Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
August 15, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
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MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced there are volunteer positions available on the Housing, Forest Lands, and Bicycle & Pedestrian Commissions.
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APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Executive Session Minutes of August 1, 2006 and the Regular Council Minutes of August 1, 2006 were approved as presented.
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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
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CONSENT AGENDA
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Liquor License Application - Manna.
3. Liquor License Application - Pancho's Restaurant.
4. Liquor License Application - Vinyl Club.
5. Approval of personal service contract in excess of $25,000 for Bob Murray & Associates to Conduct an Executive Search for Police Chief.
6. Acceptance of Pedestrian/Bicycle Easement.
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Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
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PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
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PUBLIC FORUM
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Commented on the problem of runaway growth and housing costs. He stated that the growth and lack of affordable housing are the result of public policy made at the City level and stated the lack of citizen participation could be dealt with by practical, structural actions by the Council. Mr. Lang requested the Citizens Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC), which is provided for in the Comprehensive Plan, be reinstituted.

Art Bullock/Requested the Council: 1) Implement the recommendation of the Charter Review Committee to form a water powers task force, and 2) Hold a public forum so citizens can learn what is at stake.

Wendy Siporen/300 W. Main Street, Talent/Commented on the "Eat Local Challenge" and requested the City pass a proclamation for Eat Local Week at the next Council meeting.

Ambuja Rosen/Requested the City adopt an ordinance prohibiting prolonged tethering of animals. She stated the City Attorney is reviewing her proposal and asked if there was anything else she could do to assist with moving this item forward.

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
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NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Report on Regional Problem Solving (Kate Jackson).
Councilor Jackson provided an update on the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving project. She stated they are seeking public involvement for the second time and invited the public to attend the August 23, 2006 meeting at the City of Eagle Point City Hall or the September 7, 2006 meeting at the Talent Middle School Library. Ms. Jackson also noted the online Council packet contains the minutes, goals and policies, and maps related to this issue.

Councilor Jackson presented a PowerPoint presentation which addressed: background, how the study area was chosen, organizations involved, alternatives, residential growth by decade, guiding goals and policies, project structure and primary roles, rural/urban buffering guidelines, final phase technical studies, urban reserve areas, and opportunities for public discussion.

Colin Swales/461 Allison Street/Commented on the use of smart-growth and infill to make sure the land within the urban growth boundary is efficiently used and questioned if the City's Planning Commission has been involved in this process and been informed of what is going on. Ms. Swales asked for assurance that Ashland's policy stays in place and that is be an example to the rest of the valley.

Councilor Jackson clarified her involvement with this project, stated Ashland still believes in its buildable lands inventory, and that the City does not need to annex. She also clarified the regional plan provides a framework that will need to be revisited every five years.

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2. Fire Station No. 2 Replacement Project & Bond Proposals.
Fire Chief Keith Woodley presented the staff report and noted the work plan for the replacement of Fire Station No. 2 was presented to Council on October 6, 2005. Mr. Woodley requested authorization to place two measures on the November 7, 2006 general election ballot; one for the procurement of an aerial ladder truck and the second for the replacement of Fire Station No. 2. He noted that project architects Hans Ettlin and Bob Thrapp of Peck Smiley Ettlin Architects were present along with Jim McNamara, who has been contracted by the City to provide project management and consulting engineering services for the project. Mr. Woodley stated the following presentation will address: 1) Why the fire station needs to be replaced, 2) What has determined the proposed size of the new station, and 3) How the project costs and budget were determined.

Hans Ettlin and Bob Thrapp addressed the Council. They listed several issues with the current station and stated in their opinion, the station has no potential for remodeling and should be removed. The issues included: seismically unsound, inadequate housing for the equipment, code deficiencies, inadequate parking, no support facilities, no private areas for report writing or office support, no training facilities, no EMS support areas and no storage room. Mr. Thrapp explained the site is difficult to work with due to its narrowness and provided a description of the site plan and building design.

Mr. Woodley stated Fire Station No. 2 would primarily service the east side of the City and explained as call volumes increase, it will be less possible for the firefighters to congregate at one station and they will need to stay within their primary response area. He stated the proposed design of the new station meets the character of the neighborhood and would meet the operational needs of the department. He also noted the proposal includes narrowing the street in front of the station and installing a fire signal and a pedestrian crossing.

Comment was made questioning the size and scope of the building. Mr. Woodley noted the increasing call volume of 7% - 10% each year and explained why it is beneficial to have coinciding rooms in Station No. 1 and No. 2. He added they could reduce the cost of the project by storing some of the emergency vehicles outside and shrinking the garage area.

Mr. Woodley clarified for Council that concern had been raised with the diesel exhaust and OSHA was brought in to perform testing. OSHA found that the level was not hazardous, but the smell of diesel in the sleeping, eating and living areas was undesirable. Staff installed weather stripping, which was recommended by OSHA, and attempted to pressurize the living areas, but this was not possible.

Mr. McNamara commented on the budget of the project and noted the increase in construction costs over the past few years. He stated they have earmarked $250,000 for the fire signal with pedestrian option and have anticipated the Conservation Commission's recommendation for a sustainable green building.

Comment was made expressing concern that Council was given no indication that construction costs would be higher than previously budgeted and it was questioned if they could reduce the cost before this is placed on the ballot. Mr. Woodley explained they worked hard to reduce costs and to ensure there would be no surprises. He stated this project would not exceed $5.5 million and it should come in under that amount. He also clarified the estimate anticipates the increased construction costs they have seen over the past year and noted the project cost could be reduced by parking some of the ambulances outside and removing two of the engine bays.

Mr. Woodley noted an error on the materials provided to Council and clarified the aerial ladder truck proposal would not include any land acquisition or construction costs. He also clarified the width of Fire Station No. 2 would not permit two emergency vehicles to be parked in each bay and the aerial ladder truck and Fire Station No. 2 would be two separate resolutions and ballot measures.

Suggestions were made to possibly reduce costs by sharing the aerial fire truck with Talent or Fire District No. 5 or constructing an opened apparatus bay so a smaller building could be constructed and added to in the future. Mayor Morrison stated the design was prudent and stated the increased cost was due to the general escalation of fuel, steel and other building materials. He questioned what would happen if the resolutions were not passed tonight. Mr. Woodley stated the Fire Department would have to make due with the existing station. City Attorney Mike Franell added if this is not placed on the November ballot, the City would face the double majority requirement under Ballot Measure 4750 until the November 2008 election.

Councilor Silbiger/Amarotico m/s to approve the Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, calling a Special Election to submit to the voters a funding initiative for contracting general obligation bonded indebtedness for replacement of Fire Station No. 2 in the amount of $5,500,000. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson voiced support for the motion. She stated they have been anticipating the construction of this station and if they wait another two years the costs will only increase. Councilor Hardesty stated that the proposed station is bigger and more expensive than it needs to be and expressed hesitation with placing this on the ballot since it is $1 million more than they budgeted for. Councilor Hartzell stated she supports the Fire Department, but thinks they need to live within the budget. Councilor Silbiger agrees there is some sticker shock and would like work on pairing it down some, but voiced support for placing this measure of the ballot and noted this structure will serve the community for at least the next 30 years. Mayor Morrison also voiced his support for placing this measure on the ballot and approving the resolution. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Silbiger, Chapman and Jackson, YES. Councilor Hartzell and Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Mr. Woodley commented on the research that was done regarding the purchase of an aerial ladder truck. He noted that of the eight communities comparable in size to Ashland, Ashland is the only City without this piece of equipment. He clarified the City of Medford has an aerial ladder truck, however it would take them approximately 20 minutes to reach Ashland and the truck would only be available if it was not in use somewhere else and if there was a back-up crew available. Mr. Woodley recommended Council pass the resolution and allow the voters to decide whether to purchase this equipment.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve the Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, calling a Special Election to submit to the voters a funding initiative for contracting general obligation bonded indebtedness for procurement of a fire department aerial ladder truck in the amount of $900,000. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Hartzell, and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.

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3. LEED Recommendations for the Proposed Fire Station No. 2.
Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid stated the Conservation Commission has been studying the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for two years and after substantial discussion they have unanimously recommended the City design, build and certify the new Fire Station to at least LEED Silver Standards and that they meet the additional requirements for a State Tax Credit for design assistance funding as per the sustainable building tax credit. Mr. Wanderscheid noted the options listed in the packet materials and stated staff's recommendation is Option #3. He clarified the certification fee is $40,000 and there would be energy consumption savings by building the structure to LEED standards.

Comment was made questioning if the certification was necessary or whether staff could get LEED accredited. Mr. Woodley clarified the only way to get the tax credits is for the US Building Council to establish the structure as a LEED building. He also explained to "commission a building" means to hire someone with no vested interest to make sure everything is working correctly. Suggestion was made for the City to make this building as "green" as possible and for staff to look into solar access.

Councilor Hartzell m/s to build the Fire Station as "green" as possible by relying on the expertise of the hired design team and existing staff expertise and ask staff to return in a reasonable time with a budget and a cost benefit analysis. Motion dies due to lack of second.

Councilor Jackson/Amarotico m/s to pursue Option #5 to build the building to LEED standards, including commissioning and inspection. DISCUSSION: It was clarified this option is listed in the Staff Memo prepared by Dick Wanderscheid, which is included in the packet materials. Councilor Silbiger expressed his concern with spending the money to have a third party certify the building and suggested City staff perform this task. Councilor Amarotico stated it is more appropriate for this to be done by an outside party. Councilor Hartzell voiced support for spending the money on the ground, rather than on the certification. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Chapman, Amarotico, and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Silbiger and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

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OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Mayor Morrison announced the remaining agenda items would be postponed in order for Council to address the Mt. Ashland Expansion item. He proposed they take the next hour to discuss this issue and that the spokespersons for each side be given 20 minutes to give their presentation. Mayor Morrison noted they are not here to debate the expansion, but whether to approve or reject the proposed resolution and asked the public to keep their comments relative to the proposed resolution.

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

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1. Council consideration of a resolution requesting that Mount Ashland Expansion not proceed until all Federal Court appeals are completed.
Paul Copeland/Explained the resolution asks the US Forest Service and Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) to not proceed with construction, logging, or ski run development until the District Court and Appellant Courts have made final rulings. He stated the resolution does not seek to stop ski area expansion, it is not interfering with the ski area business, and it does not interfere with the lawsuit. He noted the City of Ashland is the special use permit holder and leases the ski area to MAA and the City would be liable for restoration in the event the ski area needs to be taken down. Mr. Copeland stated there is a single appeal and it is not going to go beyond that. He questioned why MAA is opposed to the resolution if they are not planning on logging before the appeal is completed.

Leslie Adams/Stated the resolution is not pro or anti expansion; it is about democratic process and simply requests that MAA not proceed with the project before the courts have determined if the project is legal. She stated if MAA proceeds with logging before the case has made its way through the courts, the City might find itself with a 70-acre clear-cut at the top of the City's municipal water supply. Ms. Adams noted she works for the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlife Center and gave examples of similar situations where logging occurred before final ruling. She cited several Oregon cities that have passed resolutions against old growth and roadless area logging in their municipal watersheds and requested that MAA respect the judicial process.

Angie Thusius/Speaking for "Grandmothers & Friends in Green". Shared her concerns and commented on the importance for the full court process to happen. Ms. Thusius read the petition statement that had been circulated and signed by 1,100 citizens. She requested Council pass the resolution requesting MAA respect community values by allowing the full civic process to reach its conclusion prior to logging 70-acres in the municipal watershed. She stated the resolution directly reflects the petition statement and requested the Council adopt the proposed resolution.

Bill Little/Stated there are three issues: 1) What is happening environmentally on the mountain, 2) What is the true legal status and what are the legal implications, and 3) If MAA moves forward and are given the right to move forward, what that means and what the impact will be.

Mr. Little stated in 1991, MAA received approval from the US Forest Service to expand and since then they have spent $2 million on environmental studies, legal expenses and planning for the expansion. He stated the documentation provides solid information that shows they are good stewards on the mountain and their plan will be environmentally sensitive. He stated there is a group that will not accept anything they do, and every year this project it delayed the cost increases by millions of dollars. He stated if this process had not been delayed, they would have finished the expansion five years ago.

Mr. Little stated this is not a City of Ashland issue, but is an issue between the Forest Service, MAA and the plaintiffs. He stated technically, the City has no right to intercede in this issue. He stated the resolution would have legal impacts and it breaches the agreement between the City of Ashland and MAA. Mr. Little stated the adoption of this resolution would be perceived by the community as a lack of support from the City and would dramatically affect their ability to perform fundraising. He stated MAA intends on following the full legal process and the recommendations of their legal counsel and would like to work with the City on this issue. He concluded by stating adoption of the resolution would damage the relationship between MAA and the City of Ashland.

Doug McGeary/Stated he is a board member for Mt. Ashland Association. Mr. McGeary pointed out the lease agreement between the City and MAA lists a number of obligations and stated the proposed resolution would have an effect on the litigation. He noted a previous resolution adopted by the Council which assured MAA the City would not bring forward another resolution without first consulting with them. He stated they have expended resources and money on the reliance of the lease and this resolution. Mr. McGeary stated if their arguments prevail in court, which they are confident they will, the opposition has been clear they will appeal. He stated the resolution would provide ammunition and an influence to any future litigation. He noted the City's lease agreement with MAA states they have sole and exclusive use of the property and requested the Council delay adoption of the proposed resolution until after they have had time to meet with MAA. If the Council is unsatisfied at that time, then the resolution could be brought back forward for approval.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve the Resolution of the City of Ashland regarding construction and lodging in the proposed Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion Project with the elimination of Recitals A, B and C. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell explained she removed the first three recitals because she felt it would be cleaner this way. City Attorney Mike Franell stated he agrees with the statements listed in Recitals A, B, and C and does not believe removing these phrases is necessary. He explained if MAA were to go away, the City would be left responsible for complying with the conditions of the permit. He stated if the permit is revoked, the lease agreement terminates and expressed concern with the lack of a survivorship clause for Mt. Ashland Association's responsibilities for compliance with the permit conditions. In this event, the responsibility for the restoration and rehabilitation lies with the City. He noted the agreement does include a provision for a minimum liquidation value of assets to be maintained by MAA and includes an inflationary factor. Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty withdrew motion.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve the Resolution of the City of Ashland regarding construction and logging in the proposed Mt. Ashland Ski Area Expansion Project. DISCUSSION: Councilor Amarotico stated he is not currently in favor of the proposed resolution. He stated passage of the resolution without first having a discussion with MAA is premature. Councilor Silbiger noted the previous resolution and suggested they follow up with the actions requested in that document during a study session. He stated the City should have a discussion with MAA first, rather than this pre-emptive resolution. Councilor Hardesty stated they should consider the possibility that this could happen very quickly and voiced her support of the resolution based on the possible consequences both financially and to the health of the watershed. Councilor Jackson voiced support for moving forward with what they proposed in the previous resolution and noted there is an upcoming study session to address this matter. She commented on the need to discuss the restoration costs, the development of the QA/QC Team and discussion of the financial plan. Councilor Chapman agreed that this needs to be resolved the way it was previously planned and hopes this meeting will happen soon. He stated if the City cannot work things out with MAA, then they will come back to the resolution. Councilor Hartzell stated that asking both parties to respect the entire lawful process is not asking for too much. She stated it is appropriate to ask MAA publicly to not move forward until the courts have weighed in on the legality. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, NO. Motion failed 4-2.

City Recorder Barbara Christensen noted the dates and times available for a continued meeting. Council agreed to continue the meeting to Friday, August 18, 2006 at 12:00 noon.

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified a Study Session with MAA is currently scheduled for September 14, 2006, however they could move it up to September 6, 2006. Council agreed they preferred the earlier date as long as staff would still be available.

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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Adoption of the 2004 Oregon Fire Code."
Continued to August 18, 2006 meeting.
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2. First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Section 9.08.170C to Exempt Transitory Vehicles From the Nuisance Noise Provisions."
Continued to August 18, 2006 meeting.
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3. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution Accepting the Grant Offer of The State of Oregon Through the Oregon Department of Aviation in the Maximum Amount of $20,000 to be Used Under the Financial Aid to Municipalities Program in the Maintenance of Ashland Municipal Airport."
Continued to August 18, 2006 meeting.
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4. First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Annexing Property and Withdrawing an Annexed Area from Jackson County Fire District No. 5 (593 Crowson Annexation)."
Continued to August 18, 2006 meeting.
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ADJOURNMENT
At 10:30 p.m. the meeting was continued to August 18, 2006 at noon.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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