March 14, 2018 Planning Minutes

MARCH 14, 2018 – 7:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 7:40 p.m.

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chair Hoffman led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Planning Commissioners Present: Jeff Hoffman, Chair, Bruce Homan, Michael Mason, and Pete Kaczanowski.

Planning Commissioners Absent: Max Avalos

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.

Others Present: Catherine Kane Palen, City Council Member/Planning Commission Ex-Officio


Commissioner Mason requested to amend the meeting agenda to add Item #8a to discuss the City’s parks.

M/Homan, S/Mason to approve the agenda as amended.

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from January 17, 2018

M/Mason, S/Kaczanowski to approve the minutes.

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Commercial Outdoor Storage Discussion - City Planner Brixius reviewed the history of the commercial outdoor storage ordinance. Ordinance No. 11-06 was adopted by the City Council in 2011 and addressed the following items:

• Definitions of outdoor sales and rental/outdoor storage
• Temporary outdoor sales as an accessory use
• Limited accessory outdoor sales in C-1, C-2 Districts
• Seasonal outdoor storage accessory to marinas and marine sales
• Outdoor sales as a conditional use in C-1, C-2 Districts
• Outdoor storage as a conditional use in C-1, C-2, M Districts

City Planner Brixius stated that a conditional use permit (CUP) stays with the land; however, if the property is in violation then corrections would have to be made or the CUP could be revoked.

City Planner Brixius stated that the City has complaint-based enforcement. If a complaint is logged then the City does have rights to access the property to ensure that the property owner is complying with the requirements and not gone beyond the scope of the CUP.

City Planner Brixius reviewed City Code language on nonconformities.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked about the City’s complaint process.

City Administrator Tolsma and City Planner Brixius reviewed the processes and procedures of addressing suspected ordinance violations in Spring Park.

City Planner Brixius discussed violations at a particular commercial property in the City where the City won a lawsuit in the 1990’s stating that the property was supposed to be red-tagged. However, it appears the City never enforced the judgment and multiple violations have continued. He stated that the City can pursue the current violations in regards to outdoor storage on the property because the outdoor storage was never approved as part of a CUP and has never been legal on the property. He added that he believes the current commercial outdoor storage language is sufficient and that enforcement is the next step.

City Planner Brixius stated that working with commercial property owners for compliance is the City’s goal. He stated that the ordinance is clear and, when dealing with legal non-conforming properties, the City can work with property owners to discuss options for additional screening.

Commissioner Homan commented that the ordinance seems fairly solid and that maybe the real focus should be on consistency with enforcement.

City Planner Brixius asked the Planning Commission to review the current ordinance language regarding commercial outdoor storage and bring their suggestions to the next meeting. He added that City Attorney Jensen Beck will be invited to the next meeting as well to discuss enforcement options to get commercial properties in compliance.

City Council Member/Planning Commission Ex-Officio Kane Palen asked about the enforcement procedure regarding a property that requires a lawsuit for the City to get the property in full compliance.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that every situation is unique. However, for bigger situations where lawsuits and red-tags are involved then City staff would potentially engage the City Attorney, City Planner, and even the Orono Police Department to get the property into compliance.


a. City Parks Discussion - Commissioner Mason wanted to reiterate his earlier statement that the Planning Commission is also the City’s Parks Board; and therefore, should receive a presentation from the special committee of City Council Members that are considering playground upgrades at the City’s two parks before any decisions are made.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the goal of the special committee was to complete a majority of the research and decision-making before coming to the Planning Commission for feedback.

Commissioner Mason inquired about the grant money for informative signs at the City’s parks.

City Clerk Schyma responded that, after further research, the grant option did not seem to fit the City’s needs so the signs will move forward but without grant money.

Commissioner Kaczanowski introduced Danny Kaczanowski who is attending tonight’s meeting and taking notes for his local Boy Scout troop. Danny asked the Planning Commission to consider extending the basketball half-court at Thor Thompson Park into a full court so that more people in the community could play outdoor basketball.

Commissioner Kaczanowski added that Boy Scout troops have helped with labor on community projects in the past so that is potentially an option depending on the size and scope of the job.

The Planning Commission thanked Danny Kaczanowski for his idea and attending the meeting.


M/Mason, S/Kaczanowski adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:51 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

Date Approved: April 11, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk