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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

August Minutes

Thursday, August 07, 2014

August 4, 2014
CALL TO ORDER – Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:06 p.m. on August 4, 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 - Absent Staff
Russ Neff    Michael Pina, Planning liaison
Casey Roland - Absent  
Christopher John  
APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Neff motioned, and John seconded the motion, to approve the July 7, 2014 regular meeting minutes and the motion carried unanimously. 
No guests
PLANNING ACTION:        PA-2014-00967                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     572-582 Fair Oaks Avenue 
APPLICANT:                       Ayala Properties, LLC
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for  Site Review approval to construct a three-story mixed-use 10,748 square foot building at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Plum Ridge Drive.  The building will consist of six residential units on the upper two floors and one commercial space, with the option for interim residential use, on the ground floor along with five parking spaces.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: North Mountain  Central Overlay;
No ex parte contacts declared. Piña gave a brief staff report, noting that the proposal is for a new, mixed-use building within the North Mountain Central (NM-C) overlay zone. Knox provided context of the area, and pointed out that the building proposes a two-phase approach with the bottom floor having the ability to convert from temporarily residential to commercial. In doing so, the application proposes a two-phase mix of plantings around the bottom floor. In considering the request, the Commission noted that the proposal provides a good mix of street trees and ground cover plantings that are drought-tolerant and appropriate for the site.      
John motioned, Neff seconded, to approve the application as presented. The motion carried unanimously. 
PLANNING ACTION:        PA-2014-01075                                 
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     163-175 N. Pioneer St.
APPLICANT:                       Christian Senf
OWNER:                               Joan Yates
DESCRIPTION:                   A request for Site Review approval for the properties located at 163-175 N. Pioneer St.  This would modify the previous Site Review approvals granted in PA # 2009-01520 and PA #2010-00069 to allow the restoration/renovation of the existing structure at 175 North Pioneer Street into a local delicatessen, serving regional artisan food and beverages.  The application also includes a request for an Exception to the Site Design and Use Standards to reduce the required parking lot landscaping and landscape buffer between the proposed parking area and the property line.  
No ex parte contacts declared. Piña gave a brief staff report, noting that the proposal is for the current Ruby’s owners to take over the adjacent building for a new/expanded restaurant use. As the building is to remain primarily unchanged, the application focuses on parking and site improvements consistent with the Site Design and Use Standards in terms of orientation and landscaping. The application shows tree protection on the north side, and implementation of new landscaped areas in front and on the side of the building. In reviewing the request, the Commission noted that the proposed plan does not indicate size of proposed planting, nor does it show irrigation to the side or rear of the lot.
Therefore, the Neff motioned, John seconded, that the application be approved as submitted, with the condition that a revised landscape and irrigation plan be submitted indicating the size of the proposed plantings and irrigation to the rear and side of the property. The motion carried unanimously. 
PLANNING ACTION:        PA-2014-01286                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:     680 Normal
APPLICANT:                       Nancy McLeod
DESCRIPTION:                   A Tree Removal Permit request to remove an approximate 10-inch DBH Maple tree from the side yard of the property located at 680 Normal.  
All commissioners visited the site. No ex parte contacts declared. Piña gave a brief staff report outlining the application request to remove a single 10-inch DBH Maple Tree from the front yard of the common area, just south of the applicant’s unit. Although the volunteer tree is vigorous and healthy, it has grown around power lines for the adjacent property, and rubbing on a homeowner’s fence. Furthermore, the applicant is requesting not to mitigate the tree as this particular tree was not identified or proposed on the 1989 landscape plan, therefore not a required tree. In deliberating the request, the commission found that not mitigating the removed tree seems is appropriate, as there are numerous trees within the immediate vicinity, including a significant Douglas Fir approximately 30 feet to the west.
Neff motioned, Schmidt seconded, to approve the application as presented. The motion carried unanimously.  
Piña spoke to the issue of the dead Plaza tree, and if the Commission wishes to make a recommendation on a replacement tree in its place. Vice Chair Schmidt brought up additional issues of if the Commission wishes to discuss whether the plaza constructions / modifications assist in the demise of the tree, and if the Commission wishes to have the City pay for a professional arborist opinion to make a formal determination. Moreover, if the Commission wishes to write a formal recommendation to the City as to how to best proceed with future construction projects to ensure that this does not happen again?  Piña responded that City departments are having internal conversations on this particular issue, and tree protection measures on civic projects in general. Councilwomen Voisin stated that she had been contacted by a citizen who was concerned over the city’s practices as it relates to city projects. The commission then discussed what had occurred on-site, and what they suspect to be the cumulative effects of construction, lack of water, trenching, and pre-existing tree health in resulting in the eventual demise of the tree. In discussing the questions raised, the commission felt it would not be productive to recommend a formal retroactive investigation to determine this particular tree’s death, but best to place efforts to ensure that the City follows the same, if not greater, tree protection measures on future projects. In the end, the Commission recommended that the replacement tree shall be a minimum  four- to six-inches DBH, preferably a Burr or Red Oak; contain an appropriate amended soil mixture; planted in the fall according to City specifications.
Neff motioned, Schmidt seconded, that replacement tree shall be a minimum  four- to six-inches DBH, preferably a Burr or Red Oak; contain an appropriate amended soil mixture; planted in the fall according to City specifications. The motion carried unanimously. 

Carol Voisin, City Council Liaison – Voisin updated the Commission on recent items the Council has been working on, including passing the medical marijuana ordinance, city beautification committee, and transportation issues through downtown. Voisin noted that a few of these items would come before the Tree Commission at a future date for their review.
Neff inquired about the three hazardous Elm trees that have died along North Main Street. Piña noted that the property owner has come into the city offices to request removal and subsequent lane closure permits. Although staff is unaware when removal is scheduled.  
Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Respectively submitted by Assistant Planner Michael Piña

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