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Agenda & Minutes

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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Meeting Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, April 04, 2019

April 4, 2019

6:00 p.m.
Medford City Hall, Council Chambers
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon

The regular meeting of the Medford City Council was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford City Hall Council Chambers on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Kay Brooks, Dick Gordon (arrived at 6:03 p.m.), Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski; City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Manager Eric Zimmerman, City Attorney Lori Cooper, and Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Councilmembers Clay Bearnson and Tim D’Alessandro were absent.
20.    Recognitions, Community Group Reports
30.    Oral Requests and Communications from the Audience
         30.1        Amrita Cottrell, Medford, spoke in favor of Medford becoming a BEE CITY.
         30.2        Brooke Nuckles Gentekos, Medford, spoke in favor of Medford becoming a BEE CITY.
         30.3        Sharon Schmidt, Phoenix, spoke in favor of Medford becoming a BEE CITY.
40.    Public Hearings
         40.1        COUNCIL BILL 2019-23 AN ORDINANCE amending sections 7.430 and 7.440 of the Medford Municipal Code pertaining to the abatement of uncontrolled weeds and grass.
Deputy City Attorney Eric Mitton advised that Medford’s current code prohibits weeds and grasses taller than 10 inches after June 1 to reduce fire hazard. This ordinance changes the prohibition date to May 15 to allow Code Enforcement additional time to process complaints before beginning the abatement process. Last year, the City’s first abatement cutting was June 26. City Manager Brian Sjothun reported that the City has more than 300 non-compliant properties annually.
Councilmember Gordon spoke about fire hazards in his neighborhood. He recommended Code Enforcement continue enforcement throughout fire season.
Mr. Mitton advised that the City follows Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) regulations prohibiting mowing. Medford could continue enforcement throughout fire season, but fire suppression would be required during the cutting. He added that Code Enforcement should be able to remedy complaints received regarding dry, dead trees.
Councilmember Gordon voiced concerns that Medford wasn’t doing enough to eliminate fire hazards. Mr. Sjothun requested Fire Chief Brian Fish to approach the podium and advised the Council that he mandates Public Works, Parks & Recreation, and Fire Department Directors to ensure City properties comply with the Code. If that requires the use of fire suppression to cut our weeds and grasses, it will be done.
Councilmember Gordon, Mr. Sjothun and Mr. Mitton discussed overgrowth on Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) property along the greenway and other open areas. Councilmember Gordon recommended the City follow the same procedure for all non-compliant properties and cite the agency. Mr. Mitton stated the City attempts to work with other government agencies, but he would look into citing them.  
Councilmember Brooks asked multiple questions regarding Code Enforcement’s abatement process, how they address properties that remain in non-compliance, and whether providing more time would help reduce the fire danger.
Mr. Mitton explained that Code Enforcement processes the most critical public safety issues first. However, it is possible that reported properties are not abated before the ODF mowing prohibition. Chief Fish estimated $150 an hour for fire suppression during abatement cuttings. Fire suppression typically takes two people, on overtime, and a small brush rig.
Public hearing opened.
Bob Shand, Medford, spoke about fire hazards along the greenway, between Jackson and South McAndrews.
Public hearing closed.
Motion:  Approve the ordinance.
Moved by:  Kevin Stine                                                      Seconded by:  Alex Poythress
Councilmember Stine noted that Code Enforcement is complaint driven and that fire hazards should be reported.
Amended motion:  Amend the date to begin enforcement May 1 each year.
Moved by:  Kay Brooks                                                      Seconded by:  Dick Gordon
Councilmember Brooks believed the City should take a more pro-active approach in preventing fires. Councilmember Gordon stated the amendment provides more leeway for Code Enforcement to begin enforcing the cutting requirement.
It was clarified that Code Enforcement is complaint driven and all complaints are processed based upon their impact to public safety. Therefore, Code Enforcement could begin enforcements earlier in drier years, or postpone enforcement during years with low fire risk.
Roll call on the amendment:  Councilmembers Brooks, Gordon, Poythress, Stark, Stine, and Zarosinski voting yes.
Motion carried and so ordered. 
Roll call on the main motion:  Councilmembers Brooks, Gordon, Poythress, Stark, Stine, and Zarosinski voting yes.
Motion carried and so ordered. 
50.    Approval or Correction of the Minutes of the March 21, 2019 Regular Meeting
         There being no additions or corrections, the minutes were approved as presented.
60.    Consent Calendar
70.    Items Removed from Consent Calendar
80.    Ordinances and Resolutions
         80.1     COUNCIL BILL 2019-24:  A RESOLUTION consenting to the requirements of being a BEE CITY USA.
Motion:  Approve the resolution.
Moved by:     Kay Brooks                                                   Seconded by: Kevin Stine
Roll callCouncilmembers Brooks, Gordon, Poythress, Stark, Stine, and Zarosinski voting yes.
Motion carried and so ordered. 
90.    Council Business
Mayor Wheeler voiced concerns about the fire hazard posed by fireworks within City limits.
Motion:  Direct staff to bring forth a code amendment to restrict all fireworks within the City limits, except in locations approved by the City Manager.
Moved by:     Dick Gordon                                                 Seconded by: Michael Zarosinski
Councilmember Zarosinski clarified he would second the motion, if there was a public hearing. Councilmember Stine did not agree with the motion as fireworks are used to celebrate a national holiday, are a traditional part of summer and they are fun. Councilmember Poythress preferred discussing the issue with constituents before making a decision. He agreed that fireworks are part of holiday festivities, but also understood the potential fire hazard.
Roll call: Councilmembers Brooks, Gordon, Stark and Zarosinski voting yes; Councilmembers Poythress and Stine voting no.
Matter will be set for a public hearing.
Out of sequence.
         90.3     Committee Reports and Communications
a.   Councilmember Brooks reported that the Police Advisory Committee conducted interviews for their vacant Ward 2 representative. 
Motion: Appoint Gary Duvall to the Police Advisory Committee to serve as the Ward 2 representative, with a term beginning immediately and ending January 31, 2022. 
Moved by:  Kay Brooks                                                      Seconded by: Kevin Stine
Roll callCouncilmembers Brooks, Gordon, Poythress, Stark, Stine, and Zarosinski voting yes.
Motion carried and so ordered. 
b.   Councilmember Stine attended the County Commissioner meeting and they discussed the potential new jail. Mr. Sjothun planned to meet with the County to discuss the process.
c.   Councilmember Stine reported that Police Chief Randy Sparacino has announced his retirement and thanked him for his service.
d.   Councilmember Brooks attended the Liberty Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting to discuss their neighborhood plan. A Liberty Park Neighborhood Open House was also held. She thanked Principal Planner Carla Paladino and Planning Director Matt Brinkley for their assistance with the neighborhood plan.
e.   Councilmember Gordon advised that the RVCOG board elected a new president, Roy Lindsey, the Mayor of Grants Pass.
f.    Councilmember Gordon also reported that Grants Pass plans to include a 3% gas tax on their general election ballot; they estimated that 70% of the tax would be paid by people passing through the area. Their general election ballot will also include a measure to pay their Mayor and Council a salary of $1,000 a month.
Back in sequence.
         90.1     Proclamations issued:
                        Arbor Month – April 2019
                        Fair Housing Month – April 2019
                        Water Conservation Month – April 2019
Mayor Wheeler stated that the Arbor Day celebration would be held Saturday, May 4, in Hawthorne Park. On April 6 at 10 a.m., Habitat for Humanity will present two families with keys to homes on Newtown Street.
100.  City Manager and Staff Reports
         100.1   April 11 Study Sessions Preview
a.   The April 11 study session topic is food trucks. Staff has arranged the Tasty Treasures food truck for the evening meal.  He recommended placing orders before 5:30 or 5:40 p.m. to allow meal preparation before the study session begins.
      After the Council study session, a Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board (MURA) study session will be held to discuss potential projects within the Liberty Park area. A MURA Executive Session is scheduled immediately following the MURA study session.
b.   Mr. Sjothun noted his appreciation for Police Chief Randy Sparacino and stated he will keep Council updated on hiring his replacement.
110.  Adjournment
There being no further business, this Council meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m.
The proceedings of the City Council meeting were recorded and are filed in the City Recorder’s Office. The complete agenda of this meeting is filed in the City Recorder’s Office.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder

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