Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, June 16, 2008


Monday, June 16, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.

Council Chamber, 1175 East Main Street


Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m.


Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 6:07 p.m.


1.     Discussion on Ashland Gun Club Lease

Parks & Recreation Director Don Robertson presented the staff report on the extension of the lease to the Ashland Gun Club and if extended what the conditions would be, how long the extension should be and how the property would be used.  The report included background information on the property, prior grant restrictions, and prior discussion by the Parks Commissioners, City Council and the public.  He explained that the neighbors had not had the opportunity to express their concerns in the past and that staff had been directed to identify issues with the property and to develop a draft lease for council to review.  He explained that both staff and community members had worked on the proposed lease.


The questions are:

·           Should the property be used as a shooting/range gun club?

·           What issues need to be addressed if the Ashland Gun Club lease is renewed?

·           What issues need to be addressed if the Ashland Gun Club lease is allowed to expire?


Mr. Robertson noted the 2008 Facility Master Plan committee that was looking at all city lands and that if council should have questions that staff was available to answer any questions on this and on any land use issues that may affect the property.


He indicated that the draft lease had been circulated amongst some of the neighbors and that opinions noted should not be considered the majority view of the neighbors or the community.  He noted some of the concerns in the staff report.


Some discussion on who should administer this facility was held and Mr. Robertson suggested that the Parks & Recreation Department might not be the correct department to administer this facility.  He stated that the City Public Works and Police Department visit the site area more frequently and that it is the City Council who approves the lease arrangement.


Mr. Robertson clarified the property location and the area that may be contaminated.  He does believe that there is only a modest fee for family membership to the Gun Club.  He explained that the Gun Club has been willing to work with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine what areas are actually contaminated.  He noted the property that used by the City and how the Greenway relates to this property.  Mr. Robertson suggested that, if the lease is approved, that the city considers easements or deed restriction requirements.


Potential of a land swap was addressed and staff used an illustration as an example if council should want to proceed in this direction.


Further clarification on EPA requirements in regards to runoff was made.  Mr. Robertson stated that the existing lease did not require the Gun Club to meet EPA requirements but that the proposed lease does require this.  He does believe that the Gun Club has shown good faith in cooperation with neighbors.


Suggestion was made that a land swap with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) be considered but zoning issues and land use permits would need to be checked out.


City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified legal compliance with Department of Environmental and Quality has it pertains to noise regulations for shooting ranges.


Ashland Police Lieutenant Rich Walsh clarified that there are three formal shoots a year and an average of 10-12 times a year that the gun club is used.  This does not include the time that officers use the gun club informally.  There was continued discussion on the usage of the gun club.


Chuck Parlier/President of Gun Club/Stated that safety is their number one goal and noted the many different groups that use the range, for both pleasure and instruction.  He explained that the Gun Club is a safe place to discharge guns. In addition, he stated that it is the intent of the Gun Club to comply with EPA.  Clarification on membership use, fees charged and how well the club maintains the property was made.


Michael LaNier/member of Gun Club/Explained they do pay property taxes and utility fees on this property.  He stated that they operate under EPA’s “Best Management Practices” which include reclaimed lead and maintaining the property.  Mr. Lanier explained that the draft lease has been worked on both by staff and by members of their club, noted their appreciation of staff, and is happy with the proposed lease.


It was clarified that there are two other Gun Clubs in the Rogue Valley and that one of them is an indoor facility.  The different types of leads discharged were explained and was noted that the lead used is not as toxic as is believed.  The layout of the shooting range was explained along with further clarification on how the club would work with the EPA in regards to clean-up of the property and any preventive methods for the future.  It was clarified that the property had never been dry-mined.


The different types of guns used at the range were explained and what the different noises that these types of guns make were noted.


Bill Longiotti/Spoke in regards to the number of people that use the shooting range and that there are approximately 450 family memberships.  He explained that the club does have a newsletter and concerns are addressed and taken seriously.


Steve Sacks/1061 Tolman Creek Rd/Noted that he is a neighbor of the Gun Club and thought that now is an opportunity to review the lease.  He voiced his concern with the current hours and how disruptive they are.  He requested that the council consider limiting the weekend use to one day. He also voiced his concern with the types of guns being used at the shooting range that are not the typical pistols and shotguns.


Leon Pyle/460 Sunshine Circle/Noted that he is a property owner next to the Gun Club.  He voiced his concern with the city property used for storage and that this property has been used a dumping site.  He felt that the area has changed and that there should be discussion on whether this is appropriate use of this area as a storage area.  Noted that he had sent letters previously to Mr. Robertson and City Administrator Martha Bennett where he noted his concerns with the Gun Club.  He stated that lead in soil does require extensive removal.  He also noted that he supported the city looking into alternative sites for city storage facilities.


Doug Irvine/2113 Emigrant Creek Rd/Voiced his concern with the hours of the Gun Club and commented that it is not a pleasant visual site.


Dave Gullet/Noted that he is a member of the Gun Club, a Parks & Recreational professional and noted his family’s use and enjoyment of the shooting range.  He stated that this is a tremendous asset to the city and is a training facility that offers quality recreation.  Urged the council to keep this as a unique source of recreation for the community and believes that this has an economic value to the community.


Cathy Deforest/460 Sunshine Circle/Does not believe that there has been any testing on this site and that the Gun Club and the City should do this.  She noted that the area is surrounded by organic farms and would be harmed.  She also stated that this is an unofficial bird sanctuary.


Ms. Griffin/Voiced her support of renewing the lease, as she was more concerned with what could go on this property if the Gun Club was not there.


Aaron Benjamin/Stated that he is a property owner next to the Gun Club and that the club has been a good neighborhood.  He did voice his concern with lead contamination and wanted assurance that testing would happen to determine contamination.  He also voiced concern with the hours of the club.  He requested that the council be considerate of the neighbors.


Mr. Appicello stated that the council should consider adding a deadline on when the mining would occur and clarification on what the hours of the club should be.  Staff suggested that the hours of the club should coincide with sunset time, or whatever is earlier, along with exceptions on holidays.


Suggestions and requests by council included the following:

·        Extending lease

·        Historic value

·        Clean-up of property

·        Hours of club

·        Potential for land swap

·        Request for clean-up report

·        Permits

·        Clarification on how the city uses the property

·        Appraisal on property

·        Access to property

·        Explore other use for the city of this land

·        Discuss with ODOT the use of this property

·        Continued use of this property by the City Public Works Department

·        Language or clause in the lease that the property could revert back to the city in case it is needed in the future

·        Request that the Gun Club charges entities that use the range that currently are using it for free

·        Continued use for instructional reasons

·        Stricter deadline on clean-up dates for the property

·        Concern on giving up potential property currently being used by city for specific purposes

·        Concern voiced on land swap

·        Maintenance of road

·        Value of having this type of recreational use

·        Definition of “sunset”

·        Construction of buildings by club

·        Use of entities and types of guns used

·        Additional wells installed

·        No water pollution


Staff clarified council direction, which was to include language in the lease in regards to hours, having limited discussion with ODOT and further review on the use of this property by the city.


2.     Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.  Noted that items #5 and #6 on the June 17, 2008 council agenda under Consent Agenda were pulled.


3.     Review of regular meeting agenda for June 17, 2008 

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg clarified that, in regards to the proposed water utility rate increase, a summer surcharge rate had not been considered due to “start-up and adjustment period” which is staff intensive.  Councilor Hardesty noted that we should be more aware of water use and infrastructure.  Mr. Tuneberg stated that staff had been trying to work on identifying impact and to conduct a rate study that would encompass concerns raised.  He clarified what the percentage was for the general fund as it relates to the Water Fund.


Mr. Tuneberg clarified that the proposed language in the Audit Committee resolution should refer to (4) four voting members rather than (5) five.  He further explained why the Parks & Recreation Department was included in the proposed resolution, which was due to their participation level with the Audit Committee and the overall audit of the City.


Councilor Jackson asked if the council intended to open this item up for further discussion by the public and it was determined that more time was not likely.


Community Development Director Bill Molnar clarified that the range of duties in regards to the proposed change to the Tree Commission had to do with the difficulty on getting a quorum at their meetings.  He explained that making recommendations could result in a procedural problem if they were not able to meet the quorum requirements.  He clarified that the content is not changing the nature of Powers and Duties other than making recommendations on planning actions.  It was suggested that the criteria be looked at when considering changes in the City Commissions in regards to the number of members.


City Attorney Richard Appicello explained that a non-health hazard is a definition from the Oregon Administrative Rules and does not reflect from the current ordinance.  He clarified that this codifies the ordinance and places it in the Ashland Municipal Code.  By doing this, it will be more readily searched and accessed by staff and the public.  Staff will bring back better clarification on what this ordinance actually means at the regular meeting.  He added that this also added penalties that were not previously part of this ordinance.


Meeting was adjourned at 8:51 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Christensen

City Recorder


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