City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Present: Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Interim Director Gies; Council Liaison Laws
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Lewis called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – July 28, 2003 Under New Business item "Formation of Trail Master Plan Committee," Commissioner Rosenthal noted that Vice-Chair Gardiner, not Vice-Chair Rosenthal, "moved to approve the formation of a Trail Master Plan Committee." Also under that item, Commissioner Eggers asked that a sentence be changed to read, "… the Trails Committee will identify and investigate specific easements and trail connections that are designated or will connect with the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Plan." Under Sub-Committee and Staff Reports item "Greenway Extension Walk Update," Commissioner Eggers asked that the portion of the sentence reading, "regarding the best location of the trail, considering all the values to be protected," take the place of the portion reading, "to look for possible trouble spots." Under the item "3-AM Bicycle Race Request," Commissioner Eggers asked that the sentence reading "Commissioner Eggers requested that Staff not rake leaves away from pathways" be changed to "Commissioner Eggers requested that race organizers or participants not rake leaves away from pathways." Under Items from Commissioners, Commissioner Eggers asked that the last section be changed to read, "Commissioner Eggers commented on… the need to post signs more visibly at the reservoir prohibiting people from being on the dam." Vice-Chair Gardiner moved to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Open Forum - None
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None
UPDATE ON REQUEST OF TRAILS FOR TRAIL RIDES
Interim Director Gies updated the Commissioners about the request by Leslie Hunter, a local trail rides business owner, to use Parks trails for her small group rides. He clarified that the trails under current consideration include Siskiyou Mountain Park and Oredson-Todd Woods. Commissioner Eggers reported that she spent the afternoon walking the trails and making a list of observations while noting her concerns and questions about the impact of horse trail rides on Parks trails. Her list included concerns about conflict of trail use, large amounts of poison oak, increased maintenance costs incurred by the commercial business on the trails, and erosion and trail degradation caused by the impact of horses’ hooves on trails. Jeff McFarland, Trails Supervisor, spoke in support of Commissioner Eggers’ observations and concerns and added his thoughts about sections of the trails that might be acceptable for guided horse trail rides. Commissioner Amarotico asked Mr. McFarland for his opinion about the wisdom of setting a trial period for
the guided horse rides on the trails. He spoke in favor of that approach, stating that it would allow Staff to observe and monitor any damage to trails.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Vice-Chair Gardiner indicated that he had no major objection to allowing rides on the trails for a period of time, with a future review of the situation. He suggested that Ms. Hunter notify the Trails Supervisor before using trails so that Staff and the Commission could be made aware of the numbers of rides per month. Chair Lewis stated that the trail rides might provide people – who might not otherwise see them – the opportunity to experience the trails, and he spoke in favor of a one-year trial period. Commissioner Rosenthal deferred to the expert opinion of Mr. McFarland and spoke in favor of the rides. He suggested that the Commission cap the number of permits granted for trail use, in the event that the activity became overly popular.
Motion Vice-Chair Gardiner moved to approve horse trail rides only on those trails shown on the map, with the conditions that, during inclement weather, Ms. Hunter contact the Trails Supervisor for approval for use of the trails and, during the trial period, she submit a monthly log of total trips to Parks Staff who will monitor the trails for damage from the rides and report back to the Commission, which will revoke approval for the rides if the damages become too great. Commissioner Amarotico seconded the motion.
The vote was: Commissioners Amarotico, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal – yes; Commissioner Eggers – no
PRESENTATION BY AWTA ON CITY-WIDE TRAIL MAP – information only
Interim Director Gies introduced Kerry KenCairn of KenCairn Environmental Design, who spoke of the successful collaboration of members of her organization, as well as Staff from Parks and Public Works and the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association, in creating a map showing all the public trail routes in Ashland. The map also shows bus stops and restrooms relative to the trails. The map, which is an electronic document, can be changed, as needed, to reflect new trails and to eliminate trails that become invalid. Parks will absorb the initial printing costs and will charge a nominal fee to recoup those costs. The map, which will be presented to the City Council on September 2 and then sent to the printer, should be available by mid- to late September.
NEW BUSINESS – None.
SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
OPEN SPACE FUNDING SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING UPDATE – information only
Chair Lewis reported on the Open Space Funding Sub-Committee meeting that was held on Monday, August 4, 2003. Committee members discussed former meetings on the topic and the pros and cons of various funding options proposed in the past. In addition to grants and donations, which are already in place for open space funding, Systems Development Charges (SDCs) were proposed as a potential funding source. The group discussed reviewing existing charges and possibly increasing them. The original open space funding proposal – and its failings – were discussed, including a lack of clarity about shifting more funds from the meals tax (used to fund the wastewater treatment plant and open space purchases) away from the wastewater treatment plant to pay for more open space land. It was suggested that, in the future, the group clearly spell out how the shortfall of wastewater treatment plant funds might be addressed. Increasing property taxes and creating a special levy were also suggested as short-term funding options. By consensus, the Commission agreed to investigate costs of hiring consultants to look into moving forward with increasing SDCs, with the intention of preparing a proposal to present to the City Council.
FENCE AROUND LITHIA PARK SHOP AREA – information only
Interim Director Gies referenced the memo in the Commissioners’ packets about the fence around the Lithia Park shop. The memo addressed the letter from Mr. Don Mercer, who lives directly across the street
from the Lithia Park shop, which spoke of the offensiveness of the barbed wire-topped fence so close to his home. Interim Director Gies confirmed that this was the first formal complaint Staff remembers receiving about the fence. He spoke of the importance of protecting equipment and supplies belonging to the Department and said that the barbed wire is an added deterrent to intruders – even though the barbed wire faces inward instead of outward. Commissioner Rosenthal questioned whether the barbed wire, which was originally designed to keep animals in, could really deter intruders, and wondered about the overall number of intruders. He also stated that the barbed wire does not fit the aesthetics of Lithia Park and, instead, detracts from its beauty. Finally, he spoke of the value of being good neighbors by honoring the neighbor’s request (to remove the barbed wire). The group discussed planting vines and plants to minimize the view of the barbed wire-topped fence and Interim Director Gies said he would talk to Staff about it.
GOLF COURSE SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT – information only
Commissioner Rosenthal reported on the first meeting of the Golf Course Sub-Committee that was held on Thursday, August 21, 2003. Attendees included the presidents of the Men’s and Women’s Club, the golf pro, the Greens Superintendent, a Golf Technician, the Interim Director, and Commissioners Gardiner and Rosenthal. Many issues were discussed, including short-term issues such as developing a more concentrated marketing and advertising plan to increase usage of the course. The group also discussed the possibility of upgrading the concession facilities. Longer-term issues included creating a parking lot at the driving range, upgrading the 40-year-old irrigation system, and adding nine holes to the golf course. Commissioner Rosenthal suggested reviewing the irrigation system at budget time. Vice-Chair Gardiner added that the main topic of the meeting was how to increase rounds of golf at Oak Knoll Golf Course, and that the golf course greens are in excellent condition this year. Commissioner Eggers expressed concern about the fungicides and herbicides used to keep the greens in good condition. She asked, in the future, that someone look at the run-off from these pollutants to gauge their damage to the environment, and to think of this matter in terms of how it relates to the Commission’s environmental policy.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Commissioner Eggers updated the Commission on the work of the Forest Lands Commission. She sits on that Commission on behalf of the Parks Commission.
Commissioner Rosenthal reported that he was contacted by a Parks Staff member who spoke on behalf of other employees in requesting that the Commission consider including a non-administrative Staff representative to the Director interview panel. The employee feels that having a Staff member on the panel might bring a potentially valuable Staff perspective to the interview and hiring process.
UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Chair Lewis adjourned the meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Office Manager, Ashland Parks and Recreation