Ashland Tree Commission
January 3, 2002
Call to Order
-The meeting was called to order at 5:08 p.m. by Chair Rich Whitall. Additional commissioners in attendance were Greg Covey, Bryan Holley, January Jennings, Dan Moore, Bryan Nelson and Tom Peil. Parks Department liaison Donn Todt was present, as was Planning Department staff Robbin Pearce.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of the December 6, 2001 meeting were approved as submitted.
Welcome Guests - John Peterson, Street Supervisor, Scott Johnson, Electric Dept. Supervisor and Dan Nichols, Maintenance and Safety Supervisor for the City of Ashland. Each city employee shared his perspective of the impact of the limbs and branches on equipment and personnel, then asked the commission for support, in the form of a letter to council, to increase the clearance height requirements in the municipal code. Discussion included lack of enforcement no matter what the standard is, topping trees, and frustration over city right of way/property owner responsibility. Rich Whitall moved to write a letter in support of the increase in height as well as making it a priority for enforcement to ensure the safety of personnel and equipment. January Jennings seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Tree Ordinance - 1) John Peterson shared his concerns over the need to top trees in hazardous situations. 2) Scott Johnson wants a physical permit to show homeowners as trees are routinely cut for line clearance. Scott will present an Electric Department work plan at the January 22 study session with the Planning Department. 3) Jack Blackburn - thanked the commissioners for all the work they have done but said he does not support any new permit process that is fund generating for the City, invades private property rights, or is controlled by the Planning Department. Jack asked that the Commissioners consider keeping the permit process tied to development only and triggered by a planning action or a building permit. 4) Lawrence King - brought up a number of issues for the consideration of the commissioners. Some of the issues were answered but a number of issues need to be researched: teeth for removal without a permit, statute of limitation on removing without a permit, and costs of permits. These topics will be considered and ironed out for the ordinance that is submitted to the City Council. 5) Rick Landt - Rick thanked the commissioners for the work they have done, which he feels shows a lot of thought and consideration. Rick feels strongly that the City should be: held at the same or higher standard as everyone else; there should be no exemptions (or there should be exemptions only for large parcels, such as 20 acres); there should be at least 2 categories for heritage type trees - heritage and 'eligible for listing', and significant, with the highest category being the most protected and the lesser category simply listing the tree and its address; dbh is not the best size determination - basil-linear areas would address the issue of multi-stemmed trees; 'removal' needs to be defined - irreplaceably damaged; street trees should also be defined; tree protection zone needs to be defined; and Rick also recommended making the ordinance as black and white as possible. 6) Cate Hartzell - Cate recommended regular tree removal reporting from staff and who would sign off on annual reporting from the different departments, school, etc. and wondered if heritage trees could be added to the property deed.
All of the topics will be discussed with the additional topics from the study session.
- Recommended Street Tree List - Donn Todt will show staff which photo is recommended for the cover and it will be brought to the February meeting.
- Jackson County Smart Map - Greg Covey will contact Engineering to see what options are available. Dan Moore is interested in purchasing America forest software that could interact with the Smart Map and produce reports. Dan Moore will look into the software.
- Siskiyou Redesign - Greg Covey has reviewed the conceptual plan and has some concern regarding the proposed plant material. He has talked with the landscape architect. Donn Todt will also review the plan and make recommendations and/or comments. Staff will find out what the timeline is for comments on the conceptual plan.
- Street Clearance Ordinance Word Changes - Rich Whitall will work on the wording.
- Staff Support Letter - This item is on hold until the ordinance is adopted and Arbor Week is completed.
- Other - There was no other old business.
- Site Reviews - There were no site reviews this month.
- Arbor Week Activities - Ideas included 1) tree fans or something as a donation for the schools, 2) bikepath cleanup/restoration, 3) brochure & pruning workshop, 4) photo display (Terry Skibby's) on the web and physically, 5) tree planting - Donn Todt will pick a site. Staff will also work up costs for Arbor Week.
- Calendar for 2002 - included in the packet.
- Other - 1) Gresham Street - the Mayor requested a recommendation for tree replacements. Staff will measure and get a specific list to the Mayor. 2) Fire Dept/Blue Mountain - Staff walked the grounds with Chief Woodley to know what will be removed and what will stay. All plant moving activities will be coordinated through the Chief. 3) Donn Todt submitted a request for plant material to be removed in the downtown. Staff will post the list on email so any and all commissioners can review. Comments should be returned by January 11. 4) ODF Grant Application - ODF grant deadline is January 31, 2002. Suggestions from the commissioners included: a) software and tree inventory, b) irrigation and structural soil matrix, c) library donation, d) development of tree issue curriculum K-12, 5) Staff reported she has received a suggestion that the alley behind the library be called Ginkgo Memorial Alley. 6) Staff asked Dan to help collect data in support of an Urban Forester position.
Statement of Account - $730.00
Adjourn - Meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.