Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

August 2, 2005
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Council Chair Kate Jackson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Mayor Morrison was absent.
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 19, 2005; Executive Meeting of July 19, 2005; and Hospital Board Annual General Meeting of July 19, 2005 were approved as presented.
Mayor's Declaration to Commemorate Hiroshima Day (August 6th) and Nagasaki Day (August 9th) was read aloud.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Jennifer Henderson to the Housing Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2007.
3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Dan Maymar to the Forest Lands Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2008.
4. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Dan Mackin to the Ad Hoc Ashland Fiber Network Options Committee and for appointment of Russ Silbiger as Council Liaison.
5. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Alan Bender to the Traffic Safety Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2006.
Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Alice Hardesty/575 Dogwood Way/Presented list of signatures to the Council from individuals who support Police Chief Mike Bianca.
1. AFRCA Technical Committee's response to USFS DEIS.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley introduced AFRCA Committee members Marty Main, Darren Borgias, George Badura, Frank Betlejewski, Joseph Vaile and Chris Chambers and Forest Lands Commissioner Joanne Eggers. Mr. Woodley explained that the AFRCA Committee had prepared a response to the Forest Service's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), and they were before the Council seeking their endorsement before submitting it to the Forest Service. It was noted that the Council would need to take action on this item tonight, in order to meet the Forest Service's August 7th public comment deadline. Mr. Woodley stated that the Forest Lands Commission has reviewed and endorsed the response and Staff is recommending that Council endorse the report as well.

Mr. Main spoke regarding monitoring and clarified that the preferred action would be to establish an inventory prior to any activity in the watershed; perform monitoring during the activity, as well as analysis afterwards. Mr. Borgias added that the Healthy Forest Restoration Act directs agencies to promote multi-party monitoring and that they intend to develop a comprehensive monitoring plan collaboratively with the Forest Service.

Mr. Woodley clarified that it was their expectation that the Final Environmental Impact Statement would incorporate comments that have been made in response to the DEIS. He also noted that there was considerable discussion amongst the group regarding the long term relationship between the City of Ashland and the Forest Service. He stated that they have discussed revisiting the 1929 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to develop a permanent relationship through which these projects could be managed and discussed. Mr. Vaile added that this would be a 10-year project that would consist of several smaller activities and stated that the AFRCA group felt that in order to have a give and take between the City and the Forest, the MOU would need to be amended in order to formalize this relationship.

Suggestion was made for the AFRCA group to bring back options to the Council on how to move forward with amending the 1929 MOU.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Provided a brief history of the management plans for the Rogue River National Forest and explained how these plans differed under the Clinton and Bush administrations. Mr. Navickas stated that under Clinton's NW Forest Plan of 1993, this area was defined as a late successional reserve; however there is a loophole in the plan that allows this area to be logged if it is done for fuels reduction. He stated that the Bush administration was attempting to exploit this loophole in order to meet timber yields proposed some 14 years ago to meet current industry demands for public timber. Mr. Navickas noted some of the statements made by the City in the past in regards to only supporting under-burning. He also stated that the non-commercial work from the Ashland Watershed Protection Plan has yet to be completed and noted that the AFRCA Committee's proposal lacked a diameter limit. Mr. Navickas suggested that the Council set at least a 17" diameter limit, restrict any treatments in the roadless area, restrict any further road building and helipad construction, and require that the non-commercial work proposed under the Ashland Watershed Protection Project be completed before any logging begins.

In response to Mr. Navickas diameter limit suggestion, Mr. Borgias stated that a simplistic limit or constraint was not always that most effective way to handle the situation. He stated that the AFRCA team was very concerned about retaining the large trees in the forest, but noted that the trick was defining "large" in context for the different areas of the forest. He added that the Community Alternative builds in the flexibility needed to make these ecological decisions and works very well to protect large trees by bringing in a justification process. Mr. Betlejewski added that when dealing with the diameter issue, other factors needed to be looked at including the species of the tree, its fire resistance level and how it is distributed. He stated that the overall goal of the project was to retain the largest trees; however there could be some situations where a tree larger than 18" might need to be removed.

Mr. Main explained that the Ashland watershed and this project was unique in the Pacific Northwest and stated that this area has been earmarked as a very important and unique resource from a variety of perspectives. He noted that one of the things that makes it unique is that it is located on the edge of the Siskiyou Mountain Range, which is well known to be one of the most diverse regions in the country. He stated that this diverse system makes for complex decision making and cautioned the City to beware of simplistic solutions on how to manage the watershed.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to endorse the DEIS Response from the AFRCA Technical Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Ms. Eggers encouraged the development of a stronger formalized relationship with the Forest Service and stated that this could be accomplished by attaching another MOU to the 1929 agreement. She stated that it is the Forest Service's responsibility to provide the resources for monitoring, however feels it would be helpful for the City and community to assist in that project.

Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to encourage the AFRCA Committee to maintain dialogue with the USFS with the goal to reduce logging damage to the forest. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Gino Grimaldi clarified that he understood this motion to mean that the Council was instructing Staff, the Forest Lands Commission, and the AFRCA Committee to do everything possible to minimize the impact on the forest, that they have concerns about the sedimentation, that they want to see the goals of the project achieved, but the impact on the environment kept to a minimum. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

2. Approval of Personal Services Contract for Land Use Ordinance Review.
City Attorney Gino Grimaldi presented the Staff Report and explained that this issue had previously come before the Council when they reviewed the Request For Proposals (RFP) back in March. He stated that the goal of this contract is to review the City's Land Use Codes and noted that there are a variety of conflicts in the code and stated that this has caused problems for Council and the Planning Commission when reviewing applications. Mr. Grimaldi stated that there were four firms that responded to the RFP and the costs for their services ranged from $20,000 to $57,000. Staff is recommending that the Council approve the contract with Siegel Planning Services for a cost of $49,500. Mr. Grimaldi explained that one of the reasons they are moving forward with Siegel was because of their experience with this type of work and stated that Staff felt that they were the most suited to proceed with this task. He stated that if the contract was approved, work would begin as soon as possible and Staff anticipates that the review would be completed by December or January.

Comment was made regarding the possible creation of an oversight committee that would oversee the implementation of this as well as the Planning Department Organizational Review contract and help steward these projects. Mr. Grimaldi clarified that the Mayor could create such a committee.

Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to authorize the City Administrator to enter into a contract with Siegel Planning Service for Land Use Ordinance Review services. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

3. Approval of Personal Services Contract for Planning Department Organizational Review.
Mr. Grimaldi stated that the major components of the organizational review included a staffing analysis, a look at processes and procedures, a look at the management structure, and an evaluation of customer service both from the applicants' perspective and from the perspective of affected citizens. Four firms responded to this RFP, with a cost for services ranging from $26,000 to $55,000. The proposed contract with Zucker Systems being recommended by Staff has a total cost of $38,950. Mr. Grimaldi stated that Zucker scored high due to the extent of the firms experience and qualifications; Staff was also very impressed with the team that would be assigned to this review. If Council approved the contract, work would begin in September and would be completed by December or January.

Suggestion was made to hold off on this action until the Planning Director position is filled.

Mr. Grimaldi stated that one of the advantages to doing this review now was that it would provide a clear roadmap to the new Planning Director when he or she arrives. An advantage to delaying it is that it would allow the new director to influence the study and have more ownership of the results. The other advantage of delaying it is in regards to the work load perspective.

Comment was made that this review was planned long before the Planning Director resigned and support was voiced for moving forward with the process.

Council questioned if tonight would be the appropriate time to suggest changes to the proposed contract. Mr. Grimaldi stated that one of the first actions outlined in the scope of services is to refine the work program; however if Council would like to recommend adjustments, now would be time to voice those changes to Staff.

Concern was expressed in regards to the additional burden this review would place on the Planning Staff. Mr. Grimaldi stated that if Council approved the contract, he would enter into discussion with Zucker Systems to get a better feel for the amount of time that would need to be spent, who would be impacted, and discuss this with the Community Development Staff before the review process began.

The following modifications to the Personal Service Contract were suggested by Councilor Hartzell:

Page 5:
Request was made to ensure that in the interviews and focus groups that the Planning Commission be included more than is proposed and that the councilors be included, if they choose.
Page 6: Section 4.1
Suggestion was made to include a list of appeals, with a minimum of those experienced over the past year and a half.
Page 6: Section 5.0
Comment was made that this section refers to 10 staff members and it was questioned who was included in this group; whether it was just the Planning Department or if Building and Conservation were included as well.
Page 8: Section 7.0
Suggestion was made to include the adequacy or thoroughness of the communication and information presented to decision makers.
Page 9: Section 7.2
Recommendation was made to add enforcement to the list.
Page 9: Section 7.4
Recommendation was made to add preparation of materials for decision making bodies.

Comment was made noting that there are hidden costs that the contract does not pick up, including the refreshments for the focus groups and printing and mailing costs.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve the Personal Services Contract with the modifications in the work plan, and with the caveat that Council directs the City Administrator to decide the timing of the implementation. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Setting the Time and Place for a Public Hearing on the Withdrawal of Certain Real Property from Jackson County Fire District No. 5; and Directing Publication of Notice as Required by ORS 222.524 (Pacific Western of Medford, LLC, Annexation, end of Clover Lane).
It was noted that the public hearing is scheduled for September 6th Council Meeting.

Councilor Silbiger/Amarotico m/s to approve Resolution #2005-32. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City of Ashland Annexing a Contiguous Area to the City of Ashland, Oregon, and Providing for an Effective Date (Pacific Western of Medford, LLC, Annexation, end of Clover Lane).
Senior Planner Bill Molnar stated that this action involves a 1.3 acre parcel located at the end of Clover Lane, and noted that Council approved the annexation back in October of 2003. Mr. Molnar explained that there were some significant public improvement and infastructure requirements of the applicant, which led to the delay of this action. He stated that all of the improvements have now been designed and a bond has been posted for installation and stated that Staff is recommending that the Council adopt the proposed resolution setting the time and place for the public hearing.

Councilor Silbiger/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2005-33. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Hartzell, Jackson, Amarotico and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.

Pam Vavra/1500 Dead Indian Road/Presented poster board with signatures of individuals who support Police Chief Mike Bianca. Ms. Vavra suggested the need for the Town Hall Meeting so residents can voice their concerns, and also suggested the establishment of a Police Commission so that residents and community members could have a formal way of registering their concerns.
1. Councilor Amarotico's request for the City to consider a Resolution regarding the Endangered Species Act.
Councilor Amarotico stated that in the last 20 years, over 500 species in the United States have become extinct; however in the 33 years since the Endangered Species Act has been in place, over 170 species have been saved. Councilor Amarotico stated that currently there is a lot of pressure from congress and the current administration to erode the protections made available by the Endangered Species Act and requested that the Council adopt the proposed resolution to send a message to our federal government that we do not want them to erode these protections.

Stephanie Tidwell/Klamath Siskiyou Wildland Center/967 Tolman Creek Rd/Explained that this started out as a response to the "Extinction Bill" that is moving through congress that would erode many of the protections of the Endangered Species Act and noted that various other cities have adopted or are considering adopting similar resolutions.

Councilor Amarotico/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2005-34. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.

2. Request from Councilor Silbiger and John Gaffey for council to use authority to put Charter amendment Prohibiting City Ownership, Operation of Telecommunications, and Cable Television on the upcoming ballot.
John Gaffey/637 Oak Street/Requested that the Council place language on the November 2005 ballot that would ask the citizens of Ashland to decide whether the Ashland Fiber Network should continue to operate as an entity of the local government, or operate as a private enterprise. Mr. Gaffey stated that the Council should place their trust in the hands of the Ashland voters and allow them to decide whether as a community they wish to continue financing AFN. Mr. Gaffey added that he is prepared to pursue a citizen's petition initiative if the Council decides to not respond to his request.

Charles Carreon/1131 Barrington/Expressed his support for AFN and stated that regardless of the deficit, AFN has added value to the City. Mr. Carreon stated that the City has done an excellent job with AFN and thinks that the City should continue to invest in it. He stated that the deficit can be addressed and suggested that the City look into voiceover IP for infrastructure and also suggested that they make AFN available to all citizens within Ashland.

Council briefly discussed and expressed no interest in placing the proposed charter amendment on the ballot.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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