Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Study Session

Tuesday, March 02, 1999

March 2, 1999

Council Chairperson Don Laws called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, and Fine were present. Mayor Shaw arrived late. Staff present included: City Administrator Mike Freeman, City Attorney Paul Nolte, Director of Community Development John McLaughlin, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderscheid, Ashland Police Chief Scott Fleuter, and Telecommunications/Marketing Manager Ann Seltzer. Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles and Senior Programs Director Sharon Laws arrived late.

City Administrator Mike Freeman noted the handout titled "Suggestions for Strategic Plan Study Session" which had been provided to the Council, and suggested that this session be used to focus on those items that had not already been discussed by the Council. Suggested that each of the goal statements be assessed, followed by a quick vote on whether it should be retained. Then come back and flesh out the remaining items.

Freeman suggested that the Council not look at the policy statement under each item, but instead consider the development of these policy statements to be an ongoing item for the coming year.

Freeman confirmed for Council that the goals listed in the handout are in no particular order, and that no priority has yet been determined.

Under "Citizen Participation and Involvement" it was agreed that item 1 should be retained. Council agreed to retain item 2 with the change ".... outlining the basic minimal steps the City will follow as it seeks public input on City programs," in the third line. For item 3, Laws questioned retaining the Police Citizens Academy given budgetary constraints. Hauck suggested that the concept of citizens academies be translated to other departments as a longer term goal. Fleuter discussed the cost of the Police Citizens Academy, and Laws withdrew his objection if future sessions could be conducted at no additional cost. Item 3 was retained, with the wording corrected to indicate "Police Citizens Academy."

For "Environmental Resources" there was discussion of whether items that are in progress, such as the riparian ordinance, should be included in the plan. After discussion, item 1 was retained. Items 2 and 3 were removed. In discussing the need to review the Environmental Resources Element of the Comprehensive Plan, it was suggested that this could be better addressed under "Organizational Effectiveness" with the regular review of each section of the Comprehensive Plan. Item 4 was removed, noting that the duties listed for the environmental liaison position fall under Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderscheid job duties. Wanderscheid confirmed that he does address these items in his day to day work, and Council asked that they be updated if this changes. It was emphasized that the Council considers the environment to be a top priority issue.

In discussing "Housing" item 1 was retained. Councilor Hauck explained the community land trust program, where land would be purchased and owned by a non-profit group and program participants could purchase houses on the land. This will significantly reduce housing costs. Noted that this would begin with CDBG funds to purchase three lots, and that there are also federal Fannie Mae funds available to establish this program in Oregon. Hauck emphasized that this is an affordable housing strategy that has already been adopted, and explained that he is working with ACCESS to develop the program. Discussed funding. Seltzer noted that having this item as an adopted goal would be useful in seeking funding.

For item 2, McLaughlin explained health care overlay (HC) zoning, noting that it is higher density. It was noted that this item was addressed through the Comprehensive Plan, and that any expansion of this overlay zone would come to before the Council. Item 2 was removed.

Item 3 was also removed, with McLaughlin noting that there is an inventory of buildable lands within the UGB in progress now.

Item 4 was removed, noting that current policy encourages renovation as it is cheaper. Discussed the SDC process and coming changes therein. Noted that people currently circumvent the process in a number of ways. Item 5 was reworded to indicate "Encourage the redevelopment and remodeling of existing structures."

Item 6 was discussed, with Fine explaining that it was originally his idea as a way to reduce sprawl. McLaughlin noted that current density standards encourage smaller lots, but not necessarily smaller structures. Fine emphasized that he feels smaller structures would lessen non-point-source pollution. Laws expressed concern with dictating structure size to citizens. Item 6 was removed, with Fine noting he would reconsider this item and bring back new wording next year.

For "Energy, Air and Water Conservation," item 1 was retained with Brown noting that a 20% reduction in summertime demand is part of the comprehensive water plan. Fine emphasized the need to address landscaping as a form of water conservation.

Item 2, development of a recycling center at the south end of town, was discussed. It was noted that this would be costly and than changes in the curbside recycling program will greatly increase opportunities to recycle. Noted that it would be more appropriate if this idea were initiated on the part of Ashland Sanitary and/or the Conservation Commission. Item 2 was dropped.

It was recommended that item 3 be removed and referred to the Conservation Commission. Wanderscheid noted that the Conservation Commission is already working on "green business" programs.

For item 4, there was discussion of the fact that the City is looking at alternative fuel vehicles, and that this is part of the fleet replacement plan. Item 4 was removed from the Councilís list, but will continue to be addressed at the staff level.

It was explained that item 5 had to do with potential deregulation of the electric industry, and would allow for a system benefit fee to encourage conservation. It was noted that conservation is already a recognized priority, and this item was dependent on deregulation, and the item was removed.

In the discussion of the "Parks, Open Space and Aesthetics" goals, Shaw explained that item 1 had to do with developing the neighborhood through the purchase of the Delatore and Railroad properties. Noted the possibility for a wetland site here. Stated that this really would not be for open space, but rather for mixed use development. Freeman suggested that this item might be more appropriate as an "Urbanization" goal. Shaw noted that she would like to see this developed with City direction. Laws questioned whether there were resources to commit staff time to develop a plan in the coming year. Freeman recognized that there are numerous items before staff, and priorities will need to be determined. Shaw feels that this item needs to move ahead, as it is an important property. McLaughlin noted that there is currently nothing on the site, and a plan is needed to control development when it occurs. This item was retained, with the intention of developing a plan for the property, but moved to be number 3 under "Urbanization."

Item 2 was discussed, with Laws explaining that the Parks Commission is working on a Capital Improvement Plan with steady funding levels for each year. With this in mind, Laws suggested that the item could be removed. After discussion, the item was retained.

It was noted that the Parks Commission has a lineal parks system concept in place, and item 3 was removed. Items 4 and 5 were also removed.

Looking at "Urbanization" it was agreed that item number 1 should be set aside for further discussion. For item 2, the neighborhood planning process was discussed. Laws suggested that the neighborhood planning process is too diverse to attempt standardization. It was noted that it might be possible to create a general process, with flexibility built in to suit individual neighborhoods. McLaughlin stated that the Cityís efforts at neighborhood planning are ongoing, and that staff will bring back this item if necessary. The item was removed.

In the "Historical Sites and Structures" category, item 1 was kept as is. Item 2 was revised to indicate " community owned historic buildings..." Item 3 was removed as Reid noted that Wally Cannon already has a museum in place.

For "Social and Human Services," it was noted that item 1 was last looked at in 1985-86. Discussed that this would normally be handled through the budget process. Shaw suggested creating an ad hoc committee, with Councilor Hauck as chair. Stated that no staff support would be needed, and that the committee should be advertised and the attempt to include some budget committee members should also be made. Item 2 was removed in light of the inclusion of a goal under "Transit," which would analyze the transit needs for the whole community. Item 3 was combined into item 1.

In considering the "Organizational Effectiveness" category, there was discussion of the review and re-codification of the Ashland Municipal Code listed as item 1. City Attorney Nolte stated that this was a housekeeping matter that should be done, but emphasized the time consuming nature of the project and the fact that it would require continual re-examination. Discussion of whether there are sufficient resources available for an on-going, systematic review of the municipal code, in light of conflicting budget priorities. It was suggested that this could possibly be hired out to a consultant if funds become available. This item was removed. Council noted that there was also a need to set a schedule for the timely review of all elements of the Comprehensive Plan. Items 2 and 3 were discussed, and it was noted that they were being done and should be removed. Item 4 was removed. Item 5 was retained.

Freeman noted that there was still a need to discuss the items that had been tabled, and to set priorities within the goals that were retained. Hauck suggested that the goals for the coming year could be grouped by department to allow Council to prioritize. Shaw requested that they be grouped by department and prioritized by the department heads, in terms of level of difficulty and estimated cost, to provide the Council with the information needed to set priorities.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:57 p.m.

Submitted by Derek Severson, Assistant to the City Recorder

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