Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, May 03, 2011

 

 

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL

May 3, 2011

Council Chambers

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.

 

ROLL CALL

Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.

 

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Stromberg noted the passing of Don Mackin who was admired and appreciated by many in the community and honored him with a moment of silence.  He went on to move agenda item #3 under the Consent Agenda to the next Council meeting.

 

SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?

The Regular Meeting minutes of April 19, 2011 were approved as presented.

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS

Mayor Stromberg presented the Ragland Award in memoriam to the late Steve Hauck and described Mr. Hauck’s many accomplishments.  Mr. Hauck’s family accepted the award on his behalf.

 

Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Conservation Commission, the Forest Lands Commission, and the Tree Commission.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

1.   Will Council approve the minutes of City Boards, Commissions, and Committees?

2.   Will Council approve a four month extension to the RVTD/City of Ashland Reduced Fare Program Agreement?

3.   Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, accept a proposal and award a contract for architectural services to Straus & Seibert Architects in an amount not to exceed $94,020 for architectural services related to remodeling of the Grove to serve as a police station?

4.   Should Council accept the quarterly report as presented?

5.   Does Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Peter Bolton dba “The Playwright” at 258 A Street, #3?

6.   Does Council wish to approve the Ambulance Operator’s License renewal for Ashland Fire and Rescue?

7.   Will Council direct staff to finalize a Quick Response Project with the Transportation and Growth Management Program to fund the preparation of a redevelopment plan for the area southwest of the intersection of Ashland Street and Tolman Creek Road?

8.   Will Council approve Parks Department staff’s request to submit a grant application to Oregon State Parks for a playground equipment upgrade in Lithia Park in 2011?  Will Council grant a two-year approval to allow Parks staff to apply for a 2012 grant if 2011 grant funds are not secured?

 

Councilor Slattery requested that item #4 be pulled, Councilor Chapman requested that item #2 be pulled, and Councilor Silbiger requested that item #7 be pulled for discussion.

 

Councilor Slattery/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #5, #6 and #8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

Council expressed concern on extending the Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) contract and wanted assurances there would be a plan at the end of the four-month extension.  Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the Planning Commission and Transportation Commission and others would meet May 24, 2011 regarding the Transportation System Plan (TSP) with focus directed on the RVTD contract.  He was confident they would have an alternative by the September 2011 extension deadline. 

 

Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #2. Voice Vote:  Councilor Voisin, Chapman, Morris, Slattery and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

Councilor Silbiger requested clarification on City investments on the Summary of Cash and Investments.  City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained there was no change in the current investment policy. The interest rate in the Local Government Pool was .5% and there was nothing she could purchase currently that was within the law, met the investment policy, and protected City money correctly.  Council expressed concern the Quarterly Financial Report was on the Consent Agenda.  Staff explained why and would have the reports in a different section of the agenda for future meetings to allow time for a presentation and discussion.

 

Community Development Director Bill Molnar addressed the Quick Response Project and described transportation and access issues to the site and the impact on potential projects.  The grant would help alleviate those issues by providing a development plan that would identify private development and future access when they occur.  The project intended to look at access to the other side of the street but it would be challenging.

 

Councilor Voisin/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #4 and #7. Voice Vote: all AYES.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1.   Does Council wish to waive the Land Use application fee of $1878.0 for a variance to construct an eight-foot high wall, rather than six-feet as required in the Land Use Ordinance? Does the Council wish to refund/waive the Community Development and Engineering fees for the 11 owners of homes damaged by the Oak Knoll Fire?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the neighbors rebuilding from the fire requested a land use variance to increase the wall height between residences and I-5 from six-feet to eight-feet, have it made from non-combustible surface material, and waive the $1,878 fee.  Staff recommended Council waive the fee.  Nine of the eleven residences had building permits.  Typically, building applications require a series of fees that include System Development Charges (SDCs) and range from $13,000-$14,000.  Since SDCs were already in place for these homes, the building permit fee was approximately $5,900.  Part of the fee included a Community Development and Engineering fee assessed on all building permits within the City.  These fees paid for building permit reviews, on-site inspections and were in place to offset a potential drain on the General Fund.  The amount waived estimated at $35,000.  Staff did not recommend waiving these fees.

 

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified if Council waived the Community Development and Engineering fees the $35,000 would come from the General Fund.  Mr. Molnar confirmed staff would conduct a building inspection on the fence and the variance applied to adding 1.5-feet of height to the fence for sound attenuation. 

 

Public Hearing Open: 7:55 p.m.

 

Richard Ogier/835 Oak Knoll Drive/Thanked the Police and Fire Department for their assistance during the fire and City staff after the fire.  He went on to share what he and his neighbor’s experienced dealing with insurance companies and the high cost to rebuild and encouraged Council to waive the fees.   

 

Dan Thomas/897 Oak Knoll Drive/Did not agree with paying development fees for homes that previously existed.  He explained the difficulties homeowners were having with the insurance companies and that some were not receiving enough funds to rebuild their homes or cover landscaping and fences.  He requested Council waive the fees to help offset the costs with rebuilding the neighborhood. 

 

Public Hearing Closed: 8:03 p.m.

 

Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve waiving the land use application fee for a variance to wall height.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought the public testimony and neighbor’s involvement in the comprehensive plan provided a good basis for waiving the fee.  Councilor Silbiger would support the motion with the caution that it set precedence for similar situations in the future.  Councilor Chapman would support waving the fees because the amount was $170 per home but with concern.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve a refund/waiver of Community Development and Engineering fees for property owners in the eleven structures damaged by the Oak Knoll fire of August 2010. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse noted the economic times and how this situation was different and did not think it would affect the budget.  Waiving the fees for these types of situations was the right thing to do and what Council should do in the future. They could update the code to reflect waived fees for homes damaged in fire and other disasters.  Councilor Slattery thought it was the right thing to do and referenced how the Fire Department had to allow several houses to burn in order to set a strong enough fire line to stop the fire. The homes were sacrificed and it was correct to waive fees.

 

Councilor Chapman opposed waiving the fees and noted an earlier discussion with Council where other fees for the fire were waived.  It was a fair price for providing City services. Councilor Silbiger explained in 2000 Council established the fees because for years the City was not charging correctly.  This was a hit to the budget and if Council changed the municipal code to waive fees for specific situations, it would have an even larger affect on the budget.  Councilor Morris agreed with Councilor Silbiger and Councilor Chapman and was not comfortable setting policy by individual actions or events. 

 

Councilor Voisin thought the Oak Knoll fire was an exception, commented on the duress the survivors experienced and this was the time for the City to assist by waiving fees.  Mayor Stromberg noted the concern of setting precedence was legitimate and it was important to have fair applications of the law.  He would support the motion if the Councilors who wanted to waive the fees would participate in the process of changing the legislation.  Councilor Lemhouse, Councilor Voisin, and Councilor Slattery agreed to add amending the code on a future City Council meeting agenda.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Morris, Silbiger and Chapman, NO.  Mayor Stromberg brought the tie with a YES vote.  Motion passed 4-3.

 

2.   Should Council approve a resolution adopting a supplemental budget establishing appropriations for an inter-fund loan within the 2010-2011 Budget?

Item delayed to next Council meeting.

 

 

3.   Does the City Council wish to affirm, reverse, modify or remand back to the Planning Commission the decision to approve Planning Action #2010-01239 – a Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map Amendment, Site Review, Tree Removal Permit, and Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to construct a 10,632 square foot building at 85 Winburn Way? 

and

      Does the City Council wish to approve the Development Agreement proposed by the applicants, make changes to the Development Agreement prior to approval, or reject the Development Agreement? 

City Administrator Martha Bennett explained re-opening the Public Hearing to discuss and address parking and impacts and proposed and futures uses of the building would allow public testimony on these two items.

 

ABSTENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACTS

Councilor Slattery had no substantial Ex Parte other then emailed letters he opened by mistake but was not influenced.  Councilor Morris, Councilor Lemhouse, Councilor Voisin, and Mayor Stromberg declared no Ex Parte.  They also received the same emailed letters, but did not read them.  Councilor Silbiger disclosed he read the email from staff and had an encounter with a citizen that told him the Public Hearing was going to be reopened.  He did not discuss anything further with the citizen other than surprise the Public Hearing was going to re-opened.  Councilor Chapman declared no Ex parte or conflict of interest.

 

Associate Planner Derek Severson stated the Public Hearing should pertain to the following:

1.      Parking impacts and how to address them

2.      Proposed and future uses of the building  

 

Councilor Slattery/Voisin m/s to re-open the Public Hearing.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin and Chapman, YES; Councilor Silbiger, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.

 

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Stromberg called the re-opening of the Public Hearing for Planning Action No. 2010-01239 to order at 8:29 p.m. and explained testimony was limited to the following issues:

1.      Parking impacts and how to address them

2.      Proposed and future uses of the building  

He went on to state the rules for the conduct of the hearing were in the Public Hearing Format for Land Use Hearings – A Guide for Participants and Citizens and available on the wall in the back of Council Chambers.

 

CHALLENGES 

Mayor Stromberg read the rules on challenges and the legal description.  There were no challenges presented.

 

STAFF REPORT

Planning Manager Maria Harris provided a presentation on issues Council might focus on to assist in the decision making process:

·         Building:  Is the proposed size, scale and design of the building appropriate?

·         Parking:  Should mitigation for the impacts to the shared public parking system serving the downtown be required?

o   No requirements

o   TDM measures (PC recommendation)

o   Signing in favor of LID (Applicant’s proposal)

o   In-lieu of parking fee

·         Staff Exhibit A:  Example of In-Lieu of Parking Fee Table

·         Uses:  Should the allowed building uses be modified to be a better fit across from Lithia Park, and in the transitional area between downtown and the residential neighborhood?

·         PC Recommendation on Uses

o   Nightclub and bars removed – Council did not discuss

o   Hotels and motels removed – Council seemed to concur

o   Medical offices moved to conditional use – Council did not discuss

·         Uses Yet to be Discussed

o   Stores and shops

o   Public parking

o   Medical offices

o   Churches or similar religious institutions

o   Nightclubs and bars

 

Ms. Bennett explained the City traded $500,000 for thirteen spaces in the Lithia lot or $31,250 per space.  Ms. Harris added the amounts in the In-Lieu of parking fee table were pulled from the record.  The average price range for parking spaces was $15,000-$20,000 and staff chose $16,350 based on Hargadine parking space prices from 2003.  Mr. Severson confirmed the calculation of 47.25 spaces based on 189-seat restaurant had not changed.

 

Councilor Slattery/Voisin m/s to extend Public Hearing until 9:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

APPLICANT’S PRESENTATION

Melanie Mularz/1101 Village Square Drive/Explained she was the Project Manager for Storyville Coffee and provided a presentation that included:

·         Proposal’s Due Diligence – Development Agreement Timeline

·         Appropriate Site Uses

Ms. Mularz explained the Development Agreement (DA) would prohibit medical use for ten years then move it back as an approved use.   She noted the applicant gave up 55% of potential uses and were not open to further negotiation and would consider it a denial if Council imposed further restrictions on uses.

 

·         Development Soft Costs

o   Quantifying public benefit

o   Site improvements and construction of Zamboni/skate rental building with bathrooms $475,000-$600,00

o   System Development Charges $220,000

o   Initial planning and preliminary design $300,000

o   Total expenses prior to construction on 85 Winburn Way = $1,670,000-$1,720,000

Without a comprehensive parking plan, the applicant would not pay an In-Lieu of parking fee.  The applicant would consider an In-Lieu of parking fee a denial.  This was a C-1 value on a C-1-D property. 

 

Owen Ronchelli/Ricks Williams Consulting/Portland, OR/Continued the presentation:

·         Parking Background

·         Parking – existing conditions

o   The goals of Ashland’s downtown vision (and the objective of the CI-D zone) to achieve a dense, retail and entertainment-centric, walk able downtown is succeeding

o   Parking congestion is a byproduct of an active downtown – an affirmation of vitality

o   People do not come downtown to park

o   Parking best practices say to update parking management plan every 3-5 years

·         Parking – fee in lieu

o   A parking fee in lieu can be an effective tool when applied properly

o   Fee in lieu are most commonly used where built off-street parking is required (parking minimums)

o   Elements of successful fee in lieu policies:  establish parking fund, identify future lots, prioritize access improvements, establish fee basis, manage expectations, council codifies in lieu policy

·         Parking – fee in lieu conclusions

o   Fee in lieu is premature

o   No precedent for fee in lieu without comprehensive parking policy in place

o   Shows lack of confidence in C-1-D Retail Commercial District regulations

o   Contradicts goals/vision for downtown

o   Future pursuit of fee in lieu should be part of existing Parking Management Plan

·         Parking mitigation strategies for existing conditions and recommended changes on the east side of Winburn way that would change turn over times on 105 parking spaces

 

THOSE WISHING TO PROVIDE TESTIMONY

Sidney DeBoer/234 Vista Street/Thought the project was a historic opportunity to continue the progress Ashland needed to move forward.  The parking issue was overstated, the restaurant would not generate new people coming to Ashland, and it was more a trade off in uses.  The parking issues would not exceed 24 spaces over the current use in the downtown area and he supported the project. 

 

Jeff Benton/263 North 2nd Street/Noted the Planning Commission did address parking and the decision was that since Ashland did not have a parking plan in place they were unable to vote for an In-Lieu of parking fee.  He thought it was too late in the process to change the rules.  He did not want parking lots or the subsequent congestion from cars parking.  He questioned why medical use was considered a negative.    

 

Shannon Deckwar/343 Neil Creek Road/City Recorder Barbara Christensen read comments into the record supporting the project.

 

Thomas Beam/400 Liberty Street/Explained a document from the Department of Land Conservation that building departments submit to the State with 19 criteria was not in the record for the Storyville project.  There were items in the record regarding parking not submitted to the State.  A Southern Oregon representative of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) stated that Jackson County required 82 parking spaces for a project the size of Storyville.  If the use changed to medical, it would require Medicare parking.  Additionally, the parking use extended to the entire block, not just 85 Winburn Way.  He asked that Council remand the project back to the Planning Commission without prejudice for further review and a proper transportation parking study.  Other than the parking concerns, it was a wonderful addition to the City.

 

Todd Parks/1011 Village Square Drive/Thought adding In-Lieu of parking fees after two years of deliberation, without a comprehensive plan and four days beforehand was punitive.  He noted the City’s Community Development building had little to no restriction in use or parking requirements when that zone changed to C-1-D.  It seemed like a generous offer at 85 Winburn was being seen as a financial windfall.

 

Laurie MacGraw/423 Lit Way/Urged Council to be open to the great opportunity the project afforded the community.  She noted earlier concerns with parking when North Mountain Park was constructed that never came to fruition.  She thought the use as a restaurant and coffee house was appropriate. 

 

Mike Walker/Oak Street/City Recorder Barbara Christensen read comments into the record regarding a local business owner considered an opponent to the project.

 

Thomas Sager/217 4th Street/City Recorder Barbara Christensen read comments into the record supporting the project.

 

REBUTTAL BY THE APPLICANT

Attorney Chris Hearn explained the applicant complied with all the zoning and planning criteria in effect at the time the application was submitted. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) has a 45-day notice to respond to applicants and is considered an approval if the DLCD does not contact the applicant during that period.  He did not think any procedural impropriety occurred there was a full Planning Commission Hearing.  He also doubted  FEMA issues were applicable, their concern with uses were mostly residential focused and in this case moving it from residential to commercial was prudent.  Finally, it was unusual to have an In-Lieu of fee policy without passing an ordinance first.

 

PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED

Public Hearing closed 9:23 p.m.

 

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1.   Should Council approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Annexing Property and Withdrawing an Annexed Area from Jackson County Fire District No. 5”?

Interim City Attorney Doug McGeary read the ordinance title aloud.

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3048.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Chapman, Silbiger, Slattery, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.

 

PUBLIC HEARING - CONTINUED

3.   Does the City Council wish to affirm, reverse, modify or remand back to the Planning Commission the decision to approve Planning Action #2010-01239 – a Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map Amendment, Site Review, Tree Removal Permit, and Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to construct a 10,632 square foot building at 85 Winburn Way? 

and

      Does the City Council wish to approve the Development Agreement proposed by the applicants, make changes to the Development Agreement prior to approval, or reject the Development Agreement? 

 

ADVICE FROM LEGAL AND STAFF

Ms. Harris clarified the applicant sent DLCD the required information 45 days prior to the first Planning Commission Hearing.

 

COUNCIL DELIBERATION

City Administrator Martha Bennett explained at staff level the issue with medical offices was parking. 

The applicant’s rebuttal stated prohibiting medical uses diminished the market for future propositions.  The Planning Commission removed hotel/motel use and the applicant requested reinstating it in the Development Agreement as a conditional use.  In hotel/motel uses, the City required parking in C-1-D and this further concerned the applicant with the future viability of the project.

 

Council commented this was a major zone change that should be in the best interest of the public and based on what was right for the property.  Alternately, it was a business investment, not a gift from the developers.  Staff clarified the Development Agreement allowed Council to tailor uses to the property.

 

Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to modify the decision by the Planning Commission to limit the zone change to C-1-D solely to 85 Winburn Way and to require an In-Lieu-of-Parking Fee of $16,350 for 25 parking spaces and direct staff to make appropriate changes to the Development Agreement reflecting these changes and bring back ordinance for First Reading.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman was in favor of the project.  Instead of the zone change, he suggested Council have a park overlay with clear space requirements.  He agreed with staff’s recommendation of only changing 85 Winburn Way to C-1-D.  The mitigation for potential parking requirements was insufficient for the impact and there should be financial offset for granting the space.  He preferred using the Planning Commission’s use suggestions.  The applicant providing a building for the Zamboni gave the perception of an exchange and he suggested removing it from the agreement.  Councilor Lemhouse agreed parking was a priority but thought it superseded economic development. The project had the potential of bringing economic development to the community.  Having Conditional uses would provide flexibility in the future and for the Council.

 

Councilor Slattery recognized the economic potential but did not support adding the In-Lieu of fee this late in the process.  Councilor Morris supported the building, was comfortable with the conditional uses, but did not want residential zoning in the building.  He clarified that Council was not levying parking at the last minute and parking was an issue since the project’s inception.  He had concerns changing the zone from R-1 to C-1-D because of the property’s proximity to Lithia Park.  He would support an In-Lieu of fee but questioned why staff chose Hargadine parking instead of the typical street level parking.    

 

Councilor Silbiger commented it was not just parking but transportation flow.  Medical use was intense and even more so in that area.  Jobs would increase during construction but afterwards would only move jobs around, not create new ones.  The zone change would increase the value of the property dramatically and have an impact.  Even if there was not an ordinance, there was the Development Agreement. 

 

Councilor Voisin supported the project but struggled with the proposed uses particularly medical use.  It was not Council’s responsibility to ensure the property was viable in terms of selling it in ten years.  However, Council was responsible for determining what would work best within that location.  She would support an In-Lieu of fee at 10% instead of 20%.

 

Mayor Stromberg noted the park was a national treasure and a pivotal piece of the community.  Council was entrusted by community with the park’s stewardship.  He voiced concerns with the zone change and future uses as well as the precedent it would set.  Parking needed to be addressed accurately as it would set the pace for the future situations.  The project was a flagship for a coffee-restaurant chain outside the community.  He listed ways the building could be compatible with the park.  The development agreement only allowed additional restrictions and the C-1 required even more parking.  The best option was changing the zone to C-1-D that had no restrictions and then build in requirements.

 

Ms. Harris clarified if the ice rink lot was not zoned C-1-D, the proposal would have a problem meeting the side yard setback.  If that property remained R-1, there was a 10-foot requirement between the property line and building.  The building would need to be redesigned.  Ms. Bennett added the City purchased the ice rink property with Federal Land and Water Funds.  The property was restricted to recreational purposes only as long as the City retained ownership.

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s called for the question.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Chapman, Lemhouse and Slattery, YES; Councilor Voisin, Morris, and Silbiger, NO. 

 

Councilor Morris shared a possible amendment to the motion that would make the parking lot C-1-D, remove medical office uses, not address the Zamboni, and set 24.75 parking spaces at $10,000 per space. 

 

Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s continue meeting to May 4, 2011 in Council Chambers at 4:00 p.m.

Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS

1.   Will Council approve a resolution requested by Mayor Stromberg in support of the senior tax deferral program?

Item delayed due to time constraints.

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting ended at 10:30 to be continued May 4, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.

  

            

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                            

John Stromberg, Mayor

 

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