Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Regular Meeting

Monday, January 25, 2016

City of Ashland
January 25, 2016


Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Miller, Shaw; Director Black; Superintendent Dials; Administrative Supervisor Dyssegard and Assistant Manuel 

Absent: City Council Liaison, Mayor Stromberg; Superintendent Dickens

Also Present: Christine Dodson, Senior Program Manager; Evelyn Kinsella, RVCOG Food and Friends Program
Chair Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street


Regular Meeting – December 14, 2015
Motion: Landt moved to approve the Minutes for December 14, 2015 as presented. Lewis seconded.
                                                                        The vote was all yes.
There was none.
There were none. Chair Gardiner noted a change in Agenda order. The Nutley Easement and Senior Program presentation would be heard first as a courtesy to those attending.     
There was none.
  • Election of Chair
Motion: Landt moved to nominate Michael Gardiner as 2016 Commission Chair. Shaw seconded.
The roll call vote was all yes.
  • Election of Vice-Chair
Motion: Lewis moved to nominate Rick Landt as 2016 Commission Vice-Chair. Miller seconded.
The roll call vote was all yes.

  • Nutley Easement (Action)
Black noted a request by owner Mardi Mastain to gain an easement from the east side of the property located at 114 Granite Street, Ashland. He stated that the purpose of the easement was to relocate the original building to a secondary position at the rear of the lot, making way for a primary residence that was not yet built. Access to the new location would cross APRC property to Nutley Street. The secondary dwelling is a small historic cottage/bungalow in an historic area that is recorded on the National Historic registry. The owner is fully cognizant of the historic nature of the cottage and intends to move it to the back of the lot in order to preserve it.            
Black emphasized that the owner must complete a Planning Department application and obtain approval to move the existing cottage and build a new dwelling in its place. Black asked the Commission to consider the request based on preservation of the historic cottage, in keeping with APRC Community Development goals.   
The plan depicts an approximate 15’ X 17’ easement across APRC property onto Nutley Street. Conditions set forth by APRC would grant the easement contingent upon the approvals and as conditioned. The easement would not apply to any other structure. Access to the structure from the rear of the property onto Nutley would occur via an existing curb cut.   
Black indicated that the request could be construed as a real estate transaction; therefore, consideration of the easement could be completed in a closed session. Final action could then be scheduled for the next regularly scheduled meeting in February. 
Black introduced planner Amy Gunter of Rogue Planning and Development Services who was called forward on behalf of the owner.
Ms. Gunter noted that the existing curb-cut was installed around 1990 in order to provide an additional parking space for the property. Once the historic cottage is moved to its new location, ingress and egress to the building would be provided from Nutley Street. 
Gunter stated that the cottage measures 524 square feet in its entirety. The home was constructed between 1911 and 1920 on the south half of what was once a large tax lot at 108 Granite Street. The bungalow is a contributing historic resource on the National Historic Register Inventory for the Skidmore Historic District. It was known as the Barnt house when the Historic District was developed.  
The house was subsequently occupied by Johnny Gruelle, author of the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy books. He wrote the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees while residing there. Gunter reported that the camel was actually a stuffed animal displayed at the Lake of the Woods store at the time.
Gunter explained that moving the cottage down the hill diminished its federally recognized historic value somewhat but not its inherent value as a part of Ashland’s history. 
The City of Ashland requires two parking spaces for structures greater than 500 square feet. Gunter acknowledged that no parking was permitted on Nutley Street but granting the easement would allow for one vehicle to access the property from Nutley. The second parking space was planned for Granite Street.    
The cottage currently has kitchen facilities and bathing facilities, rendering it suitable for a rental dwelling. The owner intends to renovate the 95-year-old house in the hopes that it can remain in place for 95 additional years.       
Gunter discussed infrastructure connectivity including access to utility lines on Winburn Way. She stated that sewer and electrical connections would be upgraded and the resulting improvements would remain available to APRC. Gunter also explained the impact on the existing landscape, noting that one small conifer would be removed from the right-of-way. The property owner offered to mitigate removal of the tree by offering a new deciduous tree, planted per APRC’s direction.                     
In response to questions from Commissioner Lewis, Gunter addressed the location of the utility easement. A brief discussion followed regarding the type of surfacing planned for the parking space and driveway. Gunter indicated that the surfacing materials had not yet been decided and she invited the Commission to weigh in with preferences.
Lewis inquired about potential concerns of the Historic Commission. Gunter replied that the Historic Commission was supportive of the efforts to preserve the structure and would write a letter of support should if needed. 
Discussion among Commissioners
Shaw initiated a discussion regarding the proposed sale of real estate. Black clarified that it was really the sale of interest in the property.
Landt highlighted a reference in the Staff Report to Lithia Park entrance signage originally slated for the Nutley Street property, noting that it was better positioned on the opposite side of the street if its intended purpose was to welcome visitors entering the Park. 
Landt suggested that a condition should be added to clarify that there would be zero cost incurred by APRC, with all expenses covered by the applicant. In addition, the proposed easement should be clearly applicable only to the cottage known as the Barnt house because of its historic significance. 
Lewis agreed, stating that the historic value should be retained and approval of the easement should be predicated upon the building’s historic status.
In response to a question by Shaw, Black indicated that the proposed conditions could be strengthened to ensure that the easement pertains to the historic cottage and that it remains in perpetuity. 
Black noted that the applicant had not yet submitted an offer, nor were the appropriate Planning approvals in place. He suggested that the final discussion be conducted in a closed session once the approvals are in place and an offer received.       
Motion:  Landt proposed that the Commission authorize staff to move forward, negotiating with the applicant based on the conditions currently set forth and with two additional conditions: 1) ensure that zero costs are incurred by APRC; and 2) ensure that the easement stays in force for as long as the historic building remains in that location. Shaw seconded.
The vote was all yes.
  • Senior Program Presentation (Information)
Superintendent Dials introduced Senior Program Manager Chris Dodson, noting that the Senior Program was a division of APRC. Also present was Evelyn Kinsella, Nutrition Program Manager for the senior meals program administered through Rogue Valley Council of Governments.      
Dodson noted that the program, established by Ashland City Council Resolution, began in August of 1973 and was placed under the APRC. The Program was integrated into the City of Ashland in 1977 but placed back with APRC in 2006.
The current Senior Program mission statement reads:            
“The Ashland Senior Program strives to provide a support system to the older residents of Ashland, helping to enable them to live more independently and to continue as contributing members of the community. The Senior Center provides a venue for social interaction through recreational and health-related activities and educational opportunities.”
The Senior Center facilitates the fostering of social interactions through recreational and health-related activities and educational opportunities. Staff provides a cheerful, welcoming environment without social or economic stratification. The activities and services offered are based on a holistic wellness concept and care is taken not to duplicate services that are available elsewhere. The ultimate goal is to promote quality of life for the senior community in Ashland.
A quick review of some of the activities includes a gentle yoga, line dancing, tai chi, a card and cribbage group, an issues and options discussion group, computer and Mac product instruction, and a new class called Somatics, which is a form of meditation. Special events such as Thanksgiving meals and an ice cream social are offered. Senior interactions average approximately 1,100 cumulative contacts per month through email, phone and walk-ins.  
Outreach provided by the Center is structured to complete assessments of clients’ physical well-being as well as of their financial health and living situations. The nature and scope of services provided are tailored to individuals’ needs. An advocacy program assists clients with obtaining supportive services, a lunch program is offered, and a number of health-related activities are provided such as advance directive counseling and assistance with completion of associated forms. Blood pressure and foot care clinics are offered through community partners such as Soroptimists. 
The Senior Center administers three types of utility programs for disbursement of vouchers for electricity and heat. People at the poverty level are provided with discounts. Also offered is a low-income energy assistance program, sponsored by the City of Ashland, and vouchers for Valley Lift and bus discounts. The list of partnerships is long, as are the number of functions provided by the Program. 
Evelyn Kinsella of Food and Friends was called forward:
Kinsella noted that the partnership with the Senior Center facilitated 15,593 meals in 2015, of which 63% were delivered to the homebound. She explained that this type of delivery provides a safety net for homebound seniors. Kinsella highlighted the importance of providing meals at the Center as well, noting that seniors will often come for lunch and then participate in an activity afterwards.       
Unlike the Jackson County program of which 49% is comprised of seniors over the age of 80, in Ashland that number is 58%, which is unique. Food and Friends conducts a general assessment of homebound seniors. Ashland comes in at a high percentage (84%) of moderate-to-high risk seniors. Compared to other cities in the Valley, this is unusually high. Jacksonville for example is at 61%. Dodson noted that high risk seniors are not highly visible, but are most in need of services.
Kinsella reported that the meals program depends heavily upon volunteers. She thanked the Commission for their support and introduced a short video that more fully expressed the value of volunteers to those seniors benefiting from their services.
  • Performance Audit Contract Approval (Action)
Black reviewed the process that established a Performance Audit Subcommittee and the subsequent
Request for Proposal (RFP) for performance audit services. He noted that the Subcommittee received one qualified response to its RFP and, after consideration, agreed that the respondent would be rated as a potential service provider. The company, Matrix Consulting, rated 92% by the Subcommittee, indicating that it fully met established criteria. Reference responses were positive and the company had experience working within the Rogue Valley as well as with other Parks and Recreation agencies. The Subcommittee recommended Commission approval of the contract to engage Matrix Consulting to conduct a Performance Audit for APRC. 
Approval of the contract would allow the process to begin in early February 2016, with a timeline of approximately ten to twelve weeks. The methodology would include interviews with appropriate staff and stakeholders and an on-site evaluation. Once completed, the Matrix report will be reviewed and vetted by the Performance Audit Subcommittee. The Audit will then be forwarded to the Commission along with recommendations from the Subcommittee and the company’s suggestions for improvements.     
It is expected that the $49,000 cost for services rendered would come in under Budget, as $56,000 was set aside for that purpose.                   
Discussion among Commissioners
There followed a brief discussion regarding the limited response to the RFP. Shaw noted the extensive scope of the project.
Motion: Landt moved to approve the contract with Matrix Consulting as presented. Miller seconded.
The roll call vote was all yes.
  • Golf Clubhouse Repairs Update
Black highlighted the dry rot damage and subsequent structural damage to trusses attached to the Oak Knoll Golf Course Clubhouse. The Clubhouse roof area is approximately 3,600 square feet in total. The damaged portion of open trusses extending from the roofline covers approximately 650 square feet. The underlying deck begins under the roof and extends into an open truss area that encompasses approximately 850 square feet, due to the extension of the deck about 15 feet beyond the end of the truss area. There is also a front portion that introduces the entrance from the parking lot. Black commented that there was no real function for the front area (facing the parking lot) other than to provide some design continuity. 
In explaining the damage, Black noted that not all of the trusses support structural beams. Several beams are only decorative; however, all of the beams are faced with metal flashings designed to protect the beams from exposure. Damage caused by exposure is located at the end of each beam, where the flashings connect with a horizontal beam. 
Black introduced two potential fixes:
  • The primary solution would be to replace or repair the damaged beams, and extend the roofline over the trusses. This option would provide a shingled rooftop that would permanently shield the beams from exposure. This potential fix would increase the amount of covered outdoor space for Clubhouse guests to enjoy. There would also be a budgetary benefit in that the expansion would qualify as a Capital expenditure.   
  • The second alternative would be to pull back from all of the decorative and structural elements, eliminating the beams and open trusses. The cost to do so would be less, currently estimated at $45,000 versus $80,000 for the expansion in the option above. The $45,000 expenditure would be considered maintenance and the funds would come from the Operations budget.      
Readily available funding could come from a projected surplus for the Cart Path Project. This project was initially budgeted at $120,000 but was now considered over-funded by approximately $80,000. Black suggested that the surplus funds could be used for the roofline upgrade and the truss repairs, and he noted that staff was recommending the primary option.
Black also noted that the Golf Course itself as well as the Clubhouse was aging and in disrepair. He stated that this included facilities such as the irrigation system, the ponds, roads and bridges as well as the parking lot and posts used to support netting along the fairway. He detailed replacement of a post along the driving range as well as a post adjacent to the fifth tee, expressing concern about future replacements.       
Discussion among Commissioners
Discussion focused on the value of the Clubhouse beams; whether they were decorative or performed a structural function and the proposed solutions. Landt suggested a hybrid solution – replacing or repairing the trusses over the deck. He supported extending the roof over the trusses but indicated that trusses on the east side should be removed completely, noting that there was no inherent value other than continuity of design for the trusses that extended over landscaping and, in fact, the trusses in that area had a negative impact on the vegetation.           
Lewis agreed, noting that the design of the building was not distinctive enough to warrant keeping the decorative trusses on the east side in good repair. He supported either option, suggesting that pulling back on both sides would allow for greater flexibility in the future, but that moving forward with the roof expansion over the deck would provide an immediate benefit. In response to a question by Shaw, he stated that the roof overlay could facilitate any future plans for the expansion of the Clubhouse.    
Gardiner initiated a brief discussion of the mechanics of repair, with Black noting that the engineering would be the most intensive factor of the re-design.
Motion:  Shaw moved to adopt the proposed hybrid solution as discussed, whereby the trusses and beams on the west side of the clubhouse would be removed to the edge of the building and the deck trusses and beams over the deck would be repaired and renovated by providing additional roofing as cover for the existing deck. Landt seconded.

The roll call was all yes.

  • Siskiyou de Mayo Event (Information)
Dials noted that one Commission goal for 2016 was to explore or expand special events. She stated that the Siskiyou de Mayo event had been introduced to the public in May of 2015 and had initially been planned as a way to introduce a Latin rhythm class offered by APRC. With approximately 150 people attending it was successful enough for consideration as an annual offering.
This year the event was scheduled for May 14, 2016 at the Butler Bandshell in Lithia Park. Numerous acts and various forms of music would be offered. The demonstrations would be as diverse as Middle Eastern belly dancing and Cuban, Brazilian and Caribbean dances, plus many others. Local poets will provide entertainment while the sets were changed. This dynamic, free, family-friendly event would feature music from around the globe and showcase local artists.   
A large portion of the planning would rest on business donations and support, offsetting APRC subsidies. Currently there is one sponsor – the new Valley Radio Station 106.3. Staff has prepared a pre-recorded taping that will air on Wednesday, January 27, at 9:00 a.m.
The event’s budget would be small ($3,000 - $4,000) and depend upon donations. Staff designed marketing materials and planned to use donations to fund the performances, provide promotional materials, and possibly create T-shirts celebrating the event.
  • Ashland Creek Park Damage

In response to a question by Shaw, Black reviewed a sequence of events caused by excessive rain in the Ashland Creek Park area in the early morning hours of Thursday, December 17. He noted that a main water line fractured, causing water to flow into the Park. Water eroded the area around a fig tree, damaging its root structure. Water and debris then cascaded through the Park, causing additional damage to the Rain Garden and the Community Garden. Approximately four inches of silt was deposited throughout the area. APRC staff worked with Ashland Water and Streets, both divisions of Public Works, to mitigate damages. APRC was assured that any costs associated with the break would be offset by Public Works.
Because all associated debris stayed on Parks land, no insurance claims were received from surrounding property owners. Critical repairs were completed within a week, with some improvements made. This event provided an opportunity to review APRC’s on-call protocols, as the call came in at 2:00 a.m. and the water main was shut off by 3:00. Silt did affect the bathrooms and water was shut off until repairs could be made. 
Study Session       February 8, 2016 @ The Grove                 1195 E. Main Street -- 7:00 p.m.
Regular Meeting     February 22, 2016 @ Council Chambers   1175 E. Main Street -- 7:00 p.m.
By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:35 p.m.

Executive Session: Real Estate Discussion and Disposition, ORS 192.660 (2)(e)

By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Betsy Manuel, Assistant

The Minutes are not a verbatim record. The narrative has been condensed and paraphrased to reflect the discussions and decisions made. Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Study Sessions, Special Meetings and Regular Meetings are digitally recorded and available upon request. 

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