Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, August 26, 2002

City of Ashland

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES

August 26, 2002

 

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Jones, Landt, Lewis, MacGraw; Director Ken Mickelsen

Absent: Commissioner Eggers

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular Meeting July 22, 2002 Commissioner MacGraw moved to approve the minutes as written. Commissioner Jones seconded.

The vote was: 3 yes 1 abstain (Landt)

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

OPEN FORUM - None

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

TREES ON KNOLL AT NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK - INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES

Director Mickelsen reminded Commissioners that during the "Review of Neighborhood Park Site Plan for North Mountain Park" item at the June Regular Meeting, Commissioners Eggers, Landt and Lewis had asked to review a plan for trees at the site. The plans were presented tonight as requested, and no action by the Commission was required. Director Mickelsen noted that the Department had met with the neighbors and explained to the Commission that the tree plan took into consideration a desire to minimize the impact on neighbors while still providing adequate shade.

Public Comment

Bill Walker (1159 Village Square Drive) stated that the Parks Department had been responsive to neighbors' input and had relocated several planned trees to minimize interference with homeowner's views of Grizzly Peak. Noting that 'maybe it's a little late now to bring up,' Mr. Walker suggested that there needed to be more trees and less grass in the park area, and disagreed with the possible future plan to add a small restroom.

Beverly Bonner (1167 Village Square Drive) expressed her support for the plan, including the possible future small restroom. She summarized by saying, "So I'm here basically to support the plan exactly as it has been submitted to you folks by the Park and Recreation people."

Bill Kreglow (1163 Village Square Drive) expressed his appreciation for Parks soliciting neighbors' input, and said, "I support the plan that Ken has talked to us about."

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Landt stated his concern about the size of the lawn in terms of maintenance costs. He went on to say, "And I'd like to see a vote on whether the plan as presented is acceptable to the Commission or not." Referring to the potential restroom shown on the plan for the area, Commissioner Landt also said, "I don't see the need for a restroom here...I don't even like to see it on the plan."

Commissioner MacGraw spoke about her desire to honor the donors' wishes to provide a neighborhood park for the Village Square neighborhood. "I don't want to minimize that," she said, "by shrinking it and just assuming that anyone can go down the hill..." Commissioner MacGraw went on to say that she had great confidence in the park-planning expertise of Park Staff and loved the plan as presented.

Commissioner Jones echoed Commissioner MacGraw's sentiments, saying "I feel like Donn (Todt, Department Horticulturist and Arborist) and the rest of the staff has had oodles of experience in planning design work for playground areas as well as all of the plantings around, so I would support what they submit."

Commissioner Lewis explained that his priorities are having adequate shade on the play area and having a shaded seating area both for viewing the play area and for viewing the open Grizzly view. Saying, "It does seem like there's adequate lawn without the south side lawn," Commissioner Lewis stated that he would probably vote to adopt the plan as presented with a reduction of lawn on the south side. He suggested that the south side lawn could be phased in later if it were determined that there was a need for more park area on the knoll.

Director Mickelsen pointed out that although the plan includes a potential future restroom, the restroom might or might not ever be built. The purpose of including the siting in the plan is to avoid short-sightedness---to ensure the work about to be undertaken would not conflict with a restroom, should one ever be installed. The restroom, he said, "is not part of what we are talking about (doing) now." The work about to be undertaken is the work covered by the donation--the lawn area and irrigation system, the trees, and hopefully the pathway system. As with the restroom, the playground is something that may or may not be built in the future. "What we wanted to do on the plan," he said, "was indicate where it would go so we don't plant a tree right there, or we don't cut a pathway..." In answer to Commissioners comments, he pointed out, "Even if we reduced the size of the lawn, that will not significantly mean that we can develop another portion of the playground."

MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved to move forward with the plan as presented. Commissioner Jones seconded.

AMENDMENT Commissioners MacGraw and Jones accepted a friendly amendment by Commissioner Lewis to include the reduction of the south side lawn area at the discretion of Staff.

Discussion of Motion

Commissioner Landt said that he would vote against the motion, saying, "because I think what's shown on this plan, even with that reduction, is more than what's warranted."

The vote was: 3 yes - 1 no (Landt)

CLAY STREET PARK DEVELOPMENT - INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES

Director Mickelsen introduced the topic, noting that this project had been in the works for several years. This year, money has been allocated to begin the process and Staff has been working with the neighbors on the conceptual plan for the park. The first goal of the plan, about which both Staff and the neighbors are excited, is to develop the playground and its surrounding landscaping. If additional money remains, Staff will start on the list of other priorities--such as a picnic shelter--that has also been developed in conjunction with the neighbors.

Public Comment

Liz Jones (641 Faith Avenue) spoke about the neighbors' input into the plan and explained that, overall, the neighbors were happy with the proposed plan and with the priorities. On behalf of the neighbors, she requested that the playground be moved a bit toward the existing path and that, rather than asphalt, another surface be considered for the paths.

Discussion Among Commissioners

There was brief discussion between Commissioners and Staff regarding specifics of the plan.

Commissioner Landt said, "Again, I think there is some value in having a motion...and so I'm looking for a motion just that we support this concept."

MOTION Commissioner Jones moved that the Commission support the Clay Street Park Development as presented and with moving the playground over a bit toward the path and reconsidering the path composition. Commissioner Landt seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

DISCUSSION/APPROVAL - CALLE GUANAJUATO STAIRWAY PROJECT

Director Mickelsen explained that rebuilding the stairway connecting Granite Street to Calle Guanajuato is essentially the last remaining repair work to be done from the devastating flood of 1997. A landscape architect firm, KenCairn Environmental had been retained to develop concepts about the type of stairway and pedestrian flow for that area. Kerry KenCairn and Laurie Sager had presented several concepts at the Study Session immediately preceding the meeting. Guidance is sought from the Commission as to the preferred concept, in order to move forward with refining that concept and ultimately, with preparing construction documents.

Kerry KenCairn and Laurie Sager gave a brief overview of their study session presentation and answered Commissioners questions.

Public Comment

Jim Young (1102 Holton Road, Talent) was present to speak on behalf of the Lithia Artisans Guild, which has generously contributed $13,000 toward this project. In light of the increased projected cost of this project, Mr. Young expressed his belief that the Guild is willing to shift the emphasis of its funding from the pavers to the actual completion of the gathering area, with the understanding that the pavers would be the last component of the project. Changing the installation sequence insures that heavy equipment can work on the gathering area without damaging pavers. Mr. Young also expressed his preference for concrete steps (perhaps better suited to withstand flooding) and for a slightly modified version of concept #2.

Commissioner MacGraw thanked Jim Young and the Artisans Guild for both their generous contribution and their willingness to shift the focus of their funding.

Discussion Among Commissioners

MOTION Commissioner Landt moved to direct Staff to expand the scope of the landscape architects, to include, at least until the end of the conceptual phase, a continuation of the gathering area and of the connecting pathways so that "when we end up we will have an integrated finished product." Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

Saying, "to be honest, we're doing it anyway," Kerry KenCairn expressed acceptance of expanding the scope.

Saying that she didn't want to spend time on something that's 'pie in the sky,' Commissioner MacGraw inquired if financial feasibility ruled out any of the options. Director Mickelsen explained the difficulty in getting an accurate estimate on such rough 'concepts,' but noted that it was Staff's general impression that the concept using wooded stairs might be a little less expensive because it wouldn't require so much handwork and Staff could do some of the work in-house."

Commissioner Landt cautioned against the Commission choosing simply the least expensive alternative, suggesting that with this particular job, "being right in the heart of our town," "the way it looks and feels...is the most important priority."

Utilizing the 'Preference Menu' provided, Commissioners asked that KenCairn Environmental move forward with a concept that:

    • is a sinuous structure composed predominately of stone with concrete, integrating wood if necessary for cost-considerations
    • has circulation through the gathering area
    • has an overlook as shown in alternate #1
    • has an 'entry feel' at Granite street including a bench but no lawn
    • utilizes 5' wide paths

DISCUSSION/INPUT - PARKS, TRAILS, OPEN SPACE LONG-TERM PLAN

Commissioner Landt distributed the current version of the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Long-Term Plan and a draft "Summary of Update of Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan" document. He also distributed a document clarifying options--such as "purchase property," "obtain conservation easement," and "obtain trail pedestrian easement"--for several short-term and long-term list properties. He explained that the goal is to get feedback from the public and from Commissioners in order to finalize these documents and present them for a vote at the September Regular Meeting.

Public Comment -

Jim Young (1102 Holton Road, Talent) spoke about the importance of open space and trails, particularly near water, noting that they are "very good for the health of the community"

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Lewis suggested 'seeking grants' and 'working with the Woodland Trails Association' be added to the Summary.

Commissioner Jones expressed her support of Commissioner Lewis' suggested additions, and noted that she would like to offer some editing suggestions once she's had an opportunity to study the documents.

DISCUSSION/APPROVAL - DAREX ICE RINK DATES

Director Mickelsen explained that the opening and closing dates of last year's rink schedule had been altered in light of the energy crisis. Staff's recommendation, based upon weather conditions and attendance records, is to continue with the altered schedule. If approved, the rink would be scheduled to open approximately the third Friday of November and close approximately the end of February or no later than March 3rd.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved, for this season and for future seasons, to set the following time frame for operation of the Darex Ice Rink: to begin in Mid-November and cease at the end of February or very early in March. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

DISCUSSION/APPROVAL - FIELD LIGHT 'DARK NIGHTS' AT NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK

Director Mickelsen noted that the recommendation from both the Ashland Soccer Club and the neighbors is to permanently continue with Saturday and Sunday as 'dark nights' for the athletic field lights.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

MOTION Commissioner Jones moved to change the policy on athletic field lights at North Mountain Park to establish Saturday and Sunday as 'dark nights,' meaning that the lights would not be used on these nights unless special permission is granted by the Commission to use the lights during these times. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

NEW BUSINESS

ASHLAND HOSPITAL REQUEST TO USE PARK PROPERTY FOR PARKING

Director Mickelsen explained that the Ashland Community Hospital (ACH) has asked for permission to temporarily use the North Main/Scenic property--which has not yet been developed as a park--for hospital employee parking. He pointed out that to do so, ACH would need to apply for a conditional use permit from the Planning Department. Since the 'land use' issues would be covered during the permitting process, the Commission's focus tonight is whether it wishes to allow the property to be used for that purpose.

Jim Watson, Hospital Administrator and Carolyn Johnson, Coordinator for Strategic Planning were present on behalf of Ashland Community Hospital. Referencing his letter of August 14, 2002, Mr. Watson detailed the 'parking crisis' at ACH, ACH's attempts to find creative solutions, and its current request for temporary (two-year) use of the North Main/Scenic property. ACH hopes to be able to move 50-75 vehicles to the property.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Lewis expressed his doubt about being able to fit that many vehicles onto the property without substantial excavation or development.

Commissioner MacGraw noted that she was supportive of the needs of the Hospital and its request, but agreed that it seemed unlikely that so many vehicles would fit on the flat area of the property. As to excavating into the slope of the property, she said, "I would have to think long and hard before we'd actually cut into the hillside to provide parking when we've used open space funding for a park."

Director Mickelsen noted that it seemed to Staff that 15-20 parking spaces could be sited fairly easily on the flat area below the road coming off Scenic. However, he said, Staff had real reservations about the Hospital trying to use the entire site--including the significantly sloped section--for parking.

Commissioner Jones explained that she lives in the Hospital neighborhood and had first hand experience with the parking crunch in the area. She said that she was supportive of the hospital's request since it will be several years before the property is developed as a park. Commissioner Jones also noted that getting even 10 to 20 cars off the street for a two-year period would be beneficial.

Commissioner Landt expressed his concerns, saying that the area is already in use as an informal park for children in the area, and noting that there is also a tenant living on the property. He said he would like to hear from the people 'directly affected' and would like to see a rough concept of the parking layout or at least some stakes on site. He concluded by saying, "I'm not personally ready to--although I support the concept of trying to help the Hospital and have some overflow parking--I don't think I could support what I hear being asked for at this point without having more information."

Commissioner Lewis pointed out that this was something of a 'Catch 22'--asking the Hospital to spend time and money producing more information for a plan that may not come to fruition. Commissioner Lewis agreed that he, too, would like to see more information and observed that the conditional use permitting process would yield a plan, public input, comments from the neighbors, etc. "If we just allow them to go for a conditional use permit and give them two years," he said, "then they would be able to go back and do some planning as opposed to just walking away without even a chance to see if it would work." He went on to say that if the Commission could agree to allow use of a portion of the park for parking, "whether they can actually do it would become obvious during the conditional use permitting process. It's either we tell them 'no; go away' or we just give them the chance to make an attempt."

Saying "That was our thinking," Jim Watson of ACH agreed, explaining that the Hospital had wanted to ascertain whether the Commission was supportive of the idea before spending "time and treasure" to go further. In response questioning about whether the Hospital was 'all or nothing' about getting 50-75 spaces, Mr. Watson noted that the Hospital would need to determine whether it was still financially advantageous to pursue the idea for a smaller number of spaces.

MOTION Commissioner Landt moved to allow the Ashland Community Hospital to look at the feasibility of using the area of the Scenic/North Main property below the existing driveway for parking for one year. The Commission will review the use after one year, if 'everything's fine,' the Commission will extend the Hospital's use for a second year.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

--Chair Landt called for a five minute break; meeting to resume at 9:20p.m.--

DISCUSSION/APPROVAL - PARKS ART POLICY

Director Mickelsen explained that public art has recently become a topic of great interest here in Ashland. Commissioner MacGraw has been working with Staff to draft a Parks Art Policy. The draft policy presented tonight incorporates suggestions from both the group formed to work on establishing an art policy for the City and from the Lithia Artisans Guild. Commissioner MacGraw read the draft policy as it appears in the "Draft Proposal on Policy for Public Art on Dedicated Park Land" memo of August 19, 2002. She noted that under this policy, although the Commission would have final approval/disapproval authority the yet-to-be-established City advisory panel would review each project and make recommendations to the Commission based upon these guidelines. Commissioner MacGraw also explained that she particularly liked that the draft policy is 'fairly generic' and allows for the subjective nature of art.

Public Comment

Kate Jackson (359 Kearney Street) described the policy as a "real good step forward" and noted that she is supportive of both the policy and the establishment of a City of Ashland Public Arts Commission.

Jim Young (1102 Holton Road, Talent), Chair of the Lithia Artisans Guild and a proponent of public art, is also excited and supportive of a City Arts Commission and of the arts policy.

Bruce Baird (621 'A' Street), a member of the study group working to recommend an Arts Commission ordinance to the City Council, expressed appreciation for the draft policy and asked for Commission support for establishment of a City Arts Commission.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commenting approvingly on the general nature of the policy, Commissioner Jones said, "I think it's a great start."

Commissioner Lewis concurred, saying, "I think it's something we really need. It's coming up too often and we really have to have some answers for people." He went on to say that the 'guidelines' portion of the policy seems less important to him than the 'advisory panel' portion. He concluded by saying, "I would hope we would get something in place sooner than later and if this is acceptable to everybody, lets get going."

Commissioner Landt asked to include "Long-term maintenance of the artwork is low or moderate" in the 'guidelines' section.

MOTION Commissioner Landt moved to approve the arts policy as presented with the addition of the guideline "Long-term maintenance of the artwork is low or moderate." Commissioner Lewis seconded.

Commissioner Jones objected to the "low or moderate" quantifying portion of the Commissioner Landt's guideline, saying "Let the panel and the Commission at the time decide about the maintenance and the longevity and where it's going to go on any given project."

In answer to Commissioner Jones, Commissioner Lewis said "I think you would get that with this motion."

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

MOTION TO EXTEND At 10:00 p.m., Commissioner MacGraw moved to extend the meeting. Commissioner Lewis seconded.

The vote was: 4 yes - 0 no

REQUEST FOR ACCESS - KEENER PROPERTY

Director Mickelsen explained that the Department had been contacted by a neighbor of the Keener Property regarding access to the rear of his property via the Keener property.

Public Comment

Joe Horn (1109 Oak Street), a neighbor of the Keener Property, had historically been allowed access to the back of his property on an infrequent basis via the Keener Property. Mr. Horn was present to ascertain what process, formal or informal, would be necessary for he and other neighbors to maintain similar access should the City acquire this property for parkland.

After some discussion, it was agreed that for the time being, access would be granted as needed but would be minimized and would be at the discretion of the Department. Under this "good neighbor-type policy," Mr. Horn and the other neighbors would contact the Department when they needed access.

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

None

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS

Commissioner Landt publicly thanked the Ashland Soccer Club for payment in full of its 35% commitment toward the price of the field lights at North Mountain Park.

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

Upcoming Meeting Dates

  • Regular Meeting set for 7:00 p.m., September 23, 2002, Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

ADJOURNMENT By consensus, with no further business, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Robyn Hafner, Department Secretary, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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