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City Council Meetings Summary for February 1 and 2

Listed below is the summary of all the items coming to the Council at the study session of February 1 and the business meeting of February 2. For the complete agenda and agenda packet click here.

Study Session of February 1, 2016
3.   Continued discussion of planning for City Hall replacement. The Council at its June 15, 2015, study session requested that the City conduct a seismic evaluation of City Hall to determine the cost of bringing the building up to current seismic codes.  Necessary seismic upgrades would involve removing the roof, the floor on the second floor and all of the drywall on the interior of the north and west walls, then building a system of ties and braces to secure the building. The estimated cost (including contingency but excluding soft costs and temporary staff relocation) is $176/sq. ft., or $1,363,757.  The seismic upgrades will require the relocation of city staff for approximately nine months at a cost of just under $157,000.  Soft costs would be roughly $322,000.  If the City did necessary and long-overdue HVAC and plumbing replacement as well as fire suppression and ADA improvements, the total cost of the project exceeds the cost of simply demolishing and rebuilding City Hall or building a new City Hall at a different location on City-owned property.
4.   Discussion of approaches to downtown behavior issues. This is a continuation of the study session discussion begun at the Council’s January 19, 2016, meeting.  The Council requested that staff compile information on various approaches to addressing the downtown behavior issues that plagued the City last summer.  This report addresses six specific tactics that have budgetary implications.  At the January 19 meeting, the Council decided to focus in the short-term on three of those tactics: hiring two additional police cadets; hiring social service outreach workers during the summer months; and creating a downtown host or ambassador program.  In addition to these tactics, the City Attorney is seeking Council input on possible ordinance changes to address aggressive public misconduct, and the Police Chief has instituted operational changes to increase police presence downtown.  Staff will also present potential funding options at this study session.
Immediately following the Study Session, the City Council will hold an Executive Session for labor negotiations and real property transactions pursuant to ORS 192.660(2) (d) and (e).
Business Meeting of February 2, 2016
Items 1 and 2 are ones Council sees on a regular basis (minutes, liquor licenses, commission appointments, etc.)
3.     Contingent approval of an airspace license for Plaza Condo Unit Owners Association, Inc. Plaza Condo Unit Owners Association, Inc., owner of the building at 25 North Main Street on the plaza, wishes to perform seismic upgrades to its property and in the process add a balcony to the building.  The project will require Historic Commission review and Planning Commission approval.  Placing a balcony over a public right of way requires an airspace license from the City.  Allan Sandler, on behalf of the Plaza Condo Unit Owners Association, is seeking assurance that the City will grant an airspace license before initiating the process of seeking planning approval.  This license is presented for Council approval, but it will not be executed until or unless Sandler receives Planning and Building approval for the project.
1.       Plastic bag ban – one year review. Council adopted an ordinance regulating the use of plastic bags in November 2014. A one-year review by Council was specified in the ordinance.  The review provides the Council with an opportunity to evaluate the initial success of the ordinance, address issues from the public and determine whether alterations may be beneficial or if the ordinance is working as intended.
2.       Update on issues involving the Vinyl Club and the Granite Tap House. This is a Council-requested update regarding problems at Granite Tap House and the Vinyl Club.  These establishments were flagged for follow-up when their liquor licenses were renewed six months ago.  Granite Tap House has made improvements with regard to its emergency egress issue that caused it to be flagged.  The number of complaints regarding excessive noise at the Vinyl Club has declined substantially and the number of disorderly conduct complaints dropped to zero.
1.       First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance establishing a tax on the sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products in the City of Ashland and referring said tax to the voters of Ashland in the November 8, 2016 general election” and move to second reading. State law allows cities and counties to charge a local sales tax of up to 3% on the sale of marijuana and marijuana infused products at OLCC-licensed retail outlets within their jurisdiction. This ordinance imposes such a tax and refers the ordinance to the voters of Ashland in the November 8, 2016, general election, as required by state law.
2.       First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance creating AMC Chapter 9.30 to prohibit smoking in places of employment, in enclosed areas open to the public, and in downtown Ashland” and move to second reading. This is an ordinance that codifies the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act (ORS 433.835 et seq.) into the Ashland Municipal Code.  Doing so allows the Ashland Police Department to enforce the provisions of the Act, which is otherwise enforced by local public health departments and property owners.  The Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking or the use of inhalants in all public places and places of employment. Public places are defined as any enclosed area open to the public. In addition this ordinance prohibits smoking or the use of inhalants in downtown Ashland.
1.       Council endorsement of SB 1574, relating to greenhouse gas emission goals and carbon pollution markets (request of Councilor Marsh). Councilor Marsh has requested that the Council consider formal written support of the recently proposed Healthy Climate Act (Senate Bill 1574), which has been introduced in the 2016 session of the Legislature.

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