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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ashland Tree Commission
Regular Meeting
September 9, 2004

I. Call to Order: Chair Ted Loftus called the Ashland Tree Commission meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. on September 9, 2004 at the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way.
Commissioners Present: Ted Loftus
Bryan Holley
Bryan Nelson
Mary Pritchard
January Jennings
Laurie Sager (late)
Commissioners Absent: Fred Stockwell
Council Liaison: Cate Hartzell (late)
Youth Liaison: None
Staff Present: Maria Harris, Associate Planner
Donn Todt, Parks Department
II. Approval of Minutes:
The following corrections were noted for the August 5, 2004 minutes. Page 1, Approval of Minutes, second sentence: Should read "He said that the Tree Commission does not make recommendations on the decision for the total application." Page 1, Approval of Minutes, fourth sentence: Prunus Blieriana should be Prunus blieriana. Page 1, Approval of Minutes, fifth sentence: Lelyand should be Leyland. Page 2, Recommendation, Item 4: Should read "not appropriate screen, as it is only three feet in height." Also, Lyuken is spelled wrong, should be Luyken. Page 3, first paragraph, last sentence: Should read "It was suggested that the Site Review standard requiring landscaping to be designed so that it occurs within five years." Page 3, 2nd paragraph: Should read "Jennings announced that Laurie Sager and herself would be leading a Tree Walk on October 23 at 2:00pm in Lithia Park." Nelson/Loftus m/s to approve the minutes of September 9, 2004 with corrections. Voice vote: All AYES, Motion passed.
III. Welcome Guests & Public Forum:
No guests in attendance.
IV. Public Hearings:
Loftus moved item A under Action Items, Review of Revised Landscape Plan for 832 A Street up in the agenda. The review of the revised landscape and tree protection plan was a condition of approval by the Hearings Board in response to Tree Commission recommendation when reviewing this planning action at the August 5 meeting. It was noted that the applicant revised the landscape and tree protection plan to address the Tree Commission concerns before the Hearings Board meeting. Holley reported that he attended the Hearings Board meeting. The Tree Commission agreed that the recommendations had been responded to, and approved the plan as submitted.
A. PLANNING ACTION 2004-105 is a request for a seven lot Subdivision, Preliminary Plat approval, Conditional Use Permit for an Accessory Residential Unit, and an exception to City of Ashland Street Standards for approximately 1.75 acres of land located at the southwest corner of the intersection of South Mountain Avenue and Prospect Street. The application includes a Tree Removal Permit, as well as a Variance to Off-Street Parking requirements to allow two (2) required off-street parking spaces for the Accessory Residential Unit to be located on an adjacent parcel. Comprehensive Plan Designation: Single Family Residential; Zoning: R-1-10; Assessor's Map #: 39 1E 16 AD; Tax Lots: 3400, 3500 and 3600.
APPLICANT: R & C Investments

Loftus announced that the planning action had been postponed to October. It will be reviewed at the October 7 Tree Commission meeting, and the October 12 Planning Commission meeting. It was announced that Sager was coming late to the meeting because her firm worked on the following planning action at 2205 Ashland Street.

B. PLANNING ACTION 2004-116 is a request for Site Review, Outline and Final Plan approval and a Tree Removal Permit to construct a mixed-use commercial building (ground floor retail - upper floor residential) and eight four-plex apartment buildings located at 2205 Ashland Street (adjacent and west of McDonald's Restaurant). Comprehensive Plan Designation: Commercial (one acre) and Multi-Family Residential (1.75 acres); Zoning: C-1 and R-2; Assessor's Map #: 39 1E 11 CC; Tax Lots 100 and 300.
APPLICANT: Archerd & Dresner, LLC and Redco, LLC

A staff report was given describing the project, and it was noted that 19 of the 20 trees on site are proposed for removal. The staff recommendation to the Planning Commission was described as the application should be continued until several items are addressed. The areas of concern raised in regard to trees and landscaping were lack of findings addressing the criteria for a Tree Removal Permit, unclear information on amount of area for recreational space, and the lack of a play area for children.

The Tree Commission briefly discussed the proposal. It was noted that none of the existing trees are in good shape. Also, the nicest tree on the site is the birch, but these have a poor history during drought years.

Evan Archerd and John Galbraith presented on behalf of the applicant. Archerd said they are attempting to create one of the first affordable housing projects. Eight of units will be affordable under the city program. He said it didn't seem that there are a lot of trees that were worth saving. Thought better to plan a community that was well landscaped. Galbraith said the solar setback and setback between building requirements were major issues in design. He said there is one Juniper or Arizona cypress that might be worth saving.

There was no testimony received for or against the proposal.

The Tree Commission discussed the proposal It was noted that the best trees in the project area are the Black Oaks in right-of-way. The feeling was that the number of replacement trees, which number more than two new trees for every tree to be removed, mitigates the removal of the 19 trees. It was again noted that the trees proposed for removal have been neglected, under stress, and experienced drought for years. It was asked if any of the existing trees could be tree spaded - specifically the blue spruce identified as number seven on the tree removal/protection plan. It was noted that during wind storms of the last two years blue spruce were most likely to fail, and with transplant would be even more of a problem.

The Tree Commission made the following recommendations to the Planning Commission.

Revised landscape plan should incorporate the following suggestions.

1. Consider using Carpinus betulus 'Stricta' (Upright European Hornbeam) for Pyrus c. 'Glen's Form' (Chanticleer Pear)
2. Use more conifers for variety, bird habitat and texture
3. Locate Acer palmatum "Sango Kaku' (Coral Bark Maple) on plan - it is included on the plant list for the Apartment Landscape Plan, but is not shown on the plan

The recommendation was read back to the Tree Commission by Staff, and all members acknowledge that there were in agreement with the items as presented.

V. Action Items
A. Review of Revised Landscape Plan for 832 A Street/Illene Rubenstein
This item was addressed at beginning of public hearings
B. Tree of the Year
The timeline was adjusted since last meeting, and final time line will be emailed out to the Commission by Holley. The nomination period will close October 6. The nominations will be reviewed and five finalists chosen at the October 7 Tree Commission meeting.
C. Heritage Tree List
Staff reported that this item will be on the October 12 Planning Commission agenda. Since the proposal involves an ordinance amendment to add Heritage Tree to the list of trees requiring a Tree Removal Permit, the Planning Commission must hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council. Sending a Commission representative to the Planning Commission meeting was discussed, and it was agreed that Holley would represent the Commission at this meeting for the Heritage Tree item.
D. Type I Review and Sign-Up
It was noted that the Commission had decided to review the Type I planning actions. A sign-up sheet was included in the packet. The format would be three members would sign up for the Type I review, and it would be the Tuesday before the regular Tree Commission meeting. There was a discussion of the timing, and it was agreed that it would be at 12:30 to 1:30 pm in the Lithia Room at the Community Development/Engineering Services building. The Commission members then signed up for Oct, Nov at Dec as follows: 1) October - Holley, Sager, Pritchard, 2) Nov - Jennings, Stockwell, Loftus, and 3) Dec - Nelson, Loftus, Pritchard.
E. Review of Misc. Concrete Projects
There was a discussion of the timing of the miscellaneous concrete project being sent out to bid in October with the construction in November. It was agreed that this would be reviewed at the October meeting.
V. Items from Commissioners
A. Liaison Reports
1) January Jennings, Forest Lands
Jennings said there is a public meeting tonight, and she will have more info in October.
2) Donn Todt, Parks
Todt said there will be a walk through in Lithia Park for bidders for pruning sometime in mid to late October. He invited Commissioners to attend. He said recently a family in the Seattle area had a member pass away and family wants to do something in memory of her in Ashland because she enjoyed coming here. So they purchased 22,000 King Alfred daffodil bulbs. Todt said the Parks Department is using 4,000 bulbs. The rest are available at the grange for members of the general public (not commercial projects). He said he is waiting for reports from two arborists on the Alanthus at the corner of Lithia park. Neither report is very encouraging about keeping tree in place. He said as soon as get reports, he will pass them on to the Tree Commission. There was a discussion of using the potential tree removal as an educational effort.
B. New Items
There was a discussion of the unresolved, old agenda items (design professional ordinance, chapter 18.61 review, planning action checklist) being delayed because the current meeting was anticipated to be long due to two involved planning actions.

There was a discussion of the draft Planning Action Check List. Loftus said it seemed like a great informal tool to include in the packet for new members. Nelson said he saw it as a tool, very informal. He suggested possibly going through checklist at the beginning of each planning action. Holley said he thought this was being prepared for Planning Staff.

There was a discussion of the letter received regarding cork trees. Todt said the issue he is familiar with is the cork oak forests that are harvested for wine cork production. There are a group of wine producers and cork producers that are concerned that these phenomenal areas will not be maintained and revert to scrub oak areas. There is an organization fighting to protect areas because of wildlife habitat. It was noted that there about a half of a dozen cork trees in Ashland, but the cork tree is not on the Ashland street tree list. bout half a dozen in Ashland. Todt said cork trees don't do well here because they can't take freezes, especially in the first five years.

There was a discussion of letter from K.G. Stiles regarding the pruning of a tree for the Tolman Creek Road project. Todt said he was asked to look at the tree, and that the pruning needed to be cleaned up, but was not detrimental to the tree. The concrete contractor did the pruning himself. Todt added that a couple of trees were salvaged from the Tolman Creek Road LID project, and replanted at Bellview School. It was suggested that correct pruning techniques might be a good example of something to include in the "Tree Tips" pieces that had been discussed. It was noted that Medford's Waterlines newsletter and the Bandon newspaper include pieces similar to the "Tree Tips" concept.

Hartzell arrived and gave a liaison report. There is a discussion of the Lithia Street Parking Lot next to Gen Kai parking lot potentially being used for an affordable housing project. She noted that the Planning Director is updating the City Council about upcoming large planning projects. She mentioned the piece on NPR on cornerstone gardens.

There was a discussion of the Tree Commission review of planning actions. Sager said she started thinking about this issue when a woman who recently attending the meeting told her that the Commission was more involved and detailed oriented than she had expected or wanted. Sager said she thought some of the Commission comments on landscape plans have gotten very detailed, and the group has given more advice than is necessary. She said this seemed pertinent since the amount of time being spent on planning actions has been a frustration of the Commission. Loftus concurred and said that in reviewing plans prepared by a professional landscaper, designer or architect the Commission often gets into issues that are a difference of opinion. Todt said he has noticed over the past years that the level of comments from the Commission depends on where the landscape architect is from. He said that if the landscape architect is from the Willamette Valley there tend to be more comments because the person is not familiar with the Southern Oregon climate.

VII. Adjournment: There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

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