March 12, 2014 Planning Commission Minutes

1. CALL TO ORDER – Hoffman called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.


a. Gavin Tempero -
Tempero is sworn in. Hoffman asks Tempero to tell a little about himself. Tempero said he’s lived in this area for many years after short term stints in DC and Arizona. He said he has a friend that serves on the planning commission in a different city and he’s intrigued with community service and wants to be part of it. Pete Kaczanowski said he started about a year ago. He is a Navy Veteran and he and his wife live on Sunset Drive with their two sons. Jeff Hoffman said he’s been involved with the city for many years and served on both the council and the planning commission. Sarah Struck said she has served about six years. She said she was interested when The Mist condominium went up. She said it’s been interesting and eye opening and she feels she has learned a lot. Mike Mason said he’s lived in Spring Park since ’76. He lives next to The Mist on Del Otero and has served on the Planning Commission for a while. He’s retired now. Shirley Bren said she is the representative from the council and it’s her first term and she's learning a lot. Bren said in the 80’s she was the St. Boni City Clerk and also on their council. She said she’s interested in this area and the community. Rick Rehman is a Spring Park resident and also lives on Del Otero, next to Mason. Al Brixius introduced himself as the City Planner.


5. ADOPT AGENDA – Hoffman said Mason has requested to be added to Miscellaneous. Mason makes a motion and Struck seconds to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from February 12, 2014 –
Mason said he had some corrections to the minutes and those changes were discussed with Lewin. Mason makes a motion and Kaczanowski seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Accessory Structure Ordinance Amendment –
Brixius said the draft ordinance presented tonight has changes outlined in red. He said the zoning ordinance is being addressed. He said there are minor changes in the definitions and the opportunity for CUP has been removed. Brixius said what's being proposed is accessory building size shall be measured by the foundation size and won’t exceed 1200 square feet. Brixius said rafter storage will be allowed and won’t count against the square footage. He said an attached garage can be equal to the size of the primary structure and the accessory structure can be 80% of the principal structure.

Brixius discussed the proposed changes in the draft ordinance presented and he wants to make sure the commissioners are clear on the number of accessory buildings allowed.
• Brixius references handouts set in front of the commissioners regarding aerial surveys done and said most properties didn’t have more than one or two accessory structures per lot.
• Brixius said structural design materials are shown and discussed. He said there is concern that new structural material allowances probably won’t match the principal structure; i.e. metal sided structures.
• Plumbing will be allowed to the extent of a toilet and a wash sink.
• Building height will not change.
• Home occupations will not be allowed in the accessory structure as it’s not in character with the neighborhood.
• Continuous foundation and shared wall is considered to be attached.

Hoffman said he has three areas he would like to discuss: under 1.a whether an attached garage size should be limited in size to 80-100% of the principal structure. Kaczanowski asked if it was common in other communities to have a smaller attached garage. Brixius said most communities he works in are growth communities and have larger lot sizes. He said the size of the garage can diminish the house so the 80% limitation works. Struck refers to the Comprehensive Plan talking about the concern for monster houses and too much impervious surface. Brixius said Spring Park is a cottage community and the 80% protection would prevent monster homes. Kaczanowski likes the 80% but no larger than 1200 square feet. Struck said that she thinks this is extending the size of the accessory building quite a bit as they could build 1200 square feet and a second floor of 1200 square feet as long as it stays under the height requirement.

Hoffman refers to 3. a & b, asking about the number of detached buildings. He said as written, what’s allowed is an attached garage, two accessory structures and one small shed. Brixius said he looks at what can go wrong. He said in order to keep the accessory building from dominating the site, the number of accessory buildings allowed could also dominate the site. Kaczanowski said he’s concerned about three garages - one small house with an attached garage and two accessory structures plus a shed. Brixius recommends one accessory building if there is an attached garage, and one small shed. Tempero asked if there is the 30% hardcover protection thereby possibly limiting the number and size of the accessory structures. Struck agrees because they would also have to meet setbacks. Struck said she has driven around and noticed that not many lots have three accessory structures. Tempero thinks regarding the shed, the height limitation of 8 feet should be included in the 100 square foot limitation.

In discussing the allowable materials, Hoffman said it was very clear no pole-barn type buildings would be allowed. Hoffman points out that allowable design materials are limited to 30% if they are contrasting. Hoffman likes design flexibility and said in most cases these materials are used as accent materials so he believes 30% works. Brixius said he’s comfortable with the 30% accent material. Kaczanowski said complimentary can be arbitrary and Hoffman agrees but believes the design element should be between the property owner and the architect. He understands limitations in a commercial district but he believes it’s a personal choice for a home owner. Brixius said he’s comfortable with the 30%. Hoffman said originally the language was to not allow any decorative materials contrasting with the principal structure. Kaczanowski wonders about the word “similar.” Brixius said someone may build a brick house and not want to build a brick garage so something similar or complimentary. Hoffman asked if anyone is opposed to item 4. Kaczanowski asked about unfinished metal as he’s imagining dull sheet metal. Hoffman said he’s seeing unfinished metal that is allowed to rust and it’s a new decorative style that has emerged recently. Planning Commissioners are in agreement with 4a.
i. Open Public Hearing –
Hoffman opens the public hearing at 8 pm. and asks for audience members to be heard. ii. Comments/Discussion -
Rich Rehman, 3914 Del Otero Avenue. He said he wants to discuss the 1200 feet plus 1200 and notes that less than half would only be allowed because of the 16 foot height limit. Rehman said he would like it bigger than 1200. He said he fit the code when he came in and he is upset about the change. Rehman said in 1996 townhouses were allowed on his block and he thinks it ruined the neighborhood and then The Mist was allowed so he feels there are detriments already in his neighborhood. He think his proposal for his garage is no different. Rehman is looking for a three car garage with a spot of his boat because he doesn’t like things outside. He thinks there is too much government involved. He wonders what his chances are for getting a sideyard variance for six feet from the property line instead of ten feet. He’s asking the commissioners what his chances would be if he requested a sideyard variance. Brixius said Rehman would have it tough as he would have to prove why he needed the sideyard variance when he could build what was allowed without it. Rehman said his lot allows for him to build a bigger garage and that’s what he would like.
iii. Close Public Hearing -
Hoffman closes the public hearing at 8:05 pm. Hoffman said he doesn’t think a casual opinion would work tonight about the sideyard setback variance request. Brixus said if it can be put on the lot without a variance, that’s what should be strived for. Brixius said it will work against him if he has the room without a variance. Brixius said it’s a risk. Rehman wondered if the code would ever be changed so a sideyard could go to five feet. Brixius said they’ve posed this before and it’s been decided that ten foot sideyard setbacks will stay.

iv. Recommendation to Council
Hoffman is looking for a motion to accept the changes suggested by the planner and recommend this to council. Struck makes a motion to accept the plan from Brixius based on the recommended changes noted. Kaczanowski seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries. Hoffman told Rehman he could attend the council meeting if he wants to make his concerns heard. Tolsma said this will probably come before the council at the first meeting in April instead of the next meeting as the Mayor will be absent next week.

a. Council Minutes February 3, 2014
b. Council Work Session Minutes February 24, 2014

9. MISCELLANEOUS – Mason would like to discuss goals for the year and park improvements. Mason said he wants to see more colors in the planters, yellows, pinks and reds. Mason said there was a park survey performed and he would like to see some of their suggestions discussed and worked on. Struck said they met and did a park review and it’s been dropped. Mason mentioned the pending dynamic sign and wonders where that is at. Tolsma said Norling is given discretion on designing of the planters. Mason wonders if Norling could come in with photos and they could be discussed. Struck wonders if Mason could be the representative and make some suggestions. Struck said she believes they are the designers and unless it’s part of their job, there might be too many opinions. Bren said she wasn’t in favor of the planters last year on the boulevards. She liked the garden in front of city hall though. She also believes the park review got dropped. She said there were a lot of good ideas and she thinks even better picnic tables would be nice. Mason asked Bren to be their spokesperson for the council. Tolsma said this can be brought to the council at the work session. Hoffman suggests the minutes from that park survey be brought forward at the next meeting so they can be refreshed. Kaczanowski would like to revisit the tax forfeited property that is located by the Wilkes Park and Lilac and Northern.

10. ADJOURNMENT – Mason makes a motion and Tempero seconds to adjourn at 8:31 p.m. All votes ayes, motion carries.