BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

October 29, 2003

1:30 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

PASSED 11/12/2003

 

Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Don Hampton and Anna Morrison present. Bobby Green, Sr. was excused.  County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

15.  PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a.  PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 03-10-29-19/In the Matter of Upholding the Decision of the Director of Public Works Denying a Driveway Access to Property at 92256 Marcola Road Identified as Tax Lot 16-01-18-40 1900.

 

Frank Simas, Public Works, explained the Jallo property is on two separate tax lots in Marcola.  He noted the property they own on Marcola Road is a wedge shaped parcel that has about 42 feet of depth and 90 feet of frontage along Marcola Road.  He added the other parcel (where the house is located) has frontage on Queen Street that is a local access road.  He said with the Marcola Road project they are in the completion stages of looking at all of the existing driveways in the project to determine if the ones that were there met the criteria for the Access Management Policy.

 

Simas noted the Access Management Policy goal is to try to promote safer use of County roads.  He said they looked at elimination of multiple accesses to a single parcel and the elimination of access to vacant lots that were not currently in use. He added they wanted to eliminate access where a property has a corner location if they already have access to a side street that might be a lower classification street.

 

Simas said they reviewed the location of the access, the site distance for vehicles using the access coming out onto the road and for cars on the road being able to see the cars leaving the access point.  He explained the access that was there was about 60 feet because there wasn’t anything other than the shoulder of the road and they could access the asphalt-paved area.  He said after looking at the site distance available for cars leaving, it was determined that the site distance at this location would be less than would be required for a safe access point and would constitute an unnecessary conflict point.  He added conflict points are the primary causes of crashes on the roads. He said based on their analysis, they determined that it should not be there.  He noted shortly thereafter Ms. Jallo contacted them and requested that the driveway be put back. He said they went out to re-analyze it and they determined it was not a safe location for the driveway.

 

Simas said Jallo appealed to the Director of Public Works per Lane Code.  That appeal was denied and that is how they ended up with the appeal process.

 

Simas indicated that as part of the appeal process they notified the adjacent property owners to the property within a 100-foot radius. He added they also notified the Marcola Valley Rural Fire Department, the City of Springfield and the Lane County Sheriff to determine what, if any, impact there might be on the delivery of those services.  He noted the only comment they received was from the Marcola Valley Fire Department.  They responded they didn’t anticipate any negative aspects to their services for denial of access at this location.

 

With regard to the project itself, Morrison asked if there were public hearings during that process.

 

Sonny Chickering, Public Works, responded as far as the design concept, they followed the normal procedure for capital projects where they hold a public open house and then later the Roads Advisory Committee holds a hearing.  He added they don’t discuss specific driveways during that process.  He said it is a detail that comes later during the final design.  He noted with regard to retiring employees, there was a drop in their procedure to contact owners of whom they were not acquiring right of way.  He added they did not transition that to this property.  He said the Jallos were not contacted individually to discuss what was going to happen with their driveway.  He admitted that part of the process was inappropriately done and they are taking steps to make sure that in the future that task is picked up.

 

Dwyer commented Lane County made a mistake.  He added Jallo’s address is on Marcola Road, not on Queen Street.  He noted during this process there was no representation ever made that Ms. Jallo would lose access to her home through the normal way she gets there.  He thought it was up to Lane County to make sure people get access to their street where their address is.  He said the County’s failure to contact and communicate caused this problem and the failure to correct it was also the County’s problem.

 

Chickering agreed they dropped the ball with communication. He noted with the Access Management Policy they routinely apply all of their capital projects and had they made the contact with the Jallos in an appropriate manner, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, they would have still recommended the same thing.

 

Dwyer asked if there were any other driveways that had site distances that are less than 250 feet.

 

Doug McCart, Public Works, replied there were none on Marcola that met the criteria of the analysis.

 

Dwyer asked if there was a law that the government had to allow a person to access their property where their address is.

 

McCart noted there was a reasonable access law.  He said from what ARLID showed, the small property has a Marcola address and the larger property has a Queen Street address.

 

Sorenson asked what the standard was for the director’s denial.

 

Vorhes responded the Board was reviewing the decision and the criteria for the decision the director used is the same criteria that the Board would use because the request is for approval of a facility permit to authorize the access point.  He said that had to do with whether it is in the public interest and whether it would jeopardize public safety.  He noted the review is a de novo review where they review all of the facts and any additional evidence that is presented to make a decision on whether to uphold the decision of the public works director; in denying the request; or if it is in the public interest or would not jeopardize public safety and the access point should be allowed.  He said the Board would need to make the findings and describe the evidence that would support that decision.

 

Sorenson asked what would happen if the Board wanted Jallo to access her property.

 

Chickering explained if the Board overturns a director’s decision and directs them to install the access, they will go back to the contractor and will pay for extra work to perform that activity and they would pay for it out of the road fund.

 

Sorenson asked if this would violate any state or county access policy if they were to overturn the Public Works director.

 

McCart noted the standard came from ASHTOS and it is a policy on geometric design of highways and streets. 

 

Chickering commented that they use ASHTOS as their design standard for all of their project features.  He noted the Board on occasion has granted deviations from those standards.

 

McCart explained because they are constructing a project within existing conditions, they have to bend the rules to try to make them fit.  He noted on Marcola road there were places with five and six driveways where there are now only two.  He said they attempted to have all properties only having one driveway.

 

Dwyer commented that the government had made an error and wouldn’t hone up to it.  He said had the communication with Ms. Jallo been there prior to the time that the road was constructed, that they would have accommodated her.

 

McCart stated they did an evaluation of the driveway prior to any of the construction and the decision was made at that point to remove the access.  He said they re-evaluated it again after the complaint came in from Ms. Jallo and came up with the same conclusion and that was the reason the Director thought their decision was the correct one from the beginning.

 

Sorenson asked what options were available for the board.

 

Vorhes responded the options available to the Board are to approve the order denying the access; uphold the Public Works Director’s decision or reject the decision and direct staff to allow the access pursuant to the issuance of a facility permit and attach any conditions necessary to do that if they find that granting the access is in the public’s interest and will not jeopardize public safety.

 

Commissioner Sorenson opened up the Public Hearing.

 

Cheryl Jallo, 92256 Marcola Road, Marcola, stated that she was never contacted about any of the work.  She said the only letter she received stated the work was going from Railroad Lane to Wendling Road.  She noted she didn’t attend any hearing because she wasn’t on Wendling Road and wasn’t notified.  She said when there was a driveway on Marcola Road, it was easy to get in and out of and she didn’t always have to back out.  She thought pulling out on Queen Street was  more unsafe than in the front of her house.  She wanted her access back.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing.

 

MOTION:  to move Option 2 of ORDER 03-10-29-19.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.

 

Dwyer commented if the County had the opportunity to notify Jallo, this could have been worked out and she could have had an access.  He didn’t think it was any safer for anyone to enter Marcola Road from that street than from her driveway.  He said to him it appeared that Lane County made an error and they need to make it correct.

 

Hampton also stated the process was flawed and there had been a history of this driveway access being used.

 

Sorenson stated he sympathized with the failure on the part of the County to follow its procedure.  He said having heard the testimony of the property owner and staff, he thought the property owner would have access off of Queen.  He noted there is a strong likelihood that there is a potential for accidents along the curve.  He was against the motion.

 

VOTE: 2-2 (Sorenson, Morrison dissenting.) MOTION FAILS

 

Dwyer said he would change his vote for a possible reconsideration because they didn’t have a full Board and Ms. Jallo was entitled to that.

 

Vorhes commented if the Board wanted to hear further from Ms. Jallo, he recommended leaving the record open in the matter until December 3, when this matter is brought back to the Board.

 

16.  PUBLIC SAFETY

 

a.  REPORT/Emergency Declaration Process.

 

Linda Cook, Sheriff’s Office, reported the Lane Transit District had received a grant award of $50,000 to hold an emergency drill at the Moshofsky Center, simulating a chemical release at a time a football game was in session.  She said that Lane County was in the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center performing a tabletop exercise, discussing what they would do if this had been a real emergency.  She discussed the emergency declaration process and the line of succession. 

 

Cook said if an emergency were to exist, a member of the incident management staff would deem to declare an emergency.  She said they would begin the process of contacting the Board.  She said they are supposed to assemble a quorum in order to declare a disaster.  She added if they are unable to get the Board to make a declaration because they hadn’t assembled a quorum, then the line of succession is as follows:  the chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners, the commissioners by seniority, County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Sheriff Clements, Chief Deputy Captain Berger, herself, and the Sheriff’s command staff line of succession.  She noted this came out of Chapter 54 of Lane Manual.

 

Dwyer suggested amending the manual because the Vice Chair should assume the duties before the commissioners of seniority and then make the most senior after the vice chair.

 

Sorenson suggested Cook work with legal counsel and bring back to the Board the line of succession.

 

Cook discussed the forms for declaring an emergency (copy in file).  She commented the County would benefit from doing its own full-scale exercise.  She thought they could do it in about 18 to 24 months from now because the process would involve a continuum of an orientation, focused drills and then a full scale exercise once every three months so they could emulate a real situation.  They wanted a long-term goal to make sure incremental steps are leading up to a full-scale exercise to get the maximum benefit.

 

Sorenson wanted to update the Lane Manual provision so it was clear what the sequence is.

 

Wilson noted Chapter 54 needed to be revised to include the Emergency Operations Plan.  She said that would be brought back to the Board within three to five months.

 

Cook noted the Emergency Operations Plan had been re-written in a first draft form.  She wanted to set up a meeting where it is reviewed, goes to a training, making changes and then taking the Emergency Operations Plan and substitute that for the current Lane Manual Chapter 54 so they are always the same.  She wanted to see Lane Manual Chapter 54 amended immediately to reflect the insertion of Vice Chair so there is no confusion.  She thought the rest of the chapter could be brought back in January or February.

 

Wilson stated she would make the Lane Manual Change in Chapter 54 to insert Vice Chair on November 12.

 

17.  COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

18.  CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

19.  OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary