MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
November 16, 1999
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes of the regular meeting of November 2, 1999 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Presentation of Retirement Plaque to Robb Robbins of Ashland Fire & Rescue.
Mayor Shaw honored Robbins on his retirement from service to the community after twenty years with the Ashland Fire & Rescue.
2. Update and presentation by the Tree Commission.
Dan Moore of the Ashland Street Tree Commission introduced commission members Rich Whitall, Bryan Nelson, January Jennings, and Greg Covey. Donn Todt and Bob Kuenzel, commissioners who were unable to attend, were also recognized.
Moore explained that the Tree Commission performs three main functions: 1) preserving trees; 2) encouraging the correct location for planting of trees; and 3) education about the benefits of trees. It was noted that the street tree list is being updated and that the commission is developing an outreach program in the community to provide education through the schools. Explained that a survey was being conducted to determine curriculum needs related to tree education and urban forestry. Cited the Monterey Cypress tree at Briscoe School as an example of the way a tree nurtures the community over time. Explained their goal in introducing a heritage tree program to protect distinguished trees in the area.
January Jennings concluded by reading a poem by William Stafford, Oregon poet laureate, titled "Always."
3. Mayor's Proclamation of November 22 as "Solutions to Hunger Day."
Mayor Shaw read proclamation into the record.
4. Mayor Shaw requested that the appointment of Jim Watson to the Ecomonic Development Strategy Ad Hoc Committee be placed under Consent Agenda as item #7.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Approval of Findings regarding an Appeal of the Planning Commission Approval for a site plan permit for the construction of a six unit apartment complex between Helman and Laurel Streets.
3. Termination of a 20-foot wide public utility easement located along the westerly boundary of the properties located at 260, 262 and 266 Wimer Street (39 1E 05DC 1901, 1902 and 1900).
4. Hendrickson Airport Hangar Rental Agreement.
5. State Police Airport Hangar Rental Agreement.
6. Request for Judge Pro Tem appointment.
7. Mayor appointment of Jim Watson to Economic Development Strategy Ad Hoc Committee.
Councilor Reid requested that consent agenda item #3 be pulled and placed under New Business.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to approve consent agenda items #1,2, 4-7. Voice Vote: ALL AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS None.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Av./Presented a map and indicated the Ski Ashland Expansion Plan area on the map and noted how it related to the watershed. Stated that this is an important area in terms of erosion.
Sophia McDonald/210 California St., #A/Updated council on activities regarding Southern Oregon University students. Explained that there is discussion regarding the issue of housing in regards to the difficulty in finding large size housing, as well as the issue of discrimination against students. Explained that they have completed their student survey regarding RVTD and will bring the formal results back to council in the future.
Brief discussion regarding housing issues and the suggestion that the university look into providing student housing to accommodate students requiring larger apartments.
1. Oregon Shakespeare Festival proposal for new theater project.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:26 p.m.
Jo Fries/170 Ridge Rd./Spoke regarding the historic small, quiet town that Ashland was prior to the arrival of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Feels that OSF has only added to the quality and uniqueness of Ashland. Agrees that there is a space needs problem for OSF and supports the proposed plan by OSF for expansion and remodel. Believes that the city and citizens should continue to support OSF.
Chuck Keil/586 E. Main St./Noted his economic interest in the proposed plan of OSF, as a B&B owner in town. Explained that his concerns regarding the expansion and the moving of Carpenter Hall were handled very well by OSF, and stated that he is pleased with the discussion and communication on the part of OSF.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Ln./Supports the proposal put forth by OSF, but noted his concern with the direction of OSF in regards to the parking lot. Noted his concern with the festival=s wish to reserve the right to ask patrons to pay for the use of the structure. Stated he wouldn=t oppose raising the ticket price, but would be against charging for use of the new lot.
Joan Steele/332 Glenn St./Voiced amazement that a solution had been reached and voiced her support of the festival and the proposal by OSF. Would like to see some kind of encouragement by the council to the festival to allow more use of Carpenter Hall by community groups.
Susan Rust/1026 Henry St., #2/Stated that she felt the community of Ashland is an integrated whole, consisting of three components. These are the City, OSF and SOU. Explained that these three components maintain a balance in the community and provide diversity, economic prosperity and a unique quality of life. Emphasized that diminishing one component would weaken the whole.
Mike LaNier/211 Genesee St., Medford/Explained that he is a land-use consultant representing property owners on Hargadine Street, and stated that their purpose is not to discourage expansion, but to raise issues to be resolved before they lead to conflicts. Recognized that a single purpose review process is inadequate for a project of such a magnitude that it affects the community as a whole. Noted issues regarding transportation related to the Comprehensive Plan's Transportation Element Policy 23 regarding off-street parking, which he stated is in conflict with the City Municipal Code for the C-1-D zoning district. Stated that policies 24, 25 and 36 are applicable and need to be evaluated to look at adequate parking in the downtown. Stated that parking issues need to be examined further and addressed beyond this site-specific process. Questioned how funding was developed for this parking lot originally, and whether the original funding prescribed future uses. Noted current fee for downtown parking areas, that is in place, and questioned whether the monies collected from that fee will apply to maintain this new structure. Stated that there is a takings issue in regards to on-street parking availability. Suggested long-term solutions by looking at forming a district for OSF, an examination of Pioneer Street in regards to parking and the possibility of a closure. Also suggested examining a land use designation for festival usage to work better with the residential district nearby, amending the traveler's accommodation ordinance, and a shuttle service to allow employee parking further from OSF facilities. (Provided copies listing these issues for council.)
Michael Bingham/50 W. Nevada St./Commented on his longevity in the community and his thirteen years of owning a restaurant that was dependent on the festival. Recognized the importance of OSF in the community. Feels that we owe OSF reasonable consideration on their proposal.
Michael O'Brien/107 Fork St./A neighbor of OSF, commented on his support of OSF and their intention to continue open communication and participation in the proposed plan. Suggests developing a ACommittee of 50 to continue to provide participation and support for this proposal. Commented on the respect for OSF that has developed in other parts of the country.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 7:51 p.m.
Mayor Shaw commented on an e-mail received from Colin Swales. Clarified that the city's hotel/motel tax goes into the general fund. Stated that one-third of this tax goes to Economic Development, and two-thirds of that amount goes to the Chamber of Commerce and the remaining one-third (of the one-third of hotel/motel tax monies going to Economic Development) goes to the festival. Shaw noted that the parking standards in the downtown area do not require that off-street parking be provided. This is because the city wants buildings to be located on the street, and does not want a lot of parking lots to be placed downtown. Emphasized that this enhances multi-modal transportation and encourages walking.
Discussed how the increased number of seats would increase the number of visitors.
Paul Nicholson, Chuck Butler and Dan Thorndyke, Representing Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Explained how the size of theater was determined and the problems associated with placing the building on this property. Emphasized that the Black Swan is too small for the current use, and with construction there are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues which need to be addressed as well. Indicated on the map the size and height of the proposed building, noting that the peak of the roof will be 28 feet above the Hargadine Street level, with the eaves to be 14 feet over the street. Noted that these issues are all part of the planning process and the festival expects that all of these will be looked at in light of city ordinances through the planning process.
Councilor Reid expressed her concern with creating the perception that this is a done deal. Stated that she would like to see less discussion of details and encourage the public to participate in the actual planning process. Emphasized that the matter before council at this stage is just to initiate the planning process.
Councilor Laws commented that one of the problems involved in this project is the limitation associated with the planning process being limited in scope in regards to the city ordinances. Emphasized that there is a separate issue of the revision/extension of the lease with OSF that gives the city more leverage in looking at a broader range of issues. Stated that because of this, there is additional information that is needed up front before it actually gets to the planning process. Pointed out that the lease makes this matter a two-stage process rather the normal one-stage planning process.
Councilor Wheeldon noted that she felt this was the place to give staff some direction on negotiating the lease, and commented on possible revenue from parking fees as a means to fund alternative transportation. Emphasized that use of this revenue source should be kept open. Suggested that there was a need to consider air space in negotiation of the lease agreement with OSF, noting that a structure in Eugene has housing units in the spaces above the parking structure. Noted the possibility of providing affordable housing for people working at the theater. Would like to see the air space used to the benefit of the community at large.
Councilor Fine noted that the festival's concern has been with their artistic ability rather than with growth. Noted his suggestion that the festival consider "covenanting," that is making a legally binding commitment to the limitation on their future growth. Noted that the festival has expressed their intention not to use the Black Swan site to open an additional theater. Also expressed concern that Ashland citizens who own the Hargadine lot not be asked to pay rent to the festival for the use of the lot. Suggested that by the time the lease comes before council for renewal, there be a semi-final architectural rendering showing a design sensitive to the neighborhood and the spirit of downtown Ashland.
Nicholson confirmed for Shaw that the proposal represents an attempt to increase the capacity of the festival by 8-10%.
Hauck noted the need to look at wider public benefit, including a stipulation in the lease to allow public use of Carpenter Hall.
Wheeldon inquired why buildings were deeded to the city. Nicholson suggested that it was an EDA condition, but he could not find adequate documentation to confirm this. Laws clarified that the federal government would not give money to a private organization, and as such the grant had to go to the city.
Laws noted that some people seem to be trying to create a conflict around ownership of the property. Laws emphasized that the original grants were done for the public good, to create employment during a recession and to benefit the citizens of Ashland. It was not given to benefit the city government or the OSF. Suggested that this spirit of benefitting the community at large needs to be kept in mind.
Shaw noted that the paving of the parking lot originally would have been contracted out, as paving equipment was not acquired by the city until 1975.
Nicholson noted that initial elevations and renderings would be available long before a lease was prepared, as part of the pre-application process. Suggested that, with agreement of the council, this would take place within the next couple of months.
Freeman requested that council specify their intention to the staff for conditions to be sought in the negotiations for the OSF lease agreement. Reid questioned if this should be discussed in executive session. Laws suggested that starting on the lease negotiations is premature and does not want to delay the planning process. Laws suggested that the Administration staff work with OSF to prepare a preliminary lease to bring forward for council approval. Stated that he would like to see a more collaborative effort to lead into the lease negotiations.
Councilors Wheeldon/Reid m/s to authorize City Administrator Mike Freeman to sign the application for the planning action to be filed by OSF. Freeman would be signing the application as the owner=s representative for that portion of the project on city land (the Hargardine parking lot); by authorizing staff, the council: A) Is not committing itself as to how it would decide any land use appeal, if the planning action required for the project is appealed to the council; B) Is not committing itself to approval of a parking structure on the Hargardine lot; and C) Is not committing itself to any funding for a parking structure nor to any method of repayment for the structure, including paid parking.
DISCUSSION: Wheeldon stated that she would like to wait to begin lease negotiation until a forum can occur. Questioned how the planning process could move forward without addressing the lease, as building on the land could not proceed without working out an agreement to the use of the land and buildings. Reid stated that she was willing to begin talking of the lease, but that she would be unwilling to design it by committee. Stated that she would be willing to direct staff to begin the negotiation process. Laws stated that a study session is needed to look at the council=s intent. Discussion of how, and when, this could be best addressed. Shaw suggested two planning actions, one for the parking structure and one for the theater. They would occur together, but would be separate actions and this would allow the festival to move ahead on one item while the city works on the lease.
Nolte clarified that the festival could initiate a planning action on either item without the lease, but even if the action were approved they could not build without the lease matter being settled. Suggested that the lease negotiations be included as part of the motion.
Councilors Reid/Hauck m/s to amend motion to include authorizing staff to begin negotiation of lease amendments necessary for OSF to accomplish the project on the Hargadine parking lot. Voice vote on the motion to amend: All AYES. Motion passed. Roll call vote on the amended motion: Reid, Wheeldon, Laws, Hanson, Fine and Hauck, YES. Motion passed.
Mayor Shaw called a ten minute break.
2. Confirmation of plans for 125th anniversary of incorporation of City of Ashland.
3. Councilor Wheeldon explained that an Ashland student is organizing a fashion show celebrating this anniversary for her senior project. This is being supported by the Ashland Rotary Club, and OSF will be providing costumes. Noted that Rotary is providing refreshments on December 16th at the Mountain Avenue theater, and asked that the city provide use of Hillah Temple as needed for preparations for this event. Wheeldon noted the incredible contribution on the part of citizens to support Guanajuato-related events, and noted that this event will serve as a fund-raiser for sister city programs for Guanajuato. Council expressed their consensus to allow use of the Hillah Temple.
4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Amending 93-35 by Deleting Advertising Contracts as an Exemption from Competitive Bidding," and reading by title only of "A Resolution Amending Resolution 93-35 by Defining Advertising Contracts."
Freeman noted that council had been provided with copies of Resolution #93-35. Laws stated that he would be willing to simply delete provision 3.5 from the present ordinance, to remove the exemption for advertising contracts. Laws, Wheeldon, and Fine agreed. Fine expressed his concerns that public concerns were not sufficiently addressed, and stated that staff and council would be willing to discuss prior transactions if the public has ongoing concerns.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Ln./Voiced his preference for the addition of the amendment rather than deletion of provision 3.5, but recognized that they have essentially the same result.
Shaw read the synopsis from the council communication, and briefly explained the background behind this matter. Noted that advertising is one of a number of items, which are exempt from competitive bidding. Explained that when it came time to hire a firm to do internet work and advertising, the City Administrator put out an RFP for bids. When none of the responses were up to the standard, and many did not respond. Stated that the firm selected on a second go-round had by far the best scope of work in their bid. A citizen complaint brought this up as an issue because the matter was not subject to competitive bidding. Shaw stated that she feels this action tonight is a resolution to this issue.
Freeman clarified that the city began looking for a marketing firm to assist with the Ashland Fiber Network when he was new to the city, and he was unaware of the requirement for newspaper notification for bids. RFPs were sent directly to a group of firms. A local firm was ultimately awarded the contract. Clarified that there was no attempt to override proper procedures, it was merely an oversight, and stated that the City Attorney's reading of the ordinance was that advertising contracts were exempt anyway. Explained that with the new requirements being imposed here, there is a question of needing to competitively bid the contract when it is renewed this year. Stated that staff believes that this is not a good time to change advertising companies as a new telecommunications business is being launched. Explained problems with the set-up of the city web page, noting the difficulties in trying to update the old web page rather than creating a new one. Noted that this was a separate contract from the hosting of the web page, as was the training of staff to update the web page. Explained that this was the reason for the multiple contracts B two were for updating the web page, one was for hosting the site, and one for training staff.
Hauck clarified that the two updates of the web page were separate, and in effect an entire new web page was created with the second contract. Freeman noted that circumstances can change once a contract has been initiated, requiring more than one contract with a single firm.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray Lane/Emphasized that his question had to do with whether this was a contract was for personal services or a public contract. Stated that the contract was a personal services contract, subject to 94-21, but was only sent to five firms despite the resolutions requirement that it be sent statewide. Only one response was received, and one more RFP was sent to the company that ended up getting the contract. Because only one proposal was sent to this one firm, he believes that this did not follow the rules or the intent of 94-21. Stated that he does not believe that there is any signed agreement for the $300,000 that has been spent, and that the only signed agreement is for $50,000. Noted that the first web site contract lists four deliverables (development, adding of dynamic content/content masters, training, and deployment to search engines). Other contracts, signed on the same date, are for these same deliverables which should have been covered under the first contract. Stated that he feels that there is confusion about which items are included under which contract.
Confirmed for Laws that he does not believe there was any intent to circumvent rules for any nefarious purpose. He feels that mistakes may have been made for purposes of expediency. Hauck stated that he does not believe there were any technical violations made in this matter.
Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to approve Resolution # 99-66 amending 93-35 by deleting advertising contracts as an exemption from competive bidding. Roll Call Vote: Hauck, Laws, Fine, Wheeldon, Hanson and Reid, YES. Motion passed.
5. Reading by title only of "A Resolution opposing provisions of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) or similar international investment liberalization agreements that could restrict Ashland's ability to regulate within its jurisdiction, decide how to spend its procurement funds and support Local Economic Development.
Mayor Shaw noted staff's recommendation, which stated that this is a complex issue that is beyond staff expertise. Explained that staff recommends that the city council not take action on this issue for the following reasons: 1) Staff does not feel that the City has or will have all the information necessary to understand this complex issue; 2) It is unclear, even if passed what real impact the MAI would have on the City of Ashland; and 3) The MAI agreement negotiations have ceased for now, and no action is needed. This issue is not being actively negotiated. It is very likely that the MAI negotiations may continue and the language of the agreement changed significantly from the version that is now known about.
John Fisher-Smith explained that the US and Japan are seeking to incorporate Multi-Lateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) provisions into the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement. The language may be changed, but the intent is the same.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 9:20 p.m.
Kindler Stout/130 Orange Street/Stated that WTO will undermine safety of people, even in Ashland. Stated that more opposition to this agreement is needed, and urged council support of this resolution.
Gerry Cavanaugh/560 Oak Street/Representing the Alliance for Democracy/Commented that if staff feels that this issue is beyond their expertise, they should refrain from making a recommendation. Explained that this agreement is to allow multi-national corporations to over-ride democratically adopted rules and regulations. Asked that this body make a gesture by taking a stand to oppose MAI, which would undercut the democratic rights of the people.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 9:26 p.m.
Councilors Reid/Hauck m/s to approve Resolution #99-65. DISCUSSION: Reid noted that environmental protections are important and other countries should have the option to put such regulations in place. Hauck stated that he would be willing to support the resolution if the second to the last paragraph were deleted, as there would be no legal standing to oppose an international treaty. Reid stated that she would be willing to amend her motion accordingly.
Laws voiced concern with complexity to issue and the necessity to hear both sides to this issue. Laws commented on the issue regarding globalization and the dislocation of labor. Recognized that some of these provisions could be misused. Understands that the oppositon to the MAI evolves out of concern for this possibility of misuse, and suggests that international decision making will be needed. Laws does not feel comfortable with opposing MAI because of the complexity of the issue.
Fine noted the complexity of the issue and agreed with council concern that they have only had the opportunity to hear one side. Felt that council should defer to the federal government on international concerns, and emphasized that he would not feel comfortable with deciding on this issue, or burdening city staff with an issue of this magnitude. Fine requested that he be allowed to abstain from voting and encouraged other council inclined to vote no on this resolution to abstain.
Councilor Wheeldon requested clarification on the direction of the treaty negotiations, and whether a resolution opposing MAI is appropriate if MAI has been abandoned. Hauck stated that the language of the resolution speaks generally to the type of treaty, and would thus be appropriate.
Hanson does not believe that the MAI is going to go away and supports the resolution whole-heartedly.
Laws would like to vote for a resolution that would say that AThis Council urges the national government to protect local autonomy to the greatest extent possible in the development of any regulation of international trade.
Laws/Fine m/s to strike the wording of the original resolution, and amend it to read, "This Council urges the national government to protect local autonomy to the greatest extent possible in the development of any regulation of international trade."
Discussion: Wheeldon asked for input from the public; Shaw indicated that she was not willing to re-open the public hearing at this time.
Roll call vote on the motion to amend: Reid, Hauck, Hanson and Wheeldon; Fine and Laws, YES. Motion to amend failed 4-2. Roll call vote on the original motion: Reid, Hauck, Hanson, and Wheeldon, YES. Fine and Laws, ABSTAINED. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.
Freeman noted that this item was for council information, and he was available for any questions the council might have.
2. Presentation by Ashland Watershed Stewardship Alliance.
Jeff Fields/796 Oak Street/Requesting council to formally acknowledge and support the efforts of its citizens by voting and drafting a letter, to formally state that it would review the Alliance's completed comment before deciding what wild land fire mitigation strategy to officially promote. Fields clarified that this delay of the city's support was at the Forest Service's suggestion.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Presented map of Ashland watershed and how it relates to the HAZRED project. Briefly gave overview on the history of the watershed, noting clear-cut areas, area roads, and shaded fuel breaks. Noted the amount of timber that has been taken out of the area and feels that the Forest Service is taking advantage of the city by removing and profiting from the removal of timber. This also includes the cost of dredging Reeder Reservoir.
It was noted by Councilor Hanson that Reeder Reservoir was not dredged after the 1997 flood, but only the upper fork areas.
Laws noted the council's support and that there was no need for further argument. Agreed that the past practice by the forest service in clear-cutting did result in the need to dredge our reservoir, but emphasized that it may be difficult to determine the portion the degree of responsibility of the Forest Service versus natural erosion.
Councilors Hanson/Hauck m/s to draft a letter to the Forest Service with the wording requested. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
2. Authorization to Initiate Planning Processes for the Fire Station reconstruction and Library expansion and remodel.
Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to approve authorization to initiate planning process for Fire Station reconstruction and Library expansion/remodel. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
3. Request for Funding by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce for Assistance related to the Holiday Festival of Light Program.
Councilors Reid/Hauck m/s to approve funding request for Holiday Festival Light Program with Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
DISCUSSION: Reid noted that her approval of this request was conditioned upon the requirement that this request go through the budget process in the future.
Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
Laws questioned whether cash has been given in the past, or if it has all been in-kind donations. Freeman stated that there had been no cash given, but pointed out that the labor and materials amounted to about $26,000. Laws noted that he was uncomfortable with this, as there had been no council action in the past. Expressed concern that this amount to an add-on in addition to the money already given to the Chamber. Does not like add-ons outside of the budget process, and stated that he could vote in favor of this item only with the understanding that it sets no precedent and will need to go to the budget committee through the regular budget process next year. Freeman clarified for Hauck that the $26,000 mentioned included the street decorations that have always been done by the city in the past. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion Passed.
4. Termination of a 20-foot wide public utility easement located along the westerly boundary of the properties located at 260, 262 and 266 Wimer Street (391E05DC 1901, 1902 and 1900).
Reid noted her concern with letting go of a possible pedestrian path. Brown explained that this is strictly a public utility easement, and there is no easement for pedestrian access. Brown clarified that this is for utilities only, and the easement is simply being shifted to the other side of the lot. Reid stated that she would like to have pedestrian access easements wherever possible.
Councilors Fine/Hanson m/s to approve consent agenda #3. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS None.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS Mayor Shaw suggested that, given the upcoming work to be done on the library and the fire station, the city look at creating specific zoning districts for government buildings. Also stated that this might be considered for religious buildings. Explained that this might be handled with a specific overlay, such as a "G-1" district, as can be found in other cities. Shaw further explained that the fire station is being built in a commercial zone, while the Hillah Temple and the library are in residential zones.
Fine suggested that government use and libraries could be made outright permitted uses in all zones, as they would not likely conflict with potential developments in any zone.
Council discussion of concern over whether the speakers from the Ashland Watershed Stewardship Alliance were rushed in an attempt to end the meeting by 10:00 p.m. Hauck and Wheeldon stated that they felt the speakers were rushed, while Laws and Shaw stated that they felt the discussion had ended and the request had been granted. Hanson suggested that in the future, council attempt to be a little more sensitive.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:07 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder