Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28, 2019

Audio Recording
Chair Roger Pearce called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Commissioners Present:   
Troy Brown, Jr.
Michael Dawkins
Alan Harper
Melanie Mindlin
Haywood Norton
Roger Pearce
Lynn Thompson
Staff Present:
Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Development Services Coordinator
Absent Members:  
Council Liaison:
Stefani Seffinger, absent
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced next Tuesday, June 4, 2019 the City Council will hold a public hearing and first reading of the Housing Element ordinance. He also noted the Planning Commission is scheduled to hold two land use hearings at their June 25 meeting. 
No one came forward to speak.
A.           Trail Master Plan Update by Michael Black, Director of Ashland Parks & Recreation.
Michael Black explained the Trails Master Plan amendment was developed by staff and citizens and noted the Master Plan has not been updated for 10 years. He stated the updated plan turned out very nice and noted he would be returning at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting for the public hearing and commission recommendation.
Mr. Black provided a short presentation that addressed the plan background, goals, themes, trail sections, and recommendations (see attachment). He emphasized the Transportation System Plan is the guiding document for the city and this plan is intended to advise that work. Mr. Black commented on maintaining and developing new trails and how the Parks & Recreation Department collaborates with private citizens and developments. He acknowledged in some areas of town people have created their own trails with no easements and stated land owners have the right to exclude people from their property. He stated in some cases the city has successfully negotiated agreements with the property owners, but not every instance turns out this way. Mr. Black explained unless a trail is circular, there is potential for it to be considered as a transportation option. He also commented on the key topics that arose at the public input sessions, which included: pet issues, trail traffic and homeowners’ privacy, negative impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat, and trash left by trail users.  
Mr. Black explained the Master Plan addresses each trail as well as regional connections. His presentation highlighted the Bear Creek Greenway and outlined the interim, short term, and permanent alignment options.
Commissioner Questions and Comments
Mr. Black was asked to explain the process for approving trail plans. He responded that it depends on where the trail is located and noted for the Bear Creek Greenway staff presented the proposal to the city’s Transportation Commission and from there it went to the Parks & Recreation Commission and the Planning Commission with final approval issued by the City Council.
Mr. Black was asked to elaborate on the ADA requirements and whether designating trails as a transportation route increased those requirements. He explained natural trails would not be paved over, however ADA crossings would be needed wherever a trail comes in contact with a roadway intersection or mid-block crossing. He clarified not all trails would be designated as transportation routes and stated only the Bear Creek Greenway and the Central Bike Path currently hold this designation.
Mr. Molnar asked about the Hamilton Creek Corridor on the Croman Mill property and whether alternatives to asphalt could be used when it is developed. Mr. Black explained eventually the city will have a north to south transportation route and while pavement is preferred in urban areas, decomposed granite and other materials could be considered.
Comment was made suggesting the plan clearly indicate that some of the trails are outside of the city’s jurisdiction and that we will be working cooperatively with Jackson County on those areas.
A.           Election of Officers.
Commissioner Pence explained the municipal code limits officer terms to 3 years, however the commission has generally opted for 2-year terms. General discussion was had on this code section and suggestions were made for potential vice chair and chair nominations.
Commissioners Dawkins/Harper m/s for Roger Pearce to serve as commissioner chair and Haywood Norton to serve as vice chair for the upcoming year. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 7-0.
Meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Submitted by,
April Lucas, Development Services Coordinator

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