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December Minutes

Minutes
Thursday, December 05, 2013

TREE COMMISSION MINUTES
December 5, 2013
 
CALL TO ORDER –Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 5:56 p.m. on December 5, 2013, in the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development and Engineering Services Building located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, Oregon.
 
Commissioners Present Council Liaison
Ken Schmidt Carol Voison - ABSENT
Gregg Trunnell - ABSENT  
Russ Neff Staff Present
Casey Roland Derek Severson, Associate Planner
  Anne Thayer, Parks Horticulturist - ABSENT
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Neff motioned, Roland seconded to approve the minutes of the November 7, 2013 regular meeting and the motion carried unanimously. 
 
WELCOME GUESTS & PUBLIC FORUM
No guests.
 
TYPE II REVIEW
PLANNING ACTION:        PA-2013-01826                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     270 Meadow Drive
APPLICANT:                       Meadowbrook Park Estates HOA
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for a Physical and Environmental Constraints (P&E) Permit for Tree Removal, and Water Resource Protection Zone (WRPZ) Limited Activity and Use Permit approval for Stream Restoration and Enhancement to Clay Creek that traverses through to the Meadowbrook Park Estates open space located at 270 Meadow Drive.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low-Density Multi-Family; ZONING: R-2;
ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 09BA TAX LOTS: 8900
 
Severson gave a brief report outlining the nature of the request, noting that the applicants had initially been interested in simply removing trees but after learning of applicable regulations relative to maintaining the siginificant natural features identified as part of the original Performance Standards Subdivision and regulations seeking to avoid adverse impacts to flood plain corridor lands and stream bank water resource protection the proposal had evolved to a restoration project to remove lawn and non-native vegetation, redefine the stream channel, and replant the riparian corridor with typical native riparian trees, shrubs and ground covers to re-establish the key riparian functions of the corridor.  Severson noted that this was the first project to utilize new code provisions which allow fee waivers for stream restoration projects not associated with development, and suggested that the project was likely to be put fort as an example for similar projects in the future.
 
John and Stephanie Bullock, homeowners from 280 Meadow Drive and members of the homeowners assocation, spoke on behalf of the applicants.  Mr. Bullock provided background about the project and noted that the association had budgeted funds for the project and was committed to its completion if approved.   They noted that the project will be completed in stages over five years, and will involve work by the applicants themselves, Northwest Biological, the arborist and Lomakatsi Restoration. 
 
Roland noted that following previous contact with the Commission by the applicants, he had made a site visit and observed the trees.  He indicated that in his assessment, the trees were time-bombs, and he noted that they had observable fungal growth, “stove-piping” of the trunks into the soil with no observable root mass, and seemed likely to die and fall.  He questioned whether the applicants had considered leaving any snags standing for habitat, but the applicants suggested that virtually all of the trees were leaning to some degree and posed a hazard that they felt was inappropriate given the nature of the area as subdivision open space.  They also noted that removing the trees as proposed had substantial cost savings, but that leaving some standing only to have to remove them at some unknown point in the near future would substantially increase the cost of the already expensive project. 
 
Albert Pepe, a neighbor of the project who resides in the Wingspread Mobile Park, noted that he received the notice and was concerned, without having details, about substantial tree removal.  Severson provided a complete copy of the application materials for his review, and briefly recounted the key details of the proposal.  Pepe indicated that after hearing the details of the project it was much better than he had feared. 
 
Roland and Neff indicated that they felt this was a great project.  Neff added that it would likely require significantly less watering and maintenance than the current landscaping.  Commissioners discussed irrigation, noting that it would not be advisable to use drip irrigation for the new trees and that pop-up heads would be better.  They questioned why irrigation details were not included, and advised the applicants that the trees should be planted on mounds and heavily mulched.  Neff also noted that the included details about providing an educational plaque explaining the merits of the project on-site was terrific.
 
Neff moved, and Roland seconded, to recommend approval of the project as proposed, with a note that irrigation details should be provided before the project begins. The motion carried unanimously. 
 
DISCUSSION ITEMS
Tree of the Year: Severson noted that the Cottonwood on Clay Street had won in the voting by roughly a three-to-one margin. 
 
Commission Chair Elections – Severson explained that with the new codes, the Commission would be expected to hold their annual elections at the January meeting.   Members suggested it would be good to have the elections when all sitting members were present to participate.  
Liaison Reports – There were no liaison reports as Thayer and Voisin were absent. 
 
Roland noted that the street trees associated with the Housing Authority of Jackson’s “Snowberry Brook” project on Clay Street appear to be suffering from sunscald, and may also have had some trunk damage through improper maintenance or vermin and he suggested that staff contact the applicants to make them aware of the declining health and recommend replacement of the trees. 
 
Commissioners also noted that the trees recently planted at the BiMart/Shop’N Kart site were hackberries, and need to have some protection provided for their trunks if sunscald is to be avoided.  Severson noted that staff were still finalizing review of this work with the applicants and could pass this information along.   
 
Roland questioned the pruning that appeared to have been done some time ago on the large Black Oak near the building being constructed at B and Water Streets.  Severson noted that this had been done some months ago, and he believed that Code Compliance efforts with the owner and arborist were on-going. 
 
ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 6:28 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted by Derek Severson, Associate Planner

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