MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 2, 2012
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Executive Session of September 17, 2012 and Business Meeting of September 18, 2012 were approved as presented.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Public Arts Commission, Housing Commission, Transportation Commission, Tree Commission, and the Audit Committee.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the process for the Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) merger started in August 2011 when the ACH Board met with Council and agreed to seek an affiliation agreement. ACH hired a consultant who developed a proposal and screened incoming offers. The process also included meetings regarding the affiliation the public could have attended and soon a final recommendation for Council approval. ACH would provide a presentation on the proposed affiliation with Dignity Health at the October 16, 2012 Council meeting followed with a public hearing regarding the matter at the November 6, 2012 Council meeting.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor Stromberg’s Proclamation declaring October 1 - 8, 2012 as Oregon Days of Culture was read aloud.
1. Approval of Commission, Committee, and Board Minutes
2. Approval of a liquor license application for Yasmeen Stroud dba CJ’s Bistro at 11 N. First Street
3. Appointment of Abby Capovilla to the Public Art Commission
4. Approval of a resolution transferring appropriations within FY 2012-13 budget
5. Approval of a resolution and ratification of labor contract with the Ashland Police Association
6. Amendment #3 to Jackson County Oregon Intergovernmental Agreement for library services dated October 16, 2007 with the City of Ashland
7. Approval of Cycle Oregon grant applications
Councilor Silbiger and Voisin pulled Consent Agenda item #4 for discussion.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1-3 and #5-7. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
City Administrator Dave Kanner addressed the transfer of appropriations for the Plaza property. There was $80,000 budgeted in the Economic Development Fund for the completion of the urban renewal plan appropriated in the current fiscal year. When Council decided not to go forward with the urban renewal study, they allocated that amount to downtown improvements. The $102,000 staff was requesting was in an unappropriated cash balance and required a transfer in order to spend the money. The City had paid the architects’ $16,000 to date and would pay a little more for construction documents. Archeologist charges would most likely be under $5,000 for a plan SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) would review.
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg added the Plaza re-design and the Miller land purchase were both unanticipated when the budget was set and there were no specific appropriations for the projects. The $102,000 was dedicated Transient Occupancy Tax funds that could go towards the Plaza re-design. The $78,000 for the purchase of the Miller property would come from unused appropriation monies identified in the General Fund in the Economic Development budget.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4. Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
1. Public hearing to consider raising transportation utility fee and storm drain rates
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained staff identified increases in cost, unfunded and budgeted projects, as well as studies for transportation and storm drain that would determine future costs and adjustments. Fees in both funds had not increased since October 2009. Staff recommended 5% for Transportation Utility Fees and 10% for Storm Drain Rates that combined resulted in approximately an 82-cent monthly increase for a single-family residence. A small adjustment at this time would ward off a larger increase later. Future adjustments could occur once the Transportation System Plan was complete. The Storm Drain Utility was unable to fund projects as it went along and consequently was further behind. Not passing the rate increases would result in under funding operations and possibly spending reserves for capital projects.
Public Hearing Open: 7:30 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:30 p.m.
Councilor Morris/Voisin m/s to approve a Resolution titled, “A resolution adopting a transportation utility fee schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.26 and repealing Resolution 2009-27. DISCUSSION: Councilor Morris did not want to raise fees but thought incremental increases upfront would avoid major increases in the future. Councilor Voisin preferred drawing on the Ending Balance instead of increasing fees at this time. She wanted to wait until the Transportation System Plan (TSP) was finished then come back with higher increases. Councilor Lemhouse would not support the motion, he wanted to wait for the TSP and in the next budget season, reduce spending to avoid raising rates. Councilor Slattery agreed with Councilor Lemhouse and supported a biennial budget because it would allow better planning. Councilor Chapman did not think $65,000 would come close to covering transportation maintenance needs and wanted to settle consulting fees for the TSP before going forward. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, YES; Councilor Voisin, Chapman, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Silbiger, NO. Motion failed 1-5.
Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s to approve a Resolution titled, “A resolution adopting a storm drain utility fee schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.27.050 and repealing Resolution 2009-28.” Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Silbiger, NO. Motion failed 2-4.
Nancy Nelson/149 Clear Creek #202/Requested every public official during the election period sign or support the MOMS4POP Pledge at MOMS4POP.org to preserve organic power by supporting H.R. 5962 that would pass the genetically engineering labeling bill in Congress. She went on to invite everyone to attend a speech by GMO Expert Jeffrey Smith October 11, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Central Medford High School. She submitted information on both into the record.
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Did not support Healthcare West taking over Ashland Community Hospital (ACH). Healthcare West was a non-profit organization making a profit through cash reserves and endowment and lacked salary caps for their executive director. Having a Catholic organization run a healthcare facility was a bad business decision. If Healthcare West did not provide services women needed or end of life services, the hospital would lose business.
Suzanne Marshall/61 California Street/Attended the September 13, 2012 meeting at the hospital and was greatly surprised. During the meeting, Dignity Health officials explained there would be significant changes due to Dignity Health being a faith based corporation. Additionally, all hospitals under Dignity Health must abide by the Catholic Statement of Common Values. During the name change from Healthcare West to Dignity Health, the Archbishop of San Francisco George Niederauer stated the sisters who established the hospital had veto authority over any proposed changes to the protocol. When Ms. Marshall asked for a written guarantee from Vice President of Ethics and Justice Education of Dignity Carol Bayley ensuring contraception and sterilization would always be available at ACH, the response was no. Ms. Marshall requested ACH remain secular.
Gayle Wilson/479 Carol Street/Reminded Council if the merger went through it would limit women’s rights and reject Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. She implored Council to explore other options. Asante was one of the RFP (Request for Proposal) respondents and she wondered if they would reconsider an offer if ACH were an urgent care center with outpatient services and diagnostics instead of a hospital with a $2,500,000 debt.
Michelle Glass/167 Lincoln Street/As a woman, mother of a daughter and a patient choice advocate, she was very concerned with a merger that was not good for the community, one the community opposed and would harm the community for decades. She was not sure if community leaders were hiding behind bureaucratic process or not but was looking for leadership, advocacy and elected representatives to represent community interests. She wanted leadership to protect her daughter’s rights in the future, her rights today, and the rights of community members at ACH. It seemed reasonable to consider other options and there was enough community support to warrant further consideration.
Bert Witt/2721 Quail Run Road, Talent OR/Spoke as a previous hospital patient, stated ACH was a good hospital and one of the proudest things Ashland had. He acknowledged it may be impossible for the hospital to continue exactly as it was but strongly opposed giving control of the hospital to an organization striving to grow three times it size within the next 10 years. When a similar merger in Reno Nevada failed, Dignity Health sold it to a profit making chain notorious for shutting down institutions and taking the money and running.
Edeltraud Muroki/1001 Tolman Creek Road/Commented that rights legally protected in Oregon were important and Dignity Health policies would override certain rights because of their close ties to the Catholic Church. ACH was in financial trouble but she did not think Dignity Health was the only solution. Dignity Health promised to keep the hospital the same for the next five years and retain staff while internet research showed Dignity Health took over a small hospital in Reno Nevada and sold it to a for-profit corporation after five years. Council’s vote regarding the issue at the November 6, 2012 meeting could be the last time Ashland had control over what happened to ACH.
Jeff Golden/925 Oak Street/Did not think having one merger offer for ACH allowed for an authentic choice and suggested Council instruct the ACH Board to provide three candidates instead. Three candidates would allow choice. The stakes were high and the community would live with the consequences of that decision for a very long time.
Valerie Muroki/1001 Tolman Creek Road/Dignity Health would pay off the hospital’s debt and save the 400-plus jobs that would disappear if the hospital went bankrupt. Community was also told abortions, reproductive rights, and death with dignity, were minor considerations as Ashland faced the enormity of the hospital’s situation. There was a need to strengthen healthcare in the community, support the rights of patients to maintain their legally protected rights, and retain some modicum of local control. Dignity Health promised no changes for five years but that was impossible because the hospital needed to become profitable. She read from the Dignity Health Statement of Common Values that they try to ensure that stakeholders, people affected by the decision, could contribute appropriately to the decision, and asked Council to hold off the decision making until stakeholders had a chance to respond.
Dennis Kendig/640 Thornton Way/Explained he did not support a religious institution running the hospital and it should remain secular. The Catholic Church intervened with the administration of the Affordable Care Act when that legislative action threatened the Church’s doctrine. What impact would the Catholic Church have on a town of 22,000 when they became one of the three largest employers? If the merger went through, he would only use the hospital for emergencies. He was comfortable scaling the hospital back to an urgent care center if it would help financially but he would was not interested in losing the death with dignity act or women losing their right to choice.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS None.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Quarterly update of the ad-hoc Homeless Steering Committee
Ad-hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) Chair Heidi Parker and Committee member Paula Sohl provided the quarterly update. Ms. Parker thanked Council for researching a possible homeless resource center noting the need for shower and laundry services. Ms. Sohl explained the HSC met with members of the faith community to discuss the services they provide. There was support and interest for a day use center as well as coordinating volunteers to run the center. HSC planned to meet a second time with members of the faith community October 22, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the Ashland Public Library to discuss winter shelter services and coordinating volunteers.
The three-way partnership between La Clinica, the Methodist Church, and Community Works was very successful. The homeless and non-homeless in need utilized the mobile clinic heavily. Donation boxes installed downtown were vandalized and now undergoing a re-design. During this time, people could make donations through the St. Vincent de Paul website or the Ashland Chamber of Commerce website.
Currently the Presbyterian Church was the only place offering winter shelter once a week on Sunday nights. The faith community expressed interest in finding volunteers to provide at least one other night for shelter.
Chair Parker explained the HSC was in the process of adding the Ashland Resource List to the website within the next month. Alternately, they would distribute hardcopies to people on the streets or anyone interested in having a copy. Some HSC members met informally with members from Dignity Village and attended their presentation. The Committee was pursuing veteran services available in Medford and White City but having difficulty researching and finding a model for Veterans Court.
2. Transportation system plan update
Planning Commission Chair Pam Marsh and Transportation Commission Chair Dave Young provided the update. Chair Marsh explained the State dictated the transportation system planning process, required localities to look at current transportation situations, conditions, and assess future growth with the goal to ensure the transportation infrastructure was adequate. Additionally, the Transportation System Plan (TSP) should guide capital improvement investments and have a template for unexpected funding opportunities. The Planning and Transportation Commissions focused the TSP on modal equity to provide opportunities to extend policies in the current Comprehensive Plan using strategy that would allow the city to expand capacity of the transportation system, retain some form of human scale and incorporate sustainability with an emphasis on connectivity and safety values.
Chair Young added key elements in the TSP included policies, new classification studies and projects for street function, multi modal, and a safety based review process based on person trips. During the development review processes, the TSP would provide a more accurate sense of the impacts on particular developments and open up possibilities for vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle use improvements. A Fee in Lieu Of policy could apply to roads not classified for other modes of transportation with the fee supporting pedestrian or other modal transportation uses elsewhere in the city. TSP studies included the downtown, and pedestrian crossing evaluation of the Siskiyou Boulevard and the part of Ashland Street surrounding Southern Oregon University area.
Chair Marsh addressed pedestrian and bicycle improvements in the TSP. The Joint Commissions prioritized sidewalk gaps near heavy pedestrian travel areas by use then looked at ways to improve the pedestrian environment. The Fee in Lieu Of policy would apply in areas where the sidewalk policy might need adjusting. The fee would go into the Street fund to support sidewalk development in higher priority areas. Bicycle improvements focused on the casual rider, school routes, and areas known for heavy bicycle traffic.
Chair Young noted future transit improvements included a new bus line, Route 8 that traveled by the hospital, Senior Center, downtown, East Main Street, North Mountain Avenue, Nevada Street, and Hersey Street. Another recommendation was a rubber wheeled trolley from downtown to the hotels located at Exit 14 and a central transit hub located in the Railroad District. A proposed new road would connect Washington Street with Tolman Creek Road. Another TSP recommendation was intersection realignment for Ashland Street, Oak Knoll, and East Main Street. The plan also proposed a roadway connection between East Nevada Street and North Mountain Avenue, new railroad crossings at 4th Street and three hubs for commercial, retail, and transportation amenities.
Chair Marsh commented all the projects in the TSP totaled more than $73,000,000 with $31,000,000 development driven. They prioritized the remaining projects and the high and medium level projects totaled approximately $24,000,000 appropriated through Capital Improvement funds over the next 24 years. Next steps included a public meeting October 24, 2012 at the Old Ashland Armory followed by Planning Commission hearings, then presenting the final TSP document to Council with Planning Commission recommendations. The TSP set the framework with Council prioritizing projects within the Capital Improvement budget.
Colin Swales/143 8th Street/Reminded Council the TSP was not trying to get people out of their cars and there were Council goals reducing vehicles and vehicular infrastructure. The TSP cost taxpayers $410,000 with some funds coming from State grants and one grant for $40,000 specifically to make Ashland more multi modal and use the TSP as a model for small city development within Oregon. He was disappointed with the drive-up window ordinance and thought it was in stark contrast to the TSP.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Section 18.32.025 of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance to provide for the relocation or redevelopment of four financial institutions’ existing, non-conforming drive-up uses in Ashland’s Historic Interest Area”
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained proposed changes amended the current code to allow the four existing financial institutions located in the Ashland historic district to redevelop or relocate without a conditional use permit but incorporated high performance standards. He read aloud the following change to 18.32.025 (E)(2)(b): “Relocated or redeveloped drive-up uses may only be placed on a secondary building elevation, and only accessed from an alley or driveway. A secondary building elevation is defined as a building’s side or rear elevation which does not face a street, other than an alley.” Staff had a list that identified 11 of the 12 drive-ups in the city with one not in use. The City tracked drive-ups when they received a redevelopment application. If one changed ownership and did not go through a land use application, a provision required notification to the city or they could lose the rights.
City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified the Whereas clauses in contracts and ordinances were less important than the substantive portions and considered a weak part of legislative history.
Mr. Molnar added eliminating the conditional use permit lessoned the City’s discretion but going to a special permitted use in the proposed ordinance set specific design criteria. As long as the applicant adhered to the high standards specified in the ordinance, they should be able to redevelop, maintain the use, or relocate within the historic interest area. The Planning Commission thought it was better to give strong direction on expectations regarding design if they redeveloped or relocated instead of the ambiguity of the conditional use permit process.
Colin Swales/143 8th Street/Shared equal concerns regarding the Whereas clauses in the ordinance, in particular the sixth one regarding Transportation Commission findings and thought there were many inaccuracies. The Comprehensive Plan discouraged drive-up uses and the Whereas clause in the proposed ordinance deemed it no longer necessary to contain an explicit policy to discourage drive-up uses. The ordinance would allow the banks to sell to a third party and develop drive-ups elsewhere in town.
Councilor Morris/Chapman m/s to approve Ordinance #3074 as amended.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Morris expressed concern the City did not know the owner or location of one the drive-ups. The ordinance would allow the City to control drive-ups and if not used within six months they expired. He clarified the goal to reduce drive-ups was in the economic element of the old Comprehensive Plan and not in the transportation element. Councilor Silbiger added the ordinance would not allow more drive-ups and made it difficult for the four existing institutions in the downtown area to redevelop or move. Councilor Voisin would not support the motion because it eliminated the discretionary power of the Planning Commission. Councilor Morris noted the Planning Commission had recommended the ordinance with a 5-1 vote. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Morris, and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Voisin, Slattery, and Lemhouse; NO. Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a YES vote. Motion passed 4-3.
2. Second reading of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) 10.64.010 obstructing passageways”
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3075. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin, Slattery, Lemhouse and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 9:22 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor