Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

February 15, 2005
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Hearn were present.

The minutes of the Regular Council Minutes of February 1, 2005 were amended to note that Mayor Morrison reclused himself from the Fern Valley Interchange Project decision due to his involvement with both RVCOG and his current occupation.

Proclamations for Celebration of 100th Birthday of Rotary International on February 23, 2005 and February 28 - March 6, 2005 as Peace Corps Week were read aloud.


1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Tracy Cohen to the Tree Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2006.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.


1. Continuation of Public Hearing on Appeal of Planning Action 2004-105 - A Request for Preliminary Plat Approval of a Seven-Lot Subdivision, an Exception to the Street Standards, a Tree Removal Permit, a Conditional Use Permit for an Accessory Residential Unit and a Variance to Off-Street Parking Requirements for the Properties located at 759 and 769 South Mountain Avenue.)

PUBLIC HEARING: Re-opened at 7:13 p.m.
Mayor read aloud the procedure for a Public Land Use Hearing. He noted that additional items had been submitted into the record.

City Attorney Mike Franell explained that Assistant Attorney Mike Reeder addressed the issues raised at the last public hearing and prepared a Memo that identified the applicable code standards and policy considerations. Mr. Reeder determined that the Council has the authority to grant an exception to the Street Standards, but in order to do so they would need to show that all provisions of AMC 18.88.050 had been met. Mr. Reeder found that the Municipal Code does not require that paved private drives need to be deducted from the lot size. He found that the Municipal Code was very clear in that the calculation for lot size excluded any dedicated right-of-way. He also determined that the Council could require the dedication of an easement rather than a dedication of right-of-way.

Mr. Franell explained the competing policy considerations regarding this application. He also clarified that in a sense, the Tree Protection Plan was optional because each parcel could be developed separately through a Single-Family Residential Use permit.

City Planner Maria Harris submitted a Memo to the Council that contained recommended and potential amendments to the Planning Commissions' Findings. Ms. Harris clarified that in existing neighborhoods where the right-of-way does not allow for the adequate street width, the use of a pedestrian public easement has been the approach in the past. Community Development Director John McLaughlin added that the difference between a dedicated easement and a dedicated right-of-way is that the dedicated easement area would not need to be deducted from the overall lot size calculation. Mr. Franell explained that in general, easements are more limited than right-of-ways and that easements typically are for a very specific purpose. Council discussed how right-of-ways and easements are used elsewhere in the City.

Mr. McLaughlin clarified that the proposed turn-around was designed to accommodate vehicular traffic and would not be used by emergency vehicle. He added that fire trucks would be able to drive down the street in order to access homes, but they would not be able to turnaround and would have to back out.

Ms. Harris clarified for Council that the proposed development would only add approximately 10 vehicle trips per day on Prospect Street. Council discussed the parking requirements for this development. Ms. Harris clarified that the purpose of a parkrow is to provide a buffer for pedestrians from the street and they also provide an opportunity for street trees and traffic calming. Given the low volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on this site, the Planning Commission determined that a parkrow was not a critical element.

Fire Chief Keith Woodley noted that Enforcement Officer Marguerite Hickman reviewed this project and that they had both performed site visits. Ms. Hickman clarified that when a proposal comes before the Fire Department, they review the project to ensure that it meets all of the Fire Code requirements set forth in the Ashland Municipal Code. In this situation, the proposal as it was presented did meet all of the requirements. Mr. Woodley stated that the Fire Department's primary objective was to ensure that the development would not hinder the Fire Department's ability to protect the structures in the event of an emergency. Mr. Woodley clarified that the fire trucks are 10 feet wide, and that they prefer to have a 1-foot clearance on either side; however the fire crews are able to maneuver in tight spaces and would be able to navigate the 11 ft. wide street.

Mr. McLaughlin clarified that the Council could ask for a Tree Protection Bond if they had evidence that indicated that the Applicant would not follow through with the Tree Protection Plan. He noted that Staff has yet to require such a bond, and clarified that the Tree Protection Plan would need to be implemented at the beginning of the project, so the Applicant would have to comply in order for the development to proceed.

Councilor Hartzell disclosed that she had spoken with Mr. Sigetich, but they did not discuss the Planning Action. Councilor Jackson disclosed that she had consulted with Staff, performed a site visit, and had a telephone conversation with Planning Commissioner Marilyn Briggs where Briggs voiced her support of the Planning Commission's decision.

Exhibits were introduced into the record by Rebecca Reid, Kip Sigetich and Randall Hopkins.

Mr. Franell explained some of the areas that are open to interpretation by the Council, including: 1) the interpretation of "serving", 2) whether or not to count the private drive towards the square footage calculation, and 3) what constitutes the "unusual circumstance" that would warrant the exception to the street standards for the curbside sidewalk and less than standard right-of-way. Mr. Franell noted that it would be difficult for the Council to justify that private drives should not count towards the overall square footage.

Council commented on the possibility of moving the sidewalk on South Mountain to the opposite side of the street were there is existing right-of-way available. Mr. Franell agreed that this was an appropriate option for the Council to consider.

Mr. Franell clarified that the Ashland Municipal Code clearly states that public right-of-ways are not included in the lot size calculation, however the Code does not address private drives. He noted that Mr. Reeder investigated this issue and feels that private drives should be included in the lot size, however this is an area of possible interpretation for the Council.

Mr. Franell clarified that the Council cannot approve this project unless they determine that Prospect is an adequate street within the Code. If they decide that the street is not adequate, they will have to require additional right-of-way pursuant to the AMC.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to extend Public Hearing until 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Alan Harper/Representing the Applicant/717 Murphy Rd/Stated if the Council was not interested in a pedestrian easement, they could explore the possibility of a differed dedication. Mr. Harper stated that the exceptions provided for in the Code were designed for just this kind of situation. He quoted the Street Standards Handbook which states, "Exceptions should be allowed when physical conditions exist that preclude development of a public street or components of streets. Such conditions may include but are not limited to: topography, wetlands, mature trees, creeks, drainages, or limited right-of-ways when improving the streets". Mr. Harper stated that this is exactly the situation that they are dealing with. Mr. Harper quoted another clause in the Street Standards Handbook which states that "Care must be taken not to focus on efficiency in worst case scenarios", and stated that he is afraid that this is what is happening. Mr. Harper stated that the end goal should be to balance a notable, livable, functional street for the neighborhood. He also stated that what they have proposed is consistent with the minimum paved driving surface requirements.

Mr. Harper explained that the Applicant is willing to do whatever the Council wishes in terms of improvements. He also noted that compared to the very limited impacts this project would have on Prospect, the Applicant was offering to provide substantial improvements.

Mr. Harper submitted his exhibits into the record.


Council discussed the Planning Commission's conditions and the amendments suggested by Staff.

Comment was made expressing support for placing the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Suggestion was made for the Council to ask the Traffic Safety Commission to look into the issue of one-sided or two-sided parking. Council received clarification on the differed dedication option. Mr. Franell stated that from a legal standpoint, he was opposed to the differed dedication possibility because it would create non- conforming properties. Comment was made expressing concern that there would only be a 6" clearance on each side of the fire trucks. Suggestion was made that the Council consider adding a condition for the Tree Protection Bond.

Suggestion was made to amend Condition #3 to read, "That the necessary public pedestrian easement for the Prospect and Mountain subdivision sidewalk improvements shall be granted and shown on the final survey." Mr. Franell stated that the Council could also add the language "…public pedestrian and utility easement..." Additional suggestion was made to include the term "perpetual". Entire Condition #3 with changes should read: "That the necessary perpetual public pedestrian and utility easement for the Prospect and Mountain subdivision sidewalk improvements shall be granted and shown on the final survey." Mr. Franell clarified that a perpetual pedestrian easement would not count against the lot area and would not create a non-conforming situation with the lots.

Suggestion was made to amend Condition #11 to read: "That the proposed Prospect street improvement east of the turnaround shall be revised to increase the curb-to-curb width to 25 feet." Suggestion was made to insert an additional sentence, which would read: "The Traffic Safety Commission will evaluate and recommend one-sided or two-sided parking, whichever is most appropriate." Entire Condition #11 with changes should read: "That the proposed Prospect street improvement east of the turnaround shall be revised to increase the curb-to-curb width to 25 feet. The Traffic Safety Commission will evaluate and recommend one sided or two sided parking, whichever is most appropriate. That the proposed Prospect street improvement west of the turnaround shall be revised so that the curb-to-curb width is 22 feet. The engineered drawings shall be revised accordingly."

Comment was made opposing two-sided parking. Council discussed whether they needed to specify that the street should be one-sided. Suggestion was made that the Council should state the street should be one-sided unless the Traffic Safety Commission advises differently.

Council agreed that they were satisfied with the wording of Conditions #8 and #29 as presented by Staff.

Suggestion was made to amend Condition #26 to read: "That a fence shall be installed at the applicants expense on the east end of the private drive turnaround to prevent headlights from shining into adjacent properties. In addition, a fence shall be installed at the applicants expense at the mutual boundaries with 789 South Mountain Avenue and with 1036 Prospect to the maximum allowable height in accordance with 18.68.010. Fencing shall be installed prior to issuance of a building permit for Lot 3,4,5, or 6."

Council discussed whether they wanted to require a Tree Protection Bond. Mr. McLaughlin explained that there were several options that could be used if the Council decided to require the bond.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting to 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to uphold the Planning Commission decision with the recommendations from Staff for Condition #3, #11, #8, #29 and #26 as amended. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Deborah Gordon, MD/1607 Siskiyou Blvd/Spoke regarding the House and Senate Bills that would give the Department of Human Services the authority to require that water providers add fluoride to the drinking water. Ms. Gordon explained that there are serious problems with using the water supply to deliver this product and asked that the Council consider sending her questions to the House Water Committee and to our representatives in the Senate. Ms. Gordon stated that the State has the responsibility to look into this matter. [COPY OF MS. GORDON'S DOCUMENTATION IS ATTACHED TO THE ORIGINAL MINUTES]

Colin Swales/1282 Old Willow Lane/Spoke regarding an article that was in the Daily Tidings. Mr. Swales mentioned Citizen Participation, Ethics and the allegations made against Councilor Hardesty in regards to public meetings and asked for a response from either the Council or from the City's Legal Department in regards to the article.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Spoke regarding the Downtown Visioning Meetings. Mr. Navickas stated he was disappointed with the schedule and noted that the first three meetings were going to be about downtown parking. Mr. Navickas stated they are prioritizing wrong and thinks that there are many other issues they should be focusing on, such as scale. Mr. Navickas encouraged the Council to reschedule the topics of discussion and to not put so much emphasis on parking and automobiles.



1. Draft Request for Proposals - Planning Division Operational and Organizational Review and Land Use Ordinance Review.
Moved to next Council Meeting due to time constraints.


1. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Rules of Procedure for Public Contracting and Personal Services Contracts; Repealing Chapters 2.50 and 2.52 of the Ashland Municipal Code and Resolutions No. 2000-15, No. 2000-14, No. 99-68, No. 99-64, and No. 99-30; and Declaring an Emergency."

Mr. Franell explained that the legislature passed a comprehensive change to the overall public contracting provisions in the State Code, and required that public jurisdictions adopt new public contracting procedures no later than March 1st, 2005. If the City does not adopt new procedures before the deadline, the City defaults to the Model Rules that have been published by the Attorney General's Office. Mr. Franell explained that the proposed ordinance is very similar to what was previously on the books and stated that it is important for the Council to move forward with adopting the ordinance.

Council questioned the $75,000 limit set forth in Section 2.50.060 and asked for justification for why it is set at such a high amount. Mr. Franell explained that Ashland moved to this dollar amount several years ago and explained that the State actually allows up to $150,000. The proposed ordinance is just following what had already been established.

In regards to Section 2.50.070.H, suggestion was made for the definition form be inserted back into the ordinance.

Mr. Franell explained Section 2.50.070.L and gave an example of how the City could "piggy-back" onto a State bidding process. Mr. Franell also explained that Section 2.52.040.F was added because there were no rules governing Personal Service rules and procedures.

Suggestion was made that any contract change or amendment should have a cap placed on it. Mr. Franell stated that he would insert wording to this effect and bring it back to the Council for its second reading.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve first reading and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Jackson and Hearn, YES; Councilor Hartzell and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution in Support of Repealing the Ban on Real Estate Transfer Taxes."
Moved to next council meeting due to time constraints.


Meeting as adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

Documents submitted during Public Forum.

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