City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
August 22, 2011
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; City Council Liaison Slattery; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – July 18, 2011
Under “Review Ordinance 10.68.060 Prohibiting Selling in Parks,” in the section in which “Commissioners asked Dials to remove the grassy areas from the list of possible selling locations in Lithia Park and include the pavilion area near the bandshell,” Eggers asked / Dials confirmed correct wording was “parking area near the bandshell.”
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – July 25, 2011
Under “Sewer Line Request for Ashland Creek Park,” in the paragraph in which City engineers described the proposed replacement pipe as a “cast in place pipe” or CIPP, Landt said the information was correct but irrelevant, as that portion of the project was not on Parks property. He asked for a period after the words “proposed replacement pipe.” Also in that section, where compaction of the soil was discussed, Landt said the commission discussed using wood chips as a prevention measure in the disturbed area around the pipe, which he indicated was not reflected in the minutes.
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
Dog Discussion and Recommendations
Robertson said he prepared a slideshow for the evening’s discussion and he reviewed the slideshow with the commission. He said the commission previously allowed dogs only at the Dog Park but then, several years ago, opened specified natural areas to dogs on leash. He said members of the public spoke and wrote to the commission expressing opinions both for and against allowing dogs in more parks. He said many citizens reported that the newer “dog friendly” areas were remote and the terrains difficult to traverse. He outlined eight points the commission could use in evaluating whether to open more parks to dogs on leash. He said the City had limited enforcement capabilities which made it a challenge. He reviewed City ordinances pertaining to dogs and said failure to adhere to dog laws was a Class IV violation carrying a maximum fine of $142 plus court fees. He said staff focused primarily on Ashland Municipal Code 9.16.060 which states: “Dogs, except for service animals, are not permitted in any of the City parks or the Plaza islands under any condition except as provided in section 9.16.030; except that the Ashland Park Commission may designate certain defined areas within such parks where dogs may be allowed on a leash which conforms to the above requirements; and except that a person may walk a dog on a leash through the Plaza islands if the dog remains on the paved portions of the Plaza islands.” He shared with the commission a list of eleven dog-related citations over a nine-month period.
Robertson’s slideshow included photos of park amenities such as walkways, drinking fountains, picnic tables, and park benches that park patrons with dogs could access while walking their pets. He said older adults needed flatter areas with amenities when walking pets. He said North Mountain Park posed a challenge as it included a nature center, a developed sports park, and a neighborhood park with a small playground. He asked the commission to consider whether to allow dogs in certain portions of that park or any of the park. He presented a list of staff recommendations for the commission’s consideration:
· Allow dogs on six foot (or less) leashes into certain parks on hard surfaces (asphalt or cement) or immediately adjacent to hard surfaces. Suggested neighborhood parks to include Bluebird, Clay Street, Garden Way, Garfield, Hunter, North Mountain, Railroad, Scenic, Sherwood, and Triangle.
· Owners to possess a means to clean up dog droppings immediately, with failure to do so a Class IV violation.
· Failure to immediately clean up dog waste is a Class IV violation.
· Dogs to be leashed at all times and owners to have leashes in their possession at all times.
· Signs and “mutt mitts” to be placed at primary entrance points prior to any rule adjustment taking place.
· Provided that dogs remain on leash and waste is immediately removed, allow for a designated dog route through Lithia Park along Winburn Way, the Parks Administration office parking area, and the old Pioneer Street Trail.
Vince Zauskey, 1875 Ventura Circle #2, one of the original volunteers at North Mountain Park, said he photographed numerous birds at North Mountain Park through the years and allowing dogs there was not a good idea. He said the scent of dogs and their byproducts would be a detriment to other animals visiting the park. He read a list of birds that wintered over at the park and asked how they would do that if dogs were present. He suggested making the “no dogs” signs larger to alleviate confusion about whether or not dogs were allowed. He said a nature preserve and dogs was not a good match.
Bettina Arrigoni, 380 Hemlock Lane, thanked Parks staff for their presentation and echoed Zauskey’s concerns about allowing dogs at North Mountain Park. She said she owned a dog but agreed that dogs and North Mountain Park was not a good match.
Bob Arrigoni, 380 Hemlock Lane, said he and his wife owned dogs and understood that people wanted to take their dogs wherever they went. He said the great silent majority, the wildlife in Ashland, could not speak for themselves so he was advocating on their behalf about not allowing dogs in the soft trail sections of North Mountain Park. He said he saw muskrats, foxes, beavers, and other wildlife at the park and they would not visit if dogs were present.
Vicki Bamman, 311 Glenn Street, thanked Parks staff for their thorough report and said she agreed that dogs were not appropriate for North Mountain Park natural areas. She asked for the remainder of North Mountain Park to be available for dogs and their owners. She read a paragraph of a prepared letter in which she asked for dogs to be allowed in parks with their families in a more humane way than just on paved surfaces. She asked the commission to consider all of Ashland’s parks for dogs and said she was not allowed to visit Lithia Park with her dog other than on the pavement.
