May 9, 2018 Planning Minutes

MAY 9, 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 Jeff Hoffman, Chair, Max Avalos, Bruce Homan, Michael Mason, and Pete
Present Kaczanowski.

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 Kaczanowski asked for an addition of Item #8a to discuss noise disputes.

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from April 11, 2018

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Commercial Outdoor Storage Discussion – City Planner Brixius presented a PowerPoint summary of commercial outdoor storage in Spring Park including background information on types of commercial use, history of nuisance complaints, and a review of the discussions on this topic at recent Planning Commission Meetings. He further discussed:

• 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 Language on non-conforming uses

City Planner Brixius discussed commercial properties within the study area on Shoreline Drive. He discussed background information for each property after thorough review of property files. All commercial properties on the north side of Shoreline Drive (County Road 15) located west of Kings Road were reviewed.

Commissioner Kaczanowski discussed businesses screening their outdoor storage from the users of the Dakota Rail Trail.

City Planner Brixius stated that many of the businesses in the study area pre-date the trail so the sites are generally legal non-conforming. However, the City can work with the business owners since it is part of the City’s larger goal of beautification to offer some assistance with planting trees along the trail to help with screening. He added that the community projects in the past where local Boy Scouts helped solicit donations and planted trees did receive support.

Chair Hoffman responded that a community project with the local Boy Scouts would have a positive effect on business owners because sometimes business owners don’t have the funds to finance their own beautification projects.

City Planner Brixius stated he could meet with Hennepin County to find out what options they are open to when it comes to screening the trail.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that as long as the screening doesn’t add to the County’s liability then they typically are not opposed to projects involving planting trees along the trail. He added that if the City does a community planting project along the trail then the City will be responsible for the long-term maintenance of the project.

City Planner Brixius stated that most commercial properties in the study area on Shoreline Drive are compliant in regards to outdoor storage or at least responsive to staff contact with remediation efforts. Properties that are not compliant and/or responsive to remediation efforts do face enforcement from the City. He added that the next step is for the Planning Commission to decide if the City needs any additional changes to the commercial outdoor storage ordinance.

Commissioner Kaczanowski stated that he wants to make sure businesses are able to operate and have the outdoor storage that meets the needs of their businesses but that owners need to work with the City to ensure they are in compliance with the City Code.

The Planning Commission consensus was that the City doesn’t need any additional changes to the commercial outdoor storage ordinance.

Chair Hoffman asked the Planning Commission if they want to pursue a property maintenance ordinance since people do make comments about the rundown appearance of buildings in Spring Park.

City Planner Brixius stated that some cities have adopted the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) to address these issues. He added that the IPMC is a measurable code for properties in every district.

The Planning Commission consensus was to direct staff to prepare more information about property maintenance ordinances including details about what surrounding communities have in place relating to this topic and how an ordinance could be measured, enforced, and maintained.

City Planner Brixius added that the issue of property maintenance will be added to the Administration Chapter of the new 2040 Comprehensive Plan.


a. Noise disputes – Commissioner Kaczanowski wanted to discuss noise complaints between neighbors after reading a recent article in the paper. He stated that there was a neighbor versus neighbor noise complaint but the city did not have the proper decibel measuring equipment to settle the dispute.

Commissioner Mason stated that anyone can get a noise decibel measuring app on their cell phone.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency sets the guidelines for noise pollution. He added that in order for a decibel limit test to be considered authentic it must be measured with a certified piece of equipment, not an app on a cell phone. Spring Park hires an independent consultant to do any decibel limit measuring in the City.

City Administrator Tolsma added that the limits set by the State have to accommodate for many loud noises, including lawn mowers and airplanes, so even outdoor music does not go over the limit. When neighbors have noise disputes, based on the way State standards are written, it is not a decibel limit issue it is a presence of noise issue. Presence of noise issues are subjective and since they only involve a handful of properties they are considered private disputes that the City does not get involved in.

Commissioner Mason stated that even the noise issue in the Del Otero Avenue neighborhood since the Mist Apartments opened doesn’t exceed the limit. He added that the building design in regards to the towers and the HVAC system was not helpful to the neighborhood in terms of noise but it doesn’t exceed the allowable limit.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the City did approach the management at the Mist Apartments about how the noise issues could be improved with certain products that help absorb the noise generated by the HVAC system. Building management decided not to change the layout and the City has no legal authority to require them to change their system.


M/Mason, S/Avalos adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:16 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: June 13, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk