Planning Commission Minutes

Tuesday, May 12,2009



PLANNING COMMISSION
CITY OF ST. GEORGE
WASHINGTON COUNTY, UTAH
May 12, 2009 4:00 P.M.


PRESENT: Acting Chairman Ron Bracken
Councilwoman Gloria Shakespeare
Commissioner Ross Taylor
Commissioner Chapin Burks
Commissioner Michael Nobis
Commissioner Ron Read


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

EXCUSED: Commissioner Kim Campbell
Commissioner Julie Hullinger

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

1. CONSENT ITEM FINAL PLAT

Consider approval of an amended road dedication final plat for Banded Hills Drive to abandon the old road alignment. It is located just off of 3000 East at approximately 2900 East and 3800 South. The applicant is the City of St George. Case No. 2008-FP-028.

This consent item was presented by Project Manager Todd Jacobsen. Ken Miller is present as the representative. .

This final plat was previously approved by Planning Commission on May 27, 2008 and City Council on June 5, 2008. The county owns a small portion and had to approve that. At that time we were unaware of the old road alignment needing to be abandoned. This is the road going up to the new airport. It will be known as Banded Hills Drive. The north side is zoned A-20 and the south side is zoned R-1-10.

All aspects of the Final Plat were carefully looked at and reviewed by Planning Department staff, Development Services Department staff and Legal Department staff and it meets all of the preliminary plat conditions and approvals.

MOTION: Commissioner Nobis made a motion to approve Item # 1 and to authorize the chairman to sign it. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Burks. All voted aye, motion passes.


2. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT

Consider a request for a conditional use permit to construct a detached accessory garage / non-commercial workshop that would exceed the fifteen (15) feet height limit for pitched roof garage. The property is located at 2283 South 2410 East. The applicants are Mr. and Mrs. Jared Wilkey. The zoning is A-1 (Agricultural). Case No. 2009-CUP-009.

Craig Harvey presented this request. The proposed height for the garage, which is adjacent to the Crimson Cliffs subdivision, is approximately 24 ft. to the top of the ridge. The applicants home is not in a platted subdivision.

The zoning chapter for the A-1 zone has no specific rule regarding an accessory structures height; in fact the zone allows for building heights up to 60 ft. in height as long as the building is being used for agricultural or agri-business. Since this building will not be used for either purpose, the rules set forth in Ord. 10-14-13 (D) will apply in this case. That ordinance states that no building which is accessory to a one family dwelling shall be erected to a height greater than one story or 15 ft. This structure will exceed 15 ft. in height, therefore a CUP is necessary.

Title 10, Chapter 14 Supplementary and Qualifying Regulations, Section 10-14-13 (D) reads: ...No building which is accessory to a one-familydwelling shall be erected to a height greater than one story or fifteen feet (15). This structure will exceed 15 ft. in height, thus necessitating the purpose of this CUP. The proposed building house is approximately 24 ft.

Craig showed a power point of this project along with a floor print. The materials will match their existing home. The purpose for the garage size is for the applicant to store his commercial vehicle in it among other items. He also wants to have a workshop and a storage area. The main floor of the garage will have a washroom and a storage room. There will be an upstairs closed off storage area above the main floor storage room. On the plans it shows that the window will be on the first floor. The storage area in the upper room does not have any windows, which building code says it must have a window in order to be a living area. There are no windows on any of the sides.

The structure will be located 98 ft. from the primary structure, 15 ft. from the side yard property line and 40 ft. from the rear property line. They are well out of the setbacks. The applicants garage will match the existing home finish materials and will be similar in design.

Staff recommends approval.

Commissioner Nobis noticed that there is a bathroom/shower area on the plans between the storage and the stairs.

Jared Wilkey, the applicant, said there is no shower, just a drain and an air conditioner box.

Commissioner Taylor wanted to clarify that there was no intent to put in a shower. There is no intent to do that.

Commissioner Taylor wanted to get the address right, as 2283 instead of 2263.

Craig said the correct address is 2283 South.

Commissioner Taylor asked the applicant how tall his house is.

The applicant Jared Wilkey came to the platform. He said the house is about 20 ft. high and the backyard steps down about 5 ft., so the garage will be about the same height as the house.

Commissioner Read asked if the business is the same name on his shirt that he has on which is Snap-On Tools distributorship.

Jared replied that was correct.

Commissioner Read asked if that was the vehicle that is in now.

The response was yes.

Commissioner Read asked if anyone ever comes to his house for the business.

Mr. Wilkey said no one comes to the house.

Commissioner asked if he has a home occupation license, business license.

Mr. Wilkey responded yes, he does.

MOTION: Commissioner Burks said that seeing as it meets all the categories and conditions for a conditional use permit through the findings A-K, he makes a motion to recommend approval to City Council. Commissioner Taylor seconded the motion. All voted aye, motion passes.


3. DISCUSSIONS

A. Second discussion of a proposal to modify Section 10-11-4 (A) Storage Enclosed in the manufacturing zones. The current M-1 and M-2 zones have a provision that requires the solid visual screening of outside equipment or materials. This exists as an aesthetic issue. Vehicles that are in running order do not have to be screened. This provision has been a source of debate by developers. Case No. 2009-DI-002.

This discussion was presented by Ray Snyder.

Previously on March 24, 2009 the Planning Commission and staff discussed a proposal to modify Section 10-11-4 (A) Storage Enclosed in the manufacturing zones. As a result staff is now returning to discuss a proposal for a zoning regulation amendment.

The current M-1 and M-2 zones have a provision that requires the solid visual screening of outside equipment or materials. This exists as an aesthetic issue. Vehicles that are in running order do not have to be screened. This provision has been a source of contention by developers; particularly on large acreage.

The proposal that staff suggests is that the City advertise for a public hearing for a proposed zoning amendment to amend the St. George City Code, Title 10 zoning Regulations, Chapter 11 Manufacturing Zones Section 10-11-4 Special Provisions specifically Section 10-11-4 (A) Storage Enclosed to allow chain link with slats for enclosing storage in certain situations.

Ray went on to discuss the proposed language of adding the words Chain link fencing with slats may be used for enclosed storage areas in the following situations and removing the wording chain link fencing with slats is not considered a solid fence for purposes of this section (1998 Document 20 4)

a. When the storage area is larger than one acre; or
b. If the storage area is less than one acre, chain link with slats is permissible along interior property lines but not parallel to a public street.

Ray Snyder presented the following options:

1. No change; ordinance should remain as is.

2. Delete the language chain link fencing with slats is not considered a solid fence. Note this would allow chain link fencing with slats as a solid fence.

3. Add definitive language chain link fencing with slats shall not be used to screen
materials stored on property fronting River Road or 3050 East Streets. Chain link is permitted for enclosing materials storage when not fronting on and visible from River Road and 3050 East Street.(Note: This would only protect two streets; River Road and 3050 East). You will note the new language doesnt say that, it just talks about the size of the property.

4. Require that a solid wall shall be parallel with any public street frontage. Except that movable gates may be see through. (Note: This would protect all streets).

Ray said they would like to have the movable gates be see through, because if they have a solid wall that meets the intent. It has been hard because of the weight to put something on a gate to slide through. They thought perhaps the slats, screen mesh or vinyl works. It has been tough to say what could work. Previously they were hard and said it had to meet the letter of the law; it has to be solid. They had a lot of people go to the expense of putting in a heavy sliding gate. Over the years theyve tried, because it wasnt really clear, be as fair as possible and conceded on that.

Ray showed slides from when they went out to River Road and showed properties that used different types of materials or no fencing at all.

The floor was open for discussion and direction.

Commissioner Nobis commented on (a); when storage area is one acre or larger. He wanted storage clarified.

Ray replied that it could be any product that is outside; it can be equipment or materials that you can see from the street.

Commissioner Nobis agree with what Ray said, but he still wants storage area defined more. Do you have to exclude the landscape and building itself? Do you have to have a dedicated storage area that is larger than that? Do we want to say a lot thats one acre or more in size?

Ray said when they get a site plan in they see where the parking is, where the building is and where the landscaping is. They then have them designate where they are storing on that property. He wonders if Commissioner Nobis is saying that we should take the square footage of just the storage area itself or the whole lot?

Commissioner Nobis said that to him it means you are taking out the parking area, the landscape and the building. He doesnt think that is what they are trying to say.

Bob Nicholson, Community Development Director said they usually designate an outside storage area. That is what we would then focus on; the outside storage area if it is larger than an acre, does it allow for chain link slats. He sees that as where they are heading.

Ray asked if in (a) what if it said designated storage area?

Commissioner Burks asked what happens when years from now they have greater storage needs than now and will use more than the one acre for storage. Commissioner Burks asked if we have any provision that if they increase it they have to do fencing?

Bob said if they are making it larger, it is not usually a problem; they would catch it during site plan review.

Commissioner Burks said if you enlarge your storage area, do we have a provision that says it has to be re-looked at and the proper fencing adjustments made? Commissioner Burks said it would cost you less money if you had over an acre of land.

Commissioner Taylor asked about the road frontage issue. He thinks if you can define the objectives strongly and say the intent of the ordinance is to provide a suitable and appropriate view scene from River Road or from any public street and this is the intent of the ordinance and this is how we plan to apply it, with the intent being well defined, maybe the property owner could find some ways to meet that. He could see it as a bit of a struggle.

Commissioner Nobis said that from the presentation it looks like only two acres of town would be affected.

Ray said it would involve any M-1 or M-2 zone. The most activity has been in the newest area of town which is Ft. Pierce. The majority have complied, however there are some other large properties that are coming in that have a lot of acreage and they dont want to put in the solid fence. He can understand their not wanting to because of the cost.

Commissioner Taylor said he does see some serious inequities involved here in how this would be distributed by some of the property owners. He isnt sure there is a solution.

Bob Nicholson said the other option is if you limit it to an acre, then the dimensions dont matter, because its not based on frontage, its based on size. Bob said usually they tend to be square or fairly rectangular lots.

Councilwoman Shakespeare said we need to add that the chain link fence must be maintained in good condition, and that deteriorated and broken slats must be replaced with the same color and type of slats, or ones that compliment the existing fence. She also thinks we need to make a definition of what deteriorated slats are, so when a Code Enforcement Officer goes out they can determine what is deteriorated and what is not.

Bob Nicholson said that was a good suggestion.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth said tonight this is a discussion item. One comment he has is that it seems like River Road and 3050 East have been discussed, but are there other streets where it would be appropriate to do that as well? He is concerned that it would be legally singling out certain area.

Ray said he thinks it would be better governed by the size.

Ray said they would like to bring it back to Planning Commission again as a zone regulation amendment for May 26th.

B. Discuss a proposal to modify Section 10-19-4 Residential Area Requirements in Chapter 19 Off Street Parking requirements and also Sections 10-7C-7 (Multiple Family Residential Zone) and Section 10-8-5 (Planned Development Residential Zone) to add a requirement for guest parking. Case No. 2009-DI-003.


This discussion was presented by Bob Nicholson. He said this is for PD projects and multifamily projects. Tonight is a discussion item with the intent of getting the commissions feed back and we can have a public hearing two weeks from tonight.

The current zoning ordinance does not address the subject of guest parking. Staff has researched the zoning standards of other cities for a comparison with St George and will present these findings. City of St. George requires two spaces for each unit.

Staff researched various other Utah cities for guest parking requirement. They also ran across a survey that had been done in Southern California. They have broken it down into studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom units.

The current City Of St.George parking requirement is 2 spaces per dwelling unit. This standard is fairly typical in city codes across the country; although many cities have a reduced parking standard for senior housing or other low occupancy dwellings (for example 1 bedroom and studio apts). Staff has researched many cities and the typical guest parking requirement for those cities that require guest parking (and many do not) is 1 space per 4 dwelling units (du). Some cities require more and some less.

Because St George has many housing developments with narrower private streets, the opportunity for street-side parking is diminished. Also private garages are often used to store household belongings and are not used for parking cars. St George is also a more visitor / tourist oriented community than the typical city. For these reasons, staff recommends a guest parking ratio of 1 space per 3 dwelling units and this would be required in all PD Residential developments and all multi-family residential developments. He said we may need to tweak our senior housing requirements. We have some phrasing now that gives some flexibility to an applicant. This may need to be clarified a little bit.

The goal is to meet the actual guest parking demand. Excess parking spaces simply add to the following problems; storm water runoff, heat islands, higher costs for installation and maintenance and aesthetics. Asphalt is ugly and landscaping is more attractive.

Bob said the goal is to target the need and not be excessive. He thinks we can apply it to the multi-family and PD pretty easily. In the PD zones we have a big mixture of projects, so somehow we need to fine tune the requirement.

Commissioner Burks said he lived in Sun River for 18 months and if somebody left their car as guest parking on the street overnight, they would have the nastiest letter on your windshield the next morning. It said there is no parking overnight on any of these streets. He thinks there needs to be more guest parking there, as there werent any within 8 or 9 blocks of where he lived.

Councilwoman Shakespeare questioned if the parking lots could be closer to each housing area and have them landscaped so they are not ugly.

Bob Nicholson said that is a good point and it could be made a requirement that guest parking is within 400 ft. or something of a dwelling its intended to serve. That way they could be scattered throughout.

Commissioner Taylor said there is the unique nature of this community that there is a lot of tourist and visitor traffic. This town is very busy almost year round with outside visitors. He thinks we have to consider that in the equation when we start looking at parking. He was impressed that some of the cities in Southern California realized that parking is related to the size of the unit. He said that we are seeing more of friends getting together renting places and there are four people living there with four cars. There is wholly inadequate parking in these situations. He sees it as a realistic approach to look at parking based on the number of bedrooms in the apartment.

Bob said that when you look at Southern California, even the 3 bedrooms, most of them still max out at two per unit. A possible approach would be to base it on bedrooms.

Commissioner Taylor asked if there were studies from property management people in terms of the parking situation and if we do have problems. He said if we dont have a problem, lets not give ourselves one. If we do have a problem, lets ask a few questions.

Bob said that Kevin Taylor, with the Fire Department, gets a lot of complaints from home owners about cars congested on the street. The newer standard is a two car garage and a 20 ft. setback to the garage. This has been in place now for 8-10 years. In newer projects, people can now park in the driveway; however the older developments the driveway is not long enough. Bob said this wont solve the problem anyway because zoning ordinances are not retroactive. Bob also said we could contact the property management companies to ask what they see as problems.

Commissioner Burks mentioned Stonebridge. He stated that some of those streets you can not get through on because there are cars and trucks parked in the street at night. He said you couldnt get a fire truck down those streets if your life depended on it.

Councilwoman Shakespeare asked how wide that street is.

Bob Nicholson said that he would guess that Monterey@Huntington would be 25 ft. with a rolled gutter.

Bob suggested that photos could be taken and this looked at. He said the other problem is that everyone has so many toys like wave runners, boats, ATVs, or motorcycles and that adds to the problem.

Councilwoman Shakespeare said that she personally would like to see all garages with a 25 ft. setback instead of the 20 ft. A parking spot is 9 x18 and when a driveway is 20 ft., most cars do not park right up to the garage. Most of the time the cars are also out on the sidewalk, so if anyone is walking down the sidewalk they have to go out on the street to get around the car. With a 25 ft. setback, you dont run into that problem.

Commissioner Nobis said by listening to these comments, it seems that the problem is the width of the street.

Bob said that is a lot of it. If it is a private street and is wider like Sun River seems to be you dont see much of a problem. If we geared this to the width of the street that could focus in on the problem. He thinks that we need to work on this significantly more and bring it back one more time for discussion and then have the public hearing.

Commissioner Nobis thinks you are adding more headaches for Code Enforcement and it will not be a battle you can win. He doesnt think you should write an ordinance depending on where you are economically; a good ordinance works across the board. You need to look realistically at what works. He doesnt think it is how many bedrooms are in the dwelling units, he thinks it is the width of the street.

Bob said if we gear the guest parking to the units that are on these narrow private lanes that will solve the problem. Its not the R-1-10 single family home on a public street that is the problem.

Commissioner Taylor can see the wisdom of looking at a parking ordinance, whether public or private, based on the street width. In a PD where the street width is narrower there would need to be the additional guest parking and the additional parking per bedroom that causes the swamp effect in the PD.

Bob said that what we should do is come back with something that is focused on the private street with density as an additional factor.

Acting Chairman Bracken said that along with that, maybe looking at the depth of the driveways in those subdivisions. If they have more depth they can better utilize it with the cars.

Bob Nicholson said the lower density developments typically do have longer driveways.

4. REPORT

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson presented a report about the Utah Historic Preservation conference of May 1st, 2009.

This conference is held once a year, usually in the spring. The State typically has a conference in the fall; this year these two were combined into one. Utah Heritage Foundation is a non- profit organization that sponsors preservation efforts in the state.

The presentation panel that he was on was Balancing Business, Development and Preservation. Others cities tend to look to St. George as a city to emulate.

Bob presented slides showing downtown St. George in the 1980s when it was really struggling and there were a lot of vacancies downtown. There was a downtown re-development advisory committee with about 15 people.

The Storefront Renovation Assistance Program went dollar for dollar for storefront as a reimbursement, up to $7,500 per building. They probably helped about 25 storefronts through the years. Many of them were on Tabernacle, Main Street and St. George Blvd. The City co-sponsored special events such as the Farmers Market to bring people back downtown. This changed the psychology downtown and more investors had a sense of confidence that the downtown wasnt declining any more and was really on the up swing.

The City Landmark Program was also discussed. In residential zones we allow limited commercial use if they go through this Landmark Program and come back for a conditional use permit. Weve had a number of these as a bed and breakfast under the Landmark Program. Its a simple program, but other cities think its pretty innovative.

Bob said it is a continual effort to keep the downtown healthy, but he feels they have really turned the downtown area around.

MOTION TO ADJOURN was made by Commissioner Burks and was seconded by Commissioner Nobis. All voted aye. The time was 5:25 p.m.