March 11, 2015 Planning Commission Minutes

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


3. ROLL CALL – Mason, Struck, Kaczanowski, Tempero, Hoffman.

4. ADOPT AGENDA – Struck would like to add under miscellaneous an update about the new housing at the end of Northern Avenue and regarding business licensing. Kaczanowski would like to add something about a city tour and Hoffman would like to add an item about a phone call he received by a resident. Mason makes a motion and Struck seconds to adopt the agenda with the additions. All votes ayes, motion carries.

5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - Struck makes a motion and Tempero seconds to approve the minutes. All votes ayes, motion carries.
a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from January 14, 2015

Business Use Certificate of Occupancy Discussion – Brixius said the next step is to mail to all industrial and businesses in Spring Park and set a public hearing for April. Brixius said this will get added to Chapter 10 of the city code. He said Scott Qualle, the building inspector is likely to be the designated inspecting official. He said he doesn’t think the number of applications will be arduous to the city. Brixius said the fee set should cover an hour of expense by the B.O. Brixius said the enforcement tool is no signs will be issued unless the city is aware of the business. He said the property owner and leasee will be responsible for this. Brixius said the application requires several criteria. He said a site plan may be required if there is a physical change but, if it is just a rental of a tenant bay, a site plan more than likely won’t be required. Brixius said once an application is received, Qualle will be directed to do a site inspection and a building inspection to make sure the use is appropriate. He said each time a business changes, a new certificate will be necessary. Brixius said if there is failure to comply, revocation can happen and occupancy can be denied. Brixius said an administrative fine can also be a tool for enforcement purposes.

Brixius said Appendix A is the fee schedule and that is being amended to show a $50 fee. He said there isn’t a lot of code language because it’s dependent upon the building code. He said the intent is to keep the fee down.
• Kaczanowski asked what Qualle charges and Brixius said it’s $50 an hour and, if the inspection goes beyond that, the city will pick up the remainder. Brixius said it’s been proven it’s necessary to keep the fees down in order to gain compliance. Kaczanowski wonders if an average walk through is about an hour. Brixius said in the city’s case, most of the spaces are smaller scale and can be done in an hour.
• Struck said she has some questions and asked if it is typical to get input from the community and Brixius said it’s a public hearing and he thinks it’s helpful to invite those who are affected. Struck wondered if the actual proposed ordinance change would be sent out with the letter and Brixius said yes. He said he thinks it’s important for property owners to know what is being proposed. Struck said in section 10-203 both property owner and leasee shall be responsible and she wonders if this should be one or the other. Struck said in 10-204, item 4, it says 'size of use' and she wonders what that means. She thinks it might be clearer to say 'space'. Struck wonders what staff should expect in terms of a complete application. Struck also would like the site plan requirement made a little more clear. Struck wonders about the words “proposed sign plan” and she thinks it should be defined somewhere. Brixius said businesses typically know what they want and need for a sign plan. Struck said regarding storage and hazardous materials, she wonders if BUCO would address this. Brixius thinks this is part of the building code and would rely upon that. Brixius said he can tighten up this language. Kaczanowski said he wonders if the building inspector uses a checklist. Struck thinks storage or disposal of haz mat needs to be noted.
• Mason asked if this is for new businesses only and Brixius agreed, it is not for existing businesses. Mason wonders if this will lead to a registry and Brixius said yes, it should be easy to create a business registry as time goes on. Mason wonders if the fire department has contact information for businesses within the large warehouse buildings. Brixius said this can be made part of the application to identify two contact people.
• Tempero wonders if this is just for businesses that occupy a facility rather than home occupations or the Boy Scouts and Brixius confirmed. Kaczanowski wonders who pays the $50 and Brixius said we don’t care as long as the application fee is paid by someone.
• Struck suggests perhaps a mention about recycling could be added. Kaczanowski said this is not for existing businesses and he wondered if this could be suggested to existing businesses as an incentive perhaps through reduced insurance costs. Hoffman said he is aware of several insurance companies that require inspections as part of their insurability so he thinks it’s probably already being done. Brixius thinks there are ways of swaying existing businesses to be inspected but he thinks this is a step-by-step process. Hoffman wonders about start dates in section 10-205 and Brixius said he’ll define this further.
• Hoffman suggests a list of clear objectives be put together for the public hearing so commissioners can be informed.

a. Council Minutes February 2, 2015
b. Council Minutes February 17, 2015
c. Council Work Session Minutes February 23, 2015
Hoffman said he noticed a request for planning commissioners to step up to council and he wanted to remind commissioners of the opportunity.
Tempero refers to the council minutes in their packed and asked about the port-of-call for the paddleboat and Tolsma said it was discussed but it's a routine approval.

• Struck asked if anyone has noticed the activity on the building lots on the Orono side of Northern Avenue. She said there was a meeting in Orono because two of the proposed buildings have more than 50% of the basement exposed which counts as an actual story. Struck asked if anyone knows about the expansion of the HC public works facility. She said the public meetings are so long and the agenda is pages in length. She said it's difficult to get information. Struck said she was at the Dakota Junction in Mound and she said the manager was asking about getting a petition to keep the trail open during the winter. She said she thinks the trail could be used all winter long and it seems like a good idea considering the duration of our winters. Bren explained the council is concerned because Three Rivers puts the responsibility of damage on the city. Tolsma said SP has said they would be interested in keeping the trail open but only if everyone (other cities) is in on this. Mason said the trail is partially plowed during the winter by the Water Patrol and Tree Trust so, they must accept liability.
Kaczanowski is concerned about ice on the trail so he would wonder more about grooming the trail. Tempero wonders about brushing it instead of plowing so it would prevent plow damage.
• Kaczanowski wondered if there was any interest regarding a tour of the city, he thought it might be helpful to learn more about the city and what buildings are what. He said he wonders about properties that are torn up or not maintained. Tolsma agreed that anything that looks out of the ordinary, it is helpful for the city to know about it.
• Tolsma said based upon the planning commission’s previous suggestions, park equipment has been ordered. New picnic tables, trash receptacles, repairs for playground items. Mason wondered about the suggested picnic shelter where some could play music in the park. Bren said the League of MN Cities has a training session for council members and she said one of their focuses was how to get citizens involved more in the city.
• Hoffman said he received a phone call from a resident asking about the trash cans at the park. Hoffman said he told them they are in the process of replacing them. Hoffman said another observation by his caller was that the receptacles are being used for garbage disposal by people driving by and they should be relocated so this doesn't happen.

9. ADJOURNMENT – Mason makes a motion and Struck seconds to adjourn the meeting at 8:06 p.m. All votes ayes, motion carries.