June 1, 1994
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 1:30 p.m.
Chair Jerry Rust presided with Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Marie Frazier and Jack Roberts present. Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary.
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
12. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Charles Fuller, 92865 Saddle View Drive, Marcola, indicated that he was representing himself and 32 property owners and voters of the Mill Creek Subdivision, which is a tract of 95 acres divided into 19 lots of 5 acres each. He pointed out that the Paschelkes had put in the roads to meet the County's standards at the time and have documentation from Public Works records that the Paschelkes tried numerous times to get Lane County to do their part. Fuller observed that the roads are used by the County, EPUD, the telephone company, the Register-Guard, the State Police, school busses and others. He asked the Board to restore the integrity of County government and honor Lane County's commitment. Cornacchia explained to Fuller that in the "contract" that has been referred to, there is no agreement by the County to either accept the roads or to maintain them.
Hilda Fuller, 92865 Saddle View Drive, Marcola, agreed with Charles Fuller's comments.
M. Evelyn Fuller, 92865 Saddle View Drive, Marcola, also expressed agree-ment with Charles Fuller's comments.
Kasha Eades, 92861 Fir Ridge Drive, Marcola, distributed a copy of a 1978 memorandum from Jack Thomas to Al Driver in Public Works (see material on file), in which Thomas recommended that Paul's Road, Saddle View Road and Fir Ridge Road by accepted as County roads. Cornacchia explained that this was just a recommendation by staff which did not go forward to receive Board approval. Eades stressed that the subdivision has followed the necessary procedures. Cornacchia stated that he would like to see an official agreement.
Holly Dimmick, 92863 Saddle View Drive, Marcola, expressed her concern about the road situation and asked the Board to vote in the residents' favor.
Samuel McGhehey, 92848 Fir Ridge Drive, Marcola, questioned why the developers were required to build the roads to specifications if the County had no intention of maintaining them as County roads. He stressed that Lane County will have a credibility problem if it doesn't follow through on this matter as there is a paper trail.
William Shwartz, 38910 Paul's Road, Marcola, stated that he was in support of all of the previous speakers and asked the Board to act in their favor.
Steve Curtis, 130 River Avenue, #41, spoke regarding homeless youth. He stated that the Autzen Stadium Youth Campus will be for juvenile offenders and not for homeless youth in general. Curtis asked if there was any way this could be changed to include homeless, runaways and street kids.
Teresa Nohrenberg, 92859 Saddle View Drive, Marcola, asked the Board to consider accepting the roads being discussed as part of the County road system.
Wes Bigelow, 572 West 12th, #6, commented that he was speaking in favor of, specifically, Phase One of the Master Plan for the Fairgrounds and asked that the Board approve the funding for that. He stated that Phase One provides a good balance in where the money is going. Bigelow remarked that he was a member of the Consortium and observed that the neighborhood had voted in favor of Phase One, with the addendum that closes off Friendly Street, even though there are concerns about Phase II and III. He stated that they are also in favor of the anticipated improvements of the ice skating facility at some point. With regard to the closure of Friendly Street, Bigelow mentioned that Wes Brustad had provided a note stating that part of the dollars for the perimeter will be used to build a permanent blockage on Friendly Street.
Bonny Bettman, 2291 Friendly Street, stated that she is the co-chair of the Friendly Area Neighborhood Organization. She acknowledged the hard work that the Consortium put into the project. Bettman said FANO was in favor of the plan and is satisfied that the scaled down plan can be compatible with the existing community. She expressed concern that only one week's notice was given regarding the final plan and for the May 10 public hearing, notice was received only a few days in advance. Bettman stressed that the group wants to be included in the loop, have timely notification and access to documents. She summarized that the function of the Fairgrounds needs to continue to reflect the needs and the values of the community.
Larry Thorp, 644 North A, Springfield, spoke with regard to Mill Creek Park roads. He stated that his research indicates that there is no formal, binding written contract. Thorp stressed, however, that there was an agreement and an understanding that the roads would be accepted into the County road system, as the County required that it be built to meet the County's requirements at that time. He emphasized that there is no question, based on the requirements, that the road was being built to meet the criteria for being put into the County's road system. Thorp stated that the lack of formal documentation does not alleviate the moral commitment.
Amy Adams Schauer, 3812 Monroe, stated that she was president of the Eugene Figure Skating Club and was speaking today on behalf of the Ice Sports Council, which represents figure skating, hockey, speed skating, broomball and public skating. She explained that Lane County Ice's financial figures for this year are over four times what was projected in 1989, with over 1,000 individuals involved in programs this spring. Adams Schauer stressed that interruption of ice time for non-ice events would have a negative impact on programs. She indicated that Fair Board management has assured them that all of the former Albany horse shows can occur at the Lane County Fairgrounds without the need to use the ice building. Adams Schauer quoted Fair Board members and management as saying that their first choice for concerts and entertainment is the Convention Center, if they can get the bleachers and a stage. Cornacchia expressed concern that people have the misconception that the ice arena was built only for ice activities.
Susan Belanger, 84940 Matlock Lane, remarked that she is a member of the Ice Sports Council. She referred to, and explained, their counter-proposal (dated May 31, 1994) to the Master Plan (see material on file). Belanger summarized that they favor all the Phase One improvements that will make the fairgrounds more pleasant and more usable without causing interruption to successful ongoing programs. She commented that if the deletions mentioned in the counter-proposal cannot be incorporated into the Master Plan today, then they would ask the Board to delay approval of the plan. Belanger expressed concern that there is no feasibility study available to the public for this Master Plan. Responding to Cornacchia, Belanger explained that the Fairgrounds' May 18 policy indicates that there will be no more than 35 "non-ice" days. She remarked that the counter-proposal asks for no more than 20 non-ice days. Belanger reported that there were 7 days of maintenance down time at the facility last year.
Ken Hobson, P.O. Box 340, Florence, was not present when called upon.
Gwen Duke, 92856 Fir Ridge Road, Marcola, concurred with previous statements made in regard to roads in the Mill Creek Park Subdivision.
Tim Birr, 495 East 50th, stated that he had outlined most of his concerns in his May 23 letter written to Rust, but expressed concern about the "slam dunk" public process taking place. He stressed that ice programs are popular and strong. Birr asked the Board not to spend the dollars on improvements to the ice facility.
Hector Smith commented that he is a hockey player, coach and referee and was appalled that alteration of the facility is being considered. He referred to the enormous costs for conversion. Smith stated that this is the best facility west of the Mississippi and north of San Francisco. He asked if the proposed 35 non-ice days would take place on weekends. Smith stressed that continuity and training are a must for ice users.
Jenny McGhehey, 92848 Fir Ridge Drive, Marcola, stated that she was in support of Charles Fuller's previous comments.
13. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 94-6-1-37/In the Matter of an Appeal to the Decision of a Director's Report Denying County-Maintained Road Status to Paul's Road, Fir Ridge Road and Saddle View Drive.
John Goodson, Public Works Director, provided a brief background on this matter (see material on file). He noted that there is one correction with regard to the distance that is listed in the packet of 1.3 total miles for the three roads. Goodson stated that the total is actually .74 miles. Responding to Roberts, Goodson stated that if the application had been made prior to 1991, the roads would have been accepted under the previous criteria. He agreed that it is probably true that the developer would not have constructed the roads to those standards if there had not been the expectation that the roads were to be accepted. Responding to Cornacchia, Goodson observed that Saddle View Drive would not have been accepted by itself because it does not connect to a county road, but in conjunction with the other two roads, it would have been accepted. He continued that "serving the public" was not usually an issue before 1991, as subdivisions were generally considered part of the general road system.
Cornacchia stated that he is looking for consistency, but acknowledged that the 1978 work by Public works was "sloppy." He indicated that he will be supportive of the people here as it is clear they had an oral discussion regarding representations, although it is not backed up by contracts. Cornacchia observed that he is not interested, though, in setting a precedent. Roberts stressed that the bottom line is that the particular set of circumstances in this matter does not set a precedent. He pointed out that there is evidence of intent. Roberts indicated his support for acceptance of these roads, recognizing that it is an exception to the current criteria. Responding to Cornacchia, Goodson stated that these roads meet the same criteria that other subdivision roads did prior to 1991. With regard to benefit to the general public, Frazier remarked that visitors, school busses, fire district vehicles and others benefit from public road status on these roads. MOTION: To accept petitioner's appeal and direct staff to proceed with the County road acceptance process. Frazier MOVED, Roberts SECONDED. Responding to Rust, Goodson did not offer support for revisiting the issue of road standards again, although noting that the issue of "public benefit" may need some discussion. Cornacchia stated that he finds that these roads do not benefit the general public consistent with the policies in place since 1991. He urged the Board to be careful in wording the Motion to explain that acceptance in this case is based on estoppel, reliance and "shoddy workmanship" in 1978. Roberts concurred with Cornacchia, stating that he is not aware of problems since the new standards were established. VOTE: 5-0. Staff was directed to return with a new Order on an upcoming Consent Calendar.
This meeting recessed at 2:42 p.m. to reconvene at 1:46 p.m.
14. FAIR BOARD
a. ORDER 94-6-1-38/In the Matter of Authorizing Proceedings to Issue Debt for Fairgrounds Improvements in an Amount Not to Exceed $2,045,000, Plus Costs of Issuance and Reserves.
Rust introduced Ken Hobson's letter to be submitted for the record (see material on file).
Sid Vorhees, Cleve Dumdi and Bob Matson were present from the Fair Board along with Wes Brustad, Fair Director.
Vorhees referred to the Addendum to the Master Plan, dated June 1, 1994 (see material on file), dealing with the ingress and egress issues at the fairgrounds. He continued on to speak about the issues involving the Ice Council, acknowledging that in the past the Council was essentially allowed to manage the ice rink, but stating that now, even though a good manager has been hired, they don't want to let go. Vorhees distributed information indicating that revenue during the last three years has declined at the ice arena. He asserted that it is inaccurate to say the ice rink had a $72,000 profit last year, when figures for general administration, marketing, liability insurance and depreciation were not included. Vorhees stressed that the Fair Board wants to utilize all facilities to their fullest potential, noting that he believes the Ice Council has a narrow focus. He asked the Board to take a hard look at all of the information.
Rust characterized some of Vorhees' comments as "brutally frank," reflective of tension that has been present, indicating that the Board of Commissioners hopes to work toward a "win-win" situation. Cornacchia referred to the 1989 policy statement which states that the building is to be predominantly for ice, but will have a multiple use component to it. However, he stressed that he is very supportive of youth recreation activities and is not interested in material diminution of those. Cornacchia indicated that he was essentially interested in seeing the facility used approximately 90% of the time for ice activities, with a maximum of 10% being available for other uses. He remarked that he is actually more interested in 20 non-ice days, as opposed to 35. Cornacchia stressed that the same 10% figure should be applied to weekends, with only 5% of Saturdays being used and 5% of Sundays being used.
Roberts expressed concern about the polarization that has been occurring between ice users and the Fair Board. He commented that if the Fair Board applied the same profit/loss criteria on all other activities, then only the Fair and the catering service would make a profit. Brustad provided a breakdown of ice facility improvements included in Phase I which are needed to provide live entertainment during the fair: permanent seating - $70,000, acoustics - $50,000, and conversion flooring - $70,000. Responding to Cornacchia, Brustad indicated that potential non-ice days would include one week for the fair, one week for maintenance, and 21 non-ice event days, which includes four events using 9 days total, plus a 3-day breakdown and set-up allowance for each of four events. Brustad confirmed that the "quick-change" flooring would make the breakdown/set up faster.
Commissioner Dumdi remarked that the building was always intended to be a multi-purpose facility. She agreed with Cornacchia that 20-25 days was probably a more realistic figure given the capability of the new flooring. Commissioner Dumdi stressed that there needs to be flexibility to make the best use of the entire facility. Rust expressed concern that the Boards have not made good on commitments to the Fairgrounds' neighborhood with regard to the annual Fair. He stated that a large part of the master planning process has dealt with ingress, egress, burming, landscaping and noise abatement. Rust indicated that he believes Phase I is reasonable and helpful to everyone, although Phases II and III have more grey areas. He emphasized that his main goals are to continue using the room taxes successfully and to make good to promises to neighborhoods and improve the fairgrounds.
Vorhees asked the Board to trust the Fair Board as they do understand the issues. Matson stated that the current Fair Board does emphasize and support youth activities, commenting that non-ice days may be valuable to youth, too. Cornacchia remarked that he was supportive of the two action items on the agenda, with the condition that the ice arena continue to be predominantly for ice activities, with non-ice activities not to exceed the week of the Fair and 4 additional events, with their necessary set-up and breakdown times, with these activities to be spread out every few months. Vorhes indicated that they would like flexibility to schedule concerts on available dates and remarked that horse shows are generally weekend events. Rust observed that the big auditorium is more conducive to concerts than the ice arena. Cleve Dumdi commented that everyone needs a vision of the whole facility and stressed that this Fair Board is trying to keep commitments that it makes.
Commissioner Dumdi commended the Fair Board and management for taking a more businesslike approach for the entire facility. She remarked that scheduling is extremely important and noted that most concert/horse show bookings will occur well in advance. Commissioner Dumdi stressed that these improvements will enhance room tax income. Adams Schauer expressed concern about scheduling, noting that during hockey season (October through March), the rink is booked solidly from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and it would be difficult to interrupt that without a great impact on the events. Rust explained that the Board of Commissioners is trying to broker a better relationship between the groups and noted that some trust will be needed to allow flexibility for the management of the facility. Adams Schauer indicated that it is difficult to find the ice rink in the Master Plan or the mission of the Fair Board. She questioned why no money was going to programs that are already in place.
Frazier questioned Brustad, asking if it is the intent to maximize all usages, and since the Convention Center is better for concerts/entertainment, why wasn't the Convention Center part of Phase I? Brustad responded that the timing was purely an allocation of money as $520,000 for the seating is such a large amount. Responding again to Frazier, Brustad indicated that it was the intent that ice activities could grow to a point that it could sustain the building of a second rink on the strength of its own revenues. If that were the case, the second (newer) facility would be primary and the current facility would be secondary and usable for other activities as it has more seating. Responding to Cornacchia, Vorhees concluded that 26 days would be workable for non-ice days, including maintenance and the Fair.
Roberts stated that he doesn't believe the information provided is sufficient to justify making a decision on a $2 million investment, as it lacks supportive data. He stressed that any commitment of room tax dollars of this magnitude would have to be taken in consideration of the overall financial condition of the county. Roberts remarked that this county needs to address the issue of the current dedication of room tax dollars and that public feedback is necessary. He also expressed concern that, due to the massive changes in this year's Fair, it is difficult to speculate on the basis for repayment of a loan based on Fair revenue.
Rust observed that the hotel/motel industry has continued to support the raising of room tax rates with the expectation that that money would be reinvested in improvements to increase tourism/conventions, etc. He stressed that they would never have said "tax us" if they thought the money would be used for the general fund. Rust emphasized that these improvements needed to be done, especially for the neighborhood and that public promises need to be kept. Cornacchia indicated his support as long as the Fair Board is willing to commit to 335 ice days per year, through the 10-year period of the loan or at least until a return discussion is held with the commissioners.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Frazier MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. Frazier asked that the Fair Board look at their Mission Statement and perhaps make some mention of the ice-related goals in it. Rust concurred. MOTION: 4-1, Roberts dissenting.
b. ORDER 94-6-1-39/In the Matter of Authorizing the Director of Human Resources and Management Services to Effect an Interfund Loan for $1,000,000.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Dumdi MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. VOTE: 4-1, Roberts dissenting.
Vorhees concluded that the Fair Board will work hard on communication.
This meeting recessed at 4:08 p.m. to reconvene at 4:12 p.m.
Cornacchia was excused from the meeting at this time.
15. OTHER BUSINESS
a. ORDER 94-6-1-40/In the Matter of Appointing a Justice Pro Tempore for the Florence Justice Court for 60 Days.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Roberts MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.
b. ORDER 94-6-1-2/In the Matter of Entering into an Agreement with the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority Regarding Proceeds of Civil Penalties.
MOTION: Approval of the Order. Roberts MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.
c. Van Vactor discussed the need for a Tax Coordination Meeting and received concurrence from the Board to schedule this meeting.
d. Rust brought up the letter from George Frampton again with regard to a potential Watershed Management conference. Frazier indicated that she could support the concept, but was concerned about any intent to regulate against private property rights. Roberts stated that he was not interested due to the inevitable costs for the conference and for any follow-up. Rust acknowledged that there was not Board support for this at this time.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 4:19 p.m.
Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary
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