Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Monday, August 21, 2006

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

August 21, 2006

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; City Council Liaison A. Amarotico; Director Robertson; Superintendent Teige

Absent:     Superintendent Gies

CALL TO ORDER

Rosenthal called the study session to order at 7:00 PM at the Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

ASHLAND GREENHOUSE DEVELOPMENT AND PROPOSED LAND SWAP

Robertson reminded the commission of the October 2005 proposal by Ashland Greenhouse owners Greg and Valri Williams to develop land currently used by the greenhouse business, reporting that they would potentially swap land from the existing Dog Park and access road into the park in exchange for some of the riparian area along Ashland Creek. At that time, he reported, the commission agreed to approve the swap “in principle,” and, since that time, the family organized a public meeting for the neighbors of the development, offering a preview of the potential development plan, and also prepared to meet with the Planning Commission. Robertson welcomed the Williams family, inviting them to share their development plans and discuss the timeline for the project.

Greg Williams of Ashland Greenhouses and Alex Forrester of Forrester & Forrester presented a drawing of the proposed “Verde Village Development,” outlining concepts and features of the plan:

§         First “comprehensively sustainable” residential development.

§         Small, energy efficient homes (16 townhomes / 21 cottages / 23 single family homes).

§         Three affordable housing units built in cooperation with owners.

§          “Net zero” homes that generate more electricity than they use.

§         “Zeroscape” landscaping with minimal irrigation.

§         2.4 acres given to Parks / 1.4 acres taken from Parks.

§         Constructed treatment wetlands / reuse of water with the creation of a storm water conveyance.

In terms of process, Williams and Forrester reported that they would be:

§         Submitting the plan to the Planning Department later in the week.

§         Attending the first Planning Commission hearing on October 10 to talk about a number of issues related to the project.

Robertson outlined a few concerns noted by staff, including:

§        The apparent Greenway Trail connection through the Dog Park parking lot [a potential safety and congestion problem].

§        The need for a physical barrier to separate the Dog Park parking lot from the development, to prevent the Dog Park area from becoming an overflow parking lot or vice versa.

§        How to continue providing Dog Park access while construction is underway?

Robertson stated that a portion—or possibly all—of the park land under discussion originally was acquired through land and water conservation grants and that staff would need to undertake a process, should the project be approved by Planning, to obtain approvals from the National Park Service and the State of Oregon for the proposed land swap.

Staff, commissioners, and Williams/Forrester expressed appreciation for the informational discussion.

FIRE DEPARTMENT FINDINGS FOR STATION EXPANSION

Marguerite Hickman, Division Chief at Ashland Fire and Rescue, introduced herself and Jim MacNamara, Project Manager for the rebuild of Fire Station #2, and reported that, on August 15, the Ashland City Council approved the placement of a bond measure on the November ballot for the replacement of Fire Station #2 at a projected cost of $5.5 million. She stated that the current building, measuring 2,800 square feet and located at the intersection of Ashland and Sherwood Streets, is 40 years old, poses health risks, and is unsound in terms of current seismic standards. The bond proposal would be to increase the square footage to 12,000 feet [to include living functions and nine single-depth bays] and to build a 3-story training tower with a training ground. She reported that the station’s current location is ideal in terms of response time standards and because the land is owned by the City of Ashland. She indicated that the project, if approved by voters, would result in the elimination of Sherwood Park but that the large oak tree would be retained, as well as a portion of the grass area, and would be maintained by Fire Department staff. If the bond were to pass, she said that the Parks Commission would be able to continue to meet the goal set by the City’s Comprehensive Plan to provide a park within 1/4–mile of every home in Ashland, since two other parks are located in the vicinity, including Clay Street and Hunter Parks. She reported that a pedestrian access and a street light across Ashland Street would provide a safe crossing in the area, and that bicycle and pedestrian accesses located behind the station would be maintained, with Sherwood Street closed off and a fire lane created so that only fire trucks and other emergency vehicles could utilize the area. Finally, she reported that the current bocce ball court would need to be moved to another park location.

Robertson pointed out that:

§         The City owns all the park land.

§         Parks manages all the park land.

§         Ashland City Council has the authority to make decisions about park land—with or without Parks Commission approval or agreement.

Discussion among commissioners included:

§         The necessity of notifying neighbors about the proposed bond.

§         Whether Parks would be reimbursed for the loss of Sherwood Park.

§         The role of Parks in the project.

§         Whether to discuss the bond at an upcoming Parks Commission meeting, to give the public an opportunity to hear about it and comment on it, with the emphasis on Parks’ perspective.

Commissioners agreed to place the topic on the September 25 regular meeting agenda and invite Fire Department representatives and neighbors/members of the public to attend.

STAFF COMMENTS AND UPDATES

Robertson reported receiving a request by fire dancers on the Plaza to relocate their performances to the front of Lithia Park. Commissioners directed staff to notify them about Parks policies regarding amplified music and solicitations of money on park property and to report back at the next meeting.

Robertson reported that the cinnamon-colored bear had not been sighted in Lithia Park in some time but that a larger, darker-colored bear had been spotted in different areas around the park. He asked the commission to discuss purchasing bear-proof garbage cans during future budget planning sessions.

Robertson reported on the upcoming National Recreation and Parks Association conference in Seattle from October 10-14 and invited the commission to attend.

Robertson reported that a local dance instructor contacted Teige and expressed frustration about the lack of availability for dance classes at The Grove, and stated that the instructor was invited to attend a future commission meeting to express his thoughts about the management of the facility.

Robertson reported that a regular patron of Hunter Park asked for additional signs to be posted notifying park users that dogs are not allowed on the premises. Staff agreed to purchase and post additional signs for the park.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Rosenthal adjourned the meeting at 9:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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