City of Ashland
Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Heller, Landt, Lewis, Miller; Director Black; Superintendent Dials; Interim Superintendent McFarland; Executive Assistant Dyssegard; Assistant Manuel
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
February 27, 2017
Absent: City Council Liaison Mayor Stromberg
CALL TO ORDER
Vice Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Meeting – January 23, 2017
Motion: Miller moved to approve the minutes for January 23, 2017, as amended:
Page 5 Paragraph 1: “Commissioner Miller would prepare an article on the 2016 Forest Management Plan.”
This sentence was amended to read: 2016 Ashland Forest Management Plan.
Motion: Miller moved to approve the minutes for January 23, 2017, as amended. Lewis seconded.
The vote was all yes
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT OF MINUTES
Senior Center Subcommittee Meeting – January 24, 2017
Landt stated that these minutes could be acknowledged but not approved as most of the Commissioners had not been in attendance.
Black stated that a Senior Center staff member had concerns about the accuracy of a statement or statements made in the minutes. He relayed that in his opinion, the minutes were fair and accurate. Black noted that Commissioners Gardiner and Lewis were present at the meeting.
Black proposed amendments to the minutes for clarity, indicating that Gardiner had reviewed the proposed changes and was in agreement with them. Landt directed Black to read the changes, reiterating that the Commissioners would acknowledge the minutes and any changes made.
Amendments to the Minutes of the Senior Center Subcommittee dated January 24, 2017:
Page 3 Paragraph 3: “Black said it was an identity issue: was Dodson best suited for the City or Parks?”.
The sentence was amended to read: “Black said that it was an identity issue: was the Senior Center best suited for the City or Parks?”
Page 4 Paragraph 1: “He (Lewis) acknowledged Dodson’s binder of information and said the Senior Program seemed to be in line with other senior centers around the state in terms of performance, funding and staffing.”
This portion of the sentence was amended to read: He (Lewis) acknowledged Dodson’s binder of information and said the Senior Program seemed to be in line with other Senior Centers around the state in terms of the results presented, the funding and staffing.” Lewis stated that there was no discussion about performance. It was agreed that the sentence would be stricken from the record.
Page 4 Paragraph 4: “Black said this was an opportunity for Dodson to interact with the Commissioners.”
The sentence was amended to read: “Black said this meeting was an opportunity for Dodson to interact with the Commissioners.”
Page 4 Paragraph 4: “Black reminded Dodson that she reported to the Commissioners about the Senior Program at a regular business meeting in 2016.” The sentence was amended to read: “Black reminded Dodson that she gave a report to the Commissioners about the Senior Program at a regular business meeting in 2016.”
Page 4 Paragraph 8: “Black said this had been a good meeting because, though uncomfortable at times, it resulted in matters being laid out on the table.” The sentence was amended to read: “Black said this had been a good meeting because, though uncomfortable at times, it resulted in matters being laid out on the table and a direction being set for looking into the senior program.”
Acting Chair Landt noted that these changes were acknowledged as receipt of the corrected minutes.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT OF MINUTES
- Gardiner took his place as Chair at 7:12 p.m.
Trails Master Plan Update Committee Meeting – January 25, 2017
Gardiner called for questions regarding the Minutes. Lewis noted that there had been a small change approved by the Update Committee regarding BLM trails. The minutes were duly acknowledged.
There was none.
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
There were none.
There was none.
Black introduced Steve Lambert from Jackson County, stating that he would give a presentation regarding the Bear Creek Management Plan.
- Joint Powers Agreement Discussion (Action)
Black explained that the Joint Powers Agreement was a contract between six agencies in charge of maintaining the Greenway within the boundaries of their jurisdictions. He noted that Ashland maintained just over two miles of the Greenway. He stated that the agencies paid into a fund held by Jackson County to pay for a Greenway Coordinator providing oversight of the Greenway in its entirety. Lambert would address changes in the Management Agreement for 2017 – 2022.
Lambert stated that the Joint Powers Agreement was originally signed in February 2008. The Agreement included provisions for a review and update of the contract every three years. The Agreement was designed to ensure consistent financial support, management and maintenance for the Greenway. Jurisdictions paid into a fund managed by Jackson County for staffing and major projects. The Joint Powers Committee was created as a decision-making body with the authority to manage the funds and establish priorities.
Lambert indicated that each update was to incorporate a review of three elements: the plan, the funding table and the support staff. Findings must be approved by all jurisdictions prior to implementation.
Lambert explained that the main priority was to protect trail pavement and bridges. They were the most expensive assets on the Greenway and proper upkeep was essential to a safe environment. The JPA was also responsible for signage and other significant markers along the trail.
Lambert detailed projects accomplished during the past three years, such as the root repair project. He noted that extensive root bumps in the pavement were particularly prevalent in areas parallel to riparian areas. A State grant provided funds to test and evaluate several different methods for treatment.
The largest and most successful project occurred in 2014, when seven miles of trail was restored. Lambert stated that the JPA spent approximately $167,000 to fund the project. The Oregon Department of Transportation contributed as well – leveraging the funding to $1.1 million. He shared pictures of longitudinal cracking, in which cracked pavement was replaced with concrete, along with areas where trails were completely rebuilt such as a portion of the Greenway between Talent and Ashland.
Lambert talked about trail counters, stating that five counters were installed between Central Point and Ashland. Data collected from the counters provided a view of the trail users, distinguishing between bikers and pedestrians. This data served as documentation for grants and other types of funding.
Mile markers were also installed so users could determine distances to and from their destinations. Creeks, streets and bridges were identified along the way. Kiosks of information were placed at strategic intervals as well.
Lambert displayed a table of completed projects, emphasizing that leveraged funding increased the $267,050 provided by the JPA, to $1,964,800 in improvements. Lambert also provided a timeline for various elements of the update, stating that staff had worked on revising the Management Plan for the past two years. It was anticipated that changes to the Agreement would be approved by all jurisdictions in the spring or early summer of 2017.
Lambert explained that the updated plan detailed new projects for the next five years. Major and routine maintenance was outlined, taking into account boundary adjustments between jurisdictions. Funding was re-calculated to reflect the modifications.
Lambert stressed that preservation of the infrastructure remained the top priority. To that end, Jackson County conducted safety assessments annually and structural engineers were called in if necessary.
Projects for the next three years included the application of a black sealant over pavement to protect asphalt from degrading due to water damage. Lambert stated that two areas were planned for a major overhaul – the section between Biddle Rd. and Pine St. and from the Ashland Dog Park to South Valley View Rd.
Lambert noted that the JPA provides staffing for a Greenway Coordinator. He stated that the position was currently unfilled and interviews for replacing the departed coordinator were underway. The new plan included a proposal for a part-time Volunteer Coordinator and a half-time Special Events position. Lambert discussed the rationale for the additional staffing, stressing the benefits of increased use for special events that attracted people from outside the area.
Lambert explained that the new Joint Powers Agreement had a provision for routine maintenance. He stated that in the past, each jurisdiction was responsible for clearing brush, removing garbage and other maintenance tasks. As a result, levels of service varied. Lambert noted that a consistent experience would create a safe and comfortable environment from beginning to end. He said Jackson County would contract with Community Justice for crews that could provide routine maintenance throughout the corridor.
Lambert disclosed cost estimates for each member jurisdiction. Ashland’s share for major repairs and staffing would be $13,658. Contracting for routine maintenance with the Community Justice would add approximately $5,760 annually for a total of $19,418.
Landt inquired about maintenance responsibilities for each jurisdiction. Lambert replied that it was estimated that the Community Justice crews would schedule their work for Ashland twice per month. Black noted that APRC personnel would still have work to do along the Greenway but their role would be limited.
Landt spoke about a section of trail that parallels Highway 99, between Ashland and Talent, where motorists and bikers are separated by gravel. He expressed a concern that the section could be a real danger, given the 55 miles per hour speeds for autos and the proximity to pedestrians. He advocated for a traffic barrier to limit exposure, asking whether the County had planned for that. Lambert relayed that it was most likely that when the trail was built, gravel was the only option. He stated that the County had no plans to improve the area.
In response to a question by Lewis, Lambert indicated that the County wanted to discover whether lighting in some areas would provide an extra element of safety and enhance the experience. He commented that the County had set aside $20,000 for a lighting feasibility study. Gardiner noted that Medford had lighting under the viaduct which was helpful for bikers. Lambert agreed, noting that commuters using the Greenway after dark would appreciate lighting in certain areas.
Black stated that the $5,900 spent for Community Justice work would be money well spent. He explained that the larger group of Community Justice workers could cover more ground than APRC workers. He estimated that it would actually decrease the expense of maintaining the area as well as free Ashland’s crews for other work. He recommended approval of the updated agreement.
Heller stated that a consistent experience and enhanced safety would be appreciated by Greenway users.
Lewis noted plans to extend the Greenway from the Ashland Dog Park to North Mountain Park. He questioned whether the extension would be covered under the proposed agreement. Gardiner stated that the extension was in the planning stages – intimating that the extra mileage could be addressed at the next JPA update.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the Joint Powers Agreement as proposed. Heller seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Dials noted four elements for review and approval as follows:
- Calle Seating Agreements and Fee Designation (Action)
Changes in square footage for the upcoming season included the addition of 210.5 square feet of space for the new restaurant Ex Nihilo. Dials explained that they would be using the space five days per week. Little Tokyo requested 330 sq. ft. for seven days and 143 sq. ft. for five days. The Lithia Artisans Market would utilize 2300 sq. ft. two days weekly.
- Determine the 2017 season of operation for the Calle
- Approve the 2017 seating agreements for eight restaurants
- Approve the Calle Guanajuato boundary map
- Review the 2017 projections of fees and expenses
Dials highlighted previous concerns about changes in the fee structure over time. In 2010, fees increased from $3.60 to $4.00 per sq. ft. In 2012, the Commissioners agreed that fees would increase by $1.00 per sq. ft. with a cap of $7.00 per sq. ft. for restaurants and $5.00 for the Lithia Artisans. In 2013 the fee was increased to $6.00 and in 2014, a fee increase to $7.00 per sq. ft. was approved. No further changes had been made since 2014.
Dials introduced cost recovery figures, noting that in the fiscal year 2015/2016 revenues collected were $26,274.34.
Expenses were at $27,082.81 resulting in a net cost recovery of 97%. Costs included staff time, maintenance and supplies. Dials stated that staff recommended complete recovery of all maintenance costs because the service was provided to for-profit businesses. She indicated that subsidizing some of the operating expenses would result in an unfair advantage to those businesses that receive discounted services when others who do not have outdoor seating on the Calle, must pay all operating expenses.
Dials explained that the rented space in 2016 totaled 4,110.75 sq. ft. The space available for 2017 would increase to 4,862.75 sq. ft. for a difference of 752 sq. ft. It was estimated that expenses for managing the space would be $32,046.
In response to a question by Landt, Dials noted that the increase in space was due to shared space, along with a small increase for a new restaurant. Dials suggested that pricing should be predicated upon the three tiers of use – i.e. two days weekly, five days weekly and seven days weekly. If calculated in that way, artisans would pay $5.50 per sq. ft., five-day restaurants $5.00 sq. ft. and seven-day restaurants $8.00 sq. ft. Based on those rates, revenues would equal $32,091.50.
Dials noted that there was a concern about a restaurant that was changing owners. She stated that the Commercial Use Policy did not permit the transfer of outdoor seating to the new owner. New ownership would create the possibility of additional space for existing restaurants. Dials noted that there had been no change in ownership to date but that staff would continue to assess the situation. It the property changed hands, the existing contracts would be adjusted after receiving approval from the Commissioners.
Dials stated that there was a possibility that two additional artisan spaces could be added in the area across the creek. She noted that staff would apply for a conditional use permit (CUP) if the Commissioners approved.
Miscellaneous Changes to the Commercial Use Policy
Dials announced that changes requested by the Commissioners had been implemented. The word competitive had been removed from the Policy.
Black summarized the effort in determining the new fee structure, noting that it was the best estimate of what it cost APRC to manage the Calle Guanajuato for the upcoming eight months. He stated that there were only two programs where full cost recovery was expected – one was the Calle Guanajuato, the other was the cost of leasing the Daniel Mayer Pool during the winter to the Ashland School District.
Andrew Card of 1249 Iowa St. in Ashland was called forward.
Card noted that he was representing Oberon’s Restaurant and Bar. He thanked APRC for the willingness to consider changing the terms of the contracts if a change of ownership occurred.
Card suggested that as the Commercial Use Policy developed, APRC might consider defining the words “seniority” and “proximity” more specifically, with greater emphasis on proximity when determining space assignments. He stated that space behind his establishment was assigned to another restaurant – a situation that confused his clientele. It also resulted in an unfair advantage for one restaurant over another.
In response to a question by Heller, Card stated that the space behind his restaurant could seat approximately four tables with four persons at each.
Tom DuBois of 690 S. Mountain Ave. in Ashland was called forward.
DuBois highlighted the partnership between APRC and Louie’s Restaurant beginning approximately twelve years previously. He stated that he was honored to continue that relationship.
DuBois noted that there were areas of disagreement with the current policy – beginning with the cost recovery numbers, including the cost to maintain the public bathroom on the Calle. He compared the overall expenses for the increased square footage, stating that the impact resulted in increased fees of approximately 19%. DuBois indicated that according to APRC figures, 60% of the expenses were administrative costs – in his experience, a very high
DuBois stated that he would accept the current contract. He was hopeful that future increases would be modest and follow the cost of living increases as measured by the Consumer Price Index or another worthy measure of inflation.
Marcus Scott of 1205 Talent Ave. in Talent was called forward.
Scott thanked APRC for the improvements on the Calle Guanajuato and for the opportunity given to artisans to display and sell their wares on the Calle.
Scott questioned a new requirement listed Under Fire and Life Safety, Sub-Section G of the contract for the Artisans Market that detailed requirements for a 24-inch buffer zone between the building edge and the outdoor seating for Ex Nihilo. Scott questioned whether the buffer zone would remain specific to the new building or apply to the length of Calle.
Scott stated that he was losing three (3) eight- by-eight spaces this year. He noted that he would be pushed for space, but would consider utilizing the two spaces on the other side of the creek. He requested that fees for the space be postponed until the amount of available space in that area has been established and a trial had been conducted to see if the spaces were commercially viable.
Finally, he asked that the public restrooms remain open to 5:00 p.m. Sunday and 6:00 p.m. Saturday for use.
Landt suggested that the space across the creek be developed and the Market given a period of time to determine its effectiveness. He recommended two weeks’ trial and if successful, payment of fees for the rest of the season.
Miller suggested that the smaller spaces across the creek should be priced differently. Landt disagreed, stating that if the space was used it should be considered part of the established fees.
Lewis asked about keeping the restrooms open until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Black stated that he would request that the restrooms remain available during those times.
Discussion initiated by Landt regarding the required 24” buffer zone was addressed by Black, who stated that the constraints of the space most likely would not inhibit use by the artisans. He indicated that the space was awkward but doable.
Determine the “season of operation” as March 13, 2017 through November 12, 2017.
Motion: Miller moved to approve the season of operation as March 13, 2017, through November 12, 2017. Heller seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Approve or deny the eight seating agreements for the Calle Guanajuato.
Miller stated that there was a possibility that one restaurant might change hands, and if that should occur, existing restaurants should be allowed to request the space. The wording of the motion reflected that possibility.
Motion: Miller moved approval of all eight seating agreements as proposed, with the potential of the Artisans Market to expand by two booths on the other side of the creek if a CUP was granted. The eight seating agreements would be approved with the understanding that if it could be shown that ownership of any restaurant changed mid-season, then other restaurants should have the opportunity to apply for the original owner’s space. Heller seconded.
Landt commented that in his opinion, it was inappropriate for staff to monitor the situation. He stated that interested parties should be responsible for alerting APRC should the occasion arise.
The vote was all yes.
Approve the Boundary Map for the 2017 Calle Guanajuato season.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the boundary map for the 2017 Calle Guanajuato. Miller seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Determine a square footage fee rate for the 2017 Season.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the square footage fee rate for artisans at $5.50 per sq. ft. for restaurants using the Calle five days per week a rate of $5.00 per sq. ft. and for restaurants using the Calle seven days per week at $8.00 per square foot. Miller seconded
Landt stated that determining cost recovery value was not an exact science. He noted that he would prefer that market value rates be used as an alternative. He agreed that businesses had a need for certainty so that operating costs could be estimated. He commented that it was his hope that 2017 would be the last year the cost recovery model was used.
Landt went on to say that if a market value rate became too onerous, increases should be applied incrementally. He stated that APRC and those utilizing space on the Calle were partners and APRC would continue to work on ways to determine reasonable fees in keeping with for-profit businesses.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the square footage fee rate for artisans at $5.50 per sq. ft. - for restaurants using the Calle five days per week - a rate of $5.00 per sq. ft. and for restaurants using the Calle seven days per week at $8.00 per square foot. Miller seconded.
The vote was all yes.
Heller inquired about administrative costs, asking about the potential for reducing the staff time involved in managing the Calle contracts. Dials replied that the policy had greater clarity and was easier to decipher than ever before. She stated that expenses were estimated very specifically.
Black stated that he was hopeful the time spent managing the Calle Guanajuato would go down. He noted that even if a market rate was used, the costs to operate the Calle would still be monitored.
Lewis indicated that prior to the next budget cycle, an appraisal for the value of the property should be available to determine whether using a market rate fee structure was feasible.
SUBCOMMITTEE AND STAFF REPORTS
Black stated that the current budget should be at 75% of expenditures for the biennium. He reported that actual figures indicated that APRC’s budget was at 74.9% for the biennium. He relayed that calculations were also prepared for year-end, indicating that APRC would complete the biennium under budget for all programs.
- Quarterly Budget Update (Information)
Black announced that a new budget was in development for the upcoming biennium. He stated that he would present the new plan to the Commissioners on the 27th of March.
Black highlighted two items – the Imperatrice Property and the status of a Community Swimming Pool as potential areas of interest for the meeting with Council. He indicated that the Imperatrice property was under consideration by the City Council for use as an area to place a solar array. He noted that it was time to present a proposal to purchase the property in conjunction with Southern Oregon Land Conservancy. Black said that in order to obtain the authority to purchase the Imperatrice property, the Conservancy must show that two other uses have been denied. The property was originally purchased for effluent runoff. Plans for a solar array would be the second potential use.
- Joint Commission/Council Meeting Update (Information)
Black stated that an initial discussion about the draft budget would give the Council advance notice of APRC’s plans for the upcoming biennium. He stated that support from the Commissioners would be welcome.
Heller inquired about a joint discussion regarding the Senior Center. Black replied that there was currently a process underway administratively to assist with a decision between the two entities. Once completed, the matter would be discussed at the policy level.
Heller asked whether Pioneer Hall was another topic for discussion. Black noted that the matter would be addressed administratively.
Gardiner stated that the joint meeting with City Council was an opportunity to exchange information rather than make policy.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Gardiner announced that he would create a Major Projects Subcommittee that would be a partnership between the Ashland Parks Foundation and APRC. He suggested that Marge Bernard and Jeff Mangin from the Foundation be appointed as members with Commissioners Matt Miller and Rick Landt as well.
- APRC/Foundation Subcommittee
Black noted that discussion with Jeff Mangin over the past year explored the possibility that he would donate a substantial sum for a project within Lithia Park. He stated that Mangin had recently gifted the Foundation $930,000 for a memorial project in Lithia Park. Mangin was currently interested in a plan is to update the Japanese Garden. Any funds remaining would become an endowment for future maintenance.
Gardiner complimented Miller on a great article. He stated that Miller and Landt had volunteered an article for the March 16th addition. Gardiner called for volunteers for April and May. He encouraged Lewis to write an article about the Trail Master Plan Update Committee. Heller volunteered to write an article in May.
- Monthly Daily Tidings Articles
Gardiner stated that he would work with staff on an article about the programs offered at the Senior Center for June.
Black highlighted two construction projects that might be worthy of an article. He noted that the playground at Hunter Park would be completed within the week and that the Garfield Park playground remained open. Construction on the new splash pad should be completed by Memorial Day.
Gardiner stated that emailing the articles to the Tidings was preferred by the editor. He also asked that the scheduled articles be listed on the Lookahead.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
Study Session—March 20, 2017 @ The Grove, 1195 E. Main, 5:30 p.m.
Regular Meeting—March 27, 2017 @ Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main, 7:00 p.m.
Joint Commission/Council Meeting—May 1, 2017 @ Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main, 5:30 p.m.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Betsy Manuel, Assistant
These Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been condensed and paraphrased at times to reflect the discussions and decisions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions and Regular meetings are digitally recorded and are available upon online.