APRIL 28, 2014
1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Chair Woodruff called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. Chair Woodruff and Commissioners Andrew, Hafner and Gordon answered the roll. A quorum was present.
2. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
3. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
4. MINUTES: Chair Woodruff asked that the minutes from the January 27 meeting be held until after the public hearing. The Commission considered the minutes from March 31, 2014. Commissioner Hafner moved to approve the March 31, 2014 minutes as presented. Commissioner Gordon seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
5. CORRESPONDENCE: None.
6. PUBLIC HEARING: Case File #2-VAR-PC-14 - Joseph and Sherrie Smolen: Chair Woodruff opened the public hearing, calling for abstentions, conflicts, bias or ex parte contact. Chair Woodruff noted that he owned property in the area. Commissioner Andrew noted that she knew the applicant, and had served with her on the Planning Commission. Commissioners Gordon and Hafner noted that they were familiar with the property in question. There were no objections voiced regarding the participation of any of the Commissioners.
Staff Report: City Planner Lewis reviewed the staff report, clarifying that this was a different application from the one heard in January. He noted that the requested two sets of stairs are wholly within the property line, which had been established by staff, using a comparison with two adjoining property surveys. The written testimony includes a total of twenty letters of support for the application.
Proponents Presentation: Attorney Doug Holbrook, representing the Smolens, addressed the Commission. He indicated that the application met the requirement that the variance was necessary for the preservation of a property right substantially the same as owners of other property in the vicinity possess, that the variance would not be materially detrimental, that the hardship was not self-imposed, and that the hardship did not arise from a violation of the City code or other regulations. With regard to the garage, it was not part of the application, the applicants were not seeking a variance for it, and it was original to the property, so it should not be included in the application or the decision. The applicants agree to the fact that the garage encroaches, but disagree with the amount of encroachment as, in their estimation, it only extends 9 feet into the street right of way, not 14 feet. Mr. Smolen also provided visual testimony in the form of a plat map, newspaper articles, a survey and photographs. Mr. Holbrook noted that his clients would not be averse to working out some kind of documentation regarding the non-conforming garage, but that should not be a component of the variance request. The following people addressed the Commission in support of the application: Peggy Engle, Annie McHale, Jane Margoulis, Fran Laird, Joe Strauss and Kathy Tucker.
Deliberations: Chair Woodruff closed the public hearing and opened the Commission meeting for deliberations. Commissioner Gordon moved to approve the application for variance. Commissioner Hafner seconded. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Gordon noted concern that, even though the more recent application shows the stairway was not in the right-of-way, surveying is not always exact and may be subject to interpretation. He moved to amend the motion to add language to the third condition stating that if the stairs were proven to be in the City's right-of-way, the owners would remove them at their expense if requested to do so. Commissioner Andrew seconded the amendment. The motion to amend the conditions of approval carried, with Commissioners Woodruff, Andrew and Gordon voting "Aye", Commissioner Hafner voting "Nay". The main motion, to approve the application for variance, then carried unanimously on a voice vote. Mr. Lewis indicated that he would draft the findings and send them to the Commission for review and approval by a specific date. If there were any concerns, the findings would be brought back to the next Commission meeting. Otherwise, they would be signed by the Chair upon approval. Mr. Lewis also noted that the standard right to encroach agreement would be handled internally, and would not need to be brought to the Commission for approval.
The Commission considered the minutes from the January 27, 2014 meeting. Verbatim minutes from the portion dealing with the Smolen hearing were distributed for clarification. Consensus of the Commission was to strike the words "several times" from Paragraph 1 of Section 7B. Commissioner Gordon then moved to approve the January 27, 2014 minutes as amended. Commissioner Hafner seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
7. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:
A. Planning Report: Mr. Lewis reviewed his written report.
B. Other Issues: None.
8. ADJOURNMENT: At 3:15 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.
Reda Q. Eckerman, City Recorder
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 23rd day of June, 2014.
SIGNED by the Chair this 23rd day of June, 2014.
Ray Woodruff, Chair