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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

July Tree Commission Minutes

Thursday, July 05, 2012

July 5, 2012
CALL TO ORDER –Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on July 5, 2012, in the Siskiyou Room in the Community Development and Engineering Services Building located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, Oregon.
Commissioners Present Council Liaison
Ken Schmidt Greg Lemhouse - ABSENT
Tracy Peddicord  
Tom Myers Staff Present
Casey Roland Michael Pina, Assistant Planner
Russ Neff Anne Thayer, Parks Horticulturist
Roland motioned, Schmidt seconded the approval of the June 7, 2012 Regular meeting
Eight residents from Peachey Road spoke to the Tree Commission regarding nominating a California Black Oak within the Peachey Road right-of-way as a Heritage Tree in accordance with 18.61.025. The residents have stated that the grove of oak trees is unique to the city, beloved by their community, and the “soul of our street”. 
It should be noted that Jackson County, who currently has jurisdiction of the road, has been awarded an $807,570 Federal Congestion Mitigations and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant to pave Peachey Road between Walker and Hillview. After a previous plan to shift to roadway south fell through, the County had no choice but to proceed with a less desirable option that would remove the grove of oak trees within the right-of-way. Concerned neighbors urged staff to preserve these trees as they are important to the neighborhood. In response, staff initiated discussions with the County to request an Exception to Street Standards to allow for a narrower street section in the vicinity of the trees.
All Commissioners visited the site. Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) 18.61.025 states that “specific trees in Ashland are deserving of special status due to distinctive form, size, age, location, species, unique qualities, or historical significance." Commissioner Myers noted that due to the overhead power lines on the north side of the road, the grove of oak trees, plus others, have been topped and cut back over the years that they no longer retain their original form, and therefore do not qualify as a heritage tree. Myers continued to say that nominated trees should have a particular form to be considered as a heritage tree, and this particular tree has many structural flaws. Additionally, 18.61.025 states that for a tree to be nominated, the property owner would have to provide written consent to nominate this tree. Commissioner Schmidt noted that being within the right-of-way, the City/County would have to be agreeable to this nomination before it can proceed to City Council for final resolution. 
All-in-all, the Commission recommended that during the construction phase of the roadway, that the County has an arborist on site during the excavation, and to take every step necessary to preserve the trees. Additional recommendations were to explore alternative methods of construction such as pervious paving or structured soil.
PLANNING ACTION:                        PA-2012-00740                                              
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          160 Lithia Way
APPLICANT:                          DRRAM L.L.C. (Doug & Dionne Irvine) 
DESCRIPTION:                      A request for Site Review and Conditional Use Permit approval to construct a new 13,800 square foot, three-story mixed-use building in the vacant, private parking lot located at 160 Lithia Way.  The proposed building will consist of commercial restaurant space on the ground floor, five hotel units on the second floor, and five residential apartments on the third floor. The application also includes requests for a Conditional Use Permit to exceed 40 feet in height in order to provide architectural relief in the façade, an Exception to the Site Design & Use Standards with regard to plaza space requirements, and a Tree Removal Permit to remove ten trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.).   
Piña gave the staff report. All commissioners visited the site. Pina stated that according to the submitted landscape plan, two of the three proposed street trees are not consistent with the Recommended Street Tree guide. Laurie Sager of Laurie Sager Landscape Architecture noted that the choice of Red Oaks are consistent with existing street trees on either side of the subject property. The Commission discussed a variety of species that might do well in this location, but ultimately approved the use of Red Oaks in this location. The Commission also discussed the proposed landscaping along the pedestrian path way on the south side of the proposed building. Sager stated that this pedestrian corridor is dark and establishing significant landscaping in this area will be difficult, which is why the plan calls for mostly ground coverings, shrubs, and three ‘esaplier camellia’ bushes that will grow up and along the wall. The Commission recommends the plans as submitted.       

PLANNING ACTION:                        PA-2012-00897                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          403 Dead Indian Memorial Road
APPLICANT:                          City of Ashland / Ashland Municipal Airport
DESCRIPTION:                      A Tree Removal request to remove a 25-inch D.B.H. Ash Tree located next to the traffic control building located at the Ashland Municipal Airport at 403 Dead Indian Memorial Road. The applicant is proposing to mitigate with a smaller stature tree that complies with federal regulations for visibility of the beacon light.
ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 39 1E 12; TAX LOT #: 301
Piña presented the staff report. Commissioners visited the site. All commissioners agree that this is not the right tree in the right location, therefore recommends removal as presented.  
The Tree Commission discussed the proposed Plaza improvements. Stemming from the conversations that the Commission had regarding the plans, staff will draft a letter to CoveyPardee Landscape Architects supporting the changes and note a few recommendations in moving forward with the design.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:55pm. The Next Meeting will be Thursday August 8, 2012
Respectfully submitted by Michael Piña, Assistant Planner

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