Ashland Conservation Commission
September 25, 2013
Community Development Building, Siskiyou Room
51 Winburn Way
- Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Commission Chair Weir at 6:00. Commissioners Beam, Buck, Beigel-Coryell, Gould, Koopman, McGinnis, Silverberg and Weir were in attendance. Commissioner Hartman was absent. Council Liaison Rosenthal and City Staff Hanks were also in attendance.
- Consent Agenda / Reports
Weir asked for a motion to approve the meeting minutes of August 28th
. Council Liaison Rosenthal requested a correction to the last sentence of section 6 – Old Business, replacing “in alignment with his expectations” with “excellent”. Commissioner Buck motioned to approve the minutes as amended, second by Beam with unanimous approval for the Commission.
Weir announced that the next Regular Commission Meeting for October 23, 2013, with upcoming Sustainability sub-committee meetings on Oct 2 and 16 and November 6 and 20.
Commissioner Buck reminded the Commission of the upcoming Plastic Round up and passed out flyers and referenced the Recology and City websites for more information. Commissioner Beam stated that the Bear Creek Salmon Festival will be Oct 5th
at 11:00 AM. Hanks reminded Commissioners that the booth set up was required earlier in the AM.
Commissioner Beigel-Coryell noted that the SOU students were beginning to move into the new dorms. Commissioner Koopman added that a recipient of last year’s Conservationist of the Year, Hannah Sohl is starting a new group called Oregon Climate Action Now, which invites and promotes “living room conversations” about climate change.
- Public Forum
Laurie Hopkinson, manager of the Rogue Valley Growers Market spoke to voice her desire to be aware of the potential impacts of the proposed plastic bag ban on the market operations. She stated support for the concept and offered to be a resource as the regulations are developed into an ordinance.
Council Liaison Report - Councilor Rosenthal
Councilor Rosenthal deferred to later in the agenda
City Staff Report – Hanks
Hanks informed the Commission that the Facilities Energy Audits, a component of the Operational Sustainability Plan was recently completed and delivered to staff for review. Staff will post the final document to the website and provide the Commission with a link. The report provides data on existing energy uses at 18 City buildings and includes energy saving recommendations (EEM’s) with estimated costs and energy savings for each building.
Hanks also summarized the status of the Recology Solid Waste Franchise agreement ordinance and associated resolutions, including the option to separate the costs associated with the Recycle Center from the garbage and recycling collection rates to be displayed as a separate fee on the Recology customer bills.
The Commission discussed their concerns with the final ordinance and resolution. Commissioner Koopman pointed out that the proposal does not include specific waste reduction targets. Commissioner Beam felt that the proposal was a step backwards.
Ashland School Quarterly Report
– Commissioner Hartman
With the absence of Commissioner Hartman, Chair Weir requested that Commissioner Buck provide a Recology report. Buck provided an update on the China Green Fence issues that are limiting plastic recycling efforts, as well as an update on improvements to the glass recycling program for glass products reuse rather than as road base.
Buck summarized the compost classes for 2013 and noted that the fall leaf bag promotion is underway and the Recycle Center will have free leaf drop off November 17 and December 15. Discounted cost leaf bags are available to residents at Ashland Sanitary. Buck also noted that the Plastic Round Up is scheduled for October 25/26 at the Expo in Central Point.
– Commissioner McGinnis
Commissioner McGinnis summarized the work of the Sustainability sub-committee and provided a handout detailing the efforts. The Sub-committee is interested in pursuing using the ICLEI Star Communities framework for local sustainability and referenced the table that outlines the goals and objectives of the framework.
McGinnis noted that the group felt that the table provided a good organizational tool to give a view of the full spectrum of the plan, but noted that it could be implemented one component at a time or in groups providing flexibility of implementation.
The Commission discussed the table elements and how the Commission would fit in the planning process.. Chair Weir suggested that the sub-committee research direct costs of the Star Communities system as well as potential consulting or staff costs associated with developing a full plan. Commissioner Silverberg noted that the table provides a tool for prioritization which is an important component in the plan development.
McGinnis noted that the sub-committee will be working at providing further details, including those mentioned by Commissioners and will bring back a more complete document for review at a future meeting, potentially in November. Issues remaining include who leads the overall project, what other efforts are already underway, how should the various existing projects be connected to the plan, etc.
- Old Business
“Bring Your Own Bag” Policy (Plastic Bag Ban) –
Commissioners Buck and Silverberg provided a brief overview of the memo in the meeting packet. Hanks noted that the sub-committee has been reviewing and is generally supports the City of Eugene ordinance model. Buck emphasized that the sub-committee feels strongly that the educational component is critical to meeting the longer term objective of the ordinance which is a behavioral shift away from disposables and greater use of reusables overall.
The Commission discussed existing and potential exclusions, appropriate price points for the charge imposed for the use of paper bags, what types of businesses are most impacted, etc. Commissioner Beam noted that he continues to feel that the ban is selective and should be adopted equally. Hanks noted that the core concept of the regulation is the prohibition of one particular product, the single use plastic bag in conjunction with a cost for using a paper bag rather than a true reusable bag.
Buck mentioned that it would be important to also have a definition for and prohibit compostable plastic bags as they currently don’t work as intended.
Beigel – Coryell made a motion to accept the memo as the Commission’s recommendation to the Council, second by Buck. Motion passed 7-1 (Beam no vote).
Commissioner Buck made a motion to select Chair Weir to present the recommendation to the Council on behalf of the BYOB sub-committee and the full Commission. Commissioner Gould second, passed 7-1 (Beam no vote).
Car Washing Best practices / Signage for Anti Idling –
- New Business
Commissioner Gould updated the Commission on her work on potential programs for the City to adopt relating to a green car wash program. Gould provided information on alternate car washing programs used by other Cities (Stockton, Santa Monica) to reduce storm drain contamination relating to charity car washes that result in soap into the storm drain.
Hanks noted that the concept could be implemented by the Public Works Dept as they are responsible for storm drain maintenance and compliance and also currently provide the car wash kit. With two car wash units in the City, both under the same ownership, developing a similar program could be possible. Hanks suggested that Gould and he meet with PW Staff to discuss.
Gould also updated the Commission on her work with the School District regarding the potential installation of signage in school parking lots/student pick up areas to reduce/eliminate idling of parent passenger vehicles. Hanks noted that the District employee fleet and bus areas were provided no idling signs but the school parking lots were somewhat different and might require school by school approval or an administrative approval from the District Superintendent. Gould stated she was working with PTA groups and may schedule a meeting with the Superindentent to discuss opportunities.
The Commission appreciated the updates on both topic and supported continued efforts.
- Wrap Up
Weir reminded the Commission of the annual goals and requested that Commission members continue to work on those that interest them and ask for agenda spots as needed.
Weir also noted several of the topics scheduled for the October meeting, including a review of the City’s investment policy as it relates to the public forum presentation from several months prior regarding divestment, the Ashland Schools quarterly report, updates from Gould on the car wash/idling work, the idea of a Commission retreat to discuss the Commission’s current charter (purpose/charge) and potential changes to it, as well as an update from Staff on the City’s progress relating to the Operational Sustainability Plan.
The Commission also discussed moving the November meeting due to the Thanksgiving holiday as well as getting started on the awards committee for 2014.
Weir adourned the meeting at 8:00.