Council agenda includes new councilor, allowing Uber

How a couple lots of land in Ashland will be used, how much utility rate payers have to pay and who will have a say in making those kinds of decisions going forward are just a few of the items on packed agendas for meetings Monday and Tuesday of the Ashland City council.
There are just two items in Monday’s agenda, discussion of senior issues and establishing a city civic donations policy.
Tuesday’s items include:
• A public hearing on annexation of the South Ashland Business Park, a currently vacant 5.38-acre parcel at 601 Washington St., in a pocket of unincorporated county land just south of Exit 14. If approved, it could ultimately have 72,606 square feet of “flexible space” light industrial development;
• A public hearing to consider annual rate adjustments for storm drain, transportation,
water, and wastewater utility fees, with increases ranging from 3.1 to 5 percent;
• A public hearing to consider increasing electric rates. The proposed 5.7 percent increase would increase the electricity cost to the average Ashland residential customer by $4.04 per month;
• Continuation of a discussion about development at 475 E. Nevada St., where applicants have asked the city to change zoning of the parcel from single family to multi-family, allowing 12 instead of 1.2 dwelling units per acre to allow a 20-lot, 23-unit project called the Katherine Mae Subdivision on 2.4 acres (the applicant will be unavailable May 1 and has asked that the item be continued to May 15);
• Selection of a councilor for position No. 6, left vacant when Traci Darrow resigned due to her move outside city limits. Tonya Graham, George Kramer, Josie Sarah Baker, Theodore White, Stephen Jensen, Katherine Gosnell, Alex Whitnell, Kierstin Brown and Brent Thompson have applied;
• Approval of an employee health benefits plan that moves the city from its own self-funded health insurance program into a larger self-funded health insurance trust program; and
• Allowing transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Ashland under regulations modeled after those recently adopted by Medford, but incorporating a few additional safety measures found in Portland and Seattle.
Monday’s study session starts at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday’s regular business meeting at 7 p.m. Both meetings are in the Ashland City Council chamber, 1175 East Main St. Proceedings are cablecast live on Channel 9 (or 180) and streamed online at rvtv.sou.edu.

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