City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
September 26, 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 7:15 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Special Meeting – August 15, 2011
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
Study Session – August 15, 2011
Under “CIP Discussion / Discussion Among Commissioners,” in the section in which commissioners discussed prioritizing park development projects, Landt said his statement on the matter was as follows: “Landt said he did not think prioritizing was clearcut. He said if Ashland Creek Park were to get a grant then it should be first, but that the lower Clay Street site was a haven for weeds and an eyesore; thus, from a standpoint of cleaning up messes and public relations, there might be a different priority.
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – August 22, 2011
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Vanston Shaw, 180 Lithia Way #208, thanked the commission for modifying the ordinance regarding dogs in parks and allowing them on some neighborhood park walkways and six feet adjacent to walkways. He said he represented Ashland Loves Dogs and would work with them to ensure as few problems as possible. He said he would be willing to facilitate updating websites with current dog rule changes as implemented by the commission. He said Parks Superintendent Dickens was doing a good job and expressed gratitude for the new Hunter Park tennis court light bulbs.
Sherry Smilo, 2305C Ashland Street, said she lived in a mobile home park adjacent to the lower Clay Street parcel [purchased by the City for housing and parkland] and began attending commission meetings when she heard that a walking path might be installed behind the mobile home park. She said she now understood there were plans for a parking lot behind those homes and she did not want that, either. Robertson said the commission had not started planning for the park at lower Clay Street and rumors might be circulating. Smilo thanked the commission for their volunteerism and said she learned a great deal by attending their meetings.
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
APPROVE PROPOSED CIP
As part of the City budget preparation process, Robertson said all City departments prepared a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that was administered through Public Works. He said the Parks CIP included both funded and unfunded projects and primary sources of revenues for funded projects were Systems Development Charges and Food and Beverage Tax receipts. He said the commission discussed their CIP list several times over past months and made changes, with the most recent changes the reorganization of projects, additions to the “Unfunded” category, and a consistent 10% included for park development projects. Once the list was approved by the commission, he said it would be forwarded to Public Works and then folded into the City’s CIP and presented to council for approval. He asked for feedback on the revised list of FY 2013-2018 projects.
Robertson said staff toured the Parks system and created a list of possible infrastructure improvements that reflected deferred maintenance issues. He said many of the maintenance projects could be funded through the regular Parks maintenance budget and Food and Beverage taxes but not SDCs. Staff estimated those upgrades costing two million dollars over five years. Landt said it was more important to fix existing infrastructure and ensure safety and functionality than to embark on new projects. He suggested including within the CIP list, under “Unfunded,” two million dollars for “Deferred Infrastructure Improvements.” Rosenthal requested adding the “Oak Knoll Golf Course cart path extension / improvements” discussed by the commission in the past. Other commissioners suggested including it on the list of infrastructure improvements along with other amenities needing upgrades and Rosenthal agreed.
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the CIP projects as proposed by staff, with the addition of two million dollars for “Deferred Infrastructure Improvements / Replacements” in the “Unfunded” column. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
[Eggers announced that the televised portion of the meeting began one-half hour earlier and the meeting started late due to technical issues beyond the commission’s control.]
SPECIAL EVENT “SELLING IN THE PARK” DISCUSSION
Dials reported working with City staff to craft a policy for special events. She said if the commission wished, staff could bring a draft policy back for their review and approval. She said such a policy would enable staff to determine “selling in the park” requests at the staff level. Commissioners provided feedback to the staff memorandum and associated questions, with most stating that the current policy did not serve staff, the commission, or the public well. Lewis said the commission already allowed restaurant sales on the Calle and concessions sales by Ashland Little League at Hunter Park, the Lions Club in Lithia Park, among others. Dials said her research showed that most Oregon cities allowed selling in parks with permits. Commissioners discussed implementing a new policy that would allow staff to approve requests at the staff level, then reviewing it at a later time and making any necessary adjustments. Commissioners agreed that staff could also forward problematic requests to the commission as needed. Landt suggested including within the policy a statement that all special event costs, both direct and indirect, would be borne by the requestors and sponsors. Commissioners discussed creating a list of criteria for staff to use in making decisions about special event requests, including requiring requestors to have 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Dials reminded the commission that the Community Center and Pioneer Hall were zoned for residential use and selling was prohibited. Commissioners discussed submitting a zoning change request for those buildings and Lewis suggested, in lieu of a zoning change, an ongoing Conditional Use Permit through Parks. He asked staff to look into whether the C-1-D zone change (commercial overlay) requested for a restaurant project on Winburn Way and approved by Planning was still in place and whether that affected selling at Pioneer Hall and the Community Center.
MOTION: Landt moved to direct staff to pursue a zoning change or obtain a Conditional Use Permit for the Ashland Community Center and Pioneer Hall to allow the community to better utilize those facilities. Lewis seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Upon further discussion, the commission agreed to include in the policy a restriction on the overall number of events in parks and the number of people per event and to consider impacts on parks when approving special events. They agreed to strike “Events Not Considered” from the draft policy.
Dials said the revised policy could be in place by April 2012 and would include the commission’s proposed revisions. Landt suggested including within the policy the need for a periodic or annual review along with a statement about the policy being revocable.
PROPOSED POLICY ON ENDING FUND BALANCE
Robertson said the commission discussed, at the September study session, the CIP and the Parks Capital Improvement Budget along with uses for the ending fund balance. He said they talked about the need to establish a policy for what to do in the event of accrued funds beyond the City requirement of an ending fund balance of 25% of revenues. He presented a draft policy based on the earlier discussion and asked for possible adoption or modifications. He said the draft was a proactive attempt to ensure the commission paid its fair share into the City’s reserve fund. He said the policy was a commission document that could be used by the commission in developing budgets but would not necessarily be binding from a City perspective, nor would it guarantee the permanent tax rate of $2.09. He said it would show council and the Budget Committee the commission’s willingness to be an equal member in the budget process, good stewards of City resources, and visible and transparent in its operations. Robertson said he already had spoken with the City Finance Director and City Administrator and they suggested that he check with a City auditor. He said the overage in ending fund balance was attributed to a miscalculation by the county on tax receipts.
Commissioners voiced disappointment that the inaccurate ending fund balance estimate prevented them from using those dollars for infrastructure improvements. They provided staff with feedback on the draft policy.
The commission thanked Robertson for his articulate explanation and directed him to revise the proposed draft policy per commission discussion, speak with City staff and auditors to ensure accuracy, and bring the proposed policy back to the commission for a final review and approval.
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Robertson said a Signs, Plaques, and Memorials Subcommittee meeting was set for Friday, September 30, at 8:30 a.m. in the Parks office.
Dials said the Annual Bear Creek Festival was scheduled for Saturday, October 1, from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at North Mountain Park.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Seffinger said she attended the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association conference in Bend, OR.
Seffinger reported that she heard positive feedback about recent changes in dog rules in Ashland parks.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation