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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, September 29, 2008

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

REGULAR MEETING

MINUTES

 

September 29, 2008

 

ATTENDANCE

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

Absent:     City Council Liaison Navickas

CALL TO ORDER         

Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Tour of Park Property – August 12, 2008

Lewis requested that the minutes reflect his statement indicating that the Westwood parcel was purchased by the city for other purposes and was not included in the original Open Space land acquisition plan.

MOTION Eggers moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no [Rosenthal abstained]

Study Session – August 18, 2008

Under “Ashland Creek Park—Phasing and Funding Options,” Eggers asked that Mike Thornton, Engineer, be clarified to indicate his role as a Subcontracted engineer for the landscape architect.

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

The vote was: 4 yes – 0 no [Lewis abstained]

Regular Meeting – August 25, 2008

Under “Potential Westwood Land Subdivision and Sale,” Rosenthal asked that his comment under Discussion Among Commissioners more accurately reflect that he “… was not in support of the proposal but the commission was reasonable in exploring every possible funding option for land acquisition and park development.”

Several commissioners questioned whether another motion, not reflected in the minutes, had been placed on the table for a vote. Commissioners tabled approval of the minutes to allow staff to review their notes.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum

None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

SPORTING EVENT AMPLIFICATION REPORT

Robertson said the commission previously approved a trial period for amplification at Ashland High School playoff games held at North Mountain Park in 2007 and had requested a follow-up report. He invited Karl Kemper to provide his report to the commission.

Karl Kemper, Athletic Director at Ashland High School, thanked the commission for allowing a trial period of amplified sound at the start of playoff events conducted at North Mountain Park in 2007. He said the amplification was successful, with no complaints heard, and requested future amplification of similar events at that location.

Kemper was invited to make a formal request at the October regular meeting.

CLAY STREET PROPERTY DISCUSSION

Robertson said staff met with the Jackson County Housing Authority regarding the potential Clay Street land acquisition. He said the housing authority presented a proposed site plan and land distribution plan for the ten-acre parcel of Clay Street land adjacent to the YMCA Park. He said two appraisals were conducted, with the land valued at more than $3M in each instance, and the city had identified the resources to purchase the entire parcel. He indicated that, if the commission chose to purchase back up to five acres from the city, it might be used to enlarge the soccer fields, add a neighborhood park element, allow for some additional access points for Clay Street neighbors, and increase the parking footprint. He said council expressed potential interest in working with Parks on payment terms, in the event Parks bought their portion on credit, and he asked for direction about how to proceed with discussion on the distribution of property.

Public Input

Keith Baldwin, 1176 Beswick Way, urged the commission, with regard to the proposed enlargement of the soccer fields, to allow for ample parking and turnaround areas.

Next Steps

Following a thorough discussion, commissioners asked staff to research and present the following information at the October regular meeting:

§         A map identifying the property within a quarter-mile radius of all the existing and proposed development in the vicinity

§         Identification of both pedestrian and bike transportation routes associated with the property

§         Upon Planning Department review, identification of any concerns with this plan in terms of transportation and storm water issues

§         A map showing existing wetlands delineation on the five acres to the north of the proposed property

Commissioners expressed the following concerns and opinions about the proposed property purchase:

§         Concerns over the future payouts associated with the 1.36 acres of wetlands

§         Concerns about parking on the proposed extension of the east driveway

§         No interest in purchasing any portion of the wetlands

Staff agreed to conduct research and present the information at the October 27 regular commission meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

REQUEST TO WAIVE ALCOHOL FEE

Robertson reported that the non-profit Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) requested, for their annual fundraising event in Pioneer Hall, that the commission’s $120 non-refundable alcohol deposit be replaced with a $120 refundable alcohol deposit.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners said they spent a great deal of time reviewing and setting fees and charges in 2007. Despite those efforts, they said facility rental subsidies were ongoing and expressed that the $120 non-refundable alcohol deposit was reasonable and appropriate, as events involving alcohol generally required more cleanup. It was pointed out that another non-profit group received a discount following the 2007 fees review, so a precedent had been set to allow for exceptions. Lewis suggested allowing non-profit organizations to receive a deeper discount.

MOTION Lewis moved to charge non-profits a $60 non-refundable alcohol deposit.

The motion died for lack of a second.

The commission denied the CDC request and suggested reviewing the matter in more detail during the upcoming annual fee and charges review.

DISCUSSION OF REVENUE METHODS IN PREPARATION FOR JOINT COUNCIL STUDY SESSION

In preparation for the October 30 joint study session with council, Robertson identified revenue streams for funding operations, maintenance, development, and acquisition of parks and park programs. Funding sources identified in his staff memo included:

§         General property taxes

§         General obligation bonds

§         Revenue bonds

§         Grants

§         Local option levies

§         Transient occupancy tax

§         Food and beverage tax

Robertson spoke of the typical uses and restrictions for each funding source and said traditionally they were used for operations of parks and recreation departments, acquisition of property, and development of facilities within Oregon and / or the City of Ashland. In preparation for the joint study session, he requested feedback on the funding options memo as well as the draft letter to Mayor Morrison.

Commissioners provided positive feedback about both documents. For the draft letter to Mayor Morrison, staff was directed to insert the word “may” with regard to the expansion of the soccer fields at lower Clay Street.

TIMELINE OF FEES AND CHARGES REVIEW

Teige reported that the annual review of fees and charges was scheduled to begin in November. She said the fees subject for review included those for the golf course, facilities and field usage, Calle Guanajuato, and recreation programs. She suggested conducting the discussions in the following order during study sessions:

§         Golf course and Calle Guanajuato – November

§         Recreation programs – December

§         Facility and field usage – January

Commissioners agreed to the proposed timeline and staff suggested reviewing the renewal of the Lithia Artisans Market contract at an upcoming study session.

ADOPTION OF FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT PLAN

Robertson stated that a current employee benefit, the flexible spending account plan administered by ASI Flex, required formal commission approval. He said the employee-paid benefit, in which employees set aside pre-tax payroll dollars for reimbursement of out-of pocket medical, dental, vision, and dependent care expenses, allowed the department to reduce its payroll taxes, PERS expenses, and unemployment insurance. He reported that the department was charged $5.50 per month / person in administrative costs, with a minimum monthly fee set at $75, and said twelve Parks employees were enrolled in the “use it or lose it” program for the current plan year. He said the commission might wish to review the benefit during the next budget cycle, in terms of cost-effectiveness, but strongly encouraged them to adopt the benefit for the current plan year.

Commissioners asked several clarifying questions, including whether the HRA VEBA program was a similar offering for employees, and were told HRA VEBA was a similar program aimed toward retirees.

MOTION Eggers moved to adopt the flexible spending account plan administered through ASI Flex for Parks employees for the remainder of the 2008-2009 plan year. Noraas seconded the motion.

Vote: All yes

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Gies reported that the ice rink improvements project was out to bid, with a closure date set for October 9.

Teige said the 5th Annual Bear Creek Salmon Festival was scheduled for Saturday, October 4, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at North Mountain Park.

Robertson said staff was informally notified by the National Park Service about the approval of the land conversion near the Dog Park for the Verde Village subdivision, with official notification expected in the near future.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Noraas reported on her recent attendance at Forest Lands Commission meetings and provided a brief update on their efforts.

Eggers reported receiving a citizen request for a picnic table along the bike path near the Dog Park restrooms.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

§         Study session set for October 20 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

§         Regular meeting set for October 27 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

§         Joint study session with council set for October 30 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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