August 14, 2013 Planning Commission Minutes

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


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

4. ADOPT AGENDA - Brixius requests exchanging agenda item 6c to 6a and also wants to add the Tonka Ventures parking proposal. Erickson makes the motion and Kaczanowski seconds to adopt the agenda with the requested changes. All votes ayes, motion carries.

5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Erickson makes a motion and Mason seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.
a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from July 10, 2013

a. Fence Height Variance Request –
Brixius said what’s being requested is an option to erect a fence along the neighboring multi housing lot line. He said in this case the property abuts to the apartment parking lot and recreational area. Brixius said a six or eight foot high fence is being requested be extended to within the 50 foot Shoreland setback and the 30 foot setback from the street. Brixius said the 50 foot shoreline requirement is a state statute. Brixius said the applicant is asking for a six foot fence but prefers an eight foot fence. Brixius is recommending a six foot tall fence and if an eight foot fence is allowed he recommends an engineer's report for bearing wind load. Brixius said from practical difficulties, the property abuts a multi family district and the parking is close to the residential property.

Catherine Palin of 4352 West Arm Rd said she is in support of this fence as the multi housing can be disruptive at all hours. Property owner Hackney prefers the eight foot fence because the arborvitaes previously planted died along the property line. He said they’re going to have to be removed and new growth will take a long time. Hackney said the private boat launch is next to the property line and there is a lot of disruption at all hours. Mason asked if there is a chain put across the launch area and Hackney confirmed but said it’s continually removed. Struck asked if there are similar situations with other apartment complexes next to residential districts and Brixius said this is unique to Lord Fletchers Apartments. Palin asked about the open storm drain and wonders about the city’s responsibility. Tolsma was somewhat unfamiliar but thought it might just be a verbal agreement to gain access. He said there has not been a lot of cooperation from the property manager of the apartment complex so it’s difficult to gain access to it.

Mason closes the public hearing at 7:19 p.m. Erickson makes a motion for the eight foot fence within the outlined parameters and the engineer study for the eight foot fence. Struck seconds. It is suggested that the aforesaid motion reflects the recommendation based on the planners report with the eight foot recommendation. All votes in favor, motion passes.

b. Alternative Energy Ordinance Public Hearing
Open Public Hearing 7:23
i. Discussion and Comments – Brixius reviewed the ordinance amendments to allow and define alternative energy systems. He said heat pump systems will be a permitted accessory use in all zoning districts. He said they allow for close loop heat pump systems and they cannot extend into the lake. The setbacks are 10 feet and 25 feet from OHW, the Shoreland impact zone. They are not allowed in public easements and noise issues will be addressed under MPC. Building permit will be required and abandonment criteria will have to be met. Wind energy requires certification from a registered architect when roof mounted, a twenty foot clearance from the ground and tree canopies, wind energy is exempt from screening, specific non reflective colors are required, feeder collection systems will be underground and they are not allowed to be home-made systems, abandonment requires removal. Building permit is required and inspection every three years. There are different standards depending upon the zoning districts. They are considered accessory use. Struck asked about page five item four permits, boring is subject to approval. Brixius said a building permit has to be applied for and it will be identified in the permit. He said the concern is the proximity to the lake and how far they can bore down for lake water contamination. Struck asks about item c, ground source shall be subject to… Brixius said shall is mandatory and may is discretionary. Struck said with the small city staff being small she wonders how this will be tracked. Brixius said the schedule needs to be watched to prompt inspections. Tolsma said there is a document that breaks down what we need to do on an annual basis and this would be added to this calendar. Kaczanowski has a question about whether the first time this is used there is an error can this be corrected. Brixius said the zoning ordinance is continually being tweaked and updated. He said if the ordinance is found to be flawed, the ordinance would be amended. Mason said this is a start and can be modified. Item two, general standards. Struck asked about this as she is confused with the language. Brixius draws an illustration . He said a setbck is measured from the ground when the blade is at the furthest top of the blade and it has to be set back that same measurement.
ii. Close Public Hearing – Mason closes the public hearing at 7:41.
iii. Recommendation to Council - Erickson makes a motion to recommend the draft ordinance to the council for adoption. Struck seconds, all votes ayes, motion carries.

c. Remax Sign Permit Application –
Brixius explained the existing Remax sign would be removed and replaced with the new sign being requested. He said it’s a one-for-one trade and it does meet the less than 20% of the building frontage, it’s properly located and he recommends approval. He said if it's illuminated, they’d have to meet the illumination requirements. Erickson will abstain from voting as he’s employed by ReMax. Struck makes a motion to approve the ReMax sign permit based on the recommendation provided by Brixius. Mason seconds. All in favor, all votes ayes (Mason, Struck and Kaczanowski), motion carries.

d. Brixius wants some feedback on Tonka Ventures Building parking reconfiguration. Brixius said at the last meeting there was discussion about providing additional parking. He said it was suggested to park along Interlachen in the green space as an alternate option. Brixius is asking for feedback on this latest suggestion. He said his concern is the location to the intesection of Interlachen although there isn’t a lot of traffic. Brixius said there is an exception similar at Spring Street. He said he questions to do this as a variance or a text amendment. He prefers not doing the variance because it point to specifics within the request. He said he doesn’t think there would be other applications beyond this because most commercial sites have direct access off of county roads. Mason asked if the present parking at the loading dock would continue and Brixius said no, it would be posted no parking. Mason said the request was to park closer to the entrance not an increase in parking spaces. Brixius said the building can satisfy the parking requirements everywhere except on the west end of the building. He said the question is if the Planning Commissioners are comfortable with head-in parking off of Interlachen as they would be backing out of this spot. He also wants to know if they want a text amendment or a variance. Struck said she is concerned about snow accumulation and if vehicles will hang out into the street. Mason said vehicles with trailer hitches can also hang out further. Kaczanowski asked about replacing the green space that is removed. He also asked about permeability due to the green space being taken out. Brixius said it would have to be looked at. Mason said there is also a roof drain in that area that drops a lot of water over a long period of time after a rainfall. Struck remembers the original request being for less parking spots and now they are asking for nine spots. She feels it’s a lot for that particular area. She said there is a lot of traffic that goes through there at certain times. Mason thinks the original request was for seven spaces and he thinks it’s reasonable to consider seven spaces for this new request. Erickson said he originally thought this was a good alternative but now that he sees it on paper, the reality is it’s too tight. He wonders about angle parking or parallel parking. Struck wondered when the drivers' exit their vehicle and have to walk to the entrance door, where will they walk. Brixius said they will have to walk in the street.

Brixius said he can convey to the council that the PC believes this is overly aggressive and there needs to be some solutions to several concerns. They could look at angled parking in order to accommodate some parking spaces. Struck said she believes this request has been properly presented and professionally drawn and she wants to be favorable to these type of business requests. However, she feels there is an area in the city that is governed by Hennepin County and the parking is everywhere and not controlled. She doesn’t feel it’s fair to pick apart a properly presented request when nothing is done with the Hennepin County trail parking at the end of Northern Avenue. Erickson is concerned that the property is probably well over hardcover restrictions now and this would be making that worse.

a. Council Minutes July 1, 2013
b. Council Minutes July 15, 2013
c. Work Session Minutes July 22, 2013

8. MISCELLANEOUS – Kaczanowski said he’d be happy to help with the Eagle Scout project. Tolsma said the trail kiosk fits with the Scout's plan and approval from the committee has been given. Tolsma said the kiosk might be located by City Hall at the asphalt trail access. Tolsma said they are working with HCRRA in order to get permission for this.

9. ADJOURNMENT Erickson makes a motion and Struck seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:22 p.m. All votes ayes, motion carries.