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Art and pot on council agenda Monday

How public art is selected and where marijuana may be grown and sold will be discussed by the Ashland City Council at its bimonthly study session Monday night.

The public art item concerns how a city ordinance adopted in 2008 has played out during the years-long process that resulted in the selection by a special panel of "Gather" by Seattle artist Susan Zoccola. The merits of that choice are not up for review Monday; that discussion is expected at the Dec. 15 regular council meeting. Monday' s discussion is expected to focus on the process itself, including how the selection panel is selected.

The process for selection was set up after Gateway Island on Siskiyou Boulevard at East Main Street between Ashland Fire & Rescue Station No. 1 and the Ashland Public Library was designated as a place for public art in 2004.

Proposals from artists were solicited in January 2014. Six public meetings were held later that year to winnow the 63 proposals received. Four artists were selected to visit Ashland and submit more detailed proposals by March 2015. A special selection panel picked Zoccola's proposal at a meeting on Sept. 11.

The Ashland Historic Commission voted 4-3 to endorse the selection of "Gather" at its Nov. 4 meeting, but members unanimously expressed disapproval of the overall process used for the selection of the artwork, according to meeting minutes. The Historic Commission should have a formal role in review of public art proposals when they are in the city's historic districts, commission member Keith Swink said in a letter, "just as anyone that has building projects that would impact the historic character of our designated historic districts would."

Up to four marijuana plants per household could be grown indoors or outdoors according to terms of a proposed land use ordinance the council will discuss Monday and also on Tuesday at its regular business meeting. If the council decides to proceed, the first of two ordinance readings needed to codify the proposed regulations would likely come at the council's business meeting on Dec. 15.

The council study session begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council chamber at 1175 East Main St. The meeting is streamed live on rvtv.sou.edu and cablecast on Charter Channel 9.

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