October 16, 2019 Planning Minutes

OCTOBER 16, 2019 – 6:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 6:00 p.m.

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


Planning Commissioners Present: Jeff Hoffman, Chair; Michael Mason; Max Avalos; Pete Kaczanowski; and Bruce Homan

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; Scott Qualle, Building Official; and David Anderson, Assistant City Attorney.


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

Motion carried 5-0

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from September 11, 2019

Commissioner Mason stated that he believes the minutes should be edited to reflect the comments made by Josh Clemmons at the meeting; he recommended not approving the minutes until they are edited.

M/Mason, S/Avalos to not approve the minutes until further edits are made.

Motion carried 5-0.

a. 4636 Shoreline Drive (Rembrandt Landscapes) Conditional Use Permit Application
i. Staff Presentation

City Planner Brixius provided a summary of the application for a conditional use permit at 4636 Shoreline Drive. He discussed the history of the site and proposed conditions for approval.

Matt Kallas, owner of Rembrandt Landscapes, was available for questions.

Commissioner Homan asked about the lease process with Hennepin County for use of their property.

City Planner Brixius responded that the current owner does not have a lease but it is not an unusual practice for Hennepin County to grant this type of lease.

The Planning Commission discussed drainage/stormwater management, outdoor storage, traffic visibility, landscaping, and snow removal.

ii. Public Hearing

M/Hoffman, S/Mason to open public hearing at 6:36 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Ken Olson, 4580 West Arm Road, stated he has noise concerns since there were similar issues with another business on Shoreline Drive until they put up a noise abatement wall. He asked about noise mitigation and proposed hours of operation.

Mr. Kallas responded that the typical hours of operation in the summer would be 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. He added that noise goes along with the landscaping and snow removal industry, but their company uses smaller equipment which should help control noise. He further stated that snow removal is a different story because winter weather is unpredictable but noted that his plow trucks do not have audible reverse signals. He discussed the elevation of the property and that there are several tree lines that separate the residential properties from their site which will act as a sufficient noise buffer.

Chair Hoffman asked Mr. Kallas if he has reviewed the list of proposed conditions.

Mr. Kallas responded that he has reviewed the list of conditions and is agreeable.

M/Homan, S/Mason to close the public hearing at 6:40 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

iii. Discussion

Chair Hoffman discussed the City’s current noise ordinance since there are residential properties nearby this proposed business. He asked Mr. Olson what his thoughts were on the owner’s response to his questions regarding noise concerns.

Mr. Olson responded that he was happy with the owner’s response and that their vehicles are not large enough to require audible reverse signals.

iv. Recommendation

M/Avalos, S/Kaczanowski to recommend to the City Council to approve Land Use Application No. 19-01 CUP, for a conditional use permit to allow outdoor sales displays and outdoor storage for Rembrandt Landscapes at 4636 Shoreline Drive with the proposed list of conditions.

Motion carried 5-0.

b. Short & Long Term Rental Licensing Discussion & Recommendation
i. Staff Presentation

City Planner Brixius provided a summary of the proposed short-term and long-term rental ordinances that have been in process since 2018. He discussed the history of the proposed ordinances including the edits that have been made to the proposed ordinances throughout the process. He further addressed questions and concerns that have been raised by current renters and landlords.

ii. Discussion

Commissioner Homan asked about restrictions by homeowner associations regarding short-term rentals.

City Planner Brixius responded that many times homeowner associations do have restrictions on rentals so even if the City Code allowed short-term rentals a homeowner association could restrict that use; any disputes of that nature would be a civil matter between property owners and not a matter for City staff.

Commissioner Homan asked about how complaints would be documented.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the licensing process would provide staff with a way to track legitimate complaints and their resolutions.

City Planner Brixius discussed the complaint process, inspections, licensing tiers, and fees.

Chair Hoffman discussed whether homeowners wishing to sell their properties need to disclose information regarding short-term rentals in their immediate area.

Assistant City Attorney Anderson responded that it is an objective standard and it is based on what an ordinary buyer would think, that is how disclosures are determined. This scenario would come into play with a lawsuit after a home sale and based on if the buyer could prove that having a short-term rental in the area is a detriment and that it was an issue previously known to the seller.

Commissioner Avalos asked about the differences are between the proposed City’s licensing and enforcement process versus the County’s escrow system for tenant complaints.

City Planner Brixius discussed the complaint process for the proposed City’s licensing process including inspections, repair notices, re-inspections, citations, and ultimately revoking a rental license with the City. The County does not have the ability to revoke a license since the County does not license rental properties.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that the impetus for landlords to make repairs with the County’s escrow system is that they are not getting paid until the repairs are made since all rent money is held in an escrow.

Rick Gorra, 8201 Stone Creek Drive, Chanhassen, and owner/landlord of Park Island Apartments, stated that many times tenants think that complaining to the County means that they can stop paying rent. Once the tenant realizes that they still must have the funds to put into an escrow account, any illegitimate complaints usually end. Sometimes tenants use the complaint system as a stall tactic because they did not have money to pay their rent. The escrow method is a good check and balance system to ensure that complaints are legitimate.

iii. Recommendation

M/Homan, S/Avalos to recommend to the City Council to approve draft ordinance language as presented, amending the Spring Park City Code to allow and regulate short-term rental properties in the City.

Chair Hoffman stated that currently there is not an ordinance that effectively addresses short-term rental properties in the City so this ordinance gives the residents of Spring Park a vehicle to control these types of uses.

Chair Hoffman requested a roll call vote.

Motion carried 4-1. (Avalos, Hoffman, Homan, Kaczanowski – ayes, Mason – nay)

M/Homan, S/Mason to recommend to the City Council to approve draft ordinance language as presented, amending the Spring Park City Code to regulate and license long-term rental properties in the City.

Chair Hoffman questioned whether the long-term ordinance could be split to differentiate between multi-family and single-family rentals.

Assistant City Attorney Anderson responded that he has never seen an ordinance split that way before because the City would be making a decision to treat landlords differently based on the type of building they own. The City would have to provide legitimate reasoning from a public policy standpoint to justify that type of split.

Chair Hoffman responded that most multi-family buildings are inspected annually by their insurance agencies.

Assistant City Attorney Anderson responded that insurance inspections are not as detailed as the type of proactive inspection program being proposed, especially in regards to public safety. Another thing to factor with an insurance inspection is that the motivation behind the inspections is different because it is about liability and claims, not public safety. Furthermore, the bulk of the inspections are in the common areas of the buildings.

Building Official Qualle added that inspections conducted by insurance companies are about issues relating to potential property loss.

Mr. Gorra stated that some random units are inspected with annual insurance company inspections but not every unit.

Commissioner Avalos stated he does not see the benefit of a long-term ordinance because he doesn’t believe there is evidence to support that there is currently a problem. He also added that it would create additional work for a very small office.

Motion carried 4-1. (Mason, Hoffman, Homan, Kaczanowski – ayes, Avalos – nay)

Chair Hoffman asked for clarification on the short-term rental vote and whether or not there was a conflict of interest with one of the commissioners.

City Attorney Anderson responded that the issue had been addressed previously and that ultimately the Planning Commission is simply making a recommendation and does not have the power to adopt the ordinance.



City Administrator Tolsma provided an update on tax-forfeited properties in the City. He stated that City Attorney Tietjen is doing some research regarding all tax-forfeited properties in the City. He added that two of the properties in question abut properties that currently have violations of the City’s outdoor storage ordinance. The properties in violation are going to be addressed at the next City Council meeting on November 4 and the tax-forfeited properties that abut those properties will also be part of the discussion. The City Council will be making a decision as to how to move forward.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked if the two property owners have any interest in taking over that tax-forfeited land.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that he has discussed the issue with both property owners because they are currently using that tax-forfeited land without permission and some of their violations are located on the tax-forfeited land. The issue is complicated on both properties. He added that the owners have raised the issue of tax burden if they were to take over the land even if it was sold to them for one dollar. The two tax-forfeited properties, especially the one nearest Wilkes Park, can have a public benefit.


M/Mason, S/Hoffman to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:00 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: May 13, 2020

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk