November 14, 2018 Planning Minutes

NOVEMBER 14, 2018 – 7:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 7:03 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; Anton Reder, resident and short-term rental operator


Commissioner Kaczanowksi asked for the addition of Items #8a – parks improvement update and #8b – nuisance property process update.

Commissioner Mason asked for an addition of Item #8c – compensation for Planning Commissioners.

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

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from August 8, 2018

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

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Rental Licensing Ordinance Discussion - City Planner Brixius provided a summary on a potential rental licensing ordinance. He stated that the ordinance would apply to all rentals in the City but that short-term and long-term rentals would have separate licenses. He added that some communities that have recently passed rental licensing requirements have allowed current owners to have the fees for their initial license waived in order to get more owners to comply with the ordinance.

The Planning Commission discussed several issues including:
• Inspections and enforcement;
• Public health, safety, and welfare of all residents;
• International Property Maintenance Code standards;
• Current age and condition of multi-family and single-family rentals in the City; and the
• Potential displacement of renters due to landlords increasing rent after bringing property up to required standards.

City Planner Brixius stated that he would like direction from the Planning Commission before moving forward with drafting an ordinance.

M/Hoffman, S/Mason to direct the City Planner to move forward with preparing a rental licensing ordinance, provide comparison ordinances from surrounding communities, and give a presentation on his findings at a future Planning Commission meeting.

Motion carried 4-0.

City Planner Brixius stated he will also discuss the draft ordinances with the City Attorney and Building Official for ideas about requirements, licensing, and enforcement. He added that since this issue can be contentious and affects so many residents in the City he would like plenty of advertising and notice for residents to provide input.

City Clerk Schyma responded that the public hearings for this topic will be advertised similarly to when the outdoor storage and nuisance ordinances were introduced in 2017; newsletter announcement, website updates, and a city-wide postcard mailing. The increase in advertising led to a significant response from residents who wanted to voice their opinions and help shape the ordinance.

b. Short Term Rental Ordinance Discussion - City Planner Brixius provided a summary on the two basic options being presented for short-term rentals in the City; regulate or prohibit. He asked the Planning Commission for direction so that staff could prepare a more specific short-term rental ordinance that meets the needs of the City including addressing important topics such as dock usage and parking.

The Planning Commission discussed several issues including:
• The differences between homestead, owner-occupied, and absentee owner units;
• State and County requirements including handicapped accessibility;
• International Property Maintenance Code standards;
• Guest and room limits;
• Parking requirements;
• Current short-term housing options available around Lake Minnetonka; and
• The increasing popularity of short-term rental websites such as VRBO and AirBnB.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked if staff have received any complaints regarding short-term rentals in the City.

City Administrator Tolsma responded yes and that the main issue has been lack of parking; including one complaint where the operator was instructing guests to use City parking since they had no available guest parking at the home.

Anton Reder, owner of 3946 and 3948 Shoreline Drive and current short-term rental operator, stated he would be devastated if short-term rentals would be banned in the City. He stated he is an on-site owner that keeps a close eye on all renters so that his neighbors are not inconvenienced. He added that he limits the amount of renters at one time, requires a two-night minimum stay, screens potential renters, and does have adequate parking on his property with 4-5 parking spaces available.

City Planner Brixius asked Mr. Reder his thoughts on licensing short-term rental units.

Mr. Reder responded that he was definitely agreeable to licensing including basic requirements, inspections, and fees. He added that there is always going to be the potential to rent to a “bad apple” but that it is the owner’s responsibility to resolve the issue and be held accountable.

Commissioner Kaczanowski stated that having the owner living on-site seems to be a major deterrent for people wanting to rent a party house.

Commissioner Homan added that he lives close to Mr. Reder’s property and has never seen or heard about an issue with his short-term renters. He believes Mr. Reder’s rental property is an asset to the community.

Chair Hoffman asked the Planning Commission for their thoughts on which option would be best to address the issue of short-term rental units in the City.

The Planning Commission consensus was to direct staff to move forward with Option #1 – regulate short-term rental units, bring comparison ordinances from other lake communities to a future meeting, and to prepare a draft ordinance.

c. Fence Ordinance Discussion - City Planner Brixius provided a summary on proposed amendments to the fence ordinance.

The Planning Commission consensus was to move forward with the fence ordinance and schedule a public hearing for an upcoming Planning Commission meeting.


a. Parks Improvement Update - City Administrator Tolsma provided an update on the improvements at the City’s two parks. He added that the text for the signs is being drafted by the Westonka Historical Society but that the text will be shown to the Wilkes and Thompson families as well to ensure the information is correct and that it is a proper tribute to their loved ones.

b. Nuisance Property Process Update - City Administrator Tolsma provided an update on nuisance property violations in the City since the new outdoor storage and nuisance ordinance was passed in 2017. He added that there are varying degrees of violations and some properties are more involved than others. He stated that the City hired a new legal firm in November which will be helpful for the code violations that are potentially headed for litigation.

c. Compensation for Planning Commissioners - Commissioner Mason discussed his idea for compensating the commissioners in lieu of the annual appreciation dinner since he believes the dinner has gone by the wayside as it did not occur in 2018.

Chair Hoffman asked for clarification on whether Commissioner Mason was proposing that the commissioners get paid.

Commissioner Mason responded that the commissioners put in time and that should be recognized.

City Clerk Schyma responded that the appreciation dinner was not forgotten this year but due to scheduling conflicts there was the potential for decreased participation. She added that staff are considering combining the parks dedication and appreciation dinner in the spring of 2019 since it has been an important project of both the Planning Commission and City Council and all members should be in attendance.

Chair Hoffman and Commissioner Homan stated that were not interested in getting paid for their time on the Planning Commission since they are interested in volunteerism in the community.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked if other cities pay their commissioners.

City Administrator Tolsma and City Clerk Schyma responded that they do not know of any cities that pay their volunteer commissioners.


M/Kaczanowski, S/Mason adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:50 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

Date Approved: December 12, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk