ASHLAND CONSERVATION COMMISSION
August 22, 2001
CALL TO ORDER - Chairperson Susan Reid called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Members present were Susan Reid, Bruce Moats, Russ Chapman, Charles Bennett, Joanne Krippaehne, Russ Otte, Howard Braham and Paige Prewett. Staff present were Dick Wanderscheid and Sonja Akerman. Dan Murphy represented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling. Member Mort Smith is taking an approved leave of absence.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Krippaehne moved and Chapman seconded to approve the June 27, 2001 and July 25, 2001 minutes as submitted. The motion was unanimously passed.
ASHLAND SANITARY & RECYCLING UPDATE - Murphy reported the fall events schedule as follows: 1) September 22 from 8:00 a.m. to noon will be chipper day at the Transfer Station. 2) September 24-28 will be the on-route chipper service. Murphy noted this would be the final on-route chipper event since Ashland Sanitary now has year round yard debris service at the Transfer Station and will be starting a residential yard debris program in March. Chipper day at the transfer station will continue twice a year. 3) Free residential computer recycling day at the Transfer Station will be on October 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The station will accept computers, monitors, printers and all other peripherals. No televisions, stereos or other electronics will be accepted. Murphy explained businesses will be excluded because this is a pilot program. No one knows what type of response there will be, and they don't want to end up with thousands of computers. Ashland Sanitary, Rogue Disposal and Southern Oregon Sanitation are all sponsoring this event in their respective locations. A company from Beaverton will be coming down to haul the computers back to the Portland area. Murphy said this company reuses as much as it can, including the plastics, copper and precious metals. When discussing televisions, Wanderscheid and Chapman noted the cathode ray tubes contain mercury and lead, and while there are currently no regulations for their disposal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will most likely have something in place in the near future. Wanderscheid asked if there would be an exchange table for computers at the Transfer Station and Murphy replied it would be easy to set one up. Murphy said he will get more specific information from the company before advertising this event. 4) The eco-essay contest for high school seniors in the Ashland Sanitary service area (Ashland High School and Phoenix High School) will again be held in October. The students submit their 600 word essays, and then a panel of judges reads them. First place is $500 for the student plus $100 for the school, second place is $200 for the student and $100 to the high school, and third place is $100 for the student plus $100 for the high school. Wanderscheid noted this is funded by Ashland Sanitary. Murphy asked if anyone could think of an alternate theme for this year's contest. Bennett suggested something to do with the future of recycling. The members thought this would be a good topic and Reid recommended wording it so as to stimulate teenagers. Otte noted that the students should be reminded they can use this paper for college entrance. If the Commissioners have any more ideas or comments for Murphy, they should either call or e-mail him within two weeks. Otte added he thinks new urban and suburban ethics on wise water use will be a huge issue in the future and it may be a topic to consider. 5) Murphy said the Water Street recycling Depot will be open for free leaves and grass recycling on November 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is in lieu of leaves and grass pick up. Since this is a Tuesday and the depot is normally closed, there will be no regular recycling allowed. 6) The plaque for Julian Henry will be placed in the center of the compost demonstration site. There is already a post there and it can be seen from all accessible sides. Murphy stated the plaque will cost $201, and they have received over $400. Chapman added the leftover money will be used for the essay contest. The approved wording is as follows:"In memory of Julian Henry, whose dedication and efforts helped to make Ashland's composting programs so successful. 2001."
Marketing - Krippaehne reported she had contacted the SOU business department and will be resubmitting the Commission's request for construction waste market research. She hopes the subject will generate enough interest with the students to get a database.
Adopt-A-Street - Chapman stated Adam Hanks did not have time to finish the brochure. Wanderscheid will give the information to Ann Seltzer, who will finish the brochure prior to the next meeting. Prewett said her only concern is that once the brochures are distributed, Hanks will not have time to staff the program. Chapman related he and Prewett had drafted an ad for the newspapers recognizing the volunteers who have already adopted a street. Wanderscheid will bring the formatted ad and the brochure to the next meeting. He will get the list of volunteers from Hanks for the ad.
Street Sweeping/Leaf Collection - Krippaehne moved and Braham seconded to authorize $150 for supplies and mailing of the street sweeping brochure. The motion was unanimously passed.
AOR Conference and Oregon Sustainability Forum - Wanderscheid related that in the past, the Conservation Commission has paid registration fees and mileage for members who wish to attend conferences. The Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) Conference is in Eugene September 6, 7 and 8, and the Oregon Sustainability Forum is during the same time in Portland. Community Development Director John McLaughlin will be speaking at the Portland forum. Chapman will be at the AOR Conference representing Ashland Sanitary. Although no one could commit to attending either conference at the time, Otte moved to authorize registration and mileage for up to two members for either or both conferences. Krippaehne seconded the motion and it passed with a unanimous vote.
Budget - Wanderscheid said the balance is still $4,000. The Commission has authorized money but none has been spent yet.
COMMISSION ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA: 1) Bennett proposed the Commission work on an "Up For Grabs" day, where people can put items on the curb and others can go by and take what they want. Wanderscheid related that Ashland Sanitary had a free pick up day for such items several years ago. The day before its trucks were scheduled to pick up these items, Goodwill had the opportunity to take first pick. He said Bennett's plan has some merit, but would suggest it be done every six months or so rather than once a month. This will be on next month's agenda. 2) Prewett asked about the status of the solar system at Ashland Middle School. Wanderscheid replied it is now up and running and generating electricity. Announcements will be made after school starts. Wanderscheid also noted that within a month, the City should have nine systems in operation, including residential. He added there is a 3 kW system that is actually selling electricity to the City of Ashland. 3) Otte stated he is concerned about all the new stop signs that have been recently installed in the City. He wondered if the Traffic Safety Commission has considered the added pollution associated with stopping and starting vehicles. Wanderscheid said the Traffic Safety Commission is driven by citizens who come to the meetings with certain needs and he knows the members need to take many things into account when making their decisions. Otte related he realizes his opinion may not be politically correct in terms of safety issues, but volunteered to write a letter to the Traffic Safety Commission to ask if the pollution problem had been considered in its decisions to increase the number of stop signs. He will report back to the Conservation Commission on this. Reid added that not only is air pollution involved, but noise also.
Sustainable Housing Brainstorm session - Reid began the session by asking everyone to express ideas, questions or concerns regarding sustainable housing. Melanie Mindlin, 1338 Seena Lane, said this subject is of special interest to her and noted she recently built a "recycled" house. Braham stated sustainable housing should include the "big picture" because the behaviors of the people living in the home largely affect how efficient it is. Wanderscheid agreed and noted the occupant can defeat the purpose of the technology if not being used correctly. Mindlin asked if the Commission is only talking about the density bonus because if this is so, only developers would be interested. Reid said that this would also include new single family residences, and additions and remodels of existing homes. Mindlin stated that to her, the primary impediments are cost and available information. Developers are not thinking about passive solar homes, for example, because there doesn't seem to be accessible material on that subject. Prewett said in most cases, the technology exists but people aren't aware of it, so she feels education and outreach are important factors. Krippaehne related she is trying to build her practice around sustainability. She would like to see the cost impediment addressed, probably through the SDCs, in particular the storm sewer and impervious square footage. She pronounced sustainable design features need to be included as part of the site plan. Reid maintained the homeowner needs to get a monetary incentive for using sustainable housing features. The question is how much will the community be willing to allocate for this? Chapman would prefer that people use material that is already down. Moats said that although it is not a popular way of thinking, perhaps there should be a limitation on the size of the dwelling because of the consumption of resources. Reasonable habitation should be considered. Otte stated that as a resident of a geodesic dome, he knows that he used 22% less material to obtain the same amount of square footage as a box home. Also, he noted his utility bills are 25% less than box homes with the same square footage. While he is not advocating geodesic developments because of the visual component, he thinks structures designed differently than the standard box can use less to accomplish the same.
In looking at Krippaehne's first draft of sustainable housing components, Mindlin stated that most of the concerns voiced are on the list. The one item she would add is making educational material available, as most people don't know much about sustainable things that can be done. Braham noted that since housing seems to be driven more by developers than buyers, what we as a society need to do is to develop programs where sustainable homes are required rather than just a nuisance. If the City of Ashland is going to develop ordinances, it will be important for us to think about the importance of sustainable housing for not only the developer, but also the community. Bennett recommended incorporating a percentage scale of reusable materials to represent sustainable housing, then when a certain level is reached, a certain density bonus will be granted. Prewett said she feels that implementing ordinances that are realistic and practical is important. Overlapping requirements can sometimes cost the homeowner unnecessary money. Also, sustainable materials need to be more available. It is not sensible to have to special order all the time. A database might help which would list local and regional building resources and technologies. Krippaehne said she would like to see any program the Commission develops have the latitude to make trade offs because what may be sustainable on one site may not be sustainable on another site. She prefers the point system where people can pick and choose and be site responsive. People need to be able to assess their own sites. Reid then mentioned the importance of transit oriented developments, where cars are not relied upon for sole transportation. Otte stated he hopes that developers can put down streets and design roofs more efficiently to change the water situation because there has to be a way to quit sending all the water to the river. Braham and Mindlin stressed the importance of having resource information available. Reid related the consumer drives the construction trade so when more citizens want to build using sustainable housing criteria, these resources will become more available.
Krippaehne's Sustainable Housing Program criteria list was then discussed by item. Krippaehne said the City needs a document that is not static. It needs to evolve over time. Wanderscheid reminded the Commission it needs to focus on the house rather than other issues. It was decided that next month's agenda will begin with the Sustainable Housing discussion.
MORE BUSINESS - Wanderscheid informed the members that the July 21 compost class had 25 attendees and the August 18 class had 37. He then read an article in the Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) publication which complimented Ashland Sanitary & Recycling and the depot on Water Street. Kudos to Chapman and the Conservation Commission for helping to make the recycling facility such a success!
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.