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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Regular Monthly Meeting Draft

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Ashland Tree Commission

Regular Meeting

July 7, 2005




I.              CALL TO ORDER:   Chair January Jennings called the Ashland Tree Commission meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. on July 7, 2005 in the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way.


Commissioners Present:  Pennie Rose

Bryan Holley

Mary Pritchard

Laurie Sager

Tracy Cohen

Ted Loftus (absent)

January Jennings


Council Liaison: Cate Hartzell (absent)

Staff Present:                       Amy Anderson, Assistant Planner

                                                                                Donn Todt, Parks Department, (absent)                                                                                                                          Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk


II.            APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   The following correction was noted for the June 9, 2005 minutes.

                Second page under public testimony Pritchard’s recommendation should have been Carpinus Betulus “Fastigiata.”  Holley/Pritchard m/s to approve the minutes of June 9, 2005 with the above correction.  Voice vote:  All AYES, Motion passed.  The minutes of June 9, 2005 were approved as corrected.



Those guests present for tonight’s meeting were Sam Mitchell, Suzanne Mitchell, Judy Gomez, Michael Gomez, Tom Giordano and Bob Foster.




A.  PLANNING ACTION 2005-00696 is a request for Commercial Site Review approval for four mixed-use buildings comprised of commercial and residential condominium units in the “Village Center” area of the Meadowbrook Park Subdivision located at the N. Mountain Ave. and E. Nevada St. Comprehensive Plan Designation:  North Mountain; Zoning:  NM; Assessor’s Map # 39 1E 04 AC; Tax Lots:  400, 501, 700.

APPLICANT:  Camelot Family Homes LLC


Amy read the staff report and showed the Commissioners the site plan so they would be familiar with the areas she will be talking about.  The areas are identified as series one, two, three and four.  The staff report conditions states that the final revised landscaping and tree protection plan incorporates the recommendation of the Tree Commission.  The plan shall be reviewed by the Tree Commission and approved by the staff advisor prior to the issue of building permits for series one thru four. 


Applicant Testimony:  Tom Giordano was present to represent this planning action.  He answered questions from the Commissioners regarding the different series.  He stated that all the landscaping will be maintained by a Home Owners Association. 



Public Testimony: 

None present


Preliminary Recommendations:

Reviewed by Series:


Series 1: No recommendations


Series 2:

1)       Tree Commission recommends using a single, larger stature, specimen Incense Cedar instead of groupings of three.

2)       Consider alternative to Dwarf Dogwood under Incense Cedar canopy.


Series 3:

1)       Tree Commission recommends extra care to the Siberian Elms during construction along the northern property line.


Series 4: No recommendations.


B.  PLANNING ACTION 2005-00873 is a request for a Commercial Site Review approval for eight mixed-use buildings comprised of commercial and residential condominiums for the property located at 905 N. Mountain Ave.  A parking structure will be located below the buildings.  This is the third phase of the Quinn Subdivision, and is .80 acres located between N. Mountain Ave., Plum Ridge Dr., and the future street named Fair Oaks Court.  Comprehensive Plan Designation:  North Mountain:  Zoning:  NM; Assessor’s Map # 391E04AC; Tax Lot:  803.

APPLICANT:  Medinger Construction Company 


Amy read the staff report. 


Applicant Testimony: 

None present


Public Testimony: 

Michael J Gomez, 895 North Mountain Avenue, spoke.  Mr. Gomez shared that his concern about the project is the loss of privacy and liability exposure.  He is only addressing the south side of the project in which he lives.  Mr. Gomez stated that there is an existing alley running east to west that Medinger Construction plans to landscape, approximately 128 feet of the 175 foot long alley.  Mr. Gomez inquired if the City owns this alley and if so is Medinger Construction allowed to landscape it.  The alley is currently covered with blackberries and rose hips.  Mr. Gomez wanted to know how Medinger Construction would be cleaning it up without going on his property. With the blackberries gone there will be nothing that discourages trespassing, stated Mr. Gomez. He and his wife do now wish to assume the liability and intrusions that might occur.  They would like to see a hedge or a fence, anything that indicates a discouragement from trespassing. 


Mr. Gomez would like the Tree Commission to recommend to the Planning Commission that the landscaping along the south side of this project not only be astatically pleasing but also functional in providing privacy and preventing exposure to financial liability.  He also is concerned about the drainage of watering all of these plants.  He would like to see the water flow under control so it doesn’t just go where nature calls and damage their plants. 


Holley noted that an alley easement means it’s a shared easement.  Holley suggested that Mr. Gomez attend the Planning Commission as they are the body that can address his issues. 


Sam Mitchell, 892 Plum Ridge, neighbor on the other side of the project spoke next. He asked how many of the proposed trees and shrubs will be staying green.  Pritchard shared that for the most part all the trees are deciduous.  Sager also confirmed that most of the shrubs along his side are evergreen.  The Tree Commission reassured him that most of what Mr. Mitchell will be looking at will be green with the exception of some of the trees. 


Mrs. Mitchell wanted to know if because there will be a condominium next to their property is there any possibility of having something planted that would grow higher then the proposed shrubs.


The Tree Commission discussed this planning action.  Holley acknowledged that he knows all four of the neighbors who testified but was able to look at the proposal impartially. Rose acknowledged that they were customers of hers.


Sager asked the neighbors if they had tried talking with Mr. Medinger.  She suggested that as neighbors they get together and write a letter about participating in making a decision about a hedge row or adding a few trees. She suggested that perhaps they even donate a tree or two.  Holley stated it might be helpful if when contacting Medinger they tell him they are doing so at the suggestion of the Tree Commission.  Jennings stated that the neighbor’s issues are really clear and they just need to communicate their issue of privacy, screening, trespassing and physical barrier to Mr. Medinger.  Mr. Gomez agreed that the best way to resolve this was to speak directly with Larry Medinger however he has made a number of calls and none have been returned. 



1)       Tree Commission recommends the applicant consider a different species than Aser platanoides ‘Emerald Queen’ if determined to be as invasive as most platanoides species. 

2)       Neighbors concerned about southern boundary of project, based on their testimonies consider changing design to include screening and barrier hedges.

3)       Landscape designer should review the Landscape Plan and consider revising to include a screening, evergreen hedge along the south property line.




A.  Type 1 Review Assignments

a.. August 4th,  Cohen, Rose, Holley

b.  September 8th, Jennings, Cohen, Rose

c.  October 13,  Sager, Pritchard, Rose


Rose reminded the staff to be sure and send the packets to her address at the Camera Shop not the Hostel.  149 East Main is the correct address to send correspondence to.





A.      Lithia Way Tree List

Pritchard and Rose met and discussed the prior tree list along with other resources and decided upon recommending the following six trees for the Lithia Way Tree List. 

Zelkova Serrata “Green Vase”

Nyssa Sylvatica

Tillia Codata (strongly suggest Shamrock Linden)

Acer Grandidentatum “Schmidt”

Pistasha Chinensis

Fraxinun Oxycarpa Raywood


The Tree Commission suggested sending this list to Public Works, Parks Department and Planning.  Amy will write a memo that states something similar to the following sentences “In response to a query from Don Todt requesting the Tree Commission taking another look at Street Trees a sub committee has reviewed a large list and has come up with the following six trees.  Please use these trees if you need to replace or plant new street trees along Lithia Way.”  Amy agreed to write the memo and have Don Todt review it.



B.      Street Trees and Pruning Assistance

Amy shared there had been multiple complaints regarding the Japanese Maple at the corner of Iowa and Meade. Scott Green reported to Holley that Dean Walker had come to his property and said  that the tree was fine and he didn’t need to do anything. 


Though the Commission is concerned about the 14’ trimming regulations Amy shared that she does not feel that height will go down because Oregon Vehicle Requirements allow trucks to go to 13.5 feet in height. This regulation makes it hard for the average homeowner to trim their own trees.  Not everyone can afford to have an arborist trim their trees. Rose shared that in Concord California if the trees needed to be done the City did it and then charged the homeowner and had them pay over a period of time. Holley reminded the Tree Commission it was on their goals list about four years ago.  After the Tree Ordinance passed the Tree Commission wanted to do something positive that citizens would like.  Holley felt like there was a lack of balance between the property owners and the City regarding the park row.  Holley prepared a one page draft about three years ago in which they address this issue as a Commission on how they can bring fairness to this matter.  The City tells the property owner that they have to do all these things and you also have to pay for them all.  It builds animosity towards the city.  Rose also commented that in Concord the homeowners who could not afford to pay the city back for the pruning and cutting could do so by doing community work.  Pritchard also suggested that maybe some arborist might be willing to reduce their hourly fee for doing the majority of the work. 


C.      Car Free Day

International Car-Free Day is scheduled for September 22, 2005.  The Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission is requesting assistance from the Tree Commission as well as the Historic Commission.  Amy will forward the email regarding this event to the Tree Commissioners and put it back on the agenda.





                  A.       Liaison Reports: 

     No liaisons were present

a.         Heritage Tree Sub Committee

Rose and Cohen have scheduled a meeting for next Thursday July 14,  2005 at 12:00 p.m.  They will report back at the next meeting.


                  B.      Old Business

Holley is working on a draft entitled  “Avoiding Tree Damage During Construction”  The intent is to have the brochure distributed to customers on “Over the Counter Thursdays”  Holley requested to put this back on the agenda next month.


           C.   New Items

                  Jennings shared her concerns about the Maples located in front of Omar’s Restaurant.  Pritchard              commented that they appeared to have mildew.  Jennings encouraged the Commissioners to look at this tree species as a “No” for future plantings.  It was suggested to bring this issue to Donn Todt’s attention and to talk with public works.


Holley brought in the June 28, 2005 Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper article entitled “Intergovernmental Meeting Revolves Around Tree Health”  Holley will be talking with Donn about Lincoln School and the watering of it along with the trees at Omar’s.  Holley is not confident that the water has been turned back on.



D.      Current Balance:  $137.46.  As of  July 1 2005 the balance will go up to $750.00 for the new fiscal year. 


E.       Tree Commission Goals


                                             i.            Education

a.        Tree Tips

b.       Daily Tidings Back Page – The Commissioners discussed topics for the back page of the Daily Tidings.  Some of the suggestions were:  Trees for small urban landscapes, proper pruning, planting and caring for trees, watering, recommendations about maintaining trees in neighborhoods during construction, planting trees that attract birds and a questions and answer column.  Sager shared that she had talked with Fred Stockwell and he volunteered any of his photos for the articles.  Holley will notify Scott at the Daily Tidings and ask him what the next step is.

c.        Holley had another new item of business. He would like the Tree Commissioners and Staff to join him at his home for a BBQ this summer. The Commissioners agreed this would be very nice and asked Holley to email suggested dates to them. 


                                            ii.            Tree Clinics Pritchard asked for suggestions on where to do her tree pruning clinic.  Some suggestions were The Tuesday growers market, local nursery’s, Science Works and North Mountain Park.  Pritchard appreciated the suggestions and learning towards the North Mountain Park.


                                          iii.            Monitoring 

a.        Tracking Reports to the City Council.  Sager explained to the new commissioners that the purpose of the monitoring was so that they could show the City Council how many tree issues they have had throughout the year and that they need an Urban Forester.  Rose discussed the tree on the City Lot next to the Jasmine Building and her concern over the need for removal.





VII.              ADJOURNMENT

             Commissioner Jennings adjourned meeting at 9:14 p.m.








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