August 8, 2018 Planning Minutes

AUGUST 8, 2018 – 7:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 7:01 p.m.

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


Planning Commissioners Present: Jeff Hoffman, Chair, Max Avalos, Bruce Homan, Michael Mason, and Pete 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 Mason asked for an addition of Items #8a – Planning Commission meeting times and Item #8b – Monument signs at the City’s two parks and City Hall.

Commissioner Kaczanowksi asked for the addition of Item #8c to discuss short-term rentals.

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from June 13, 2018

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Garage Variance Application – 2413 Black Lake Road

Commissioner Avalos recused himself from the discussion since he is the requesting property owner.

City Planner Brixius reviewed Land Use Application No. 18-03 VAR requesting a variance for a garage at 2413 Black Lake Road. He detailed site challenges, existing conditions, City standards, other non-conforming homes in the area, and proposed site plans including sight lines, lot coverage, and hardcover calculations with proposed expansion.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked if there is enough room on the site to actually accomplish a water management plan.

City Planner Brixius responded that there are options to accomplish a water management plan.

Commissioners Kaczanowski and Homan stated they like the option of improving sight lines on Black Lake Road.

City Planner Brixius added that future improvements on Black Lake Road will affect the right of way which is why the homeowner stated on his application that the garage will be 25 feet from the curb since there is uncertainty of how that road could eventually be re-platted.

Chair Hoffman opened the public hearing at 7:24 p.m.

Max Avalos, 2413 Black Lake Road, stated his need for a garage variance on his property.

Steve Erickson, 4367 Shoreline Drive, asked how the proposed garage would impact emergency access and potential fires with closer proximity to the neighboring property.

City Planner Brixius responded that the proposed structure will have to go through the building permitting process where the City’s Building Official will address any potential Fire Code concerns. During that process the homeowner will potentially need to add certain fire safety measures like firewalls, extra sheetrock, no windows on the side of the structure, etc.

Mr. Erickson stated that this particular non-conforming structure already has a few issues and this would create several more issues including storm water management. He added that sediment coming off the lagoon has caused him to lose about five feet of shoreline on his property over the years.

City Planner Brixius responded the City Code does allow hardcover up to 40% with a required stormwater management plan, including erosion control, which would be reviewed and approved by the City Engineer. He added that certain stormwater issues have already been identified on Black Lake Road and are part of the City’s larger proposed improvements.

M/Mason, S/Homan to close the public hearing at 7:33 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

Commissioner Mason asked if the neighbor on the south side of the property has stated any issues with proposed garage.

Mr. Avalos responded that he spoke with the wife and she didn’t think it would impact their property at all since they really can’t see that part of the property anyway.

City Planner Brixius asked the Planning Commission for clarification on the option presented in the memo regarding reducing the garage size down to approximately 24 feet.

The Planning Commission consensus was that there was no issue with the original site plan as presented including requiring an approved stormwater management plan.

M/Hoffman, S/Homan to recommend to the City Council to approve Land Use Application No. 18-03 VAR, for a variance to allow a garage at 2413 Black Lake Road as presented in the original site plan and including the requirement of a stormwater management plan to address the amount of impervious surface on the lot.

Motion approved 4-0. (Avalos recused)

b. Accessory Structure Variance Application – 2259 Lilac Road

Chair Hoffman recused himself from the discussion since he is the requesting property owner.

City Planner Brixius reviewed Land Use Application No. 18-02 VAR requesting a variance for a 120 square foot accessory structure within the setback on his property. Stated the adjoining property owner has given their permission within the setback. He stated the proposed structure would not require a building permit and that the only reason a variance is required is due to the proposed location of the structure.

Jeff Hoffman, 2259 Lilac Road, stated his need for a variance to build a 120 square foot accessory structure within the setback on his property.

Acting Chair Mason opened the public hearing at 7:43 p.m.

Mr. Hoffman stated that his property will still meet all requirements for outdoor storage of his trailers and recreational vehicles.

M/Avalos, S/Mason to close the public hearing at 7:47 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

M/Homan, S/Kaczanowski to recommend to the City Council to approve Land Use Application Nos. 18-02 VAR, for a variance to allow a 120 square foot accessory structure within the setback at 2259 Lilac Road with the proposed conditions as presented.

Motion approved 4-0. (Hoffman recused)


a. Planning Commission Meeting Times

Commissioner Mason restated his suggestion of changing the meeting times for Planning Commission meetings. He added that his recommendation would be 6:30 p.m. and that this request is not to accommodate staff but to accommodate the residents.

Chair Hoffman stated he would be open to a 6 p.m. start time.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that sometimes a later start time is better for some residents to attend public hearings but they always have the option to submit written comments so they are able to participate in the process. He added that there are typically only a few public hearings per year.

Commissioner Avalos stated that it is hard to accommodate the work schedule for all residents and believes that a 6 p.m. start time is reasonable. He added that they could try the earlier time for a year and change it back if a lot of negative feedback is received.

M/Hoffman, S/Mason to recommend to the City Council to change the formal start time for Planning Commission regular meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning January 2019.

Motion carried 5-0.

b. Monument Signs at the City’s Two Parks and City Hall

Commissioner Homan stated that he contacted two sign companies to discuss this project and he did not get quotes but believes the project could be completed relatively quickly.

City Administrator Tolsma stated he has also discussed this project with some sign companies. He also spoke to Pam Myers of the Westonka Historical Society about preparing some text for the signs and she is excited to be a part of the project.

Commissioner Kaczanowski stated that if cost is a concern that the Eagle Scouts can help install the signs as part of a service project.

Chair Hoffman asked about the next steps for this project.

City Administrator Tolsma stated he will be meeting with Pam Myers to get a draft of the text she has prepared. Once he has the draft, he will bring it to the Planning Commission for comments and then it could go to a manufacturer for mock-up. Another step to consider is to have each of the families of those honored sign-off on the text as well before bringing it to the Council for feedback.

Commissioner Homan stated he likes the idea of being consistent with the other cast bronze plaques in stone that are currently in the City.

c. Short-term Rentals

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked what the current ordinance is for short-term rentals in the City since it is a hot topic and many neighboring cities already have ordinances in place.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the City currently has a very complicated system in not allowing short-term rentals. He stated that the City Council would like the Planning Commission to do some of the groundwork on the issue and make a recommendation to the Council so that the City Code can be updated and clarified.

City Planner Brixius stated he will present example ordinances from other cities at a future meeting. The examples will include cities that allow and license short-term rentals and cities that outlaw short-term rentals altogether.


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

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: November 14, 2018

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator 

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk