ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
July 25, 2001
CALL TO ORDER - Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Susan Reid, Bruce Moats, Russ Chapman, Charles Bennett and Joanne Krippaehne. Staff present was Dick Wanderscheid. Dan Murphy represented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling. Members Russ Otte, Howard Braham, Paige Prewett, and Mort Smith were unable to attend the meeting.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - The June 27, 2001 minutes will be approved at the August 22 meeting.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE - Murphy reported 1) Julian Henry had recently passed away. Henry was instrumental in getting the depot put together. His wife has requested that donations be made to Ashland Sanitary in order to get a plaque made in his honor. So far, $325 has been received. Since the Conservation Commission had the plaque made to commemorate Ken Hagen at "The Grove", Ashland Sanitary was hoping the members could help with the wording on the plaque. Henry was particularly interested in the composting area and was one of the original compost class teachers. Wanderscheid will draft the language for the next meeting. 2) The yard debris box is out at the transfer station and is becoming very popular. Five to six tons a week are hauled. 3) There will be a free one-day computer components recycling day at the transfer station in October. Ashland Sanitary is working with Rogue Disposal on this.
Marketing - Krippaehne stated she and Otte had met and reviewed existing material. They came to the conclusion that advertising and publicity are coming along well and would like to see the focus on the market research side. Baselines can then be developed for the various programs in collecting data and in evaluating the programs in order to adjust them accordingly. The question is how to manage this given the lack of human resources available. They suggest going back to SOU to see if the Commission's projects can generate more interest from the business school marketing standpoint, as it would be useful to have a data driven process in order to use resources effectively. Advertising and marketing are working effectively now and the word is getting out concerning current issues, but since the barriers to some of the programs are unknown, they cannot be addressed. Krippaehne said she would be happy to be the liaison in order to accomplish this. There is a need to understand the economic aspects of conservation and this could make viable projects for the SOU students so in turn, it would generate good information for the Commission. Chapman said the projects need to be well defined. Reid suggested perhaps people could fill out short questionnaires while waiting in the Community Development Department as the beginning of a pilot program. Chapman volunteered one of his employees at Ashland Sanitary to take a survey also.
Adopt-A-Street - Chapman reported that Prewett has submitted more material to Adam Hanks. Hanks should have something before the next meeting.
Street Sweeping/Leaf Collection - Chapman said Public Works had drafted a letter to distribute to residents in the Railroad District. Reid suggested increasing the size of the map so it would be easier to read. The letter can be on the front and the map on the back. Bennett suggested having the dates on the map also.
T.I.D. - Wanderscheid said the Water Department is so busy trying to manage the low water system now that there has been no meetings. Chapman related that Communication & Marketing Manager Ann Seltzer and Public Works Director Paula Brown had asked him to write an article that would be published in the Tidings to re-emphasize the need for conservation. He and Seltzer submitted it to the newspaper but it still hasn't been printed. Reid said if we want to get a message out, something should be submitted to the Tribune also. The Commission agreed.
Construction Debris Recycling Brochure - Wanderscheid said the brochures have been submitted throughout different areas of the City Hall now and should be regularly given out with each building permit. For further revisions to the brochure, he asked that they be submitted to his office and he will make sure the changes occur.
Sustainable Housing Discussion - Krippaehne reported she had met with Community Development Director John McLaughlin and Senior Planner Bill Molnar. The primary comments from them were that the Commission should try to make things objective and measurable for the purposes of Planning Department use, and that one of their problems with the current process is that they don't feel the density program is enforceable over time. She said the Commission needs to give thought to this - is it practical to make the program enforceable over long term? Once credits have been given, it is questionable whether or not planning concerns can be addressed. Krippaehne said McLaughlin and Molnar stated that whatever measures the Commission develops be objective so that the people doing plan reviews don't have to make subjective judgements about the quality of the submittals or whether they really meet the program. Also, the Planning Department would like to make sure that whatever the Commission comes up be with enforceable over time.
Krippaehne explained the developers are allowed to increase the density in their proposed projects after meeting a certain percentage of criteria. This is compatible with larger sustainable housing programs. When Krippaehne asked about sustainable housing on a smaller scale, McLaughlin broached the idea of reducing systems development charges (SDCs) (perhaps storm drains) for single family residences. This would need to be considered at a higher level of decision makers, however, because if there is a demonstrable connection between some of the sustainable housing programs and reduced resources, this would affect the City. Wanderscheid said he has always thought it better to offer incentives to people than to reduce SDCs because incentives are given at the end of the process rather than at the beginning, when it can be seen what was actually done. It is sometimes very difficult if you have to go back and collect money for things that weren't done. Wanderscheid noted the City has an incentive program for paying a certain amount of money to those who build Super Good Cents homes, but this is limited to electrically heated homes.
Wanderscheid said this is a huge project involving the Planning Commission and the City Council. The way to tackle it from a Conservation Commission viewpoint is deciding first what a sustainable house is and how it is measured. Krippaehne related she is making progress in terms of putting together a proposal for the Commission to review and revise. Wanderscheid said that one of the problems with the Planning Department handout regarding the density bonus criteria is that the information is outdated. Planning will need something that is more timeless and that evolves as requirements and technologies change. The Commission then discussed various ways to offer incentives. Bennett stated that implementation seems to be one problem; the other problem that the Commission should be focusing on is defining what a sustainable house is. Once that is determined, implementation can be discussed. Krippaehne said she has a list of sustainable house criteria that should be considered. The key would be to get all the elements listed, then discuss how they might be used. More than one system might be needed for different sized projects. Reid suggested collecting ideas, then sorting them out and Krippaehne responded she has a good beginning and has been able to draw off some good programs already being implemented in other localities. Reid said she thinks it would be wonderful to give incentives for not only new construction but also remodeling/renovation of existing buildings.
The Commission commended Krippaehne for all the work she has done. Wandersheid also added it is helpful having Chapman as a member of the Conservation Commission and the Planning Commission because he will be a good liaison. The Conservation Commission needs to become the advocate for keeping sustainable housing in the code and making it strong. Krippaehne noted the Planning staff is very enthusiastic about involving the Conservation Commission in this. Reid stated she had recently met with a Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) representative and it occurred to her there may be money available for projects such as this. Because the sustainable housing issue will be an ongoing topic for quite a while, Reid suggested starting the meetings earlier in order to have more time for discussion. Wanderscheid also suggested inviting other Commission members and builders to a brainstorming session once more information is available.
Krippaehne also reported she had met with Mayor Alan DeBoer and Fire Chief Keith Woodley regarding the demolition of Blue Mountain Café in order to build the new fire station. At the meeting, she stated she stressed the Commission would like to see construction debris recycling be a part of that project, however, there are significant barriers. At the time they met, it looked as though the project was about half a million dollars over budget. In addition, the City is currently in legal discussion about the value of the property with the past owner and consequently, the City does not expect to be going out with a demolition contract until about two weeks prior to releasing the construction contract. This will leave a very short time frame in which to complete the demolition. Therefore, there won't be much time to do the sorting. Reid said this is very disappointing, but it demonstrates how difficult it is to get inside the construction process. The City is advocating the private sector take the time for recycling, but in this case, it would be very difficult for the public sector to do the right thing. Krippaehne said she has not yet met anyone at the Blue Mountain site, but the opportunity does not seem to be present on this project. She did note the Mayor and Fire Chief felt badly about this. Wanderscheid noted that although there is not a lot of debris generated from the library project, there is a waste management plan and Adroit Construction is required to recycle all demolition debris. Krippaehne said she got the impression that the City would be requiring this if it could.
Budget - Wanderscheid report the Conservation Commission has a new of $4,000. $100 has been committed to Claudia Law for teaching the compost classes.
COMMISSION ITEMS: 1) Reid said a resident spoke to her about getting more information out about water conservation and suggested perhaps the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) might be able to hang information on doors, etc. Wanderscheid said CERT is already doing that in certain neighborhoods. 2) It was decided the Commission should meet early for the September meeting in order to thoroughly discuss Sustainable Housing. 3) Krippaehne noted the school district may appoint the facility person to the Conservation Commission at a later date and that if Otte is not reappointed, she would like to be sure he is commended for all his work. Reid said it is good to keep teachers involved because they communicate to their classes.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.