JANUARY 27, 2014
1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL: Vice Chair Woodruff called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. Vice-Chair Woodruff and Commissioners Andrew, Hafner and Gordon answered the roll. A quorum was present.
City Planner Larry Lewis introduced City Manager Kerry Kemp, who was attending the meeting as an observer.
2. ELECTION OF PLANNING COMMISSION CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR: Deferred to the end of the meeting.
3. CITIZEN COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
4. COMMISSION COMMENTS AND CONCERNS: None.
5. CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES: The Commission considered the minutes from the November 25, 2013 meeting. Commissioner Andrew moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Hafner seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote.
6. CORRESPONDENCE: None.
7. PUBLIC HEARING(S):
A. Case File #1-ZC-PC-14, Port of Alsea Request for Zone Change, Comprehensive Map Amendment and Conditional Use: Vice-Chair Woodruff opened the public hearing, calling for abstentions, conflicts, bias or ex parte contact. None were announced.
City Planner Lewis reviewed the written staff report, noting that this was a request to rezone the subject property (Tax Lot #3300 on Lincoln County Assessor's Map 13-11-18DD) from Residential Zone R-1 to General Commercial C-1, which would also result in a Comprehensive Plan Map amendment from "Residential Single" to "General Commercial". Additionally, the Port was requesting a conditional use permit to use the existing building and property for the Port of Alsea shop, storage of the Kayak Shack's boat trailers and kayaks, and for overflow parking of vehicles with boat trailers. Mr. Lewis noted that there had been one letter of support received.
Maggie Rivers, Port of Alsea Director, addressed the Commission, stating that the Port has known of the increased need for parking for many years. She did note that during the months of peak use (August, September and October) there will probably still be cars parking along Broadway and some of the other streets in the area. Commissioner Gordon observed that it may be possible to loop the traffic from east to west and then exit through the parking lot onto Broadway, which could alleviate some of the issues at the Mill Street exit. Commissioner Hafner asked about the kayak storage and Ms. Rivers indicated that they would be stored inside the building. Bert Guptill, owner of the neighboring property, stated that he was in support of the application, but requested that the final configuration allow for unimpeded access to the beach area, and also would like to see a fence and gate of some sort to provide a measure of safety. Ms. Rivers noted that the Port Commission was looking at different styles of fencing to separate the property on the property line.
Deliberation: Vice-Chair Woodruff closed the public hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberation. Commissioner Gordon asked about the process for the application, noting that the requested zone change and comprehensive map change would need to be approved by the City Council, while the conditional use could be approved by the Planning Commission. Mr. Lewis indicated that this was correct, and any conditions that the Commission wished to impose should be attached to the approval of the conditional use. Commissioner Gordon then moved to recommend approval of the zone change and comprehensive map change to the City Council, and to approve the conditional use with the conditions stated in the staff report and an additional requirement that the Port work with staff to develop a site plan acceptable to the owner of the adjacent property. Commissioner Hafner seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. Mr. Lewis will draft the findings and send them to the Commission for review and approval.
B. Case File #1-VAR-PC-14, Joseph Smolen Application for Variance: Vice-Chair Woodruff opened the Public Hearing, calling for abstentions, conflicts, bias or ex parte contact. Commissioner Gordon indicated he had driven by the property, Commissioner Woodruff noted that he owned property nearby, and Commissioner Andrew noted that she had spoken with Ms. Smolen and had talked about the property. No objections were raised to any of the Commissioners participating.
City Planner Lewis reviewed the written staff report, noting that this was a request for a variance to the front yard setback to construct a porch and stairs. The house had originally had a 8' wide ground-level porch which extended approximately 4 feet from the front of the house, encroaching about 43 inches into the Alder Street right-of-way. The applicant had raised the house in order to elevate the structure out of the flood hazard zone, which created the need for stairs between the ground and the new floor level. The applicant was requesting to expand the 8' width porch area in order to accommodate a platform one step above ground level with stairs leading to the front building entrance and stairs leading to a porch and a north side building entrance. Mr. Lewis indicated that there had been three letters of support included in the packet materials, and noted three additional letters in opposition to the Commission, which were distributed at the meeting.
Joe Smolen addressed the Commission regarding the request, stating that they were not asking to extend any further into the right-of-way than the original porch had, and indicated that the detached garage on the property extended even further into the right-of-way than the requested porch. In response to a query about parking, Mr. Smolen indicated that they were planning on using the area south of the house for off-street parking, and noted that the eventual use of the property would be as a vacation rental. Commissioner Gordon ensured that the applicants were aware of the fact that if there was need to get into the right-of-way for public use in front of the house, any costs would be borne by the property owner. Commissioner Hafner expressed concern regarding the potential impact on fire and ambulance access. Mr. Smolen responded that the encroachment would extend no further out than the original porch. He noted that any entrance other than from the front would require a redesign. They had considered an entrance from the south end, but that is the area which receives the most exposure to weather. They had struggled with alternatives, and had come up with this plan as a way to complement the existing architecture.
Proponents: Dean Richmond noted that he had done detailed floor plans of the house when someone had been interested in purchasing the property, and noted that the house was not oriented for any access except through the front. Julius Straus and Francis Laird also expressed support of the proposal, noting that the work the Smolens had done so far was a definite improvement and an asset to the neighborhood.
Opponents: Greg Holland spoke regarding emergency vehicle access concerns on Fayette Street, and noted that he felt the hardship was self-imposed and therefore did not meet the criteria for a variance. He noted that the house could have been moved further back on the property at the time the structure was raised, and also expressed concern regarding the use of the property as a vacation rental. Joe Penzola noted that there was a large difference between the original one-step porch and the proposed stairway which would span the entire front of the structure, effectively eliminating any parking in the front. He suggested abandoning the front entrance and accessing the property from the mud room on the side. Jan Power noted that, for fire and life safety, a minimum of two ingress/egress points should be maintained. Susan Woodruff stated that the application did not address the circumstances for allowing a variance, and asserted that the hardship was self-imposed. She also suggested that, if the application were approved, the Commission might consider a requirement that if any alterations were done to the garage, the structure would have to be brought into compliance with the City's code. Carlos Lazaro asked if this design was the minimum needed in order to access the house.
Rebuttal: Sherrie Smolen noted that the building permits had been approved for the structural alterations to the house, and that they were aware of the need for the variance process for the porch. She reiterated that the encroachment was the same as it had been for the original porch, with the addition of the stairs for access.
Deliberations: Vice-Chair Woodruff closed the public hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberation. Commissioner Gordon stated he felt that the application met the criteria for Item A, stating that the home had been built in 1926, the garage extended further into the right-of-way than the porch, the applicants had not altered the footprint of the house and the original porch had extended the same distance into the right-of-way as the proposed porch would. He also felt it met the criteria for C, D, and E. He noted that it was doubtful that Alder Street would ever be opened to the north end, and it didn't appear that there would be traffic or parking issues on a dead-end street. He then moved to approve the variance request. The motion died for lack of a second. Commissioner Andrew moved to deny the request, based on the observation that the hardship was self-imposed and the variance requested was not the minimum variance which would alleviate the hardship. Commissioner Hafner seconded, and the motion carried, with Commissioners Andrew, Hafner and Woodruff voting "Aye", Commissioner Gordon voting "Nay". Mr. Lewis will draft the findings and send them to the Commission for review and approval.
C. Case File #1-CU-PC-14, Lighthouse Independent Baptist Church Application for Conditional Use: Vice-Chair Woodruff opened the public hearing, calling for abstentions, conflicts, bias or ex parte contact. None were announced.
City Planner Lewis reviewed the written staff report, noting that this was a request for a church in the General Retail Commercial Zone. The property, on the corner of Range Drive and Highway 101, had previously been used for an antique store and beauty salon. There were no proposed changes to the exterior of the building, and there were adequate parking spaces for the anticipated number of attendees.
Bo Smith, pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church, addressed the Commission regarding the application. The Commission asked questions about the number of attendees, the access to the property from Highway 101 and the potential exiting onto Tara Lane, and provision for additional parking in the event of an increase in the number of attendees or during church events. Mr. Smith responded that there were normally about 12-13 cars, and the area to the north of the church could be used for additional parking if needed.
Deliberations: Vice-Chair Woodruff closed the public hearing and opened the Planning Commission meeting for deliberation. Commissioner Hafner noted that her only concern was in regard to traffic exiting onto Range Drive from the property, and as long as they were aware of the potential problems, she had no issue with the application. Commissioner Gordon moved to approve the application with the conditions as suggested in the staff report. Commissioner Andrew seconded, and the motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. Mr. Lewis will draft the findings and send them to the Commission for review and approval.
The Commission then took up the issue of electing a Planning Commission Chair and Vice-Chair. Commissioner Andrew moved to nominate Commissioner Woodruff for Chair, Commissioner Gordon seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Hafner then moved to nominate Commissioner Andrew for Vice-Chair. Commissioner Gordon seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
8. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:
A. Planning Report: City Planner Lewis reviewed his written report.
B. Other Issues: Commissioner Woodruff noted that the Commission had asked for a code enforcement report to be included in the packet materials. Commissioner Hafner stated that she would like the City Council to discuss the membership of the Planning Commission. Staff will look at the number of members and attendance of the Commission over the last ten years.
9. ADJOURNMENT: At 4:15 p.m., there being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted as amended,
Reda Q. Eckerman, City Recorder
APPROVED by the Planning Commission this 28th day of April, 2014.
SIGNED by the Vice Chair this 28th day of April, 2014.
Ray Woodruff, Chair