June 14, 2017 Planning Minutes

JUNE 14, 2017 – 7:00 PM

1. CALL TO ORDER - The meeting was called to order by Chair Hoffman at 7:00 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; Max Avalos; and Bruce Homan.

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

Others Present: Catherine Kane Palen, City Council Member/Planning Commission Ex-Officio


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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from May 10, 2017

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

Motion carried 5-0.

a. Continuation of Outdoor Storage Ordinance Discussion

City Planner Brixius presented a summary of the outdoor storage public hearing that occurred at the May 10, 2017 Planning Commission Meeting. In review of the public hearing comments, the following items needed additional attention and were discussed:

• Suggested revision of the definition of derelict vehicles since the current definition may not include restored classic cars that have been winterized and seasonally stored because these vehicles will not immediately start or be operable at a moment’s notice.

City Planner Brixius offered alternative language to address this issue.

The Planning Commission consensus was to accept the additional language.

Commissioner Mason stated there are other licenses available besides Classic, including Pioneer.

City Planner Brixius stated he could add language regarding additional licenses that are applicable.

The Planning Commission consensus was to add language regarding other applicable licenses and also to add a car cover requirement.

• Rear yard storage for non-riparian lots was not addressed in the draft ordinance.

City Planner Brixius stated that the absence of the rear yard storage was a mistake and has been corrected in the new draft. 

• The use of pervious pavement or rock as an alternative to hard surface to avoid conflict with the City’s hard cover limits.

City Planner Brixius stated that these provisions allow for storage on grass surface. The Planning Commission should give direction as to the use of pervious pavement or crushed rock.

Chair Hoffman suggested staying in line with the building code so there is no conflict regarding impervious surfaces.

Commissioner Avalos stated his concern with recreational vehicle storage on grass surfaces in regards to rainy days and sinkage.

The Planning Commission consensus was to allow for storage on grass surfaces and to stay consistent with the Code on impervious surfaces. 

• Prohibition of hoop houses.

Commissioner Mason asked what other cities do in regards to hoop houses.

City Planner Brixius responded that the other cities he contracts with do not allow canvas structures as accessory buildings.

Chair Hoffman stated that health, safety and welfare need to be considered. Hoop houses are a safety issue since they don’t have to pass any type of inspection including load limits which are an issue with snow loads in the winter months. He further stated his opinion that hoop houses do not fit the aesthetics of Spring Park and the long-term vision of the City.

Commissioner Homan agreed with Chair Hoffman. However, he stated that he worries that the absence of hoop houses will bring more blue tarps to the City.

Commissioner Kaczanowski agreed with safety concerns regarding hoop houses.

Chair Hoffman asked for an informal opinion from the Planning Commissioners.

Commissioners Avalos, Kaczanowski and Hoffman were opposed to hoop houses. Commissioners Mason and Homan were for hoop houses.

Commissioner Mason stated that he believes there is a way to word this issue so that hoop houses are allowed since some lots in the City don’t can’t build an accessory structure.

Commissioner Avalos stated that this ordinance includes certain sections that not every resident will agree with and this might be one of those sections.

The Planning Commission consensus was to keep the prohibition of hoop houses in the draft ordinance.

• Suggested revision of the dates for the lakeside storage of items to make less restrictive especially for snow birds.

Chair Hoffman stated the objective with this language was to prohibit year-round storage so the Commission just needs to expand the dates.

The Planning Commission consensus was to extend the date range by 30 days on each end to give flexibility to residents.

• 30 foot length restriction in the nuisance code.

City Planner Brixius stated that the Zoning Ordinance was altered per Planning Commission directive to remove the length restriction. This change was not done for the nuisance code. This change will be included in the next draft. 

• 60 inch height for required screening.

City Planner Brixius stated that the only screening height reference in the draft ordinance is for the rear yard storage that requires a six foot screen fence. He added that a six foot fence is standard.

The Planning Commission consensus was to keep the original language.

• Suggested revision of language regarding wood storage including limits and location.

City Planner Brixius discussed cord limits and possible setback requirements due to potential rodent issues that can occur with wood piles.

Chair Hoffman stated he is concerned with setback requirements because usually a homeowner will stack firewood in a back corner of their lot.

Chair Hoffman asked for an informal opinion from the Planning Commissioners.

Commissioners Avalos, Kaczanowski, Mason and Hoffman were in favor of allowing three cords. Commissioner Homan was in favor of allowing five cords.

The Planning Commission consensus was to alter the draft ordinance language to allow three cords of wood.

Commissioners Kaczanowski and Homan were in favor of setback requirements. Commissioners Avalos, Mason and Hoffman were not in favor of setback requirements.

Commissioner Homan stated he is concerned about wood piles attracting rodents on neighboring properties.

City Planner Brixius stated that if there is not a setback requirement then there is the potential for a wall of firewood on a property line.

City Administrator Tolsma suggested that instead of a setback requirement there could be language added to state that the wood pile needs to be at least 15 feet from any adjoining residential structure.

The Planning Commission consensus was to add language to the draft ordinance to state that the wood pile needs to be at least 15 feet from any adjoining residential structure.

b. Food Truck Ordinance
i. Discussion - City Planner Brixius presented a summary of the proposed ordinance regarding food trucks. This is an amendment to the City’s business licensing and is not zoning related. The City currently has a transient merchant license but it does not address food trucks and this would expand the ordinance to allow it.

Planning Commission Ex-Officio Kane Palen asked if there is a limit to how many food trucks can be on a site at one time.

City Planner Brixius responded no, but that if there were multiple food trucks on site at one time that each truck would count toward the 84 day limit. He further stated that he would clear up the language before it goes to the City Council.

Chair Hoffman discussed noise issues with the use of generators versus the safety issue of running cords to an electrical source.

Commissioner Mason stated he believes the food truck should be using an electrical source instead of a generator.

Commissioner Homan agreed with Commissioner Mason.

Chair Hoffman stated there are cord covers that can be purchased for safety concerns and believes the main concern is noise levels from generators.

City Planner Brixius stated that a provision regarding noise could be added to read “noise generation shall not exceed MPCA nighttime standards.”

City Planner Brixius stated the concern is not about noise from single day events but rather commercial activity and repeated use.

Chair Hoffman agreed with City Planner Brixius.

Commissioner Avalos questioned if removing the use of generators would limit the number of food trucks and type of food trucks that would be allowed in the City. He also asked if there would be any scenario where a property would not be able to run a cord to an electrical source.

City Planner Brixius responded that properties in residential areas could potentially have issues running a cord to an electrical source. However, he continued that language could be added to allow single day events to have use of a generator.

ii. Recommendation to Council

M/Avalos, S/Kaczanowski to recommend to the City Council to approve draft ordinance language, amending Chapter 13 of the Spring Park City Code related to mobile food trucks as presented in Exhibit A of the Planning memorandum dated May 4, 2017 and further amended to prohibit the use of generators as a power source and to clarify language regarding multiple food trucks on one property at the same time.

Motion approved 5-0.

a. May 1, 2017 Council Minutes
b. May 15, 2017 Work Session Minutes
c. May 15, 2017 Council Minutes



M/Avalos, S/Kaczanowski to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:34 p.m.

Motion carried 5-0.

Date Approved: July 12, 2017

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator