The City Council will decide whether to renew the Ashland Gun Club's lease of city property near the municipal airport.




The meeting begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.




The Ashland Gun Club has leased the city-owned property since 1968. Members want to have the lease extended to 2029 in order to win grants from Oregon Fish and Wildlife and Friends of the National Rifle Association to improve the facility. The improvements would include lead clean-up from ammunition.




City Attorney Richard Appicello drafted numerous changes to the lease agreement in response to concerns from neighbors and the Ashland Historic Commission.




Shooting could start at 7 a.m. and would have to end at 8 p.m. or sunset, whichever comes earlier. The Ashland Police Department could use the gun club for night training, but neighbors would have to be given at least two weeks notice.




If the Bear Creek Greenway is someday extended across the site, the gun club would have to relocate facilities to make way for the pedestrian and bike path.




The city and gun club would jointly test the area for contaminants, with an environmental assessment to be finished by July 1, 2009 and clean-up of any contaminants to begin 18 months after the lease is signed.




In a July letter, Ashland residents Leon Pyle and Cathy DeForest voiced a variety of concerns about possible harm to the environment and historic structures on the property. They also questioned why the city has leased the 66 acres to the gun club for decades at no charge and could again lease the land for no payment.




"A no-cost lease of a large parcel of City owned property to a special interest group is difficult to understand when, at the same time, the City is desperately searching for funding to meet normal obligations, to create much needed housing opportunities for lower income residents, and to meet many other obligations to City residents," Pyle and DeForest wrote.




In other business Tuesday, the council is scheduled to:




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162; consider whether to authorize a new contract of up to $65,000 for an outside legal firm that has handled several lawsuits against the city, including suits initiated by residents Art Bullock, Philip Lang and Colin Swales and the Mt. Ashland Association at a cost so far of $90,000;




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162; consider whether to approve preliminary plans for a five-home subdivision at 500 Strawberry Lane;




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162; discuss a proposal by Allan Sandler to develop 10 affordable apartments above a city-owned parking lot on the south side of Lithia Way.




For a complete list of agenda items and information on each item, visit /Page.asp?NavID=11201.




Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. To post a comment, visit .