Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, April 07, 2015

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 7, 2015
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 Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
 
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS - None
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of March 16, 2015, Executive Session of March 17, 2015, and Business Meeting of March 17, 2015 were approved as presented.
 
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor’s proclamation of April 26 to May 2, 2015 as Independent Media Week in Ashland was read aloud.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
David Helmich/468 Williamson Way/Supported the partial development of the Imperatrice property for a solar park.  The property could support 100 megawatts of solar power.  Five megawatts would require 25 acres leaving the balance available for grazing, conservancy, recreation, and possible solar park module additions in the future.  Five megawatts was the equivalent of 2,000 roof top residential installations.  With land control and appropriate solar exposure, this project made financial sense.  The City could lease the 25 acres to a private developer for 20 years.  The developer would reap the tax benefits that would make the project work.     
 
Andrew Kubik/1251 Munson Drive/Referenced a recent Council Corner article in the Ashland Daily Tidings written by Councilor Morris regarding the Ashland Climate and Energy Plan.  He thought the solar park Mr. Helmich discussed could tie into the theme.
 
Albert Pepe/321 Clay Street/Addressed the 250-year old cottonwood tree on lower Clay Street.  Council made a decision to remove the tree in the name of progress.  He read from testimony he provided during a Planning Commission in the past regarding the tree.  He urged Council and the City to review options and change the way the land was developed.
 
Louise Shawkat/870 Cambridge Street/Wanted the City to adopt a plan to reduce carbon emissions from automobiles.  One way to achieve this was having a shuttle trolley that would travel between the two Interstate 5 Exits.  The City needed to implement actions that supported short and long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gases.
 
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Provided a brief history on solar in Oregon.
 
Rebekka Swan/431 North Main Street/Explained malls and grocery stores played music to get shoppers to buy more items and proposed having something similar only with street musicians playing in specific areas and times to enhance the atmosphere and potentially boost sales in the general area.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
1.   FEMA Fire Protection & Safety grant application
2.   Contract with SHI, Inc. for Microsoft Office 365
3.   Confirmation of Mayoral appointment of an Interim Police Chief
4.   City forestlands prescribed under-burning
5.   Letter of Support for Proposed Cascade-Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway Designation
 
Councilor Lemhouse pulled Consent Agenda item #3 regarding the appointment of Deputy Police Chief Tighe O’Meara as the Interim Police Chief.  Deputy Chief O’Meara shared his 23-year experience as a police officer, the majority of that time in Detroit MI and the past five years in Ashland.  Councilor Lemhouse noted Deputy Chief O’Meara’s background and educational experience as well.
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Tighe O’Meara as Interim Police Chief for the City of Ashland. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion approved.
 
Councilor Rosenthal/Seffinger m/s to approve the remaining Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion approved.
 
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
 
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1.   Request from Public Art Commission for increase of funds for a public art beautification project along the theater path from East Main Street to the Thomas Theatre
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained one of the priority projects identified by the Downtown Beautification Committee last year was a public art installation along the blank wall on the walkway from East Main Street to the Thomas Theatre.  The Downtown Beautification Committee allocated $18,000 for the project as a guess.  The Public Arts Commission reviewed the project, realized the amount was not enough, and recommended increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) allocation to $75,000.  The money was available because the City exceeded projected TOT collections in the current biennium.
 
Public Art Commission Chair Margaret Garrington added the Commission endorsed the recommendation by the Downtown Beautification Committee.  The location was highly appropriate, visually accessible, a prime location for public art, and supported the goals of the Public Art Commission and Council.  The artwork would encourage walkway use and lighting would enhance the area at night.
 
Typically, 20% of the funding went to the artist award.  The remaining 80% went towards materials, fabrication, and engineering.  The piece the Public Arts Commission would place in the area would require a substantial amount of planning, engineering, and construction.  The Commission would determine whether the $75,000 allocation was enough once they started receiving proposals from artists. 
 
Mr. Kanner was not aware of any current or future grants available.  Ashland had historically regarded the downtown district as tourism related and used TOT funds for improvements that included public art and beautification.  It was a legitimate use of TOT.  Chair Garrington added the Commission did apply for a grant through the National Endowment of the Arts who explained that Ashland was not at the level needed to receive grant money.
 
Councilor Marsh/Voisin m/s to refer the request from Public Arts Commission for an adjusted budget to the Downtown Beautification Committee. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought this was an appropriate move because there might be other needs for the capital monies the Downtown Beautification Committee may have and this was a fair way to use this money.  Councilor Lemhouse did not recall much discussion regarding the monetary breakdown of available funds by the Downtown Beautification Committee, the drive was the recognition these things should be done.  Changing the amount would not necessarily change the Committee’s mind.  Mr. Kanner added the City paid a landscape architect to estimate costs for the different projects identified by the Downtown Beautification Committee.  The Committee originally recommended $40,000 for the project and after receiving estimates for the other projects, reduced the amount because that was what was available. 
 
Councilor Seffinger wanted to know if the walkway was the most important place to invest that type of money into public art.  Chair Garrington responded it was in the center of town, very visible and much used.  Councilor Voisin raised a point of order regarding questions during deliberation.  City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified it was up to the Mayor and Council could always question the Mayor’s decision regarding a point of order.  Mayor Stromberg decided the context of the response from Chair Garrington was legitimate. 
 
Councilor Rosenthal concurred with Councilor Lemhouse and Chair Garrington.  The Downtown Beautification Committee vetted the location for the project and this was a resource allocation question. There were resources available for the Committee or Council to allocate other projects going forward. He supported the Public Art Commission’s recommendation.  e
 
 
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Councilor Morris supported allocating the $75,000.  The original $18,000 estimate was obviously not accurate.
 He would not support the motion.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Seffinger, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, and Morris, NO.  Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a NO vote. Motion failed 4-3.
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to approve a total of $75,000 to commission public art for the walkway between East Main Street and the Thomas Theatre.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained during the discussions regarding the project, the Public Arts Commission intended to invite the Downtown Beautification Committee and the Historic Commission to provide input on the bidding process for the project.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Morris, Marsh, Seffinger, and Voisin, YES. Motion approved.
 
2.   Review of BN 2015-2017 Capital Improvement Program and BNs 2017-2019 and 2019-2021projects in concept
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury shared highlights of projects completed by the Public Works Department that included the primary phase of the Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) Intertie line, the Calle Guanajuato waterline improvement, miscellaneous concrete and safety improvements, sediment removal for the East and West fork reservoirs, and security improvements at Hosler Dam.  Projects in process was the Walker Avenue Railroad Crossing, the Oak Street Railroad Crossing, overplay projects and the effluent outfall relocation study for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Future project highlights were the new water treatment plant, the Crowson II storage reservoir, piping the Talent Irrigation District (TID) canal from Starlight Street to Terrace Street, and the Nevada Street connection.  Another major capital project was finishing the engineering and construction of a new oxidation ditch at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Once staff finalized the mixing zone and effluent outfall relocation, they will work on scoping the water-shading project.  This would include a compliance schedule for construction related activity.
 
Parks & Recreation Director Michael Black explained the Parks and Recreation Department completed the concrete bridge in Lithia Park, repaired the inner shelter, purchased and installed the ice rink cover then acquired the needed permits.  Oak Knoll Golf Course projects included completing redoing green number 9, some drainage projects, and the netting on the driving range. Staff planned to replace the netting along Highway 66 over the next biennium.  The Parks & Recreation Department made various improvements to the Senior Center.  The grand opening for Ashland Creek Park would occur in May.   They would upgrade the splash pad for Garfield Park over the next biennium.  During the next year, some Parks and Recreation offices would move to The Grove.  A new project was the Daniel Meyer Pool bubble the Ashland School District would use for training year round.  The Trails and Open Space Comprehensive Plan update was a priority by the Parks Commission.
 
Several Parks and Recreation Department projects went over budget that diverted funds from the Butler-Perozzi Fountain restoration project.  There was $70,000 allocated to rehabilitate the fountain but the project would cost more.  Staff intended to go out on a public campaign to raise additional funds for the project.
 
IT/AFN/Electric Director Mark Holden explained over the past year, the Electric Department completed the Calle Guanajuato project, reconfigured the Oak Knoll substation, and the Ten Year Planning study.  Over the next biennium, the Electric Department would finish replacing a feeder from Oak Street to City Hall, and complete studies of the Mountain Avenue substation for potential purchase in the future.  Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) also participated in the Calle Guanajuato project and completed half of the internet project from the strategic business plan with full completion next year.  The Electric Department completed eight of the nine projects they identified, AFN completed three of three, and Information Technology completed two of two.
 
Mr. Fleury noted an upcoming Study Session would clarify current Street User fees and projections needed to accommodate an appropriate overlay and street maintenance program for the Street Division.  He would verify vehicle information regarding police vehicle number 569 with the Fleet Division and provide changes to that information to Council.
 
The major capital projects for Public Works in the biennium were the new treatment plant, the Crowson II Reservoir, the Nevada Street bridge, and the oxidation ditch.  Wastewater projects were in the final stages of obtaining a state revolving fund loan for the oxidation ditch and priority pipeline projects.  Staff had not finalized the funding mechanism for the water projects and would meet with a state revolving fund representative soon.  The City attained a $1,500,000 grant through the state for the East Nevada Street bridge project and there was an 18% System Development Charge (SDC) portion of $1,000,000 with a remaining $2,900,000 needing funding.  Staff was looking at additional grant money or assistance through the state to fund that difference.  Public Works Director Mike Faught further explained the City now had $1,500,000 and $1,000,000 in SDCs.  The City would borrow the remaining funds and in the interim look for other sources.  Mr. Fleury explained the Public Works Department had five-year Water Master Plan and Sewer Master Plan updates in the proposed budget and if approved, staff would obtain consultant services to update and review the plans.
 
Councilor Morris/Marsh m/s to approve the biennium 2015-17 budget capital improvement program for all departments.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh asked that the Planning Commission review the Public Works piece for informational purposes.  Councilor Voisin wanted to ensure the Transportation Commission reviewed the projects as well.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Morris, Seffinger, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion approved.
 
3.   Approval of cooperative improvement agreement with ODOT concerning Siskiyou Welcome Center and rest area
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained he was a member of the State Transportation Commission and would not participate on this item. 
 
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary submitted a letter from Travel Oregon into the record in lieu of them being present.  One of the items Council requested was a daily eight-hour minimum for staffing the Welcome Center.  Travel Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) could not ensure that coverage.  Travel Oregon indicated welcome centers were open seven days a week May through September and anticipated the new one would as well.  During October through April, staff hours were established based on visitor demand. 
 
ODOT and Travel Oregon agreed to the majority of revisions proposed by Council. Items the state could not commit was having construction complete in two years, giving the City authority to enforce the lease, or provide a specific area for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce to promote Ashland tourism.  Travel Oregon did not have authority to conduct background checks.
 
According to Ashland Fire and Rescue, the 2-inch waterline currently in place was sufficient and ODOT would not increase the pipe to 2.5 inches.  An interior sprinkler system would cost $450,000 and the state would not install one due to the expense.  The buildings would be constructed from fire retardant materials, sit on a concrete slab surrounded by a concrete terrace and parking lots with a 22,000 gallon water tank nearby.  A video system would provide a feed to the 911 Center. 
 
ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson made a correction to the sprinkler system estimate explaining it was $250,000 instead of $450,000 and not within ODOT’s budget.  ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher confirmed construction for the welcome center and rest area would happen at the same time.  ODOT had the funding to complete the entire project.  The project had two phases.  The first phase included the site civil work to construct roads, parking lots and add utilities.  The second phase would build both buildings.  The majority of funds for the project came from federal and state gas tax dollars.  Gas tax dollars would fund 50% of the Welcome Center and the remaining $1,500,000 would come from an agreement with the City of Medford.
 
Mr. Fletcher addressed the Council request to add a 2-inch row of barbed wire on the security fence since it would be six-feet tall instead of eight-feet.  Jackson County had specific security fence requirements and approved the use of a six-foot chain link fence black vinyl coated.  Mr. Anderson further explained it took time to get the planning actions approved with Jackson County and changes required going back to the County and was subject to appeal.   Mayor Stromberg added that anyone could walk up the interstate or the exit road to gain access to the site.  The fence provided security for authorized personnel going through the gate to the access road.  It would not keep people out.  The Ashland Police Department would have full access to the site and the code for the security gate.
 
ODOT knew how long the project would take to build.  The non-committal to a timeline had to do with potential unknowns and the recent response to the extension request for the project.  Travel Oregon operated the Welcome Centers in the state and had a 30-year lease.  ODOT would run the rest area in perpetuity.  In the event where ODOT could not support the rest area, another entity would take over the management.  
 
The close circuit camera feed would go to the Travel Operation Center next to the Oregon State Police (OSP) facility.  ODOT currently provided surveillance feed to the 911 Center for the City of Portland.  This service was not available to southern Oregon at this time but would be in the future.
  
Interim Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained it was not realistic to expect the Ashland Police Department (APD) to monitor the surveillance camera at the Welcome Center and Rest Area.  Having the ability to access and search the feed or check in as needed would be beneficial.  OSP patrolled rest area facilities.  APD could also patrol the area to a limited extent due to staffing resources.
 
Sue Lawrence/518 Crowson Road/Voiced concern regarding construction and use of the access road that was 150-feet from their driveway.  After the last meeting she talked to Councilor Morris who assured her signing the extension would give the City opportunity to make binding restrictions and stipulations to ODOT in the intergovernmental agreement (IGA).  This was not being done.  She wanted fencing on the west side of the highway.  ODOT could not commit to finish the project within two years. She questioned why anyone was even contemplating building a welcome center that would be outdated when completed.  The Medford Chamber of Commerce had lost interest in the project and now ODOT had removed the proposed commitment highlighting tourism in Ashland.  Staffing was better addressed on the original IGA.  She did not feel Council was taking care of the residents.
 
Travis Christian/534 Crowson Road/Lives across from the proposed Welcome Center.  The Welcome Center and Rest Area would be built on ODOT’s terms.  He questioned what Ashland would actually get from the project.  The residents knew it was coming but wanted it done in a way that benefited Ashland.  The requests in the intergovernmental agreement were reasonable.  He asked Council to fight for the taxpayers on Crowson Road and in the Oak Knoll neighborhood.     
 
Steve Lawrence/518 Crowson Road/Lived in close proximity to the Welcome Center and Rest Area and wanted fencing on both sides of the interstate.  The original agreement required a staffed Welcome Center.  He did not care about the lease agreement between ODOT and Travel Oregon.  ODOT was responsible for staffing the facility.  The 22,000-gallon water tank was now for fighting fire when it was supposed to be used to supplement irrigation water for watering plants.  ODOT was not even taking Council’s concern regarding smoking seriously.  Water in the area will dry up this summer and there will not be any irrigation.  One cigarette would ignite the land like the Oak Knoll neighborhood fire.  Council needed to standby their recommendations to ODOT.   He wanted Council to reject the proposed IGA.
 
Allen Walters/775 St. Andrews Circle/What would happen if ODOT used too much water.  He thought the Welcome Center and Rest Area would use more water than four residential homes.  What will ODOT use for water when the Talent Irrigation District (TID) shuts down? Will taxes go up again if the facility overburdens the water treatment plant?  How will the public know how much water was used and how much sewer was going into the water treatment plant.  The Rest Area would not be able to conserve water during the drought and asked if Council would shut it down if drought occurred.  Ashland Police would not come to the area since it was outside city limits.  He encouraged Council to stand up to ODOT.
 
Steve Stolzer/1120 Oak Knoll Drive/Directed his remarks at the four Councilors that voted for ODOT to go forward with the project.  He was told one of the reasons a Councilor voted yes was to exercise some control to protect the neighborhood.  He read items in the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that ODOT would not commit to or provide and questioned how Council could approve the IGA now.   
 
Mr. McGeary explained the letter Travel Oregon sent was a letter of intent and would contact them and attach it to the IGA as an addendum.  Compliance was in the terms of the agreement.  There was a way to monitor usage.  If ODOT went over 200 cubic feet of water per day, a discussion would ensue, and the City could shut down the facility.  Ashland water curtailment measures applied to the Welcome Center and Rest Area.  The City would not be able to enforce the agreement between ODOT and Travel Oregon.  Travel Oregon did agree to add the defibrillator, the first aid kit, and access to charging services.  There was nothing in the agreement that gave the City control over staffing. Staffing depended on budgets, and the economy.  It was not something the City could reasonably seek from Travel Oregon.  State and County contracts contained constitutional requirements or non-appropriation clauses.  Mr. McGeary reiterated the IGA had ODOT adhering to City curtailment measures. Mayor Stromberg suggested adding the specific categories regarding water use during curtailment to the IGA.
 
Mr. Anderson explained ODOT would handle the utility bills.  The majority of water use would come from the Rest Area and not the Welcome Center.  Water usage estimates were conservatively high and ODOT expected the facility to use less water.  If the City shut off the water, ODOT would close the Rest Area.  The Welcome Center would remain open.
 
Councilor Seffinger wanted additional fencing added.  She had visited all the rest areas along the corridor to see what they were like.  Rest areas with visitor centers were better maintained.  In her observations, she found few transients at rest areas or rest areas with visitor centers.  There were more people at rest areas with visitor centers. 
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Voisin m/s to reject the proposed Cooperative Improvement Agreement to provide water and sewer services to the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse was disappointed.  The City put forward firm points and ODOT had said no to some of them.  Travel Oregon was increasingly nebulous in how they answered Council questions and could not provide solid statistics regarding the area.  It told him they did not take the City’s concerns seriously.  He understood the cost of the fire sprinkler system but did not understand not conducting background checks.  Council should reject the agreement and extending sewer and water. 
Councilor Voisin equated the City and ODOT to “David and Goliath.”  The lack of commitment to staffing, not adding barbed wire to the fence because of delays and providing better restricted smoking areas, and not having a completion date was unacceptable.  That ODOT could not find $250,000 out of a $12,000,000 budget for a sprinkler system broke her heart.  She supported the motion.
 
Councilor Rosenthal understood the points made by Councilor Lemhouse and Voisin and saw an alternate path.  Some of the umbrage directed at ODOT was not in the realm of their responsibility.  The weakness was not Travel Oregon.  ODOT had done good things for the community.  He thought Council needed to address a weakness in the negotiations without rejecting the IGA and ending the conversation.  He hoped the motion would be defeated.  Councilor Marsh supported Councilor Rosenthal’s comments.  It was unfair to castigate ODOT for failing to respond to a laundry list of items that Council had not debated or discussed.  All along, they had advocated for a Welcome Center and for good reasons.  It was ridiculous to think they could get ODOT to commit to staffing hours for future budget periods.  She also went to all the rest areas on Interstate 5 and frequently stopped at the Talent Rest Area.  Her observation was they all looked clean and well maintained.  Rest stops were critical to highway safety.  Due diligence was done.  She would vote against the motion. 
 
Councilor Morris would not support the proposal but thought it could be made to work.  He had three issues, the timeline, staffing, and fencing.  He understood the timeline but did not see a strong commitment to having a staffed Welcome Center and was concerned there could be times during the year when it was not staffed at all.   If the federal government required rest areas, they should provide security for the facilities.  He wanted the agreement to go back and other compromises made.  Councilor Seffinger agreed with Councilor Morris and was not ready at this point to accept the agreement without having more clarification regarding staffing.  Fencing was still an issue for her as well as the completion date.  Mayor Stromberg thought everyone needed to consider the alternative of having only a rest stop.  It was better to have a welcome center.  Regarding the sprinkler system, he was wanted to negotiate the possibility of having metal roofs on the buildings.  He suggested having a four year completion date.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse and Voisin, YES.  Councilor Seffinger, Morris, Rosenthal, and Marsh, NO.    Motion failed 4-2.
 
Councilor Rosenthal/Seffinger m/s to direct the Assistant City Attorney to negotiate and assert the strongest possible assurance that the Welcome Center will be staffed on a daily basis by paid employees or with volunteers.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal noted the Travel Oregon letter contained information that could be incorporated into the agreement.  Councilor Seffinger added visitor centers were safer than rest areas.  She wanted the Welcome Center staffed and the issue of fencing addressed.  She talked to Fire Department personnel regarding the fire sprinkler system and they did not think it was a huge issue.  She suggested adding hand sanitizer dispensers.  Councilor Lemhouse explained his trust level with Travel Oregon was low and would not support the motion. 
Roll Call Vote: Seffinger, Morris, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES.  Councilor Lemhouse and Voisin, NO.  Motion passed 4-2.
 
Mr. McGeary would discuss fencing, metal roofs, and timelines with ODOT and Travel Oregon.
 
4.   Request from Lithia Artisan Market to hang pennants from two cobra light poles on Winburn Way
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the policy did not define what an approved designee or provide criteria.
 
Marcus Scott/1205 Talent Avenue, Talent OR/Explained he was the manager for the Lithia Artisans Market.  The assumption was the Lithia Artisans Market was grandfathered regarding hanging pennants.  The Lithia Artisans Market had not applied for the economical and cultural development grant and that presented an issue for them as well.  Council designating the Lithia Artisans Market as an approved designee would allow them to proceed with the permit process.
 
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to allow Lithia Artisan Market to hang pennants on Winburn Way as an approved designee of the City pending permit application approval.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution adopting the special event policy and fees for special events and repealing Resolution 2012-08”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained this came from the March 2, 2015 Study Session where Council discussed adding the Halloween Parade as a community wide event under the special events policy.  It would exempt the organizers of the parade from paying the special event permit fees that totaled almost $1,800 this past year due to the event occurring on a Friday.
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Seffinger m/s to approve Resolution #2015-18.   DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse thought it was a communitywide event and wanted to keep the focus on it being the children’s Halloween parade.  Councilor Seffinger added it was an important family event and supported the motion.  Councilor Marsh noted this was clearly not a commercial event and was surprised the Chamber of Commerce paid the fees.  Councilor Voisin thought it was a children’s Halloween parade and did not see it as a communitywide event.  The fee was not an outrageous amount for the Chamber of Commerce to pay and they needed to pay their fair share.  By supporting the motion, she would set precedence.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Marsh, Seffinger, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
 
2.   Second reading of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending chapters 18.2.2, 18.2.3, 18.4.3, 18.4.7, and 18.6.1 of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance relating to definitions and accessory traveler’s accommodations in various residential zoning districts”
 
Ellen Campbell/120 Gresham Street/Thought the primary issue was protecting long-term rentals.  She did not support allowing accessory travel accommodations in the R-2 and R-3 zones.   She suggested the City keep track of what the previous use was for converted short-term rentals to know how many long-term rentals changed.  She also suggested the City find a way to get accurate occupancy rates as well, require liability insurance and contact Airbnb to collect back taxes.
 
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #3108.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar read the following changes: 
  • Section 1 Table 18.2.2.030 – Uses Allowed by Zone was amended to identify accessory travelers’ accommodations as not allowed in R-1 and R-1-3.5 zones.
  • Section 2 18.2.3.220 Travelers’ Accommodations first paragraph was amended to reflect the deletion of two phrases previously in parenthesis (more than one guest unit) and (one guest unit)
  • Section 2 18.2.3.220.C. Accessory Travelers Accommodations was amended to delete the standard that required the property housing accessory travelers’ accommodation to be within 200-feet of a boulevard, avenue, or neighborhood collector or the historic district overlay.
  • Section 2 18.2.3.220.C. Accessory Travelers Accommodations was amended to delete the standard that prohibited a home occupation in conjunction with an accessory travelers’ accommodation.
  • Section 2 18.2.3.220.C. Accessory Travelers Accommodations was amended to delete the standard that required renewal of the conditional use permit within 24-months of the original approval.
 
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse thought Ms. Campbell brought up some interesting points on tracking activity. 
 
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal to amend the motion that the Planning Department track all losses of long-term rentals, that the City pursue back taxes for TOT from Airbnb and the occupancy rate be added to TOT form.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought the amendment was non-substantive.
Councilor Marsh disagreed.  The amendment was substantive, especially collecting back taxes possibly on rentals no longer in business.  The amendment required further discussion.  Councilor Voisin clarified the back taxes were from Airbnb and not the people running the businesses.  Mayor Stromberg thought the amendment should come back later.  Councilor Morris thought a couple of the amendments were a good idea but should not be added at this point.
 
Councilor Voisin withdrew the motion and wanted the items added to a future agenda.
 
Continued discussion on main motion: Councilor Rosenthal would vote against the motion.  While he saw benefits to existing homeowners, a recent community survey indicated it was difficult finding affordable housing.  Pursuing affordable housing opportunities and workforce housing was a Council goal and this ordinance did not benefit that goal.  Council could not say on one day that affordable, long-term housing stock was important, more important than saving an old tree and then vote yes on this ordinance.
Roll Call Vote on main motion:  Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Marsh, Morris and Seffinger, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
 
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Voisin announced that April 14, 2015 was Equal Pay Day and noted the range of pay discrepancies for women.  April was also Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  She explained Police Officer Carrie Hull received the prestigious Professional Impact Award by End Violence Against Women International.  She also commented on Assistant Planner Amy Gunter noting her exceptional skills and level of customer service.
 
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
 
 
 
___________________________________  _______________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                   John Stromberg, Mayor

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