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PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

JULY 22, 2003


1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Chair Balen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair Balen and Commissioners Meatzie, Hauser and Uhl answered the roll. Commissioners Cutter, Milligan and Cvar were absent. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
3. PLANNING COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
4. MINUTES: The Commission considered the minutes from the June 24, 2003 meeting. Commissioner Meatzie moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Uhl seconded. The motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: None.
6. PUBLIC HEARING: #2-C-03 Conditional Use Application, Applicants: Lou and Claire Good:
 Chair Balen opened the Public Hearing on Case File #2-C-03, calling for abstentions, ex parte contact, bias or conflicts of interest. Mr. Good noted that Commissioner Meatzie served with him on the Senior Center Board, and had also installed the roof on the house three years ago. However, the applicants and the Commission members did not consider this to be a conflict.
 Staff Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report, explaining that the applicants were asking for a conditional use permit to construct a 6-foot high concrete and stone wall within the front yard setback. This exception to the height limitation required Planning Commission approval. He clarified that when the applicants asked about pursuing this, he had first directed them to the variance application, then realized that exceptions to fence heights are addressed by a conditional use permit process.
 Commissioner Uhl clarified that the front property line was approximately 18' from the edge of the pavement. Therefore, the wall would be 32' away from the pavement. Commissioner Balen asked about the property line on the opposite side of the street, which was 8 - 10'. The applicant indicated that he believed that originally a 60' street had been proposed.
 Applicant's Presentation: Mr. Good stated that his spouse has always enjoyed gardening, and now that she is retired, this activity fully occupies her time. The protected courtyard would provide her with the needed space and protection to continue those activities. The applicant explained that the yard had an approximate 6% grade from the street, which meant that the street was level with the windows of his home. Commissioner Hauser asked if the applicants had checked with their neighbors about their plans, and the applicants responded that they had put in poles to illustrate the height of the fence and approximate location. None of the neighbors had voiced a concern in regard to their plans. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Hauser asked the planner about any plans for the wall and Mr. Lewis responded that the applicants had submitted photographs. The garage is at 20', the wall will be 6' in front of the garage. Mr. Lewis pointed out that the Commission that the application could be viewed as a request to extend the fence 6' into the front yard setback, or as a request to add 2 ˝ feet to the height of the fence. Commissioner Hauser stated that she would have liked to see plans. Chair Balen drew a sketch of the proposal and further discussion ensued. Commissioner Uhl asked about drainage, and the applicants responded that a drain has been installed that takes care of existing drainage problems, and the plans included additional drainage if the wall is installed as planned. There were no other questions of the applicants. Chair Balen closed the public hearing.
 Deliberations: Chair Balen noted that, if a wall is allowed for this property, the neighbors may also ask for such consideration and a precedent could be set for the entire community, not just in the region where the applicants lived but also in other parts of the City. The code is specific in establishing a height for walls, and he felt that the code should be enforced as it now reads. Commissioner Uhl concurred, noting that none of the other homes around there had high fences or hedges and 3 ˝ feet should be sufficient. Commissioner Hauser had the same concerns, and had looked at the property to see what a concrete wall would look like there. Everyone had to contend with deer "trimming" their roses, and she appreciated the concerns, but also felt that it is the role of the Commission to uphold the Development Code. Commissioner Meatzie disagreed, noting that the slope of the property is below the grade of the street. The fence would be back of the bushes on the outside edge of the property. He also reminded the Commission that a previous decision of the Commission had allowed for a fence on Crestline that was above the fence height. Staff provided the historical information on that request, from the January 22, 2002 meeting (Request for Exception - Alan and Jane Clark).
 The Commission further discussed and reviewed the photographs provided. Commissioner Meatzie moved to approve the request. Commissioner Hauser seconded. Commissioner Balen noted that he would like to know how much "fall" there is to the property line. Commissioner Hauser suggested that a cross-section drawing would help in making a decision, and proposed postponing the decision to the next meeting if it would not be a hardship to the applicants. The applicants responded that two contractors had looked at the property and were both waiting to hear the outcome of the hearing before they put any time into creating plans. Further discussion ensued. The motion failed, with Commissioner Meatzie voting "Aye", Commissioner Uhl voting "Nay", and Commissioners Balen and Hauser abstaining. Following further discussion, the Commission decided to recess the meeting and do a site visit to the property. Consensus of the Commission was that the remaining items of the agenda did not need any action, as the Planner’s report could be read and the Commission had decided at the last meeting that the Code changes would be addressed in a workshop setting, to be scheduled sometime in the fall. The Commission recessed at 7:38 to reconvene at the site.
 At 7:45, the Commission reconvened the meeting on-site at 1380 SW Ocean Terrace. Chair Balen and Commissioners Hauser, Uhl and Meatzie were present. The Commission viewed the proposed area and took measurements. A lengthy discussion ensued. Commissioner Hauser moved to grant the conditional use with the stipulation that the fence be no higher than 5' at the mid-point, and all other conditions as stated in the Staff Report. Commissioner Uhl seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. Commissioner Hauser then moved to have the Chair sign the findings after a copy has been emailed to the Commission members for their approval. Commissioner Meatzie seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
7.  DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:
A. Draft Downtown District Zone: To be addressed in a workshop to be scheduled in the fall.
B. Planner Report: The Commission acknowledged receipt of the report in the packet materials.
C. Other Issues: None.
8. ADJOURNMENT: At 8:07 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Meatzie moved to adjourn. Commissioner Uhl seconded and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
Respectfully submitted,
Reda A. Quinlan, City Clerk
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 26th day of August, 2003.
SIGNED by the Chair this 26th day of August, 2003.
Samuel Balen, Chair