February 12, 2014 Planning Commission Minutes

1. CALL TO ORDER – Jeff Hoffman called the meeting to order at 7 pm.


3. ROLL CALL – Mason, Struck, Kaczanowski, Hoffman. Council Ex-officio, Shirley Bren. Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin, Planner Brixius. Several members in support of Fadell variance application.

4. ADOPT AGENDA – Struck makes a motion and Mason seconds to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from January 8, 2014 – Struck makes a motion and Kaczanowski seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. 2401 Black Lake Road Variance Application –
Brixius said there is a request for construction of a 22x22 detached garage. He said this is zoned R-1 and the existing site is legal non conforming. He said the site has history and Brixius points to photos. He said the house used to have a tuck under garage but it was decided to use this as living space. Brixius said a variance application came before the council in 2006 for the purpose of building a garage and it was denied. The applicant is requesting a new garage location. The footprint is 22 x 22 and it is worked into a slope. He said a foundation is being proposed versus the garage being set upon fill. Brixius said accessory garages are allowed in R-1 districts. Since the 2006 proposal the comprehensive plan has focused on modernization of the housing stock. He said it also needs to maintain the character of the neighborhood. Aerial photos illustrate the challenges posed on Black Lake Road. Brixius said there was opportunity to build a garage previously and it was declined. He said the variance criteria has changed and the lot is unique and the circumstance is it wasn’t created by the property owner.

Brixius said in looking at the site there are lot setbacks that are allowed to be averaged. It meets the lot width requirements. The building has been shifted to the north so it is outside the drainage easement and compliant with the sideyard setbacks. The only setback variance being requested is the lake setback from 50 feet to 35 feet. Pervious pavers are being proposed and a slated deck to allow runoff to flow through. He said the impervious surface has been reduced and stormwater and erosion control will be required. Additionally rain gardens will be reviewed and approved by the city engineer. There are a number of conditions as set out in his memo. Brixius suggested softening of the lakeside presentation of the garage with landscaping. He said the total floor area of the proposed garage is under the 1000 square foot requirement and the height of the garage is within the required standard. Brixius said if approval is granted, there are conditions that need to be considered and they are outlined on page seven of the planner’s memo. Struck asked about the impact on the neighbors on the south side. Brixius explained because of the easement it is more than compliant with the setback. She wonders about the slope flowing to the neighboring property. Brixius said it is a requirement of the engineers report that drainage be designed to flow to the rain gardens.

i. Open Public Hearing – Hoffman opens the public hearing at 7:19 pm. He directs those with comments to step to the podium.
ii. Comments/Discussion -
Fadell is the current homeowner. He said he purchased the home in 2003 along with a friend. They were bachelors and thought it would be a fun project. He said the structure was a lake cabin and the driveway had a very steep grade and he believes that is his hardship. He said in redesigning the property, their concern was the foundation and it was found the house had to be rebuilt. They were concerned about being stuck with something that couldn’t be changed. Fadell said fast forward ten years and he is the primary owner now after buying Neve out. He said he is married and has four children and they’ve outgrown the two bedroom house. Fadell said his wife was unable to make it but his wife wanted it known that one of their children has a neurological condition and it is necessary they need to relocate closer to a primary care provider. Fadell said he is open to working with the Watershed for the rain garden recommendations. Kaczanowski asked about reducing the impervious surface. Fadell said the driveway will be shortened and narrowed and therefore it reduces the impervious surface so it’s gone from 28 to 22%. Kaczanowski asked about the garage size of 22’. Fadell said it is designed to be as small as possible and allow movement around the vehicle. Brixius said the initial proposal was 20x20 and it doesn’t allow for extra items to be stored. Hoffman said it’s nice to see a sizeable driveway in front of the garage from a safety standard. Kaczanowski wondered if a single car garage was considered. Fadell said width has never been a problem, it's the depth. Kaczanowski wondered about obstructed views. He thought there could be a couple affected properties across the street. Fadell said he does have a support sheet signed from the neighbor across the street. Mason asked about storage underneath the garage. Fadell said it’s about 484 feet. Mason wondered what the floor will be and Fadell said it will be on a slab. Kaczanowski asked if there will be any fill added and Fadell said no, because of the garage being placed on a foundation instead of a filled site. Hoffman asked about calculations where adjoining properties would be averaged. Brixius said averaging was previously eliminated on the shoreline side but it’s allowed on the street side. Hoffman said he thinks the garage looks very nice and it will add a lot. Hoffman said it’s always a concern due to precedent and they have to justify their recommendations. He said the fact that this is a garage and we are updating our accessory structure ordinance, the timing is good.
iii. Close Public Hearing – Hoffman closes the public hearing at 7:34 pm. Kaczanowski asked about the house to the south and said they are setback about 29 feet so the garage is not extending beyond that. Kaczanowski asked about the floodplain and wondered if the DNR would be involved. Brixius said no, the DNR will not be involved with this. He said the basement of the garage has to be three feet above the ordinary high water mark and, it is. Struck said it looks like most of the residents on Black Lake Road have garages so it’s not out of character. Mason asked about the easement and wondered if there would be a problem. Brixius said the easement would remain unencumbered. Kaczanowski said the existing driveway goes almost to about 20 feet from the lake but with the proposed garage they are improving the situation by backing the parking away from the lake and he thinks that's a plus. Hoffman noted as part of the official record there was one letter submitted from Steve and Pauline Erickson, 4367 Shoreline Drive, and they are in objection of the variance being approved.
iv. Recommendation to Council – Hoffman will accept a motion to recommend to the council the variance request for 2401 Black Lake Road lakeside setback and to include the six conditions in the planner’s report on page seven. Struck would like to make that motion provided the items on page seven under section d. are met. Brixius asks to include the findings on page six and seven. Struck accepts that friendly amendment. Mason seconds. Motion was approved unanimously.

b. Accessory Structure Size Limit Draft Ordinance – Brixius said this is a draft for discussion. He said the joint workshop meeting offered a number of suggestions for definitions, size, exempting attached garage floor area and establishing a number for accessory structures. He said before this goes to public hearing, there are items that need to be discussed further. Brixius goes through his attached redline memo specifically regarding height requirements, number of detached accessory buildings, allowable size, exterior materials, water sources allowed but restricted, prohibited uses are restated, connection to principal building and impervious surface elements. . Kaczanowski asked about a gazebo that is open air and Brixius said this should be made more clear.

Comments: Under definitions, Hoffman said he thinks that looks good. Brixius asked about construction time-frame regarding the principal structure has to be built first and PC is good with that. Brixius asked about floor area. Struck said a large building was recently voted down because it superceded the size of the house. She said a 1200 square foot garage could be larger than a lot of homes in Spring Park. Struck is also concerned with allowing an attached garage with no limitations in size. She said there could be a 4,000 sf house and then they could have a 4,000 sq attached garage. Hoffman asked what were the numbers she was thinking. She said she wasn’t sure. Brixius said it can be based on the foundation size or the square footage of the house. He said foundation size gives more control. Mason said it’s desirable to be able to move items inside versus outside. He feels a 1200 square foot garage would be nice if it was in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. Struck is concerned with the small lots and wonders if 1200 square feet is too big. Brixius said if it’s based on the foundation footprint, there is some protection that way.

• Regarding accessory building size – (detached garage), Mason thinks the 1200 square feet is good. Struck thinks it should be limited to 1000, Hoffman 1200 and Kaczanowski votes 1000, vote is split. Hoffman is in favor of 1200 because he thinks anything like this will be architecturally designed and it will be proportional. Struck agrees with that on new construction but she is concerned with someone just adding a garage, it might not be designed.
• Size of the attached garage and how should that be determined - Struck wonders if it can be a percentage. Hoffman talks about a tuckunder garage situation. Brixius said most tuckunder garages also need an entrance. Brixius said it’s easier to base it on the foundation size. Mason can live with 80%, Struck said 80% Hoffman said 100% and Kaczanowski feels somewhere in between.
• Building height - 16 feet with median grade and median point of the roof. No change.
• Number of accessory buildings - Hoffman said he was never in favor of allowing more than two buildings. He said a house with an attached garage, a detached garage and a 100 square foot shed seems allowable. Kaczanowski asked about the number of garages. Struck said there are some interesting lot sizes and some interesting setbacks. She said using her property as an example in order to be within in the setbacks she would not be able to build a two car garage because it would go into her house. She would then build two single car garages based on the lot configuration. She said she would also probably need to have a shed. Mason likes the idea of a detached garage and a shed. Brixius said the total number of accessory buildings have to stay within the square footage cap. He said maybe it’s an attached garage and one detached building. Hoffman said not all accessory structures are garages. He said there can be a greenhouse, a pool house, a gazebo. Kaczanowski wonders if there are any statistics on how many properties have accessory structures. The question is if there is an attached garage, does the attached garage count as one of the accessory structures. All PC’s are okay with the language as written in the planner's memo.
• Architectural Materials - Hoffman said he’s starting to see metal panels as an architectural style so he doesn't think they should be disallowed. He’s in favor of allowing a percentage. Brixius said this may be an issue with new construction but he would be hesitant to encourage something that doesn’t match the siding of the house. It’s decided that there will be a limit put on materials at 30%.
• Plumbing - Hoffman, Mason and Kaczanowski vote for allowing a toilet and Struck votes against the toilet. The language will remain as suggested.
• Continuous foundation and underpinning is considered a continuation of the foundation.
• Next item was setbacks and all required should be met.
• Brixius said the stormwater impervious surface section will be added after it’s reviewed by the engineer.

Struck asked about building permits lasting longer than a year. Brixius thought it was part of the building code and he could check with the building inspector on this.

a. Council Minutes January 21, 2014
b. Council Work Session Minutes January 27, 2014


9. ADJOURNMENT – Mason makes a motion and Struck seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:51 pm. All votes ayes, motion carries.