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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Tree Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Minutes March 5, 2015
CALL TO ORDER – Chair Greg Trunnell called the meeting of the Ashland Tree Commission to order at 6:00 p.m. on March 5, 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 Carol Voisin
Gregg Trunnell Staff
Russ Neff Derek Severson, Associate Planner
Casey Roland Carolyn Schwendener, Admin
Christopher John Pete Baughman, Parks Liaison
Schmidt/Trunnell m/s to approval of minutes of the February 5, 2015 Tree Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes minutes were approved as presented.
Bill and Pat Scheuner were present to observe and gain understanding of what the Tree Commission does. They have recently moved to Ashland from El Dorado County. Mr. Scheuner is a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in Forest Management. He spent thirteen years as a Forest Service Culturist and eight years in the University of California Cooperative extensions Master Gardeners.  Mr. Scheuner’s last job was the nursery manager at the Forest Service Nursery in Placerville California.  The Commissioners invited him to become a member of the Tree Commission. 
City Council Liaison – Voisin reported that City Council with a four to one vote approved the purchase and sale agreement with the Housing Authority of Jackson County for the City owned property located at 380 Clay Street. The Housing Authority plans to use the property to expand its affordable housing development in the area. The sale agreement includes a contingency that the sale will not close until a permit has been issued for the removal of the Cottonwood tree located on that property. Voisin reviewed the process for the removal of the tree informing the Commission that it starts with them.  After the City applies for a Planning Action to remove the tree the Tree Commission will review the application and make a recommendation to the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission is the approval authority, but there is an appeal process that could take a Planning Commission decision to the City Council if appealed. 
Voisin said that $24,000 from the Transient Occupancy Tax has been allocated for two new welcome signs at both the south and north ends of town as well as for hanging plants in the downtown area.  The Council passed the Film and Media Ordinance.  The pool at Southern Oregon University is being torn down and currently there is no plan to replace it.  It was decided to put a cover over the City pool located at Hunter Park so that High School students can practice year round.  Voisin added that the cost is around $100,000 and the school district appears to be willing to pay for it.
The March 17th Council meeting will include a drought update and a discussion around the proposed Accessory Traveler’s Accommodation Ordinance in R-1 and R-2 zones.    No date has been set yet for the governmental agreement between ODOT and the City regarding the Welcome Center. Voisin announced that March 8 is International Woman’s Day and April 28th is a Wildlife Summit.
The Commissioners briefly discussed the removal of the tree on 380 Clay Street, which did receive Tree of the Year in 2013.     Severson encouraged the Commissioners to focus on the criteria when making a recommendation with regard to the tree removal, and explained that the applicable criteria are provided with the application notice.   Severson reminded the Commissioners that in their quasi-judicial role they cannot participate in a decision if they are biased and unable to fairly consider the request in light of the applicable criteria.  He stressed they need to be careful about expressing bias in the interim while waiting for this application.
Parks & Recreation Liaison – Baughman will discuss the recommendation of a location for the Arbor Day planting later in the meeting when they get to that agenda item. 
Community Development Liaison – Severson commented that at last month’s meeting there was mention of rubber sidewalks.  After a visit to look at the rubber sidewalks in Central Point Severson brought in pictures to show the Commissioners.  He has been taking pictures of those particular sidewalks since 2007 and it seems to be accommodating the trees very well.  After speaking with the staff in Central Point they confirmed the project has been successful and would not hesitate to use them again.   
Severson announced that the Wildfire Lands Ordinance amendments will be coming to the Tree Commission in April.  The Fire Department is looking at modifying the Wildfire Lands to incorporate the entire City. 
Severson distributed information regarding the upcoming Airport Code Amendments.  The Airport Commission is working on the Master Plan for the airport and would like to change some of the code to facilitate the development there.  They would like the same allowances the Parks Department has for removing trees in the park without tree removal permits if trees need to be removed for safety when mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They would also like some flexibility with regard to landscaping requirements.  This item will come back to the Commission in the next month or two. 
PLANNING ACTION:              PA-2014-02023                      
SUBJECT PROPERTIES:       678 Glendale Avenue
APPLICANT:                           Canopy LLC
OWNER:                                 Siskiyou Initiative, dba Siskiyou School
DESCRIPTION:                      A request for a Tree Removal Permit to remove three trees: an 11˝-inch diameter at breast height (DBH) Scots Pine (pinus sylvestris), a ten-inch DBH Thundercloud Plum (prunus cerasifera), and a 13-inch DBH Ponderosa Pine (pinus ponderosa) from the property located at 678 Glendale Avenue.  The subject property received Conditional Use and Site Review Permit approval under Planning Action #2013-01695 to utilize the single family residence at 678 Glendale Avenue as added break-out classroom and administrative/faculty space for the Siskiyou School, a private school located on the adjacent property to the east at 631 Clay Street.  These three trees were identified to be preserved and protected in that approval, however after subsequent assessment by an arborist the applicants are requesting to remove them as hazard trees.
Commissioner John recused himself because he is the project arborist on this job.
Trunnell and Schmidt did site visits.
Severson explained that this property is in a Single Family zone and is occupied by a Single Family residence which typically is exempt from tree removal permit requirements.  The Siskiyou School received a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to use the house for classroom space for a small number of students. One of the bases for that CUP approval was that the mature trees in the back of the property provided a buffer to the adjacent neighboring residential properties. The presence of Cemetery Creek and its associated Water Resource Protection zone also bring a higher level of regulation to the property with regard to tree removal. Severson stated that two of the trees are leaning and meet the criteria for hazard tree removal but the third does not seem to present a clear public safety hazard and staff is not recommending its removal.  
John confirmed that the issue surrounding the third tree is really the overcrowding of the other trees.  John also explained that the students at the Siskiyou School voted to save the Ponderosa Pine.  
Trunnell/Schmidt m/s to recommend that the 11 ˝-inch diameter at breast height (DBH) Scots Pine and the ten-inch DBH Thundercloud Plum be removed leaving the 13-inch DBH Ponderosa Pine.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes motion passed.
PLANNING ACTION:              PA-2015-00178
SUBJECT PROPERTY:          156, 160 & 164 Van Ness
APPLICANT:                           Sean and Julia Downey
DESCRIPTION:   The request is for Site Design Review to allow for two dwelling units on the consolidated parcel; one of the dwellings will be the existing cottage moved to the rear of the property accessed off of the alley and a new residence constructed at the front of the parcel.  Site Review approval is also requested for two units at 156 Van Ness, the existing cottage at 160 Van Ness is proposed to move to rear of that property. A tree removal permit is also requested to a seven inch DBH Box Elder tree.
Trunnell, Schmidt and Christopher did site visits.
After a discussion the Commissioners did not see an issue in removing the tree.   There was a concern for the two Elm Trees in the middle of the property on how they will be protected during the moving of the home.  Severson acknowledged the applicants narrative said there would be protective fencing around those trees.  Severson will be sure there is a tree protection plan in conjunction with the ordinance.  The applicant plans on mitigating two trees for the one tree being removed.   
Schmidt/Trunnell m/s to recommend the approval of the removal of the Box Elder tree.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes motion passed.
The following is the schedule for Tree Commission/Arbor Week activities.    
  • On Tuesday, March 17th at 7:00 p.m., Tree Commission will make its annual presentation to the City Council.  The Commission chair and Community Development liaison will be there, along with any other commissioners who may show up.  At that time, the Mayor will make a proclamation of April 5-11 as Arbor week in Ashland, and the Arbor Day Foundation may present the annual Tree City USA award - this is a benchmark year as Ashland is one of only three Oregon cities to have been a Tree City for 30 years or more.
  • On Wednesday, April 8th at 12:00 noon, the City and Tree Commission will present Southern Oregon University with the 2014 Tree of the Year award for the large Silver Maple which was protected during recent construction of their two new North Campus Village residence halls and which now is the centerpiece to the large courtyard area between the dorms.  This will be done in conjunction with SOU's being named a "Tree Campus USA" and that there will be quite a bit of media coverage. 
  • On Friday, April 10th at 10:00 a.m., the Tree Commission will plant a large stature tree donated by Commissioner Casey Roland in Ashland Creek Park at 27 East Hersey Street. (If the Tree City USA Award isn't presented at 3/17 Council, it will be here.)
  • On Saturday, April 25th the Tree Commission will be participating in the Rogue Valley's annual Earth Day celebration.
Roland remarked that he previously took some cuttings from the Cottonwood Tree located at 380 Clay Street.  The cuttings were successful and the starts are located at Plant Oregon.  
The Commissioners would like to see the Jackson County Housing Authority replace the dead street trees along Clay Street in front of the Snowberry Brook complex. 
Roland offered to work with Severson on ordinance language and permitting requirements to more clearly address the topping of trees.  The current ordinance is vague regarding the definition of tree topping and the Commission would like to see it be more complete.
Meeting adjourned at 7:10p.m., Next meeting:  March 5, 2015
Respectively submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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