July 10, 2019 Planning Minutes

JULY 10, 2019 – 6:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 6:02 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; Scott Qualle, Building Official; David Anderson, Assistant City Attorney; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.


Commission Mason asked for Item #6a to be amended to add “Long-Term” to the title.

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from June 12, 2019

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Short-Term/Long-Term Rental Licensing Public Hearing
i. Introductory Comments – City Planner Al Brixius

City Planner Brixius discussed the changes to the proposed draft since the May 8 public hearing and June 12 discussion of the Planning Commission. He discussed the removal of the disorderly conduct section from long-term rentals, required landlord contact information, tiered licensing system, and the initial application, inspection and permit process.

Building Official Qualle discussed the proposed points system that will be used during the inspections process and how points will be assigned and weighted based on number of units. He further discussed some example scenarios for multi-family buildings and single-family homes including examples to address older buildings.

Rick Gorra, 8201 Stone Creek Drive, Chanhassen, and owner/landlord of Park Island Apartments, stated he believes that older buildings are being discriminated against and wanted to know if he would get points back if he corrects items after inspection.

Building Official Qualle responded that an inspection is a snapshot during a moment in time for a building and understands that things can happen between inspections. He stated that if an item is corrected during the inspection then no points are lost. He added that landlords will be given all information and checklists in advance so everything should be mostly ready before the inspector ever gets to the building.

City Planner Brixius discussed the complaint process, appeals hearing process, and revocations, suspensions, and fines. He stated that when the discussion for a potential rental licensing ordinance originally began, the first question was whether or not the City wanted to allow short-term rentals. Once the discussion veered toward allowing short-term rentals then the discussion was about setting standards and requirements for any issues that could occur. He further discussed parking requirements including not allowing on-street parking.

Commissioner Mason asked if the restriction of on-street parking means that an owner of a short-term rental or their guests would be allowed to park on the grass.

City Planner Brixius responded that parking on grass is currently not allowed per the City Code so that would not be allowed for short-term rental properties either.

Norina Dove, 4652 West Arm Road, asked why on-street parking isn’t allowed for rental properties that live on streets that allow on-street parking.

City Planner Brixius responded that a site plan will need to accompany a rental application and that plan needs to identify appropriate parking. He added that Spring Park’s roads are too narrow to allow on-street parking and maybe the only exception to that is Northern Avenue since it is much wider than the average Spring Park road.

ii. Open Public Hearing

Chair Hoffman re-opened the public hearing at 6:40 p.m.

iii. Receive Public Comments

Sarah Reinhardt, 4490 West Arm Road, stated she is not in favor of short-term rentals being allowed in the City. She added that there needs to be a clear purpose for new ordinances and there is a definite benefit for adding a long-term rental ordinance but she believes there hasn’t been any clear purpose for allowing short-term rentals. She listed the surrounding communities that do not allow short-term rentals due to the way they disrupt neighborhoods with noise and traffic. She stated she has talked to a neighbor of a short-term rental property in another city and they had only negative things to say about living next to a short-term rental, describing it feeling like the 4th of July every weekend. She believes allowing short-term rentals will take away from the residential feel of Spring Park by allowing commercial businesses in residential areas. She added the current 2030 Comprehensive Plan and proposed 2040 Comprehensive Plan are the City’s guiding documents and both plans are in conflict with allowing short-term rentals in Spring Park. She further detailed the City’s landscape with narrow roads, shared driveways, and shared dock easements; adding that it is hard enough to get along with permanent neighbors let alone weekend renters. She recommends continued prohibition of short-term rentals in Spring Park.

Ian Maloney, 4710 West Arm Road, stated he is not in favor of allowing short-term rentals in Spring Park. He stated that the surrounding communities have prohibited short-term rentals for very good reasons including noise, party houses, and traffic. He added that there is no way to control the noise and other issues that are associated with short-term rentals because they turn into parties every weekend. He added that the proposed ordinance leaves it up to neighborhood to complain and enforce on their own neighbors who run short-term rentals.

Josh Clemons, 2486 Black Lake Road, stated that he appreciated the change in language regarding parking and that it must meet applicable requirements by zoning code. He stated that he has an older home and is unclear how the parking standards will be determined. He further discussed the maximum occupancy standards including when events are planned and stated that short-term landlords need to be careful when rejecting customers so that it does not appear they are discriminating.

City Planner Brixius responded that a site plan will need to accompany a rental license application and it will need to show the dimensions of the parking stalls and how all guest parking will fit entirely on the applicant’s lot.

Mr. Clemons also discussed the minutes from the June 12 Planning Commission meeting about a short-term rental property having their guests parking at the city parks. He stated that renters at short-term properties are still guests to the community and if it was a problem then the City should have had the cards ticketed or towed. He added that more people want the opportunities for short-term rentals around the lake.

Mr. Gorra asked why this ordinance is even necessary and if the government really needs to come through every single unit in his apartment complex to ensure safety. He doesn’t believe that his tenants are in danger if government doesn’t come into and inspect his properties every few years. He further stated he doesn’t believe it is fair to charge a landlord for the administrative search warrant process if his tenant refuses to allow inspectors to have access to their apartment. He also does not believe charging a re-inspection fee is necessary.
He also believes that if the ordinance is passed that landlords should have a choice of building inspector to ensure certain landlords aren’t being targeted by one inspector.

Randy Bickman, 4652 West Arm Road, stated he is in favor of allowing short-term rentals but against the rental licensing process. He stated that there are no local hotels so many people want to visit Lake Minnetonka and want the option of a short-term rental. He stated that Spring Park began as a resort community many years ago and that tourism helped make Lake Minnetonka what it is today. He asked about the number of complaints received, where are all these party houses are, and if any residents and neighbors will actually be affected by allowing short-term rentals in the City.

City Planner Brixius responded that the City has not had the Hotel Del Otero for quite some time so land use has to be considered. If short-term rental becomes allowed in the City then it would be expanding a use that is currently not allowed. While the ordinance would be reliant on landlords to vet their renters and guests, it is the surrounding neighbors and neighborhood in general that have to endure any issues associated with those renters.

Chair Hoffman stated that a couple of years ago he and Mayor Rockvam knocked on the door of every single-family home in the City and the most common complaint that they received was about rental properties. He added that many complaints from tenants in single-family homes was that they had no means of getting resolution with their landlords.

Don Driggs, owner and landlord at 3990 Sunset Drive, stated that every tenant is regulated by Hennepin County and the tenants have rights through the County including an escrow process. He stated that he has had nightmare tenants in the past but doesn’t believe staff can realistically regulate and inspect every rental property in the City. He further stated that there are a lot of rental property owners that simply cannot afford to improve their rental properties and they should not be penalized for that.

Mark Kozikowski, owner of Minnetonka Edgewater at 4177 Shoreline Drive, stated that most of the issues from tonight’s public hearing are about short-term rentals so if there is not a problem with long-term rentals the issue could be delayed to another time. He also asked if a landlord could turn in the inspection report from their insurance company instead of having the building official conduct inspections on all units.

Joanna Widmer, 3882 Sunset Drive, stated she has long-term renters at her property and her insurance requires inspections which always turn out fine. She doesn’t believe there is a problem with long-term renters in the City.

City Administrator Tolsma responded to the comment made by Mr. Driggs about duplication of efforts with Hennepin County. He stated that the intent with a City rental ordinance is to establish a minimum standard of living in the city for health, safety, and welfare; Hennepin County deals with rental issues on a case-by-case basis. The IPMC is about life safety and is not about the age of property. A rental ordinance will never be perfect or cover every scenario but the intent is to address major life safety issues and get them resolved before someone perishes.

Mr. Gorra questioned why a landlord should be charged a re-inspection fee.

Chair Hoffman responded that Spring Park is a small city that pays for our contracted services by the hour and the City should not be responsible for the bill to re-inspect something that should have been correct in the first place. He asked why the taxpayers should have to cover the cost for a landlord’s re-inspections.

Mr. Bickman stated that other cities include all inspections within the license fee.

Chair Hoffman responded that in order to include all re-inspections in the license fee the City would have to make the fee higher for everybody which penalizes landlords that had everything taken care of at their initial inspection and did not require a re-inspection. He further reiterated that the taxpayers should not have to pay the bills for a commercial business.

Ms. Dove stated that the City is trying to enact a rental licensing process to make profits and fill the city coffers.

Chair Hoffman responded that the City cannot make profits or generate income from fees so the City’s fees are adjusted to break even on the licensing process.

Ms. Dove further stated that the proposed ordinance penalizes older homes and is duplicating efforts with the State and County. She added that there has not been enough discussion and that the City is trying to push this ordinance through without research.

There was discussion amongst the commissioners as to whether or not the public hearing should be closed or continued.

City Planner Brixius asked the Planning Commission to decide first if they are considering making any changes to the ordinance before deciding whether or not the hearing should be continued.

Chair Hoffman responded that he did take some notes and would like to discuss potential changes to the draft.

The Planning Commission consensus was to keep the public hearing open until the September 11 meeting. The Planning Commission will discuss potential changes to the draft ordinance at their August 14 meeting.

iv. Close or Table Public Hearing

M/Avalos, S/Kaczanowski to continue the public hearing to the September 11 Planning Commission Meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Spring Park City Hall.

Motion carried 5-0.

v. Discussion

vi. Table for Future Discussion or Recommend to Council

b. 2413 Black Lake Road Garage Variance Extension Request

Max Avalos, owner of 2413 Black Lake Road, addressed the Planning Commission asking for additional time to construct the garage that was approved in 2018.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed the variance process including the procedure for when an applicant requests an extension.

i. Recommendation to Council

M/Hoffman, S/Homan to recommend to the City Council to approve a one-year extension to City Council Resolution No. 18-15 for a variance to allow a garage at 2413 Black Lake Road.

Motion carried 4-0. (Avalos recused)



Commissioner Mason asked staff to provide an update on the Mist Condominiums air handling unit noise issue at the next Planning Commission meeting.


M/Mason, S/Avalos adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:02 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: August 21, 2019

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk