JOINT STUDY SESSION
August 24, 2010
CALL TO ORDER
Planning Commission Chair Pam Marsh called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. in The Grove,
Planning Commissioners Present:
Transportation Commissioners Present:
John Rinaldi, Jr.
David Chapman, Council Liaison
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Michael Faught, Public Works Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
The group introduced themselves to each other and shared their interests with transportation planning. Public Works Director Mike Faught and Mayor Stromberg offered their opening remarks, and Community Development Director Bill Molnar, Planning Manager Maria Harris, and City Engineer Jim Olson were introduced.
Susan Wright with Kittleson & Associates introduced herself and the members of her team: Tom Litster, Marc Butorac, and Erin Ferguson. John McDonald with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was also introduced. Mr. McDonald explained he is the TGM Program Administrator and is responsible for releasing the grant funds and will also be participating in the process as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee. He stated he will be representing ODOT’s interests in this project and assured the group ODOT will remain open and respectful during this process.
Ms. Wright reviewed the project’s background and scope. She noted the last full update of the City’s Transportation System Plan (TSP) was completed in 1998, and the purpose of the current update is to develop a plan that: 1) helps the City move towards being a less auto-dependent community, 2) integrates future land use and multimodal transportation system elements, and 3) enhances the City’s livability, small-town character and natural environment.
Marc Butorac addressed the group and shared his excitement to work with
Ms. Wright reviewed the eleven tasks outlined in the project scope and highlighted Task 6 which is the development of the pedestrian node concept. She reviewed the project’s timeline and stated in order to maintain momentum they would prefer to adhere to the 18-month schedule. Ms. Wright commented on the public process and reviewed the draft agendas for the scheduled open houses. She added the joint commission meetings will also be advertised and the public is welcome to come and provide input throughout the process. Ms. Wright reviewed the website that has been created for this project (www.ashlandtsp.com) and noted citizens are able to leave comments and subscribe for updates.
Ms. Wright shared her expectations for the two commissions and asked that they attend all the scheduled meetings and workshops. She also recommended they share their comments and feedback with their commission chairs and stated their input will be forwarded to the consultant team. Commissioner Marsh stated she would like the commissions to take ownership of this project and stressed that the commissioners should be prepared and attend all scheduled meetings. She added it is important for them to be active and held responsible for what comes out of this process.
Commissioner Sommer asked for clarification on how the open houses would be advertised and how the consultants would handle the website comments. Ms. Wright stated the open houses will be noticed on the City’s website, as well as published in the Daily Tidings and in CitySource newsletter; and welcomed their suggestions for additional advertising opportunities. In regards to the comments submitted through the project website, Ms. Wright clarified they will regularly provide these to the commissions and suggested this be added as a standard agenda item.
Commissioner Dotterrer noted some citizens do not like attending open houses and asked if there is another avenue to solicit public feedback. Ms. Wright suggested the project website be used to replicate the open house activities and capture this additional feedback. Commissioner Rinaldi suggested they call the open house something different, perhaps “Community Design Workshop”; and Commissioner Miller recommended incorporating television and radio to help spread the word and build public interest.
Commissioner Mindlin asked how conflicting opinions would be incorporated into the plan. Commissioner Marsh clarified any conflicts that arise will need to be resolved during the public meeting process. Ms. Wright stated her hope is that consensus will be reached before direction is given to the consultant team and if there is no majority on a particular item it should be addressed again a subsequent meeting. Commissioner Dotterrer commented that they will need to be careful about reaching consensus and stated sometimes when people don’t comment it does not mean they are in agreement.
DRAFT TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM #1
Tom Litster addressed the group and provided a brief overview of Technical Memorandum #1. He explained the intent of the review was to provide a baseline of applicable plans, policies, and regulations for establishing goals, objectives and evaluation criteria for alternatives. Mr. Litster briefly reviewed the documents that were analyzed and clarified they looked at transportation elements, land use elements, community visions and design standards. He asked the group if there are any other documents they should incorporate. Commissioner Rinaldi noted the current EOA update and recommended they look at those documents and the draft vision statement that has been created. Councilor Chapman recommended they also look at the Master Trail Plan and suggested they include skateboarders in this planning effort. Commissioner Ryan asked for the consultant’s guidance on incorporating flexibility into the plan and their input on upcoming technological or regulatory changes.
Commissioner Mindlin expressed concern that the public won’t be familiar with these plans and recommended they make an effort to educate the public as they move forward with this project. Councilor Chapman clarified Phase II of the City’s Downtown Plan was never formally adopted and noted there were issues with that plan that were never resolved.
DRAFT TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM #2
Ms. Wright briefly reviewed the draft goals, objectives and evaluation criteria from Technical Memorandum #2. The goals outlined in the memorandum are as follows: 1) create a “green” template for other communities in the state and nation to follow, 2) make safety a priority for all modes of travel, 3) maintain small-town character, support economic prosperity and accommodate future growth, and 4) create system-wide balance for serving and facilitating pedestrian, bicycle, rail, air, transit and vehicular traffic in terms of mobility and access within and through Ashland.
Commissioner Dotterrer asked for additional information about “facilitate sustainable growth” which is listed as an objective of Goal #3. Mr. Litster agreed that sustainable growth is a term that gets tossed around a lot and challenged them put a box around this and identify what this means for
Arlene Rogers/Recommended the meeting materials be made available to the public in advance of the meetings and received clarification that the public will be allowed to give input at the joint meetings.
Roy Sutton/Stated he lives in Mountain Meadows and noted the challenges of public transportation from the retirement developments in Ashland.
Earl/Questioned how the community’s comments will become part of the public record and recommended they be included with the meeting minutes and adopted at each meeting.
Mr. Faught clarified all comments from the commissioners should be sent to either Jim Olson (Public Works) or Maria Harris (Community Development).
Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor