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Agendas and Minutes

Tree Commission (View All)

Tree Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, April 07, 2016

April 7, 2016
Vice Chair John called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room of the Community Development and Engineering Services Building located at 51 Winburn Way.
John, Oxendine, and Neff were present, along with Council Liaison Voisin, Parks Liaison Baugman, and Community Development Liaison Severson.  Commissioners Batistella and Roland were absent.
Severson introduced Cory Darrow, the new Assistant Planner in the Community Development Department who was hired to replace Zechariah Heck. 
Oxendine/Neff m/s to approve the minutes of the March 11, 2016 special “make-up” meeting.  (There was no regular meeting on March 3rd due to a lack of a quorum.)  Voice vote:  All AYES.  Motion passed.
City Council Liaison Voisin gave the Council Liaison report with updates regarding the downtown plan and associated changes to parking in and around the downtown; the increase in parking ticket fines to $22; and the Union Pacific Railroad property clean-up.
Parks & Recreation Liaison Baughman reported that the Parks Department will remove five trees for the water play area at Garfield Park. 
Community Development Liaison Severson reported on upcoming appointments to the Commission by the Mayor and noted that typically, the Commission would delay the election of officers until the new members were seated and everyone was present.  Severson also briefly discussed the redesigned Street Tree Removal Permit form that was included in packets. 
No one present wished to speak during public forum.
PLANNING ACTION:         PA-2016-00410                                                         
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       475 University Way
OWNER/APPLICANT:        State of Oregon/Southern Oregon University
DESCRIPTION:                    A request for Site Design Review, Conditional Use Permit and Tree Removal Permit approvals to allow the renovation of 15,147 square feet of the existing Southern Oregon University (SOU) Theater Building; a 13,238 square foot addition to the Theater Building to accommodate new teaching facilities; and a 6,468 square foot addition to accommodate relocation of the Jefferson Public Radio (JPR) program for the property located at 475 University Way on the SOU campus.  A Conditional Use Permit is required because the adopted SOU Master Plan currently identifies a different location on campus for the JPR program, and a Tree Removal Permit is required because the request includes the removal of 25 trees, including eight significant trees which are over 18-inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) and therefore require Tree Removal Permits. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Southern Oregon University; ZONING: SO; ASSESSOR’S MAP& TAX LOT: 39 1E 10CC Tax Lot #5700 and 39 1E 09DD Tax Lot #7900
Oxendine recused himself, but at staff direction to retain a quorum participated in the hearing as a no vote.  There was a brief staff report and presentation by the applicants. 
Neff/John m/s to approve Planning Action #2016-00410 with the recommendation that the applicants’ architect and civil engineer work with the Fire Marshal to look at the island and parking lot configuration for modifications to preserve Redwood #2.  Voice vote:  Neff and John, YES.  Oxendine, NO.  Motion passed 2-1.
PLANNING ACTION:         PA-2016-00322                                                         
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       125 North Second Street
APPLICANT:                        Carrie Mertzlufft
OWNER:                               Schultz & Associates Inc.
DESCRIPTION:                    A request to remove a black locust tree at the subject property. The tree is approximately 58 feet tall and 24 inches in diameter at breast height. The tree is located approximately three feet of the asphalt parking lot to the west and two feet from the sidewalk to the north. The arborist notes that the tree has major structural issues due to included bark throughout the entire crown. In addition, the tree has been losing limbs frequently and is located in a high traffic area for both vehicles and pedestrians.
Tree Commissioners noted that they had visited the site, and that the tree was one of the largest in the area, seemed robust and healthy, and was established and used to the existing paved environment.  In the Commissioners’ assessment, the tree could be pruned and remediation measures utilized to address any hazard without necessitating its removal.  Commissioners specifically noted that “dynamic cobra cables” could be used to hold the canopy together, and that the trunk could be drilled with a “ship auger” and bolted together to support the two sections of the trunk, and that the tree would grow to conceal these supports.
Oxendine/Neff m/s to deny the application with the recommendations that the applicant instead explore options including pruning, cabling of the canopy and/or bolting the trunk together with an arborist specializing in hazard mitigation.  Voice vote: All AYES.  Motion passed.
SUBJECT PROPERTY:       505 Helman St.
OWNER:                               Reynolds/Artisan Tree Care
DESCRIPTION:                    A request to remove two street trees for the property located at 505 Helman Street, one tree is a Walnut and the other is a Locust.  They are approximately 30 feet in height and each has an approximate canopy of 25 feet. COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DESIGNATION: Single Family Residential; ZONING: R-1-5; ASSESSOR’S MAP: 39 1E 04CA; TAX LOT: 3800.
Severson noted that the Electric Department has indicated that they are supportive of the two trees’ removal as one is in very poor condition and both are directly under the city’s three phase main business feeder power line and have the possibility to cause damage or outages if not addressed by removal. The Electric Department’s tree trimmer had assessed the trees and determined that they were buckling the sidewalk and posing a tripping hazard; low hanging branches over the street do not meet code-required clearances; they have extensive weight in their canopies and are leaning over a barn and other structures and trimming to reduce this weight and curb clearance will spur new growth exacerbating utility/tree encroachment issues and interference.  The Electric Department tree trimmer also noted that one tree was completely dead and posed a safety threat to the sidewalk users, and that the other was susceptible to sunscald.  He further explained that previous pruning and incorrect cuts from years ago have been detrimental to the trees’ health, and that the extensive ivy growth makes things worse.  He noted that he was not working on the applicant’s behalf, and that it would be advisable for the applicant to obtain an assessment by a certified private arborist. 
Based on the Electric Department Tree Trimmer’s assessment and the photos of the trees provided with the application, Commissioners felt it was clear that one tree was dead and the other in very poor condition and both pose potential hazards to sidewalk users and public facilities. 
Neff/Oxendine m/s to approved the Street Tree Removal Permit request.  Voice vote:  All AYES.  Motion passed. 
Earth Day 2016 – Severson noted that the Earth Day Event was April 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and that Commissioners John, Oxendine and Roland had agreed to represent the Commission.  John noted that he would pick up materials on April 22nd and order a Dutch Auger. 
Debrief on Arbor Week 2016/James Urban’s Visit – The Commission discussed James Urban’s visit and the steps that would be involved in incorporating his recommendations into Ashland’s ordinances.   
The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.  Severson reminded commissioners of the upcoming Earth Day event on the 23rd and that the next regular meeting o

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