April 12, 2000
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 1:30 p.m.
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were present.
9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
a. ORDER 00-4-12-11 Amending the Classifications and Salary Ranges of Cartographer and Senior Cartographer and Retitling the Classifications to Cadastral GIS Technician and Cadastral GIS Specialist.
Sorenson reported that Ed Ruttledge, Labor Relations Manager, had recently discussed the salary ranges and other aspects of the Cadastral GIS Technician and Cadastral GIS Specialist. He noted there had been an agreement between Lane Countys Human Resources and the American Federation of State County Municipal Employees Local. He stated that there is a proposed order reclassifying a Cartographer to be retitled as Cadastral GIS Technician. He added the classification of Senior Cartographer to be retired to be Cadastral GIS Specialist with amended salary ranges.
Wilson noted that the labor negotiators having arrived at an agreement which is subject to Board approval.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 00-4-12-11.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
10. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance No. 1-00 Amending Chapters 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16 of Lane Code to Modify Code Enforcement and Animal Control Provisions, to Repaginate Sections of LC Chapters 5, 9, and 11, to Perform Housekeeping Changes and to Declare an Emergency.
Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, reported there was previous discussion about the packet two weeks ago. He recalled it was required because of legislation that came out of the 1999 Legislature, SB 20. He added the companion measure dealing with Lane Manual was set for today, but has asked to have it heard on April 26.
Kardell reported the reason SB 20 was proposed by the Supreme Courts Administrative office was because of various justice and municipal courts throughout the state, each with its own procedure. He said the Court of Appeals was upset with all the various documents and forms they were seeing. He noted that it amends approximately 350 different provisions of the Oregon Revised Statutes. He said it was signed in October, 1999 and he has been working on it since then. He added it has an effective date of January 1, 2000. He reported the state asked that the violation forms that were supposed to be standardized be continued to April 1, 2000 because they would not be ready in time.
Kardell reported the main provision of SB 20 did away with the term "infractions" and they would be deemed "violations" and subject to judicial proceedings. He noted in the past, most of the code was enforced by administrative proceedings with hearing officers from LCOG. He stated while they were changing the enforcement provisions, they suggested changing items that were in error. He noted the forfeiture chapter (formerly in Chapter 7) is being recommended for removal because since the procedure was put into the code, the laws have changed and Lane Countys provision is not enforceable.
Kardell noted there are also provisions dealing with unzoned areas of Lane County that were passed in the 1970s and no longer apply to any area in Lane County.
Kardell noted in addition to SB 20 code enforcement provisions, there were substantial changes dealing with animal control. He said there were two primary bills: one dealt with nuisance violations by dogs (barking and animals off leashes) to be moved into the courts, the other to put reasonable restrictions on the dogs. He added it is not something that occurred in the past, as the administrative process was used because the courts were not structured to deal with out-of-the-ordinary restrictions on animals. He noted the other main animal statute deals with allowing alternatives for euthanasia to dogs that may have harmed livestock. He said it had been a requirement in the past that those were death penalty cases, but SB 609 has been amended to allow other types of enforcement.
Kardell said part of the enforcement is both Management Services (animal control) and Parks Division, which has asked that they be given the opportunity to move their administrative enforcement proceedings into court proceedings. He said the fine proceeds would be split between the court and the county. He added it is something new and could be moved back into administrative enforcement procedures. He said they were also recommending that they do that with animal control, because the animal control officers have been dealing with the City of Eugene and Municipal Court contractually. He added they think it will be more of a streamlined process. He noted than any violation today is required to go to court. He pointed out that the planning director has been identified as the director of the Land Management Division, and John Cole is not the planning director.
Weeldreyer asked if pet owners who are cited in the far reaches of the county could be cited into the Oakridge or Florence Justice Courts in addition to the Central Lane Court.
Kardell responded yes. He said Management Services and Animal Court asked to do it this way because of manpower restrictions and officers in emergency situations who have been called out of hearings to retrieve a dog. He said they would prefer to be centralized and administered in this building.
Weeldreyer stated there could be a scheduling agreement so that the hearings could be set on certain days in the outlying district justice courts. She noted that each year the two rural justice courts struggle to meet their budgets. She wanted them to accommodate the public as well as the Countys staffing needs. She would prefer all three justice courts as part of the revision, not just Central Lane.
Dwyer agreed with Weeldreyer. He noted that Greenhill has no public process because it is a private sector corporation that collects dogs in the County and sets policies without any public hearings. He doesnt believe that Greenhill should make that policy without consulting with the Cities of Veneta and Springfield. He added it is impacting the constituents. He wanted to hold off on the adoption.
Green noted that Greenhill is a non-profit agency and the County worked hard to get a partnership with the Cities of Springfield and Eugene. He said when the subject of animal regulation was discussed, it was the County that was burdened with regulating the animal control population.
Dwyer said that spay and neutering is appropriate. He said it was a question of Greenhills heavy handediness in relation to citizens.
Sorenson asked if there was any other standard by which Greenhill was regulated.
Kardell noted the only regulation applicable to Greenhill in Lane Countys code would be the euthanasia provision. He said that the Lane Code states if an animal is released from Lane County or any other agency and not spayed or neutered within six months, it is a violation. He reported the County doesnt know if the animal is released from Greenhill and neutered and the provision had not been enforced by the County.
Sorenson suggested an omnibus or enforcement clause so that whenever Lane County is used citizens could notify the County they think a violation had been committed, and notify the potential violator and the County that they intended to take enforcement action. He added a reasonable notice position should be included so the County could decide whether it wants to take action or not. He said if the County did take action within the notice period, it would bar the citizen from enforcing the ordinance or provision so control would stay with the County. He suggested that fees to be paid would be split between the County and the party bringing the enforcement action. He wanted it to apply in all Lane Code matters that are all non-criminal.
Kardell responded there would be LUBA issues to be addressed. He added if there were violations of Lane Countys land use code, and an individual tried to enforce things on their own, there are provisions approved by LUBA to go forward with measures that could be used.
Sorenson said he was not suggesting creating a private right of action for citizens to act separately from Lane County government. He stated they would have a right in the name of Lane County to pursue an alleged violation (when notice was given to Lane County) prior to an enforcement procedure.
Wilson responded that, due to LUBAs exclusive authority, it would be difficult to ascertain the outer parameters for a citizen-initiated enforcement.
Sorenson suggested this may be an alternative that is not available.
Morrison said a citizen already has the right to take action against a neighbor with or without Lane County, but they will incur those costs. Regarding the Justice Court issue, she agreed on flexibility between the justice courts and jurisdictions on where the violation took place. Regarding animal control, she noted if Lane County can control private enterprise either for a profit or non-profit is not right because the County does not have the right to control that.
Dwyer disagreed with Morrison.
Sorenson said his proposal was not to allow citizens any additional rights to sue their neighbors for a breach of contract or nuisance or any other rights, but to assist in the enforcement of existing code provisions with the existing staff. He said he wanted to make it clear that Lane County at the present time does not have any option to allow citizens to initiate County enforcement.
Wilson said that by placing the ability to initiate the enforcement action to citizens, County government loses control of a prosecutorial discretion concept. She added if there is a situation where there is a neighborhood dispute, it may result in cross-complaints filed against each other that will take a large amount of judicial time. She noted those situations are better handled through mediation.
Dwyer stated that would be justice for the rich. He took issue with what Morrison said because it was not a legal opinion. He wanted to know if Lane County has authority over Greenhill.
Weeldreyer asked if Dwyers concern about a municipal jurisdiction contracting with a non-profit organization to provide animal control services within Lane County is a legal thread to the ordinance.
Wilson noted the document does not address that subject.
Dwyer stated they are dealing with language in the law that deals with bailment.
Kardell said by taking action today they would not inhibit future action. He added that several departments wanted a Phase 2. He noted that Mike Wellington, the new animal control officer, has other concerns about Greenhill. He suggested asking Wellington for his opinion of what the changes should be.
Green asked if Dwyer had contacted Greenhill personally. He said there should be a discussion about Lane Countys appropriate role followed by a legal counsel opinion.
Dwyer said he had spoken with Greenhill and they need public input regarding the process with un-neutered animals. He wanted a spirit of cooperation between Greenhill and the County.
Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing. There being no one signed up to speak, he closed the Public Hearing.
Weeldreyer stated she would not support Sorensons proposal regarding the omnibus in Lane Code. She said there is limited staff. She added because of the motocross issue, the Board set a minimum fine of $500 and by codifying the change, they are moving away from historic Board policy of resolution and voluntary mediation to becoming regulators. She noted that staff is unable to be flexible in lowering a noise ordinance violation.
Dwyer said in order to have a fine reduced by someone other than the law, the offender would have to sign a statement that the violation would not be repeated. The fine could be lowered in that case, but if a repeat happened, then that fine and subsequent fine would be collected.
Green supported the increase in the fine because it gets attention immediately. He added if the violation continues, then the person has little regard for the goodwill the Board was trying to express. He agreed with sending a letter.
Morrison agreed that $500 was too much for the first offense. She would approve of a warning and an increase if there is a repeated violation.
Sorenson agreed with the other Board members. He said the Board was concerned about a high initial fine for a single violation. He commented that the repeat offender is what they are concerned about, and the full amount is imposed if it is the second offense. He was willing to try it out in a limited way with a citizen group.
Kardell noted that the noise control ordinance at 5.635 (initiation of administrative enforcement proceeding by a private party) allows for the purposes of Lane Code 5.600 (noise ordinance provision) that a private party may initiate that. He added it doesnt provide for the prevailing party to get counsel fees or for splitting a fine.
Weeldreyer stated she also wanted the Parks violations to go to all three justice courts.
Wilson recommended deleting any references to a particular Justice Court so the citing officer can cite to any Justice Court.
Dwyer thought that it would be appropriate as they all have monetary constraints.
Wilson stated that, given massive code provisions and some enforcement actions being held pending adoption, her recommendation was to enact these today with direction to staff to come back with the change of making citations go to any justice court. And further to provide in the noise ordinance (failure to comply) that there be something less than a $500 fine for the first violation.
Weeldreyer noted that the current ordinance allows for a notice of voluntary compliance to be sent which gives 30 days to fix the problem. She said if that does not happen, then a follow-up letter should be sent informing of the violation. She added that 30 days is a long time for noise violations if it is a repeat problem.
John Cole, Land Management, reported that there have been two approaches that the compliance office used in pursuing either land use or nuisance violations. He noted that for a static violation (junk car, building without permit) then they pursue an administrative civil penalty process. He said they begin with a voluntary correction letter and then an order to comply, a notice to comply, and at the fourth stage fines begin to accrue. He explained other violations they are responsible for are more temporary in nature (a person creating a noise disturbance, a concert in the fields) and they use a citation process that is appealable to the hearings official. He noted the citation allows a $1 fine for the first occurrence.
Weeldreyer suggested following the current practice with one opportunity to voluntarily correct the violation. She said if they dont comply and are sent a second letter a fine should go with the letter.
Kardell explained that some of the code provisions were designated as certain classifications of violations, so parking tickets wouldnt be followed up that way. He noted the draft before the Board covers those except for a noise ordinance, where the last direction was a fine of a certain amount. He said an option for the Board was to direct staff to expedite presentation of the changes requested. He said that would allow them to go forward with the pending enforcement actions and not have a second reading before the changes were made.
Wilson stated there needs to be clarity about the changes. She noted the place they identified today which has a minimum fine is the noise ordinance. She asked if the Board wanted the noise ordinance changed.
Dwyer wanted the fine to be stiff but to give direction that they sign a statement to comply, and on the first offense, they delay implementation of the fine for six months or one year. He continued if another infraction would occur during that time, there would be a new infraction and reinstatement of what was forgiven for just the noise ordinance.
Green suggested going forward and having staff come back with the two changes.
Dwyer said he wanted a memo with regarding to the Greenhill matter. He said he wanted the memo to deal with authority to regulate animal bailment.
MOTION: to approve Ordinance No. 1-00.
Morrison MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
ROLL CALL VOTE: 5-0.
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Green said the Golden Rule sponsored by United Way will take place on Monday. He added he will be a judge at Willamette High School for Mr. Wolverine, an event to help the Childrens Miracle Network.
Weeldreyer noted that Morrison would be attending the Regional Investment Board meting in Albany on Monday
Dwyer stated he attended a Friends of Eugene Meeting in South Eugene.
12. OTHER BUSINESS
a. ORDER 00-4-12-10 Amending Chapters 1 and 3 of Lane Manual to Modify Code Enforcement and Animal Control Provisions, and to Perform Housekeeping Changes.
Kardell recommended rescheduling this item as all the input has not yet been presented. He suggested bringing this back on April 26.
Jan Childs, City of Eugene, distributed a sheet explaining tonights procedure for the joint meeting. She noted a five minute time limit, but if there are more people wishing to testify, they may reduce the time to three minutes. She stated as of noon today, they had only received four letters of written testimony. She said they will introduce into the record tonight a stack of postcards supporting the planning commission recommendation of two years ago. She noted few phone calls or E-Mails to gauge the actual of number testifying. She added it was important to hear all the public testimony to not have to continue the public hearing. She noted the council or board would not be taking action this evening.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 3:45 p.m.
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