BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
July 12, 2005
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Morrison requested that W 9. F) 1) be pulled off the Board Order on LRAPA from the July 13 meeting to be placed under Commissioners' Business.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 192.660 (2)(d) for the purpose of deliberations with labor negotiators.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/RESOLUTION ORDER 05-7-12-1Adopting a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Lane County.
Linda Cook, Sheriff’s Office, explained that this had been a plan that had been in development for the past eight months and had come within budget and on schedule. She said in order for the plan to be considered complete, she needed the Board of Commissioners to adopt the plan by resolution. She noted the Board could adopt it today or they could set a future date for adoption. She asked the Board to encourage communication between agencies and stakeholders about wildfire risk production strategies. She indicated the Board needed to provide leadership and actively partner with other agencies for implementing wildland urban interface fire mitigation strategy in Lane County as appropriate and feasible and to assist with identifying and prioritizing community values that must be protected from wildfire and to increase fire safety education and awareness among communities and homeowners. She indicated that this was a resolution but there was nothing legally binding about the work that they had done.
Andre Leduc, Oregon National Hazards Work Group, stated the purpose of the plan is to identify not only the wildland urban interface within the county, but to establish a framework that supports the development of local planning. He said they wanted to build off of what the County had done. He said they wanted to create a flexible process to get to risk reduction or action on the ground.
Kier Miller, Land Management, explained that risk management was a critical piece to make decisions about wildfire risk in Lane County and fuel reduction projects. He said there are different variables that go into assessment and limitations. He said there are three main goals. One was to develop a real understanding of wildfire risk in Lane County through a collaborative effort. He said they wanted to have an actual base map to show where the wildland urban interface is and to identify on a map the areas of high, moderate and low risk for wildfire in Lane County. He noted that they wanted to use the assessment as a decision making tool to prioritize fuel reduction projects in Lane County. He indicated one of the main features of the plan is that they understand where risk areas are so when fire districts and neighborhood groups come in with an area they perceive at risk, they can evaluate it.
Miller indicated that they had reviewed four main categories: risk, hazards, value and protection capabilities. He said they were looked at in combination with local input and knowledge. He added they got input from individuals from all different levels. He said the steering committee directed them to use the guidelines outlined in the handbook for wildland urban interface communities. He noted they are using the same methods developed by the Oregon Department of Forestry for use in Josephine County and their integrated fire plans. He added that other counties in the state are using it so when they develop the Lane County assessment, they could make comparisons across jurisdictions. He said they determined that the risks for Lane County are moderate compared to other counties in the state. He added that the areas adjacent to fire districts tend to be vulnerable. He indicated there are many people living in those areas but they don’t receive fire protection from the districts. He noted there are almost 10,000 home sites that don’t fall under the rural fire protection district.
Miller explained there were limitations they ran into with this assessment. He said they had difficulty identifying all of the potential ignition sources in Lane County. He said that wasn’t looked at in this assessment. He noted they looked at ignition history to determine where fires would occur. He added they were not able to assess individual structures. He said they could update the assessment when local fire districts look at home sites and determine which areas are risks. He indicated they could feed that data back into their GIS and continue to upload the data. He added that they want to publish the assessment on the website so it is available to local districts.
Leduc said the purpose of the survey was to pull out a random sample of 1,500 property owners within the wildland urban interface as it was currently defined and ask them questions about risk. He indicated that they had a 32% response rate on an eight-page survey. He said they also had stakeholder interviews with the forest service, BLM, and the Oregon Department of Forestry. He said the asked questions were tied to the Healthy Forest Act requirements around community wildfire protection plan to look at elements around structural ignitability. He explained that they took all the inputs they had been receiving to have a collaborative focus group. He said they had five focus groups to present to fire professionals to discuss opportunities and obstacles with wildfire. He commented that the homeowner surveys acted like benchmarks. He said it is a shared responsibility between local, state, federal and private individuals.
Leduc said the three primary goals in the plan are about having the County provide leadership and partnerships for risk reduction in the future, establishing community strategies and promoting wildfire risk production. He indicated they were proposing an advisory committee at the County level that would be co-chaired by Land Management and Emergency Management and the rural fire defense board with the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Forest Service and BLM. He proposed semi-annual meetings to review the action items that are currently in the plan. He explained there would be a three-step process with the advisory committee; the first step would be using the quantitative evaluation. He said based upon that, they then go for the qualitative assessment, a committee recommendation and then a letter of support.
Sorenson asked who would finance the plan.
Morrison recalled they approved the inception of the plan because of the Secure Rural Schools re-authorization and the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. She said it was Senator Wyden’s insistence that within the act there be a wildland urban interface. She said what they have is Title III monies to help them go forward. She added they had a project that was completed out of Title III that is now funded with Title II dollars. She indicated the plan identifies the different funding sources.
Cook commented that the money for this could come from any source. She said that the plan represents a resolution to do something about wildfire risk in Lane County and in the plan is a list of projects in certain areas of the County. She indicated they would seek funding on a case-by-case basis. She said they would not be asking for money or to commit any future funds to adopt this plan. She indicated they were looking to communicate with other agencies about the risk for wildfire and providing leadership to prioritize values for fire safety awareness.
MOTION: to adopt RESOLUTION 05-7-12-1.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
b. DISCUSSION/ORDER 05-7-12-2 Amending Order No. 05-6-29-15 Regarding Establishing Interim Local Criteria Applicable in the Proposed West Eugene Enterprise Zone and Adopting a Public Benefit Scoring System.
Stewart reported that last week during the Economic Development Standing Committee Meeting they met with Councilors David Kelly and Chris Pryor. He noted that Green sat in for Dwyer. He said they discussed the concerns they had. He said they submitted a waiver that allowed Lane County to consider waiving the $30,000 cap for companies based on information presented at the time and job retention, counting existing jobs in addition to the new jobs in calculating the Enterprise Zone tax break. He noted at the conclusion of the meeting, the city councilors presented the possibility of raising the cap from $30,000 to $37,500 over a three-year period. He spoke with Mayor Piercy and discussed leaving the cap at the same level. He had concerns about the retention piece and the impact on the existing businesses.
Dennis Taylor, City of Eugene, believed if the Board adopted the resolution that was the product of a meeting over the weekend, they would have an Enterprise Zone that both jurisdictions could work with. He said they would have a commitment from city council and city staff to work in good faith to get permanent standards in place and to address the critical issues of retention and how the cap would work around specific applications. He commented that this was a step towards learning to work together on the Enterprise Zone. He thought if the Board moved forward that the city council would approve.
Stewart asked how the cap affected present operating businesses in Lane County that wanted to expand. He was concerned that the cap was affecting local businesses the opportunity to expand while allowing outside businesses to come in, build a facility and capture all the benefits.
Mike Sullivan, City of Springfield, commented that the majority of companies involved with the Enterprise Zone have modest investments around $500,000. He noted that most companies were at the lower end of the scale and the cap wouldn’t be a significant factor except for companies that are investing $2 million and creating one, two or three jobs. He commented there were some cases where the cap comes into play where there was an economic development policy that is worthy of consideration.
Van Vactor noted the city resolution didn’t have job retention within the bounds of the waiver.
Sullivan responded what was proposed was an interim agreement between the two jurisdictions. He noted the criteria for the waiver would take more time to review.
Morrison commented that with the way the resolution is written, it does not have the retention piece.
Taylor said it would require that an applicant bring that to their attention and ask both governing bodies to consider it. He noted there would be a safety valve while they work out the details.
Wilson disagreed because the way the waiver is written in the city’s resolution, it has a number of criteria of things to be considered. She said it did not include job retention as one of the waiver components, but the draft language the County had sent over does include that component. She added the draft board order has a blank to call out that different language between the city and the County and commented that this job retention component was a fair issue to be resolved.
Taylor thought the resolution that is in the Board’s packet was a good faith agreement between the two jurisdictions to begin the process to move forward with both community standards, the cap and the waiver, as a process of getting to the permanent standards.
Dwyer asked if they were to insert the words “or retention” in the blanks if it would be a fatal attempt.
Taylor believed it would be a fatal attempt. He thought they could reach agreement with the process from August through January.
With regard to the job cap limitation, Green noted the city offered $37,500 from $30,000, the ability to waive a job cap and job retention. He said those were the three issues. He wasn’t in favor of an eight-member committee discussing things that are important to counties. He commented that this had to do with Hynix in 1997 and it still had to do with Hynix. He was not in favor of going through a process with no guarantee on the outcome. He thought they could take off the job cap (number 4 and number 5). He said that would meet his expectations as those things mentioned needed to be in the interim discussion as part of the final resolution.
On the last page after the words “job creation,” Dwyer wanted to add “or retention”. He said on Section 3, the exemption benefits shall be limited to a maximum of $30,000 per job, $10,000 per year (per new job created) and address it in number 4.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-7-12-2 with the changes discussed.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Jack Roberts, Lane Metro Partnership, explained that they have worked with enterprise zones in various cities throughout the County. He commented that the West Eugene Enterprise Zone was the most successful active enterprise zone in the state. He commented that retention is important because it has to deal with treating existing businesses the same way that move outside the area. He thought the waiver itself was not sufficient when the businesses coming from outside don’t need a waiver, but they have it as a matter or right. He indicated one of the biggest complaints he hears about economic development is why local businesses are being ignored and thought the language Dwyer suggested would work.
Morrison commented when they have existing businesses that have contributed to the community, they need to be sensitive to those businesses.
Dwyer thought they did what they needed to do to look out for the existing businesses. He was comfortable in doing the right thing.
Taylor thought it was unlikely that the changes that this amendment would add to the resolution represented the good faith discussion between the councilors and commissioners. He said it was unlikely that a majority of the council would reconsider their actions. He thought it might erode the good faith that had developed through discussions the past week.
Stewart stated he had expressed that he would try to work through this but was concerned about not making this fair to local businesses. He asked if the city council would be receptive to consider the retention piece if they were to lower the waiver to $30,000.
Taylor recommended that they use the process outlined over the next several months to work through the details of how this would work, knowing they have a waiver in place to deal with an application that might be presented before they reach the permitted agreement by the end of the year. He wanted the Board to take the step to adopt something that both governing bodies could live with while they work out the details.
Green stated he would be disappointed if four city councilors and the mayor couldn’t support the resolution. He thought local criteria would be important to the city council.
Taylor thought the people who were part of the negotiating team and a majority of the counsel as the status quo would perceive them as inconsistent with what was represented in April when they submitted the application. He urged the Board not to make the amendments proposed by Dwyer and take the resolution as it was proposed by the city to begin the development of a relationship.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
c. ORDER 05-7-12-6/In the Matter of Requesting LRAPA Engage in Goal Setting.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-7-12-6.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
7. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Dwyer announced there would be a meeting at the FQHC. He noted on Thursday there will be a MPC joint meeting with the citizens advisory group at LCOG in Springfield.
9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
10. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 10:45 a.m.