ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
NOVEMBER 6, 2008
CALL TO ORDER
Commission Chair John Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
|Commissioners Present:||-||Staff Present:|
|John Stromberg, Chair||Bill Molnar, Community Development Director|
|Michael Dawkins||Maria Harris, Planning Manager|
|Mike Morris||April Lucas, Administrative Assistant|
|Absent Members:||Council Liaison:|
|Tom Dimitre||Cate Hartzell|
Community Development Director Bill Molnar reminded the Commission of their December 18, 2008 Study Session. He also announced the City Council Public Hearing on the Water Resource Protection Zones Ordinance has been tentatively scheduled for January 20, 2009.
No one came forward to speak.
TYPE III PUBLIC HEARINGS
|A.||Water Resource Protection Zones Ordinance|
Staff noted the following items were submitted to the Commission at the beginning of the meeting:
Stromberg noted the discussion outline that was used at the last meeting and clarified they would pick up where they left off.
Enforcement & Penalties
Comment was made questioning how this would be enforced, and whether penalties for intentional violations would differ from accidental incidents. Suggestion was made that staff should attempt to work with the property owner to remedy the situation before issuing a citation.
Mr. Molnar clarified this ordinance would be enforced by the City's Code Compliance Officer. City Attorney Richard Appicello commented on the General Enforcement section of the Ashland Municipal Code and clarified the maximum fine that can be applied according to the City Charter is $500; however, the Commission could set a minimum fine for intentional activities if they desire.
The Commission discussed the proposed language. Concern was expressed with the requirement that regardless of the violation, the property owner is required to submit a mitigation plan prepared by a natural resource professional. Staff acknowledged the Commission's concerns and suggestion was made to modify Section 18.63.140(B) to read, "Within thirty days (30) of notification by the City of Ashland Planning Division of a violation of unauthorized alteration of native vegetation or disturbance of land, mitigation shall be required, and the staff advisor may require a mitigation plan prepared by a natural resource professional." The majority of the Commission indicated support for this section as modified.
Removal of Invasive Vegetation
Dawkins voiced his opposition to the use of herbicides and commented that DDT is a good example of a product that was suppose to be really good, but turned out to be harmful. He also disagreed with the proposed removal approach and stated in his experience, the most effective way to eradicate blackberries is to cut them down and dig out the roots. He also shared his concerns regarding bank instability once the blackberries are removed.
Stromberg noted the email submitted by Councilor Hartzell and asked if the Commission would allow Hartzell to share her input. Staff recommended the public hearing be re-opened if the Commission wants to allow her to speak.
Stromberg re-opened the public hearing at 7:44 p.m.
Councilor Hartzell noted the testimony from Rick Landt who told the Commission about successfully removing blackberries manually. She also noted a study that found that blackberries can come back after herbicide application. She clarified her email spoke about toxicity and how it affects waterways and noted the proposed ordinance is suppose to protect the water and habitat; blackberries should not be the main objective.
Stromberg asked if anyone else wished to provide testimony and then closed the public hearing at 7:47 p.m.
The Commission continued their discussion on whether to permit herbicide use. Mindlin noted the ordinance requires a Type I application approval before herbicides can be used. She commented on trying to find a compromise to the issues raised and suggested the ordinance be modified to include the following: 1) only allow glyphosate without surfactants herbicides, 2) application of the herbicide could only be done by a certified professional, 3) include a limitation on the number of re-applications (herbicides may be applied for initial eradication, but should not be used as an ongoing maintenance plan), and 4) include language that encourages repeat mowing as a method for removal. Dawkins indicated he is against the use of herbicides, but is willing to compromise and is comfortable with Mindlin's suggested amendments. Staff clarified the Parks & Recreation Department would be required to file an application; however, it may cover a longer period of time. It was also clarified the cost for a Type I application is approximately $900. Dotterrer expressed concern with this cost. Marsh commented that this would discourage homeowners to use herbicides to remove a minimal amount of blackberries, but would allow herbicide use in the more extreme situations. Comment was made questioning how the Parks Department applies herbicides and some concern was expressed with spraying rather than dabbing on the product. Mr. Molnar commented on the expenses associated with a Type I approval process, including the noticing requirements and the staff time spent responding to citizens. He also noted there is a provision in the ordinance that allows the fee to be reduced for restoration enhancement activities. Ms. Harris re-stated the four proposed amendments outlined by Commissioner Mindlin and the majority of the group indicated support for this section as amended.
Creeks with More than One Channel
Council Liaison Hartzell left the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
Comment was made questioning the ability for backyard food production in the riparian zone. Staff clarified this would be permitted in the 50/50 zone. It was also questioned if a property owner would be permitted to protect this area with fencing. Mr. Molnar commented on the floodplain regulations and stated solid fences are restricted within 20 ft. of the floodplain. It was questioned if other types of fencing might be acceptable in riparian areas. Ms. Harris stated the idea is for fencing to be generally prohibited, but they could make an exception for deer fencing in specific cases. The Commission discussed what type of fencing might be acceptable and where it could be located. Comment was made that this issue also pertains to people who might want to install fencing for other reasons besides garden protection in the riparian zone. There was agreement among the Commission to prohibit solid wood fencing and Staff was directed to develop ordinance language that would permit open fencing in the 50/50 use area.
The Commission continued their discussion of the activities issues and whether the ordinance should restrict a property owner from rebuilding a structure in the same location if it has been damaged by a flood for the second time.
Comment was made that such a provision is not necessary and if someone's house is washed away twice, they are not going to want to put it back in the same place if they can avoid it. Dawkins noted that he can't remember a single case since 1955 where this has been a problem.
Apply Proposed Ordinance to Specific Sites
General Issues with the Ordinance as a Whole
Commissioners Morris/Dotterrer m/s to extend meeting to 9:45 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Recommended Additional Programs or Actions
Mindlin commented on her second recommendation which addressed the need for ongoing assessment of the native plant requirement. She recommended the City conduct an on-site review of the projects permitted under this ordinance every three years to determine how well the native plants are performing. Church commented that they may want to recommend that the entire ordinance be reviewed, not just the plantings. Dotterrer noted the Stream & Enhancement Guide (which includes the native plant list) will likely be evaluated and updated periodically, and questioned if they could use this instead of a mandatory site visit by staff. Dawkins questioned if there was a way to bring the Parks Department into this since they have the immediate expertise and may be able to help evaluate. Mindlin clarified she is not attached to the methodology of how this is completed, but does believe this needs to be reviewed. Stromberg summarized the intent of this recommendation is to review not only the native plants list, but also the usability of it in actual situations, and somehow involve the Parks Department with this process. Church suggested an additional recommendation that states, "Three years from the effective date of the ordinance, staff will field check all projects that have been subject to the ordinance and report to the Commission on the effectiveness of the provisions." Suggestion was made to incorporate both of these concepts into one recommendation. Church suggested the language, "Three years from the effective date of the ordinance, staff will field check projects that have been subject to the ordinance and report to the Commission on the effectiveness of the ordinance, including review and usability of the native plants list."
Commissioners Dotterrer/Marsh m/s to extend meeting to 10:00 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Commissioners Marsh/Morris m/s to recommend approval to the City Council of adoption of the ordinance adding Chapter 18.63 Water Resource Protection Zones to and modifying Chapter 18.62 Physical and Environmental Constraints of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance with the amendments and changes as delineated in the meeting minutes and noted by staff. DISCUSSION: Dotterrer provided an explanation of why he will be voting no on this ordinance. He expressed his concerns with the way this ordinance was developed and felt citizens will find the ordinance confusing and difficult to implement. He voiced his support for staff's efforts, but does not think this is a model for how they should be doing business. He felt the Commission failed to define what the problem was and wished they would have established water quality baselines so that it would have been possible to determine whether or not this ordinance improves the City's water quality. Roll Call Vote: Commissioners Marsh, Mindlin, Morris, Church, and Stromberg, YES. Commissioners Dotterrer and Dawkins, NO. Motion passed 5-2.
Meeting adjourned at 9:55 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,
April Lucas, Administrative Assistant