November 9, 2016, Planning Minutes

NOVEMBER 9, 2016 – 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 Jeff Hoffman, Chair; Michael Mason; Max Avalos; and Catherine Palen

Planning Commissioners Pete Kaczanowski

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


M/Palen, S/Hoffman to adopt the agenda.

Motion carried 4-0.

a. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes from October 12, 2016.

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

Motion carried 3-0. (Hoffman abstained)

a. Outdoor Storage Discussion - City Planner Brixius presented examples of the potential impacts of the draft ordinance language regarding outdoor storage based on the discussion at several Planning Commission meetings throughout 2016. The examples provided included a housing lot study, lot width study, and aerial photos of Spring Park’s history of development patterns.

City Administrator Tolsma questioned if lakeside standards would be applied to backyards not on the lake.

City Planner Brixius responded that a provision will be added to address backyards not on the lake.

Commissioner Mason questioned if Spring Park has the strictest standards regarding outdoor storage around Lake Minnetonka.

City Planner Brixius responded no, Spring Park has the most lenient standards around the lake. He continued that even the shoreline setback of 50 feet is specific to Spring Park.

City Administrator Tolsma stated that something to consider in regards to Black Lake Road is that it almost feels like more of an alley than a road. The garages are right on the road and the front side of the house is lakeside so maybe it shouldn’t be treated it like a regular road with this ordinance.

Commissioner Avalos responded that even if there are different standards put in place for Black Lake Road those standards need to provide access for emergency vehicles. He stated that currently there is a boat on Black Lake Road that is right up to the street and would require machinery to move it since it is a very large boat that is not on a trailer. In an emergency situation that boat would leave no room for a fire truck which creates a public safety concern.

Commissioner Mason questioned if residents can be grandfathered in before this ordinance would go into effect.

City Planner Brixius responded that grandfather rights follow building and living units only since outdoor storage tends to change more frequently. The temporary nature of outdoor storage also makes “grandfather” clauses difficult to track for all outdoor storage units on every lot in the City.

Commissioner Avalos stated that even with the Planning Commission recommendations there will still be a public hearing regarding the proposed ordinance changes. The public will have a chance to offer input that the Planning Commission will consider prior to sending a final recommendation to the City Council.

Chair Hoffman questioned how the public hearing will be advertised since many residents do not read the legal notices section of the paper. We want to ensure that residents are aware of the public hearing so they have the opportunity to provide feedback and find out how the proposed changes could affect their property.

City Planner Brixius suggested placing an insert in the quarterly newsletter that is sent in January. This insert could state what is being proposed in plain terms, the date of the public hearing and how to ask specific questions or provide comments. He continued that this is a very personal issue for people so it might be in the best interest of the Planning Commission to go beyond the required method of publication.

The Planning Commission consensus is to attach a draft of the ordinance with information regarding the public hearing in the quarterly newsletter and to provide more detailed information on the City website.

Chair Hoffman questioned if the Planning Commissioners agreed with Item #2 stating three licensed recreational vehicles.

Commissioner Mason responded that he wanted it to be four vehicles.

Chair Hoffman and Commissioners Avalos and Palen stated they believed three vehicles was sufficient.

Chair Hoffman questioned if the Planning Commission agreed with the five foot setback requirement.

Commissioner Mason questioned why a person who has had a boat or outdoor storage unit on their property for many years will now be told they are unable to do so. He stated that the storage issue has not impacted home sales in the area.

City Planner Brixius responded lakeshore lots on Lake Minnetonka always sell simply because they are on the lake. The rights of the property owner and impact on home sales are not the only components to consider with outdoor storage. The point of view of the neighbors who are inconvenienced and home values should also be considered. However, the biggest concern is public safety and making sure that emergency vehicles and snow plows can access the roads. The burden should be on the property owner to make sure their property does not impact the best interests of neighborhood and public safety.

The Planning Commission consensus was that a five foot setback from the road is sufficient.

City Administrator Tolsma discussed an example of a resident that has parked a moving truck in their front yard and questioned if that issue is addressed in the proposed changes.

City Planner Brixius believes it should be addressed in the parking section about commercial vehicles over 12,000 pounds.

City Administrator Tolsma responded that he has had a resident claim that they aren’t using it for storage and that it is a personal vehicle. However, based on complaints from neighbors, that vehicle only moves approximately twice per year.

City Planner Brixius responded that if a weight limit was added for vehicles then the issue would be addressed in the Code.

Chair Hoffman summarized the two outstanding items for follow-up discussion are the language regarding weight limits on commercial vehicles and the backyard provision for setbacks.

City Planner Brixius stated that he will prepare the changes for the December Planning Commission Meeting.

Chair Hoffman questioned if the City Planner is comfortable with the proposed ordinance changes.

City Planner Brixius responded yes but the Planning Commission also needs to be comfortable with the language so that they can defend and explain the proposed changes at the public hearing.

The Planning Commission consensus was to move forward with the proposed changes.


8. MISCELLANEOUS – Chair Hoffman offered his congratulations to Commissioner Palen on being elected to the City Council. He further encouraged all commissioners to speak to their neighbors about the importance of the Planning Commission to help generate interest and applications for upcoming vacancies.


M/Mason, S/Hoffman to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting at 8:35 p.m.

Motion carried 4-0.

Date Approved: December 14, 2016

Theresa Schyma, City Clerk

Dan Tolsma, City Administrator