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PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

AUGUST 26, 2003


1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Chair Balen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair Balen and Commissioners Milligan, Meatzie, Hauser, Uhl, Cutter and Cvar answered the roll. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
3. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Commissioner Meatzie noted the abandoned car was still parked across from his shop and Mr. Lewis responded that another notice has been given to the Sheriff’s department. Commissioner Meatzie also mentioned that it appeared his neighbor was raising pot-belly pigs, and Mr. Lewis indicated that this had previously been brought to his attention, and a letter will be sent. Commissioner Cvar stated that his impression was that the Code required paving for the skateboard park parking lot. Discussion ensued regarding what constituted a "durable and dustless surface" as specified by the Code. Mr. Church and Ms. Woodruff noted that the facility is not completed yet, and the final parking area is not fully defined. Following further discussion, Commissioner Cvar moved to forward the recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council that the parking at the Skatepark facility be brought into compliance as soon as possible. Commissioner Cutter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
4. MINUTES: The Commission considered the minutes from the July 22, 2003, meeting. Commissioner Uhl moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Meatzie seconded, and the motion carried, with Chair Balen and Commissioners Hauser, Meatzie, Uhl and Cutter voting "Aye", Commissioners Cvar and Milligan abstaining due to their absence from the meeting.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: None.
6. PUBLIC HEARING: None.
7. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS: The Commission decided to review the City Planner's report as it had already been touched upon. Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report. He explained that the lot line adjustment and variance request will be presented at the next Commission meeting, and promised that there will be good drawings available. Discussion ensued regarding the issue of the pigs, Commissioner Cutter felt that Mr. Lewis had better things to do with his time than dealing with issues such as this.
 A. Review of Findings of Fact for Whispering Woods Appeal: Chair Balen noted that the Planning Commission had denied the time extension and modification to the sidewalks for causes they believed to be true and correct. The applicant then appealed that decision to the City Council which, evidently believing in part that the Commission had erred in their thinking or actions, overruled the denial of the extension. Mr. Schulte then rescinded his request of the modification for the sidewalks. Chair Balen asked Mr. Lewis to give comments on how he felt the hearing went, and also invited comments from Ms. Woodruff and Mr. Church. Mr. Lewis indicated that the Council had not found an error had been made on the part of the Planning Commission, it was stated that the decision of the Planning Commission could be reversed without such a finding. In granting the time extension, the applicant had talked about the current economic situation and Mr. Lewis felt the Council was trying to find an acceptable solution for both the neighborhood and the applicant. Ms. Woodruff seconded Mr. Lewis’ interpretation, noting that she had proposed and would have voted for a six-month extension, but did not vote for the one-year extension. Neither did Councilor Eder. Ms. Woodruff explained that the developer was threatening to start the project immediately if the extension was not granted, and with the neighborhood representatives present, the Council felt it would be better for all concerned to give the additional time. Ms. Woodruff felt that the Council did not have complete information on how close the subdivision was to being initiated, and noted that the applicant had promised to meet with the neighbors to work out issues and also to participate once again in the realignment of Norwood Drive. She stated that it might have been helpful to have a representative from the Planning Commission present to explain their reasoning. Mr. Lewis noted that a final approval of the subdivision has to come back to the Planning Commission before roads and utilities could be put in, and all the original conditions were still in place except as amended in 1996 and with the additional requirement for the sidewalks. He had found the geotech information, but no wetlands delineation, though the applicant indicated that had been submitted. He had also not found any final engineering, though the applicant claimed he had final approval and was ready to commence development. Mr. Lewis will go through the file and draft a letter to the applicant on what is necessary to get final approval prior to construction. Ms. Woodruff suggested it would be worthwhile to recheck the interpretation of the applicability of the previous code on the current subdivision, as she was not sure that this could continue in perpetuity. Chair Balen thought that the Code should be amended to ensure that old language is removed, and time limits should be set on any application. Commissioner Cvar noted he had some issues with the comments that were apparently made, as reported by staff and the media, and wondered if the articles and draft minutes were accurate. One particular issue was the "new information" which had been reportedly presented to the Council. Commissioner Hauser stated that the City Council had access to the information and minutes from their meetings, and felt that the decision-making process that the Planning Commission had gone through had been disregarded by the Council. Commissioner Cutter moved to have staff notify the Planning Commission on any appeal of a Planning Commission decision prior to the Council meeting at which it will be discussed. Commissioner Milligan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. Commissioner Cutter stated that if the Council did not feel they had enough information, a decision should have been postponed. Mr. Church noted that he had spoken at the Planning Commission’s public hearing and was therefore unable to participate in the City Council’s public hearing, but felt that the Council was looking to appease everyone, and did not have a motive other than that. Mr. Lewis stated that the applicant had provided written material for the appeal and was present, which had not been the case for the Planning Commission hearing. Mr. Church added that he felt the opponents had not presented a good argument, either, as it appeared they were more concerned about the developer than the development. Discussion ensued. Chair Balen suggested that the Commission pursue the issue of timeliness of the Code and bringing it up to date. This should be done periodically, and sections of the Code should be done away with. Mr. Lewis responded that some of these revisions can be taken care of in the upcoming review process. Chair Balen explained that, though there hadn’t been much for the agenda, he had felt it would be worthwhile for the Commission to meet and to discuss what had happened, and to ensure that whatever they do is legal and supported by documentation.
 B. Planner Report: Previously discussed.
 C. Other issues: None.
8. ADJOURNMENT: At 7:34 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Hauser moved to adjourn. Commissioner Cutter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
Respectfully submitted,
Reda A. Quinlan, City Clerk
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 30th day of September, 2003.
SIGNED by the Chair this 30th day of September, 2003.
Samuel Balen, Chair