SEPTEMBER 13, 2005
CALL TO ORDER – Commissioner Allen Douma called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. at the
Commissioners Present: Allen Douma
Absent Members: None
Council Liaison: Jack Hardesty, absent
Staff Present: Maria Harris, Senior Planner
Derek Severson, Assistant Planner
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary
TYPE II PUBLIC HEARING
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01474
OWNER/APPLICANT: MEDINGER CONSTRUCTION CO.
DESCRIPTION: REQUEST FOR A LAND PARTITION TO CREATE A FLAG
This action was called up for a public hearing.
PLANNING ACTION 2005-01477
OWNER/APPLICANT: STEPHEN HANSON/URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
DESCRIPTION: REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM
Site Visits and Ex Parte Contacts – Douma and Morris had a site visit. Black did not.
It is a pre-existing, non-conforming circumstance that has not been willfully or purposely self-imposed by the applicants. The shared drive predates the applicants’ acquisition of the parcel by at least fifty years, and the applicants are not able to remove the drive to remedy the situation as this would not allow the seven other lots legal access to their homes.
Severson explained the purpose of the WR zone. With the Variance, the coverage proposed in addition to the existing driveway is 1,463 square feet of impervious surface for the future construction of a home, garage and additional driveway. This limitation, and the fact that the design and location of the house, garage and driveway in the future will be subject to Physical and Environmental Constraints Review should ensure that the development will be sensitive to the site and surrounding area, in keeping with the purpose of the regulations. Staff is recommending approval of the Variance with the nine attached Conditions. The Fire Marshall drove the driveway this morning and saw no major issues.
MARK KNOX, Urban Development Services, 320 East Main Street, Suite 202, said he is representing the applicants who bought the property with the understanding it was in the RR.5 zone. The record of confusion goes back a long time. The parcel is a legal lot of record.
At the pre-application conference, Knox wondered if it would be fair to ask for eleven percent lot coverage. Staff said it would be difficult to make adjustments without having house plans. It seemed an unfair burden on the applicants to request house plans because when dealing with a hillside lot, a significant amount of money can be spent to draw up plans. The seven percent appears to be acceptable. Seven percent of this lot (20,908 square foot total) will leave 1,463 square feet of area for a house, driveway, sidewalks and hot tub/patio. Taking into consideration the geography and physical constraints of the lot, it will be challenging to design a house. The house will range anywhere 1400 to 1800 square feet. It will require some creativity. Knox has some reservations about asking for seven percent because he fears the house might end up straight up.
JOANNE RUTTER, 516 Granite Street, agreed with Kennedy’s comments.
TERRY CLEMENT concurred with the applicant.
SANDY ROYCE, Patricia Sprague Real Estate 99 North Main Street, represented her clients when they purchased the property and is representing them while they are selling. When they were looking into purchasing the property, she obtained the County records. They took the information they got from the County to the City Planning Department and she spoke to them and her clients spoke to them (individually) and both times they were told it was a buildable lot. When Royce took the listing to sell the property years later, it is still showing as RR.5P. The owners have paid taxes on it as a separate lot.
Staff Response – Severson said a lot line adjustment between the neighbor and her son was done around 2002 in order to create a more buildable area on that lot with less slope. There is a planning file. There was no house proposed and it did not become more non-conforming.
Rebuttal – Knox hopes the Hearings Board will base their decision on the unusual circumstances with the driveway. This is likely to be an issue for all the neighbors. The seven percent could be a difficult issue if any of the neighbors want to add any additional square footage to their homes.
Knox reiterated that it is possible that a future buyer may have a difficult time designing a house for the property. They might need eight or nine percent lot coverage. He feels when the property slopes, the house should step back.
COMMISSIONERS’ DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Douma is bothered by the clerical errors and wants to be reasonable in taking care of the property owners.
Black said the issue of slope and lot coverage is tough, but a Variance is an important request.
Morris does not have an issue with the error. Once the zoning came in, it became non-conforming. He does not see a problem with the driveway. He agrees it will be a tough site to build on. He does not have a problem with the seven percent.
Douma does not want the seven percent imposed on the owners if it forces them to do something that is not compatible with the lot. He’d like to give them more latitude so they don’t have to shorten the driveway. And extra three percent won’t come close to damaging the lot and will probably enhance it.
Harris explained if the Commission is heading in the direction of allowing more than seven percent, they would have to continue the application and re-notice because an increase in percentage would change the content of the applicant’s request. They could, at a future date, ask for a higher percentage.
Morris/Black m/s to approve PA2005-01477. Roll Call: Morris and Douma voted “yes” and Black voted “no.” Black explained a Variance raises a larger question. The property is steep. If WR was intended to keep the lots sparsely housed, there is only one lot that is conforming and the others have been shoe-horned in. Douma believes the lot meets what is happening in the neighborhood and it is a reasonable request.
ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.
Sue Yates, Executive Secretary