BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
December 16, 2009
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present. Bill Dwyer was excused. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
10. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance No. 5-09/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 6 of the Lane Code to Add Social Host Ordinance (LC6.900).
Handy had concerns about Section 3 d) and who might be excluded. He asked about incentives that are available to them so they would have a reasonable approach to violations and the responses. He asked if they are excluding too many potential parties if they are excluding all property owners.
Richardson explained that the definition of host means to aid, conduct, allow, entertain, organize, supervise, control or permit a gathering as an event. She noted for 3 d) there was concern about owners of large areas of land who might not know what is taking place on their land or a landlord not living in the building and having no idea a party was occurring. She said they wrote it so it doesn’t apply to owners of property who weren’t present at the location unless they had knowledge of the event or consent or acquiesced to the occurrence. She recalled in the last series of discussions, the majority of the Board wanted the person who owns the land to have some culpability in order to fall under the ordinance.
Stewart thought it might give parents who might be gone during vacation and didn’t have knowledge be subject to the ordinance. He was concerned about people like Weyerhaeuser who have large tracks of land that are unable to stop the activity. He said this was supposed to be used to stop the behavior.
Richardson noted with the way the language is worded, it would need an ordinance change so people could come in and talk if they were affected. She recommended listening to the public hearing and if the ordinance is not written the way the Board wants, they could work on it.
Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing.
Elaine Bryson, Vida, said she is the Director of Programs for the McKenzie School District. She thanked the Board for bringing this social host ordinance to the front. She said they have worked hard in the community to increase awareness around underage drinking and they have made strides in the community. She commented that they have not had one single youth party in their district since this work started. She didn’t want Weyerhaeuser to be responsible. She was concerned they needed to tweak the ordinance for the families who are constantly hosting open houses for drinking.
Sally Storm, Superintendent, McKenzie School District, Vida, commented that drinking and driving is no longer acceptable behavior. She stated that this is a learning experience for the community. She was concerned there is a warning the first time and they won’t have to pay. She was also concerned that law enforcement would feel it wasn’t worth their while to give someone a warning and people wouldn’t take it seriously.
Diane Conrad, Cottage Grove, was in favor of the social host ordinance. She made suggestions for changes.
Jenny Valenti, Florence, commented that they have to raise awareness as it is a community problem and it is not okay for students to drink. She wanted a definition of a violation and a definition of response so it could have more teeth.
Kurt Cox, Leaburg, challenged the first offense. He was afraid “one and done” might involve the life of a young person. He urged the Board to make the change.
Shauna Snap, recalled the article in The Register Guard, got a good response. She noted that parents came to her and have changed their minds about drinking with their kids. She believed that thanks to the Board, they will be saving another child’s life.
There being no one else signed up to Speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing.
Fleenor asked Richardson to review what was requested.
Richardson recalled that she had gone through the various statutes that had already existed. She stated what the Board is trying to address in this matter are parties. She said if one person is furnishing alcohol to another, there is the issuing alcohol to a minor statute. She said law enforcement will not respond to one person giving alcohol to another. She said they could add a sports function but she thought it was already covered. She commented that reducing the number from three to two would be a substantive change and they would need another reading. She noted there are no liabilities to managers stated in the ordinance and if the Board wanted to do that, that would be a substantive change. She recalled the Board wanted to have a first warning for landlords who don’t actually live on the premises. She added that was a safety valve the Board wanted, to ensure that landlords who don’t’ live on the property are aware of what is happening. She noted when the city of Eugene proposed their party statute, there was no warning and there was an uproar. She added that they still have a warning in their ordinance for the first time and after than there is a fine. She noted that the Sheriff’s Office will not respond to situations just because they have an ordinance. She said they could do a definition for response, but that would be for who shows up. She added that it would be a substantive change.
Handy was concerned about the one and done approach. He asked about the other approaches around policy choices.
C.A. Baskerville, Health and Human Services, stated that California has done a lot of work around social host ordinances. She believed the first response gets some level of a fine. She noted the proposal for Lane County includes payment of response fees and fines. She thought that would be the preference. Her recommendation is if they choose to continue to support the warning, they ensure the response recovery fee is included for the law enforcement officer making the trip so the Sheriff’s Office is not out any additional funds.
Richardson recalled that was how the ordinance was drafted originally. She said the response fees were recovered. She added the second time it would be a fine. She received direction that for the first time it is just a warning. She redrafted it to be a warning for the first time.
Handy wanted a consequence that was reasonable and that catches people’s attention.
Stewart stated that he wouldn’t be opposed to having a fine for the first time if the fine is lower for the first offense. He wanted to change 3d) to be more explicit as to who owners are. He thought it should state that this ordinance does not apply to all owners of large tracts of timberland and agricultural lands over 50 acres in size and or rental income property owners unless they had knowledge of the event, consented or acquiesced to the event. He said if they could get that definition, then he recommended putting in a fine for the first offense.
Sorenson favored aggressive improvements.
Richardson thought they were narrowing 3d) instead of expanding it. She said they are changing the language and she recommended another reading.
MOTION: to direct staff to make the following changes to the social host Ordinance 5-09: editing Section 3 d) to read: This ordinance does not apply to owners of large tracts and timberland and agricultural land over 50 acres in size and rental income property owners unless they had knowledge of the event and consented or acquiesced to the occurrence of the event. The second change is changing the first offense from a warning to a fine of $250 and bringing this back for a Third Reading and Deliberation on January 5, 2010.
Stewart MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
AMENDED MOTION: in the definition section, knowledge and consent or acquiesce of a host is presumed if the owner/occupants of the premises is a parent of a minor child and has been informed that an underage party was held on their premises within the past year.
Fleenor MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Fleenor asked if they should put in a definition of response.
AMENDED MOTION: to offer the definition of response.
Fleenor MOVED, Stewart SECONDED
11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
12. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
13. OTHER BUSINESS
Spartz offered a challenge to Franklin County, Ohio for the Rose Bowl. He thought wine and chocolates could be a gift to offer.
Stewart thought the Board Chair needed to wear an Oregon Duck jersey at the first appropriate meeting.
Richardson recommended one item come from each district.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.