Ashland Tree Commission
December 9, 2004
I. Call to Order: Chair Ted Loftus called the Ashland Tree Commission meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. on December 9, 2004 at the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way.
Commissioners Present: Ted Loftus
Commissioners Absent: Fred Stockwell
Council Liaison: Cate Hartzell
Youth Liaison: None
Staff Present: Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Amy Anderson, Assistant Planner
II. Approval of Minutes: The following corrections were noted for the November 4, 2004 minutes. First paragraph: Call to Order, October 7, 2004 change to November 4, 2004. Page 3 of 7, third paragraph, first sentence, change Michael to John. Page 4 of 7, last paragraph, and page 5 of 7, second paragraph, change KenCarin to KenCairn. Page 6 of 7, New Items, third item, change relieve to step-down. Nelson/Holly m/s to approve the minutes of November 4, 2004 with corrections. Voice vote: All AYES, Motion passed. The minutes of November 4, 2004 were approved as corrected.
III. Welcome Guests & Public Forum:
Bonnie Bayard, Landscape Architect approached the Tree Commission with a request to plant trees in the city right-of-way at Gresham and Vista. Worried about ramifications of what will happen if trees are planted and then in the future a sidewalk is installed and the trees will have to be removed. The trees will help soften the height of the retaining wall. Originally the sloped area between the retaining wall and the curb were covered with ivy, preventing pedestrian access. The right-of-way currently has on-street parking and if trees or plantings go in then it would make walking in the area difficult. Bayard has selected Redbuds because of their color and stature. Maria noted that if there is a city right-of-way, past practices have been to discourage planting in the right-of-way. The Tree Commission suggested keeping a surface that is walkable yet permeable such as three-quarter minus or crushed rock.
Robbin Pearce, Conservation Analyst – Water Conservation for the City of Ashland: Presented a new program being undertaken by the Conservation Division of Community Development. The Earth Advantage building program is similar to the old Super-Good Cents program. Currently the City has adopted the program for new, single-family residential construction. Once the program becomes more developed they will add remodels and multi-family projects. Robbin explained how the program works; it is based on a point system. One goal of the Earth Advantage program is to have Green Team meetings with all of the sub-contractors not just the general. This program works with the Building Department, and provides education opportunities in areas such as, erosion control, invasive species, and waste management plans. One program component is Water-Wise landscaping. The Conservation Department is welcoming suggestions on to how to better facilitate the program. Earth Advantage is a voluntary program with rebate incentives.
A. PLANNING ACTION 2004-128 is a request for a Zone Change from R-1-5-P (Single Family Residential) to R-2 (Low Density Multi-Family) from an approximately 1.3-acre parcel located on the west side of Fordyce Street, between Orchid Street and Kirk Lane. The application includes a request for Outline Plan and Site Review approval for a 13-unit, multi-family subdivision under the Performance Standards Option, as well as a Physical Constraints Permit to establish a driveway crossing over an existing drainage way.
Laurie Sager excused herself due to conflict of interest.
Staff report. This project is proposed for long, east – west lot with a proposed private drive and parking at eastern end of the lot, and 13 housing units scattered throughout the site. The requested change in zoning is predicated on joining the Earth Advantage program and providing affordable housing. Four trees are being proposed for removal: 3 Black Cottonwoods – in the proposed driveway and a Box Elder – in the proposed parking area. Prior to this application, a tree removal permit was issued for a diseased Black Cottonwood on the southern-shared lot line. So far the proposed landscape plan is basic, lacking lots of detail. There is potential for the landscape plan to come back before the Tree Commission before the outline plans are submitted (Outline plans specifically deal with open area landscaping not the private areas).
Melanie Mindlin, 1338 Senna Lane: Ms. Mindlin noted that a great number of the trees in the inventory are not on the applicant’s property but on the adjoining properties. The trees proposed to be removed are Cottonwoods, which have dropped branches in the past. The applicant is proposing to remove them because they are “undesirable” species. So far the landscaping plan is strictly conceptual and a large number of trees to be planted are going to be proposed in the future. A bio-swale is also proposed. At this point all trees on the applicant’s property will be removed.
Laurel Truen, 642 Fordyce: Ms. Truen believes that Cottonwoods are not junk trees – they may produce a lot of trash, but they make a beautiful sound in the breeze. The Cottonwoods on the applicant’s property are some of the only tall trees in the area and doesn’t want them dismissed because of their species.
Pat Smith , 635 Fordyce: Watched the development take place on Orchid Street and saw Cottonwood after Cottonwood being cut down. Ms. Smith urges the commission to wait to make any decisions until the plans are final for the whole area.
The Tree Commission discussed the proposal. Nelson has a problem with driveway being so close to the trees on the neighbor’s property. Holley suggested that a pervious paving method be used or install air vents to the root systems, or move the drive. The applicant responded that the drive requires 90-degree angle to Fordyce, and moving the drive would eliminate the street facing home that is proposed for units 12 & 13. The applicant is willing to be guided by protection plans, but moving the street will be very difficult.
Loftus suggested that they should consider the air vents to help the Incense Cedar. Holley stated that the commission is trying to be consistent with suggestions of pervious paving and aeration of root systems for all projects that may require those actions.
Applicant commented on the email from neighbor Derek Volkart (to the south) regarding the Cottonwood overhanging his property. Ms. Mindlin states that he asked to have the tree removed.
Loftus asked if a tree removal permit application is issued can it be conditioned until planning approval is received. Maria Harris stated that there are two types of Tree Removal permit – hazardous and non-hazardous (18.61.080 B.1). Harris believes that Tree Commission could condition the application at this point because it is not clear whether the trees are hazardous. Mary Pritchard stated that she finds it reasonable for the Tree Commission to wait to give approval until they see how the project plays out before the Planning Commission. Loftus said that a condition should include mitigation of the removal of the trees. Nelson concerned about the trees on the neighbor to the north.
The applicant stated that she has no intentions of removing any trees until the project is approved.
The Tree Commission finds that if trees were removed then the wind protection would be diminished. Loftus agrees with Holley that the Cottonwood are important trees, and that the trees have a history in the area. Loftus feels as if the Planning Commission allows the project to go through, on that condition they would be happy to issue a tree removal permit. Holley spoke about how the Tree Commission has the power to suggest moving of infrastructure / building envelopes etc, as long as they don’t affect the density of the project.
1. Recommendation that the landscape and tree protection plans be reviewed by full Tree Commission prior to the approval of the final plan.
2. Tree removal permit granted if project is approved by Planning Commission
3. Concerned about the lack of Tree protection for the trees on the northern neighbors property
4. Mitigation (on-site, off-site, or donation)
Read recommendations back to commission. All in agreement with recommendations.
B. PLANNING ACTION 2004-150 is a Conditional Use Permit to modify a non-conforming site involving the construction of an approximately 3,837 square foot addition to the existing Unitarian Church building located at 87 Fourth Street. The addition will accommodate a Social Hall, commercial kitchen, restrooms and storage/maintenance space.
APPLICANT: Unitarian Universal Fellowship Church
Staff report. Existing Church ~ 8000 square feet. Site considered non-conforming, original church built in 1906 now it is a historical use because it lacks the number of parking spaces required for # of seats in the sanctuary. Site subject to Site Review therefore there is a landscape plan required. Only two trees on site greater than 18”, with four trees subject to tree removal. Currently 3 Alberta spruces in public right-of-way proposed for removal. Planning Dept. staff report has 17 conditions #5 requires the recommendations of TC be incorporated into landscape plan, #14 requires tree protection. #15 is a requirement for a Street tree removal permit for the removal of the Alberta Spruces. #16 requires street trees to be planted in accordance with 18.72.110.
Applicant testimony. Bill Emerson, Project designer: Believes that the existing trees will anchor the structure and make it look as if it has been there for a while. The original church sat very near the cedar tree and so he hopes that it will not be affected dramatically by the building within a 10 ft. distance of the tree, since it already had a footprint so near.
Nelson pointed out that some of the street trees proposed are not large enough to qualify for street trees (1.5”). Plums are a problem in parking areas, suggests flowering cherry. Planting specs are wrong – needs to call out gallon specifications not tree height.
Sager asked about the Tree Protection and why 2 trees have the protection inside of the drip line. Recommends that the trees be protected all the way to the edge of the sidewalk. Concerned about construction storage under trees. Suggests notes on plans that creates standards for the protection of tree roots where the building encroaches into tree drip line; how roots are to be cut, etc.
Planting strip along C St. is very large and proposed trees may not be of large enough stature (Honey Locusts & Sweet Gum) both not on recommended street tree guide. A park row of that width is a historical standard.
5. Revise landscaping specs to industry and city standards.
6. Protection for the trees roots and canopy that are within the construction zone
7. Trees should be protected and watered during the construction project especially during the summer months.
8. Consider meandering the sidewalk to allow 4’ of clearance around the 5” Maple
9. Change the street tree (Honey Locust) along C St. to recommended street tree standards.
Read recommendations back to commission. All in agreement with recommendations.
V. ACTION ITEMS
A. Type I Sign Up
Jan. 4 – Laurie Sager, Bryan Holley, Ted Loftus
Feb. 1– Bryan Nelson,
VI. DISSCUSSION ITEMS
A. Report on the Willows:
a. The drainage from RR tracks to the north has been flooding and was attributed to the dense growth of blackberries. The street crew that was directed to remove the blackberries went beyond duty and damaged the willows. A temp pipe was dropped into where the digging occurred and dirt was replaced onto the root systems. KenCairn / Sager’s firm hired to fix problem. Holley concerned with how the bridge building with PW and other departments is working if they go out and damage trees. TC would like a report from the PW dept. on what training is in place for tree protection. Amy or Maria will talk with Paula about how the situation will be dealt with, problems with training and how the staff can learn about protection. TC willing to offer their help in choosing a training video. (Trees / construction)
B. Tree Protection Slide-show
a. Bryan Holley and Laurie Sager & Fred want to create a 10 min. slideshow that shows trees that have had abused (topping, hitting, etc.) and about what not to do. Aimed for Arbor Day celebration. To what audience is it geared at? (The City Council, utility, PW etc.)
C. Recommendations for Council Goal Setting (Email the TC – attach the city council goals)
a. Increasing tree protection and proper of enforcement of the tree ordinance
b. Training for all departments
c. Increase the cities tree canopy – allocation of funds to ascertain how much tree canopy the city has in 2005.
VII. ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
A. Liaison Reports
B. New Items
a. SOU tree at corner of Indiana and Siskiyou –dirt piled at the base of the tree. Even though SOU is exempt from most of 18.61 as part of their status they should up hold the standards even though they are exempt.
b. Bryan Holley wants to respond to Chris Chambers email about Fire Wise landscaping.
c. Lynn Ransford wrote a letter to Bryan Holley and January Jennings about street trees in Ashland Village and that the city street crews trimmed the trees and didn’t do a careful job. Holley wants Amy to communicate with the city that the Homeowners Association would like them to work with them and increase communication with public
d. Laurie – mitigation for DeBoer project trees. Ray Kistler, the designer for the SOU Madrone St. project architect requests that the DeBoer’s trees that are required to be mitigated with 14 new 2” caliper trees be planted at SOU. If there is now room on DeBoer site then those mitigated trees should be replaced where they came down if allowed by planning approval. No trees to the college.
e. Fred had Laurie give a statement that Scott Bolsinger from the Daily Tidings is giving the TC the full “Back Page” for their tree tips goal. (Subcommittee: Fred Stockwell and Bryan Holley) contact Ann Seltzer about requirements for a city page.
D. Current Balance $560
E. Tree Commission Goals
a. Tree Tips
b. Tree Clinics – Tree walk in January (Laurie and January)
c. Tracking Reports to City Council
Commissioner Loftus adjourned meeting at 10:40 p.m.