Ashland Conservation Commission
1. Call to Order
July 23, 2014
Community Development Building, Siskiyou Room
51 Winburn Way
The meeting was called to order by Chair Koopman at 6:00. In attendance were Commissioners Beam, Buck, Beigel-Coryell, McGinnis and Weir. Commissioners Hartman, Silverberg and Sohl were not present. Staff liaison Hanks and Council liaison Rosenthal were also in attendance.
2. Consent Agenda / Reports
The minutes for the June 25, 2014 Commission meeting were approved unanimously by a motion/second from Buck/McGinnis. The meeting notes from the Commission Goal setting, June 26 and July 10 were unanimously approved by a motion/second from Beigel-Coryell/Beam.
Koopman announced the next Regular Commission meeting is scheduled for August 27, 2014, with upcoming Sustainability Sub-committee meetings scheduled for August 6th, August 20th
. The compost class assignment for August was announced as Commissioner Beam with Commissioner McGinnis doing the September 6th
Other Announcements from Commissioners
Buck reminded the Commission that they were considering using the AHS football games as a way to promote/announce the Sustainability Awards. Beam suggested that Commissioner Hartman be the point person on finding out if it was possible and how it would be accomplished.
Beigel-Coryell announced that the Center for Sustainability is having work parties and always accepts volunteers. Check their Facebook page for ways to connect.
Koopman suggested that the Commission invite Oregon Climate to come to a future meeting, which was agreed upon by the group. Oregon Climate is headed by Camilla Thorndike, for Conservationist of the Year award winner.
4. Public Forum
5. Reports / Presentations/Updates
Council - Councilor Rosenthal
Councilor Rosenthal described that he was unable to attend the previous Commission meeting due to his trip as a City representative to Ashland’s sister City Guanajuato. Rosenthal was very impressed with the visit and the hospitality, but noted for the Commission that waste reduction and recycling has a long way to go to catch up to Ashland.
Rosenthal also noted that the Council is scheduled to hear from the Commission at the September 15th
Study Session regarding community sustainability planning and the STAR framework. He suggested outlining the presentation to give the Council three basic options (small, medium, large) and to outline how the request might fit with the Council’s goals/planning over the next 5-6 years.
City Operations – Hanks
Hanks provided an update on the water supply/drought situation and noted that the reservoir is nearly full, which is due to favorable weather conditions, excellent response from the community in water reductions and solid decision making regarding the timing and use of TID water supply by the Public Works – Water Division.
Hanks also noted that the Conservation Division has been very pleased with the response to the lawn replacement program that was put together over the winter and released this spring. The City offers rebates based on the amount of lawn removed by residential customers. The irrigation system is required to be modified to a drip type system to water the drought tolerant plantings that are required to replace the lawn. Initial savings estimates are good, but actual savings will not be available until a comparison of the following irrigation season is done. Commissioner Weir asked that the LRP data be provided to the Commission when available and Hanks noted he would provide them once collected and analyzed.
Commissioner Weir was interested in existing timelines and due dates for the City’s operational sustainability plan and Hanks noted that it is ongoing and is being assembled one resource element at a time (energy, water, waste, etc) rather than all at once so there are no specific due dates to refer to.
Quarterly Report – Reset schedule discussion
The Commission discussed getting the schedule back on track for the quarterly reports and suggested that it begin in September with Jim Hartman with the School District report, then Buck with Recology, Beigel-Coryell with SOU and Hanks coordinating a City update that could include different topics and other City staff if needed. The Commission agreed and Koopman and Hanks will coordinate this on future agenda’s.
Recycling Center Ad-Hoc – Beigel-Coryell/Beam
Hanks noted that the Ad Hoc committee was extended by Council in their June meeting and would resume meeting starting with a meeting on August 14.
BYOB – Hanks
Hanks mentioned that he has spoken with the five main grocers most affected by the BYOB ordinance and that a letter will be going out to the other retail businesses in Ashland that are subject to the ordinance.
Sustainability Sub-Committee – STAR framework update
McGinnis updated the Commission on the meetings that he and several other Commissioners have had with individual Councilors regarding the STAR framework and the upcoming study session discussion. McGinnis noted that their meeting with Slattery was encouraging. McGinnis and Beigel-Coryell both noted that feedback includes being specific about asking for staffing and how it would be funded.
Koopman noted that the STAR framework and community sustainability planning request would be a part of the Commission’s annual update/presentation to Council scheduled for August 19th
and to submit any information Commissioners would like included in the presentation materials by July 29th
Fourth of July Recap – Buck
Buck provided a recap of the Fourth of July event noting that while the no paper brochures/handouts rule that was implemented this year was a positive, an unintended consequence was the proliferation of many other types of handouts (plastic items, rulers, etc) that may not be an improvement overall. Buck noted that the event seemed smaller than in previous years which meant less trash and less travel, but the waste reduction tracking metrics are tough to gauge given the many variables involved each year.
Divestment Policy Update – Hanks
Hanks referred to the packet that includes an email from City Recorder Barbara Christensen that indicates the Divestment discussion will be heard by Council at the August 4th
study session at 5:30 in the Siskiyou Room.
6. Old Business
Commission Goal Setting – Review/Approve draft goals
Koopman referred the Commissioners to the draft goals document in the packet for review and asked if anyone had comments or if the group was ready to approve.
Commissioner Weir stated that he could not support the goals as he felt they were non-specific, too diverse and no assignments of responsibilities were included. Beigel-Coryell noted that she felt some of the goals needed some rewording but that the overall document was good.
Beam added that he assumed that the goals would be adopted then specific actions, timelines and assignments would be made. Buck noted that she agreed with both Weir and Beam. McGinnis suggested that the Commission agree on what is a goal and what are objectives/actions. Koopman stated that she felt the group has already put a great deal of time into the goal setting process and that going over them again and labeling goals vs. objectives vs actions wouldn’t be productive at this point and would prefer to just adopt them as presented. Beam made a motion to adopt and was initially seconded by McGinnis but retracted after clarification of motion. Motion died with no second.
Beigel-Coryell made a motion to approve the goals without the column of objectives/actions. Beam added that he felt the Commission was not ready to vote because three members are not present. No second was provided, motion died. Beigel-Coryell added that she felt the goals should be more centric to the Commission rather than broad City goals.
McGinnis motioned to establish a leader for each goal on the document. No second, motion died. Weir again noted that the goals were untenable to him without connecting them to individuals who would take on specific projects. McGinnis noted that he likes the current format of goals, objectives, actions.
Beam added that he felt that sustainability is getting confused with climate action and the Commission may be asking for too much at once. After further general discussion, Koopman suggested that Commissioners bring specific recommendations back to the next meeting to discuss and approve.
7. New Business
Commission meeting schedules for November and December
Hanks noted that the Commission had indicated it was interested in moving the regular meetings for November and December from the fourth Wednesday to the third Wednesday as has occurred in prior years to adjust for the holidays during the regular meeting times. All commissioners agreed.
Commission Monthly Column in Sneak Preview
To be discussed at August meeting.
8. Wrap Up
Beigel-Coryell noted that she felt some negativity in the Commission meeting discussions and felt uncomfortable with it. Koopman acknowledged the comment.
Items to be added to next agenda
Koopman adjourned the meeting at 8:00