March 13, 2019 Planning Minutes

MARCH 13, 2019 – 6:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 6:03 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 (arrived 6:13 p.m.), Michael Mason, and Pete Kaczanowski

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.


Commissioner Mason asked for the addition of Item #8a – Parks Improvements Update.

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

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from February 13, 2019

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

Motion carried 4-0.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked about an IPMC checklist example from the Building Official.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that he did not have a copy yet but will be checking with Building Official Qualle.

Rick Gorra, 8201 Stone Creek Drive, Chanhassen, and owner/landlord of Park Island Apartments, asked how the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) would apply to a building that was built in 1978.

City Planner Brixius responded that life-saving measures like smoke detectors would need to be implemented but the building would need to meet standards that were in place at the time it was built. The IPMC does not supersede the State Building Code. He added that Building Official Qualle will be attending future meetings to answer any questions about the IPMC.

City Administrator Tolsma added that a rental license application would trigger an IPMC inspection and a building permit application would trigger an inspection based on the State Building Code based on the project being proposed.

a. Short-Term/Rental Licensing Ordinance Discussion

City Planner Brixius presented the updated draft of a rental housing ordinance for short-term and long-term rental properties in Spring Park.

City Planner Brixius stated he had a discussion with the City Attorney regarding an insurance requirement and the City Attorney stated it is not required for applicants to provide insurance. Also, the City could not be held liable simply by enacting a rental ordinance.

City Planner Brixius stated his recommendation is to remove Section 12-256 regarding disorderly behavior from the long-term rental ordinance. He added that the draft ordinance being presented tonight was reviewed by and included all language recommended by the City Attorney.

Chair Hoffman agreed and stated the initial objective was to respond to disorderly behavior in short-term rentals that can affect neighborhoods.

The Planning Commission consensus was to remove the disorderly behavior section from long-term rental ordinance and also the section regarding insurance requirement.

Chair Hoffman stated that disorderly behavior and “party houses” are a bigger concern in short-term rental properties.

Commissioner Avalos asked how the City would track that behavior.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that there should be a requirement to file a police report for those types of issues so that neighbors can’t use the City’s complaint form to try and settle disputes.

City Planner Brixius stated he would add the language suggested by the City Attorney regarding “preponderance of evidence” and then contact Orono Police to get their opinion.

City Administrator Tolsma added that a police call wouldn’t necessarily be considered a strike if the police responded and everything was within standards; if police action is necessary because there is truly an issue then it would count as a strike.

Chair Hoffman wanted everybody to keep in mind the objective of these ordinances is to protect the neighborhoods and make sure that one property isn’t abusing the neighborhood.

The Planning Commission consensus was to add the disorderly behavior section to the short-term rental ordinance.

City Planner Brixius discussed the IPMC and stated Building Official Qualle will be attending the next meeting and also the public hearing to answer any questions. He stated that the IPMC is not overly burdensome for landlords since the standards are clear for buildings to meet the minimum standards for health, safety, and welfare.

The Planning Commission consensus was to add the adoption of the IPMC to the proposed rental ordinance.

The Planning Commission requested an example checklist from Building Official Qualle.

Chair Hoffman asked City Planner Brixius to speak with the City Attorney and the League of Minnesota Cities to see if a liability clause should be added to the rental license application.

Rick Gorra, 8201 Stone Creek Drive, Chanhassen, and owner/landlord of Park Island Apartments, stated that some tenants have a tendency to complain at the end of the month as a way to try and delay paying rent because they do not have funds available.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that this ordinance and the records of inspection would be helpful for landlords to prevent these types of false claims. The City will use facts to determine if an additional inspection is needed based on the records of inspection on file.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked about the tenant complaint process.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that a tenant’s first point of contact with an issue should be the landlord; if the landlord has ignored or refused to address the issue then the tenant could lodge a complaint with the City. The City will not be overstepping its bounds and trying to mediate a bad relationship between a tenant and landlord.

Mr. Gorra asked what would happen if a landlord disagrees with the Building Official in regard to the measureable criteria in the IPMC.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the IPMC is not a structure related code that can sometimes be open to interpretation. The IPMC is about common sense maintenance items that are minimum safety standards for lighting, heating, sanitation, fire, and safety that are very clear and does not leave much room for disputes. He recommended Mr. Gorra look at the IPMC and contact staff with any questions.

b. Public Hearing Schedule Discussion

City Administrator Tolsma asked if the commissioners wanted two separate hearings for long-term and short-term rentals.

The Planning Commission consensus was to have one public hearing since there are overlapping issues in the long and short-term rental ordinances. The public hearing could always be continued to the next meeting if there is not enough time to in one public hearing to address all of the feedback received.

Mr. Gorra stated he was still unclear about the process if he disagrees with the Building Official.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that decisions can always be appealed to the City Council. If the landlord still disagrees with the City Council decision then there is a State Board of Appeals process that is an option for the landlord.

The Planning Commission discussed the upcoming schedule and options for the public hearing.

The Planning Commission consensus was to review the final draft at the April 10 Planning Commission Meeting. If there is consensus, the final draft would be posted to the City’s website as soon as possible. Also, the public hearing will be May 8 and notices will be published in the paper and quarterly newsletter.


a. Parks Improvement Update - City Administrator Tolsma stated he just received the draft language for the two park signs from the Westonka Historical Society. He added that the Planning Commission will be able to review the drafts and provide feedback at a future meeting.

Commissioner Mason discussed some of his ideas for the layout of the sign and asked if the plaque designer would be coming to a Planning Commission Meeting to discuss design options.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the designers would not be attending a Planning Commission Meeting but they will be able to give us plenty of options based on the direction we provide them.


M/Mason, S/Avalos adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 7:25 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: April 10, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk