March 4th, 2004
Regular Meeting Minutes
Commissioners in attendance were Bryan Holley, Bryan Nelson, Laurie Sager, Fred Stockwell and January Jennings. Also in attendance was Mark Knox, Planning Department Liaison. Donn Todt, Parks Department Liaison, arrived at 7:18 p.m. Robbin Pearce, Conservation Department, arrived at 8:00 p.m.
Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.
Approval of Minutes:
Knox noted the minutes in the packet were not the correct minutes and handed out the correct minutes. Bryan Holley suggested the minutes be adopted at the April meeting. The rest of the Commissioners agreed.
Welcome Guests & Public Forum:
In attendance were Mary Pritchard, Randall Hopkins, John Galbraith, Oriana Spratt, Julie Mata, Joanne Johnson, Maria Monta, Dick Wanderscheid and Scott Johnson.
Planning Action Items:
Knox noted that no Planning Action items were proposed for the month. However, Knox explained that staff would like to clarify some tree related issues for the recently reviewed project at 88 North Main Street (PA-2004-002, Lloyd Haines). Knox noted that in the rear of the proposed building the applicant proposed a second and third story cantilevered over a multi-trunked Maple Tree proposed to be preserved. However, on a closer examination by Bill Molnar, Senior Planner, the cantilevered floors would have severely topped the proposed tree. After discussing the issues with the applicant, the applicant has decided to eliminate the cantilevered portion and thereby minimize the impact on the tree. Knox noted, however, that one of the tree's limbs project directly towards the building and the applicant is now requesting to remove the limb.
Knox also noted that Randal Hopkins came in the office and expressed concern about the trees on the adjacent ODOT property to the west. Knox agreed and called the applicant's Landscape Architect to redraw their Tree Protection Plan in order to show fencing around the site's entire perimeter so that staging of materials will not impact the tree's root zone. The Landscape Architect, John Galbraith, is present to answer questions and has already changed the plans.
The Commission discussed the impacts of removing one of the tree's three limbs and the long-term impact on the tree. Donn Todt noted that a cut at the tree's base may cause rotting that could spread to the remaining tree. Donn suggested a topping procedure for the limb where the limb would be cut higher off the ground and cable the remaining two limbs. Donn suggested an Arborist review the tree and the proposed plans prior to cutting. January Jennings noted this type of tree doesn't 't usually do well under decks, but it may, as the proposed deck is porous. Laurie Sager asked about excavation details and expressed concern about compaction to the tree's root zone. John Galbraith noted that he will work with ODOT to protect the trees on the adjacent property. At this point, a couple of citizens expressed concern over the proposed removal of large Alder Tree on the property. Both January Jennings and Donn Todt discussed the tree's health and that the tree's long-term survivability was not good. The citizens asked if the building could have been redesigned. The Commission and staff noted the City's Downtown Design Standards would require a Variance and that it was possible, however, based upon evidence from an Arborist, the tree would likely not survive. Donn Todt noted a nearby example in Bluebird Park where repair work from the 1997 Flood caused an Alder Tree to eventually die after two and one-half years. In this case, the construction zone was setback from the Alder Tree. Bryan Holley encouraged the citizens attend the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns, as he will do also. Laurie Sager again expressed her concern about the Maple Tree's ultimate survival and suggested an Arborist review the current proposal to remove the one limb. The Commission concurred and recommended the applicant completes this task prior to Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting. The Commission agreed that if the Arborist Report indicates the tree should be removed, mitigation as required under the Tree Ordinance, Chapter 18.61.084, shall be applied. The Commission also recommended that if the tree is to remain, annual inspections by an Arborist should occur.
Old Business: Goals
Utility Department Report: Since Dick Wanderscheid and Scott Johnson from the Ashland Electric Department were present, the Commission agreed to adjust the agenda and hear the Utility Department Annual Report first (Item C.). Dick Wanderscheid introduced himself and Scott Johnson and stated that in previous years the Electric Department had contracted-out tree topping and tree removal services, but with little success. The Department now has an in-house employee to do the work and that it has been very successful with very few complaints. The employee's name is Dave Wood. Dick noted that their responsibility is for three items: First, safety of citizens and employees; Second, retention of power service; and Third, maintain the requirements imposed by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
Dick explained the Linemen Certifications and clearance standards and that the OPUC is very diligent in their annual inspections. Dick noted the success of the program and that there have been very few outages due to falling trees or complaints, but that he and his Department are open to suggestions and want to work with the Commission to have the report effective. He noted that Dave Wood is very good at tree trimming, but is not certified. It is a goal to have Dave become certified. January Jennings also stated that Dave was very good and encouraged his certification. Laurie Sager asked about the "education" opportunities such as "right tree / right place" opportunities. Dick agreed and noted the Tree Replacement Program. Bryan Holley expressed frustration over the report and asked for clarification about information in the columns. He noted that they needed more detail and felt a summary report was necessary. Bryan Holley stated they should look at the Park's Department Report and that the report should include last years and this years efforts. Both January Jennings and Bryan Nelson disagreed and noted the report was fine. Dick Wanderscheid stated that he would talk to Dave Wood in order to provide more detail in future reports.
Urban Forrester Position: Laurie Sager gave some background information and noted that she, Bryan Holley and Ted Loftus had met with John McLaughlin, Community Development Director, to discuss this issue. She noted that John will be requesting two new positions in this years budget to help resolve not only Tree Commission issues, but also resolve some other Planning related work loads that are being compounded by this years Council goals which 13 of the 30 or so goals directly relate to Planning. Bryan Holley stated he basically heard John say "no" to the Urban Forrester Position, but that the added two bodies would allow staff flexibility to work on tree related educational opportunities.
Education & Outreach: Bryan Holley, January Jennings and Laurie Sager noted the they had met and discussed a plan for more public awareness and neighborhood involvement. Bryan Nelson asked the Commission to be more specific in their goals and to minimize the multiple direction the Commission is heading. He asked the Commission to prioritize the activities. After some discussion, Fred Stockwell passed around a photo and card that read: "Tree Tips" that could be available periodically to the web site or as a handout. January Jennings also worked on this task. Laurie Sager and January Jennings noted that they will be teaching a class ("Trees Through the Seasons") at the Nature Center at North Mountain Park and asked if the Tree Commission would consider, with no monetary obligation, sponsoring the event? The Commission agreed. Bryan Holley noted that the City's Web Site for the Tree Commission agendas and minutes have not been posted since December. Knox stated he would send and e-mail to the person responsible and get the information listed. Fred Stockwell stated he was still working on the calendar but that logistical issues still need to be resolved. He asked if this was still a worthy idea. Bryan Nelson suggested the group not go any so many directions. January Jennings discussed the need for more brochures for Arbor Day. After some discussion, the Commission agreed.
Tree Protection & Enforcement: Since Randall Hopkins was present to speak on this issue, the Commission agreed to adjust the agenda. January Jennings presented her findings on the subject Pine Tree at 749 South Mountain and that due to construction activity around the tree, the tree roots were damaged. This has stressed the tree and now beetles are killing the tree. Randall suggested a checklist be provided to the contractor prior to construction. Knox noted that the development was approved prior to the Tree Ordinance, but agreed with Randall that early warning would be key. Knox suggested a standard condition of approval be added to projects that need tree protection measures to state that prior to issuance of a building permit, the tree protection measures shall be in place and reviewed and approved by the Staff Advisor.
Laurie Sager suggested the Tree Commission needs to assign a monetary number to assess a tree's value in order for the mitigation requirements in Chapter 18.61 to be met. The Commission and staff discussed this issue for some time and it was eventually decided that the City Council should adopt a resolution for Chapter 18.61.084 C., Payment in lieu of planting, that is consistent with 18.61.130 C.3. The Commission agreed that an Arborist's evaluation is not only fair but also consistent. The value would be based upon the type of replacement tree, labor, staking, and irrigation.
Liaison Reports: City Council: Cate Hartzell was not present. Forest Lands: January Jennings stated there was a slight word change in the Forest Lands Commission's goals. January also reported that she will continue to work on getting a workforce to help the Parks Department. Parks Department: Donn Todt noted their was nothing to report, but passed around the Hazard Tree Evaluation Form and suggested it be attached to the back of the Tree Removal Permit Form. The Commission asked that the Hazardous Tree Evaluation Form be put in next month's packet.
Matrix: Robbin Pearce presented the two-page matrix form. Robbin stated the form could be attached to the Street Tree List Handout (short version). Everyone felt it was a good idea and Bryan Nelson asked that it be available for Earthday.
Memorial Tree List: Robbin Pearce will continue to work on. She had hoped it would be ready by April, but it looks like it will be June before it is finished and ready to present to the Council for adoption.
The Commission discussed public right-of-way improvements and Robbin suggested Bryan Nelson be shown all CIP projects. The Commission discussed the right tree for the intersection of Siskiyou and Mountain and that it needed to be an "upright" type of tree.
Arbor Week: Bryan Holley stated the calendar needed to be resolved tonight. It was discussed that April 24th is Arbor / Earthday. Commissioners decided to follow his suggestion and invite Don Robertson, new Parks Department Director to the planting of the Arbor Tree at Ashland High School. Donn Todt will contact the owners of the 2003 Tree of the Year about locating the plaque and the date of the plaque installation. March 21 - 27 the Arbor Day banner will be hung over Main Street. Kid activities still needed to be figured. January Jennings suggested games activities. On April 20th, the City Council will read a proclamation and Fred Stockwell will put together a PowerPoint photo presentation.
Wildfire Workshop: Robbin Pearce noted the workshop will be this Saturday at the new Armory. She handed out brochures she was pleased to finally finish. The brochures related to Fire Resistant, Drought Tolerant, and Deer Proof plantings; Water Efficient Plants; and Ashland's Urban Forest. The Commission discussed having the brochures on the Web and available at the workshop.
Annual Site Visits: Tabled to next month.
Commissioner Project Assignments: Tabled to next month.
Other: Bryan Holley asked that his e-mail be removed from the City's Web page as he feels this may be the source for spam e-mail. He suggested all e-mail for the Tree Commission be directed to the standard Tree Commission e-mail. Knox noted that on March 18th at 6:00 p.m. the Tree Commission will be on "City Talk". The Commissioners agreed that January Jennings, Bryan Nelson and Ted Loftus will be present for the show.
April 8th, 2004 is the next Tree Commission meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30p.m.