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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, July 18, 2011

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION 
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

July 18, 2011

ATTENDANCE
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendent Dials
Absent: City Council Liaison Slattery; Interim Superintendent Hammers

CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

REVIEW ORDINANCE 10.68.060 PROHIBITING SELLING IN PARKS
Dials said Parks staff recently received several requests for selling in Lithia Park, with the most recent requests from The Siskiyou Challenge and Southern Oregon Pride. She said she contacted the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, City of Medford Parks and Recreation, and the City of Central Point to ask how they handled similar requests. She distributed a document showing what the other organizations charged for permits and booths, locations for selling, any non-profit discounts provided, liability insurance requirements, number of people per event, cleanup requirements, site plan requirements, and any restrictions. She asked the commission what types of selling they would consider: food booths, craft fair booths, individual street vendors. She said staff recommended placing booths at the Sycamore Grove near the bandshell, Winburn Way across from the bandshell, or the bandshell turnaround area. She said other commission considerations included the zoning of the Winburn Way area, which she said was Single-Family Residential (R-1-7.5) and required a Conditional Use Permit from the applicant, as well as vehicle access issues, cleanup/trash removal, extended amplification, wastewater disposal/potable water, non-profit status requirements, and fire/police concerns. She said staff was asking for direction on how to proceed and specifically wanted to know:

1. If the commission wished to pursue exemptions for “selling in the park” for both the Siskiyou Challenge and the Southern Oregon Pride Celebration;
2. If both requests could be placed on the next regular meeting agenda;
3. If the commission wished to review and possibly change the policy and, if so, when.
Dials said existing exemptions to the ordinance prohibiting selling in parks were Fourth of July Chamber of Commerce sales and Lions Club concessions at City Band concerts along with the Feast of Will. Lewis said other exemptions included Calle Guanajuato artisan / restaurant sales and North Mountain Park and Hunter Park baseball concessions. Landt asked whether the baseball concessions were granted by the commission and Robertson said the arrangements predated current Parks staff.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt said it was important to treat exemption requests in a consistent manner and it would behoove the commission to update its policy on selling, including rules about exemptions. Eggers said she preferred to deal with the current requests and review and update the policy another time. Landt said that if the commission approved the current requests then the floodgates would open with more requests. He said the exemption requests required staff time and suggested having requestors subsidize staff costs. Rosenthal suggested asking for a zoning change for that section of Lithia Park and Lewis suggested including Pioneer Hall and the Ashland Community Center in the zoning change request. Landt said a clear Parks policy on selling in parks would prevent staff from needing to get direction from the commission on individual requests.

Robertson said staff was asking for clear direction about the circumstances under which requests for selling could be approved at the staff level. He said staff also wanted direction on amplification, liability insurance requirements, profit or non-profit status requirements, locations for selling, and any conditions required of food vendors. Commissioners asked Dials to remove the grassy areas from the list of possible selling locations and to include the pavilion area near the bandshell. They agreed to add the topic to the July 25 regular meeting agenda and to hear the requests, then provide answers to the requestors.

EMAIL ADDRESSES / TRAINING SESSION
Robertson welcomed June Cumings of the Information Technology Department and introduced her to the commission. Cumings said newly issued City email accounts were created for the commission and they could begin using them immediately. She presented a Powerpoint showing details for accessing the Web-based Zimbra email system and said commission email addresses had the following format: commissioner_lastname@ashland.or.us. She said calendars could be shared among commissioners and IT would provide ongoing support. She said commissioners could create an automatic response for emails received on personal email accounts (previously used for commission business) that would notify senders about commissioners’ City-issued email accounts. Robertson said staff would post the new email addresses on the City Web site so community members could become familiar with using them. He said staff would begin sending electronic commission packets that could be accessed on home computers as well as with the iPads on order with IT. He said the iPads also could be used at the commission meetings. Cumings explained how to create a signature to accompany each email. She said she would send an email the following day to commissioners’ personal email accounts notifying them about how to access and use the new Zimbra email accounts.

PARK SIGNS DISCUSSION
Dials said staff reviewed Ashland park signs over the past two years and discussed, from a staff perspective, what was important for signage. She said front-line staff conveyed that visitors often expressed confusion about how to find parks or certain amenities. She said staff conducted or facilitated two surveys in fall 2010—an online survey about directional and interpretive signage and park rules and another survey by two high school students that was designed to help park visitors locate the Lithia Park reservoir. She said visitors clearly expressed the need for a sign at the Japanese-style garden in Lithia Park. She invited Environmental Education Coordinator Kari Gies to speak to the commission.

Gies said she and Dials, along with graphic artist consultant Karin Onkka, reviewed all the signs in the parks system and considered how they enhanced parks, provided direction and educational information, and outlined rules. She said staff wanted to offer good quality, consistent signage for the beautiful parks of Ashland. She showed a Powerpoint presentation of signage throughout the system and said it was by turn wordy or brief, old or funny, or embedded in rocks. She said park rule signs sometimes included ordinance numbers but not consistently. She said there was a lack of Parks identification in some areas such as at the golf course and the YMCA Park, both City-owned facilities maintained by Parks. She said a Signs, Plaques, and Memorials Subcommittee was formed by the commission and the members reviewed signage and memorials in parks and determined where they could be placed and how they were worded. She said she and other staff hoped to carry on with implementing consistent, updated, welcoming signage using long-lasting materials.

Dials said staff wanted to begin working on a signage plan and hoped to keep signs simple and pleasant, with rules explained clearly. She said staff planned to review state and federal guidelines for sign heights and other standards. She said they wanted more consistency in terms of font styles and sizes throughout the system and they would work with the new Parks Superintendent to develop a draft plan to present to the Signs, Plaques, and Memorials Subcommittee. Eggers asked staff to meet with the subcommittee before starting work on the plan. She said she felt strongly about simple and uncluttered placements of signs. Rosenthal said the commission previously discussed the possibility of bonding for other projects and he suggested including the signage project in the bond to allow it to move forward at one time rather than in stages. Landt said another option would be to fold the project into the Parks budget and complete it over a longer period of time. Eggers expressed the importance of posting clear regulations on park signs. Robertson asked whether the commission wished to use the City logo or maintain a separate Parks logo for signs. He said he preferred maintaining a separate logo. Landt said he also preferred a separate logo but requested no swans on the logo. He also suggested including the signs project within the Parks goal setting process.

ADJOURNMENT
By consensus, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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