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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting Minutes Draft

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ashland Tree Commission

Regular Meeting

October 6, 2005




I.              CALL TO ORDER:   Chair January Jennings called the Ashland Tree Commission meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. on October 6, 2005 in the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development/Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way.


Commissioners Present:  Pennie Rose

Bryan Holley

Mary Pritchard (absent)

Laurie Sager

Ted Loftus

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 corrections were noted for the August 4, 2005 minutes.

                Third page under public testimony, integral and accessory were misspelled. Holley/Sager m/s to approve the minutes of August 4, 2005 with the above corrections.  Voice vote:  All AYES, Motion passed.  The minutes of August 4, 2005 were approved as corrected.



None present.




PLANNING ACTION 2005-01674 is a request for Site Review approval for a three-story, mixed-use building comprised of restaurant space, office space and two residential units for the property located at 11 First St.  The proposed building is approximately 4,500 square feet in size, and is located in the Downtown and Detail Site Review zones.  A Tree Removal Permit is requested to remove four trees sized six inches diameter at breast height and greater. Comprehensive Plan Designation: Commercial Downtown; Zoning: C-1-D; Assessorís Map #; 39 1E 09BA; Tax Lot: 10400.

APPLICANT: Ron and Carrie Yamaoka     


Amy read the Staff report and explained the applicantís proposal including the removal of four trees. 


Applicant Testimony:  Tom Giordano, 2635 Takelma Way Ashland and Bill Emerson, 90 Fifth Street Ashland were both present to represent this planning action.  Mr. Giordano explained that this is a very small  piece of property making it  difficult to get a building in  and the trees that are on site need to be removed regardless if a building goes in or not.  The arborist reported that eventually the trees will damage the paving and retaining wall at that location.  Amy stated that Maria Harris, Senior Planner, would like the Commissioners to review the plants that are proposed to be planted around the base of the building because she felt they might get to tall for the windows. 


Commissioner Holley explained that the Commission is trying to compile photographs of situations showing examples of the right tree in the right place.  Holley noted that the Commission has a Daily Tidings article coming out soon and a nice photo for the article would show what happens when this kind of situation occurs.


Commissioner Jennings asked Mr. Emerson if he would be putting protective fencing around the European Beach Trees during construction.  Mr. Emerson confirmed that he has plans to fence from one property corner to the other.  Jennings stated that the European Beach Trees are infested with mites because they are not getting the cross ventilation that they need.  


Mr. Emerson asked for recommendations from the Tree Commissioners regarding which trees to plant. Commissioner Sager recommended a Bowhall Maple and something more vertical.   Jennings suggested that the applicant look at the Street Tree Guide for suggestions.  Commissioner Loftus commented that ivy should be removed. 


Amy clarified why the Commissioners should not use the word ďconsiderĒ in their recommendations. She stated that when the Commissioners review a Type II Planning Action their recommendations become conditions of approval with the final approval of the staff advisor.  When they say ďconsiderĒ it leaves ambiguous language that does not necessarily make it a condition of approval. If ďconsiderĒ is used that is all the applicant has to do is just consider the recommendation.   




1) Tree Commission recommends a different tree choice for the street tree such as a Bowhall Maple so as to not have fruit drop. 



PLANNING ACTION: 2005-1307 is a request for Site Review approval to construct a second residential unit attached to the existing garage for the property located at 125 Sherman St.  A Conditional Use Permit is required to expand the non-conforming garage structure.  The garage is located within a foot of the rear property line and ten feet is required.  The new proposed addition meets setback requirements. Comprehensive Plan Designation: Low Density Multi-Family Residential; Zoning: R-2; Assessorís Map #; 39 1E 09 DB; Tax Lot: 5400.



Tom Giordano requested a continuance on this planning application due to issues raised by the Historic Commission. 


PLANNING ACTION: 2005-1474 is a request for Land Partition to create a flag lot from the rear of the property located at 893 Hillview Dr. Comprehensive Plan Designation: Single Family Residential; Zoning: R-1-7.5; Assessorís Map # 39 1E 15 AC; Tax Lot: 700.

APPLICANT: Larry Medinger


Amy read the staff report. 


Applicant Testimony:  Applicant Larry Medinger was present.  Mr. Medinger shared that the neighbor to the south has informed him that the Willow Tree is very important to him.  The neighbor wrote a letter asking that the applicant preserve the tree and have an arborist look at it and make recommendations that they would have to follow in order to preserve the Willow.  Certified Arborist Tom Myers recommended moving the driveway seven feet away from the surface of the trunk and then it would be fine.  Mr. Medinger stated that as a builder he is committed to preserving existing trees in the properties that he works on.  Mr. Medinger reported that they will be removing part of the building that is next to an English Walnut tree to give it more breathing room.  Mr. Myers reported that Leland Cypress trees are usually kept trimmed to six to ten feet high.  Because they have grown so large he stated they will begin dropping limbs in wind storms so a plan should be made to gradually replace them. 


Holley asked Mr. Medinger if the fire department had approved their new plans.  Mr. Medinger said the fire department had not reviewed it yet but the new plan meets all of their specifications.  Amy stated that Margueritte Hickman will be at the Hearings Board meeting when Mr. Medinger presents this planning action. 


Public Testimony: Chuck Smith, 895 Hillview Ashland spoke.  Mr. Smith had not received the staff report until Wednesday the 5th of October consequently he was surprised at some of the changes. Smith stated that about ten years ago he and prior owner Sheila Converse discussed the planting of the Leland Cypress and the Willow for privacy.  Mr. Smith gave an overview on the overhead projector of his property in relationship with the Willow Tree, the Leland Cypress and the other landscaping plants. Mr. Smith will be remodeling his house in the near future moving his bedroom and his daughterís bedroom to the back of the house.  He stated he is doing this because he hears the neighborís diesel truck every morning and hopes that it will be quieter in the back of the house.  Mr. Smithís concern is that he will be looking at two garages and five cars.  He is also concerned about the health of the Willow Tree because of the asphalt and concrete that will be put on top of it.  Mr. Smith does not feel there is enough area for the roots.  


Commissioner Rose asked Mr. Smith what he sees as a compromise.  Smith acknowledged that with the Willow Tree staying it will be quieter but he is concerned about the longevity of the Tree.  Rose asked if Mr. Smith had anything planted on his side of the property.  Smith acknowledged he had 5 Sweet Gums across the back.  Jennings affirmed that this is an unfortunate situation for Mr. Smith because this is an example of having the wrong plants in the wrong place. Jennings informed Mr. Smith that willow trees are extremely indestructible and will live with cement practically up to their trunk.  She confirmed that the seven feet that the arborist suggested will be just fine. Jennings suggested that in residential landscapes home owners need to be thinking about planting 15 foot shrubs rather then trees for screening.  Rose stated that Leland Cypress are fast growing but not long lasting. Jennings said that the Leland Cypress can burn in a matter of 90 seconds.  Loftus stated that after talking with city workers pretty much every place in town where there is a Willow tree next to the street they are cleaning out the sewers at least once or twice a year.  Mr. Smith stated this project will be disrupting the quality of his life.  Jennings stated that if it was her and she owned the property she would look at it as an opportunity to put better species there.  Holley encouraged Mr. Smith to go to the Hearings Board and lay out the issues that arenít tree related but that are quality of life issues. 


Lynn Costantino, 892 Harmony Lane Ashland spoke. The Leland Cypress is directly behind him and he enjoys the screen that they have provided.  Mr. Costantino inquired what the regulations were of having them topped and how much more life these trees might have.  Rose commented that she has already seen some flagging starting and Loftus explained that in tree life it is a very short lived tree though no one can tell him how long they are going to live.  Mr. Costantino asked if there is set backs regarding how far you can build a house from the base of a tree.  Amy stated that there is nothing in the ordinance that gives criteria that they can apply to this.  Mr. Medinger suggested they met together and come up with a plan with a species recommendation and how to get it to grow and maintain the screen.  Sager shared she had previously worked on a project where they took out every other tree and put in something nice that was also fast growing.  They are now ready to take out the old trees and it looks great.  Mr. Costantino felt this might be a good solution and he was not opposed to that and asked if they can make it a part of the recommendation. 


Sager suggested that if everyone was agreeable they should take them all out now and do the planting with something that grows fast.  Rose stated that if they donít remove them all the ones that are left will shade the new ones that they are trying to start.  It was decided to make a recommendation of the Leland Cypress with a plan that Mr. Medinger and the neighbors agree upon. 







1)       Tree Commission recommends incorporating Arborist recommendations regarding moving the drive seven-feet away from the trunk of the Willow tree if the applicants newly proposed plan is accepted by the Hearings Board.


2)       Tree Commission recommends removing all the Leyland Cypress along western property line and replanting with appropriate shrubs and screening trees, and development of a long term maintenance plan for the replacement of all of the Leland Cypress.



PLANNING ACTION #2005-01484- is a request for Site Review approval to construct 26 townhome units for the property located in the Meadowbrook Park Subdivision located at N. Mountain Ave. and E. Nevada St. Comprehensive Plan Designation: North Mountain; Zoning: NM; Assessorís Map #; 39 1E 04 AC; Tax Lots:  400, 501, 700.

APPLICANT:  Camelot Family Homes LLC


Jennings announced that the Tree Commission will be concerning themselves only with the Street Trees on this project. Donn Todt asked her to remind the Commissioners that he is going to be working on plants that have to do with the wetlands area.  He will be recommending more native shrubs for that wetland area so the Tree Commissioners will not be dealing with any of that, just the trees. 


Amy stated that Todt was concerned about the Oregon Ash because it is not a good tree for Urban areas.  It tends to break, has tons of seeds and creates lots of volunteers, takes a great deal of hand labor and requires pesticides.  Sager suggested that they give the applicant the original Conditions of Approval and the Commission could then make a recommendation that they comply with the original Conditions of Approval.  Amy said she would email them to Jason Patterson.


APPLICANT TESTIMONY:  Jason Patterson was present as applicant to answer questions. 


Rose had a comment about planting.  She had recently reviewed some trees that are by the parking garage behind the Varsity Theater. Her concern was with the root ball. It was decided to make this a discussion topic at a later date. Loftus said that the City Enforcer, Adam Hanks, needs to understand how a tree is planted and that it is planted forever.  Tom Medaro will be overseeing the landscaping installation by Carolís Colorís.  Sager said she has a detail that they use that talk about root flare and removal of burlap twine around the base of the tree.  She will bring it in for the next discussion.  Amy stated that Robin is working on updating the irrigation and minimum landscape standards. 




1)       Tree Commission recommends not using Oregon Ash in residential / urban areas.


2)       Tree Commission recommends incorporation of the original conditions of approval into all landscaping, irrigation and tree preservation and protection plans.


3)       All tree staking shall be removed within 2 years of issuance of certificate of occupancy.


Planning Action 2004-149 is a request for a Conditional Use Permit to construct an approximately 912 square foot Accessory Residential Unit (ARU) behind the existing single family residence located at 459 Willow Street.  Comprehensive Plan Designation: Single Family Residential; Zoning: R-1-5; Assessorís Map #: 39 1E 05DA; Tax Lot: 100.


The Tree Commission had reviewed this planning action last December and it was their recommendation to have the applicant brings it back to them.  Amy read the prior recommendations and the applicants report.


The Commissioners discussed this planning action. Amy explained that the applicant has access issues.  Sager had two concerns with driving under the Walnut tree.  One is that they will have much heavier vehicles and the second is almost always the vehicles will probably be taller and rip off limbs. 




1)       Abide by the recommendations of Hooper Spring Tree Service.


2)       Avoid damage to the lower limbs of the walnut tree from tall vehicles. Have all limbs lower than 14-feet above grade pruned by a qualified arborist.


3)       Avoid root compaction by vehicles heavier than 20,000 lbs. under the Walnut. Consider pumping of concrete to site.


4)       Select a different, more drought and full sun tolerant tree from the City of Ashland Recommended Street Tree Guide for the south side of the structure instead of the vine maple.



Holley inquired about what happened to the two Planning Actions from last month since there was not a quorum with the Tree Commission.  Amy stated that the Smithís project at 290 Skycrest filed for a postponement and 510 Granite Street had nothing for the Tree Commission to review because it was a variance to lot coverage for them to put a driveway in that already exists.  Holley asked what would have happened if one of these actions had required Tree Commission review and there had not been a quorum last month? What does the planning department do?  Amy stated because of the 120 day rule she does not believe the action can be postponed without the applicantís approval.  Amy believes that perhaps a staff person would come up with the recommendations.  Holley is going to send an email to Bill Molnar and ask his opinion regarding this.   




A.  Tree of the Year

a. Ballots:  The Commissioners discussed the trees that were nominated.  Sager asked for a clarification regarding Trees that are on City property.  Amy said that in the past they did not include them because those trees have good care and do get recognized because they are in protected areas. Jennings asked how healthy does a tree have to be to qualify?  As the years go by she said her standards go way down.  Jennings is realizing itís no longer about the health of the tree but how much the community loves the tree.  It was decided that each Commissioner would do a synopsis of one of the trees including writing something referring to the history of the tree.  Sager recommended they each send in their five nominations by noon tomorrow.  The Commissioners decided that the Siberian Elm at Evoís will receive an Honorable Mention award but will not be part of the five nominations. 


Amy will be putting the ballets at the Chamber of Commerce, utility office, camera shop, booth on the plaza, potentially the food cafť across from Lithia Park the web site and any other places that are suggested.  If all goes according to schedule, the ballots will be put in the Daily Tidings on the 15th and again on the 29th. 


Jennings was out looking at trees and was at 184 B Street across from the Post Office.  She walked back in the alley to look closer at an Incense Cedar and noticed a silver maple, the biggest one she has ever seen in town.  She encouraged everyone to look at.


b. Presentation at Council:  November 3, 2005 Ė discussion at next months meeting


B.      Tree Ordinance Revision

a. Memo to Council:  In regard to the Tree Ordinance revision it has been tabled indefinitely.  Amy stated that if the Commission is uncomfortable with the ordinance they need to identify the policy reasons why they are uncomfortable with it.  Holley suggested that the Commission ask the Legal department to give them an interpretation. 


C.      Maples in front of Omarís - Amy stated that she filed the Tree Removal Permit with Robbin Pearce.  Todt has Five Persian Ironwoods available at approximately $225.00 a tree. Amy will be contacting the Deboerís regarding mitigation.  Sager commented that five trees at that site might not be appropriate and they are sensitive which might not be the right tree for that area.  The Commissioners decided to bring this topic back next month so they can discuss it with Donn. 


D.  Mitigation Trees - policies and procedures for off-site mitigation:  Amy stated they are still working on this and that the Commission needs to open this up for discussion.  Jennings suggested setting up a Sub Committee.  Commissioners Sager, Rose and Loftus volunteered. The first meeting will be December 5, 2005. 




A.      Liaison Reports

a.        Heritage Tree Sub Committee:  The committee needs one more member.

B.      Old Business

C.      New Items

Type 1 Review: 

November 3, 2005:  Holley, Sager, Pritchard

December 8, 2005:   Jennings, Loftus


Loftus inquired about the Maple Tree that Randall brought to their attention. Holley stated that they had received an email from Adam Hanks. Amy reminded the Commissioners that enforcement is not in their purview. Adam will be coming to the Tree Commission next month and discuss enforcement ideas.


Holley shared that the plaque for the 2003 Tree of the Year, a Blue Atlas Cedar located at 391 Liberty St. has been vandalized.  Holley is going to go and knock on the door and ask them if they know what happened and check into having it replaced.  The Commission is open to helping purchase a new one.


D.      Current Balance $750.00: 

Brochures $100.00

2005 Tree of Year Plaque $150.00

Daily Tidings ad $100.00



E.       Tree Commission Goals

i.         Education

1.  Daily Tidings Back Page:  Sager encouraged the Commissioners to have a little more organization with this so they arenít doing things at the last minute.  Novemberís topic will be Planting and Rose will write the article.  The goal is to submit it by Nov. 1, 2005

1.  Communication for staff review. Reminder to give all articles to Amy first for review before submitting to the Daily Tidings

                                            ii.   Tree Clinics:  Mary will be doing a class at North Mountain Park

iii.   Monitoring

1. Tracking Reports to City Council: The Commissioners decided not to include the tracking reports with the Tree of the Year Presentation in order to keep the presentation a positive experience.



Commissioner Pritchard adjourned meeting at 9:54 pm


                Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener 




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