January 27, 2014 Work Session

Council Members: Reinhardt, Hughes, Bren, Sippel (Williamson excused)

Planning Commissioners:  Hoffman, Struck, Mason (Kaczanowski absent)

Staff:  Brixius, Paul Pearson, Beck, Tolsma, Lewin, Goman

Resident:  Rick Rehman, Pam Horton


    1. See the attached memo from Al Brixius.


Brixius said he is looking for this to go to public hearing in March.  He said he wants this to undergo a lot of review.


Brixius said he wants the council and PC to ultimately be in agreement on this. Brixius said R1 and R2 are primarily residential.  He said examples of accessory buildings (AB) allowed are private garages, conservatories, greenhouses, tool sheds, swimming pools, animal shelters and the predominate use is residential.  Sippel said he even wonders if altering the definition might be in order.  Perhaps subordinate to secondary as subordinate indicates smaller. He doesn’t like reasonable and necessary as it’s vague.  Brixius said the questions are should the building match the home, AB not used as commercial use, plumbing allowed for water, toilet, wash sink but not shower or bathing.  He said right now 1,000 square foot limit is on the garage except by CUP and the PC doesn’t want the CUP to be available.  Brixius said there could be a hard cap established and there are examples provided.  He said 1200 sf  would accommodate a larger vehicle.  In looking at various photographs, there are so many variable lot sizes so the question is should it be a hard cap or should it be percentage of lot size.  Another suggestion is that the height of the AB be limited to no higher than the primary structure.  Another question is how many accessory buildings would be allowed on a lot.  Reinhardt asked if this is cumulative, i.e. if there is a 1000 foot garage, the only thing further allowed would be 200 sq ft and Brixius confirmed.  Brixius said 30% is the threshold for hardcover so he is suggesting storm water management be the rule on exceeding this.


Brixius said page eight is the draft ordinance and he’d like to start with discussion on eliminating the conditional use permit.  Sippel asked where else CUP’s are options in an R-1 district.  Brixius said the previous criteria used for variance, a larger garage couldn’t be rationalized as a hardship so they allowed it by CUP.  Hughes wonders about residential use in commercial districts. Brixius said the question would be does continuing investment in residential property negate the commercial use.  Brixius said someone might want to build a warehouse in a commercial district and call it a garage.  Mason asks for clarification.  Hughes said for instance a residence in a commercial district.  He said there are a few on Shoreline Drive that fall into that category. Sippel said the question was specific to CUP's in residential.  He remembers a previous  proposal was to rezone those few properties zoned commercial to residential and all property owners were against it.  So, he believes if there is a desire to expand the residential in a commercial district, that could be an argument. 


Hughes is concerned about uniformity where it says R-1 and R-2, it should be the same throughout.  Reinhardt said she wants to focus on this for now as there is an applicant that is waiting on this.  Hughes wondered about the siding material for the AB being the same as the principal building.  Reinhardt said she wants totake this in order.  Reinhardt said she is in favor of taking away the CUP in R-1.  Reinhardt said the consensus is to remove.


Maximum building size.  Brixius said in discussion should that maximum cap include attached garages and would they be entitled to pursue unattached? Hughes asked about what determines attached and Brixius said it needs to have a common foundation connected. He said size of accessory and a hard cap or a percentage or percentage of lot and whether it should encompass attached or detached needs to be decided.  Struck said there could be an option where the combination would have to meet a hardcover requirement.  Reinhardt wonders if there could be all three.  Sippel said he thinks they're making it too complicated.  He said a total of square footage working within the hardcover constraints keeps it simpler.  Brixius said they’d still have to meet setbacks.  He thinks interior storage is always better than exterior storage so they should decide what would be allowed.  Reinhardt asked about lot combination and she wonders if it could set up an out-of-proportion situation.  Brixius said if there is a hard cap set up and they cannot exceed the hard cap  all setbacks and impervious surface has to be met.  Brixius wants to be clear.  If someone wants to build a 1200 square foot attached garage, then can they also build a 1200 square foot AB.  Hoffman said he agrees with Sippel.  If someone can meet the setbacks and hardcover, they should be allowed to per the square footage allowed.  Brixius asked if there is going to be caps on attached garages proportionate to the house.  Sippel said this is difficult.  He said there are too many design options so he doesn’t want to restrict that to the code.  Reinhardt said she wants options and doesn’t want to be overly restrictive.  Sippel doesn’t advocate limiting the size of an attached garage.  Brixius asked for clarification and Sippel states if the garage is attached, there should be no limits but if it’s detached there should be limits.  He said as long as it meets everything else, why limit it.  Hoffman said in our community, the PC felt it should be proportionate to the principal structure.  He said in general, home design is living space and a place to park their vehicle.  Reinhardt is concerned about not limiting the size of an attached garage in fear of having six garage doors.  Brixius said he thinks it should be limited to perhaps 80% of the size of the principal structure.  Sippel asked how a tuck under garage would be treated and Brixius said it’s by the floor space measurement. 


Discussion about attached garages treated as a percentage of floor space of principal building and the detached would have a hard cap.  Hoffman wondered if they should then think about a percentage of the house.  Reinhardt likes the idea of making it a percentage.  Brixius said he suggests it be set at 80%-100%.  Hoffman advocates for equal.  Struck said there could be a home that has 500 sf living space and the basement has 500 so what would the limit be. Brixius said according to the code, the basement doesn’t count and it would be based on floor area, multiple stories above grade.  Struck said she likes the 80%.  The debate ends with leaning towards being equal.  Reinhardt said this is a good starting point although she prefers something less instead of equal to.


Discussion on hard cap on detached.  Reinhardt likes 1200 square feet.  Struck said if there is an allowance for a large attached garage, shouldn’t it be proportionate.  Brixius asked if 1200 square feet is a cumulative number.  Struck is concerned about limiting accessory structures.  She thinks it should be three because she has seen houses where there are two detached garages and it looks very nice and then they may want a shed.  Reinhardt likes a cumulative figure.  Hoffman likes to limit it to two because it’s less clutter and if they want to add on an utility shed they could attach it.  Struck still thinks it should be three.  Brixius said there could be such a thing where the third accessory building is an open air structure, such as a gazebo.  Mason agrees saying he knows of such an arrangement and the gazebo is temporary and it looks nice.


Brixius said he’s going to suggest the square footage be the building footprint versus the floor area so there is rafter storage allowed.  Sippel said he’s concerned about the footprint and the height limites and other than that, he’s not concerned.  Brixius thinks the height limit should be 16 feet.  Sippel said he’s fine with going to 20 as long as it doesn’t exceed the height of the house because it allows for more storage and a bigger garage door. 


Hughes is concerned about matching the siding materials.  He is concerned about having to match something that is really old, such as stucco.  Brixius said there could be a list put together.  Sippel wonders if the commercial design standards should be revisited for residential because he doesn’t see diverting from that by much.  Reinhardt likes the words compatible and or complimentary materials.  Hoffman doesn’t like the pole barn look either but there are some new designs using metal components.  Brixius wonders about keeping in character of the neighborhood.  Hoffman thinks this should be limited to siding and not refer to roofing materials as steel roofing is becoming popular. 


Brixius said there is a list within the residential district that can be utilized in conjunction with going with the 30% impervious surface.  He wants Pearson to look at this and perhaps come up with a list of options; it could be a grass swale, it could be a rain garden.  Hoffman wonders if the size needs to be defined.  Brixius said this would be based upon the quantity of stormwater runoff and the city engineer’s review. Hoffman would like to see some standards set with this.  He said it might create problems if one neighbor has to put in one size garden and another required to put in another.  Hoffman is concerned about percolation because a required rain garden could just end up being a mosquito pond.  Hoffman said he believes that’s why the 30% rule is in effect and Brixius said it’s a Shoreland rule and the uniqueness of Spring Park’s lots. 


