MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 20, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison and Fine were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilor Hartzell noted for clarification in the March 6, 2001 Regular Meeting minutes, on page two under "Unfinished Business," that the City would be the recipient of the grant from the State.
Councilors Hanson/Fine m/s approval of the March 6, 2001 Regular Council Meeting minutes, with the clarification, and the Executive Meeting minutes of the same date. Motion carried.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Ashland High School Crew Team presented members of the Ashland Fire Department and the Police Department the "Golden Oar Award."
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Public Hearing on Appeal of Planning Action 2000-124, a request for a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment (Single Family Residential to Downtown Commercial) Zone Change (R-1-7.5 to C-l-D) and Site Review to permit the construction of an approximately 4,086 square foot addition to the building located at 51 Winburn Way (i.e. Hillah Temple). (Appellant: Brent Thompson; Applicant: City of Ashland)
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:30 p.m.
Mayor DeBoer announced the public hearing format for a Land Use Hearing.
Councilor Hartzell spoke with Planning Commissioner Fields on February 13,2001 and discussed the history of the project and the options for raising the building to two stories; Reid, Hanson, and Morrison all noted site visits; Fine received an email, but did not read the entire message once the subject was revealed; and DeBoer spoke with Mr. Meese regarding the view, if the building were two stories.
Community Development Director John McLaughlin reviewed the criteria for approval and explained that the application is for a 4,000 sq. ft addition to the Hillah Temple, to create new office space for the Community Development and Public Works administration offices. The property is zoned single family, but to convert the space to office use for a government agency, it requires a zone change to downtown commercial. The application was reviewed by the Historic Commission, and they approved it with recommendations regarding the entryway. The application was heard by the Planning Commission, and they approved it unanimously prior to Mr. Thompson's appeal.
McLaughlin reported that the architects and administration have met with neighboring property owners regarding the design. Thompson's appeal appears to be primarily about the efficient use of land and noted that the City is held to the same standards as the private sector. To support a second story on the existing building, either a skeletal structure would need to construct on the outside of the building or within the structure, which would take up more floor space. In his opinion, it would be easier and less expensive to demolish the building and construct a new design in its place. McLaughlin recommended supporting the decision of the Planning Commission and approval of the project. He further clarified that long-term projections have shown that there is adequate room for staff, and there is no expected change in the number of spaces for parking. He noted that materials from the existing building could not be recycled.
Nolte clarified that Council was to review the compliance of the applicant to meet the criteria for land use, including a zone change.
Doug and Linda Smith/60 Granite St/Submitted a letter in support of the Planning Action 2000-124.
Paul Ross/Submitted a letter in support of the Planning Action 2000-124.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Explained his masons for appealing the application. That this is one, of a series of five municipal or public building projects, including the library and fire station. He stated that additional parking is needed everywhere and could be better accommodated by building up rather than out. Thompson urged the council to scrap the current plan, build a two-story project, and to appoint a staff person to maintain the vision of a compact urban plan.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Stated sustainable architecture must begin with adaptive reuse. The design of the new building has a "strip-mall" look, which is inappropriate for the area. The footprint should be kept as close to the original as possible, and the design should be closer to the Hillah Temple. Parking does not need to be prioritized in the downtown area, because landscaping is more important.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Stated that the building is backed by a 20-foot high cliff and R-1 zoning would allow for 35-foot structure, which would not obstruct anyone's view. He suggested that the council review the Comprehensive Plan and zone change requirements, to make sure that government buildings fit within the requirements. Swales urged the council to deny the application and either reuse the building or build a better structure.
McLaughlin clarified that offices are an "allowed use" in the commercial zone and, although the ceilings are very tall at 16 feet, there is not enough room to build a second story. There is a small, potential space for a mezzanine in the Hillah Temple, but square footage is limited before an elevator is required. The Comprehensive Plan gives the general direction, but the specifics come from zoning ordinances and site designing use standards. The compact urban form has not been applied to an individual building, but has been used on sections of the City. He explained that the city ordinances encourage high-density development in the downtown core and the downtown plan encourages keeping city offices in the downtown core area. He explained that staff had recommended a flat-roof design, but the Historic and Planning Commissions felt the gables provided for the transition between the downtown and residential areas.
DeBoer confirmed that the remodel of the building would come to earthquake standards and the cement block of the HillahTemple could not be reused, except for aggregate use.
Scoles explained that the issues before the council, when the decision was made on the building, included the impact on the neighborhood, the functionality, and the cost. Staff was given a requirement for a single point of access for the public.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 8:05 p.m.
Laws stated that the appellant articulated the need for compact form, minimum urban sprawl, and reduced automobile trips, which are all part of the city plan and zoning ordinances. He noted that the City has one of the most compact urban growth boundaries in the state of Oregon, and that annexations have been turned down and strict guidelines have been developed. All things considered, he felt that this is not the only vision for forward movement and noted efficient and cost-effective uses of city government, and neighborhood compatibility are other concerns. He felt that the council must be realistic, which requires compromises, that there was no basis for the appeal.
Fine noted that a commitment was made a year ago, to provide additional office space for staff in the downtown area, where decisions were made regarding neighbors, the building, and policies. He did not think that the appellant addressed any of the criteria, but took issue with policy. Fine stated that, because there was no suggestion that the approval criteria had not been met by the applicant, the council must deny the appeal and approve the application.
Councilors Morrison/Fine m/s to deny the appeal and uphold staff's recommendation to approve the application, and to direct staff to prepare findings for the next council meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Shared his experience trying to add materials for council review. Lang requested clarification regarding policy for council packets
Councilor Hartzell/Morrison m/s to add the discussion of policy regarding council packets on the agenda under New Business.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Suggested altering the Public Forum section of the agenda and supported how the process was handled by Councilor Laws while he was filling in for Ex-mayor Shaw. He explained that Laws would restate the speaker's point of view and then ask the council for comments immediately.
Laws explained that the reason the agenda is set the way it is, is to keep the meeting going in an organized fashion. The Public Forum is allowed for a limited amount of time, which then allows for published agenda items. He recommended having the mayor or a council member summarize the citizen's statement and then stating how the issue will be disposed of, either by adding to the agenda, or otherwise.
Scoles clarified that, to his knowledge, no citizen's request to add an item to the agenda, has been denied.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Noted that Arbor Week is the first week of April and announced that the gingko tree, at the library, will receive a plaque for "Tree of the Year 2000". He requested that the library expansion project be delayed to accommodate the moving of the gingko and fir trees and discussion be placed on the agenda for the next council meeting.
DeBoer noted that construction is scheduled to begin in late May or early June, and a delay until November would add thousands of dollars to the contract, however, it will be taken under advisement.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Supported changing the Public Forum platform. He also felt that the council should be given compensation for their time. He felt that this would open the opportunity for others in the community to become council members. He suggested putting it to the vote of the people so that they could decide how much their representatives are worth. In addition, he requested a review of the 6-foot solar access ordinance to allow for an increase to 8 feet.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Update on the status the Hargadine parking structure.
City Administrator Greg Scoles briefly explained the background of the Hargadine Parking Structure, including the lease agreement with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) and the initial $1.8 million estimate for the project. He explained that the estimate was preliminary and prior to completion of the construction documents. OSF provided to the City in March, a revised estimate for the project of $2,371,375, and the City's share was calculated to be $845,259 or 35.67% of the total project cost. Staff is evaluating the estimate to ensure that the correct project costs are attributed to the City. The OECDD Grant/Loan was awarded to the City, but stipulated that it would be a $600,000 grant and a $900,000 low interest loan. Special Public Works Grant/Loans are awarded to public agencies, and are intended to assist in economic development efforts. OSF sought out the grant/loan, but it was awarded to the City, because OSF is not a public agency.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray/Stated that if there was any illusion that OSF and the City were partners, it has been shattered. OSF is looking out for itself and the City should do the same. The grant monies belong to the City, not OSF. Silbiger stated that the money should be used for the benefit of Ashland and the City should keep the grant and give OSF the loan.
Philip Lang/758 B/Gave the history of the project, including the legal implications. He summarized the benefits OSF would receive (the Hargadine lot, the $1.5 million grant, control of the lot, and profit from parking fees), and that the City would receive the unchangeable and permanent responsibility of paying the $900,000 loan. He believes the lease is illegal, and that by accepting the grant, would be fraudulent. Lang urged the council to restart the lease negotiation process.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Noted that the lease includes the location of HVAC equipment for the theater in the parking structure. The City's share would be $28,228, which is half the amount for this portion of the project. The taxpayers should not be charged for the theater's HVAC. Because the projects are co-mingling, it proves that the buildings are contiguous.
He was opposed to paying for strengthening of the building for the possibility of another story, because the structure is already at maximum size as per City Ordinance. Swales urged the council to carefully review the figures, and look out for the financial well being of the taxpayers of Ashland.
