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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

October Minutes

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October 9, 2014
CALL TO ORDER – Ashland Tree Commission meeting was called to order at 6:11 p.m. on October 9, 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 - Absent Carol Voisin - Absent
Gregg Trunnell Staff
Russ Neff    Michael Piña, Planning liaison
Casey Roland  
Christopher John  
APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Regarding the application located at 943 East Main Street (PA-2014-01474), Trunell inquired about staff’s decision to ultimately render a decision despite the Tree Commission’s recommendation to leave the action open until the next meeting in order to review the applicant’s mitigation plan. Piña noted that the minutes reflects the discussion at that particular meeting, and the subsequent decision by staff is a result of State law dictating time limits on land-use decisions, and that the applicant’s time would be better suited creating a quality mitigation plan rather than rushing to produce a plan that may not meet our standards. Piña stated that this would be reflected within this month’s minutes.
Trunell motioned, and John seconded, the motion to approve the September 4, 2014 regular meeting minutes. The motion carried unanimously. 
City Administration asked the Commission to receive public input on the Plaza replacement tree selection. No one was present at the meeting, however, two citizens responded via email. One citizen requested that the replacement tree be an “equally brilliantly colorful tree in the Autumn” as was the Maple, while the other citizen supported the selection of a Ginkgo tree, but provided information in support of selecting an Oak tree.
PLANNING ACTION:         PA-2014-01566                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       1027 Park Street 
APPLICANT:                        Gina and Dave Heckley
DESCRIPTION:                    A request for a modification of the approved building envelope from a 2005 Minor Land Partition (PA2005-230) located at 1027 Park Street. The application includes a request to remove three trees, a Sequoia, Cherry and Pine from the property.
All commissioners visited the site. No ex parte contacts declared, however Roland stated that the applicant did contact him to remove the trees in question, however was not chosen to represent the applicant. Piña gave a brief staff report stating that the applicant is proposes to modify the building envelope established in the 2005 flag partition (PA-2005-230), and remove three protected trees on-site;  a 30-inch Pine, a 16-inch Cherry, and a 42-inch juvenile Sequoia. The applicant’s findings note several factors in requesting to remove the trees, including liability for when the tree’s roots are cut for foundation and driveway installation, the need for level parking and access, safety due to the Sequoia’s lean, and not an appropriate tree within an urban setting. Another factor in the removal request of the Sequoia tree is that it is placed near the only means of access for the flag lot. Therefore, if the tree were left in place, it would continue to grow and eventually block access to the property. The applicant also noted they are open to mitigating the removed trees at a larger size than the 1.75 caliper the ordinance requires.
Two citizens were in attendance for this action; Steve Larson (637 Siskiyou) who currently owns the front parcel, 1031 Park Street, and partitioned the subject property in 2005, and Karen Smith (165 Jessica), who’s father owned the property and built the home at 1031 Park. Mr. Larson commented that when partitioning the property he was unaware that the land-use action preserved the remaining trees, and is now concerned that the Sequoia is leaning towards his house, therefore is supportive of its removal. Ms. Smith, shared an emotional attachment to the tree, and felt because of its size and significance, alternative designs that preserve the tree should be considered.     
Roland noted that with a tree of this size, that the root system is likely twice the diameter of the drip line, and within the first three feet of grade. Moreover, that the tree is not likely to have a deep taproot which anchors the tree. Piña asked the Commission about this particular species susceptibility to fail and/or infestation. Roland answered that the Redwood species are not likely to drop limbs or fall over, which is why they are typical the tallest, oldest trees in the world, and are not susceptible to fungus and other ailments that are common in deciduous trees. 
In deliberating the request, the Commission spoke to several factors in making a determination, considering both the tree’s health and impact from construction. As bound by the approval criteria, the Commission felt that in accordance with standard number three, that the applicant did not consider all reasonable alternatives to retain the tree.
Trunell motioned, Neff seconded that the Sequoia not be removed at this time, as the Commission does not have enough information to make a decision. In accordance with AMC 18.61.080.B.3, the Commission felt the applicant did not consider all reasonable alternatives to preserve the tree. Whereas the Cherry and Pine are approved as submitted. John agreed, Roland abstained.

PLANNING ACTION:         PA-2014-01558                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       350 Fernwood 
APPLICANT:                        Kimberly & Richard Siehnel
DESCRIPTION:                    A request for a Physical and Environmental Constraints review permit for Hillside Development including Severe Constraints land for the property located at 350 Fernwood Dr. The application includes a request to remove three trees, a Sequoia, Cherry and Pine from the property.
All commissioners visited the site. No ex parte contacts declared. Piña gave a brief staff report indicating that the applicant is requesting to construct a single family home on Hillside Lands, including the request to remove two trees on-site, while leaving a number of trees at the bottom of the property. The applicant’s findings state that the two proposed removals are within the building envelope, and are not able to be retained. As mitigation, the applicant is proposing to plant five street trees and two on-site. In considering the request, the Tree Commission was supportive of the application as submitted.
Trunell motioned, John seconded, to approve the application as presented.  

PLANNING ACTION:         PA-2014-01701                     
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       1661 Siskiyou
APPLICANT:                        Canopy LLC
OWNER:                               Brian Partridge
DESCRIPTION:                    A Tree Removal Permit request to remove eight trees from the property located at 1661 Siskiyou Blvd. The trees range in size from 7- to 21-inches DBH, seven of which are Ponderosa Pines, and one a Sweet Gum. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Commercial; ZONING: C-1;
Commissioners did not visit the site. No ex parte contacts declared. Piña gave a brief staff report noting that the application proposes to remove eight trees between 7- and 21-inches DBH, seven of which are Pine trees with one Sweet Gum. The applicant’s findings state that the Pines are in reasonable health except for general decline due to Western Pine Gall Rust, as the primary concern is over structural damage to sidewalk, building, and parking lot surfaces, and are not suitable for the long-term viability. The Sweet Gum is in decline due to a number of cultural and biotic factors. In considering the request, the Tree Commission was generally supportive of the application, however a revised landscape and irrigation plan was not submitted indicating which trees/landscaping will be replaced. Therefore, the Commission recommended that a revised landscape and irrigation plan be submitted with final approval from staff advisor.
John motioned, Neff seconded, that a revised landscape and irrigation plan be submitted with final approval from staff advisor. The motion carried unanimously.  
No discussion items.
None given.
Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Respectively submitted by Assistant Planner Michael Piña


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