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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Tree Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Minutes January 8, 2015
CALL TO ORDER –Chair Greg Trunnell called the meeting of the Ashland Tree Commission to order at 6:01 p.m. on January 8, 2015 in the Siskiyou Room of the Community Development and Engineering Services Building located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, Oregon.
Commissioners Council Liaison
Ken Schmidt - absent Carol Voisin, left at 6:40 p.m.
Gregg Trunnell Staff
Russ Neff  - absent Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Casey Roland Carolyn Schwendener, Admin
Christopher John  
Trunnell emphasized the importance of the Commissioners reading and reviewing the minutes for accuracy before approving them, especially when something contentious had been discussed. Roland/John m/s to approve the minutes of the December 4, 2014 Ashland Tree Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes minutes were approved as presented.
The Commissioners welcomed Pete Baughman new Staff Liaison from the Parks Department.
Trunnell made a change to the agenda moving the Council Liaison report first on the agenda because Voisin needs to leave early.
Council Liaison Report – Voisin reported that the Beautification Ad Hoc sub-committee presented to the Council a proposal.  The proposal included the removal of a cement seating bench located outside of Gateway Realty on the corner of Winburn Way.  The seating area is close to a very large Cypress tree and Voisin is concerned that the removal of the seating will damage the tree or at least its roots.  Roland suggested that the wall is being removed in order to keep the homeless people from sitting there.  He offered to take a look at the tree and give his opinion on how it might be affected. 
Voisin called attention to the recent topping of the street trees on the Plaza outside of Alan Sandler’s building.  It was reported that Mr. Sandler needed to top the trees in order for his tenants restaurant sign to be seen as well as the view out the windows.  The Commissioners confirmed that Mr. Sandler was told repeatedly by staff that he could not top those trees.  A permit was issued to him for the pruning of the trees but after reviewing pictures it was very clear to the Commissioners that the trees were topped. Not wanting this to start a precedence on the Plaza the Commission would like to discuss some options on how to deal with this compliance issue.  Put this topic on next month’s agenda in order to look at options.  Severson will invite Mr. Sandler to come to the meeting. 
Roland read a letter that was submitted by Bryan Holley regarding his concerns on the topping of the trees.
Voisin inquired as to why the Sequoia tree located at 1027 Park Street was removed after the Tree Commission recommended it to be saved.  The tree was discussed at the October 9, 2014 Tree Commission meeting.  The following was the recommendation from that meeting.  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.
The Commissioners explained to Voisin that they are an advisory Commission only but did feel that staff ignored their recommendation.  Trunnell has scheduled a meeting with the mayor to discuss this issue.  Severson was unaware of the background regarding this tree but will speak with the Community Development Director about it. 
PLANNING ACTION:              PA-2014-02045                                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          Morton St. to W. Ivy Ln.
APPLICANT:                           Hardey Engineering & Associates for City of Ashland
OWNER:                                 D & S Ventures LLC
DESCRIPTION:                      A request for Physical and Environmental Constraints Review Permit for Hillside Land to facilitate the construction of an approximately 300-foot section of a 12-inch water line that extends from Ivy Lane to Morton Street. The area of disturbance subject to the review is just west of the West Ivy Lane right-of-way. The request includes Severe Constraints Review because portions of the property are greater than 35 percent slopes. The application also includes a request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove 19 trees between 6-inches DBH to 18-inches DBH. The trees proposed for removal include madrone, scrub oak and fir trees.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Rural Residential and Woodland Residential; ZONING: RR-.5 & WR; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 16AC; TAX LOT: 300. 
All three commissioners did a site visit. 
Staff report – Severson reported the proposal is to extend or replace the existing waterline from the end of Ivy Street up to Morton Street removing the designated trees along the way.  The applicants are requesting to not replace any of the trees and due to the heavily forested property these tree removals might actually benefit the remaining trees giving them more space.
Trunnell opened the public hearing.
Clara Fader, 338 Holly Street .  Ms Fader has twenty pristine acres located to the south of the subject property.  She is concerned that the applicants might damage her property during the construction of the waterline.  The Commissioners reassured her that without her permission no one will be allowed on her property.  She stated clearly that she is not permitting the use of her property for this project. 
Radcliff Wells, 275 Grandview.  Mr. Wells’ son owns a lot adjacent to where the pipeline is going.  He inquired if this project has anything to do with a proposed development on that land?  Though Severson said in the past he has been contacted regarding the use of that land at this time there is no development proposal.  Mr. Wells asked if there will be any expense to the property owners.  Severson replied he is not aware of any cost to the property owners. Mr. Wells does see the removal of those trees a benefit to the property. 
The Commissioners discussed this planning action.  It was suggested that due to the fire hazard the applicants do a little extra thinning of the trees during the construction of the waterline.  It was pointed out that because no trees were marked it was essentially impossible to determine which trees were going to be removed. 
See recommendations for this planning action at the end of the minutes. 
Roland/John m/s to approve with the recommendation that they provide a plan delineating fencing location and clearly identifying trees to be removed and marking them onsite for inspection by staff.  Voice Vote; All Ayes, motion passed. 
PLANNING ACTION:              PA-2014-02046                                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          948-998 Overlook Drive
APPLICANT:                           Meadowbrook Townhomes, LLC
OWNER:                                 Lazaro Ayala Family Trust (Lazaro Ayala, trustee)
DESCRIPTION:                      A request for a Site Review approval to construct six residential units and one 499 square foot accessory residential unit, on the six lots located at 948-998 Overlook Drive.  Also included is a request for a Modification of the Outline Plan Approval (PA #2002-151) which original showed the units as attached or closely abutting those along Patton Lane and sharing driveways along Overlook Drive; they are now proposed to be constructed as detached residences with individual driveways. 
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: North Mountain Neighborhood Core Overlay; ZONING: NM-MF; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04AD; TAX LOT : 3400 – 3900
John did a site visit but Roland and Trunnell did not. 
Staff Report – Severson reported that several years ago when the Meadowbrook Park approval went in these units were shown as attached housing and subject to site review approval.  The applicant is now applying to detach them but still needs to go through a site review to make sure they comply with all the requirements of the North Mountain design standards.  The applicants submitted a landscape plan for review but would like to allow for future modification so that each individual home owner can make their own plant selection. 
After discussing the landscaping plan the following recommendation was made. 
The landscape plan presented represents a great mix of plantings, and that the curbside sidewalk installation will benefit the trees in giving them a less constrained growth area within the front yards.  The Commission did however recommend that the “Purple Robe” Locust proposed to be planted in front of 988 Overlook be replaced with an alternative selection, as these trees have shown a tendency toward severe trunk cracking and subsequent fungal infections and would likely not prove satisfactory to a future homeowner there.
PLANNING ACTION:              PA-2014-02106                                      
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          2352 Morada Ln.
APPLICANT/OWNER:            Ron & Lisa Albano
DESCRIPTION:                      A request for Site Review and Conditional Use Permit approvals to construct a new approximately 1,000 square foot accessory residential unit behind the existing home at 2352 Morada Lane.  
All Commissioners did a site visit but had no access to the backyard. 
Staff Report – Severson explained that the applicant is requesting to install a 1000 square foot Accessory Residential Unit at the back of the property.  A tree preservation/protection plan will be required prior to the issuance of a building permit. 
After a discussion the following is the Commissioners recommendations
That the applicants provide a formal Tree Inventory and Tree Preservation/Protection plan for the review and approval of the Staff Advisor prior to the issuance of a building permit.  This plan shall include identification of all trees on adjacent properties but within 15 feet of the property line and measures necessary to protect them, including the Sequoia on the neighboring property.
That the placement of the required street tree be planned to accommodate future sidewalk installation.
ATTENDANCE – Severson explained the guidelines surrounding attendance for all the Commissions.  Both Trunnell and Schmidt’s attendance have fallen below the 75% requirement for the past year.  The attendance record is sent to the City Recorder, Barbara Christensen, as required in the code.  Severson wanted Trunnell and Schmidt to be aware of this policy if Ms. Christensen would contact them regarding their attendance.  It would be necessary to let her know whether they want to continue on the Commission or not. 
CITY COUNCIL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES – Severson distributed the Council Goals and Objectives to the Commissioners for their information.  The Council is not actually requesting any feedback but would like the Commissioners to consider what they might be able to accomplish in order to support these goals and objectives.  
ELECTION OF OFFICERS – The three Commissioners decided to wait until April when new members are appointed to elect officers.  They are hoping for a better attendance at that time.
ANNUAL COUNCIL UPATE – This is tentatively set for March 17, 2015 which ties in to Arbor Day.  At that meeting the Commission will outline their activities for the year.  
ARBOR DAY 2015 – The Commissioners need to start brainstorming about planting a tree for Arbor Day.  Roland suggested that maybe the middle school or another school might be in need of a tree and be willing to care for one.  Roland offered to donate a tree. 
Trunnell proposed a question to the other Commissioners.  “Is  there any tree within the City that staff would not allow to be cut down?”  At what point can we get tree protection in the code to be protected”    Severson commented that the ordinance does allow for the removal of trees without a permit on properties located in the R-1 Single Family Zone occupied only by single family homes.  
Trunnell inquired as to why there is a fence around the Cottonwood Tree of the Year on the City owned property located on Clay Street.  Severson explained that the fallen limbs around the tree indicate that continued limb drop is possible and could create a liability so the fence was put up as protection. At one point in time during a previous development application the tree was discussed as a hazard.
Next Meeting:  February 5, 2015
Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
Respectively submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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