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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Monday, March 26, 2012

 

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES


March 26, 2012

ATTENDANCE
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; City Council Liaison Silbiger; Director Robertson; Superintendent Dials and Dickens

Absent: None

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 – February 13, 2012

MOTION  Landt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – February 27, 2012
Under “Annual Integrated Pest Management Policy Review & Volunteer Coordinator Update,” in Landt’s motion to approve a revision to the Parks Commission’s IPM policy to allow for the use of non-synthetic pesticides, per label instructions, in all parks at staff’s discretion with the exception of limitations imposed by other regulatory bodies, the second sentence of his motion was corrected to read: “He further moved to change signage requirements to allow informational signs to be posted at the time of application only and to eliminate date restrictions for applications of non-synthetic pesticides, thereby allowing the products to be used throughout the year per label instructions.” Rosenthal seconded the motion.

Eggers asked about the sentence in which “requests for exemptions of non-synthetics” was mentioned. Staff stated that the term should have been “requests for exemptions of synthetics.” Landt withdrew his motion and Rosenthal withdrew his second. The motion was restated as follows:


MOTION  Landt moved to approve the minutes as corrected by staff and to change the term “non-synthetic” to “synthetic.” Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
Eggers suggested deleting from the agenda “Review Tiered System for Pesticide Applications in Parks” to allow the commission to seek clarification on the topic. She said audience members attending the meeting to speak to the topic could do so during “Open Forum.”

MOTION: Landt moved to postpone “Review Tiered System for Pesticide Applications in Parks” until a later date. Eggers seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
OPEN FORUM

Kiwina deSoto, 363 Helman Street, said he and his canine companion of 13 years, Hokulani, were requesting ADA stickers on park signs indicating that service dogs were welcome in Ashland parks. He said the stickers would allow dogs to walk on padded surfaces through parks with their owners rather than on cement. The stickers, which he first requested one year ago, would bring Parks into compliance with ADA laws. He said lack of compliance could lead to a minimum $10,000 lawsuit against the City. He asked for the ADA stickers to appear within one month’s time. He said the stickers would make for responsible leashed dog owners. He asked for more understanding and compliance with ADA laws and for the commission to lead the way in this matter. He reported scheduling a meeting with Robertson on Friday to discuss the matter in more detail.

Cate Hartzell, 892 Garden Way, asked for the online posting of the Parks IPM policy presentation / annual review. Other suggestions included a public noticing process for the annual review such as the mailing of postcards, for Parks to follow the BLM practices of steam removal of weeds and the dying red of poison pesticide products for easier identification, and for the training of applicators of non-synthetic products. She asked for the intent behind the commission’s decision to allow staff to use pesticides at their discretion. She said the commission could approach this as a research project that included a long-term monitoring plan and involvement by the OSU Extension Program. She expressed appreciation for the commission’s commitment to the use of non-synthetic products in parks.

Landt clarified that at the current time and for the past year, only non-synthetic, organic products were used in parks and at the February 27 meeting the commission made one exception to that policy: to allow use of synthetics on the North Mountain Park ballfield infields as a last resort for weed control. Eggers added that one change was made to the signage requirements: posting at the time of organic application only.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FY 2012-2013

Robertson said the commission heard a staff report at the March 19 study session outlining the proposed budget prepared by staff. He said the proposed budget showed an ending fund balance of $1,534,919 which, when combined with the $50,000 contingency fund, was elevated to $1,584,919, or 30% per commission policy. He said included within the Parks staff budget were two transfers: the first for $150,000 to the City reserve fund and the second for $200,000 to the Parks and Recreation capital improvement budget for deferred maintenance and repair projects. He said the City Administrator and City Finance Director suggested a Parks budget with a 25% ending fund balance per City policy, a transfer of $350,000 to the Parks capital improvement budget for deferred maintenance, and the retention of the Parks $2.09 millage for the upcoming fiscal year. He said a subsequent conversation with City staff confirmed their proposed budget as previously discussed but included a $263,000 transfer to the general fund rather than the reserve fund. He said the City explained that the transfer was recommended to balance the City’s general fund. Robertson said increased funding for deferred maintenance would help the Parks system in the near term but detract from the ending fund balance in the long term.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners expressed opposition to the City’s plan to use Parks funds to balance the City’s general fund. Rosenthal said the aging parks system should not be mortgaged, nor serve as the City’s cash machine. Landt said Parks leftovers were now the City’s and the City needed to understand Parks’ deferred maintenance issues. Seffinger expressed concern about repairing safety issues for the sake of Ashland citizens. She said the commission was powerless in terms of using its budget as needed for the Parks system. Landt said the commission chose to increase, by 5%, the Parks ending fund balance for two reasons: 1) Parks revenues were predominantly generated by property taxes and supplemented by variable fees and charges. The ending fund balance had to carry the Parks Department through the first third of the fiscal year so a larger balance was prudent; and 2) City Finance indicated that the Parks ending balance would decrease over time and last year the City took a portion of the ending balance and placed it in the reserve account while this year Parks funds would be placed in the reserve account along with a larger share into the general fund, a big change. He spoke of the history of the Parks Commission, stating that over 100 years ago, the citizens of Ashland voted in a tax millage specifically for Parks along with an elected commission. Landt said the state, several years ago, changed state property law, ending the separate taxation for Parks and merging the Parks millage into the City millage. A separate Parks millage, established by City charter, was no longer legal with the state but continued under a “gentleman’s agreement” with the City to the present day. He said the City was at a turning point: either the commission would continue its special relationship with the City or that relationship would erode. He said he did not support that erosion. Eggers said she did not wish to appear confrontational but the citizens of Ashland valued their parks and she felt the Parks budget was being nibbled away to a certain extent.


Robertson suggested having the commission attend the April 19 Budget Committee meeting and speak in support of the Parks budget. He said City Administrator Kanner was willing to meet with commissioners individually in his office. Lewis recommended taking the matter up with the Budget Committee on April 19 and stating the Parks rationale for the Parks budget. Landt said he preferred voting for the Parks budget that was developed by the commission rather than voting against the budget prepared by the City.

MOTION: Landt moved to adopt the Parks budget that included an ending fund balance of $1,534,919, or 29%, combined with the $50,000 contingency fund, for a combined ending fund balance of $1,584,919, or 30%, per commission policy. He further moved to approve two transfers: the first for $150,000 to the City reserve fund and the second for $200,000 to the Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Budget for deferred maintenance and repair projects. Seffinger seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

NEW BUSINESS
CITY / PARKS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Robertson said the City / Parks Memorandum of Understanding outlined services provided by the City to Parks and by Parks to the City and associated costs for those services. He said the department transitioned its accounting and financial services, as well as Human Resources and Legal, to the City and those services were captured in the MOU along with Parks’ assistance to the City. He said each year the City and Parks were audited and the auditors reviewed the MOU for a clear definition of how services were provided and paid for. He said council reviewed and approved the MOU at their March 20 meeting and Parks staff recommended approval of the document as presented.

MOTION: Rosenthal moved to approve the City / Parks MOU as presented. Landt seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

ANNUAL REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF CALLE GUANAJUATO CONTRACTS
Dials said staff would review the outdoor seating contract requests and artisan contracts, then would review the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) as it related to vehicles on the Calle Guanajuato. She said the commission was in charge of overseeing rental spaces on the Calle and they charged restaurants $5 per square foot and artisans $4 per square foot. She said restaurants had the opportunity this time each year to request outdoor dining in close proximity to their restaurants and the establishments requesting space on the Calle in 2012 included Sesame, Hana Sushi, Louie’s, Grilla Bites, Greenleaf, and Munchies. In terms of the season of operation for the artisans and restaurants, she said the commission approved, in 2011, a season that spanned April 1 through November 15 and staff recommended the same season for 2012. She said there were no significant changes in the 2012 season in terms of square footage requests over the previous year. She said the artisans requested use of the Calle on the Fourth of July when it did not fall on a weekend and this was addressed in the commission packet in the form of a contract amendment.  

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners spoke with concern about the construction contractors currently working on the Calle to repair damage caused by a recent fire. They said the work vehicles could pose safety concerns and possibly interfere with the outdoor dining experience on the Calle starting on April 1 if the commission approved that opening date.
 
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the 2012 restaurant seating contracts as presented and further moved to give staff the discretion to cancel use of the Calle for outdoor seating during the month of April as needed for fire restoration purposes. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes

Dials said the second topic was the contract amendment for artisans, an arrangement that was never formalized in the artisan contract. She said the artisan season would be of the same duration as the restaurant season. Landt said the season of operation was not yet approved and a motion would be appropriate.

MOTION: Landt moved to approve the season of operation as proposed by staff: April 1 through November 15, 2012. Lewis seconded the motion.

The vote was: All yes
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the addendum to the artisancontract to allow for sales by artisans on the 4th of July when it did not fall on a weekend. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes

Dials said staff was requesting direction on the parking permits currently held by Websters and Treehouse Books to park behind the Calle Guanajuato throughout the year. She said according to AMC 10.68.400: Vehicle Access to Calle Guanajuato, access by vehicles was prohibited between the hours of 11:30 AM and 10 PM Monday through Friday and from 8 AM to 10 PM on Saturdays from April 1 through November 15 but the commission could issue permits for access during the hours of closure for vehicles of property owners or lessees with parking spaces on private land accessed through the Calle or for other functions approved by the Parks Commission. Landt said he noticed, in reading the municipal code, that there were no vehicle access restrictions on Sundays, so the commission was not authorized to restrict parking on Sundays. Seffinger said her concerns included safety, aesthetics, and the effects of vehicles on outdoor dining experiences.

Public Input
Dona Zimmerman, 1690 Butler Creek Road, owner of Websters, asked for the continuation of the Calle parking permit she’d held for 28 years. She said there had never been an accident or incident with her vehicle on the Calle. She said she parked on private property, arriving in the morning and leaving by 7 PM.

Dials posed three questions requiring answers from the commission:
·         Does parking on the Calle negatively impact dining and shopping experiences?
·         Is it a dangerous place for vehicles?
·         Does the commission wish to continue renewing parking permits on the Calle per AMC 10.68.400?


Robertson reported that the City’s Risk Management team expressed concern about having cars on the Calle when it was designated for use by outdoor diners and artisan market vendors and shoppers. He said the Calle was scheduled to be resurfaced in FY 2013.

Some commissioners expressed concerns about safety, aesthetics, and fairness while others said that if the arrangement had been in place for 28 years with no incident, the commission might wish to consider continuing to provide parking permits on the Calle.

MOTION: Lewis moved to approve continuing to provide parking permits as presented. Eggers seconded the motion.

Rosenthal said he was struggling with this matter due to safety concerns. Seffinger said she did not want to make it hard on anyone but mixing cars with pedestrians was a big concern.

The vote was:
Eggers and Lewis – yes
Rosenthal and Seffinger – no [Landt abstained]
The motion died for lack of a majority vote.

SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Robertson said he would be on vacation the next two days.

Dickens said a Design and Maintenance Standards Subcommittee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, with Commissioners Landt and Lewis attending along with a landscape architect and himself.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Seffinger reported participating in a recent Forest Lands Commission meeting in which they requested Parks’ input and involvement with revisions to their trails plan, which they said could affect Siskiyou Mountain Park. Robertson said Forestry and Trails Supervisor McFarland would serve as the Parks staff liaison for the project.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES
  • Study session set for April 16 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
  • Parks budget presentation set for April 19 at 6:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
  • Regular meeting set for April 23 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard

Ashland Parks and Recreation

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