Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, January 09, 2017


Monday, January 9, 2017
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:50 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, and Rosenthal were present.
  1. Public Input
Roy Laird/419 Willow/Owned the Book Exchange on Will Dodge Way and Pioneer Street.  He addressed the behaviors in the Pioneer Street parking lot explaining ordinances for the downtown had moved activity from Main Street into that area.  There were issues of cursing, intimidation, aggressive panhandling, loud music, and smoking.  This was a clash of values.  People had the constitutional right to swear and be obnoxious but there were unspoken civic values.  He thought the discussion should include the entire area, not just the parking lot.  There were sub groups exhibiting behavior that gave the others a bad reputation.  He understood there were no real solutions but wanted Council to continue the discussion and be aware of the issues in the parking lot and intersection.  These people needed a place.   
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Thought applicants applying for city council should have knowledge about economy and keeping the town alive through changes that would happen quickly.  He hoped the new administration services/finance director had climate change experience. 
Brent Thompson/582 Allison Street/Explained when the Downtown Beautification Improvement ad hoc Committee met, one of the things they considered prior to the smoking ban was a sitting area outside of the market on Lithia Way and Pioneer Street.  The smoking ban was successful and a great move.  However, people needed a place to smoke and he thought the parking lot on Pioneer Street and Lithia Way was possibly the best alternative.  He suggested adjusting the parking lot to accommodate smokers.
Regina Ayers/199 Hillcrest/Spoke on replacing Councilor Marsh’s position and gender equity.  There was now only one woman on council and she thought Ashland had regressed.  Half of Ashland’s population was female.  It was important to provide girls female role models and for women to see other women in these types of positions.  She wanted Council to encourage women to come forward and apply. 
Andrew Kubik/1251 Munson Drive/Spoke regarding the Pioneer parking lot.  He asked everyone to remain mindful of flooding concerns regarding the parking lot that needed attention.  A wall was beneficial but had to be good-sized.  Removing trees and brush was premature.  The people congregating in the parking lot were subject to the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) and it displaced them from one area to the other.  The behavior was the issue and appearances and mannerisms were not.
Stan Potocki/2020 Crestview Drive/Noted the main problem with the parking lot at Pioneer Street was the daily use of alcohol and drugs.  He was six feet away from the parking lot and suggested a temporary smoking ban in that area.  He supported having a landscape architect develop a landscape buffer or even adjusting the wall although both were the antithesis of a buffer.      
  1. Look Ahead review
Interim City Administrator Chief John Karns reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
  1. Discussion of Process for Appointment of Council Position #6
Council discussed process options with staff and agreed to use the City Recorder’s timeline in the Council Communication.  They also wanted candidates to respond to the following questions:
  • What do you think are the biggest issues facing the city?
  • What is your primary motivation for seeking the vacant council seat?
  • What community and city activities have you been involved in recently?
  • What is the role of the city councilor?
Council would develop selection criteria and adopt it in a public meeting.  They could meet each applicants individually or in groups of no more than three councilors.  During those meetings, councilors will ask how the candidate plans on dealing with the acrimony that will sometimes occur during their term.  Once the meetings were completed, Council will have an executive session to determine the final candidates to vote on in the next public meeting.
  1. Discussion of approaches to behavior issues at the Lithia Way/Pioneer Street parking lot
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained staff evaluated the physical recommendations to mitigate issues in the parking lot at Pioneer Street and Lithia Way in response to concerns raised by a neighboring property.  Mr. Faught and Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury met with Stan Potocki to discuss these issues and recommended the following:
  • Replace wooden fence along northern boundary line with an 8’ concrete or block wall.
  • Replace the pedestrian lights along the northern boundary with high-intensity LED cobra headlamps.
  • Improve draining in the landscape strip along the northern boundary.
If Council supported those changes, staff suggested hiring a landscape architect to provide proposals.  They had already talked to Kerry KenCairn informally and she thought the cost estimate was approximately $2,500.
Council had reservations about an 8-foot concrete wall and cobra lighting, wanted to consider redesigning the parking lot, and opening the project for bids.  Other comments included wanting to use the landscape estimate to contract with a security firm.  There were concerns that people congregating in handicap parking places prevented people from parking and allowed for intimidating panhandling.  One suggestion wanted to consider code on how long a person could remain in a parking lot.    
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained people occupying parking stalls or displaying negative behavior was legal at this time.  The police could act on litter, alcohol consumption, and smoking.  Hiring private security could create issues with the Ashland Police Association who already had issues with the cadet program.  Union leaders had never approached the Police Department regarding the City contracting with Diamond Parking Services.  Chief O’Meara confirmed the department was up to full staff.     
Council directed staff to bring back options that included the physical changes, potentially hiring security, code that addressed current issues in the parking lot and defined parking further.  Council wanted staff to consider activity that occurred at the corner by the market and in the parking lot when the bars closed.
Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,                                                                                                          
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder 

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