October 9, 2013 Planning Commission Minutes

1. CALL TO ORDER - Chair Hoffman called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm.


3. ROLL CALL - Mason, Struck, Kaczanowski, Erickson and Hoffman

4. ADOPT AGENDA - Struck made a motion and Mason seconded to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.

5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Struck made a motion and Mason seconded to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.
a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from August 14, 2013

a. 3942 Del Otero Avenue Conditional Use Permit – Brixius said this request is for an oversized garage. He said the original request was for two story garage but as it was being reviewed it was determined variances can’t be granted if conditional uses are to be approved. He said the proposed garage height included a two story portion and it exceeds the 16’ building height and has to be lowered. Brixius said the applicant Rehman was consulted and the building height has since been lowered. Brixius said all setback requirements must be met. Brixius said the second condition presents no unreasonable hazard to the surrounding community and two accessory buildings will be removed. He said the surrounding property to the east has a large attached garage and a large detached garage. He said on the west side there is a large unattached building. Brixius said the request is compatible to the area and no commercial operations will be allowed. Brixius said the use is consistent with the surrounding properties and a compatible use. He went on to say there would not be an significant impact on the enjoyment of the property, the use will remain residential and no home occupation or commercial operations can occur within that building. He said it will be for residential storage exclusively.

Brixius said the city engineer has reviewed the increase in impervious surface and has recommended a review by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. The suggestion is gutters and downspouts and rain barrels to collect runoff. Also, before this releases to the storm sewer there needs to be a swale along the driveway to provide cleaning of stormwater. Brixius said these requests are looked at with respect to the surrounding properties. He said stipulation for approval would be a revised site plan, a revised building plan showing the revised building height and conditions of exclusivity for residential use. Also calculations on new impervious surface, position of rain barrels and collecting drainage from adjoining properties approved by the city engineer.

i. Open Public Hearing – Hoffman opened the public hearing at 7:12 pm.
ii. Discussion and Comments - Applicant Rick Rehman, 3942 Del Otero Avenue, said with the new change to 16 foot height he might have to have knee walls. He said he believes adding gutters should be enough. Rehman said he has talked to the MCWD and they said because he does not have riparian property, they don’t scrutinize the request. Struck asked about the square footage. She said the footprint of the building is about 2100 square feet after the two accessory buildings are removed. Kaz wants to know the difference between a variance and CUP. Brixius explained a variance is associated with practical difficulties. He said a CUP has conditions placed upon the request. One is a use, and a variance is an exception to a performance standard. Brixius said if this was in a different part of town and not in character of the neighborhood, it might not be deemed favorable.

Hoffman asked for an explanation of the 1000 square foot rule. Brixius said the size of accessory building are established for limits. He said some lots can accommodate more. He said they try not to have buildings stand out. Hoffman agrees and said with building proportions and given the size of lots in our community they should be proportionate with the main building. Hoffman also said hardcover was set because the lake is a big asset and the number one pollutant is stormwater runoff so that’s why the 30% allowance was set.

Struck asked about the proposed bathroom. She said she remembers there was something in conjunction with detached garages. Brixius said this was brought to his attention and there is nothing that states in the code that it can’t have a toilet. He said it cannot be used as a residential use. Hoffman said that was done because of the size of the lots and the potential for misuse of property and renting accessory buildings out. Hoffman said there is a limited parking area and if accessory buildings are rented out, it congests the area. Erickson asked about commercial use and wonders about renting this space out for boat rental, etc. Brixius said it can be part of the condition. Kaczanowski asked about enforcement and Brixius said it is complaint driven and an inspection is called for. Erickson asked if Rehman is a boat collector. Rehman responded he has one boat and he likes old cars.

Kaczanowski asked about the hardcover. He asked about the adjacent property and wonders if they exceed the 30% as they look as though they do. Hoffman refers to Exhibit A, the survey. He said the arrows drawn on the survey reveal the drainage patterns. Michael Erickson, 3934 Del Otero, east of Rehman’s property said he applied for a hardcover variance. He said there is a lot of clay and sand and the absorption is quick. M. Erickson said his gutters drain to the soil and one drains to the driveway. M. Erickson said he has no objections and supports Rehman's plans to remodel his property. Kaczanowski asked about the composition of the driveway. Brixius said it’s bituminous and the engineer’s suggestion is a swale to hold the water to filter the water and not an unconscious washing. Brixius said the suggestion is the swale is actually in the lawn to filter it. Hoffman asked Rehman if the accessory building is connected, the 1000 square foot would not be an issue. Rehman said it double the costs.

iii. Close Public Hearing – Sruck makes a motion and Mason seconds to close the public meeting at 7:39 pm. All votes ayes, motion carries. Mason said for clarification purposes the second story being requested could wall him (M. Mason) in. Brixius said because of the 16 foot height restriction it will be difficult to have second story. He said it would represent rafter storage only. Mason is concerned about approving something that isn’t clear because of the changes. Brixius said he told the applicant there were going to be changes but encouraged him to get feedback from the PC. Brixius said this can be held over for clarification and Rehman would have to be notified as such. Hoffman said the bathroom should be clarified and Hoffman wonders if there should be a poll of the commissioners before extra dollars are spent on this project. Hoffman said Mason would like revised plans and specs before it is approved. Hoffman is wondering if a straw poll is necessary. Erickson said it is ultimately up to the council and Struck said the council does listen to the PC’s recommendations.

Rehman doesn’t think his proposal will be grossly out of place as it will only end up being a couple feet taller. Erickson said the driveway is out of compliance and he wonders about the grandfathered driveway. Brixius said there isn’t an opportunity to change this. He said statute stipulates.

Hoffman – said he is not in favor of this because the rules have been drafted for reasons. He said the request is more than double of what’s allowed. He said in the future and as a commissioner, if someone asks for the same thing, how can he tell them no when it’s been allowed? He said it isn’t any different than the large homes that are requested to be built on small lots. Hoffman said he objects to the size of the garage, exceeding the hardcover and the proposed bathroom.
Kaczanowski - said he is concerned about the bathroom in an accessory building. He said it’s a really large structure and he is also concerned about hardcover and perhaps pervious pavers could be installed in certain areas to help mitigate this. He said he wonders about other properties in the city and their increase of over 30%.
Erickson - said he shares the concerns. He doesn’t like to see excessive hardcover increases, he thinks a runoff plan could be beneficial to explain how the runoff will be directed. He is also concerned about the size of the building. Erickson said he drove around the property twice but it was difficult to see the property change being proposed.
Struck - echoes what everyone else has said.
Mason said he’s been on PC 8.5 years and he said it’s precedent setting. Mason said it’s difficult because he is a neighbor and it becomes difficult when others come forward with the same request.
iv. Recommendation to Council - Brixius asked Rehman about addressing the building height and the stormwater runoff or if a vote and referral to the council is in order for tonight. Mason asked about CUP reapplication and if there is a specific time limit. Hoffman is looking for a motion to table this until more updated information is received. Mason makes the motion and Erickson seconds. Kaczanowski asked if he would consider going smaller on the building and Rehman said no but he would stay within the ordinance. All votes ayes, motion carries.

b. 4722 West Arm Road Addition Proposal – No Action Required – Hoffman said there haven’t been plans submitted for the addition. Brixius said he wants to go through this. Hoffman said as long as this stays on the same footprint, there is no action required on this. Brixius said James Crosby is looking to purchase 4722 West Arm Road and adding a second story to the current lake cottage. Brixius said the ordinance and comp plan stipulates that a legal non conforming structure may be expanded vertically provided it is compliant with setbacks. He said there needs to be water elevation of 929.4 verified in order to get the setback. Hoffman asked about the easement area and can it be calculated as to the lot area and Brixius said yes. Brixius said expansion of non conforming structures cannot be in a flood plain. The request for expansion is allowed without variance. Brixius recommends approval of the site plan and that they demonstrate the 50 foot setback.

James Crosy, 8322 PondView Dr, Minnetrista said a survey is being accomplished. He said the monuments have been located. He said he is moving the new structure further back to make sure he is setback more than 50 feet from the lake. He will remain within the setbacks. Brixius said there is not a hardcover issue with this property. Hoffman said compliance has been achieved so there is no variance required.

Jim Mulhern at 4734 West Arm Rd asked if the property can be subdivided. Brixius said tandem lot splits are not allowed. Mulhern asked if the driveway will remain. Crosby said he will be tearing out part of the driveway. Mulhern asked about tree loss and Crosby said a few branches might have to come down.

a. Council Minutes September 3, 2013
b. Draft Council Minutes September 16, 2013

8. MISCELLANEOUS - Brixius said regarding the Del Otero request in the code anyone can exceed 30% if they meet conditions. Hoffman said if an applicant asks for a variance can they go conditional use. Brixius said an argument can’t be made for hardship. So it’s been built-in that conditions can be put in place and setbacks and height restrictions are met and hardcover can be met and stormwater drainage can be proved, it can be conditional. Struck said she has neighbors on three sides. She said she is concerned about saying yes to this as it could happen in another area of the city. Brixius cites the conditions of the conditional use and it could prohibit it in her neighborhood as this same request may not be appropriate for other properties. Brixius said the negatives are it’s larger than the principal building, it’s out of character with the neighborhood and out of character with R-1. Brixius said if PC is concerned they should consider this code 42-64 b1. Hoffman requests this be put on for the agenda for next meeting limiting the size of accessory to no more than 1000. Kaczanowski thinks it’s important to be able to view the property and wonders how they can get access.

8. ADJOURNMENT – Mason makes a motion and Erickson seconds to adjourn at 8:38 pm. All votes ayes, motion carries.