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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

June Minutes

Thursday, June 05, 2014

June 5, 2014
CALL TO ORDER – Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on June 5, 2014 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 Carol Voisin
Gregg Trunnell    Staff
Russ Neff    Derek Severson, Planning liaison
Casey Roland Anne Thayer, Parks liaison - ABSENT
Schmidt motioned, and Neff seconded the motion, to approve the April 3, 2014 regular meeting minutes and the motion carried unanimously. 
There were no minutes for May, as the May meeting could not be convened due to lack of a quorum.
Cici Brown expressed concern about the Transportation Commission proposal to remove trees along North Main Street near the downtown plaza.  She noted that the city has applied for “Tree City USA” designation and questioned how the Arbor Day Foundation would feel about the proposed removal of trees for the benefit of delivery trucks. 
Councilor Carol Voisin explained that the recently adopted Transportation System Plan called for looking at parking and related issues in the downtown, and that the Transportation Commission and the Downtown Parking Committee were looking at the possibility of removing street trees to install a loading zone and move the bus stop.  Voisin stated that she hoped such a proposal would also come before the Tree Commission.
Mark Knox suggested that this discussion should be brought to Council attention for further discussion, and Voisin indicated that she would be taking it to Council.
Trunnell motioned, and Schmidt seconded the motion, to request of Council that the Tree Commission review and input be considered in making this decision, and the motion carried unanimously.
Isabeau Vollhardt expressed similar concerns with the removal of these trees, noting the ecological and health issues.  She explained that trees help reduce the heat island effect, and further noted that likely replacement trees would be male hybrids which she suggested tend to increase the incidence of allergies and asthma in the population.  She also noted that removal of these trees would impact businesses on the plaza with increased cooling costs in the summer.  She stated that she would oppose removal of these trees without a very good reason given all of the benefits they provide. 
PLANNING ACTION:       2014-00734
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       1163 Iowa Street
APPLICANT:                        Ayala Properties, LLC
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for Site Review and Outline Plan approval under the Performance Standards Options Chapter 18.88 for a four unit, five lot multi-family developments for the property located at 1163 Iowa Street.  A Tree Removal Permit is requested to remove three trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height on the site. The existing single family residence on the site will be incorporated into the development as Lot #1.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  High Density Multi-Family Residential; ZONING: R-3; ASSESSOR’S MAP #: 39 1E 10 CB; TAX LOT: 5500.
Schmidt, Trunnell and Neff all noted having made site visits to the property.  Severson presented a brief staff report, explaining that the project included the removal of three trees greater than six-inches in diameter at breast height from the property. 
Schmidt motioned, and Neff seconded the motion, to approve the application as presented, with the condition that mitigation trees be provided and identified in the final landscape and irrigation plan.  Commissioners noted that the mitigation trees shown seemed appropriate.  The motion carried unanimously. 
PLANNING ACTION:       PA-2014-729                                                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       182 Scenic Drive
APPLICANT:                        Jon Bauer
DESCRIPTION:                  A request for a Land Partition to create two lots for the property located at 182 Scenic Drive.  Also included are requests for a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit because the property being partitioned involves hillside lands with slopes of 25 percent or greater, and a Conditional Use Permit to allow the existing home on Parcel 1 to exceed the Maximum Permitted Floor Area (MPFA) allowed within the Historic District by approximately 4.4 percent.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 08AA; TAX LOTS:  6800 & 6801.
Severson gave a brief staff report, noting that a letter to the Commission had been submitted by neighbor Michael McRae with concerns that a Redwood he had previously planted on the applicant’s property could be impacted with development of the site.  Severson noted that the current request was a land partition, and did not involve further development of the site and that with the construction of a home, a Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit would be required to go through the land use process and consider development impacts to the property.
Applicant Jon Bauer explained that the tree in question was less than six-inches in diameter at breast height, and thus not required to be identified on the plans.  He further explained that the tree was 57 feet from the proposed driveway, 4.6 feet from the rear property line, and that he had no current plans to remove the tree.
Roland questioned why the tree could not be moved, and the applicant indicated that it had been established in place for 12 years and would likely be difficult to move successfully at this point. 
Neff motioned, and Trunnell seconded the motion, to defer a Tree Commission recommendation on the application until development of the property was to be considered through a Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit. 
PLANNING ACTION:       PA-2014-00193                                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       460 Schofield Street
APPLICANT:                        Kerry Kencairn
OWNER:                              Denise Gall
DESCRIPTION:                  A request for a Minor Land Partition approval to divide the property located at 460 Schofield Street into two parcels. The new parcel will be accessed via Monte Vista Street. The Community Development Director has determined the proposed development is not subject to the Development Standards for Hillside Lands because the slope of the property, based on the natural grade is less than 25 percent. The applicant has submitted a slope analysis establishing the natural grade of the property is less than 25 percent. The request also includes a Tree Removal Permit request to remove five trees.  COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-7.5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 05BD TAX LOTS: 301
Severson gave a brief staff report.  Neff questioned whether the Ponderosa Pine being preserved could survive given their tolerance for construction disturbance; Roland indicated that at this size, Ponderosa Pines can be very resilient.    There was further discussion of whether retaining wall construction would negatively impact Ponderosa Pines, and it was recommended that the wall construction be carefully monitored by a landscape professional/arborist to avoid damaging roots during excavation.  Commissioners also recommended spray sticks rather than drip irrigation bubblers to irrigate trees, and suggested that heavy mulch and deep, infrequent watering were essential to tree survival.  After discussion, Commissioners unanimously recommended approval of the application as submitted.
PLANNING ACTION:       PA-2014-00458                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       233 Granite Street
APPLICANT:                        Richard Wagner
OWNERS:                            Kris and Heidi Jacobson
DESCRIPTION:                  A request for a Solar Variance for the property located at 233 Granite Street.  The property to the north at 227 Granite Street has agreed to the proposed shading. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION:  Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-10; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 08DA;  TAX LOT: 1300;
Severson gave a brief staff report, explaining that while the request was a Solar Variance its basis was in trying to avoid pushing the home to be constructed further south and adversely affecting a more heavily treed portion of the property, thus necessitating the Variance request.  Commissioners indicated that they were supportive of the Variance if it would avoid greater impacts to the site’s trees.
PLANNING ACTION:       PA-2014-793                                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       56 Third Street
APPLICANTS:                     Murray & Yoko Huggins
OWNER:                              Barbara Allen
DESCRIPTION:                  A request for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a two-unit hotel/motel for the property located at 56 Third Street.  (A similar request was previously approved as PA #99-063 but has since expired.)
Severson noted that the proposal was for a hotel/motel use of the property, and that the property had previously had a similar use in place and had established landscaping based on the previously approved plan.  Severson explained that he brought the matter to the Commission after visiting the site and noting that large roots were breaking up the pavement in the rear parking area.  Severson provided a photo illustrating the condition of the parking area.  The Commission noted that a large tree had previously been removed from the property, and emphasized that the root heaving of the paved parking area should not be considered a basis to justify removal of these large trees, and that alternative treatments to the parking area to accommodate the roots should instead be considered if necessary to preserve the trees.
Arbor Day Debriefing – Those who attended the Arbor Day event commended Anne Thayer for bringing coffee and donuts.  They also expressed their appreciation for Willie for providing the trucks and equipment to help with the plantings. 
Earth Day Debriefing – Trunnell and Schmidt indicated that they both had enjoying working in the Tree Commission’s booth and felt that this was a worthwhile event.
Reschedule Next Tree Commission Meeting or meet July 3rd? – Severson explained that in the past, Commissions have considered rescheduling meetings if they fall on a holiday or the night before.  In this case, the regular meeting would be the night of Thursday, July 3rd which was right before the Friday July 4th holiday weekend.  Commissioners noted conflicts in their schedules with the regular meeting time and date and after discussion, it was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday, July 2nd at 6:00 p.m.  Severson noted that because this was the same date and time as the regularly scheduled Historic Commission, the meeting would need to be held in the Lithia Room instead of the Siskiyou Room. 
Roland questioned whether “temporary street trees” in grow bags inside a planter box could be placed in the “X” spaces between parallel parking spaces in the downtown.  He explained that trees in limited space within the sidewalk corridor were doomed, and that a more temporary arrangement would allow the tree to be transplanted elsewhere once it had grown to the limits of its confined root space.  He stated that the trees could also be placed in above ground planter boxes on the sidewalk incorporating seating on one side.  It was noted that this was being done in Napa, California.  Severson noted that the “X” spaces were typically an area identified as necessary to allow parallel parking movements, but he noted that the Commission might be able to do an assessment of the downtown to identify locations where this might be possible.  He noted that a similar approach had been taken with trees in planters now in place along the Ice Rink parking lot on Winburn Way, as the Ice Rink cover had prevented standard street trees in this location, and that the Planning Commission had also considered trees in movable planters, along with movable seating, as a possible design treatment on the plaza. 
Roland discussed that there was a fungus killing White Birches in Ashland.   He suggested that this was likely happening in combination with bronze birch borers which weaken the trees allowing the onset of the fungus.  He indicated that this could lead to the extinction of these trees in this area, and noted that Heritage River Birches did not appear to be susceptible and were not affected.  He also noted that there were noteworthy Black-Leafed Birches near Tolman Creek Road and the Greenmeadows area. 
Tree Commissioners questioned when this year’s Tree of the Year plaque would be ordered and installed.  Severson indicated that he would follow up with staff liaison Michael Pina upon his upcoming return.    
Liaison Reports
 Anne Thayer, Parks Liaison – Severson noted that Thayer was out for an urban forestry conference in Portland, as discussed last month.
  • Carol Voisin, City Council Liaison – Nothing to report. 
  • Derek Severson, Planning Liaison – Severson noted that Christopher John’s appointment to the Commission was moving forward and that he would likely be attending the next meeting as a regular member.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Respectively submitted by Associate Planner Derek Severson

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