Paul Nicholson/311 Terrace/Executive Director of OSF/Clarified that the $1.5 million must come to OSF to pay for the contractor. The $56,000 cost for HVAC is for the parking lot ventilation, not the theater. Nicholson outlined several points on the behalf of OSF: 1) they are willing to renegotiate the lease regarding the operation of the parking facility; 2) proceeds from the facility would go to the City, but associated administrative costs would be reimbursed to OSF; 3) they are not looking to make a profit, but do want to collaborate with the City in setting parking rates; 4) they are open to discuss the fair obligation of the City in the cost of the project; 5) they would sign an agreement that would indemnify the City; 6) if they run the facility, they expect to sign an agreement guaranteeing the repayment of the loan.
Nolte noted that, although spaces may have existed before, it does not mean that a new structure cannot be funded under the grant.
DeBoer clarified that there is an extension to June 1, 2001, and staff will return with a recommendation once the requirements have been review.
Hartzell requested that any future OSF proposal, reflect the Minutes associated with the decision made by the prior council, including the intent declared regarding the lease. Scoles explained that the monies are Special Public Works funds, which requires that jobs associated with the new structure after completion must be guaranteed through the agreement to provide a living wage. Scoles and the mayor met with OSF, and it was agreed that if OSF wanted to alter the lease, a proposal should be made and sent to the council. Currently the lease agreement states that the City will operate the parking facility. Preliminary meetings with parking and police are working toward a fee schedule. Reid requested an outline of costs for the City to run the facility before making a decision.
Fine requested that staff compare the changes from the original project, including the financial impact. He questioned any changes, including who was involved and why. Nolte clarified for the council that the contract is legal and does not violate state statutes, but that it is a matter of interpretation when reading the laws. DeBoer noted that the parking facility is scheduled to be active as of June 15, and if the City intends to manage it, movement must be made rapidly. The lease may be changed regardless of the outcome, because the acceptance of the grant may facilitate changes.
2. Discussion regarding policy of material handed in for council/public
Scoles clarified the policy for adding materials to council packets, that material relating to an item on the agenda, are included in the packet. If materials are not related to the agenda, they do not become part of the packet, but are included in the envelope with other miscellaneous items. Laws suggested that the council mail should be opened prior to distribution in order to determine a priority for delivery.
ORDINANCES - RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution establishing a renewable Resource Purchase Policy by the City of Ashland for Solar, Wind, Fuel Cell and Hydroelectric Power generated by customers of the Ashland Electric Utility; and Repealing Resolution 96-42."
Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderscheid explained the history of the policy. The State Legislature has mandated a size requirement, and the proposed policy brings the City into compliance. In 1996, the City, as an incentive, agreed to pay for excess power (up to 1,000 kw/month at the full retail cost, including the 25% tax). The new policy would be for solar and wind power, but not for hydroelectric or fuel cell power. There are four net-metered systems in the city, which are the four installed as part of the pioneer program. Three new citizens are very close to putting in systems of their own. Wanderscheid feels it is important to include solar and wind power, but not hydroelectric or fuel cells.
Electric Department Director Pete Lovrovich stated that hydroelectric and fuel cell power could receive a payback, but it would be at the wholesale rate. A presentation is scheduled for the April 4, Study Session.
Wanderscheid explained that the Bonneville Alpha Program is testing ten fuel cells, one of which has caught on fire twice. The fuel cell was included at the last minute at the request of the gas company. It is a renewable resource purchase policy, and natural gas is not a renewable resource. Fuel cells are not currently available for purchase and probably will not be for at least five years. The incentive would be approximately $960 per year, assuming the kilowatts are nine cents.
Laws stated that the technology should not be encouraged until it has been made safe and there is enough concern to warrant refusing to subsidize fuel cells. Lovrovich clarified that 25 kilowatts would be equivalent to the electrical needs of five or six homes. The 25-watt amount came directly from State law. One kilowatt of solar capacity will generate approximately 1,800 kilowatt hours per year. The 25-watt amount could be raised, but it would adversely affect the contract the City has with Bonneville. Lovrovich explained the process for citizens who want to add alternative power generation.
It was agreed by the council, to wait until atfer the presentation at the April 4, Study Session before making any decisions.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Reid noted the memo from Public Works Director Paula Brown regarding the quality of the Lithia Water. It states, "it is not intended to be treated for drinking water or any other standard." She suggested posting a sign at the fountain that makes this clear.
Reid commented on the letter from the State of Oregon to Sue Kupillas regarding the Siskiyou rest stop and suggested referring the county/city team to look for support from Crater Lake, Diamond Lake and other facilities that could be short-changed if it is moved to Rogue River.
Reid requested a copy of the latest time projections concerning the Strawberry Lane LID, which took precedence over the Tolman Creek project.
Hartzell noted the Community Forum on April 12, regarding the reduction of prevention of a fire threat.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.