Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


December 1, 2015
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at the Civic Center Council Chambers at 7:03 p.m.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. 
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Forest Lands, Housing & Human Services, Public Arts, and Transportation Commissions.
Councilor Morris made a correction to the November 17, 2015 minutes, page 5 of 7 regarding the discussion following the motion to approve Ordinance #3112 as amended.  The correction changed
“disrespect” to “respect” in the following sentence, “Councilor Morris thought this was another common sense rule and spoke to a lack of respect people had for each other lately.”  City Attorney Dave Lohman noted a clarification in the November 16, 2015 Study Session minutes on page 4, third paragraph, second sentence, “However, a councilor could attend the meeting of a commission for which the councilor is not the council liaison.”  The minutes of the Study Session of November 16, 2015 and Business Meeting of November 17, 2015 were approved as clarified and amended.
1.   Report on Ashland Community Resource Center
Ashland Community Resource Center Manager Leigh Madsen explained the Resource Center had served 1,323 since inception.  He shared three individual’s stories describing how the Resource Center helped them.  He went to provide a presentation on the past two years of costs that included:
  • $153,000 Operation costs covered rents, Leigh Madsen’s salary, Utilities, Repair and maintenance
  • $31,334.67 Family Emergency Fund helped 100 families  
  • Eviction  prevention
  • Utility shutoff prevention
  • Housing support
  • Home repair
  • I.D.
  • Job barrier removal
  • $9,053 Tina Stevens Jobs specialist and Navigator (case manager) salary 
  • $193,387.67 Total cost 
  • $19,500 Shower trailer, laundry and tow vehicle donated to the Center
  • $61,288 “In the Warm” – donations of shoes, boots, sleeping bag, etc.
  • $274,175.67 Total Value
  • $100,000 from CoA
  • $95,500 in Grants already received
  • $83,047.43 Local Cash Donations
  • $71,288 Goods Donated
  • $349,835.43 Total income
There was enough money to operate the Resource Center through 2017 and maintain all services.
Professional Services
  • $20,525 Veterans services ACCESS Easter Seals, etal 821 hours $25/hr
  • $13,970 Mental Health JCMH 33 hrs $25, Mike Thor, Frederic Kay 352 $35/hr
  • $1,250 Maslow Projects 50 hours $25/hr
  • $76,250 Attorney Dennis Goldstein gave 300 hours $250/hr
  • 7,100 volunteer hours at the Resource Centers $25/hr
Jackson County Mental Health (JCMH) sent a Community Outreach manager to the Resource Center for six months.  In order for JCMH to be paid, they had to do a complete intake of the client and that was difficult in the Resource Center due to security issues.  The other issue was the client had to be on the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).   Mr. Madsen ended up contacting three professionals who volunteered their time instead.  City Administrator Dave Kanner added JCMH was planning to open a mental health satellite office in Ashland that would eventually staff 21 employees.  They would start with limited services January 2016 and over time develop a south county office.
Mr. Madsen addressed the flood of travelers Ashland experienced over the summer.  He distributed clothing the Resource Center would have normally donated elsewhere to the travelers as needed.  Of the 800 homeless people served he estimated 250-300 were homeless on a regular basis and the rest traveled through the area.  The Resource Center did not discriminate and worked to maintain an environment that made people feel safe and comfortable.  They received food from The Food Angels. 
Financial support from the City was 50% for the first two years, approximately 30% for the next two years and would continue to decline over time.  Tracking jobs was difficult because often one client would go through several jobs. The Resource Center starting using an online Ashland Jobs service to track employment.  Regarding behavior issues, the Resource Center had an intention that everyone would be safe and comfortable and act accordingly.  They used a warning system for enforcement that could result in expulsion from the Center for up to 30 days.  Currently they were working on people sleeping in the parking lot and bushes around the Resource Center.
Mr.  Madsen thought having an extra ten hours of administration weekly and a volunteer coordinator would benefit the Resource Center.  Another benefit was strengthening the Center’s relationship with Good Will Industries for job development services.  The Resource Center was also looking into developing an advisory board.  He reaffirmed ACCESS’ role with the Resource Center.
Councilor Marsh noted that January 21 and 22, 2016 representatives from the Palo Alto Downtown Streets Program would come to Ashland to discuss their program, tour Ashland’s services, and meet with the community.
2.   Ashland Police Department launch of drug amnesty/treatment center placement program
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained the Ashland Police Department (APD) would soon launch a new program regarding the destruction of illegal drugs and treatment facility placement for those seeking help.
In 2013, over 8,000 people died nationwide from heroin overdoses.  Ashland had three fatal heroin overdoses in 2013 during a 3-4 week period.  In 2014, Ashland Fire and Rescue (AFR) responded to 42 calls regarding drug overdose and administered Naloxone, an anti opioid eighteen times. 
A new program modeled after the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative would allow anyone to walk into the Ashland Police Department and drop off illegal substances anonymously.  The second service was in collaboration with OnTrack and Asante Community Hospital.  Anyone needing help to resolve addiction issues could walk into the police station, have drug amnesty, and connect with a caseworker and treatment center immediately.  The Police Department would facilitate the process.  However, if that person had a warrant they would have to take care of that prior to treatment.  The drug amnesty portion could only occur at the police station.  APD would advertise both programs and use social media and press releases. 
John Chmelir/3743 Calle Vista/Medford, OR/Ran Alzheimer’s Centers and wanted to build one in Ashland in the urban growth boundary (UGB).  Over the next 30 years, the population of people with Alzheimer’s would double.  He asked for a fire connection to connect the sprinkler system in the building to the City water pump station that existed as an easement on his property.
Barbara Comnes/444 Park Ridge Place/Encouraged Council to add a pedestrian railroad crossing just north of A Street.  The tracks between Oak Street and North Mountain Avenue ran three quarters of a mile without a crossing.  Having a pedestrian crossing in that area would decrease pedestrian travel time up to nine blocks.  She read from documents submitted into the record.
City Attorney Dave Lohman would meet with Ms. Comnes regarding the crossing and railroad regulations.
Joseph Kauth/1 Corral/Noted the Founder’s tree and a Maple tree were no longer in the Plaza.  Other comments included lights for aggressive deer, endangered species in the area, dorm structures, the Ashland Forest Resiliency (AFR) cut, the Plaza project, Road Diet, the Welcome Center, small houses, the chicken ordinance, the Ashland Greenhouse, and a church near that had closed because the greenhouse shut down.  Forty-three year old Oregon land use bills needed a greater environmental impact statement with a longer public comment time.  He thought the AFR cut somehow contributed to global weather events and earthquakes.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Mr. Chmelir’s request for sprinkler system connection would come before Council December 14, 2015.
1.   Minutes of boards, commissions, and committees
2.   Approval of a liquor license application for Josh Hamik dba Boulevard Coffee/Stratford Inn
3.   Approval of a liquor license application for Merrill Smith dba La Baguette Bakery
4.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution adopting a supplemental budget increasing appropriations within the 2015-2017 biennium budget”
5.   Acceptance of FY2014-2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
Councilor Voisin/Seffinger m/s to approve Consent Agenda items.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Public Hearing on an Ordinance Amending Title 18 Land Use of the Ashland Municipal Code for Homegrown Marijuana and Marijuana-Related Businesses
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the draft code amendments addressed personal use of marijuana and the establishment of marijuana related businesses.  It also addressed homegrown marijuana on individual tax lots in residential areas as well as commercial and employment areas that allowed mixed use or residential on the property.  The ordinance limited the number of plants based on lot and not number of homes or buildings on the parcel. 
The second part of the ordinance addressed marijuana related businesses in the commercial employment and industrial zones and included retail sales, laboratory testing, processing, production and wholesale all limited to indoor.  The ordinance prohibited outdoor cultivation of marijuana as a related business in a commercial, employment, or industrial zone.  The ordinance did not distinguish between medical or recreational marijuana.
Prior to the Study Session, staff discussed the impact production and wholesale might have on the City’s inventory of employment lands.  The City was a participant in the Regional Bear Creek plan that was a 50-year plan and looked at accommodating growth at an urban level of development over the next 50 years.  The plan would identify adjustments or additions to the urban growth boundary (UGB) and included residential and employment growth.  Ashland had approximately a 25-30 year supply within the UGB instead of a 50-year supply and needed to evaluate ways to accommodate more employment within the existing UGB.  The City was looking at flexible parking requirements and height increases for employment buildings.  If Council concurred staff would come back with a few suggestions.
Indoor production was limited to a 5,000 square foot (sq. ft.) building but that did not preclude someone from having multiple 5,000 sq. ft. buildings on an employment site.
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the proposed standards for homegrown marijuana allowed up to four plants outside.  The 50 sq. ft. of cultivation area had to be 10 feet from property lines and 20 feet from dwellings and adjoining properties.  The grow area had to be close to the resident growers home.  Maximum plant height was 10 feet.  The grow area could not be visible from a public place or street and not in a front yard.  Any related activities had to happen indoors.  The grow area needed to be screened and have secure access at all times.  The resident grower had to live on the property and it had to be their primary residence.  Electrical and plumbing equipment had to adhere to building code and required a building permit.  Light and glare from light systems had to be confined to the interior of the structure.  A grower could not use vacant or uninhabited dwelling units for marijuana cultivation nor could a dwelling unit be primarily a place to cultivate marijuana.
The state law was more permissive in number of plants allowed for a residential dwelling unit. One dwelling unit could have four recreational plants per household or 12 medical plants per address totaling 16 plants.  Two dwellings units could have eight recreational plants per household and 24 medical plants per address for 32 plants.  Three dwelling units could have 12 recreational plants per household and 36 medical plants per address for 48 plants. The Planning Commission was trying to balance state law allowances with impacts to residential neighborhoods in terms of nuisances.
Apartment buildings would have to get permission from the property manager to grow and would require a 24-hour contact.  The draft ordinance was more conservative than the state and based the number of plants allowed per lot, not households.  Only four plants outdoors per lot regardless of how many apartments or dwelling units existed on the parcel.
The Planning Commission wanted people to be able to grow some plants outside for personal use in the interest of energy and water conservation.  Another issue discussed was maintaining residential as primarily residential.  Townhomes would not meet the setback requirements for outside grows.  The Commission stressed the need for the buffer to mitigate odor.
Eligible locations for marijuana related business included commercially zoned properties, E-1, C-1, and M-1 adjacent to a boulevard.  E-1 and C-1 zones further than 200 feet from residentially zoned property required a Conditional Use Permit.  Currently, the City did not allow agriculture in the commercial zones.  There were enough areas for 5-6 more retail sites in Ashland.  Marijuana outlets had to be 1000 feet from a school.  Other exclusion areas included the Downtown Design Standards Overlay, commercially zoned property within 1,000 feet of a school or existing dispensary, 1,000 feet from a licensed dispensary, or commercially zoned lands within 200 feet of residentially zoned property.  This applied to medical marijuana dispensaries as well.  The ordinance did not distinguish between medical or recreational.  Laboratories, processing and production facilities required a 200-foot buffer from residential zones.  Production was limited to 5,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area.     
Jackson County Medical Marijuana Dispensaries did not correlate with population.  There were 16 dispensaries in Jackson County, Medford and Ashland each had four.  The City did not use minimal employment densities.  The Comprehensive Plan goal was a minimum of 10 employees per acre, citywide it was approximately 17-18 employees per acre with more downtown.
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to extend Public Hearing to 10:30 p.m.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES. Motion passed.
The Planning Commission looked at Washington and Colorado who started retail sales during 2014.    Washington did not allow homegrown marijuana.  Both states had the option of prohibiting marijuana related businesses.  For Oregon, in a county like Jackson County where 55% of the population voted for marijuana, the jurisdiction had to put a prohibitive ordinance out to vote.  In Colorado, 70% of their cities and 66% of the counties prohibited marijuana related businesses.  In Oregon, 19% of the cities and 36% of the counties were opting to prohibit marijuana related businesses.
Colorado prohibited outdoor growing and in some cases, they prohibited growing in sheds.  Oregon law included standards regarding packaging, security on the premises, ventilation, and lighting.  The Planning Commission looked at Siskiyou and Shasta counties and the City of Phoenix regarding setbacks. The City of Denver took a free market approach resulting in having a third of the marijuana retail stores located in Denver.  There were more cannabis outlets and dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks and McDonalds combined.  Denver found 50% of sales were out of state.  Resort communities had 90% out of state sales.  Other issues Denver experienced was low employment generation and inflated warehouse market prices out of congruence with other business markets.  Colorado based enforcement on nuisance and the reasonable person’s standard for light, glare, and odor.
Mr. Kanner explained Council might want to discuss whether to carry over all the time, place, and manner restrictions in the medical marijuana ordinance to the proposed ordinance given the actual experience with dispensaries.
Public Hearing Opened: 9:10 p.m.
Shayne Christen/285 Upper Powell/Williams, OR/Explained he was the on the Board of Directors for the Oregon SunGrown Growers Guild.  He clarified the state had not determined co-location of medical or recreational marijuana rules yet.  He shared his experience growing medical marijuana, speaking before the state house, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).  He questioned how compassionate it was using land use laws to restrict people from their medicine and cautioned potential push back on the state level if counties used land use laws.  The plant numbers presented were not accurate.  The state would restrict the number of medical marijuana plants allowed within city limits statewide to 12 for two patients.  The state was also considering requiring 25% renewable energy to offset the carbon footprint for industrial operations.  In addition, collocating medical and recreational stores would produce a hefty tax check for the City.   
Andrea Adams/310 North Main Street /Phoenix, OR/Formerly ran a dispensary called The Greenery in Ashland 2011 through 2013 prior to moving to Phoenix.  She spoke on behalf of the people who needed medical marijuana as medicine.  She addressed the amount of marijuana it took to produce cannabis concentrates.  A cancer patient could go through the equivalent of a pound a month using concentrates.  One plant could barely produce a pound.  Restricting patient grows to four plants instead of six was not enough for people to grow for themselves or someone else.  The state will license medical and recreational outlets separately even if collocation was permissible.  This will create a conflict with the City’s 1,000-foot buffer requirement.
Ms. Adams further explained indoor growing was difficult.  It cost more money, space, and expertise. Tests results also showed outdoor sun grown medicine was stronger and contained more of the medicinal properties. 
Mr. Christen confirmed that 3 to 4 weeks out of the year marijuana was odorous.  Ms. Adams added some people found it very offensive but it was not harmful.  She questioned the balance of having 3-4 weeks of odor with the year round medical benefit for a patient.  Mr. Christen noted people smoking marijuana would produce an odor yearlong and wondered if some of the City’s constituents were complaining about that smell or the plant itself. 
Generally, the odor was at its strongest mid September to mid October, or the full month of October depending on location and strains. 
Jay Barry/2237 South Columbus/Medford, OR/Shared personal history living and working in Ashland.  She currently managed several rental properties and supported a tenant’s right to grow medical marijuana.     
Tere Knight/2237 South Columbus Ave/Medford OR/Grew medical marijuana in Medford for one patient and now that was in jeopardy.   She was concerned people were undereducated on the values of medical marijuana and potential onerous regulations now that recreational marijuana was legal.  Six plants were not enough for a cancer patient.  She urged Council to take the information they had heard into consideration. 
Public Hearing Closed: 9:33 p.m.
1.   Annual Appointment to the Citizen Budget Committee
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained a current member of the Budget Committee, Shaun Moran, was interested in reappointment.  City Recorder Barbara Christensen had advertised the vacancy and received no applications.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to reappoint Shaun Moran to the Citizen Budget Committee with a term ending December 31, 2019.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2.   Annual Appointment of Citizen Audit Commission and Council Liaison          
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Council appointed a liaison annually to the Audit Commission.  Councilor Rosenthal was the liaison for the past year.  A current member of the Audit Commission, Thomas Hepford, was interested in reappointment.  City Recorder Barbara Christensen had advertised the vacancy and received no applications.
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to reappoint Councilor Rosenthal as Liaison and Thomas Hepford to the Citizen Audit Commission with a term ending December 31, 2016 for Councilor Rosenthal and December 31, 2018 for Mr. Hepford.  Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion Passed.
Councilor Voisin thanked Ashland Fire and Rescue for the Thanksgiving dinner they had for over one hundred senior citizens.  Senior Program Manager Chris Dodson did a wonderful job getting everything ready for the event.   Secondly, she hoped everyone was hoping and praying for Mt. Ashland ski resort to open on December 12, 2015 for recreation.  Finally, she thanked the volunteers who worked at the emergency winter shelter over the holiday weekend and expressed her appreciation for Heidi Parker and John Wieczorek.
Councilor Lemhouse recognized Ashland High School sports and noted the importance of athletics for education.  Sports taught young people responsibility, how to deal controversy, adverse conditions, and persevere. 
Councilor Seffinger thanked Councilor Lemhouse for the article he wrote supporting local businesses.
Meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.
___________________________________  _______________________________
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder     John Stromberg, Mayor          

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