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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

January Minutes

Friday, January 04, 2013

January 3, 2013
CALL TO ORDER –Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on January 3, 2013, 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
Tracy Peddicord  
Tom Myers Staff Present
Casey Roland Michael Pina, Assistant Planner
Russ Neff - ABSENT Anne Thayer, Parks Horticulturist
Peddicord motioned, Roland seconded the approval of the December 6th, 2012 regular meeting minutes.
No guests.

PLANNING ACTION:        2012-01726                            
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     380 Clay Street
APPLICANT:                       City of Ashland         
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for a minor land partition to create two parcels for the property located at 380 Clay Street. One parcel will be owned by the City of Ashland and retained as park land; the other parcel will be sold to a private party and developed as multiple family housing. The application also includes a request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove an approximately 75-inch in diameter at breast height Black Cottonwood tree.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Low-Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-2;
ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 11C; TAX LOT: 2500
All Commissioners visited the site. Piña explained to the Tree Commission and approximately a dozen members of the Audience that the request is for a Minor Land Partition of City owned property located between lower Clay Street and YMCA Park. The subject parcel is approximately 4 acres, and is zoned R-2, Low Density Multi-Family Residential, as well as the surrounding uses. Proposed parcel 1 will be approximately 3 acres dedicated as park land; with the remaining parcel being approximately 1 acre. The request also includes a Tree Removal Permit approval to remove a 75- inch in diameter at breast height Black Cottonwood Tree located approximately 60-feet away from Clay Street.
The tree removal is a part of the partition request as it significantly reduces the ability of the property to develop to the required 90 percent density of the base parcel as it had been annexed into the City limits. Research and past experience indicates that Black Cottonwoods are notoriously week and unstable trees known for shedding their large branches; as well as having an aggressive root system that can invade and damage water drainage systems, as well as draw moisture from building foundations. Cottonwoods have a very low tolerance to construction, and not simply suitable in an urban setting. A previous arborist’s report noted that the while this particular tree has not been maintained for many years, and the amount of dead wood within the tree in not unusual for a tree of this age, the trunk appears to be sound without any visible wounds, and will continue to thrive barring an act of God. However if this tree were to remain, it would have to be pruned and monitored for the rest of its life, and even with good care, this tree could conceivably break a limb or even break at the trunk.
The Commission discussed the removal request and motioned to retain and preserve the tree. Approximately a dozen people were in the audience to speak against removing the tree. Many of which spoke to how the tree is a symbol of the area and should either be incorporated into a development; or no development be proposed at all and retain the land as a heritage museum or incorporated into the parks land. One audience member asked about nominating this tree as a Heritage Tree. Piña explained that Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) 18.61.02.B states that “any person one may nominate a tree, with the written consent of the property owner, a mature tree for consideration as a Heritage Tree”, and that,” The Tree Commission shall review all nominations and shall make a written final recommendation to the City Council. The City Council shall review the recommendation and make the final determination for Heritage Tree status.” Piña added with the City being the property owner; the City would have to accept the nomination, and provide a written consent allowing the tree to be nominated. Piña continued to say that since this section was added, the Tree Commission has not seen a Heritage tree nomination come forth.
Therefore, after hearing from the audience, the Tree Commission unanimously recommended that the City not remove the Cottonwood tree; eliminate the removal request as part of the partition; that a more recent tree evaluation be performed by a certified arborist; and that the City look into nominating this particular tree as a Heritage Tree.

PLANNING ACTION:        2012-01705                            
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     700 Terrace
APPLICANT:                       Ron Lang       
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit approval to construct a new single-family home on slopes greater than 25 percent for the property located at 700 Terrace Street. The existing residence is proposed to be removed. The application also includes a request for tree removal permit to remove five trees greater than six inches in diameter at breast height.
Two Commissioners visited the site. Piña presented the staff report noting that the existing home is proposed to be demolished and replaced. The application proposes to remove six trees greater than six-inches DBH, including a significant 32-inch DBH Doulas Fir east of the existing driveway. The applicant elaborated that the roots from this tree hug the exposed bank, then go under the drives and integrates with the current foundation. And since the proposal is to demolish the home, unfortunately this tree cannot be saved. The application also assures that great lengths have been taken to preserve a significant 32-inch DBH Oak tree west of the proposed home. The arborist’s report noted that the plans call for a concrete rerating wall 7.5 feet from the base of the tree, and any digging of the wall foundation will supervised by a certified arborist. All removed trees will be mitigated. The Commission recommended that the application be approval as submitted.

PLANNING ACTION:        2012-01710                            
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     699 Ashland Creek Road
APPLICANT:                       Richard Vezie 
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit approval to construct a 2,668 square foot single-family home on slopes greater than 25 percent for the property located at 699 Ashland Creek Drive. The application also includes a request for an Administrative Exception from the Development Standards for Hillside Lands to allow for two areas of the home exceed the 20-foot vertical height restriction; at the northeast corner of the garage and the main floor deck post at the southeast corner of the home. And a modifications of the Lithia Creek Estates subdivision (PA #94-003) to allow the allocation of some lot coverage from subdivision open space to the subject property. 
All Commissioners visited the site. Piña presentd the staff report noting that the applicant has made every attempt to save as many trees as possible while reducing the overall mass and bulk of the structure. Of the 13 trees proposed for removal, 9 are within the building envelope, with the remaining four in such close proximity to the foundation, that the trees cannot be saved. The Commission recommended that particle board, wood chips, and chicken wire be utilized in the areas where construction access will take place. Otherwise the Commission recommended approval as submitted.

PLANNING ACTION:        2012-01737                            
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     111 Coolidge
APPLICANT:                       Randall Wallace         
DESCRIPTION:                   A Site Design Review Permit approval for multi-family development for three new dwelling units and one converted structure, all less than 500 square feet; a Conditional Use Permit to convert an existing non-conforming garage into a dwelling unit; an exception to the Site Design and Use Standards to install parking in between buildings and the street; and an Exception to the Street Standards for more than one curb cut on a residential lot.
All commissioners visited the site. Piña presented the staff report and summarized that the application proposes to remove four trees in conjunction with a Site Review approval. In deliberating the request, the Commission questioned the removal of a healthy Almond Tree to replace it with a Flowering Cherry. The applicant replied that he is not attached to removing the Almond, and if the Commission would rather retain the tree he would agree to the recommendation. In addition, a neighbor requested that the Commission recommend that a vegetative screen be installed along the mutual property boundary line as to screen the proposed development from the neighbor. The applicant also agreed to this recommendation. Therefore the Commission recommends approval as submitted with the exception of the Almond Tree, which is to be retained and protected.  

PLANNING ACTION:        2012-01766                            
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     351 Walker Ave
APPLICANT:                       Southern Oregon University              
DESCRIPTION:                   A Tree Removal Permit to remove 11 hazardous trees located throughout the campus property. All trees have been reviewed by a certified Arborist and have been determined to be hazardous and are recommend to be removed and replaced.
ASSESSOR’S MAP : All Campus TAX LOT: All Campus
Two Commissioners visited the site. Piña presenting the staff report explaining that due to budget constraints, the University is not able to implement preservation measures on the identified trees that are now deemed to be hazardous to persons and/or property. The arborist report submitted by Bartlett Tree Service noted that many of the identified trees are beyond any sensible form of preservation, and recommends removal with replacement. Myers noted that upon his site visit, he found that all trees requested were in either a severe state of decline, or poses a significant hazard due to the tree’s proximity to pedestrian traffic or structures. Therefore the Commission recommended that all trees be removed as proposed.  
The Commission briefly discussed the proposed 2013 Council Goals with Council Liaison Lemhouse. The commission noted that they may wish to revisit their powers and duties as it comes to review and recommendations., as well as perhaps give a quarterly report to Council. 
The meeting was adjourned at 8:06pm.

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