Mr. Goldman explained the Ordinance is key to wildfire lands overlay. He spoke that the Ordinance proposed is to be City Wide and only applies to new construction.
General Fuel Modification areas.
Fire prevention and control plan.
30 ft. buffer zones.
Permits for new decks.
Removal of trees/tree preservation.
FEMA Grant requirements.
Slattery spoke regarding the importance of education and outreach.
City Administrator, Kelly Madding spoke that the City will look at working with the nursery community to inform them the plant list.
Rosenthal questioned how many new permits are issued annually. Mr. Goldman answered new residents about 50-100 a year and approximately 200 building permits.
Lynn- Ashland – Spoke in concerned about the fires currently. Would like to know if there are any requirements other than new construction for preventative purposes. Mr. Chambers spoke that this Ordinance doesn’t go far enough and it is only affecting a small percentage of homes. He explained Firewise does not have strict requirements. Most of the prevention is voluntary.
Perry Prince – Lives within the Firewise community. Spoke that the restrictions should be greater. He spoke that people cannot be required to upgrade the vegetation on their house. He suggested special funding be made to clean up the vegetation for those who can’t afford it.
Shannon Downey –Ashland- Questioned what the basis is on what is included and what is excluded on the plants list. She spoke that some of the plants included are recognized as fire resistant; and some of the plants that would be a concern are not on the list. She questioned if there are there studies that are done to get this list? Mr. Chambers spoke that there is a slide coming up that will help answer these questions.
Greg Williams – Ashland – Spoke in concerns of the plant list. Staff would get with Mr. Williams to discuss the list.
Tom Sager – Ashland – Spoke in concern of when and where this will end. He spoke that he rides bikes in wilderness areas and currently all animals come into town. He spoke to the importance of the need to have habitat for animals to live on. He spoke that the Ordinance is too broad.
Donald Johnson – Ashland – Spoke regarding removal of hazardous, dead or dying trees. Mr. Goldman explained that this information is in Chapter 9 of the Code. He spoke that in some cases an arborist may be required to determine the status of the tree.
Mr. Chambers explained that the plant list is built off of different characteristics: wax, oil, and pitch are highly flammable. Native conifers were discussed. He spoke to the plant list in the proposed Resolution (see attached).
Staff discussed next steps. Mr. Chambers spoke that in 2 weeks the Ordinance will go to Council for the First Reading.
Carry-over Questions from July 17th - One question at a time
How much opportunity has there been for Public Comment? Mr. Chambers answered there have been many open houses and meetings. He spoke that this began in 2014. There has also been a lot of public outreach.
Could more be done to reduce wildfire risk than what is being proposed? Mr. Chambers answered that in the future there could be more regulations.
Does science support the approach of the proposal? Mr. Chambers answered there is science but we have to go by experience and best judgement for the plant list.
Will characteristics of historic neighborhoods change with this Ordinance? Mr. Goldman answered that historic neighborhoods would stay largely unchanged unless property owners removed flammable materials.
Will conifer trees disappear? Mr. Chambers answered no, they will not disappear.
Rosenthal questioned if any other City has a fire hazard zone. Mr. Chambers spoke that he will research this and get back to Council.
Council thanked Staff.
Questions about the Ordinance changes themselves (if time allows)
Wrap up - What happens next?
The Study Session was adjourned at 7:33 PM
Respectfully submitted by:
_____________________________________ City Recorder, Melissa Huhtala
_____________________________________ Mayor Stromberg
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