JOINT STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
APRIL 22, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Russ Chapman called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Cameron Hanson, John Fields, Dave Dotterrer, Marilyn Briggs, Kerry KenCairn, and Ray Kistler. Absent were Mike Morris and Colin Swales. Mayor DeBoer was present along with Council members Don Laws, Chris Hearn, Kate Jackson, Alex Amarotico, and Cate Hartzell. Councilor John Morrison was absent. Staff present were John McLaughlin and Sue Yates.
PRESENTATION OF NOWX2 by Michael Cavallaro, Rogue Valley Council of Governments
John McLaughlin introduced Michael Cavallaro.
Cavallaro explained the NOWX2 project that he is heading up. What brought everyone together to collaborate? The majority of the population is in a concentrated area in the county. A lot of people came in the past, a lot of people are coming now, and a lot of new people will keep coming. We need to deal with this eventuality.
The Regional Problem Solving Statute allows regions to establish an issue they have regarding land use and propose solutions. The solutions may be incorporated into Comprehensive Plans even though they may not precisely follow the statewide planning goals.
This region has identified some specific problems.
Lack of an established mechanism for collaborative planning.
Increasing loss of separation between communities as cities grow closer to one another.
Relatively short-term planning horizons creating uncertainty about the direction of growth.
Inter-jurisdictional hissy fits and hair pulling.
Loss of important farmland.
At the end of this project we hope to identify growth areas and non-growth areas. It makes more sense to look at how we will handle doubling the population versus projecting population over a period of 50 years.
Cavallaro said information about the proposed plan and regional problem solving has been distributed valley-wide and a questionnaire was included. He reviewed the survey results.
He showed the two Ashland areas we are looking at for growth.
McLaughlin said our growth area is limited and we will not cross I-5. The East Main area came from a public meeting as a logical site for urban growth. It is light on agricultural use and seemed appropriate. The area on Siskiyou and Tolman would be a way to incorporate a future growth area that can link transportation.
Cavallaro said an issue discussed extensively is the idea that cities that did not want to expand their boundaries are free to do so. It appears there are enough receptor cities to take enough of the population that it would be possible for some cities not to expand a great deal.
Laws wondered how much population we can accommodate in the future growth areas. Laws is concerned that as we get behind in the growth curve that the pressure on land prices will increase.
Chapman asked for members of the public to speak.
David Young, Medford, mentioned affordable housing. He has a five acre parcel on the edge of Ashland. Part of the parcel is in the city and the remainder in EFU zone. He would be delighted to work with the city to make this piece of land available for affordable housing.
Allen Duman said if we follow what everyone wants to do, we may lose track of the rate of growth in the region as a significant factor. Is it important to pay attention to who the population is?
Cavallaro noted the land within the future growth areas will be the number one priority for growth into Urban Growth Boundaries. The cities would always have to show need to bring the areas into the UGB. With regard to demographics, we are ahead of the curve in terms of the aging population.
Madeline Hill made a formal request that a piece of land be added to AD1 and AD2. It is a 15-acre piece bordered by the City on one side and the freeway on the other side. She believes this is a logical growth area. It is not on a steep hillside, it has never been used for agricultural land, etc. She would like to have this piece seriously considered.
Mayor DeBoer asked the size of AD1 and AD2. McLaughlin said one is 86 acres and the other 91 acres.
Debbie Miller asked that when working with the other groups in the valley, do we really mean to double the population? When you urbanize, there is commercial, transportation, etc., and always a negative affect on the agricultural lands. Class 2 and Class 3 soils can grow great things as well as Class 1. The more we can grow here for ourselves, the better off we are. She would urge the group to work with the state and other cities and regions within the state.
Cavallaro agreed with the impacts of urbanization on agricultural land. They are working on a regional buffering so there are not urban/rural conflict zones.
Pat Acklin worked on the process on the Citizens Advisory group. The Regional Problem Solving document discusses open space and it would be nice if that portion had some political backing. She is not sure you can solve Ashland's problem by bringing in a lot of land or by limiting land. We have the highest poverty in the valley. A portion of AD2 is the last vestige of the Dunn agricultural area. Acklin said all in all this has been a successful workable program.
Chapman wondered about how infrastructure was being addressed. Do we have water to support additional population? Where are jobs coming from?
Cavallaro said there is a restriction on growth because physical geography, air quality and water are restrictions. With some conservation, this valley can probably support double its population. There are a lot of issues involved that could tip that.
In terms of transportation, Cavallaro said they've drawn some basic lines on a map of future transportation areas and most of the lines are improvements to existing corridors. Chapman was talking about public transportation.
Cavallaro said there is some uneasiness about density and that discussion will have to occur in each jurisdiction.
Mayor DeBoer supports going together as a county and getting rid of industrial inventories in Ashland. He believes we need to get rid of restricting roads through farmlands. We can restrict what happens along those roads. We have to clarify what agricultural land is. He thinks the question for this group is: Do you want AD1 and AD2? We are limited with water. His opinion is to not have AD1 and AD2 and work with the other communities and let them take the growth. He's not sure he would want to live in Ashland if it was twice the size it is now. He is concerned infill is becoming too much in Ashland. He does not like AD1 because a creek runs through it. AD2 might be a good place to have affordable housing.
Kate Jackson asked when Ashland's population doubled. DeBoer said 1960.
Cavallaro said this is an opportunity to apportion different zoning to other areas in the region. The state is more likely to move toward more flexibility.
Briggs wondered about water availability. If the population is twice what we have now, how can there possibly be enough water? Cavallaro said with between ten and 20 percent water conservation, it can happen. We can't continue to use water the way we do now.
Hearn asked the reason for doing such a long-range approach instead of moving out slowly and incrementally. Cavallaro said they were taking a holistic approach. Looking at land is more than looking at individual pieces. The price of land keeps rising too.
Laws thought it seemed more like a process of elimination. We took away the land that was inappropriate and ended up with the land that is appropriate.
Jackson noted this project has been a gradual, but positive in moving the process forward. They haven't tackled any of the more current questions that have come up. Much of the work that was done will change. In terms of potential growth areas in Ashland, she does not think that is the hard issue to face right now. As a willing partner, there will be more opportunities to trade housing density or manufactured land and make other trade-offs.
Hartzell would like a study session to take a closer analysis of the maps of the proposed areas and why they were proposed and those that were not proposed. She would like a discussion that is really focused on Ashland.
ADJOURNMENT - Chapman adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
End of Document - Back to Top