Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced the City was accepting applications for annual appointments to the various Commissions and Committees.  The deadline for applications was March 21, 2014. 
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to place on the agenda discussion regarding a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Mayor Stromberg moved Public Forum and Unfinished Business item #1.  First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance modifying the Verde Village Subdivision’s Development Agreement to clarify project phasing and make clear which improvements are required with each phase and allow either phase to occur first; to change the energy efficiency requirements for the development so that all units will be constructed to at least Earth Advantage Gold Standards and will be photovoltaic ready; and to change the landscaping requirements associated with construction of the multi-use path,” after the Consent Agenda with Council consent.
The minutes of the Study Session of March 3, 2014, Executive Session of March 3, 2014, Business Meeting of March 4, 2014, and Goal Setting of March 8, 2014 were approved as presented.
Assistant Planner Michael Pina and Tree Commission Vice Chair Ken Schmidt presented the 2013 Tree of the Year award to the Freemont Cottonwood located at 380 Clay Street and highlighted activities occurring throughout the month of April. 
1.   Acceptance of Commission and Committee minutes
2.   Request for endorsement of the AAUW Garden Tour to hang a banner across East Main Street
3.   HMEP Grant application request
4.   Liquor license application for Elisa Boulton dba The Lunch Show
5.   Prioritization of Future Planning Initiatives
6.   City of Ashland risk management report for FY 2012-2013
7.   Economic Development Strategy quarterly update
Council pulled Consent Agenda items #6 and #7 for further discussion.  Finance Director Lee Tuneberg addressed the risk management report and explained the 26% increase in liability insurance was the overall average in the CIS pool and Ashland should see something smaller due to the City’s good history.  The City County Insurance Services program covered 98% of the government agencies in the state.  It would be difficult finding coverage outside the pool.  Mr. Tuneberg would forward rate increase information to Council once he received notification from CIS.
Management Analyst Adam Hanks addressed the Economic Development Strategy update and provided additional information on the Ashland Resource Business Portal, the enterprise zone and the Green Business Challenge.
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES.
Nancy Nelson/149 Clear Creek #202/Invited everyone to attend a presentation by Dr. Ray Seidler March 21, 2014 at the Southern Oregon University campus on the economic and ecological issues regarding genetically modified crops.
Josh Barber/1401 Oregon #185/Explained he was student at Southern Oregon University (SOU) and talked about rental discrimination towards students.
Andrew Ensslin/1401 Oregon #277/Currently served as the SOU student liaison to the City Housing and Human Services Commission and asked Council to amend the Fair Housing Ordinance (AMC 10.110) to prevent housing discrimination based on student status and age.
Kristi Wright/40 Wightman #6/Explained she was a senior at SOU who served as the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University (ASSOU) communications director and the manager of the Fair Housing Campaign.  ASSOU asked Council to amend Ashland Municipal Code 10.110 Fair Housing to include protected classes for student status, age, and clarify the enforcement process.
Jason Houk/137 Stu Street/Expressed appreciation for the new Ashland Community Resource Center and services.
Thomas Letchworth/820 Glendale/Explained he was the student body president at SOU and encouraged Council to pass an ordinance that recognized students as a protected class to end blatant and illegal discrimination of students in the housing community.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s to add fair housing and Southern Oregon University students to the agenda for further discussion.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance modifying the Verde Village Subdivision’s Development Agreement to clarify project phasing and make clear which improvements are required with each phase and allow either phase to occur first; to change the energy efficiency requirements for the development so that all units will be constructed to at least Earth Advantage Gold Standards and will be photovoltaic ready; and to change the landscaping requirements associated with construction of the multi-use path”
Mayor Stromberg read the land use procedures to modify the ordinance for the Verde Village Subdivision’s Development Agreement.  The changes would clarify project phasing, required improvements with each phase and allowed either phase to occur first.  It would change the energy efficiency requirements for the development so all units were at least Earth Advantage Gold Standard and photovoltaic ready.  It would also change the landscaping requirements associated with construction of the multi-use path.
Council declared no Exparte contact.  Associate Planner Derek Severson clarified the development agreement would transfer to the new owners if the property sold.  New owners could request further modifications to the agreement.
Councilor Morris/Marsh to approve First Reading by title only of the ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Modifying the Verde Village Subdivision Development Agreement,” with the two amendments recommended by the Planning Commission and move it to Second Reading.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
  1. Public Hearing and Council direction to staff regarding an ordinance prohibiting the unlawful carrying of loaded firearms in public places.
Bruce Borgerson/209 Sleepy Hollow Street/Represented the Peace House board and spoke on their behalf.  He encouraged Council to support the ordinance despite the opposition’s use of threats and intimidation.
Katie Latham/1149 Oak Street/Ashland did not have an open carry problem.  People who thought they were safer with the ordinance should move to Portland or one of the cities that adopted a similar ordinance.  The City had no right to limit her or her family’s constitutional rights. 
Amy Haptonstall/341 Beach Street/Reminded Council their oath of office was to uphold and protect the state and federal constitution, not manipulate an unconstitutional law at the expense of citizens.  It created a division within the community and infringed on second and fourth amendment rights.
Robin Haptonstall/341 Beach Street/Equated the proposed ordinance to one that prohibited unsupervised minors access to skateboards. 
Donald Morris/1644 Ross Lane/Served as an army artillery officer and was a lifelong hunter. Mishaps occurred with legal gun owners daily.  A responsible gun owner observed gun safety at all times and went on to cite gun safety guidelines.
Heidi Weeda/313 Cambridge Street/Explained if a teacher, parent, or guardian carried a gun at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they would have stopped the murderer much faster or prevented the mass shooting altogether.  People would have to wait a long time for the police in the event a gun-carrying criminal infiltrated a community that prohibited firearms.    
Ken Gudger/497 Lori Lane/Explained why he and his wife previously co-chaired the central California chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  The fact was states and local agencies that passed and implemented reasonable firearm regulations saw a significant reduction in homicide and suicide by firearm.  He supported the proposed ordinance.
Biome/19 Main Street/Stated Council and City staff took an oath to uphold and defend the US and Oregon constitutions and considered anyone who sought to subvert or violate either constitution terrorists and traitors to the country. He read the Second Amendment, Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution, and historic quotes.
Steve Richie/598 East Main Street/Did not understand why they were discussing the gun ordinance when the Police Chief researched other communities with a similar ordinance and found no quantifiable benefit. 
Jonny Boulton/165 East Main Street/The ordinance would create an unnecessary infringement and not deter criminals.  Council did not have lawful authority to infringe people’s rights. 
Tanner Richie/598 E Main Street/Explained he was a student at Southern Oregon University and many students opposed the gun ordinance.
Nancy Nelson/149 Clear Creek #202/Moved from California to Oregon two years ago and shared two experiences she encountered involving guns in southern Oregon.  She supported the ordinance.
Victor Chang/519 Sutton Place/Agreed with previous testimony that downtown Ashland did not need guns and supported the evidence reducing access to guns decreased accidental deaths by gunfire and suicide rates.
John Briery/784 A Street/Opposed the ordinance and urged Council to oppose it as well.  He disagreed that cities with stronger gun control experienced fewer gun related deaths. 
Elaine Delsman/555 Fairview/Stated the constitution gave the people the right to bear arms and an unloaded gun was useless.  She wanted to right to protect herself.
Bill Skillman/635 Oak Knoll/Vehemently opposed to the ordinance.  Current laws were adequate.  This was a “feel good” ordinance that would accomplish nothing.
Andy Kubik/1251 Munson Drive/Supported the ordinance and had owned firearms for almost forty years.  The second amendment was almost a privilege that came with tremendous responsibility.  With that was the respect that guns were deadly weapons, not toys, political tools, or props.
Scott Gausen/307 Garfield/Did not support the proposed ordinance and thought it was unreasonable.  The NRA (National Rifle Association of America) had deep pockets and that Portland had not had any issues with their ordinances did not mean that Ashland would not. 
Bruce Albert/1411 Ponderosa Drive/Opposed the proposed ordinance.  The City Attorney provided options and one was to do nothing.  The litigation costs the City Attorney gave did not include police staff costs and logistics.  He urged the Council not to pass the ordinance.
Rochelle Newman/819 Pavilion Place/Did not advocate open carry guns or concealed guns and abhorred the concept of stand and defend.  Only law enforcement agents, hunters, and target shooters needed to have guns.  A guns only function was maiming or killing.  The NRA would have everyone believe that carrying a gun was tantamount to being a free person.  She believed carrying a weapon provided a false sense of security and an illusion of power.  
Davis Wilkins, MD/220 Pompadour Drive/Explained she was a local physician and supported the passage of both ordinances.  The constitution guaranteed the right to responsible gun ownership and the ordinance would not affect responsible, legal gun owners. 
Dave Hering/170 Sherman Street/Strongly supported Council adopting the ordinance.  It was a moderate common sense safety ordinance and the open carry ordinance as proposed did not pose litigation risk to the City and would not apply to people with concealed handgun licenses (CHL). 
Matt Oliva, MD/220 Pompadour/Explained he was a local physician who treated many gun accidents and shared recent experiences of minors accessing guns.  The ordinance would not infringe on people’s rights but could act as a meaningful deterrent.  He urged Council to enact the ordinance. 
Lynn Ransford/1183 Village Square/Described the reactions of children during a previous Council meeting who were eye level with a man carrying an assault rifle.  Many people grew up with hunting rifles, this was different.  Weapons designed only for war and killing fellow human beings did not contribute to a child’s sense of safety.  The state supreme court had upheld ordinances that prevented the display of loaded weapons in public places.  She urged Council to adopt the same ordinance for Ashland. 
Cat Gould/114 Van Ness Avenue/The key phrase in the second amendment was “well regulated.”  She did not want to take anyone’s guns away but wanted it regulated.  It was a common sense law similar to the laws regarding drinking, and bike riding.  She originated from Australia that experienced a 100% reduction in mass shooting and a dramatic drop in accidental death due to adopting strong gun control regulations.
Colin Swales/143 Eighth Street/Supported both ordinances and hoped Council would vote on the ordinance and not pass it to the voters.
Timothy March/9964 Wagner Creek Road/Talent, OR/Shared he was a local physician and encouraged people to move past their emotions regarding the issue and focus on the research and facts.
Anthony Hutchison/292 Clinton Street/Explained he was the Rector of the Trinity Episcopal Church and shared that over 3,000 children died each year due to gun violence.  The US had a culture of violence.  The American Bill of Rights consciously copied the English Bill of Rights where the second amendment originally protected the rights of Protestants so they could defend themselves against Catholics.  The American Bill of Rights included the right to bear arms because the militia was essential to democracy.  Second amendment fundamentalism was part of the violence of this country. 
Scott Ploss/255 Mobile Drive/Opposed the ordinance.
David West/1533 Jasper Street/Medford, OR/Opposed the ordinance and clarified gun safety rules.
Bruce Cook/5128 Beagle Road/White City, OR/Shared he was an SOU studying criminal law.  He quoted Sir Robert Peel regarding modern policing and noted federal government studies showed criminals feared armed citizens more than a uniformed police officer.
Colby Olsen/8321 White Mountain Drive/White City, OR/Noted the use of the word “democracy,” and clarified the US was a constitutional republic and each individual had rights that could not be taken away.  The problem was lack of education and people not understanding the definition of democracy. 
Orionne Randal/196 Bearon Hill Road/Opposed the proposed ordinance.  The world had eroded the rights of individuals and he did not want to see it happen any further in the US. 
Public Hearing was closed at 8:53 p.m.
Councilor Voisin wanted to make a motion to adopt an ordinance restricting openly carrying loaded firearms in public places.  The ordinance would not diminish second amendment rights and represented the citizens’ voice for a safer Ashland regarding open carry.  Councilor Marsh supported the ordinance drafted by the City Attorney.  It would be a statement of community values, a reasonable safety measure, and constitutionally defensible.
Councilor Rosenthal saw the proposed ordinance as problematic, risky, and unsure it would make the community safer.  He was more interested in the child endangerment aspect.  Councilor Lemhouse shared his personal and professional background with guns.  He was a strong supporter of gun rights and gun responsibility.  He would support stricter penalties for those who were irresponsible with their firearms or broke firearm laws.  Open carry was disruptive to a community and he did not think it was a problem in Ashland.  He was reluctant to pass a law that might not be effective.  Cities could not preempt state law and the best way to affect change regarding guns was at the state level. 
Councilor Slattery grew up hunting with guns and would never consider carrying a loaded weapon in public.  Council should make the decision and not put it out for a vote.  Meaningful gun laws occurred at the state and federal level.  He was not comfortable adopting a law that was possibly not enforceable.  He was not sure if Ashland was the right place for this kind of law, and if people who open carried really helped the community.  Councilor Morris had issues regulating firearms in people’s cars and was not sure he would support the ordinance. He was more interested in the ordinance on child safety but state law prevented the City from moving forward on that ordinance. 
Mayor Stromberg commented people in Ashland wanted to join with other communities trying to turn the tide on this complicated issue.  The NRA had a lot of power and alternately creating tremendous frustration and he was not sure how it would end.  He did not think Ashland had a problem with people illegally open carrying loaded firearms.  Additionally the community had almost no firearm violence.  It made it difficult for Council because they had a responsibility to be pragmatic and careful about getting involved in symbolic acts that lacked a local legitimate reason.  Another option for Council was possibly approving a resolution that requested legislature find a way that did not infringe on second amendment rights but held people responsible for keeping their guns secure.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s that Council give direction to Legal staff to draft an ordinance restricting openly carrying loaded firearms in public places similar to the one presented by Legal staff.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought it was important to take responsibility for this particular ordinance.  It was defensible and represented the citizens voice for a safer Ashland.  Councilor Marsh noted Council often passed ordinances that reflected how people should behave.  Creating an ordinance was a small gesture that would build momentum across the state and country for something more significant regarding the violence created by firearms.
Councilor Lemhouse thought passing an ordinance that prevented people from open carrying when they had the right to open carry would not make the public safer.  He had not seen any statistical evidence that proved the ordinance was effective and would not support the motion.  Councilor Slattery would support the motion to hear from experts and discuss it further.  Councilor Morris thought the ordinance would increase the number of people open carrying.  He did not support making it illegal to open carry in a vehicle.  Mayor Stromberg was confident the ordinance would be challenged and that was not good for the community. 
Councilor Marsh/Morris m/s to amend the motion and exempt firearms carried in vehicles in any proposed ordinance by staff. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Voisin, Slattery, and Morris, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on amended main motion: Councilor Marsh, Voisin, Slattery, and Morris, YES; Councilor Rosenthal and Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
City Attorney Dave Lohman would try to provide raw numbers on concealed weapon permits in the county and state but was not sure if he could provide anything further.  City Administrator Dave Kanner did not believe there were any records pertaining to open carry in Ashland since it was not a crime.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s that Council direct staff to draft an ordinance to prohibit endangering a child by allowing access to firearm. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought it was the most important ordinance brought forward by the citizens.  It was not litigation proof, there were two sides to the issue but standing for litigation made a difference.  She shared statistics regarding children and guns.  Councilor Rosenthal added if Council was interested in making a difference in the community this was the angle to explore.  This type of ordinance could have prevented the mass shooting in Newton CT.  He was not sure if it was lawful in Oregon but thought it was worth the investment of staff time. 
Councilor Lemhouse wanted to protect children but could not support the motion because the City attorney had previously informed the many limitations regarding an ordinance like this because it preempted state law.  He would rather work on a resolution to the state that pushed for stronger penalties against gun owners who did not control their firearms and were guilty of endangering children.  Councilor Marsh did not think Council had the grounds to move forward in terms of an ordinance.  The City attorney had a draft resolution that included elements that urged legislature to allow legislation that would enable a city or county to adopt ordinances that would prohibit people from endangering a minor.  She supported collaborating with the local legislative delegation and moving something forward to the state level. 
Councilor Slattery thought Council could work at the state level to move forward and understood this issue was beyond Council reach.  Council Morris agreed with Councilor Slattery, Marsh, and Lemhouse and was interested in pursuing something at the state level.  Mr. Lohman clarified there was a state preemption regarding the storage of firearms and it was likely an access to minors ordinance would be challenged.  Only two jurisdictions in the state had ordinances regarding access to minors that neither city had enforced to date. 
Mayor Stromberg added the state should address child safety with focus on general child endangerment issues than gun rights.   What would be effective was people who were pro second amendment joining with people pro gun control to support a child safety movement at the state level. Councilor Voisin did not think going to the state legislature would make a difference considering many attempts in the past were unsuccessful.  This was an opportunity for municipalities to create their own ordinances and this was an important step.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal and Voisin, YES; Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Morris, NO. Motion failed 2-4.
Councilor Voisin/Morris m/s to delay the Second Reading of the Council Rules ordinance to the next Council meeting. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
  1. Discussion regarding directing staff to draft an ordinance providing a moratorium on medicinal marijuana businesses.
Councilor Marsh explained Council referred zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries to the Planning Commission and their workload was overwhelming.  Councilor Marsh suggested Council direct staff to draft an ordinance for the Planning Commission for review, hold a public hearing, and forward to Council for adoption.  City Administrator Dave Kanner clarified the ordinance would cover a few specifics that the Planning Commission could work on immediately, then forward the proposed ordinance to Council and continue working on the subject afterwards.
Mayor Stromberg added an ordinance providing a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries would come to Council at the April 1, 2014 Council meeting.  The moratorium was an option for Council to delay dispensaries while the City went through the land use process.  Councilor Marsh hoped to expedite the planning process and avoid a moratorium.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to direct staff to prepare an ordinance for review by the Planning Commission that addresses marijuana dispensaries allowing them as a permitted use in the commercial and industrial zones and a conditional use in the employment zone and a disallowed use in the downtown commercial zone.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh explained the logical planning approach was looking at like uses.  The medical marijuana dispensary was a like use to a pharmacy or liquor store and both permitted in the employment zone.  As a conditional use in the employment zone, the City could place conditions regarding hours, shielding, or recommendations from the Planning Commission.  In terms of the commercial and industrial area, the permitted use was the appropriate standard.  The state was adding restrictions in addition to City conditions that would make the area for pharmacies limited.  Councilor Slattery agreed it was good direction for the Planning Commission and supported the motion.
Councilor Marsh noted employment areas tended to be transitional areas between significant residential communities and the commercial part of the community so a conditional use was the appropriate standard in those areas.  Councilor Lemhouse questioned if the ordinance would address residential areas.  Councilor Marsh replied it was difficult to determine a marijuana dispensary having a larger impact than a liquor store, cell phone tower, or a crematorium, uses currently allowed in all of the City’s districts.  The City had to do zoning that provided reasonable restrictions on operations.   
Councilor Voisin wanted the Planning Commission to have the freedom to make an informed decision on their expertise and expressed concern Council was micro managing. Councilor Marsh responded the ordinance would jumpstart the Planning Commission’s expertise with a document they could work on and move forward.  City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified someone establishing a dispensary while the Planning Commission worked on the ordinance would grandfather the business.  Some cities passed a moratorium to prevent grandfathering while they take the time to determine how to proceed.  The moratorium was retroactive and would go into effect March 1, 2014.  The moratorium would lift current state protections for dispensaries as well.  Councilor Lemhouse supported the motion and wanted to see a moratorium come forward as well.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
  1. Discussion regarding fair housing and Southern Oregon University students.

Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to place this item on the next Council meeting. DISCUSSION: 
City Administrator Dave Kanner confirmed staff would refer an amendment to the Fair Housing ordinance to create a protected class for students to the Housing and Human Services Commission for review.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
1.   Second reading by title only of a ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 2: Rules of City Council; Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures for Advisory Commissions and Boards; Recreation Commission; Conservation Commission; and Certain Administrative and Operating Departments”
Item delayed to the next Council meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

John Stromberg, Mayor

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