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PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES

APRIL 27, 2004


1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Chair Balen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Chair Balen and Commissioners Perry, Meatzie, Milligan, Uhl, Cutter and Cvar answered the roll. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
3. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: Commissioner Cutter noted that, in the newspaper, the City of Waldport Budget Committee had allocated about $2,000 of tax dollars to charitable organizations. He felt there are issues such as sidewalks which might better benefit from those monies.
4. CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES: The Commission considered the minutes from the February 24 and March 23, 2004 meetings. Commissioner Meatzie moved to approve the February 24 minutes as presented. Commissioner Cutter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. Commissioner Meatzie moved to approve the March 23 minutes as presented. Commissioner Cutter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: None.
6. PUBLIC HEARINGS: Chair Balen noted that he would move Case File B up on the agenda to accommodate the presenters as there was a special condition with that case. Mr. Lewis informed the Commission that the need for a hearing and variance does not exist, and reviewed his memorandum to the Commission, which explained that once a tax lot has been legally established, if a consolidation takes place the tax lot can be re-established by submittal of a letter of request to the County Planning Department. The request is then forwarded to the local planner to ensure that there are no outstanding issues. As long as the line has not been removed from the assessors map, the applicant would not have to go through a vacation process. Chair Balen indicated that he understood the process, as he also had two tax lots which he had consolidated for tax purposes. Mr. Lewis noted that when a request to re-establish a tax lot is made to the County the two issues that would concern the City would be to ensure that a building would not be built across property lines once the line is re-established, and that the building permits would need to conform to current standards. Lots that have been recognized by the County assessor as joined by an owner for tax purposes may be reclassified as individual properties, and the Planning Commission has no jurisdiction over the owner's ability to reestablish the lots as they once were. Following a brief discussion, Chair Balen suggested simply adopting the memorandum as the policy for the Planning Commission's purposes. Chair Balen moved to adopt the Planner's memorandum as the policy to address future requests to re-establish tax lots. Commissioner Cutter seconded. Commissioner Cvar asked if it was the County or the City that made a decision in regard to the criteria. Mr. Lewis responded that both would need to make determinations. Mr. Cvar also noted that the hearing fees would need to be refunded, and Mr. Lewis concurred. The applicant addressed the Commission, explaining that they had an architect look at the house and it was ultimately determined that it would be more cost effective to tear the house down than to repair it. They have decided to build two houses, one to live in and one to sell, which is why they were requesting the re-establishment of the original tax lots. The motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
  The Public Hearing for Case File #4-V-03 was opened by Chair Balen. Chair Balen called for abstentions, ex parte contact, and conflicts of interest. Commissioner Cvar indicated that he had spoken with the applicant in regard to submitting a plot plan drawn to scale. He did not feel that the conversation had affected his judgment in this case.
  It was noted that the applicant was not present. Chair Balen stated that this issue had been set aside because the applicant was going to ask for a street vacation, which would then allow him to be in compliance with setback requirements. Mr. Lewis reported that the applicant said he began the vacation process, which required consent from directly affected property owners, and 60% consent from property owners within a 400-foot perimeter, and was unable to get the consent needed. Mr. Lewis added that a copy of the agenda had been sent to the applicant, and to all the property owners who had provided previous testimony.
 Jane and Alan Clark, owners of Carpet Techs, addressed the Commission, noting that they are planning on purchasing the adjacent property once a building has been placed there. They did not want to have a mobile home across from their new business, as they are currently experiencing problems with a rental mobile home across from their existing business. Commissioner Perry noted that the present owner of that property had submitted a letter which had advocated placing a smaller mobile home on the applicant's property.
 It was noted that whether the building was a manufactured or stick-built home there still are issues with the property, including the steepness of the hill. Chair Balen noted that his concern was that the home would sit right at the foot of the hill, and he did not want the City to be encumbered by a Planning Commission decision to allow it. Commissioner Meatzie noted that there had been an old two-story house on that property before. Commissioner Cvar mentioned a House Bill which pertained to rapid slide areas, and Commissioner Perry clarified that this was in regard to areas that are mapped by the Department of Geology. He explained that unless the City has taken some action to be more proactive than the State there wouldn't be any particular regulations associated with steep slopes other than those that are currently mapped. One requirement is that the property owner has to sign a "hold harmless" stipulation to the City. Mr. Lewis suggested that the Commission focus on the circumstances for granting a variance, since he would need that for findings regardless of whether the Commission voted to grant or deny the application. He noted that the City has a city-wide hazard/slope map provided by the City Engineers, and explained that when the application is submitted a geotech or verification by a surveyor to ensure that the property was exempt would be required. Chair Balen closed the Public Hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for discussion.
 Commissioner Uhl stated that the lot is not even a minimum size lot for R-1, being 5226 square feet. He felt that, being a substandard lot and being close to a hill that could potentially slip away, the situation was rather "iffy". Commissioner Perry noted that the application met criteria (a), and that it was a bit of a challenge to build on that site given its configuration. He concluded that this was clearly a self-imposed hardship, a case of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If the applicant had been working with a builder or architect to design a home that was close to meeting the requirements and taking precautions regarding the slope, then he felt it would be worthy of more consideratoin. Commissioner Cvar agreed that it was self-imposed, that the applicant had an existing home that he was trying to fit onto the lot. It was noted that the applicant had not yet purchased the property. The majority of the Commission also felt that the variance would be materially detrimental to the neighboring properties. Following discussion, Commissioner Milligan moved to deny the request for a variance. Commissioner Cvar seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
 Discussion ensued regarding having the Planner draft the findings and the Chair sign them prior to the next meeting. Commissioner Cvar noted that he had a problem with doing this as a routine procedure, and Commissioner Cutter agreed, but felt that due to the delays it would be a courtesy. Consensus of the Commission was to allow the Chair to sign the findings when completed.
 Commissioner Milligan left at 7:28 p.m.
7. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:
  A. Planning Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed the Planner's report, noting that the partition application from Mr. Mullen would also be dealt with according to the newly established policy, and would not require the fee and hearing process.
  B. Other Issues: Commissioner Cutter asked about parking boats, and it was noted that this falls under the Recreational Vehicle requirements in the Code.
Commissioner Cvar suggested that when applications are submitted staff should ensure that attachments should be done to-scale.
  Chair Balen stated that the Commission needed to start reviewing the Development Code to incorporate the new Business District section and other related revisions and suggested that, if there were no pressing issues, the next meeting would be devoted to this issue.
8. ADJOURNMENT: At 7:40 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, Commissioner Meatzie moved to adjourn. Commissioner Cvar seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
Respectfully submitted (as amended),
Reda A. Quinlan, City Clerk
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 27th day of July, 2004.
SIGNED by the Chair this 27th day of July, 2004.
Samuel Balen, Chair