Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

March 20, 2007
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.
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Morrison provided an explanation of the annual appointment process and stated the new appointments would be made at the April 17, 2007 City Council Meeting.
The minutes of the Executive Session meeting of March 7, 2007 and Special Meeting of March 7, 2007 were approved as presented. The minutes of the Regular Council meeting of March 6, 2007 were approved with the following correction: Page 3, third paragraph, should read "deferring" instead of "differing".
Access Inc. provided a presentation on their year-end review.

Mayor's Proclamation of March 22, 2007 as "World Water Day" was read aloud.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Citizen Advisory Committee Interchange Area Management Plan.
3. Approval of Public Contract Greater than $75,000 Underground Cable Pulling Trailer.
4. Approval of Public Contract Greater than $75,000 12-Yard Dump Trucks - Two (2) Each.
5. Cable Television Contract Addendum.
6. Declaration and Authorization to Dispose of Surplus Property Cable TV - Digital Set Top Boxes.
7. Liquor License Application - Russell Bjerka dba Downtown Poker Club.
Mayor Morrison requested the make-up of the Citizen Advisory Committee be amended to include Bicycle & Pedestrian Commissioner David Young.

Councilors Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda as amended for the Citizens Advisory Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Graham Lewis/1284 Orchid Street/Spoke on behalf of the United Methodist Church and invited the community to attend the ground breaking ceremony for their new office and education complex on March 25, 2007 at 10:30 a.m.

Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Requested the Council move the Request to Appeal Planning Action #2006-02354 item further up on the agenda, and noted this matter is time sensitive. Mr. Swales also suggested that prior interpretations of the City's land use ordinance be made available on the City's website.

Art Bullock/Commented on the replacement charter proposed for the May ballot, and noted Article 19, Section 1, which addresses Lithia Park, has been removed. Mr. Bullock voiced his concern with the removal of this language and stated it would allow the Council to sell Lithia Park.

Mayor Morrison clarified the land in Lithia Park is well protected and there is no intention to sell it. City Attorney Mike Franell explained there are state statues in place that impose significant restrictions on the disposal of land that was acquired for park purposes. He stated it would be virtually impossible for the City to dispose of the land within Lithia Park, and clarified one of the goals of the Charter Review Committee was to remove items from the charter that are superseded by state law.

Ambuja Rosen/Commented on her proposed anti-tethering ordinance and explained why she comes before Council at every meeting to promote this ordinance. Ms. Rosen noted that she has previously provided logical reasons for this ordinance and shared some of her emotional reasons. She stated she feels intense compassion for animals, especially those that are forced to live on chains, in travel crates, or in overcrowded kennels.

Hillary Tiefer/565 Wrights Creek Drive/Commented on the tethering ordinance and compared this issue to the film "Amazing Grace". Ms Tiefer voiced support for a humane ordinance and noted the need to recognize that animals are suffering and ameliorate their condition.

Mayor Morrison addressed the request for a change in the order of agenda items. Councilor Navickas noted the 15-day appeal period and explained this is the only chance the Council will have to address this. Mayor Morrison moved the Request for Council to Appeal PA #2006-02354 to the second item under New and Miscellaneous Business.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Reiterating its Policy of Relating the Expenditure of Monies for Economic and Cultural Development to the Hotel/Motel (Transient Occupancy) Tax and Repealing Resolution 2004-32."
Mayor Morrison questioned if there was Council consensus on how they would like to address this issue tonight. Councilors Jackson and Silbiger voiced support for determining the allocations for the grantees at tonight's meeting. Councilors Hardesty and Hartzell voiced support for determining the allocations for the small grantees, but postponing the Chamber of Commerce and Oregon Shakespeare Festival grants until the Council has had further discussions with the Chamber during a study session.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified the minimum action the Council needs to take tonight is to decide what to allocate to the small grants. She stated the grant applications are due on April 2, 2007 and the Budget Subcommittee is scheduled to meet on April 11 and 12 to determine the proposed allocations. Ms. Bennett clarified staff has asked that all grantees submit applications, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Comment was made suggesting the Council adopt a resolution with one-year tenure, and noting it may be too late to resolve all of the issues in time for this budget year.

Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified the definition of a grant according to the Oregon Administrative Code and stated the City Council could treat the allocation to the Chamber of Commerce either as a grant, or through a formal RFP process. He noted the main restriction is the constitutional provision that states the City cannot use public money for private benefits.

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg commented on the provisions identified in the resolution and explained that when applicants apply for a grant from the City, they are required to indicate how they would use the funding.

Comment was made questioning if it is possible to structure the resolution so all grants are allocated the same amount awarded last year, with the amount adjusted for growth or inflation. Mr. Tuneberg clarified this could be done, but noted the stipulation that the City must continue to use 14.23% of the total TOT revenue for tourism.

Graham Lewis/1284 Orchid Street/President of Ashland Chamber of Commerce/Commented on the Chamber's long history of cooperation and collaboration with the City. Mr. Lewis noted the work and activities the Chamber has completed and requested the City and the Chamber continue to work together.

Mark Marchetti/Ashland Community Hospital/Spoke in support of the Chamber's economic development activities. He commented on the appropriate payer mix and noted the importance of local businesses that offer health insurance to their employees. Mr. Marchetti stated that this is the key to the continued success of the hospital and the community.

Pam Hammond/632 Walnut Street/Co-owner of Paddington Station/Noted she is on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce and has owned her business for 14 years. Ms. Hammond noted the importance of having a support system and commented on the various activities of the Chamber that help to grow her business. She noted she would not be able to afford do these things on her own and stated the Chamber is an incredible asset to businesses in Ashland.

Sandra Slattery/Ashland Chamber of Commerce President/Commented on the report the Chamber provided to the Council in January detailing the scope of their programs. She stated that tourism is the front door for economic development and noted the number of individuals they serve each year though their office, the Plaza information booth, and their website. Ms. Slattery commented on a few of the accomplishments of the Chamber and stated they believe they have leveraged this money best by partnering with the private sector to promote and enhance the community. She stated the Chamber takes pride in generating revenue toward the general fund that helps to pay for all City services and stated they value this partnership with the City.

David Runkal/586 East Main Street/Stated the 14% allocated to tourism seems low and noted that this percentage is much higher in most municipalities in Oregon. Mr. Runkal stated it is premature to discuss an increase to the TOT tonight since no plan has been put forward on how the additional money would be spent. He recommended the City work with individuals in the hospitality community to discuss how the additional tourism money could be used.

Mike Morris/720 South Mountain Avenue/Commented on the Housing Commission report and noted the two goals lists in the report are to: 1) bring 200 new students to Ashland, and 2) bring additional families to Ashland to maintain the viability of the community hospital. Mr. Morris stated that he could think of no other organization other than the Chamber that has the ability to improve the economics of families in Ashland.

Comment was made noting that some of the smaller grantees only received half of what was requested last year and suggestion was made for the Council to consider reducing the amount given to the Chamber in order to allocate more to the smaller grantees.

Councilor Navickas/Hardesty m/s that $200,000 be allocated to the Chamber of Commerce and that they shift $57,550 to the other grant applications for a more equitable balance in grant allocations; and to remove $57,000 from the economic development section of the TOT grants. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas suggested that this would be a fairer balance. Councilor Hardesty commented on the activities of the Chamber and suggested the City think more seriously about its role in economic development. She suggested delaying the allocation to the Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival until after the Council has had a discussion with the Chamber. Councilor Silbiger voiced his opposition to the motion and in regards to a previous statement that was made, commented that most grantees typically ask for more money than they expect to receive. Councilor Jackson opposed the motion and voiced support for adopting a one-year allocation and staying close for this next fiscal year to what they have been doing. Councilors Hartzell and Chapman also voiced their opposition to the motion. Councilor Navickas stated he also supports economic development, but suggested the Chamber may not be the best direction to place funds for this. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, YES. Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Hardesty and Chapman, NO. Motion failed 5-1.

Councilor Hartzell noted there would be a meeting with the consultant who was hired to perform a study on economic development on Thursday, March 23, 2007 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Grove.

Council Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to delay adoption of this resolution and the final allocation to the Chamber of Commerce until a Study Session of the Council that will occur before the end of May or sooner, and that the Council adopt last years allocation to other grants, the Shakespeare Festival, and the Visitor and Convention Bureau based on last years allocation with the increase based on change in revenue stream. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell stated this motion would allow for the allocation to the other grants and permit the Council to have a discussion with the Chamber of Commerce on their report and economic development. She also commented on the need to further discuss the $2,500 minimum grant allocation proposed by staff and stated she is uncomfortable with the goals as outlined. Councilor Jackson voiced her opposition to the motion and noted that these organizations are in the process of preparing their budgets and deserve the stability of one more year before the Council makes changes. She suggested adopting the proposed resolution with the following amendment: Page 2, Section 4, include subsection 'G' from Resolution 2004-32. Councilor Chapman voiced support for approving something similar to what they currently have and to resolve the other issues in the next few months.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Hardesty, and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Roll Call Vote on Motion: Councilor Hartzell, Navickas and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, and Chapman, NO. Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion failed 4-3.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve resolution with allocation percentage for the small grants to be based on 4% as brought forward by staff, and the amount for OSF be 3% which is the inflation figure as brought forward by staff, and that the Chamber amount will be allocated at 3% as brought forward by staff, and the details of that contract will be negotiated in good faith by Council after a Study Session within the next 60 days.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to amend motion to bring forward Section 4, Item G from the existing resolution to the proposed resolution. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson clarified this item allows the Public Arts Commission to apply for grants. Comment was made suggesting that the City could consider allocating a higher percentage of funding to art instead of including this provision. Roll Call Vote on Amendment: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, Navickas, Chapman, and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Discussion on Original Motion as Amended: Councilor Silbiger clarified the intent of his original motion was to adopt the proposed resolution with the specific allocations outlined. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified this would alter the figures listed in the first two paragraphs on Page 2 of the proposed resolution. Councilor Hartzell voiced her opposition to the motion. Comment was made suggesting that they consider this as a one-year resolution and the Council should work on revising this outside of the budget process so that they can give it their full attention.

Councilor Chapman motioned to change Section 4, Item D to a minimum grant allocation of $1,000. Motion died due to lack of second.

Roll Call Vote on Original Motion with approved Amendment: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

2. Emergency Shelter Policy.
Item delayed due to time constraints.
3. OSF Paving ("The Bricks") item from Philip Lang.
Mr. Philip Lang addressed the Council and provided his presentation on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's paving situation. Mr. Lang explained the bricks are in violation of City code, and stated OSF has acknowledged the problem, but has failed to remedy the situation. He shared his concern that an injured party could have legal recourse against the City, since the Festival is on City park land.

Based on his site observations, personal experiences, and slope measurements taken of the site, Mr. Lang issued the following comments:

1) Some of the bricks are deteriorating, broken and chipped; and in other areas they have settled, have non-uniform slopes, and are uneven.
2) There are many areas with excessive grades that are unsuitable for safe walking.
3) The longitudinal slope of the sidewalk area adjacent to Pioneer Street has a slope measurement of 12.5%; the sidewalk area on the west side of Pioneer Street is constructed of clay brick pavers and exposed aggregate concrete; and the sidewalk on the east side area is constructed of exposed aggregate concrete.
4) The plaza area in front of the box office is hazardous to walk on due to the extreme slope and the smooth surface of the brink pavers; and this condition gets worse and more dangerous when the surface is wet or icy. Mr. Lang stated current codes for public use spaces, outside of right-of-ways, dictates that slopes over 5% require handrails on both sides of the walkway and the maximum allowable slope for ADA access is 8.33% with a 2% cross-slope.
5) The longitudinal slopes of the sidewalk areas in the Pioneer Street right-of-way are exempt from ADA requirements; however, the cross-slope may not exceed 2%, and the City's specifications indicate sidewalks shall be constructed of Portland cement.
6) Exposed aggregate finishes on sidewalks entrap water and moisture more readily than a typical broom finish surface and therefore can make them slippery in wet and icy weather.

Mr. Lang reviewed the AMC sections as well as sections of the OSF lease that he believes are enforceable and recommended the OSF plaza area be redesigned to provide adequate and safe movement of pedestrians and patrons in a manner that meets accessibility requirements, the needs of the festival, and the safety of the public. Mr. Lang stated the City has a moral obligation to prevent further injury to citizens and OSF patrons, a legal obligation to enforce the conditions of the lease requiring ADA conformity and repairing maintenance, and a fiscal obligation to prevent liabilities to the citizens and the taxpayers of Ashland.

Paul Nicholson/Oregon Shakespeare Festival Executive Director/Provided an explanation on the status of this project. Mr. Nicholson stated OSF hired a design firm in June 2005 for the redevelopment of the brick courtyard and have had a significant number of meetings to determine a solution. They have also hired a company who completed a survey of the entire area in November 2005. He noted the best time to complete this work will be between November and the end of January, which is when they are closed and there are no patrons on site. Mr. Nicholson noted the OSF Board has approved the design and identified the construction phase to begin at the end of the 2007 season. However, because of the shortened off-season this year, they have contemplated delaying the construction for one more year.

Comment was made suggesting OSF commit to completion of the construction by March of 2008. Mr. Nicholson stated he would need to confirm if this deadline is possible with their general contractor. He clarified the area of bricks that will need to be replaced and stated they are more concerned than anyone about the level of safety for their patrons.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified staff's assessment of the City's liability has not changed and stated the lease places all liability on OSF.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to send a letter to OSF outlining the code violations and requesting that they take action to remedy the problem during the next off season, and that this is a high priority due to liability issues. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty questioned if construction could be done in phases so that it could begin sooner. Public Works Director Paula Brown stated she would not recommend performing this type of work in phases while there are people around. Mr. Nicholson clarified it is their intent to move forward with construction at the end of the 2007 season; however this is dependent on whether the contractor can complete the work during the shortened off-season. He added he would not delay the timeline without first consulting with the City.

Councilor Hartzell motioned to amend the motion for the letter to OSF to acknowledge tonight's meeting, the issues that were raised, and commits the City staff to work with OSF to bring about completion of the project if at all possible by March 2008. DISUCSSION: City Attorney Mike Franell clarified if the City is involved in this project it will increase the City's liability. Motion withdrawn.

Discussion on Original Motion: Ms. Bennett suggested the Council request an update to the OSF construction schedule after a decision is made at OSF's June board meeting.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to simplify the language of the letter to specifically bring up the discussion by the Council tonight, and that it is our priority to have this completed during the next off season. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Roll Call Vote on Original Motion as Amended: Councilor Navickas, Hartzell, Hardesty, and Chapman, YES. Councilor Jackson and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty, and Navickas, YES. Councilor Jackson and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
1. Restaurant Grading System item from John Jory.
Mr. John Jory recommended the City pass an ordinance requiring restaurants and food service establishments to post a letter score based on their health department grade. He stated studies have shown that restaurants improve their cleanliness when required to post their health inspection grades. Mr. Jory stated counties are not permitted to pass such a law, but stated the City would be allowed to do so. He proposed the City adopted a posting ordinance requiring restaurants to provide a copy of their inspection report to the City within three days, and the City would then provide a grade card to be placed in a prominent place so that it is visible to patrons from the street. Mr. Jory suggested if a restaurant does not comply, that they be issued a fine for each day they fail to post their inspection grade. He also noted that he has received support from both citizens and restaurants for his grading proposal.

Art Bullock/Commented on the symptoms of food poisoning and stated it is extremely difficult to determine the source. Mr. Bullock stated the most effective way to deal with food poisoning is prevention and voiced support of the proposed grading system.

Drew Bailey/455 Laurel Street/Regional Representative for Oregon Restaurant Association and Oregon Lodging Association/Explained the State Department of Health oversees the inspection program and the County adheres to their requirements. He noted that patrons can easily access the County's website to view restaurant scores and stated that enforcement of this ordinance could overburden the City's code enforcement office or the Police Department. He noted there may also be legislation that prohibits the City from doing this. Mr. Bailey questioned if grocery stores, retirement homes, and schools would be included in the grading system and voiced opposition to placing another burden on the restaurant industry.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to direct staff to analyze the options for implementing a restaurant grading system with an emphasis on using business licenses or some other means to simplify the process. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty questioned if this could be a voluntary system. Councilors Jackson and Silbiger voiced opposition to the motion. Suggestion was made for Mr. Jory to lobby the State to make changes to their policy. Councilor Hartzell clarified her motion and stated there could be a way for the City to do this simply by including the inspection score on business licenses. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified there would be significant staff time involved to determine if the City is preempted to do this, and determine how difficult it would be to administer. She stated this is a significant program they are considering undertaking and staff would need to give this the amount of diligence required. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, YES. Councilor Hardesty, Chapman, Silbiger, Hartzell, and Jackson, NO. Motion failed 5-1.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s continue meeting to Friday, March 23, 2007 at 1 p.m. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hardesty, and Navickas, YES. Councilor Chapman, Jackson, and Silbiger, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

2. Request for Council to appeal PA #2006-02354 (as outlined by AMC 18.108.110).
Continued to March 23, 2007.
1. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending AMC 3.08.020 To Apply Ethics Provisions to Employees, Appointed Officials and Elected Officials."
Continued to March 23, 2007.
2. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Sections 10.30.005, 10.30.020 A. and 10.30.030 A. of the Ashland Municipal Code Addressing Outdoor Burning and Requirements for Permitted Fires."
Continued to March 23, 2007.
3. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 9.24 to Require Removal and Disposal of Non-Certified Woodstoves and Fireplace Inserts Upon Conveyance of Real Property, Requiring Disclosure and Removal Certification."
Continued to March 23, 2007.
4. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Setting a Public Hearing for Assessments to be Charged Against Lots Within the Nevada Street Local Improvement District No. 85."
Continued to March 23, 2007.
1. Tripartite Housing Committee Report.
Continued to March 23, 2007.
Meeting adjourned at 10:22 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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