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Decision on public art proposal postponed

The fate of the "Gather" public art proposal will not be decided for at least another three weeks after a councilor requested it be taken off the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Councilor Rich Rosenthal will be out of town, traveling in Florida, this week, and will miss the meeting.

After a years-long process run by the city Public Arts Commission, a special selection panel on Sept. 11 picked 20-foot tall “Gather” by Seattle artist Susan Zoccola from among the three final proposals under consideration, culled from more than 60 initial submissions. The selection was accepted by the PAC and forwarded to the City Council for final approval. It also received a narrow 4-3 endorsement from the city Historic Commission at its Nov. 4 meeting.

If approved by the council, the sculpture would be placed on Gateway Island on Siskiyou Boulevard, between Fire Station No. 1 and the Ashland Public Library. The cost of about $100,000 would be covered by a small percentage of the transient occupancy taxes (sometimes called bed taxes) collected over recent years.

People who would to comment on the proposal and had planned to do so at Tuesday's meeting will be allowed to do so, Mayor John Stromberg announced, even though the council will not be discussing the proposal. Public comment will also be taken at the Jan. 5 meeting, Stromberg said, but anyone who spoke Tuesday, Dec. 15, will not be allowed to comment a second time.

The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Ashland City Council chamber at 1175 East Main St. Meetings are streamed live by RVTV and cablecast on Channel 9.

Also on the agenda is first reading of an ordinance restricting the quantity and location of marijuana grows in the city, as well as marijuana processing and retailing operations. The ordinance is being handled as an emergency ordinance, so it could go into effect Jan. 5 if approved by the council on a second reading on that date. The state plans to begin accepting marijuana processing applications on Jan. 4.

The second readings of three ordinances implementing the new Normal Neighborhood Plan is also on the agenda.

Email Tidings Editor Bert Etling at betling@dailytidings.com, call him at 541-631-1313 and follow him at www.twitter.com/betling.