February 8, 2017 Planning Minutes

FEBRUARY 8, 2017 – 7:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 7:01 p.m.

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chair Hoffman led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Planning Commissioners Present: Jeff Hoffman, Chair; Michael Mason; Pete Kaczanowski; and Max Avalos.

Staff Present: Dan Tolsma, City Administrator; Al Brixius, City Planner; and Theresa Schyma, City Clerk.

Others Present: Pam Horton, City Council Member/Planning Commission Ex-Officio Alternate


M/Mason, S/Kaczanowski to adopt the agenda.

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from December 14, 2016

M/Kaczanowski, S/Avalos to approve the minutes.

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Chair & Co-Chair Assignments - Commissioner Mason stated he enjoys being the Co-Chair but believes the job should be rotated on a more regular basis.

Commissioners Kaczanowski and Avalos stated they are happy with the job that Commissioner Mason is doing as Co-Chair and would recommend him continuing in that position.

M/Hoffman, S/Avalos to assign Jeff Hoffman as Chair of the Planning Commission.

Motion carried 4-0.

M/Hoffman, S/Kaczanowski to assign Michael Mason as Co-Chair of the Planning Commission.

Motion carried 4-0.

b. Comprehensive Plan Process Discussion – City Planner Brixius discussed the process and timeline for updating the Comprehensive Plan. He asked for the Planning Commission to review the current plan thoroughly. He stated that the 2040 Comprehensive Plan should be a “City-grown” plan and not a “Planner-grown” plan.

City Planner Brixius added that the City Engineer is updating the infrastructure plan as well.

City Planner Brixius and City Administrator Tolsma discussed the application process for the Comprehensive Plan Committee. Tactical interviews will be set-up with the City Council, Planning Commission, and Comprehensive Plan Committee. Furthermore business owners and other stakeholders in Spring Park will be involved in the process either as being a full member of the Comprehensive Plan Committee or simply through the tactical interview process.

City Planner Brixius also encouraged the Planning Commissioners to talk to their neighbors and other residents to gauge what they want to see in Spring Park in the next 10, 20 and even 30 years. All meetings of the Comprehensive Plan Committee are open to the public so residents could also attend to find out more about the process.

Commissioner Mason questioned how the Comprehensive Plan Committee and information about the process is being advertised to the community.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that staff will be utilizing the quarterly newsletter, City website, and The Laker. However, word of mouth seems to be the best tool so he is encouraging the City Council and Planning Commission to talk to their neighbors.

The Planning Commission consensus was to ask staff to begin compiling statistics regarding City website page views, opening rates for the electronic newsletter, and online City Council meeting views. This will assist staff, Council, and the Planning Commission with more targeted advertising to the community.

Chair Hoffman added that at the first meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Committee and in the tactical interviews we could ask how people are receiving news and information about Spring Park.

c. Outdoor Storage Feedback To Date – City Administrator Tolsma discussed the feedback he has received from residents regarding the draft outdoor storage ordinance. Also, staff is recommending that any residents who have comments, positive or negative, regarding the draft ordinance should attend the public hearing on May 10 or submit written comments to staff.

City Administrator Tolsma added that summary information with photos and diagrams of the proposed ordinance will be posted on the City website to give residents a clear idea of what is being discussed.

Commissioners Kaczanowski and Avalos questioned if phone calls and comments from residents were being documented.

City Clerk Schyma responded no, staff is advising residents to put their remarks in writing or attend the public hearing so that their comments can be part of the public record without staff trying to interpret their comments on the issue.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed comments from one resident about the “hoop house” that is currently on his property. He stated that this particular property has a steep incline that makes a permanent structure for storage difficult. The resident stated that his “hoop houses” are not visible to the public with the height of his fence.

Commissioner Mason asked about grandfather rights for “hoop houses.”

City Planner Brixius responded that temporary structures would not receive grandfather rights.

Chair Hoffman stated that building codes are in place for health, safety and welfare. Aesthetics are only part of the issue and once you allow a special exception for one property you are setting precedence for all properties.

City Planner Brixius encouraged the Planning Commission to walk by this particular property so that they know the situation that is being discussed.

Commissioner Kaczanowski asked how the Planning Commission would be able to defend a new ordinance in regards to properties that have not been maintained for many years.

City Planner Brixius responded that the way the Planning Commission and City Council stand by a new outdoor storage ordinance is that City staff receives complaints frequently about how properties are not maintained in Spring Park and have difficulty enforcing the current ordinance which is rather vague and doesn’t address the issues that are being raised. The Planning Commission’s goal is to adopt a new ordinance that is fair and equitable not only for property owners but also for the surrounding properties as well as the health and safety of the community.

City Administrator Tolsma added that Spring Park operates on a complaint basis regarding property maintenance. The complaint policy states that the complainant needs to live within a certain distance of the property they are lodging a complaint against. This prevents someone driving around the entire city and turning in a stack of complaints about properties they do not live near.

City Planner Brixius asked the Planning Commission - regarding properties that have not been maintained for many years and where the City has received numerous complaints but has been unable to enforce the current ordinance, does the City allow the property to continue to remain its current state simply because it was allowed in the past?

a. January 3, 2017 Council Minutes
b. January 17, 2017 Work Session Minutes
c. January 17, 2017 Council Minutes

8. MISCELLANEOUS – Commissioner Mason asked for an update on the water treatment plant.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that the water plant is operational but construction will continue in 2017 for smaller "punch list" items and troubleshooting.


M/Hoffman, S/Kaczanowski to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:07 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

Date Approved: April 12, 2017

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator