regarding a sustainable funding source for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
- Council directed the Commission to focus on the use of this money, the amount needed to meet identified community needs, prioritize the eligible uses of the HTF funds, and explore funding sources that are consistent with the current codes and goals.
- The subcommittee was in the process of making an outline of community needs that the AHTF funding could address, and was researching formulas for determining the amount of funding the HTF needed to meet the identified needs, and evaluating a variety of funding sources.
- The Commission completed Fair Housing Training.
- The Commission continued their relationship with the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Student Government (ASSOU) and was currently working with that body to complete outreach to landlords and property managers to understand the issues of students as renters.
- The ASSOU had two students apply for the Student liaison position on the Commission.
2. Presentation on Electric Service disconnection for non-payment
Director of IT and Electric Utility Mark Holden explained the key to the process for low income, special medical needs customers, or those initiating the appeals process was contacting Utility Billing and informing staff of their circumstances.
The Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) Chapter 14.02.080 and 14.02.015 addressed financial assistance and the Senior Citizen Discount programs. The City also offered Ashland Low Income Energy Assistance Program (ALIEAP) and the HEAT assistance program. The City did not limit the ALIEAP or the Senior Citizen Discount programs. AMC 14.02.100 Restrictions on Residential Terminations addressed special medical needs customers. The City did not terminate service before weekends or holidays. Mr. Holden explained the timeline for disconnection. The City extended the timeline while customers moved forward on paying their bills.
The City did not have a specific AMC addressing severe weather. However, the City would not disconnect a customer from November to March if that termination would endanger a member of the household. Disconnects occurred when there was no response from the customer or they failed to keep payment arrangements and became so far past due they might never catch up on their billing.
AMC 14.02.090 Appeal of Termination was the formal appeals process where the customer submitted a written appeal to the City Recorder during business hours. Only one appeal had gone before Council. All other issues were resolved using City practices.
The City also worked with several state agencies and non-profits that offered utility assistance and referred citizens to those programs. The back of the utility bill explained how citizens could initiate assistance. Staff also used newsletters to inform the public of utility programs. The City had an average of 12 customers a month that had utility services discontinued out of 13,000 accounts. Staff sent out approximately 400 notices regarding delinquent pay monthly.
Sarah Lukins/472 Walker Avenue/Spoke on behalf of Jackson County Fuel Committee (JCFC). In their experience, the current City policies needed to change. Council had supported rate increases for the past three years while the average income for Oregonians had decreased 2.25% since 2011. The City disconnected 125 households in 2014 and 102 in 2013. The winter moratorium from November to March did not apply to thousands of low-income residents. JCFC requested Council extend the winter moratorium to include all residents who made less than 200% of the federal poverty level.
Ruby Nicol/1361 Quincy/Explained she was on financial aid, a single mother, on disability, and volunteered at Jackson County Fuel Committee (JCFC). The City’s low-income electric discount should include the whole year and offer assistance for water rates. It was ridiculous that the City charged $10 for each doorknob disconnect hanger they hung. She asked Council to agendize a moratorium for all Ashland residents.
Joseph Kauth/1 Corral Lane/Equated the Ashland Forest Resiliency cut to the diminished snowpack and temperature increase. He recommended planting other plants on the mountain to produce a transformative insulation layer lost during the cut. Urinating outdoors would help save water and might deter deer from bothering people. He suggested an urban heat study for the Verde Village development. Installing fences at the Lithia Springs Hotel would be wise because people sitting on the sidewalk blocked pedestrian flow.
Debra Neisewander/1159 Tolman Creek Road/Spoke regarding her personal struggle to pay her utility bills, described her work with the homeless, and encouraged everyone to get to know the homeless.
Council Chair Marsh invited Ms. Neisewander to attend the Listening Session October 28, 2015 and share her experience and concerns.
Councilor Voisin motioned that Council consider a resolution to consider extending an electric and water moratorium for the poor, details determined in consultation with Jackson County Fuel Committee and other non-profits on tonight’s agenda. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin motioned that Council consider a resolution to extend an electric and water moratorium for the poor, details to be determined in consultation with Jackson County Fuel Committee and other non-profits and add it to an agenda in December. Motion died for lack of a second.
1. Minutes of boards, commissions, and committees
2. Award of contract with AccuSource for background screening services
3. Approval of public contract exceeding $100,000 for internet bandwidth
4. Appointment to the Climate and Energy Action Plan ad hoc Committee
5. Approval of a public contract exceeding $100,000 for repairs at Reeder Hydro
6. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution consenting to the transfer of control related to the cable franchisee Falcon Cable Systems Company II, L.P., with conditions”
7. Application for Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grant
8. Approval of change order in excess of 25% for the plaza upgrades
City Attorney Dave Lohman pulled Consent Agenda item #6 for further discussion. Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda items #3 and #5 for discussion.
IT/Electric Utility Director Mark Holden clarified the City could discontinue the contract with Hunter Communications for internet bandwidth on contract anniversaries and confirmed the language was in the contract. He clarified the contract for repairs at Reeder Hydro and explained the system produced approximately $85,000 a year in benefit and was a key component in controlling water flow to the Water Treatment Plant.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to approve Consent Agenda items 1 through 5, 7 and 8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
City Attorney Dave Lohman pulled Consent Agenda Item #6 and deleted Section 2. Conditions to Transfer of Control 2. The Franchisee is in compliance with the franchise terms at the time of the transfer of control and corrects any known violations prior to the transfer, from the Resolution with Council consent.
Councilor Lemhouse/Seffinger m/s to approve Resolution #2015-25 as amended. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public hearing and approval of quitclaim deeds to terminate public pedestrian access easements.
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury explained the property owners at 400, 401, and 420 Clay Street contacted the City regarding an existing pedestrian easement place as part of a planning action on a partition done at the property. They asked to remove the easement as a deed restriction on their properties. Planning staff went through the planning requirements to request removal of the pedestrian easements. The property owners went through the planning stages to make their request. Staff included the Birchwood easement since it tied into the Clay Street easement. Findings concluded there was appropriate pedestrian and bicycle facilities within the area at this time. The Public Hearing would relinquish interest in the property. The decision was final but Council might be able to go through the process and condition the property again.
Public Hearing Open: 7:54 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:54 p.m.
Councilor Voisin/Seffinger m/s to approve the four attached quitclaim deeds which will terminate a public pedestrian access easement granted to the City in 2013, on partition plat P-10-2002 and 16178. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Seffinger, Voisin, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Second reading of ordinances titled, “An ordinance amending the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan to add a Normal Neighborhood plan designation to Chapter II [Introduction and Definitions], add the Normal Neighborhood land categories to Chapter IV [Housing Element], change the Comprehensive Plan map designation for approximately 94 acres of land within the City of Ashland urban growth boundary from single family residential and suburban residential to the Normal Neighborhood plan designation, and adopt the Normal Neighborhood Plan Framework as a supporting document to the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan”
“An ordinance amending the Street Dedication map, Planned Intersection and Roadway Improvement map, and the Planned Bikeway Network map of the Ashland Transportation System plan for the Normal Neighborhood plan area and amending street design standards within the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 18.4.6 to add a new shared street classification”
- Continuation of the first reading of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code creating a new Chapter 18.3.4 Normal Neighborhood District, amending Chapter 18.2.1.020 to add a Normal Neighborhood zoning classification, and amending Chapter 18.2.1.040 to add a Normal Neighborhood Special District.”
Councilor Seffinger/Rosenthal m/s to postpone consideration of these three ordinances to the November 17, 2015 business meeting. DISCUSSION: Councilor Seffinger thought it was important for Councilor Morris to participate in the discussion due to his experience in planning. Councilor Rosenthal concurred and noted Councilor Morris’ background on the Planning Commission. Council Chair Marsh explained all items would pertain to First Reading. Council would not accept public comment on the ordinances November 17, 2015 but would for Second Reading on any changes made during First Reading. Councilor Voisin commented Councilor Morris wanted to make some amendments. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Marsh, Rosenthal, and Seffinger, YES. Motion passed.
2. Downtown Beautification project update
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Kerry KenCairn of KenCairn Landscape Architecture had obtained an arborist’s report on the condition of the trees in the project along with recommendations. She also developed an alternative plan and clarified this was a plan that would not remove trees. Christopher John, the owner of Canopy LLC and current Tree Commission member provided an assessment that recommended removal and replacement of several trees. Council Chair Marsh explained the first project for discussion was the parking lot on Pioneer Street and Lithia Way.
Ms. KenCairn explained her mission and goal. She had missed the recent Tree Commission meeting and would present on her project at the next Tree Commission meeting in November. Her absence created a misunderstanding at the meeting regarding her goals and actions. Mr. John’s tree assessment focused on the health of the trees in the project area and not the project.
The alternate design would retain three Noble Maples at Lithia Way. One of the goals for the Pioneer Street parking lot was trees to shade the asphalt. The original design would remove 24 of the 33 existing trees. The alternate design would remove 21. Some were not trees but actually large shrubs. They would replace the 21 trees with ten large shade trees.
The second project was located on the corner of Pioneer Street and Lithia Way. The original design would remove three existing trees. The alternate design would retain the middle tree creating a curb around it and adding mulch. They still recommended removing the tree on Pioneer Street and replacing it with a tree planted in structural soil with a tree grade to provide oxygen. Currently there was no way to help the existing tree without pulling up sidewalk. Ms. KenCairn clarified no trees were being removed for design purposes and did not think there was a way to have a tree between the sidewalks at the stores due to the two different elevations. They recommended removing the tree on Pioneer Street due new concrete on the corner.
Alice Mallory/438 Taylor Street/Thought an arborist independent of the Tree Commission should have conducted the tree assessment and that Council should have chosen the arborist not the contractor. She asked Council to consider the existence of the trees as a canopy or shade and oxygen providers. The new 2-inch caliber trees would take approximately twenty years to reach the size of the existing trees. She visited the parking lot and did not see where the roots were upsetting the sidewalk.
Kathryn Thalden/550 Ashland Loop Road/Concurred with the Tree Commission’s report. The City of Ventura California had a master plan for tree replacement that was gradual and over time. She read from a document submitted into the record.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the long-term plan for the parking lot. It was a valuable piece of C-1 property in the downtown that would remove the landscaping when it redeveloped.
Councilor Lemhouse/Seffinger m/s to table indefinitely the plans of tree removal for the Pioneer Parking lot until a more specific idea of the use of that lot is put forward. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained it did not make sense to improve the area only to have the landscape removed for development. There was no need to rush the project and it could happen in smaller improvements. Councilor Seffinger agreed. The plan for that area was unknown and the community did not support removing trees.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the main motion to clean up the parking lot area, prune trees, and provide preservation for the trees in need of it. Councilor Rosenthal raised a point of clarification and asked if the amendment would implement the landscaping plan with the exception of any tree removal. Councilor Voisin did not think that could happen because much of the proposed landscaping would occur under the trees. Councilor Rosenthal asked for a definition of cleaning up. Councilor Voisin explained it included trimming. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Rosenthal would not support the motion and thought they could determine a way to accomplish the original objective.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to amend the main motion that the project move forward with the other areas of the recommendation excluding tree removal. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse thought the suggestions brought up would clean up the area and beautify it as much as possible without tree removal. Councilor Rosenthal wanted to see the landscaping improved.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained in Roberts Rules of Order there is no debate when Council made a motion to table an item indefinitely. City Attorney Dave Lohman noted under Council rules discussion could occur during a motion to table an item indefinitely.
Councilor Voisin wanted to see some effort made to preserve the trees already there. They needed maintenance and wanted that included in the proposal.
Ms. Christensen further explained Council was making amendments to a motion to table the plan. The amendments did not fit into the main motion. She suggested withdrawing the main motion and the amendment and restating new ones. Councilor Lemhouse withdrew his motion and amendment. Councilor Seffinger and Rosenthal agreed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to move forward with the recommended project at the Pioneer Parking lot excluding the removal of the trees. DISCUSSION:
Councilor Voisin/Seffinger m/s to amend the main motion to take care of the trees that are already there by preserving the trees and whatever needs to be done to preserve the trees already there.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought it was essential to take care of the trees and take preservation measures. The Tree Commission had proposals for that. Councilor Seffinger agreed in making the trees as healthy as possible. Councilor Rosenthal defined it as enhanced tree care needed.
Mr. Kanner explained some tree care occurred yearly during spring and entailed trimming and pruning. Councilor Lemhouse would not support the motion. It was not specific enough in terms of what needed to happen to enhance tree care. He recommended not passing the amendment and directing staff to develop a plan for enhanced tree care with specific actions.
Mr. Kanner thought the amendment directed staff not to remove any trees but take steps necessary to preserve the existing trees whether it was via soil amendment, limbing up, pruning, and removing undergrowth depriving the tree of oxygen and nutrients, and generally clean up the site in the undergrowth area per the recommendation of Ms. KenCairn. Councilor Voisin added tree corrective action and safety mitigation efforts that included pruning for structure, branch, and weight reduction, canopy thinning, fertilization, soil improvement, root crown excavation, malting, cabling branches, and many other actions. Councilor Seffinger confirmed Councilor Voisin’s list were recommendations made by the Tree Commission. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Seffinger, Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on amended main motion: Roll Call Vote: Councilor Seffinger, Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Council Chair Marsh explained the next project located at the corner of Pioneer Street and Lithia Way had an alternate design put forward after consultation with the arborist. The design would retain the middle tree in front of the corner store and incorporate the seat wall as described in the documentation.
Councilor Lemhouse motioned to accept the consultant’s revised proposal with the exception of removing the tree on Pioneer Street. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin/Seffinger m/s that the three Maple trees be maintained and that the sidewalks in the design be permeable and that the trees be given more space to grow however that might happen. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought the trees were beautiful and did not think they were impaired or dying. Specialists had indicated they could salvage them. Councilor Seffinger did not think there was public support to remove the trees.
Councilor Rosenthal would not support the motion. The decision point should not center on saving the trees. At least one required removal. He was uncomfortable with the proposed seat wall in relation to the sidewalk and thought the project needed further review. Councilor Lemhouse commented the area was limited regarding landscaping. He liked Ms. KenCairn’s design. He was concerned about retaining a tree an arborist classified as a hazard. Council had a responsibility to mitigate potential safety issues.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to suspend Council rules. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mr. Kanner clarified there was some time pressure regarding bids for the project and having it completed before the heavy tourist season began.
Ms. KenCairn explained they would not be able to do the design if they retained the existing trees due to a grade issue that made the sidewalks unsafe and not legal. She clarified the only seat wall presently faced the art piece. What was thought of as a seat wall allowed the two grades to pass by each other. There was not enough horizontal space between the sidewalks to coexist. Trying to fix the area and retain the tree would kill it due to its root placement. The design for the middle tree and around the art piece would still work.
Mr. Kanner was unaware of any injuries that occurred in that area. Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury confirmed a couple incidents of people tripping and falling along the Pioneer Street corridor but could not recall the exact location. Trip hazards were complaint driven unless staff noticed an issue first. Adjacent property owners were responsible for sidewalk maintenance. Council Chair Marsh reinstated Council Rules.
Councilor Lemhouse amended the main motion that tree #1 identified to the right or furthest away from Pioneer Street be removed as it has been identified as hazard and without its removal would not allow construction of the plan to go forward. Motion denied for lack of a second.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Seffinger, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, and Marsh, NO. Motion failed 2-3.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse motion to direct staff to obtain quotes from a landscape architect to provide a design for the Lithia Way and Pioneer Street location while retaining the three trees.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal explained the contractor could not do the design if they retained the trees and he wanted a second opinion even if the conclusion was the same. Councilor Lemhouse disagreed on the need for a second opinion. Ms. KenCairn provided everything asked of her and it would be a waste of money to ask another person to do it again.
Mr. Kanner clarified the motion referenced East Main and confirmed Councilor Rosenthal meant Lithia Way. A formal bid was not required because the value of the contract was so low. There were very few landscape architects registered to do business in the area. Another informal process would take two to three months and push the project out to 2017. Ms. KenCairn confirmed it was possible to use her design and save two trees. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Seffinger, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, and Voisin, NO. Motion passed 3-2.
Mr. Kanner clarified bidding for the process was informal, did not require a request for proposal (RFP), and explained the process.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. AFN Internet project update
IT/Electric Utility Director Mark Holden explained the AFN Internet project increased AFN’s ability to compete and be financially successful by meeting the growing consumption of internet service and lower costs. The objective was increase internet capacity to meet existing demand, provide future expansion, and new and updated services. It would also lower internet costs and reduce or cushion AFN from the expanding demand from current customers and allow for additional competitive services.
Council approved the project in two phases. Phase 1 provided the framework for rapid capacity growth for Phase 2 slated July 2016, installed equipment, and configured the network. It also changed AFN’s connection model to the internet as a carrier instead of an internet service provider (ISP) and provided the framework for rapid growth in the capacity of the internet connection to the global internet for Phase 2. AFN completed Phase 1 late March 2015.
Phase 2 would expand the capacity within the AFN network itself, leveraging the equipment investment in Phase 1. Phase 2 would increase the global internet connection flexibility and the capacity to the global internet. AFN completed the equipment installation for Phase 2 September 2015. They were testing functionality, expected to finish by October 30, 2015 with full commercial utilization of all equipment, and expanded bandwidth November 1, 2015 with testing through November 15, 2015.
The project would enable AFN to develop new higher capacity products to meet the needs of the community both wholesale and retail. Performance, capacity, and cost changes resulting from the AFN Internet Project would facilitate competitively priced new services and presented an opportunity for retail and wholesale growth.
AFN’s internet was local and served customers within the urban growth boundary of Ashland. The connection outside of Ashland to the rest of the internet was the Global Internet Capacity. November 15, 2015, AFN will purchase 10 Gigabits for Global Internet Capacity. The new equipment could accommodate 20 Gigabits. AFN will be able to compete with Charter Communications and offer products Charter Communications did not have in the area. This will also provide AFN with the equipment and bandwidth for streaming. AFN was working with an ISP partner who was running a program in September and October that would continue through November and December highlighting product definitions AFN was designing. AFN will soon send out a request for proposal (RFP) to hire a marketing company and anticipated responses within the next three weeks.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution authorizing the City of Ashland to provide a city building for a winter shelter two nights per week through April, 2016”
Council Chair Marsh explained this was the fourth season the City had an agreement with the faith community for a winter shelter. City Administrator Dave Kanner noted a correction to the resolution and removed the following language under Section 2 (g) “Appropriate signage must be displayed that warns against children being left alone.” Additionally, Jackson County Animal Control advised the City regarding Section 4 Dog (e) that after each use of the shelter the volunteers should mop down the floors with a bleach solution. This recommendation could go into the separate agreement the City had with Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (RVUUF) and Temple Emek Shalom and not necessarily the resolution.
John Wieczorek/165 Orange Avenue/Represented RVUUF as their Social Justice and Action Chair. He confirmed volunteers already used a bleach solution to clean Pioneer Hall. The shelter had not encountered any issues with dogs. Problems with guests were mostly vocabulary and not behavioral. He had contacted Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman who explained shelter occupant capacity numbers were different from capacity posted on the wall. She calculated Pioneer Hall and determined the capacity under the legal code was 42 guests. He recommended increasing the current limit of 25 to be more consistent with reality. Two volunteers for up to 30 guests was probably a good ratio. He confirmed dogs were not in crates and did not think it was a reasonable request. He also never verified if pets were vaccinated. An outreach organization called Street Dogs provided ongoing opportunities to vaccinate homeless people’s pets.
Councilor Lemhouse/Seffinger m/s to approve Resolution #2015-26. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse purposely left out the proposed amendment to delete the signage regarding children. He understood nothing had happened before but thought the City needed to plan contingencies and avoid anything that could happen. He did not think volunteer-guest ratios needed to be in the resolution and encouraged the volunteers to determine a range for backup in case of any legal action brought against the City. Council could direct staff on cleaning the shelter to meet Jackson County Animal Control recommendations. He was concerned the dogs were not being crated. RVUUF and Temple Emek Shalom needed to adhere to the agreement. Hearing otherwise disturbed him. Councilor Seffinger supported the program and added her concern regarding vaccinations. Councilor Marsh noted the shelter did not allow children.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to amend the motion to delete Section 2 (g) “Appropriate signage must be displayed that warns against children being left alone.” Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion to change Section 2 (e) limiting guests to 25 to 42. Motion died for lack of a second.
Continued discussion on amended motion: Mr. Kanner explained the requirement to crate dogs at the shelter was a recommendation from the City’s insurance advisor due to dogs creating liability in public buildings. He did not know the liability of running a program that did not adhere to the rules of contract. It raised the question of the City’s obligation to enforce where the City has not taken a strict enforcement stance other than dropping in to see how the shelter was going. From his personal experience of visiting the shelter, it was a calm and quiet atmosphere. Another argument was the City created an affirmative obligation for RVUUF and Temple Emek Shalom to follow the rules making them liable if they did not. This would sort out if someone filed a claim.
Mr. Wieczorek commented the most dogs he had seen at the City shelter were six, spread throughout the room and hardly noticed. Other than a puppy urinating on the floor there were no incidents of biting or aggressive behavior at the City or church shelters. It would be difficult to haul crates back and forth to the shelter. Currently they bring several bins of blankets and pads. Crates would be cumbersome.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to amend the motion and delete Section 4 (b). DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin explained the one thing that gave homeless people a feeling of being normal was having a dog. They fed their dogs before they fed themselves. The dogs she had seen in shelters were well maintained and disciplined. Councilor Rosenthal agreed. He understood the municipality having a higher liability and the evidence over the past few years had not shown a problem. If there was an issue, Council could make that adjustment next year. He did not think the risk was high.
Councilor Lemhouse questioned why Council would support an amendment knowing a liability could happen. They had a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens and their money. If something happened, it could put the entire program in jeopardy. Councilor Seffinger felt torn. Especially knowing some dogs did not have their vaccinations. She suggested having a few crates on hand to protect puppies or if a confrontation between dogs occurred. Councilor Voisin was sure the Street Dogs organization could come to the shelter and ensure dogs had their shots. She would personally make sure that happened.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained an ordinance coming before Council November 3, 2015 would re-enforce the Jackson County ordinance requiring dogs to be licensed and vaccinated or show evidence of vaccinations if they were not licensed here. Councilor Marsh commented crates gave a sense of security in allowing dogs but was impractical for volunteers to manage. The shelter had operated for two years now without crates or incident. It was time to acknowledge past experience and remove the requirement.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Seffinger, Rosenthal, Marsh, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to amend the motion Section 2(e) and change shelter occupancy maximum to 30 guests. DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal was not comfortable with 42 guests. Councilor Lemhouse thought 30 was reasonable but was skeptical that would actually be the limit and wanted it followed. Councilor Voisin and Seffinger would support the motion. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, Seffinger, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on amended main motion: Councilor Voisin, Marsh, Rosenthal, Seffinger, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
2. First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending the “owner” definitions to AMC Chapters 1.04 General Provisions, 9.04 Weed Abatement, and 9.08 Nuisances”
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the proposed ordinance addressed abandoned houses. They lowered property value and created fire risk. Some owners were unable to pay the mortgage, left the house, and stopped making payments to the loan service company who in turn sometimes delayed foreclosure litigation and took no responsibility for the upkeep of the property. Lack of maintenance created risks to public safety to the point of the City undertaking abatement measures at the expense of the taxpayers. The proposed ordinance would cite the bank and if necessary issue an abatement order. Other cities in Oregon had similar ordinances.
Councilor Seffinger/Rosenthal m/s to approve First Reading of ordinance by title only and place on the agenda for Second Reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Seffinger thought the ordinance was important for the quality of the neighborhoods. She had seen similar properties in Medford that housed criminal activity and did not want that happening in Ashland. Councilor Rosenthal agreed. Councilor Voisin supported the motion. Mr. Lohman added mortgages were typically turned over on contract to manage these homes and sometimes that did not occur or the actual security interest was sold to someone else. It would not cost the City much to determine ownership if needed. Councilor Marsh supported the ordinance as well. Mr. Lohman would look into a statute that allowed the City by ordinance to move its lien position up so only tax liens were ahead. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, Voisin, Seffinger, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
- Discussion on the fencing in the plaza
Councilor Seffinger/Lemhouse m/s that we do not place any fencing on the downtown Plaza and plant larger sized plants. DISCUSSION: Councilor Seffinger explained the fencing was expensive. It would be less expensive to replace plants. It was also unattractive and it would be difficult to change the color of the fence. Councilor Lemhouse had concerns regarding fencing all along. He had supported temporary fencing and since changed his mind. The City would have to expect any vegetation planted in the Plaza would be trampled and replaced as an ongoing cost.
City Administrator Dave Kanner noted the oak tree planted on the east side of the Plaza was the most problematic area and staff was unable to get anything to grow there. The plan called for large dense plants for that area. He suggested some type of temporary fencing for July 4th, Halloween, and the Festival of Lights. Given the bid schedule, nothing would most likely be planted until March 2016. Council could decide whether to have temporary fencing for large events.
Councilor Rosenthal did not support fencing and wanted dense plants. Councilor Voisin supported the motion and thought it would be less expensive to replace plants. Councilor Marsh would also support the motion. Putting in an expensive fence for a short term did not make sense. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Marsh, Seffinger, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse thanked Council Chair Marsh for running the Study Session and Regular meeting.
Councilor Voisin provided a report on the Band Committee who was planning to travel to Guanajuato Mexico for the 50th anniversary of being a Sister City to Ashland. The Band Committee would raise funds to pay for a portion of their expenses. September 28, 2015 the Street Dogs Vets were at Uncle Foods Diner and serviced 24 dogs and 6 cats.
Councilor Rosenthal announced the Climate and Energy Action Plan ad hoc Committee would meet the next day at 2:00 p.m. in the Community Development building.
Councilor Seffinger noted the Forest Lands Commission had completed the Social History section of the Forestlands Master Plan revision and were making good progress.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned at 10:27 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder Pam Marsh, Council Chair