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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

July Minutes

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

July 2, 2014
CALL TO ORDER – Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on July 2, 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 - Absent
Gregg Trunnell - Absent Staff
Russ Neff    Michael Pina, Planning liaison
Casey Roland Anne Thayer, Parks liaison
Christopher John  
Roland motioned, and Neff seconded the motion, to approve the June 2, 2014 regular meeting minutes and the motion carried unanimously. 
No guests
No actions to review
Definitions – Piña noted there might be an opportunity to further clarify or strengthen criteria and/or definitions as it relates to vegetation and trees within the city.
  • Street Tree Removal Criteria – For tree removal within the public right-of-way, a Street Tree Removal permit is required. However, with no approval criteria, it is often difficult for staff to make a determination when the request requires a subjective decision. Therefore, the commission discussed possible approval criteria for when removal of a street tree is appropriate. The following list are of instances when a Street Tree removal is warranted: Causing damage to infrastructure, clearance issues that cannot be alleviated by pruning, safety concerns to pubic, and when an arborist report is submitted specifically denoting a defect, damage, infestation, or justifies the difficulty in retaining the tree.
  • Topping versus Crown Reduction – There has been some discussion to what extent does crown reduction constitute topping. Thayer presented some pamphlets she received from her conference that visually details the difference between the two, and provides an explanation of the adverse impacts to topping, and why it costs more in the long run, significantly damages the  tree, and can create a dangerous situation. Presently Ashland’s code does not define crown reduction, therefore the commission recommended defining Crown Reduction as lowering the height of a tree by cutting tall branches to shorter, large diameter side branches at least a third (1/3)  the diameter of those being removed.
Therefore, the Neff motioned, John seconded, that the above approval criteria be considered in reviewing Street Tree removal applications, and that a ‘Crown Reduction’ definition be added to AMC 18.61. The motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Reports
Roland spoke to other cities with more sophisticated street standards such as Evert Washington and Bend, and feels that Ashland could make use of some of their standards for our benefit. Staff noted that utilizing other cities standards is a great idea and suggested further research is needed to which parts of their standards Ashland could employ in the future.   
Roland also spoke to the Birch Bore infestation that has been occurring in the City, and recommended that Heritage River Birches be planted instead as they have not shown to be susceptible to the beetle. Staff will make a note of this and recommend this species in further planning actions
Liaison Reports
  • Anne Thayer, Parks Liaison – Thayer reported back from the Oregon Community Trees Conference, and provided the Commission with materials and handouts as it realates to topping, urban forestry, research, as well as catalogs for new tree species that are being developed to fit specific needs of communities 
  • Carol Voisin, City Council Liaison – Nothing to report. 
  • Michael Piña, Planning Liaison – Nothing to report. 
Meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m.
Respectively submitted by Assistant Planner Michael Piña

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