Two riparian issues on Tuesday's planning docket

The Ashland Planning Commission will discuss wetland and riparian issues twice at its Tuesday meeting, 7 p.m. in the council chambers 1175 East Main St.

It has planned a study session on the much-awaited riparian ordinance and will continue a public hearing on Verde Village, a proposed subdivision for the site of Ashland Greenhouses that is located near the bank of Ashland Creek.

The riparian ordinance has been on city planner's to-do list for years.

"The Community Development Department has been evaluating existing land use regulations related to riparian areas and wetlands," a staff memo says. "Only modest modifications have been undertaken since the mid 80's that recognize and protect the functions and values associated with the community's wetlands and riparian areas."

The city commissioned a wetlands inventory for the new law. Out of 14 wetlands areas identified in the survey, eight were not previously recognized by the city or the National Wetlands Inventory.

"Eleven wetland units were associated with streams or were hydrologically connected to a stream via roadside or agricultural drainage ditches," according to the staff report. "Three wetlands did not contain a surface water connection to a stream or other wetland and were therefore determined to be isolated."

The survey found more than 28 acres of wetlands in Ashland.

Staff will present an overview of the proposed ordinance to the commission on Tuesday night. This will include key elements of the bill and an explanation of the permit review process.

"This will provide the Commission the opportunity to discuss the scope of the ordinance," reads the staff report, "make suggestions and offer direction as to an appropriate course of action for sections of the ordinance that clearly permit a variety of options."

The commission will also discuss Verde Village, a proposed subdivision that abuts Ashland Creek. At its last meeting, the commission wondered if the development was too close to a neighboring waterway (Ashland Creek).

"If the planning commission finds an increased setback is required to meet the Outline Plan approval criteria, the following condition should be attached," reads the staff report. "That the setback between the new eastern property line after the land dedication and private yard areas and buildings shall be increased from 10 feet ... to 20 feet."

There is also a multi-use path within the Ashland Creek riparian area that the commission may determine should be moved away from the stream.

The commission will also discuss an Economic Opportunities Analysis and could adopt the draft plan created by an outside consultant on Tuesday night.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 226 or . To post a comment on this story, go to .

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