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City eyes fireworks ban

The City Council will consider Ashland Fire & Rescue Chief John Karns' proposal to ban fireworks above Siskiyou Boulevard and North Main Street on Tuesday. The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

The city bans the use of fireworks during the fire season — except from June 23 to July 6 in recognition of celebrations of the Fourth of July.

Ashlanders can use fireworks almost anywhere in the city, even near the urban/wildland interface where homes meet the forested hillsides above town that make up the Ashland Watershed, source of the city's drinking water.

Fireworks are not supposed to be used near dry vegetation.

Also Tuesday night, the council will hear a report from Ashland Fire & Rescue about how the fire department, the rest of city government and volunteers with the department-trained Community Emergency Response Team handled the Siskiyou Fire in southeast Ashland.

The fire that started Sept. 21 destroyed a house and ultimately burned 190 acres.

Areas for improvement include streaming the emergency 1700 am radio message on the city's Web site, improving the wildfire hotline and finding a service that can perform mass notifications, according to a memo from Karns to the council.

Planning issues

In planning related areas, the council will consider whether to direct city staff to apply for a $1 million Oregon Department of Transportation economic development grant for road construction at the Croman Mill site.

The site off Tolman Creek Road is the city's largest block of undeveloped land.

The council will also consider whether to have city staff continue working with the Planning Commission on a proposal to extend the amount of time a developer has to complete a project. Some developments have not proceeded because of the recession and a related construction slowdown.

Deadlines for finishing projects before city approvals expire could potentially be extended as well if a project is appealed, but then found to be in compliance with land use laws.

At a Sept. 15 meeting, the Planning Commission was split on giving developers extensions to finish their projects because of the recession. The Planning Commission supported extending deadlines if projects are appealed and then found to be in compliance with land use laws.

Other business

In other business Tuesday night, the council is scheduled to:

  • consider whether to approve Mayor John Stromberg's appointments to a new Economic Development Strategy Policy Group and a new Technical Advisory Committee;
  • consider guidelines for various items on public sidewalks, such as tables and chairs for sidewalk cafes, newspaper boxes, bicycle racks, planters and benches;
  • consider whether to give approval for a planning application to move forward through the planning process that would involve private and city property near the seasonal ice rink.
  • and consider whether to transfer $50,000 from a contingency fund to pay for a study of current downtown core parking issues, recommendations to resolve issues and future parking needs.

For a complete list of agenda items and details on each item, visit http://ashland.or.us/Agendas.asp?AMID=3914.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.