Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


August 20, 2013
Council Chambers

1175 E. Main Street
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Rosenthal were present. Councilor Lemhouse and Marsh were absent.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Firewise, Tree, and Planning Commissions, and one vacancy on the Band Board. 
The minutes of the Study Session of August 5, 2013 and Regular Meeting of August 6, 2013 were approved as presented.
Fire Chief John Karns announced the Ashland is Ready emergency preparedness workshops September 7, 2013 at the Historic Armory.  Cost to attend was $5.
1.   Endorsement of SOPride for the purpose of hanging a banner
2.   Endorsement of the Monster Dash for the purpose of hanging a banner
3.   Initiation of adoption process for Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan
4.   Initiation of adoption process for Unified Land Use Code
5.   Annual renewal of liquor licenses
6.   Appointment of Joe Graf to the Transportation Commission
7.   Acceptance of first right of refusal offer for the remaining lease rights of a hanger at the Ashland Municipal Airport
8.   Renewal of IGA with Jackson County for building inspection services
Consent Agenda items #3 and #4 were pulled for staff presentations.  Community Director Bill Molnar explained the scope of work was near completion for the Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan and for the Unified Land Use code projects.  The next process was formatting it to amend the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Ordinance to incorporate both projects.  Per the land use ordinance, the Planning Commission, City Council, or a citizen initiated amendments to the land use code or the Comprehensive Plan.  Initiation of adoption was a formality of notifying Council the local process was starting and would eventually come to Council.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan was outside city limits within the urban growth boundary.  All proposals for urban levels of development within the 94-acre area ultimately would require Council approval and Planning Commission review.  The City initiated the process by completing a series of frameworks regarding housing, mobility, infrastructure, greenways, open space, and sustainability.  The design phase worked in concert with the public involvement phase and began October 2012.  Council amended the scope of work for the Transportation Growth Management program specifically for the Normal Avenue project to allow development on another iteration of the plan.  The next version of the plan would incorporate the redistribution and concentration of housing within the plan area, looking at provisions for mixed-use opportunities, use of open space corridors, establishing development standards for the area, and evaluating the proposed transportation network and road capacity. 
The Planning Commission would review the final plan during a Study Session September 24, 2013 and hold the first Public Hearing October 8, 2013.  Once the Planning Commission completed their review and recommendation, they would forward the final code and plan provision to Council for consideration.
The plan provided for future application for annexation comes before the Planning Commission and Council there would be a vision in place to compare the application in terms of consistency.
Bryce Anderson/2092 Creek Drive/Represented three homeowner associations that were concerned the development would become high-density without the opportunity for adjustments.  He thought the property located across from him would be developed first.  His neighborhood experienced problems with sewer already and the new development might escalate that and contribute to water and traffic issues.  He asked that the City consider the sequence of development, acknowledge the immediate impact to the area, and make it medium density. 
Planning Manager Maria Harris explained the Unified Land Use Code Ordinance project would combine the Land Use ordinance with and related development standards into one document with improved formatting, wording, organization, and graphics.  It would include code evaluation, application procedure, and green development measures.  The goal was creating a document with understandable requirements and easy to navigate.  The final product would be one document with code framework divided into six parts of the chapters grouped to be more intuitive to the average user and have tables for convenient reference and consolidated information.  Staff had several public meetings in June and one with a focus group of planning development professionals. 
She described amendments that would extend planning approval time and extension periods, allowing larger buildings in the basic site review zone as type 1 or administrative approval, green development that encompassed cottage housing and solar systems, and amendments based on policy recommendations in the 2006 Land Use Ordinance Review or the Siegel Report, and amendments from public input. 
Next steps included a landscape design focus group, and using Open City Hall for public input.
Councilor Rosenthal/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
David Sherr/Diane Street/Expressed his disappointment regarding the redesign of the Ashland Plaza, specifically the use of gray pavers.  He stated half the people of Ashland, including visitors and Councilors were upset about the gray pavers and read unfavorable comments from a website regarding the redesign of the Plaza.  He explained the issues he had with the project’s public input process and noted a grassroots citizen’s movement circulating a petition urging Council action in transforming the plaza that reflected their view.
1.   Update to Council regarding post Road Diet assessment
Public Works Director Mike Faught introduced Kim Parducci, PE PTOE of Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering and explained the City hired the firm to take a technical look and gage from engineering perspective if it was working or not.  The full review would be complete October 2013.
Ms. Parducci started collecting data January 2013 on the North Main corridor.  Kittelson spearheaded the project in 2011, took preliminary data September 2012, and set the evaluation measures.  Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering gathered, reviewed, and compiled data.  The scope of work evaluated volumes on Main Street, speed, and travel time through the corridor with a focus on the Hersey and Wimer intersection.  Project scope grew to encompass Glen, Bush, and Manzanita. To date they had looked at every intersection from Schofield to Bush.
Data results showed pedestrian and bicyclist use fluctuated with a slight increase since April.  Comparing September 2013 pedestrian and bicycle data from September 2012 will produce a better measure.  Crashes on the corridor decreased significantly based on 10 years of data.  The 85% percentile speed was 32 mph (miles per hour) before the road diet and was now 29-30 mph.  Data showed no significant change in travel time either. The corridor level of service remained at a B within the performance standard minimum and continued at the level.  Signalized intersections were slightly worse from a level of service standpoint mainly due to the single lane in either direction at Laurel and Maple.  There was an increase level of service at most of the non-signalized intersections.
Side street traffic volumes increased slightly and ranged from 88-400 trips more per day depending on the specific side street.  Oak Street and Mountain experienced an increase and North Main increased 2,500 trips per day.  Maple Street showed 3,000 trips per day February and 3,460 in May.  Oak Street went from 2,622 trips per day September 2012 to 2,973 trips per day May 2013.  Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering looked at design improvements at Bush, possibly adding a northbound left turn lane.  Modifications under consideration were left turn pockets, consolidating some driveways north of Maple Street, and additional crosswalks.  They will have a final report at the end of the one-year trial period.
Mr. Faught added staff was using Open City Hall public forum to gauge public acceptance as a first phase.  The second phase involved SOU (Southern Oregon University) mailing 4,000 surveys end of September.
If Council decided to go back to the four-lane configuration, ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) would restripe and install pavement markings spring or early summer 2014.  If Council retained the road diet as it stood, staff would touch up the restriping.
Councilor Slattery addressed the crash data and noted when Hersey Wimer intersection was removed the decrease in traffic accidents was slight.  Mr. Faught would look at severity of accidents for the final report.
Ms. Parducci provided information on her background and the methodology used to collect data.  She had worked in Traffic Engineering since 1997 and used count boxes and a stop watch to record the number of cars, speed, and travel time.  Maximum capacity for road diets was generally 20,000 daily trips.  That amount increased to 20,200 trips during June and North Main still operated effectively.  The maximum was the level a road diet no longer operated better than a different configuration.  September 2013 data would compare student traffic from September 2012.
  1. Second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending the Health and Sanitation Chapter (9.08) and the General Regulations Chapter (18.68) of the Ashland Municipal Code to establish provisions for the keeping of micro-livestock and bees within residential districts.”
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained staff incorporated Council request for daft amendments for a permitting system for the keeping of bees that included the potential for revocation, requiring notification to adjacent property owners prior to placing beehives and required a basic zoning permit similar to a fence permit.  If a neighbor objected, they would contact the Community Development Department and forward medical documentation asserting an allergy to bees, and the City would not issue the permit.
Staff sought Council’s direction on established apiaries with permit approval when new neighbors with bee allergies move adjacent to the property.  Council could grandfather the hives or revoke the permit.
Another issue was the proximity of the notice area to an adjacent property could change to a specific distance.
Councilor Slattery was more interested in a notification process versus a permitted policy.
Tyler Hawkins/315 East Rapp Road, Talent/Explained he was allergic to bees and carried an EpiPen.  Disallowing bees in certain areas did not alleviate fears from those that are allergic to bees and would could was education.  There was a wide range of allergies.  Denying beekeeping due to fear of beestings was not the proper direction.  The most important thing a person with bee allergies could do to prevent stings was not having flowers in their yard that attracted them.
Kim Blackwolf/354 Liberty Street/Supported the original proposed ordinance, changes to beekeeping was unfair and unrealistic.  No one can tell which hive a bee comes from.  Expressed concern it could pit neighbor against neighbor.  A permit would not help someone with allergies, education would.
Sarah Red-Laird/285 Wightman Street/Supported the ordinance but not the planning process for beekeeping.  She thought it was overreaching and could create unnecessary conflict with neighbors.  She supported a register via a postcard or online form that required a contact number in case of swarming.   
She encouraged a provision in the ordinance to deal with bee problems as they occurred.
Leah Saturen/308 Avery Street/Spoke in supports original proposed ordinance and not the permitting process.  Bees disperse ten feet from the hive and can travel up to 3-5 miles from the hive.  Agreed the permitting process could cause conflict with neighbors and liked the idea of having a registration. 
Scott Allison/891 Beswick Way/Explained he was currently a beekeeper and in the Master Apprentice Beekeepers program at Oregon State University.  Putting a boundary setback was erroneous because bees migrate many miles away from the hives.  Bees were not aggressive creatures.  He strongly supported education.  The proposal was fear based especially during a swarm where bees were at their least aggressive.  The City should encourage beekeeping, they are threatened, and colony collapse disorder was very real and noted the massive bee die off that had recently happened.  Bees supply 40% pollination of food.  The permit process was too cumbersome and wanted to see it streamlined with a possible basic beekeeping class.  Bees were declining 10%-15% annually and he wanted to reverse or stabilize that decline.
Mary Gardiner/349 Orange Street/She voiced her support of the original ordinance and commented that people need to be responsible in their beekeeping.  She agreed that education is important and that honeybees are different, that bees have a job and that is what they do.  She indicated that beekeeping is expensive to startup as compared to the keeping of other micro-livestock and does not support a noticing requirement.
Marge Bernard/1051 Nepenthe Street/Shared that she is a beekeeper and voiced her support for the original ordinance.  She felt that there was misinformation being circulated regarding bees and that a government intrusion is not necessary.  She commented that most people do not have life threatening bee issues.
Ellen Wright/97 Pine Street/She supported the original ordinance and agreed that a compromise of registry is good.  She was concerned that required noticing is too much.  She stated that currently, there are issues with maintaining good bees and the importance on maintaining a healthy bee environment.
Ryan King/420 Chestnut/He shared his experience with building beehives and his participation in programs at Southern Oregon University on beekeeping.  He felt this would be a positive impact to the educational process and supports beekeeping.  He also felt that education in schools is being encouraged.
Alicia Fitzgerald/760 Oak Street/She supports beekeeping and shared her experience through participation on boards involving small farm gardening.  She noted the importance of beekeeping and shared an email sent out to their organization where 343 members signed petition to support the ordinance.
Council considered the comments provided by the public provided and offered the following in their discussion:
  • Proceed with ordinance but operate on a cautionary level to consider responsive public safety
  • Educational tools available for beekeepers (especially for those that are new to beekeeping); process for those with health concerns; public policy that is both responsive and bee friendly
  • Consider registration process rather than required permit process which could include educational criteria
  • Consider providing educational classes through Parks & Recreation
  • Registration list could provide contact list of beekeepers in the event of a swarm
  • Important to incorporate component of urban area is a safe and reasonable way
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3084. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin requested staff to bring back for their review a registration process.
Council Slattery/Voisin m/s to amend motion to replace 9.08.040 D (1) and D (2) that a registration with the city is required to keep beehives within the city limits and the Director of Community Development shall provide a beekeeping registration process. DISCUSSION: Councilors commented that beekeeping tracking is inherent in the registration process but may be cumbersome for staff.  The process should be kept simple and should provide an educational tool on behalf of the City.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Rosenthal, Slattery, YES; Councilor Morris, No. Motion passed 3-1.
Councilor Rosenthal motion to require registration notification of adjacent property owners. Motion died due to lack of second.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained that there is no penalty for those that fail to register and that compliance may be an issue.  Concern was voiced for those that are not educated with beekeeping.  It was felt that registration would provide benefit over time and it would be better to have registration process.  Staff would be expected to use their expertise in constructing a registration policy and the language for the ordinance.  Comment was made that there should be a valid reason for a registration process and that council may need to have further time to consider this.
Roll Call Vote on amended ordinance: Councilor Slattery, Voisin, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
2.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan to adopt the Housing Needs Analysis as a supporting document to the City of Ashland Comprehensive Plan.”
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid and Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided staff report.  Draft includes changes that addressed original council concerns, which included the following:
  • The section of the HNA (Housing Needs Analysis) was expanded to introduce some of the unique characteristics of Ashland including discussion regarding the impact of the student and retirement population on the City’s existing and future demographics,
  • The value of a tight urban form that serves to promote multi-modal transportation is cited as a mitigating factor when assessing housing affordability  in consideration of transportation costs,
  • New language added that clarifies that the HNA does not establish new policy but instead provides technical information and creates a framework for discussion on housing needs over time,
  • Clarification on rental/owner households and the impact of the student population
  • Added citations, reworked/rearranged paragraphs and added definitions for housing and income types as recommended by the mayor and council,
  • Added HUD income guideline chart to provide a frame of reference for income percentage contained throughout the document,
  • Implications of housing trends section was deleted,
  • Additional potential strategies were incorporated into the document,
  • Expanded definitions for housing terminology throughout document,
  • Deleted references to family moving from Ashland due to living wage jobs and affordable housing in neighboring cities and all but one reference to the Economic Opportunity Analysis,
  • Minor editorial changes and word substitutions to remove conclusion statements,
  • Added chart illustrating the differences in increases between housing costs, transportation costs, and wages with citations,
  • Added language regarding the potential strategies as constituting a menu of items for further consideration,
  • Clarified that the challenges and objectives identified are taken from the existing Comprehensive Plan and that all HNA suggested strategies are in deference to the goals and priorities identified in the Comprehensive Plan, and
  • Added chart of the units added to and expired/paid-out of the City’s affordable housing program.

Council voiced their appreciation for the work done by staff.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned 9:14 p.m.
________________________________                    _____________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                             John Stromberg, Mayor

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