BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
March 12, 2002
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer was present via telephone. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Weeldreyer requested a letter under Emergency Business on behalf of the McKenzie Watershed Grant.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Mona Lindstromberg, 87140 Territorial, Veneta, encouraged the Board to incorporate the emergency clause into the telecommunication ordinance. She encouraged the Board to take a proactive stand.
3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Sorenson announced that he would not run for Labor Commissioner.
Weeldreyer noted there were letters to the editor in the paper after the Board’s last deliberation on the Eugene Sand and Gravel application. She said they complained about the Board taking an extraordinary amount of time in questioning issues already in the record. She hoped the Board would ask pertinent questions and make a decision next Tuesday.
Dwyer said they wanted to reconsider the issue, which extended the time. He said there was no possible way to acquiesce the petitioner’s request for reconsideration without days passing. He added it was a combination of the applicant working with the Planning Department, reviewing and revising their plans and mitigating and understanding the problems relating to the siting of the resource.
4. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Metropolitan Policy Committee
a. ORDER 02-3-12-1/In the Matter of Directing the Metropolitan Policy Committee to Request that Comcast Demonstrate Its Ability to Carry Out Provisions of the Franchise Agreement.
Milo Mecham, LCOG, stated the order concerns the consent to transfer of the cable television franchise from AT & T to Comcast Corporation. He noted the franchise that Lane County has with AT & T sets forth a particular process that has tight timelines. He said the franchise requires that the commissioners have 60 days from the date of the request for consent sent to the Board to decide. He said if no action is taken, there is an automatic consent that is deemed to have been entered. He said the process is further complicated because the franchise requires that if the Board had particular issues, that they want more information about, they have to (within 30 days of getting the notice), ask the MPC to investigate those issues. He added the Board had no independent investigatory abilities other than referring it to MPC.
Mecham said in reviewing the proposed transfer information, there are several questions for the Board to ask the MPC to ask AT&T and Comcast. He noted that AT & T imposed a process of dispute resolution that requires the subscribers to agree to a mandatory arbitration principle and does not allow the subscribers (if they have a complaint) to combine with other subscribers in what might be a class-action type of matter. He said that MPC looked at the question and decided that it appeared to be a violation of the terms of the local franchise and the MPC sent notice of that decision last month to the Board of Commissioners. He said what the Board could ask the MPC to investigate was to get assurances from Comcast that they would not impose the binding arbitration mandate on the subscribers.
Mecham noted that another issue was upgrade of the system. He said when it was TCI, they started to upgrade the system to allow for more channels and the use of cable modems for Internet. He said that got delayed and when AT & T took over, they indicated they would proceed with the upgrade but have stopped with the upgrade. He stated the City of Eugene and Lane County staff negotiated an agreement with AT & T that they would get back on schedule with upgrading. He said it was appropriate to get assurances from Comcast that they would continue to proceed at the same schedule so within a year, all the subscribers in the area should have the upgrade available.
Mecham explained that there had been public complaints. He said that a year ago AT & T closed its local office hearing customer complaints and if a customer has a problem, they have to call a nationwide number and the customers are having problems getting through with someone knowing the local area. He stated it was appropriate to ask Comcast for assurances that they would go back to a more locally based process of dealing with subscriber complaints so the subscribers are able to get through more quickly. He said there are provisions in the franchise that discuss the subscriber complaint process and AT & T is not in full compliance with those provisions. He prepared an order that requests the MPC to take action and make an inquiry with Comcast and AT & & about assurances that at least those three issues would be resolved. He noted the City of Springfield had also acted and referred similar questions to MPC. He added the City of Eugene voted to do the same.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 02-3-12-1.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Economic Development Standing Committee
b. ORDER 02-3-12-2/In the Matter of Authorizing Release of a Request for Proposals for Video Lottery Economic Strategic Investment Program, a Strategic Economic Development Schedule/Program, and Recommending a Budget for Strategic Allocation and Certain General Allocation Activities in Fiscal Year 02/03.
Peter Thurston, Economic Development, explained that the Economic Development Standing Committee was established in Lane Manual and has four members. He noted the Board approved the video lottery policy in Lane Manual last year and it is scheduled to take full effect on May 1, 2002. He explained the policy defines economic development and the uses of video lottery funds received by the County for economic development purposes. He said the purposes defined in Lane Manual include workforce development, community development, business development and organizational capacity development. He noted the Board requested last fall that the ED standing committee look into ways to implement the video lottery policy in Lane Manual with attention to funding of business development activities. He said the County’s leadership team discussed the business development issues and they recommended careful consideration of the work plan for business development. He added the Economic Development Standing Committee recommends that $100,000 (an increase of $25,000 over past years) be committed to Metro Partnership, in cooperation with Springfield and Eugene. Also, that other business development funds be made available through request for proposals.
Thurston noted that the Economic Standing Committee sponsored three round table sessions in November and December to involve community members in the measures and objectives of successful economic development projects. He added the committee had been meeting with public agencies to find a common regional approach to economic development.
Thurston explained there are two categories of video lottery allocation: general and strategic. He noted the Board approved the process for general allocation on January 22, 2002 and the results of the process are reported in the memo and include three recommended economic development projects: the Sheriff’s Work Force Development, Land Management Rural Planning and Youth Services, Work Preparation Courses.
Thurston stated the Economic Standing Committee recommended the next step to implement the strategic investment part of the video lottery policy. He noted the schedule in Attachment J (copy in file) outlines the process. He said Attachment M is the Economic Standing Committee’s proposed fiscal year 2002/2003 Budget (Copy in file). He discussed the budget.
Sorenson asked if this was the best way to allocate the funds.
Weeldreyer responded that Lane County and the process they developed for investing the economic developments in response to the Board’s direction, involves agencies and programs that are directly involved in either job creation, retention or retraining and encouraging them to look at the four areas identified in the Economic Development definition that add the criteria developed as part of the Economic Development roundtable process. She stated they have goals and objectives that are the clearest they had ever been. She said job creation is one of the goals and objectives to create or retain high wage jobs with benefits to relieve government of future responsibilities.
Morrison asked out of their budgets, how much was public and private monies. She noted a majority of them have public money as a source of income. She said there needs to be a criteria. She was concerned about the way the point system had been spread. She was also concerned about who would be applying. She had questions about the budget. She noted dues and membership were coming out of the general allocation. She added there were more dollars that were to be freed up because they determined that some things no longer met the definition of what lottery dollars were to be spent for. She said they went in house to have departments come forward with additional proposals for a total of $399,000. She stated that the Board had not actually seen those projects to weigh the criteria as to whether or not they truly meet economic development.
Thurston stated the Economic Standing Committee went through the dues and membership list one by one and determined that they were moving things to where there were strategic activities.
Weeldreyer explained that part of the committee’s effort was to shift from the historic ways they had used video lottery funds to meet the request of both the Board and the Lane Economic Committee and members of both public and private sector that deal with Economic Development in Lane County. She added it was to make that transition in a way that does not harm any of the existing programs to strategically tie those activities and traditional departments to actual economic workforce training.
Morrison asked what Lane County would be committing to on an ongoing basis. She didn’t think there was need for additional staff.
Green thought the money would create jobs, but didn’t think the jobs would be sustainable. He stated they have the Metro Partnership and if the Board wanted them to focus more on rural development, that should be the direction with the money allocated to that instead of going through this process. He wanted a simpler process.
Sorenson suggested putting this matter on hold until they figure out the problem before they try to get a solution.
Weeldreyer had the results of the three-roundtable meetings held last fall put into written form so the commissioners who were not part of the process could get a sense of what happened. She said the process evolved out of the roundtable discussion to see if Lane County wanted to be a convener and coordinator of all of the different opportunities about the economy in Lane County.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 0-2-3-12-2, including the modification on the criteria for rating proposals to move the 20 points from partnerships, reducing that to 10, and moving those additional 10 points to addressing Economic Development Oregon Benchmarks.
Sorenson MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Sorenson noted the Board is setting an opportunity for people to make a request for proposals and using the criteria they are proposing. He said the involvement of different groups and a new economy was worth pursuing. He hoped the Board supports this.
Green thought there should be economic development for college bound students. He wouldn’t support the motion because they have CVALCO to do what they are contemplating, without staffing. He noted an option that was stated was to change the direction of how to program. He said nothing was given about changing direction. He hoped they would have more explicit information about the implications when the direction was changed and that was provided.
Morrison did not support the motion. She didn’t think Lane County was ready to go for this. She wanted to see the membership shifted back to general allocation. She said they still hadn’t looked at the three projects that would go forward in the budget process. She suggested waiting six months to look at the three proposals from the County departments. She was supportive of the Eugene Metro Partnership.
Weeldreyer said that by not going forward projects might not be completed which benefit from the start of the next fiscal year. She hoped the Board would move this process forward.
Dwyer said money should be given to businesses that want to provide health care and things to be provided in order for people to achieve their goals.
Weeldreyer stated the Economic Development Standing Committee is trying to put the process for RFP and allocating of future video lottery dollars earmarked for economic development on an annual cycle. This would be from this year forward so Lane County’s partners--both public and private--could anticipate a process on a year-by-year basis.
VOTE: 3-2 (Morrison, Green dissenting).
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
6. COUNTY COUNSEL
a. ORDER 02-3-12-3/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute the Third Amended PERS Declaratory Judgment/Legislative Lobbying Cost Sharing Agreement.
Wilson stated the agenda cover memo explained that the law firm that represents the parties in the PERS litigation has requested an increase in the money allocated to pursue the litigation. She said that Lane County was only paying 15.56% of the total which would make Lane County’s share $98,300. She said if the Board disagreed, it would limit the liability to what was already contracted for but Lane County would be withdrawing from the litigation. She said the Board could authorize the County Administrator to sign the cost share agreement at the amount requested by the firm. She said another possibility would be to delegate authority to the County Administrator to sign up to $150,000, with the caveat that the law firm is brought in for any major events so the Board would have an opportunity to consult with them in Executive Session. She suggested working with AOC to seek contributions from other local governments toward funding the litigation
MOTION: to move approval of Alternative 3 and 4 and to bring in the League of Oregon Cities and AOC for ORDER 02-3-12-3.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Also, Dwyer suggested the Board send a letter to AOC telling them about the increasing cost, how the mutual benefit would extend beyond what the general understanding was, and that they were soliciting help to fund this.
Van Vactor said if they let other parties participate in the lawsuit it becomes more complex.
Morrison wanted other agencies leveraging the dollars without any actual input. She added they would benefit from the positive results that would take place.
Wilson stated she would provide another board order that reflects the motion.
7. INFORMATION SERVICES
a. ORDER 02-3-12-4/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 2 of Lane Manual to Add Provisions Pertaining to Public Records on County Internet Website (LM 2.185-2.189).
MOTION: to approve ORDER 02-3-12-4.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 02-3-12-5/In the Matter of Electing Whether or Not to Hear Arguments on an Appeal of a Hearings Official's Decision Denying an Application for a Home Occupation and Temporary Permit for a Special Event/Wedding Facility Within the Rural Residential Zone (RR-10) (Files PA 01-5803 and PA 01-5804/Neumann).
Thom Lanfear, Land Management, stated this was an appeal brought from a hearing’s official’s denial. He noted according to Lane Code, the Board had the choice whether to hear the appeal on the record, to not hear the appeal and remain silent on the hearing’s official decision, or to not hear arguments in the appeal but to agree with any interpretations contained in the hearing official’s decision. He said Lane Code states four criteria to use to evaluate whether to hear the appeal or not: whether the issue is of countywide significance, whether the issue would reoccur with frequency and there is a need for policy guidance, whether the issue involves an environmental resource or whether the planning director or hearing’s official recommends a review.
Lanfear explained there was discussion in the Board’s packet about each of the criteria. He said the decision denied by the hearing’s official had to do with the livability impacts of the proposal on the surrounding vicinity in a temporary use permit. The other involved a criterion contained in the rural residential zone for review of home occupations, whether the use would be operated in a dwelling, mobile home or other buildings normally associated with uses permitted under the residential zone. He said the home occupation criteria is a candidate for review by the Board to give policy guidance, but the whole residential zone is coming up for Board review on April 17 and there are revisions to the home occupation being proposed.
Dwyer stated staff recommended that the Board not hear the argument on the appeal and to affirm the hearing official’s decision to expressly agree with Lane Code 16.231(3)(b).
Green asked who was making policies when these issues go in front of the hearings official.
Lanfear responded it was developed on a case-by-case basis. He noted there had not been formal policy set by the Board in the past. He said there was an attempt in the late eighties to ask the Board to set limitation or give direction on how these home occupations are to be reviewed and the Board at that time chose not to limit them in any way.
Vorhes said the policy of the Board was articulated in the code provisions and that was subject to interpretation. He said the standards were sufficient and would allow addressing a particular application. He added the Board could decide to refine them whether or not they are good changes that would answer more specific questions in the context of a home occupation or whether the existing code provisions are sufficient to provide that direction. He said each of the criteria of a home occupation could be subject to interpretation. He noted in this case there was a particular participation that had become the focus of the case in addition to the livability aspect.
Sorenson thought it would be fair for the applicant to go with Option 2.
Vorhes said the Board could weigh in on the interpretation for the Lane Code provision and could be entitled to some deference to an appeal at LUBA. He stated if the Board chose not to weigh in on the interpretation, the review of the interpretation at LUBA would be whether it was reasonable or not. He said in either case, the applicant has the opportunity to challenge the interpretation and appeal to LUBA.
Weeldreyer wanted to hear the appeal on an on the record hearing because in reviewing the hearing’s official’s report and reading the appeal by Ms. Neumann, she questioned the process and believed this was of countywide significance. She wanted the Board to look at all the different points before they make a decision on the permit. She noted this was the first that had neighborhood opposition.
Morrison stated this application was in her district. She said originally the Planning Director reviewed and approved this. She questioned why the Planning Director didn’t want the Board to review it. She thinks it has countywide significance on a long-term basis. She didn’t agree with the hearing official’s comments on why he was denying this. She wanted to hear the merits of the case and review it.
MOTION: to hear the appeal on the record.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
VOTE: 3-2 (Dwyer, Sorenson dissenting).
Lanfear stated staff would prepare an order for the Board’s adoption with the direction to hear the appeal on the record. He said that notice needed to be sent to the parties to let them know of the appeal.
Dwyer said he voted no because everyone is paid to go through the process to make recommendations. He wanted the record to speak for itself.
Weeldreyer didn’t want to disadvantage this applicant who applied under the current rule by holding up or denying this and not allowing the application to go forward.
Lanfear stated they had specified who was allowed to participate in the appeal.
Dwyer said everyone on the record should have an opportunity to speak.
9. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
12. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
Watershed Council Letter
Weeldreyer noted the McFish public outreach project had been developed by the McKenzie Watershed Council and they were seeking funding from a grant application they are submitting to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. She stated the request came for the Board of Commissioners to write a letter of support for this grant application. She added it was a time and money issue that qualifies under Emergency Business and the application deadline to be postmarked is Wednesday. She asked the Board to consider taking action to streamline the process.
MOTION: to move to approve sending a letter of support for the grant application and direct the Board Secretary to work with Document Resources and the Board Chair to make it available by tomorrow at noon.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting at 11:45 a.m.