A new perspective is like a breath of fresh air; likewise a breath of fresh air can give a new perspective. The Shady Cove Planning Commission breathed in some inspiration during a mini field trip as part of their May 13 meeting. The meeting began indoors with the commission approving the final order for the property at 31 James Place (as approved in the April 29 public hearing). They also discussed several applications which had come across planner Lois DeBenedetti’s desk and were detailed in her written report. Though there isn’t a construction boom, commissioners were pleased to see some new building happening about town.
The main event of the meeting was a presentation and the aforementioned field trip. Upper Rogue Watershed Association Coordinator Peter Mazzini presented a slide show illustrating the installation process of the stormwater retention system at the Upper Rogue Community Center. With the parking lot finally paved the retention system is finally up and running and a presentation seemed in order; and as the storage tanks for the system are underground – without a presentation folks might not know it’s there at all. Additionally the system aids with city water quality a big topic for the commission presently as they continue their quest to pen a riparian ordinance.
Following the presentation and adjournment of the meeting the commissioners trekked up to the URCC parking lot to view the system. The larger of the tanks (14,000 gallons) will be used for fire suppression and has been filled. The smaller tank (8,000 gallons) drew the most attention, primarily because there were three cars partially parked on top of it. Even viewing the finished product it was hard for folks to believe a “tank” constructed of perforated plastic pipe and a heavy duty rubber bladder could really be 8 ft. under their feet (and the sidewalk and the front end of several parking spaces). The rain gutters running from the roof to the tank and the pumps to draw out the water are the only visual evidence. The smaller tank will be drained once or twice per year. Some water will be used for irrigation, the rest will be allowed to percolate into the ground. The main purpose of the system is to prevent the water from running directly over the pavement and into the river and/or out of the storm drains. Street runoff is a major source of river pollution and systems like the one at the URCC can go a long way toward keeping the river clean.
During the field trip commission Vice Chair Donna Barrett asked Mazzini if the URWA would have a role in the riparian ordinance. Mazzini advise the URWA was ready and more than willing to offer aid throughout the process. He advised the ordinance in general won’t be as difficult to create and manage as it might seem. This brought smiles to the commissioners – fresh air indeed. The URWA will look into future field trips with the commission to view existing homes on the river and discuss riparian and people friendly solutions to landscaping. Additionally they may look at undeveloped sites and possibly even trek out of town to see the results in cities who have had ordinances in place for some time.
So, a new perspective is like a breath of fresh air; likewise a breath of fresh air can give a new perspective and a that new perspective can lead to new ideas for fresh water.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent