February 13, 2013 Planning Commission Minutes

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


3. ROLL CALL – Mason, Struck, Hoffman, Ex-officio Bren, Clerk Lewin, Planner Brixius. Erickson excused, administrator Tolsma excused.

4. ADOPT AGENDA – Brixius would like to add to the agenda the wind energy and geo thermo items previously submitted. Mason makes a motion and Struck seconds to adopt the agenda with the addition. All votes ayes, motion carries.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from December 12, 2012 – Hoffman wanted to note the meeting started at 7 p.m. versus 7:30 p.m. Correction noted. Struck makes a motion and Mason seconds to approve the minutes with the correction. All votes ayes, motion carries.
b. Appointment of Chair and Alternate Chair – Mason wonders if it wouldn’t be worthwhile to wait until the March meeting in hopes of a full commission. Hoffman said he's okay remaining the Chair until the next meeting and makes a motion to table the appointment until next full meeting and Mason seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.

7. Update City Code Variance Language – Brixius said this was introduced but was never finished so it's being brought back tonight. He said the change has broadened the language of variances and it now has to be determined if the use is reasonable. Brixius said for example Ann Marie Borne, 2471 Black Lake Rd, had reasonable use of her property and under the previous ordinance it might have been more difficult for her variance to pass. He said what was found was the request reflected what the new state statute stipulates. Brixius said it was previously called physical hardship and has been replaced by practical difficulties. He said practical difficulties are specific to the lot that make it difficult to apply the ordinance. Mason said before it was a hardship and now it’s reasonable use. Brixius said a change of code requires a public hearing. Struck asked about page three, letter f regarding conditions imposed. Brixius said for example the Borne variance was requesting to put an addition closer to the road that what was allowable. He said conditions were stipulated and required for locating buried utilities and protecting utility poles and fire hydrants. Brixius said they also look at how things impact neighbors. Brixius said this change gives a city broader discretion. Hoffman asks about subparagraph d. He said it talks about economic considerations. Hoffman said previously economics were not considered a hardship. Brixius said there is greater discretion in evaluating that. Hoffman wondered about economic hardships and how that changes. He understood previous language to state that a variance could not be granted because it would soley benefit the property owner only. Hoffman makes a motion to call for a public hearing. Struck seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries.
8. Park Plan Discussion – Brixius presented some ideas taken from other cities for park development. Weather shelters are discussed. Brixius said Tolsma has asked that the commission think about who uses the park, who is it designed for and what is currently lacking. He said a walking trail around the park perimeter could be considered. Brixius said there could be opportunity for an Eagle projects or civic organizations. Mason said he thought there were some good ideas previously presented for park upgrades. Hoffman requests this get added to next month’s agenda for discussion and moving forward. Mason asked about the community garden idea at Wilkes Park. Lewin explained it hasn’t taken off yet but Council member Hughes is interested in seeing this moved forward. Brixius explained there are things that need to be considered in regards to neighbor impact and how that will be handled. Bren said she thinks Thor Thompson Park has been under utilized until the new baseball field. She would like to see some things happen there to draw more families.

&&&Addition - Wind energy and Geo Thermo – Brixius said the PC has requested to look at alternative energy in order to be prepared when requests are made. Brixius presents other cities’ language to begin to explore this. He said solar panels, photo electrical shingles are becoming popular, vertical wind energy versus the horizontal. Brixius presented some materials with hypotheticals. He said in Spring Park, with the small lots, rooftop placement is logical. Brixius said placement is important, especially when it comes to lakeshore setbacks. Mason said thought needs to be given about obstructions to the energy generators, i.e., someone plants a tree that blocks the energy source or builds a large house that shades the energy source. Brixius said ground mounting or roof mounting needs to be researched and setbacks. Struck asks about roof mount allowances presently. Brixius said chimneys, cupolas and domes and antennas are allowed. Brixius said concern needs to be given to all affected people, not just the person who asks to do it. What the structure looks like should be considered as well. Brixius said geo thermo involves pulling the earth’s core temperature to heat. He said the DNR would need to be consulted because of the lake. Brixius said he can talk to a hydrologist about restrictions with riparian lots. Mason said he doesn’t want to act like the city is suggesting these alternatives. Brixius said he wants the PC to think about what they would like to see and what they don’t want to see. Struck thinks issues need to be explored before they become issues. She uses the example of dynamic signs and how progressive they were about stipulating conditions before it happened. Brixius said the PC has homework for the next meeting. Mason said he thinks SP has been historically progressive and ahead of the curve on things.

a. City Council Minutes – January 7th
b. City Council Minutes – January 22nd
c. Work Session Minutes – January 28th

10. MISCELLANEOUS – Hoffman asked about the City's website and updating the Planning Commission section. He said it's dated and still has John Ericson's information.

11. ADJOURNMENT – Mason makes a motion and Hoffman seconds to adjourn the meeting at 7:53 p.m. All votes ayes, motion carries.