MINUTES FOR THE SPECIAL STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, April 29, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:34 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Rosenthal, Marsh, Morris, Voisin, and Slattery were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.
1. Discussion with Donna Mickley of the Forest Service regarding Mount Ashland Association project and relationships between MAA, the Forest Service and the City of Ashland
City Attorney Dave Lohman provided a brief summary of the Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) agreement where the City surrendered the SUP (Special Use Permit) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (US Forest Service), terminated the lease and transferred the property to MAA. Also in the agreement MAA made assurances they would comply with DEQ’s (Department of Environmental Quality) TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loads) for Reeder Reservoir, retain restoration funds, provide advance notice to the City of construction, earth movement or logging with the City conducting on-site monitoring and inspection during those activities.
Section 4 (E) of the agreement stated MAA would start the portion of the expansion identified as Phase 1 only after they received full funding for that phase. The agreement described Phase 1 as a list of projects defined by the permits the US Forest Service issued.
Donna Mickley, the district ranger for the Rogue Valley Siskiyou National Forest explained the final EIS (Environmental Impact Study) required MAA to present the projects included in each Phase to the US Forest Service and ensure each project had a logical beginning and end. Additionally, MAA needed to have the financial means to do the portion they are working on. Once submitted, the US Forest Service reviewed and approved the Phase project by project. This included a recent submittal to cut timber to expand existing runs, add spaces to the parking lot, and re-contour the Sonnet run. The US Forest Service approved Project 1 to widen existing runs. Per the Record of Decision, MAA was required to prepare and submit a phased development plan that detailed specifically how and when activities would occur, provide mitigation measures, and construction documents reviewed by professional engineers. Also required for each project was an implementation plan with a list of specific mitigations requiring approval from the US Forest Service prior to implementation of any project. The US Forest Service would then conduct a peer review and financial assessment before authorizing MAA to proceed. To date MAA had not submitted the site-specific plans required for Projects 2 and 3.
Ms. Mickley clarified Projects 1-3 were within the existing area MAA was operating. MAA needed the full amount required before proceeding to create the new runs.
Mr. Lohman noted the prior motion made during the October 4, 2011 Council meeting where Council approved 5-1 to allow the US Forest Service to determine final details of Phase 1 through permits issued to MAA. Ms. Mickley reiterated the need for MAA to provide funding upfront. When the US Forest Service received the financial determination of the entire piece, they might approve moving forward in sections.
Ms. Mickley confirmed the US Forest Service did the financial determination for Project 1 only. Project 2 and 3 were connected and MAA needed to provide a cost estimate and have funding for both projects in place prior to the US Forest Service review.
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the US Forest Service and DEQ were the regulatory agents with the City participating through collaboration. The City hired David Evans and Associates to review the plans to protect the watershed and had staff onsite daily monitoring the current project.
Ms. Mickley further explained MAA would have to submit detailed operation plans for Projects 2 and 3 that showed equipment, topsoil uses, sequencing of events, process, and time. The US Forest Service would review the plan, comment, and forward it to the City for review. The US Forest Service would involve an Engineer from the Klamath-Siskiyou Region since part of the parking lot was on the Klamath side of the range.
Ms. Mickley confirmed MAA had $250,000 and provided the parameters used for widening and re-contouring the runs and inspections. She went on to explain the MAA-City of Ashland agreement and the Memo of Understanding between the US Forest Service and the City defined the City’s rights. If the Council strongly opposed a project, the US Forest Service would review the objection and look for ways to mitigate the situation. The US Forest Service would not push something forward if it did not make logical sense. If something went awry in the watershed, the US Forest Service would shut down the expansion.
City Administrator Dave Kanner noted in the 1929 agreement between the City and the US Forest Service, if the City was not satisfied with the protective measures the US Forest Service had taken, the City could take protective measures at their own expense. Mr. Lohman added the agreement did not have provisions for mediation or a remedies clause. The City could go to court to request damages. If nothing had happened but the City suspected something might, the City could seek injunctive relief based on something MAA failed to do.
Ms. Mickley addressed the parking lot expansion and explained the US Forest Service had specifics regarding sediment basins and funneling cap water. Currently MAA had a design to use culverts and the US Forest Service wanted them to use sheet flow. This was an example of the mitigations the US Forest Service was recommending. Another example was having MAA consider controlled blasts for the rock cliff above the parking lot. She went on to clarify performance bonds were not a requirement for MAA.
Meeting adjourned at 6:22 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder