The Oregon Legislature Emergency Board dedicated $17 million of emergency funding to advance the recommendations made by the Governorís Council on Wildfire. Of that amount, $5 million came to the Oregon Department of Forestry for immediate grants to reduce wildfire risk in and around communities across the state.
On short notice, Ashland Fire & Rescue put in a grant application on behalf of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project
and the Fire Adapted Ashland program
. The grant was awarded in full by ODF this week, allocating $173,500 for work across federal, City, Parks, and private lands. There was no match requirement, though the work will be leveraged by City AFR utility assessment funds and staff time.
Among many deliverables, the ODF funds will allow for Firewise neighborhoods to pursue previously unfunded work among homes and for distribution of biomass disposal bins to be placed in many neighborhoods above the boulevard to collect needles, leaves, branches, and other flammable vegetation. The grant will be officially award in the first week of March for work to begin, and has to be expended by June 30th of this year.
Residential Use in Commercial Code Change Update
Staff has formalized a plan and timeline for the development of a land use code amendment proposed by members of the local development community to temporarily allow residential uses in certain commercially zoned and developed properties with an objective of "unlocking" mixed use multi-family development. The current limited commercial lease and lending markets make ground floor commercial development unfeasible, which eliminates the ability to construct much needed second and third floor residential units.
The Planning Commission has taken initial input on this proposal and Council recently voiced general support for staff moving forward. Staff intends to formalized Council support with an outline of the code amendment language, positive impacts and potential trade-offs and a timeline to complete the work at the March 16, 2021 Council Business Meeting. The proposal would then go before the Planning Commission in late April or early May with a formal Type III legislative review recommendation for Council, likely in June of 2021.
Wildfire Hazards Mitigation Code Adoption Update
Staff remains on track with the planned proposal of an amendment to the Ashland Building Code (AMC Ch 15) that adopts the Oregon Residential Structural Code section 327.4 Wildfire Hazard Mitigation, which allows the City to require certain fire resistent building materials and methods in all future residential development. A development/construction stakeholders meeting is scheduled this week, with a study session with Council scheduled for March 15, 2021. These two meetings will provide staff with the information and feedback necessary to develop the formal ordinance language and outreach materials necessary for implementation should Council formally approve the ordinance in June of 2021.
Urban Campground Grant Update
Staff is anticipating results of a grant application to fund the purchase of 12 pallet shelters and operating expenses for a five month shelter in Ashland by the end of February. Concurrently, staff is working with our grant partner, Rogue Retreat, in identifying potential site locations should the grant be awarded to the City and Rogue Retreat. Leading site locations include a local faith based organization within City limits as well as continuing efforts to modify the existing County land use approvals for the Calvary Church on East Main Street that formerly housed the OneSite winter shelter.
This is a draft of the next Council meetings agenda and is subject to change.
March 1 - Study Session
- Presentation on the Storm Drain Master Plan
March 2 - Business Meeting
- City Manager Profile and Selection Process
- Recology Solid Waste and Recycling Rate Increase Review
- Citizens' Budget Committee Appointments
- Adoption of the Capital Improvement Program
- First Reading of the Food & Beverage Tax Allocation Ordinance
For the full look ahead and descriptions of each item, go to ashland.or.us/lookahead
This month's edition of the City Source includes an article on resources that are used to deliver City services, information on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Adapt Your Home campaign announcement, a request for climate action stories, quick tips to reduce your wildfire risk, saving space for Ashland's wildlife at North Mountain Park, events, and the City Calendar for March.
Go to ashland.or.us/citysource
for the latest and past editions.