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Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, July 23, 2007

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

 

July 23, 2007

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; City Council Liaison Navickas; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:     None

CALL TO ORDER         

Eggers called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 PM at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Study Session – June 18, 2007

Under “Golf Course Discussion,” Rosenthal requested that the sentence referring to his “question(ing) impacts of potential future irrigation system improvements” be rephrased to more accurately reflect that “Rosenthal weighed pros and cons of potential future irrigation system improvements.” In the same section, Noraas asked that Moyers’ reference about Bear Creek and Neil Creek bordering the golf course be corrected to indicate that the course is not bordered by either creek, and Neil Creek is located on the other side of Crowson Road. Commissioners requested that a notation in the minutes reflect the inaccuracy. Gardiner pointed out that the course is irrigated with water from the “Talent Irrigation District” instead of the “Talent Irrigation Ditch.”

MOTION Gardiner moved to approve the minutes as amended. Rosenthal seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

Regular Meeting – June 25, 2007

Under “New Business” item Proposed Land Swap, Verde Village, Eggers referenced the first paragraph in which the contents of the 1.3 acres of City-owned land were identified. She reported that the restroom is located on the edge of the City-owned property, not within that parcel.

MOTION Noraas moved to approve the minutes as amended. Gardiner seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no

Lewis: abstain

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum

None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

N. Main / Scenic Park Construction Documents Update was moved to “Unfinished Business.”

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

N. MAIN / SCENIC PARK CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS UPDATE

Robertson provided a brief update on the process and said that representatives from the KenCairn Sager Landscape Architecture firm would present nearly completed construction documents. He invited them to speak to the commission.

Kerry KenCairn, along with partner Laurie Sager, provided the commission with current construction drawings. KenCairn reviewed elements such as: scenic overlook; secondary playground with potential ADA accessibility; a step ramp in the “zig-zag” area; bike parking; signage at the three park entrances; and the picnic area overlook, which was changed from a circle to an oval. KenCairn referenced examples of concrete walls and spoke favorably of poured concrete that would be sandblasted. She said that the parking area off Scenic and the entrance off N. Main would include pervious pavers, and she talked about the proposed plant list and trees.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Noraas asked KenCairn if she had considered ways of creating a “green” park in terms of energy conservation. KenCairn stated that she strives to create sustainable designs and the plant list contained items requiring less water. She said that “annuals”—which could be colorful plants or flowers—would be minimally used, making up perhaps 5% of the site, and were only considered because “people like to see annuals.” Sager stated that various elements at the site—including lack of fencing, deer, and weather—required landscapers to use tougher plant materials that needed less water and maintenance, which was good for the environment. KenCairn pointed out different sections of the drawings while Sager articulated the reasoning behind chosen elements. Eggers questioned the smaller lawn area and asked about its “function” and Sager stated that a park patron would be able to engage in a more passive form of recreation, such as reading on a blanket, in a smaller grassy area. She said that the smaller lawn measured approximately 30x60 feet.

Rosenthal asked staff for their impressions. Robertson expressed appreciation for the firm’s work, stating that they did a good job interpreting the master plan. He asked the commission to provide input on the secondary playground and spoke about ADA accessibility in terms of making reasonable accommodation for access.

Commissioners agreed to hear public input and then discuss the documents in more detail.

Public Input

Rick Landt, 468 Helman Street, referenced recent articles from the Ashland Daily Tidings about water shortages and fish kills as they relate to park development. He spoke with concern about the half-acre of lawn on the sloped land at the N. Main / Scenic Park, stating that it was an excessive use of lawn that would require wasteful uses of resources such as water, labor, and materials, and the 15% slope would limit the turf’s usefulness for recreational activities. He said that a Parks goal should be to minimize uses of resources and quoted the City’s “Site Design and Use Standards,” asking the commission to adhere to those principles and regulations.

Patrick Marcus, 813 Leonard Street, asked the commission to consider placing the playground adjacent to the community gardening area at the N. Main / Scenic Park for the benefit of gardeners with small children. With regard to the Ashland Creek Park Community Gardens, he reported recent vandalism and theft of vegetables by non-gardeners. He asked the commission to secure the community gardening area at the N. Main / Scenic Park and at other future community gardens within the City.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Gardiner voiced support for Marcus’s suggestion of moving the playground closer to the community garden section at the N. Main / Scenic Park. KenCairn indicated that the land on which the proposed playground appeared was chosen for its flatness, as playgrounds generally require a flat surface. She said that leveling an alternate area for a playground could be costly. Eggers suggested designating the smaller playground as a “play area” that would be inviting, less structured, and possibly not level. Lewis spoke favorably of the landscape architects’ efforts at incorporating the master plan into the construction drawings. Commissioners debated the lawn size and KenCairn asked whether the commission wished to see options showing a 10-20% reduction in the larger lawn area. Gardiner said that the lawn would be valuable to the neighboring residents and he didn’t want it reduced while Eggers asked to see the options proposed by KenCairn.

Robertson said he hoped the commission could reach consensus on the construction drawings and reminded them of their previous approval of the park master plan. Rosenthal said the commission and citizens spent months moving through the master planning process and asked them to honor the efforts made in arriving at the approved park master plan. Lewis stated that the lawn had been the major sticking point throughout the process but suggested approving the construction drawings, with a possible 10% reduction in lawn size. Noraas suggested making a decision soon. Gardiner questioned the lack of picnic tables and benches in the drawings. KenCairn said that some of those elements could be added upon the park’s completion. She provided a rough sketch of a reduced lawn size and asked commissioners for their feedback. Commissioners discussed and agreed on the following items:

§         Entry on Greenbriar: Option #2

§         Bathroom location: Current location acceptable

§         Secondary play area: As recommended

§         Finishers-pavers: As recommended

§         Larger lawn area: Reduce by 10% near the curved path

§         Smaller lawn area: As recommended

§         Color for concrete walls and walkways: Earth tones

Eggers stated that, despite her appreciation for the firm’s work, the commission received the documents at the time of the meeting, not prior to the meeting [which would have allowed for an adequate review], and she requested an additional one or two weeks to review the documents before approving them.

Motion    Rosenthal moved to approve the construction documents based on the discussed modifications. Noraas seconded the motion.

                             The vote was: Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal – yes

                             Eggers - abstain

NEW BUSINESS

REQUEST FOR FUNDRAISER IN LITHIA PARK, ASHLAND CITY BAND

Don Bieghler, Ashland City Band Director, reported that the band was planning to travel to Guanajuato, Mexico, in June of 2009. To offset trip expenses, he requested permission to sell $1 raffle tickets starting at the Thursday, July 26, 2007, City Band concert at the Lithia Park bandshell, with the winner of the drawing conducting a Sousa march at the August 9 concert. He reported that the band hoped to raise between $27,000 and $55,000, depending on whether the 50 band members flew commercially or in a chartered plane to Mexico.

Robertson stated that the Parks Commission prohibits selling in any City park, with the exception of the Calle Guanajuato artisans, the Feast of Will, 4th of July vendors, or by a special permit from the Parks Commission. He suggested that, as an alternative to selling tickets in the park, the band director could announce at concerts the locations for ticket purchases in town, with the drawing held at a band concert.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Noraas talked about the importance of the Ashland City Band to the City and Lithia Park and asked the commission to support the band’s fundraising efforts. Eggers expressed the importance of adhering to the Parks Commission’s policy prohibiting selling within City parks. Rosenthal voiced support for granting the permit.

Motion    Rosenthal moved to approve a special permit for the Ashland City Band to conduct a fundraiser in Lithia Park for one season only for their 2009 trip to Guanajuato, Mexico. Lewis seconded the motion.

                             The vote was: Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal – yes

                             Eggers – no

RECREATION IMMUNITY RESOLUTION

Robertson reported that, while conducting the Parks Department’s annual insurance review, it was determined that the commission never invoked the recreational immunity laws as defined in ORS 105.682. He indicated that the intent of the ordinance is to provide liability immunity from Ashland Parks and Recreation facility users who use any and all Ashland Parks and Recreation facilities for recreational purposes and the immunity applies only to facilities that are properly maintained and free of charge for public use. He referenced a sample resolution, indicating that it was offered to the commission by their insurance company, and said that, should the commission approve it, it would require additional approval by City Council. He read aloud the sample resolution.

Motion    Noraas moved to adopt the resolution and forward it to City Council for further approval. Lewis seconded the motion.

     The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

None

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Eggers requested an opportunity to discuss pesticide and herbicide use in the parks system. Commissioners and staff agreed to discuss the topic during a fall study session.

Eggers asked about additional water quality testing that occurred in Ashland Creek approximately one year ago. Robertson agreed to check with Public Works and forward an update to the commission.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

§         Study session set for August 20—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer. Topics to include:

§         Executive session: Real Property Acquisition ORS 192.660 (2)(e)—5:30 PM

§         Tour of neighborhood parks—6:00 PM

§         Regular meeting set for August 27 at 7:00 PM—Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:14 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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