Nancy Green 241 N. Laurel Street, said Ashland was a special place and she wanted her grandson to have the opportunity to play and picnic in parks but the residue from dogs was a problem. She indicated on a City map the areas where dogs were allowed and said she estimated they were allowed in 90% of Ashland. She asked that the remaining 10% be kept clean, safe, and dog-free. She said allowing leashed dogs to use hard surfaces through parks could make the issue more ambiguous for dog owners. She asked where a family could go to protect small children from dogs and said if dogs had been kept under control and on leash the commission would not be having the dogs discussion.
Commissioners asked clarifying questions about citations, fines, ordinances, and the staff recommendations. Robertson said the parks with paths, restrooms, and drinking fountains had cement or blacktopped areas leading up to the amenities. He said staff had not included within the list a walking path around the golf course as they were not able to identify a safe passage through holes #4 and #5.
MOTION: A motion by Seffinger, seconded by Rosenthal, failed for lack of a majority vote. The motion read: “I move that all Ashland parks, current dog friendly natural areas, spectator areas at sports fields, and paths, including a marked walking path on Winburn Way adjacent to Lithia Park, be open to dogs on leash with the exceptions of Lithia Park, sports playing fields, North Mountain Park except for the sports field spectator areas, and children’s playgrounds.”
Discussion Among Commissioners
Eggers strongly promoted gaining control of enforcement issues before opening more park areas to dogs. Seffinger said neighborhood parks were underutilized for people with dogs and she had observed more people using dog bags to pick up dog waste. She reported studying other cities’ practices and learning that Ashland was one of the most restrictive cities on the West coast for dogs. She said taxpaying dog owners needed more access to park areas with their dogs. Rosenthal agreed that the current policy was too restrictive and that allowing more dogs in parks was a livability, economic impact, and quality of life issue. He said Parks’ role was to help promote healthy lifestyles, especially for older adults. Lewis thanked the public for their letters and emails and said he read all of them. He said his concerns were about health, safety, leash issues, and cleanup of dog waste, which he said was a big problem. He said mutt mitt stations would be an enhancement and might encourage more people to pick up after their dogs. Landt said it was time to liberalize dog ordinances and he suggested allowing for a trial period, reviewing feedback, then possibly taking further action in the future. He suggested replacing the words “hard surfaces (asphalt or cement)” in the staff recommendation list with “paved surfaces and six feet adjacent to paved surfaces.” He suggested opening one sports park to dogs on leash and suggested Hunter Park rather than North Mountain Park. He said he could agree to the opening of Garfield Park to dogs on leash on a trial basis.
MOTION: Landt moved to allow dogs in certain parks under the following conditions on a trial basis for one year, followed by a review, at which time Parks will decide whether to make the proposal permanent or drop it. Dogs in the following parks to be kept on a six-foot-or-less leash on paved surfaces and six feet immediately adjacent to paved surfaces: Bluebird, Clay Street, Garden Way, Garfield, Hunter, Railroad, Scenic, Sherwood, and Triangle. Owners to be in possession of a means to clean up dog droppings at all times, with failure to do so a Class IV violation; failure to immediately clean up dog waste a Class IV violation; leashes to be kept on dogs and owners to have the leash in their physical possession at all times; signs and “mutt mitts” to be placed at the primary entrance to each park where dogs are allowed prior to the rule adjustment taking place; and signs to state: “Dogs welcome within this park on six-foot-or-less leashes on paved surfaces and six feet adjacent to paved surfaces. Owners responsible for removal of dog waste immediately.” Seffinger seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
A proposed amendment by Seffinger to add the pathway on the opposite side of the creek adjacent to the Calle Guanajuato, which would have allowed dog owners to use the restrooms and picnic tables, was not accepted by Landt because he said he needed staff feedback before adding that area.
The vote was: Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger - yes
Eggers – no
Robertson said it would take several months to purchase and install mutt mitt dispensers and post signs at park entrances and he set an estimated completion date of November 1. For a future meeting, Rosenthal asked for a discussion about possibly opening designated sections of Lithia Park to dogs and owners. Landt suggested installing a sidewalk adjacent to Winburn Way rather than painting a stripe on the road for a dog walking lane. Seffinger agreed and suggested installing a mutt mitt dispenser for that lane. Robertson asked commissioners to submit their suggestions and said staff would prepare an update report for an October commission meeting.
Calle Stairway Sculpture Garden
Robertson said staff received a request from the Public Arts Commission (PAC) to relocate a sculpture known as “The Gift” to a permanent site in the Arnie Kriegel Memorial Sculpture Garden at the base of the Calle Stairway. He said the PAC was formed, in part, for the purpose of making recommendations to other commissions and council about placements for public art within the City. He said two PAC commissioners were on hand to present the request and answer any questions.
PAC members Annette Pugh and Dana Bussell said the sculpture entitled “The Gift” did not fit the pedestal on which it had been mounted so it was removed and placed into storage for safekeeping. They suggested placing the sculpture onto another pedestal at the base of the stairs in the nook to the left, with a different sculpture chosen for the upper pedestal. Bussell said the artwork was part of the City’s art collection and any damage would be covered by the PAC. They said the sculpture previously had an associated memorial plaque for Jack Hardesty.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Eggers said there was initial confusion because the PAC did not consult with the Parks Commission before making a decision about the sculpture’s relocation to another section of the Parks-managed Calle Stairway.
MOTION: Lewis moved to approve placing the sculpture called “The Gift” in the Arnie Kriegel Memorial Sculpture Garden in the location discussed, with the memorial plaque forwarded to the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee for handling. Landt seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
Commissioners discussed in more detail the proposed area for the artwork and agreed it would not impede the pathway or any performances. Lewis said the City made a decision about the importance of public art when they formed the Public Arts Commission. Landt said the City viewed public art as important and this would allow the Parks Commission to be part of that process and show support for the PAC. Eggers asked that the proposed location, sculpture, and memorial plaque be reviewed by the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee. Landt asked for a friendly amendment to the motion: “That the art placement would not include a memorial plaque, and that any memorial plaque would be reviewed by the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee.” Lewis agreed to the amendment and said that if the PAC decided they wanted to have a memorial plaque for the sculpture, they would need to submit their request to the Signs and Plaques Subcommittee.
The vote was: Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger – yes
Eggers – no
CIP Projects Discussion
Robertson said the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which was administered through the Public Works Department, typically was approved during the annual budget process but the timing was changed and approval was moved to the fall timeframe. He said Public Works planned to bring the CIP to council in October. He said the CIP was funded primarily through Food and Beverage Tax dollars along with Systems Development Charges (SDCs) but the commission also had the discretion to transfer funds into the CIP through grants and from the general fund. He said the commission discussed the CIP at their August 15 study session and directed staff to make changes to the draft list and bring it back to the commission for review and discussion. He presented the revised draft list showing CIP projects and estimated dollar amounts for FY 2013 through FY 2018.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed prioritizing projects and possibly moving certain items to the “Unfunded” column. They asked staff to categorize some projects, including “Overlay parking lots” and “Tennis court resurfacing,” as “Long-term maintenance plan” projects. Landt asked for a consistent planning percentage of 10% for development projects such as the Lithia Park master plan and upper and lower Clay Street parks. Robertson said the CIP was a flexible plan and the commission had the discretion to shift and update it on an annual basis, with some projects pulled back and others pushed forward. Commissioners agreed to discuss bonding and review the entire CIP list in more detail at the September study session.
Proposed Trail Easement with Ashland Christian Fellowship
Robertson said staff had been working with the Ashland Christian Fellowship Church, which offered easement property, about possibly creating a trail linkage along the approximate east side of Ashland Creek stretching from Oak Street near the Central Bike Path to Hersey Street. He said this project was in compliance with the Parks and Recreation Trail Master Plan that was developed in 2005 and adopted in 2006 in coordination with the City Comprehensive Plan. He said the trail would include 450 linear feet of ADA-compliant trail along with an additional 260 feet of non-ADA-compliant trail, with a maximum width of 48 inches. He said the church would designate a parking spot near the trailhead for ADA parking for the trail and the church and the Parks Department would partner on the construction of the native soils trail. He said a raised walk would be built around several trees, with the bank shaved down at the north end of the trail and some soils pushed up along other stretches of the bank and trail. He said native vegetation would be planted along the trail to enhance stream protection and trail separation.
Forestry and Trails Supervisor Jeff McFarland said staff would install some small diameter cribbing along the path at the lower side of the trail and also put in a minimal amount of decomposed granite to create a level surface to meet ADA compliance standards. He said the surface would also be compliant with the riparian ordinance.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt said his concerns included putting a trail on top of fill and protecting the creek and riparian areas by installing the trail as far away from the creek as possible. He said that, in the absence of a current map of the area, he would have to trust staff’s word. Lewis said staff worked hard with the church donors to develop a proposal that was consistent with the Trails Master Plan.
MOTION: Landt moved to accept the trail easement offered by Ashland Christian Fellowship Church as described and discussed. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
September Study Session Date
Robertson said the standard third Monday of the month study session date conflicted with the annual Oregon Recreation and Parks Association conference. The commission agreed to conduct the study session on Tuesday, September 13.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
Study session set for September 13 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
Regular meeting set for September 26 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:50 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation