March 14, 2012 Planning Commission Minutes

1. CALL TO ORDER – Alternate Chair Sippel called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.


3. ROLL CALL – Mason, Sippel, Erickson, Ericson, Struck. Hoffman excused. Widmer excused. Administrator Tolsma, Clerk Lewin and Planner Brixius also in attendance.

4. ADOPT AGENDA – Mason made a motion and Ericson seconded to adopt the agenda. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from November 9, 2011- Erickson makes a motion and Ericson seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.
b. Appointment of Chair and Alternate Chair – Erickson makes a motion to nominate Hoffman as chair and Ericson seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries. Mason makes a motion to nominate Sippel for alternate chair and Erickson seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Boulevard Landscaping Ordinance Amendment
b. Comments From City Attorney Nancy Beck
i. Proposed Ordinance With Amendments

Memo From Planner Al Brixius – Brixius said at the January Council workshop there was discussion about boulevard landscape trees and their removal. He said the initial issue was with Certified Auto removing trees because of their expansion. There is further research being done but, it’s believed no ordinance was in effect preventing the trees from being removed and, that they were not planted at the same time as the rest of the boulevard trees. Brixius refers to his memo dated February 23, 2012. Brixius reviewed the recommended changes to the ordinance and includes changes in a draft ordinance being proposed. Brixius is suggesting this be reviewed and brought back for public hearing in April. Ericson asked if a tree dies due to no fault of the landowner, who replaces it. Mason said sometimes some trees fail to thrive and he wonders what would happen in that case. Brixius explained those trees would perhaps be replaced with something more adaptable to the surroundings. Ericson asked who has the master plan and he thinks a copy should be at city hall. Struck asked about the Shoreline beautification plan. Brixius said according to Goman, Norling has a box of plans that needs to be gone through. Mason said Norling has all the trees numbered so part of the research has been identified. Brixius said it is the hope that those records be located and brought to city hall.

Discussion held about problem areas for tree plantings. Erickson said salt put down by the County for plowing purposes can destroy the vegetation. Brixius said the intention of this proposed ordinance is to prevent trees from being purposely removed and identifying who is responsible for replacement. Ericson asked about budgeting for the trees and Tolsma said there is a minimal amount included in the budget. Mason wondered if that could be part of the overall beautification budget. Mason also wondered about tree removal from private property and whether a permit would be needed. Tolsma said it came up as a point of discussion but it was quickly dismissed as being too much city involvement. The feeling was property owners should be able to remove trees from their property if they want to. Mason said with sign permit applications or new businesses it gives the PC the opportunity to ask more questions about the intentions. Brixius said this cannot be made as part of the condition of approval. Struck thinks the supporting documentation needs to be located before it’s referenced in an adopted ordinance. Sippel wants property owners along Shoreline Drive notified of the newly adopted ordinance, if it passes. He also wonders about enforcement. He thinks notification is necessary in order to be able to enforce noncompliance. Sippel also thinks the planting season referenced in the draft ordinance is too loose and thinks something more specific should be cited. He refers to 7f and thinks responsibility needs to be clarified as to who trims or define that the city is responsible or some different language. He doesn’t want to discourage trimming dead branches from trees. Brixius said private trimming could be done by approval of the city council. Erickson wonders if those trees can be identified that are on the road right-of-way or on private property. Sippel agrees and without the prior documentation he hesitates to vote on something not identified. Sippel thinks this needs to be clearer.

7. Potential Upcoming Items Memo – Lewin said the city did receive an application for a CUP for 4636 Shoreline Drive in the name of Fanaticraft so the process will begin. It should come to public hearing next month.

a. Draft Council Work Session Minutes – February 27, 2012

a. April Calendar
b. Ericson said on Shoreline Drive the street lights are rusting and need to be replaced. He suggests the light poles be rebuilt on one side of Shoreline Drive and then the other side be done. Tolsma said this is in discussion phase but they’re aware of the issues. Sippel wondered about checking out costs on more decorative light poles. Mason said energy efficiency lights are also being looked at. Ericson said that’s the bulb, not the pole.
Struck referred to March 5th council minutes regarding the vacation rentals. Tolsma said if this does come to law, cities are able to regulate in other ways. Sippel said parking can be regulated, etc.
Mason said he wants to comment about The Mist and the expense to the City of Spring Park because of paying back the property taxes. Mason asked about past council minutes being included in the packet so the PC can be kept informed.

John Ericson said he will be gone for April’s meeting.

10. ADJOURNMENT – Erickson makes a motion and Sippel seconds to adjourn at 7:48 pm. All votes ayes, motion carries.