Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
at the April 17, 2007 City Council Meeting.

April 3, 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.
Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Councilor Hardesty clarified Mike Morris' comments captured on page three of the March 20, 2007 meeting minutes were referring to the Tripartite Housing Committee, not the Housing Commission. The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 20, 2007 and Continued Council Meeting of March 23, 2007 were approved as presented.
Mayor's Proclamation of Arbor Week was read aloud.

The Tree City USA award was presented to the City. A representative from the Tree Commission noted the qualifications for receiving the Tree City USA award and commented on a few of the upcoming activities of the Tree Commission.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Memo regarding Capital Improvement Financing.
Councilor Hartzell requested Item #2 be removed for discussion.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #1. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hartzell requested the memo regarding capital improvement financing be provided to the Budget Committee and clarified the CIP for FY07/08 had been approved by the Council; however they may need to have additional discussion for the following years.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #2. All AYES. Motion passed.

1. 2007 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Award.
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman presented the staff report to the Council and explained the City has received $212,735 in Community Development Block Grants for the year 2007. Mr. Goldman stated an application was received from the Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) requesting $32,000 for their YouthBuild Program that is developing affordable housing on Siskiyou and Park Street. He added that if RVCDC's proposal is accepted, this would leave a remainder of $152,000 in CDBG funds that will need to be applied to eligible users.

Staff recommended Council award $31,190 to RVCDC with the following conditions:

1) that RVCDC develop and provide to the City a marketing plan to recruit YouthBuild participants from Ashland in that the majority of participants are Ashland residents, and
2) that RVCDC maintain a cost allocation plan for the YouthBuild program to ensure that Ashland CDBG funds are exclusively used in support of the YouthBuild Crew that is comprised of a majority of Ashland residents.

Mr. Goldman stated staff also recommends that the remainder of the funds be retained by the City with the intention of identifying a CDBG eligible project in support of affordable housing, and to expend these funds during the 2007 program year. He clarified the remainder of the funds could be coupled with the funds allocated during the last budget cycle for the acquisition of property for affordable housing.

Floyd Pawlowski, President of RVCDC/Breanna Welburn, Resource Director for RVCDC/Ms. Welburn provided an explanation of the YouthBuild Program and stated the program assists up to twenty low-income high school dropouts each year who are between the ages of 16-24. The YouthBuild Program provides construction education, life skills training, and job placement for these individuals. She noted RVCDC is responsible for providing the construction site and a crew leader and explained that this program meets the City's goal by providing job training and economic opportunity to low income, homeless and special needs persons. Ms. Welburn stated this project will create six affordable homes on Siskiyou and Park Street and noted they have already started to begin recruiting in Ashland.

Public Hearing Open: 7:32 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:32 p.m.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve the award of $31,190 to the RVCDC as outlined by staff with the noted two conditions. DISCUSSION: It was clarified the motion also includes staff's recommendation for the remainder of the CDBG funds to be retained by the City and expended on a eligible program in support of affordable housing during the 2007 program year. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

2. Adoption of a Resolution Authorizing and Ordering the Formation of the Schofield/Monte Vista Local Improvement District and Adoption of Findings.
Mayor Morrison noted the Council had a Study Session on April 2, 2007 where Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) were discussed.

Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the staff report and clarified it is the Council's decision whether to form an LID. She stated that depending on how they count the City's Hargadine Cemetery, there are 19 lots within the proposed district boundary; with ten lots opposed and nine lots in favor. She explained this LID has some unique issues and stated it has either 40% in favor, or up to 85% in favor, depending how they count the lots and whether they count the prior signed in favor agreements that the majority of the property owners had to sign as a result of the subdividing of their lots.

Ms. Brown stated staff supports the formation of this LID because, 1) it complies with Council's direction to pave all unpaved City streets, 2) it will address the safety issues cased by the steepness of the street and the entry onto N. Main Street, 3) it will address the water quality issues caused by the decomposed granite, and 4) it will provide better pedestrian and bicycle access. She acknowledged that this is not a clear-cut case as half of the neighborhood supports the LID and the other half opposes. She noted Council will need to consider the prior signed in favor agreements and assist staff is determining how the Cemetery lots should be divided. Ms. Brown clarified the City would pay 75% of the LID costs, regardless of how the cemetery is counted.

City Engineer Jim Olson addressed some of the concerns raised regarding this LID. In response to the claim that sidewalks are not needed, he stated that pedestrian use must be provided for and stated that the City can no longer build streets that only accommodate cars. He disagreed with the claim that unpaved streets are safer in the winter, and stated the City is able to more effectively plow and apply de-icers to paved streets. He also noted that the City could also apply coarser asphalt or textured concrete when they pave the surface. Mr. Olson explained that installing curbs, gutters, and storm drains are essential in providing drainage control and disagreed with the claim that traffic would increase due to the paving of the street.

Staff recommended Council move forward with the formation of the LID to improve Schofield and Monte Vista Streets, with the assessment of cemetery to be at the discretion of the Council.

Mr. Olson clarified if the resolution before Council is approved, the next step is to design the project with the assistance of the neighborhood, submit it to bid, and construct it. Once the construction is completed, there will be a final assessment hearing and at that time assessment would be sent out to the property owners. Ms. Brown noted that if a lot has more than one assessed unit, the property owner would be charged for one unit at the time of assessment, but would not be required to pay for the rest of the units until either they subdivide or sell the property. City Recorder Barbara Christensen clarified that disclosure liens are required to be placed on the property at the time the LID is formed. She stated the City does not require that the assessment be paid until the project is completed, however if the property is sold prior to completion, lending institutions often require that the assessment be paid at that time. Ms. Christensen clarified the three payment options given to property owners at the time of final assessment. The first is to pay the assessment in full, the second is to sign an agreement with the City for the lien to be paid off over a ten-year period, with payments due every six months, and the third is a deferment program for eligible property owners.

Assistant City Attorney clarified this is a preliminary process and disclosure of ex parte contact is not required. Mayor Morrison stated that it would be a wise to request that any ex parte contact be disclosed at this time.

Public Hearing Open: 8:09 p.m.

Ex Parte Contact:
Councilor Hardesty stated she is a friend of Austin Brayfield, who is a resident on Monte Vista Street. She stated that they have talked about the LID, but not the assessment and does not feel that this has affected her opinion of the LID. She also disclosed that she owns a plot in the Hargadine Cemetery. Mr. Appicello clarified that Councilor Hardesty would not be financially affected by the assessment and therefore does not believe this is an actual conflict of interest.

Councilor Hartzell stated that she had spoken with Austin Brayfield only to inform her that she needed to consult with staff and determine the limits of the conversations she could have. She added that she is a friend of Vance Littleton, who lives within the assessment area.

Mayor Morrison stated he has not had any contact and has only reviewed the letters and emails included in the packet.

Councilor Jackson stated she has not had conversation with any of the residents, but did canvass this neighborhood last November when she was running for office.

Councilor Chapman disclosed that he is friends with the Hendrickson's and an acquaintance of Pete Belcastro.

Councilor Navickas disclosed that he has had a conversation with Austin Brayfield, but does not feel this will influence or bias his decision.

Art Bullock/Claimed Council's discussion last night during the Study Session was an improper quasi-judicial authority and requested the Council postpone this hearing. Mr. Bullock stated the Council was bias on nine different grounds and submitted a document into the public records outlining his claim. He requested Council postpone and re-notice the hearing, and allow the parties an opportunity to review the ex parte contact and rebut it prior to any Council discussion.

Mr. Appicello requested the Council incorporate into the record the discussion that occurred last night at the Study Session. He clarified the questions asked of staff during last night's open meeting is not ex parte contact. He noted it is not unusual for a City to own property within the assessment district and clarified that this is not a quasi-judicial hearing.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s that the Study Session of April 2, 2007 be made part of the formal record for this action. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

The Councilors and Mayor indicated they had no bias and could make objective decisions.

Pete Belcastro/447 Monte Vista Street/Commented on how this issue has divided the neighborhood and voiced his support for the LID. He noted his neighbors suffering due to the drainage problems and stated the amount of debris is intolerable and unfair. He stated he was informed a rough surface would be applied to the bottom of the road and stated this is currently a very dangerous situation because of the slope. Mr. Belcastro stated more people use the street that do not live there than do, and voiced support for finding an alternative to LIDs.

Isis and Robert Harrison/44 Schofield Street/Voiced their concerns with the dust problem and stated the dust blows right into their house and they cannot open their windows in the summer. They stated the school bus does not use their street and Mr. Harrison stated he had a difficult time getting home during the recent snowstorms. They voiced their support of the LID in order to improve the neighborhood.

Mary Dutton/255 Avalon/Time was given to Austin Brayfield.

Austin Brayfield/400 Monte Vista Street/Voiced concern with holding City Council meetings on holidays and submitted a statement into the record from Yehudit Platt. Ms. Brayfield questioned why this LID is being done and stated she prefers the natural and humble character of the neighborhood. She requested the Council reconsider their blanket paving policy and to look seriously at alternative solutions. She requested that City staff provide the data that shows cars do not move faster on paved roads and questioned if the debris issue could be solved in other ways. Ms. Brayfield requested the Council oppose the LID, consider if their constituents want to spend this much money to pave the roads, and consider individual creative solutions to address the 10 miles of unpaved roads in Ashland.

Stuart Cotts/100 Schofield Street/Voiced support for the LID. He stated the street is dangerous and the dust is horrible. He commented that the dust abatement done every year by the neighborhood only lasts a few weeks and stated he is looking forward to having a paved street.

Vance Littleton/465 Schofield Street/Stated his house is just below the recent development and stated he gets a lot of debris. Mr. Littleton stated there is a huge amount of drainage and they need a solution to this problem. He stated the storm drain efforts by the City did not work and noted that dust and traffic has increased since the development went in. Mr. Littleton voiced his support for the LID and urged the Council to address these problems.

Sandra Hendrickson/444 Monte Vista Street/Noted there is a huge ditch next to the cemetery that causes dirt to funnel into her driveway. She commented that the dust abatement done each year only works for a few weeks, and voiced her support for paving and the installation of storm drains, curbs, and gutters.

Richard Hendrickson/444 Monte Vista Street/Stated that the flooding problem is acute and paving is the obvious solution. He stated that Monte Vista Street is a muddy mess in the winter and a dusty mess in the summer. Mr. Hendrickson commented on the safety issues, voiced his confidence in City staff's expertise, and urged the Council to move this LID forward.

Judith Pentkowski/436 Monte Vista Street/Time was given to Ed Pentkowski.

Ed Pentkowski/436 Monte Vista Street/Stated he has lived in this neighborhood for over 50 years and voiced his opposition to the LID. He stated if the lower part of Schofield Street is paved it will become a "death trap" due to the steepness of the street and its relationship to N. Main Street. Mr. Pentkowski stated that traffic would increase if the street is paved and requested that all residents who live within this LID be considered. He stated that every citizen will pay the City's portion of the LID costs and commented on the taxes that citizens pay that go to the City.

Mayor Morrison explained that Mr. Bullock had already been given three minutes to speak and would not be allowed to speak again on this issue. Councilors Navickas and Hartzell voiced their objections to not allowing Mr. Bullock to speak again.

Public Hearing Closed: 9:03 p.m.

Comment was made questioning if there are other ways to mitigate the drainage and debris problems aside from paving and installing curbs and gutters. Mr. Olson explained that staff has performed several activities to try to control this, including building 75 ft. of curb and gutter to try to channel the water. He stated the problem is that the streets are very steep and the water moves so fast it bypasses the catch basins and the curb and gutter in place. He stated that staff is confident that the full street improvement will solve these problems.

Mr. Olson clarified the developer of the Blossom Hill subdivision paved Sheridan Street, installed curbs and gutters, and installed sidewalks on one side. He added that the City does not require a developer to pave all streets leading to their development, just one.

Councilor Hardesty voiced her objection to the cemetery having any votes and requested that any calculation of percentages of those in favor and those opposed exclude the cemetery property. She also suggested that the Council wait until the LID Committee is formed before they move forward with this LID.

Councilor Silbiger commented on the City policy to pave streets and the health and safety reasons behind this. He noted the 85% of property owners who signed in favor of this LID and stated these individuals received a benefit and the City should take this into account. He also commented on the desire for bicyclists and pedestrians to be able to use these streets.

Councilor Navickas indicated that he will be voting 'no', and stated that the City has failed to meet its procedural requirements to offer a fair and objective hearing.

Comment was made noting that the Council is not obligated by law to allow public comment on their expressions of ex parte contact during the hearing. Mayor Morrison read aloud in the language listed on the Speaker Request Forms regarding a challenge of conflict of interest or bias.

Councilor Jackson voiced her support for City policies. She noted the water quality obligations and stated a storm drain system is a necessary part to accomplish this.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2007-10 with Option #1. DISCUSSION: Comment was made questioning how they should treat the cemetery. Ms. Brown clarified the City will pay the same amount either way. She noted Council's options listed in the packet materials and noted that they could select Option 2 instead, which assesses the cemetery property as one unit. Support was voiced for accepting Option 2 and identifying where the money will come from. Motion withdrawn.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2007-10 with Option #2 adding that the City Street Fund, or other appropriate source, will reimburse the Cemetery Fund for the assessment. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell clarified that the City is paying one way or another, this is really just a matter of which "pot" the money comes from. Councilor Hardesty indicated that she will be voting 'no' due to the expense on the taxpayers. She requested that in the future developers take full responsibility for messing up the driveways below and addressing the other problems that can occur with hillside developments. She also requested that they prioritize LIDs, especially with streets where children are walking to school. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman, and Jackson, YES. Councilor Navickas and Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Findings on Schofield/Monte Vista LID. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, Chapman and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Pam Vavra/2880 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Spoke regarding HB 2761 and noted the support of Peter Buckley for this bill. She explained if the bill passes, it would expressly permit communities to adopt Instant Run-Off Voting and stated the purpose of the bill is to provide the counting rules. Ms. Vavra requested the Council consider passing a resolution in support of this bill and provided copies of a proposed resolution to the Council.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to place this item on tonight's agenda. Voice Vote: Councilor Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, Hartzell and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Art Bullock/Voiced concern that the City voted on the LID decision at 9:37 p.m. He also spoke regarding Measure 15-76 and stated the City Manager Amendment is not supported by Senator Alan Bates, Representative Peter Buckley, County Commissioner Dave Gilmore, former Congressional Representative Les AuCoin, and former County Commissioner Jeff Golden. Mr. Bullock stated this amendment would remove accountability and transparency and does not believe this change would benefit Ashland.

Steve Ryan/657 C Street/Spoke regarding the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) and noted he is the student representative for Southern Oregon University. Mr. Ryan commented on the need for the City to assist in keeping RVTD operating.

Ambuja Rosen/Questioned whether the closure of the library is more important than that anti-tethering ordinance she has proposed. Ms. Rosen stated she will miss the library more than most, but feels that it is more important for dogs, cats, horses and other domesticated mammals to be able to walk. She stated the issue of animals needing to be freed from their chains is much more pressing than the City's need to keep open the library. Ms. Rosen's submitted her written testimony into the public record.

Mark Heminger/1362 Quincy Street/Spoke regarding the tethering ordinance and stated that the community has spoken on this issue through the petitions submitted by Ms. Rosen. Mr. Meninger commented on the benefits of animals in our society and urged the Council to adopt an anti-tethering ordinance.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Brady DeForest/900 E. Main Street, Medford/Announced that April is "Sexual Assault and Awareness Month" and commented on the awareness activities of the Sexual Assault Awareness Committee at Community Works and the resources available to those affected by sexual assault.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Transferring Appropriations Within the 2006-2007 Budget."
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and explained there are instances that require for appropriations to be moved around. He stated staff is recommending the following transfers of appropriations: 1) move $100,000 to the Cable Television fund from the Customer Relations/Promotions Fund to cover the costs due to an extension of the working cable television, 2) move $34,200 from the Central Service Fund to the Legal Division to cover expenses for outside and contract legal services, and 3) transfer $75,000 from the HR Division to the Central Service Fund to cover expenses for recruitment, staffing, and outside legal counsel.

Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-12. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas, Chapman, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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."
Fire Chief Keith Woodley noted that Division Chief Margueritte Hickman has prepared six options for Council consideration. Ms. Hickman noted a correction that needed to be made to the information contained in the packet materials; the document title AMC Chapter 10.30, Controls on Open Burning, Draft Ordinance, should read Option 5 at top of page, not Option 6. Ms. Hickman reviewed the six options outlined in the council communication and noted if Option 5 is chosen, staff would return at the next council meeting with an ordinance for first reading.

Councilor Chapman voiced his support of Option 1, but questioned the term "conducive" should be replaced with stronger language. Forest Resource Specialist Chris Chambers recommended that the proposed language be reserved in order to provide some level of interpretation to the staff issuing the burn permits. Suggestion was made to insert the wording ".. where an owner can demonstrate hardship...", however Mr. Chamber's stated this would be difficult for staff to determine.

Mr. Woodley clarified that the City does not charge for burning permits, per Council's previous direction.

Councilor Silbiger noted a potential conflict of interest and disclosed that his parents own a home in the wildfire hazard zone. He voiced support for making it difficult for individuals to obtain burn permits, and suggested reinstituting a fee that can be used to support a chipper program and/or an education program.

Councilor Chapman disclosed that he also lives in the wildfire zone.

Mr. Chambers cited reasons for why weed burning would be allowed outside the wildfire hazard zone. He explained that there are areas outside of this zone where weeds are a problem and to the greatest extent possible, you do not want to transport weeds and their seeds off site if you can avoid it.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #2937 with Option #1. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to authorize the Fire Department to investigate collecting fees for burning permits. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Jackson, Silbiger, Hartzell and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

1. Emergency Shelter Policy.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer presented the resolution which sets forth the policies and conditions under which the City would open an emergency shelter due to extreme weather. She explained the policy would provide for anyone who needed emergency shelter. Ms. Seltzer stated the Congregational Church would provide the staffing for the shelter, however the City's insurance company has required that documentation be provided that indicates the staff has received training in the staffing of emergency shelters.

Comment was made questioning the policy of locking the doors at 9 p.m. and suggestion was made for the Council to provide direction to Police Department that whenever they need to escort someone to the shelter, that they are acting as a "peace officer".

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Resolution #2007-11. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified that the nights the City would need to open the shelter are nights where events would typically be cancelled and does not believe this language will create a conflict. Suggestion was made to leave the opening of the shelter to the City Administrator's discretion instead of listing a specific temperature; however, support for voiced for retaining the temperature requirement in the resolution. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

2. A Resolution Supporting HB 2761. (Brought forward by Pam Vavra)

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2007-13. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger voiced his preference to have had this item listed on the agenda and noticed so that the public could have been given an opportunity to comment. Comment was made that if the motion does not pass, that this resolution be placed on the next available agenda. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, Hartzell, YES. Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, and Chapman, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

3. Tripartite Housing Committee Report.
Delayed due to time constraints.
4. 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."
Delayed due to time constraints.
1. Community Development Planning Organizational Review.
Delayed due to time constraints.
1. Revision of City Council Rules.
Delayed due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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