December 11, 2013 Planning Commission Minutes

1. CALL TO ORDER – Alternate Chair Mason calls the meeting to order at 7 pm.


3. ROLL CALL - Struck, Kaczanowski, Erickson, Mason. Hoffman excused.

4. ADOPT AGENDA - Struck makes a motion and Erickson seconds to adopt the agenda. Brixius wants to add to the agenda and he wants to add as a discussion item 2401 Black Lake Rd. All votes ayes, motion carries.

5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Struck makes a motion and Erickson seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.
a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from October 9, 2013

a. 3942 Del Otero Avenue Conditional Use Permit Discussion
The tabled public hearing is reopened at 7:04 pm. Brixius said the initial request is to replace and existing detached garage with a new detached garage. He said impervious surface would bring it to 39%. Brixius said the building height has been adjusted and the site plan reduced the driveway width. Brixius said the applicant has contacted the MCWD and they have no requirements. Brixius said gutters will be installed on the garage and directed to a rain garden. He said the recommendation is that the driveway be pitched.

Brixius said concerns were raised:
• The size of the proposed accessory building
• Concern the proposed accessory building exceeded the height of the primary structure. Brixius said in reducing the height, the second story is reduced to storage and not walkable. Kaczanowski asked if the roof height was reduced and Brixius said it was at 19 feet and it came down 3 feet.
• Concern about the proposed toilet.
• Concern the proposed accessory building exceeds the size of the home.

Brixius said the applicant has adjusted his plans and has two choices. He said if the PC is recommending approval of the CUP, with what conditions. If the PC is recommending denial, they need to direct staff to draft specific findings.

Brixius asked for questions.
• Erickson asked if the footprint changed from the original submission and Brixius said the footprint remains the same.
• Kaczanowski asked how much higher is the new garage than the primary structure. Brixius said it’s 4-5’ taller but it is set behind.
• Struck referred to the definition of an accessory building and she wonders if this applies here and does the applicant have to meet that definition.
• Mason asked how the size was reduced and Brixius said the usable walkable space was reduced to storage due to the change in the proposed building height. Rehman said the usable space has been reduced 500 feet.
• Struck asked about the ordinance 42-140 titled "purpose" . Brixius said those are the standards that have to demonstrate compliance.
Sec. 42-140. Purpose.
The purpose of the procedures set out in this division is to provide the city with a reasonable opportunity to protect and preserve the general welfare and the public health and safety by requiring a showing by each applicant for a conditional use permit or amendment that:
The standards set forth in this chapter will be, at all times, complied with.
The proposed use presents no unreasonable hazard to the surrounding area and community as a whole.
Specific problems with the proposed location of the use, as set forth in any staff review or technical assistance report, will be overcome.
The proposed use is compatible with present and future land uses of the area where the use is proposed to be located.
There will be no significant negative impact on the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of surrounding property.

Mason said a Shoreline Drive neighbor applied for an accessory garage in 2003-2004 and it was denied. Mason said there was even going to be improvement on the setbacks and yet he was still denied. Brixius reminded that the review criteria is different for variance than it is on a CUP. Kaczanowski said Rehman has met the requests put forth. He said his concern is that it is so much larger than the principal dwelling and it’s not in keeping with the neighborhood. Kaczanowski said he has walked the street and he’s tried to picture this and wonders if it would stand. Struck said she feels a neighborhood extends beyond that street and feels that all of Spring Park needs to be included in this decision. She feels the Comprehensive Plan looks at the city as a whole and not individual neighborhoods. Struck said she is looking at the present and about the future, which the comp plan addresses. She said when looking at accessory buildings within the cities 229 homes there isn’t another garage that is larger than the home. Struck said in looking at city wide goals, this runs counter to the comp plan. Struck said she agrees that Rehman has tried to compromise but still doesn’t feel it works. Struck said 5 states "...there will be no significant impact on the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the neighborhood..." but she doesn’t know how that would be evaluated and measured.

Mason said the comprehensive plan looked at rebuilding homes up and out but not additional over-sized structures. Mason said this is unique and sets a precedent.

Erickson said he struggles with why this is even being considered as a conditional use. Brixius said the accessory building limit is set at 1000 feet except by conditional use. He said the CUP does not put a cap on the square footage. Brixius said the ordinance can be reexamined and changed.

Struck said she doesn’t feel the request meets the definition of an accessory structure when it’s larger than the house. Kaczanowski asks if a CUP has been used in this fashion before and Brixius said he believes it has but he can’t recall specifically.

Rehman said it’s a matter of opinion. He thinks he's met the code and it doesn’t say where he has to read the comprehensive plan. He said he wouldn’t have wasted his money if it says in the comprehensive plan he can’t. He said he designed the garage to fit the ordinance. Rehman said there are a lot of oversized buildings throughout Spring Park. Rehman said it’s an opinion so he feels differently. Rehman said when looking at Spring Park as a whole, variances have been gotten for commercial district and they’ve been overbuilt.

Brixius said the recommendation in the latest summary for this CUP application is to direct staff on final recommendations. Mason said out of 229 homes, he believes Struck was addressing those in an R-1 district and not the condos, Pres Homes or Rockvams. He said that’s entirely different because they're zoned different. Erickson asked how a CUP was put in place to be used. He said he thinks this CUP is being used to circumvent the ordinance governing accessory building limits. He said he’s been involved with CUP’s in other cities so he's familiar with them being used in conjunction with home businesses. Brixius said if there wasn’t a CUP requested, there could not be an increase beyond the 1000 square foot cap. He said there are no practical difficulties involved in increasing the 1000 square feet and that’s why the request had to go conditional use. Upon no further discussion the public hearing is closed at 7:38 pm.

Brixius said staff is looking for a formal motion. Struck makes a motion to deny the CUP application submitted by Richard Rehman based on section 42-140 of the city code, the discussion, definition, precedent, that it's out of character, is not consistent with the comprehensive plan and the zoning district and asks staff to direct findings to the council reflective of that. Erickson seconds. All votes ayes, motion carries, CUP application fails recommendation. Rehman thanks the Planning Commission for their consideration on this matter.

b. Accessory Structure Size Limitation in R1 & R2 Districts Discussion
Brixius said there is an accessory use definition. Brixius said reminds the commission that a large garage can be built if it’s attached with something as simple as a breezeway. Brixius said if they’re putting a cap on accessory size they should also consider if it's unattached and attached. Therefore, Brixius said he’s going to challenge on attached, detached and the bathroom issue. He said there is nothing that prevents a bathroom currently and no toilet facilities are allowed. Brixius said consideration can be perhaps water can be allowed but not toilet (sewer) facilities. Brixius wonders about the definition of floor area being counted as walkable space and not storage. Struck wonders about scale of garage to house and Brixius said it can be considered.

c. Parked Trailers & Vehicles With Advertisement Graphics –
Tolsma said this was added for quick discussion. He explained a Remax trailer acting as a sign is parked in the parking lot in front of the Lakeview Lofts. Brixius recommends Beck look at this to tighten this up.

a. Council Minutes November 4, 2013
b. Council Minutes November 18, 2013
c. Council Work Session Minutes September November 25, 2013

8. MISCELLANEOUS – 2401 Black Lake Rd
Brixius just want to give a brief overview of a variance application taken but not formally received for an addition of a garage to a substandard lot. He said in 2003 the house was demolished and a home was rebuilt. In 2006 a detached garage was requested by variance and it was denied based on the utility easement and impervious surface. Brixius said the variance being asked for now would be for the setback from the lake only as the impervious surface won't be an issue. Brixius said the street setback variance is eliminated due to the averaging allowed. Brixius asked if enough time has passed for this to change from practical difficulties being the lot is restrictive and that most recognize the need for a garage in Minnesota.

Brixius challenges the commission to determine if the use is reasonable and are there practical difficulties associated with the lot that may warrant the variance from the shoreline setback. Brixius said since 2006 there has been promotion in reinvestment into Spring Park properties. However, he said if this is a self-inflicted practical difficulty, we’re not going to save them from it. He said if the garage won’t be out of character of the neighborhood, consideration should be made. Brixius said there is history with this house but what needs to be examined is if it will better the neighborhood and it fits within the character. Brixius is going to recommend the applicant submit building elevations and grading elevations before accepting the application as complete and thereby starting the 60 day rule.

9. ADJOURNMENT – Erickson makes a motion and Kaczanowski seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:43 pm. All votes ayes, motion carries.