Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, March 26, 2001


REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

ATTENDANCE

Present - Commissioners JoAnne Eggers, Sally Jones, Rick Landt, Jim Lewis, Council Liaison Don Laws, Director Ken Mickelsen Absent - Commissioner Laurie MacGraw



CALL TO ORDER - Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main.



APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular Meeting - February 26, 2001 - Commissioner Eggers said that during the discussion about creating a "booklet of policies" that is contained on Page 9 should be corrected to reflect that she had said that she would like to see a file rather than a "binder or booklet" because she believed it would be more flexible.

Commissioner Landt indicated that if a comma were inserted between the words "property" and "selling" in the second line in the last paragraph on Page 1 that the sentence would be more easily understood. He also commented that, on Page 3 in the first paragraph, the phrase "unless it was designed very carefully" should be eliminated so that the last half of the sentence would read ". . .that his concern was that it would not be user friendly." Also, on Page 9 in the second paragraph, the phrase "flush out" should read "flesh out".

MOTION - Commissioner Jones made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Lewis seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

Joint Study Session - February 28, 2001 - Commissioner Eggers noted that in the last paragraph under "Public Comment and Discussion" that the minutes indicated that the Council would address the topic at its May meeting and this should read March meeting.

MOTION - Commissioner Eggers made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

Special Meeting - March 7, 2001 - Commissioner Eggers made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Oregon Shakespeare Festival - Presentation of donation to Ashland Parks Foundation - Marty Lempke, representing the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association, said that she was privileged to present a contribution to the Ashland Parks Foundation in the amount of $30,000 which represents the July 4th proceeds of the Elizabethan Theatre. She said it is the Festival's way of helping the Parks Foundation do all the wonderful things it does for the community.

Al Alsing, Chair of the Ashland Parks Foundation Board, gratefully accepted the contribution. He said that the contribution represents one of the many ways that the Festival works to better the community. The Festival has been making a similar contribution for several years and the Parks Foundation places these contributions into its Endowment Fund. He said that the Parks Foundation Board hopes that one day the investment earnings from the Endowment Fund will help to support Ashland's parks and recreation system.

Open Forum - None

ADDITIONS or DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - Referencing the memorandum from the sub-committee appointed to work with the Ashland Land Trust about partitioning of the Cline / Bryant property, Commissioner Jones asked that the item be placed on the agenda under Unfinished Business. After some brief discussion, Commissioners chose to place the item under Sub-Committee Reports.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Review and approval of proposed Department budgets for FY 2001-2002 - Commissioners reviewed a memorandum from staff dated March 26, 2001 which outlined the Department's proposed budgets for FY 2001-2002 that had been discussed during Study Sessions. He said that in working with the City's Finance Department, there might be some small changes made so the specific numbers might change. He said that if it looks like any significant changes would have to be made that he would bring that information back to the Commission.

motion - Commissioner Jones made a motion to approve the proposed Department budget for fiscal year 2001-2002 as presented with the understanding that staff may make small modifications as needed, and, to recommend the proposed budget to the City's Budget Committee for approval. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

Expediting improving water quality in Lithia Park ponds - Director Mickelsen reviewed a memorandum dated March 22, 2001 which outlined general information about the water quality status of both the lower pond and the upper pond in Lithia Park. He outlined some steps that staff would be taking this spring to immediately improve the water quality in both ponds but said that these steps would not be the overall solution needed. As discussed previously, staff has limited knowledge in the various kinds of methods which could provide appropriate solutions. Therefore, the Commission may want to utilize the services of a firm or individual who could provide some expertise on those methods. As the Commission is aware, Paul Kay has offered to volunteer some time to investigate the various solutions and has a proposal that he would like to make to the Commission.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Paul Kay (1234 Strawberry Lane) said that he was present for two reasons: First, to give Commissioners the opportunity to ask him questions about his background so that they could determine his ability to assist with the task of developing a solution to the water quality problems in the ponds, and, secondarily, to present a list of environmental and social goals or opportunities that he believes could be incorporated into the project that would benefit the community. He presented Commissioners with a handout outlining those goals.

Commissioner Jones inquired about Mr. Kay's qualifications related to working on water quality issues. He said that specific licenses and such were noted on the handout. But, more importantly, he said that he believed one of his primary strengths was his ability to develop a collaboration among the various entities such as DEQ and RVCOG that would be interested in the project. She said that previously he had indicated the willingness to donate up to 40 hours on the project. Was that still his estimate? Mr. Kay said that he was willing to invest "whatever time it takes" to complete the task if the Commission wanted him to undertake it.

Commissioner Eggers said that her understanding was that, for this first stage, that the Commission was looking for information on a broad spectrum of possible options, from ones that utilize the most "mechanical" solution to those that utilize the most "natural" solution and everything in between. She asked Mr. Kay whether or not he would be willing to present that broad range of options even though his "favorite" solution might lean a particular direction. He said that he could and would be willing to do so. He said that he would develop information for the Commission on a wide range of solutions that it could choose among as long as they will be effective, efficient, reliable, proven and "beautiful".

Commissioner Landt asked several questions of Mr. Kay to which he responded as follows: 1) That he was willing to volunteer his services on this project because it's something that interests him very much, similarly to other projects related to the Bear Creek Watershed which have interested him and on which he as volunteered his time, 2) That he believed he could make a report to the Commission in two months, 3) That he would be willing to meet with stakeholders such as the Ashland Watershed Partnership to gather ideas, and 4) That he would be able to rank the various methodologies as to relative cost.

Verland Beard (8007 Dead Indian Road) encouraged the Commission to fast track work on the ponds. Particularly the lower pond is extremely bad, smelly, and an eyesore.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers cited several possible criteria she would like to see incorporated into whatever solution the Commission select for improving water quality in the ponds: That is be effective, creative and aesthetically pleasing, relatively low cost, educational, and address related problems such as the number of ducks and rat population. Commissioner Lewis commented that he felt that it would be appropriate to take Paul Kay up on his offer to provide information about the various methodologies that could be used. As the Commission is in a learning process, he also felt that it was the appropriate time to get the community involved.

Commissioner Landt said that he could support having a local volunteer get the project off the ground. However, he had some stipulations which he felt were important to include: 1) that staff would begin developing the bid documents for the next phase or phases, 2) that he would like for this information gathering phase to be completed within 2 months with a finished report made to the Commission which would include relative costs of the different options, and 3) that stakeholders be involved, particularly those with information or expertise to offer, and 4) that a letter of agreement be written that includes the items that both parties said that they would do.

MOTION - After some additional discussion, Commissioner Eggers made a motion to authorize staff to work with Paul Kay to generate some options for dealing with the water quality problems in the Lithia Park ponds. Commissioner Landt seconded.

Discussion of Motion- Commissioner Landt asked that the stipulations he spoke of previously be added to the motion. Commissioner Eggers agreed to the amend the motion. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

Review outdoor lighting on Calle Guanajuato - Director Mickelsen reported that staff is still working with the company who manufactured the lights encouraging it to complete work on a "proto-type" louver assembly that would help to direct more of the light down toward the ground. He said that staff is hopeful that that assembly will be available soon. He briefly reviewed the discussion which took place at the Commission's December Regular Meeting on the topic. He also commented that, as stated in its memorandum dated December 12, 2000, staff still believes that if item #3 of the lighting policy were amended that it would leave some discretion in particular locations whether or not it would be appropriate to allow some spillage off park property.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers commented that she was surprised at how much glare was coming from the lights in place. She said that she definitely wants to have some kind of adaptation made to direct the light downward. As to re-wording the policy, she said that she believes that it is a good policy the way it stands and would not like to weaken it.

Commissioner Jones agreed with Commissioner Eggers' comments. She said that she would like to see what the lighting company is able to develop to determine whether or not it addresses the glare and deflecting the light.

Commissioner Lewis agreed with Commissioner Jones' comments adding that if the "louvers" the company is developing doesn't work, then the Commission could consider other alternatives. However, he was in favor of solving the problem, not weakening the policy.

Commissioner Landt said that his concern was that fixtures had been installed that did not meet our policy in the first place. He doesn't like the fact that that we are not in compliance with our own policy. He indicated that he would like to set some kind of date for getting us into compliance with the policy.

Commissioner Jones said that it appears that the lighting company will be coming up with the louvers soon. She felt that before taking other action to get us into compliance that we should give them a chance; give them time to help us out so that we do not have to go out and purchase new fixtures.

Commissioner Eggers commented that if the company cannot come up with the "louvers" within a couple of weeks that she felt that some temporary measures should be taken so that the glare doesn't continue. It might not be beautiful but it would help.

MOTION - Following additional brief discussion, Commissioner Lewis made a motion to direct staff to contact the lighting company asking that they provide the louvers within one month, and, if that can't be done, to look at other options. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no.

NEW BUSINESS

Review and approve outdoor seating policy for restaurants on Calle Guanajuato - Director Mickelsen indicated when the design for restoration of the Calle had been approved that two additional alcoves had been created on the east side of the creek. The purpose of the agenda item is to give the Commission the opportunity to review its policy related to allocating areas for restaurant seating. Prior to restoration, there were four areas allocated for restaurant seating. The Commission will need to approve including the two additional alcoves for restaurant seating if the areas are to be used in that manner.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Ron Roth (6950 Old 99 South) said that he thinks adding the two alcoves to areas available for restaurant seating is a good idea. He feels that people enjoy eating outside and that it is an appreciated amenity in the area which would be enjoyed by the community.

A second person, the owner of Quinz Restaurant, said that they have been permitted to set up a couple of tables outside their restaurant on weekdays but not weekends to make room for the Marketplace. She said that, if it were possible, she would like to have permission to use the area seven days a week.

DISCUSSION AMONG COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Eggers commented that she preferred not to add the two alcoves to the list of areas set aside for restaurant seating because she would prefer to keep more of the area on the east side available to the general public.

Commissioner Lewis commented that he believed that providing outdoor restaurant seating on the east side would be in keeping with the City's policy to encourage outdoor seating along the boulevard, and, that there would be plenty of opportunity for the general public to enjoy the creek and eat picnic lunches in the park-like setting on the west side of the creek. He commented that perhaps raising fees would be in order since they have not been raised since 1992.Commissioner Landt said that he would concur with Commissioner Eggers and that he did not see a compelling need to establish more restaurant seating on the east side. Unlike the boulevard, we don't need additional restaurant seating to make it more attractive; it's already attractive and does draw people. And, once the alcoves are allocated for restaurant use it would be very difficult to go back if we wanted more space for general public use.

Ron Roth, owner of the Plaza Restaurant, asked to address the Commission again briefly. He said that when the design of the east side was being considered, the addition of space for additional restaurant seating was frequently discussed.

Commissioner Landt commented that it although providing additional space for restaurant seating may have been discussed, when the Commission adopted the design, it was not specified that these areas would be used for restaurant seating.

Verland Beard said that he had no affiliation with any restaurant on the plaza but would support adding the seating for restaurant use. He said that a lot of people who use lower Lithia Park are visitors and they do not bring sack lunches from home. And, there is no little grocery store nearby. He thought they would appreciate being able to go to a restaurant and eat outside. He referred to the "River Walk" in San Antonio, Texas as a concept Commissioners should consider when making their decision.

Commissioner Lewis suggested that perhaps a compromise would be to place a couple of benches in the "public areas" and still allow areas #5 and #6 to be used for restaurant seating.

Commissioner Jones indicated that she believes the Calle area has a nice mix with restaurants on the east side and an open, park setting on the west. She said that in visiting other cities she has experienced such areas and that they are very much enjoyed.

Commissioner Landt commented that he felt it was a shame that we do not have a "plan" for amenities on the east side. Simply establishing restaurant seating would be an easy way out; it becomes the amenity. And, once we do it, we will have a hard time going back. He suggested that the Commission choose to establish a "plan" prior to committing the space to restaurant seating.

Commissioner Eggers said that it appeared to her that if the Commission tried to vote on the issue tonight that it would come up with a 2 - 2 vote. She suggested that we just keep the restaurant seating the way it is for now. Commissioner Jones said that she would prefer to have the item and placed on next month's agenda. Commissioner Lewis said that he would also like to have the item addressed at the April meeting.

Items related to policy were briefly reviewed. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of increasing fees. It was decided that because the topic would be addressed again in April, no decisions would be made about a fee increase at this time.

Adopt agenda format and guidelines for conducting Regular Meetings

MOTION - Commissioners having reviewed the memorandum dated March 19, 2001, Commissioner Jones made a motion to adopt items number 1 through 10 related to Regular Meeting agendas and conducting meetings as outlined in the notes from the Study Session on February 28, 2001. Commissioner Eggers seconded.

Discussion of Motion - Commissioner Landt said that he thought that Commissioners had agreed not to take any action on items which had not been previously published as an agenda item. Director Mickelsen commented that it was his recollection that it was discussed but Commissioners chose not to adopt it as policy because it would prohibit the Commission from taking action even on minor matters without prior publication. As Commissioners will be meeting again to discuss operating procedures, they chose to discuss this topic further at that time. Commissioner Landt also said he was concerned with including item #10 until it was discussed more fully.

In light of the discussion, Commissioner Jones amended her motion to read that items # 2 through #9 would be adopted. Commissioner Eggers concurred with the amendment. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no.

Review policy related to Bids for Materials and Construction Contracts

Director Mickelsen said that approximately a year ago the Commission adopted a policy related to bidding for Materials and Construction Contracts. At that time, Commissioners indicated that they wanted to review the policy in a year to determine how effectively it was working. He said that staff has had no difficulty in implementing the policy.

MOTION - Commissioner Eggers made a motion to affirm the policy as originally approved. Commissioner Jones seconded. The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no.

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

Possible need to implement water curtailment - summer 2001 - Director Mickelsen reported that due to the potential water shortage this summer that Parks staff and City staff have been meeting to review and discuss the City's current water curtailment policy. In addition, Department staff is in the process of reviewing and developing a water use plan for the Department in the event that water curtailment is implemented this year.

Update on Perozzi property - Director Mickelsen reported that SOU had accepted an offer from a private developer. He said that if the Commission chose to do so, it could meet in Executive Session following the Regular Meeting to discuss options which are still open to the City regarding the property. Commissioners chose to meet in Executive Session as had been advertised for this purpose.

Report by sub-committee related to Cline / Bryant property and the Ashland Land Trust - Director Mickelsen reported that, as asked by the Commission at its February meeting, the sub-committee consisting of Commissioners Jones and Lewis had met with representatives to have the Trust clarify what portion of the Cline / Bryant property it would like to have partitioned for purchase for the purposes of affordable housing. The memorandum from the sub-committee dated March 26, 2001 outlines the result of the meeting which took place today.

Commissioner Lewis said that he understood that he and Commissioner Jones were asking that the item be placed on the agenda without the opportunity to advertise it, however, it has been discussed previously in public meetings and he did not believe it would come as a surprise to anyone if the Commission chose to take action tonight. He said that he had volunteered to work on the sub-committee because he was one of the Commissioners who had questions about boarders of the park if the property were partitioned as the Land Trust requested. He was interested in knowing whether or not the Trust could work with a different scenario, particularly the option that would eliminate the house at 669 N. Main and thereby "square off" the portion of the property that would remain park land. He said that Land Trust representatives indicated that keeping the house at 669 N. Main in the equation for affordable housing was very important to them and expressed surprise that the committee wanted to discuss different scenarios.

Commissioner Lewis said that the tentative price for the property had also been briefly discussed in the sub-committee meeting. He said that Trust representatives indicated that if the Commission requested re-reimbursement at the level previously mentioned, that that may also make it impossible for the Land Trust. He said that he and Commissioner Jones were interested in having the Commission make a decision at this meeting related to how the property would be partitioned so that the process could move forward. The Land Trust was in limbo until the Commission made a decision on that point. He said that he and Commissioner Jones would be willing to continue to work with the Trust to determine whether or not a price that both entities would consider workable could be agreed upon.

Commissioner Jones commented that there was some confusion at the last meeting whether or not the Trust wanted or needed the whole area. She said that Trust representatives indicated that they did need the entire area to make the project work. She also felt that it would be appropriate to move forward with a decision because the Commission has had the opportunity to consider the request for several months.

After brief discussion, without the objection of other Commissioners, Chair Landt said that the item would be considered an action item if a motion came forward.

Commissioner Eggers inquired about the relative costs between demolishing the house at 669 N. Main and utilizing that flat area for park purposes versus having to level another area in order to make for a "flat area" for park amenities. Commissioner Lewis said that he believed it would be a "wash" as to the comparative dollar amount.

If the Commission chose to recommend to the Council that the property be partitioned as the Land Trust was requesting and considering the fact that the Land Trust does not have sufficient monies available to purchase the property at this time, Commissioner Eggers inquired what would happen to the decision to partition the property in this manner if the Trust could not come up with the money. Commissioner Lewis said that it was his understanding that the original scenario whereby only the historic house and associated property would then be partitioned for sale. Partitioning the larger piece would be contingent on the Trust being able to purchase it for affordable housing purposes.

Commissioner Eggers also commented that if the property were partitioned in a manner that would work for the Land Trust that she believed that it was important when considering the selling price that the Park Land / Open Space Land Acquisition fund be adequately reimbursed. Although she supported affordable housing in the community, she did not believe that it would be appropriate for the Commission to subsidize the affordable housing program.

Commissioner Landt commented that it appeared that Commissioner Lewis was acting more as an advocate for "affordable housing" than as an advocate for "parks". He said that if the portion of property the Land Trust was requesting was sold, he believed that it would be more difficult to develop the park. Commissioner Lewis basically said that if the difference were between having a "good neighborhood park" and a "bad neighborhood park", he would agree with Commissioner Landt. However, if we granted the Land Trust its request, he believed that we could still develop a good neighbor park even if the boundary lines were not "squared off".

Commissioner Jones commented that the Land Trust's proposal is attractive to her in that if it worked it could be a win / win situation for both affordable housing and parks. She didn't believe that granting the Land Trust's request would prohibit a viable neighborhood park from being developed.



Commissioner Landt said that he still believed that the best plan for park purposes was to stay with the original concept of selling off the house at 667 N. Main an keeping the remainder as a neighborhood park. If the Land Trust's request were granted, he saw conflicts developing related to access and having the house at 669 N. Main "sticking out" into the park.

MOTION - Commissioner Jones made a motion to approve partitioning the Cline / Bryant property as recommended by the sub-committee in its memorandum dated March 26, 2001. Commissioner Lewis seconded the motion. The vote was: 2 yes - 2 no (Eggers, Landt)

Chair Landt asked if there was an alternative motion that could be made that would enable more Commissioners to support the motion and would also be acceptable to the Land Trust. Commissioner Lewis said that although there was some confusion on the part of Commissioners at the March Regular Meeting, the Land Trust representatives have not expressed interest in any other scenario. In response to a comment by Councillor Laws, Commissioner Lewis confirmed that without the full property being requested, the Land Trust did not believe it would be able to receive adequate funding to make the proposal viable.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Jones inquired a time line for when improvements will be made at the Dog Park. Director Mickelsen said work will begin late this spring.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and AGENDA ITEMS

Two upcoming Study Sessions have been scheduled: Wednesday, April 4th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the 5-Year Capital Improvements Plan and Wednesday, April 11th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Commission operating procedures.

The next Regular Meeting will be Monday, April 26, 2001and will include the following tentatively scheduled agenda items: Mt. Ashland Babe Ruth is requesting permission to charge an admission fee to attend a district tournament that will be held at N. Mountain Park, City staff will present a design plan for the property at Wightman and East Main for the wetlands water treatment system, Salary negotiations for FY 2001-2002, Restaurant Seating for the Calle.

ADJOURNMENT - With no further business, by consensus, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Ann Benedict, Business Manager, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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