Planning Commission

Tuesday, February 10,2009
Minutes



PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY OF ST. GEORGE
WASHINGTON COUNTY, UTAH
February 10, 2009 4:30 P.M.


PRESENT: Acting Chairman Ron Bracken
Council Member Gloria Shakespeare
Commissioner Ross Taylor
Commissioner Julie Hullinger
Commissioner Ron Read
Commissioner Mike Nobis

CITY STAFF: Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth
Community Development Director Bob Nicholson
Planner II Ray Snyder
Planner I Craig Harvey
Secretary Gail Williams

EXCUSED: Commissioner Chapin Burks

ABSENT: Commissioner Campbell

CALL TO ORDER
Acting Chairman Bracken called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. Acting Chairman Bracken led the flag salute.

1. LOT SPLIT

Consider a lot split request to legally divide one parcel into two for property located at 3526 Little Valley Road. The existing lot is 2.37 acres (103,243 square feet). The proposed parcels would be; Parcel 1 = 1.105 acres (48,148 square feet) and Parcel 2 = 1.265 acres (55,095 square feet). The property is zoned RE-20 (Rural Estate 20,000 square foot minimum lot size). The legal owners are Cameron and Malynn Cutler. Case No. 2009-LS-001.


The lot split was presented by Craig Harvey. This is part of a family trust, which cannot be sold. The applicant would like to divide his existing lot and give one of the existing parcels (parcel 1) to a family member so he can build a single family home on that parcel.

There is an equestrian buffer that was shown. There will be a 25 ft. right of way easement onto Little Valley Road. Development Services will review this prior to the recording of the deeds. Parcels one and two both meet the minimum lot size area which is 20,000 sq. ft.(they exceed that) and they meet the minimum width of 80 feet. Both parcels will have access to Little Valley Road. Staff recommended that the standard conditions be applied, with the exception that Dave Demas, Camerons supervisor, will review the access issues since Cameron is the City Traffic Engineer.

Commissioner Nobis asked if there was a recorded easement for the alley way that goes onto Little Valley Road. The answer was yes. Cameron came to the podium and stated that he also installed a fire hydrant and a turn around area that was asphalted because it was a requirement when he applied for a building permit last year. Commissioner Nobis mentioned Ordinance 11-5-4-D-2 which states that the staff portion of each flag lot shall front on a dedicated public street. Joseph Farnsworth, Assistant City Attorney, stated that the ordinance says that it has to front onto a public street and this one does because it fronts onto Little Valley Road.

MOTION: Commissioner Nobis made a motion on item 1 to approve it, subject to all of the staff comments, and on number 4 to also make sure he has a copy of the recorded easements, making sure that if affects both parcels 1 and 2. If not, they need to provide that document and have it recorded. Commissioner Hullinger seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion passes.

2. ZONE CHANGE AMENDMENT PUBLIC HEARING (5:00 P.M.)

Consider a zone change amendment to consider a request to eliminate or modify a deed restriction on property zoned C-3 (general Commercial) on 4.747 acres in order to allow the construction of a two-story storage building at approximately 501 North Bluff Street. The property owner is Paydirt Properties, LLC, the applicant is Mr. Jason Vowell, and Brown Consulting is the representative. Case No. 2009-ZCA-004.

Planner Ray Snyder presented this project. The parking is in the front of the three story building currently under construction. There is also a ramp to drive up behind the property and there is a paved area that has been created for parking. That parking is needed to support the new building. The applicant said that by looking at the hillside ordinance for allowable area for disturbance, they feel that they can disturb the hillside slightly to create a two story building for storage. They intend to store exotic cars on the bottom level and another level store files. Ray included the deed restrictions in the packet. The overall project has been designed to meet or exceed all current off-street parking requirements. Even with the addition of the proposed storage building the property will still meet parking requirements.

On December 17, 2009, the Hillside Review Board reviewed only the hillside issues for the proposed storage building. They looked at just the slopes and calculations and what was being requested and what could be disturbed for the hillside. They applicant asked to do this, knowing that the storage building itself had not been approved. They wanted to see the likelihood of it being approved.

On January 13th, the Planning Commission had a hillside permit come before them. It was tabled, pending City Council direction. That permit is still on hold.

On January 22, 2009, the City Council reviewed the situation and directed staff to instruct the applicant to submit a ZCA and present it to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Taylor mentioned that when the applicant came to the Planning Commission in the past with a request for the office building, the office building portion was zoned C-3 and another portion was zoned R-1-10. He thought a discussion was brought up about doing a PD and a merging of the two pieces into a PD. Ray Snyder stated that it did come up, but with the front C-3, the Council was not comfortable with having C-3 in the back because then you could do any use that C-3 zone allows. The issue of set backs had also arisen with the C-3 zoning restrictions. Bob Nicholson, Community Development Director, said one of the issues at that time was the landscape requirements for a PD vs. a C-3 zone. There were significant differences in the landscaping requirements. Now with the new landscape ordinance the requirements are uniform.

Joseph Farnsworth, Assistant City Attorney, pointed out that previously these were two separate legal lots that have since been merged. It is now all one lot.

Kelly Schmutz came to the podium as a representative for the applicant. They would like to provide water and sewer there, as theyd like to have one restroom as a convenience. A fire hydrant is in the front of the building for protection. The collectible cars are the owners hobby and they are currently storing them at the airport. Once the airport moves, they would like to have a convenient place to store their exotic cars.

They would also like the commercial tenants to have additional space to store files and to store inventory for sale.

Kelly verified that the C-3 zoning was done due to the extra landscape requirements at that time. They would have had to landscape an additional 25 feet under the PD requirements of that time. Kelly stated that unless the community abandoned the hillside ordinance, nothing else could be built there. The addition of this building renders the entire rest of the site completely unbuildable under the hillside ordinance.

The hearing was opened to the public.

Dorothy Mock, one of The Ridge homeowners, came to the podium. She came to the meetings when the zoning was being changed. They made it for parking only. A year later, they are here asking this to be null and void and restrictions to be lifted or amended. She thinks if they had water put in, then they were planning this new building at that time. The developer agreed to the restrictions a year ago.

Helen Roberts came to the podium. They live directly above the project and they have endured the dust and noise. She said the building will be an attractive building, but she is worried about that there could be an explosion of the cars. She would like to know if they will excavate as much as they did for the first building, so it will be on the same level as the first building. She feels that they are taking advantage and she feels strongly against this proposal.

Herb Valmer, who came to the meeting with his friend Edna Hunt, came to the podium to ask if a geological soil test has been done on this property. He stated that at this time the city is having a problem with a lot of rocks falling down the hill onto the roadway that leads up to the top. He has seen boulders come down and this is the same terrain these people are now building on. Large boulders have been washed down to the back of the parking lot. He thinks the only way to restrain them would be with concrete walls terraced up the hillside. He thinks erosion is a big problem and should be watched very carefully.

Kelly Schmutz wanted to address their voiced concerns. It is true it is one year later than their previous request. Construction was well under way before they had to idea to add storage. At their expense the applicants put in the water and sewer taking a risk that the building would be allowed and they wanted to get it in prior to the parking lot being paved. A geotechnical investigation had been performed for the Hillside Ordinance. Drainage has been reviewed and approved by the Community Development Department.

He understands the homes on the ridge have been there for a long time and some are quite close to the ridge. He stated that if that project were to come in under today standards, they would not be allowed to be that close to the ridge.

Kelly stated that the back wall of the storage unit where it cuts into the slope is to be designed as a retaining wall. The slope will come to the edge of the building and be backfilled. Drainage issues will be addressed at that point. The height of the building will be constructed as two stories. The ground floor will be even with the parking lot. The completed storage building would be equal in height to the three story building. They plan to use the same colors, architecture, styles, and materials. They want it to be as attractive as possible. It will be stucco with a nice roof and will blend in with the property.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth said that the way the deed restriction is now, it says it can only be parking in that whole back parcel. The application tonight is to remove the deed restriction completely from that whole area. He stated it is within the Planning Commissions discretion to recommend to City Council to remove it from just that 4000 sq. ft. so they can put the building in, but retain the restrictions on the remainder of the property.

Kelly said that recognizing that the Hillside Ordinance prevents them from any future applications, they are fine with amending the current restriction.

Sam Roberts, from The Ridge Development, came to the podium. He asked if they excavate the lot will they receive another semi load of dirt? Kelly responded that he thinks he is referring to the red sand blowing. Once the building is completed it would reduce the area of loose dirt. He knows there is a dust ordinance to monitor this.

Kelly Schmutz said all drainage issues had been address. Any dirt excavated will be removed from the site. He was asked to address the 25 ft. driveway up to the back parking lot. It conforms to all standards of construction and safety. It meets fire code. As far as traffic for the storage, it should have negligible impact on traffic because it will be used by the landlord, owners and tenants only. No part is to be open to the public.

Commissioner Nobis asked if this last comment by Kelly that the storage cant be used by the public, only by the landlord, owners and tenants, should be added into a motion. Joseph Farnsworth thinks the city would be overstepping their bounds by adding this. If this is a voluntary concession by the owner, that would be fine. This storage building could be considered as an accessory building to the primary office building. This would need to be looked into further.

Councilwoman Shakespeare questioned future owners of the property and the impact it would have once the original owners are gone.

Commissioner Taylor stated that he feels concern for the community living above the ridge. His proposal would be to modify the deed restriction, but keep it in place. If the owner then needed to develop this property further he would need to come back to the Planning Commission and convince them that it is the right thing to do. This is a unique property, due to its visibility in the community and also its impact on the people living above it and both of those deserve some protection.

Acting Chairman Bracken said they could probably impose those things tonight and if there are any changes it could be done at City Council meeting.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth reinforced that tonight is basically just the recommendation.




MOTION: Commissioner Read made a motion to recommend to City Council amending the deed restriction to allow for the proposed building, with the restrictions and conditions agreed upon today, that the height would be a two story building and the height will not exceed the main structure, that the design and colors will be compatible and in harmony with the main building, the storage use is for storage for tenants and owners only and not for any outside public use. Part of the motion is based on the fact that the proposed building, based on what they heard from the hillside review heard last time, stabilizes hillside and minimizes hillside cuts that would be required otherwise.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Taylor asked if it will be limited to 4000 sq. ft. Commissioner Read said the footprint of the storage building be limited to 4000 sq. ft.

Acting Chairman Ron Bracken asked if there were questions on the motion.

Commissioner Taylor asked if it would be significant to give the legal description where this building is going to be so it cant be floating around.

Commission Read asked Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth look at the restriction language to be sure it is there and plotted. Mr. Farnsworth said with the deed restriction, you would basically carve out that area, that everything else meets parking lot but in this specific area you can build a building with these conditions as Commissioner Read stated. That is what he envisions. The parking lot is exhibit A with that legal description, the building is exhibit B with legal description, so it is really specific.

Commission Nobis had a question for Kelly, did he say it wouldnt be more than 1 ft. to the far west corner of the building being constructed. He asked because in the motion they said no higher than the main building. Is it to be greater than a ft.over? Kelley said he is not sure he has the exhibits from the hillside submittal. Commissioner Read asked what kind of roof they had. The response was that it was a flat roof. Commissioner Read said he will amend it to say within two feet of the main building, because he hates to restrict him on inches. There were no more questions on the motion.

Motion seconded by Commissioner Nobis. All voted aye. Motion passes




3. ZONE CHANGE REQUEST PUBLIC HEARING (5:00 P.M.)

Consider a zone change from R-1-8 (Single Family Residential 8,000 square foot minimum lot size) to PD-RES (Planned Development Residential) on approximately 1.80 acres. The project is IHC / City Housing. The applicants are the City of St George and IHC. The site is located at approximately 451 East 500 South. Case No. 2008-ZC-009.


Bob Nicholson presented this request. This project is now called City Center Commons. Paul Blackmore is present as a representative as is Steve Vance from IHC. There was a neighborhood meeting last Tuesday as an open house. There were a few concerns until they talked through the value of two story buildings vs. a single story.

This is just west of the existing Childrens Justice Center. The project is for a total of 10 units. They would all be platted for individual units and rentals prohibited. The current zoning is R-1-8. This is for a total of 10 dwelling units, consisting of 8 detached single dwelling units and a twin home development on the back. They will all be plated for individual ownership. Rentals would be prohibited. Each building would have a unique look. The hospital would have five units to use for their employees and the City would have five units. There will be a homeowners association to maintain the common areas.

Commissioner Taylor asked if this would be built all at once or if it would be in phases. Bob Nicholson, Community Development Director answered that one or two builders would be selected to build these ten homes. At this time, many details remain to be worked out.

Commissioner Nobis asked if this could set precedence for future projects. Bob said this is an infill project with vast improvements. It is a good project and it does have 20 ft. setbacks from the private drive to the garage.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth asked about the phasing. Paul Blackmore said they will build all of the infrastructure at once. The paved roads and common areas will be prepared and landscaped. They may hold off building individual units based on demand and timing. It will come in as one plat for the whole project. He said they tried to bring the homes together to create a lot of open space. The driveways allow two car parking for visitors.

The public hearing was opened.

Kristin Poulson came to the podium. She lives directly across the street. She was not able to attend the meeting at the Childrens Justice Center so she came tonight. Most of her questions were answered tonight. Her main concern would be that these houses would become rentals and she wondered how that aspect would be addressed. She also questioned parking for guests. Visitors seem to park on the street and she foresees the visitors using her street for parking and possibly blocking her driveway.

Bob Nicholson explained that the intent is that this always be owner occupied properties. It can never be a secondary residence. You could clearly limit the motion to owner occupied units. If you make it part of the PD regulations and the plat is recorded a note can be put in saying they need to be individually owned. That note on the plat would only be able to changed by the City.

IHC owns the property. Steve Vance made a comment that this was a significant donation to the community and sees it as a long term partnership within the community. There are legal details to work out, but this is not to be a one time deal for their health care workers.

MOTION: Commissioner Taylor made a motion to recommend approval for the zone change in item #3, with the addendum that when the plat comes before the Planning Commission for this project that it has language in it which describes home ownership only, and primary residence only, without the opportunity for rentals. Commissioner Hullinger seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion passes.



4. ZONING REGULATION AMENDMENT PUBLIC HEARING (5:00 P.M.)

Consider a zoning regulation amendment to the City Zoning Regulations, Title 10 Zoning Regulations, Chapter 8 Planned Development Residential Zone, Section 10-8-5:D.1.a(1)(C) to add a provision to allow for an alternate TND public street cross-section with 55 ft. public right-of-way and a reduced setback to a front porch where deemed appropriate by the City Council. Case No. 2009-ZRA-001.

This was on the agenda a month ago and it was tabled for a discussion with the City Council. This is a road cross section allowed in the TND and the suggestion was to have it as a tool some other places. It is proposed that it be allowed in a PD residential zone as an option, for limited use, where it serves 50 cars. This would translate to about 500 trips a day.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson said they need to define better a covered, open porch. It is not to be an awning. They need to say an open, elevated by 18 inches front porch, integrated into the home design, with appropriate railings. Council felt that it was a good option if used in the appropriate spots.

Commissioner Taylor said they should look at modifications for people with disabilities, making it ADA. Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth said a federal law does exist and the builders may have to address this, so it may not need to be incorporated in the language by the Commission. Mr. Farnsworth also mentioned that in discussing language, perhaps instead of TND, this should be spelled out as Traditional Neighborhood District.

MOTION: Commissioner Hullinger made a motion to recommend approval on item #4 to the City Council and to work with legal to fix the wording. Motion seconded by Commissioner Nobis. All voted aye. Motion passes.


5. DISCUSSION

Director Bob Nicholson will report on the Little Valley Plan.

Bob Nicholson said that on January 29th, the Council had a work meeting and three planning commissioners were able to attend. With the help of the Planning Commission this needs to be resolved because he receives many phone calls from property owners.

The Council was not comfortable with the buffer in the plan as it was presented. One option for a buffer is to increase the distance. Another is to define the density feathering. Another option is that the maximum density for the perimeter of the new development could be no more than half of the adjacent existing.

Bob stated the Silkwood Subdivision is a success story. They have a 60 ft wide trail within a 100 ft. buffer. The developer will put in the equestrian trail along the border of that equestrian subdivision.

For a buffer currently states that the nearest new home has to be 100 ft. away from the agricultural property line. This is not the agricultural home, but the agricultural property line. You can count the setback as part of that buffer plus the trail.

Commissioner Taylor said that equestrian trails could become multi-use trails, that it could be a useful recreational area down the road. Commissioner Nobis thinks the goals should be to see what will happen 20 years down the road. He cant see this Little Valley area later as horse property once the new airport is operating. The long term reality should be a human need and necessity. The horse properties are not the dominant feature of Little Valley even now.

Commissioner Taylor stated that a lot of the property out there is not good agricultural land. It isnt prime agricultural land. It is suitable as corrals. He is in favor of a wider buffer; it gives us a larger piece of property that is held for future use. When the use changes, that property will serve us better than a very narrow strip would.

Bob said the comments heard for the most part are that people want more clarity on what does density feathering mean and what is the buffer. Ultimately the Planning Commission needs to make a recommendation to City Council and they will accept it or modify it.

Acting Chairman Bracken said we still need to look at the economics of the lot size.

The discussion was ended.


Commissioner Nobis made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Commissioner Read. The time was 7:30 P.M.