Brixius said this isn’t ready to go to public hearing.  He said he’ll put together a draft ordinance so it can be reviewed.  He believes it won’t be ready for public hearing until March. 


    1. Staff is asking for feedback from the council regarding their thoughts on continuing the lease indefinitely or restarting negotiations for purchasing a more permanent facility for public works operations. Past memos from staff regarding site options are included.


Reinhardt said when renting Norling's space it alleviated some pressure and it’s coming up once again to keep this on the radar.  She said when it first came up in June and July, it was urgent.  Tolsma said the TCE’s and the streetlight projects took precedent and they are now bringing this back for further feedback.  He said previous options were the old SuperAmercia site and the property next to city hall.  He said he thinks both are still options.  Tolsma said if there is interest in pursuing this, he would be interested in exploring the scope of the project.  He said this is being picked up where it left off.  Tolsma said Goman has been in the leased building for a while and he might have some comments.  Sippel said there is no new information in this packet.  He said what he would like to see is estimates for renovating the SA site versus a tear down.  He said he thought he remembered the neighboring site as being dismissed.  Goman said he met with three contractors last October.  He said a broad scope was developed for both properties.  He said based on the broad scope, the existing SA property they are looking at a remodeling cost of approximately $500K, a design/build.  He said that doesn’t include land acquisition costs.  Reinhardt asked for a report from a contractor showing these rough numbers.  Goman said he also got two other companies to discuss this.  Ebert, Gail Schutte and Pheasant Hills.  Goman said both bids came in at $500,000 for a remodel and to tear it down and rebuild it’s $600,000. Goman said when looking at next door property, the costs would double due to the site preparations and elevations.  Goman said 2400 square feet is the size being talked about as it’s the size of the SA space and what is in the city hall underground space now. 


Hughes asked Goman what he likes at Norling's and what he dislikes. Tolsma thinks what should be asked is what do we want and what do we need.  Hughes said he’s leary on the design/build.  Goman said he likes Norling's location as it's easy access from the county road.  He said what he doesn’t like is they’ve been shifted over to the other side per the agreement during the winter months.  Goman said it’s difficult to work on equipment without jockeying equipment around.  He said the depth of the building isn’t adequate right now.  Goman said there’s no computer access and that's not a big deal.  Reinhardt asked if Norling needs to get the internet connection and Goman said yes.  He said there’s an exterior bathroom and you have to walk outside.  He said these are temporary.  Sippel said maybe not and Reinhardt agrees.  Goman said he recognizes this.  Goman said the structure won’t work, even when reconfigured.  He said there is a lean-to and there is Norling equipment stored there so there is a lot of jockeying around.  Goman said the drawback to having just the one side is site access to the back side. 


Hughes said nothing can be done anyway because of the lease.  Tolsma said the lease is up in June and then it goes in three months increments.  Sippel said his original thought was he didn’t want to throw money away on a lease but now he's heard the sticker shock.  He said maybe we can take over the entire building with a lease renewal.  Bren agrees that a scope of the needs and the building needs to be framed and discussed. Bren thinks “What’s Needed” needs to be defined.  Hughes said he thinks a list of space and functions needs to be defined.  Bren thinks future needs should be defined as well.  Bren asked about the mowing and continuing with a part-time helper or contracting out the mowing services.  Goman said a subcontractor has been used in the past and he’s not in favor due to costs versus having a part-timer which was much more cost efficient.  Sippel said there are pros and cons to this.  He said it might be more cost efficient to contract out versus having all kinds of equipment to maintain in order to accommodate parks and ballfields.  Goman wonders about getting rid of public works. Goman said he’s heard talk about merging.  Hughes said if we merge with Orono, this city will look like Orono and he’s concerned with the way things look.  Tolsma wonders if the council is still interested in pursuing a permanent facility.  He said it’s difficult.  Maybe a wish list should be put together and examined.  Tolsma said if the council isn’t interested in a million dollar facility, then maybe they should pursue the Norling lease further.  Bren wonders if a new facility would have to go on a voting ballot for referendum.  Reinhardt said she isn’t totally sure.  Hughes thinks this should be reactivated.  He thinks it should be done right.  Hughes believes more in tearing down the SA site and building what is needed.  He’s also interested in the Norling’s building.  Sippel thinks we are a long ways away from purchasing a property.  He said if we’re paying $2000 a month, that goes a long way in financing something.  Tolsma said a lot of the problems stemmed from the tractor and getting rid of it.  Goman said consideration should be given that they are now working out of two separate locations.  Everything under one roof is a lot easier.  Goman is in favor of having further discussion with Norling.  Hughes asked about mold issues.  Goman said nothing has been done since they’ve moved out.  Hughes thinks that needs to be addressed now.  Tolsma said what he's hearing is to make Norling's work for now.  If there are some changes, they can work that out.  He said they will look for accurate numbers for the wish list and go from there. 


    1. Paul Pearson will recap recent discussion with Granite Ledge regarding liquidated damages and will provide the council with options for moving forward.

Pearson said he spoke with Tolsma and an update was decided on.  As a recap, Pearson said GLE (Granite Ledge) was obligated by the contract to complete the work by the end of August. On September 10th, the majority of work was completed.  Pearson said $400 a day can be assessed so if using the September 10th date, that would be 10 days at $400 or the November 1st date, when they installed the stoplights, for 60 days.  Pearson said that was decided to be a little too harsh so negotiation was decided upon. 


Pearson said he contacted Ron Brown and the response was they worked very hard in completing the project.  Pearson said the council recommends a good job was done and they were respondent but the problem was being held up by the supplier.  He said he then sent an e-mail outlining the deduction and why it’s being argued.  Pearson’s memo states that in the manual the "...delays of the supplier will be deemed to be the delay of the contractor."  Pearson said the response from Granite Ledge was they feel at no time were the delays due to GLE’s due diligence.  He said these were beyond their control.  He said the spec type was dictated by the city of Spring Park and they feel they don’t have any control over this.  Pearson said US made materials were specified and MillerBernd is the only one who could provide that. 


Pearson said he recalled email correspondence and the davit on the arms at the signals caused the delays.  Pearson asked Ron Brown why this delay occurred and who’s responsible.  Brown said the delay in the davits is US Architectural missed the forecasting for the davits and the order went through for just the light poles.  Pearson said staff talked and if liquidated damages are assessed, can it be passed on to US Architectural.  Pearson said he phoned A1 Electric and when discussing this, he was told when a purchase order is received to pay for the product and it’s been paid, there is no way to go back and collect.  Pearson wonders if GLE bears the brunt of this cost. 


Pearson said the Admin Committee was consulted.  Reinhardt said the Admin Committee felt they didn’t want to be jerks over $12,000.  He said there is still a warranty period and it was wondered if an extended warranty could be asked for.  Pearson said there is a pay request number two and he has brought this tonight.  Reinhardt asked if the pay request will be in front of the council at the next meeting and was told yes.


Sippel asked if we’re already retaining 5% of the total contract.  Sippel said if we're talking about $12K and we’re retaining $20K.  Pearson said in the final request the 12K would be deducted.  Sippel suggests an extended warranty or a couple of spare poles and lights so in case someone hits one, the city doesn’t have to wait.  Reinhardt likes the idea of getting a couple extra poles versus the 12K.  Hughes likes the option.  Pearson said he thinks they would like the extended warranty.  Goman says two poles, one light and one year extended warranty.  Beck reminds that there is still 12K that could be withheld and they probably won’t litigate for 12K. 




Hughes said he’s been against the new fire truck being proposed by Mound Fire but a new element has come in.  Hughes said Mound's Chief Pederson said Maple Plain Fire has staffing trouble during the day.  Hughes has softened his stand on buying a truck but he believes in buying a used truck.  He thinks that’s worth pursuing.


Reinhardt thinks the second meeting in February should be still be on the calendar.  She said it was always canceled when Rockvam was mayor because he was gone at that time.  She thinks there is enough going on that a meeting is necessary. 


9:52 pm adjourned.