2012 Agendas / Minutes

MINUTES

ROGERS PLANNING COMMISSION

MARCH 20, 2012

CALL TO ORDER
The meeting of the Rogers Planning Commission was held on March 20, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. was called to order with Commissioners, Denker, Ende, Busch, Martin, Meadows, Terhaar and Swanson present.

Also present were City Planning Consultant Steve Grittman, Deputy Clerk Splett and Councilmember Ihli.

Member(s) excused: Noto and Knapp.

OPEN FORUM
No one wished to speak.

SET AGENDA
The agenda was set as submitted.

CONSENT AGENDA*
A. Approval of the February 21, 2012 Planning Commission Minutes
Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Ende seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda as submitted.

On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. Public Hearing to Consider a Request by NRD Powersports for a Variance to the Height and Square Footage Allowed to Remodel an Existing Freestanding Sign, Located at 20700 Rogers Drive
Planning Consultant Grittman provided the background information commenting on the following:
• Existing sign is non-conforming and was to have been removed
• CUP was approved for outside display with conditions in December, 2011
• Proposal is to remove top portion of pole and cabinet, relocate cabinet under digital portion of existing sign; height and sign area are in excess of what is allowed
• New sign ordinance that was adopted in 2008 significantly reduced what was allowed for signage
• Uniqueness of the property is difficult to define as it is fully exposed to the freeway
• Alternatives have been provided

Vice-Chairman Denker opened the meeting for public comment.

The following comments were registered:
Monte Howerton, NRD Powersports: When we located in Rogers, I had no idea how difficult this was going to be. The City and the property owner have been at odds over this sign for years. The property owner wants to go to court, he wants the City to take him to court. The property owner feels that this sign is "grandfathered" in and does not have to be removed. We are just a pawn in this whole deal that keeps going back and forth and is costing a lot of money. I have no authority to agree to anything other than what was proposed by us for the variance. I am stuck between the City and the property owner on this deal and am asking for some cooperation. I am trying to bring jobs and business to the city. 100 sq.ft. of signage is not visible from I-94. I do not know where to go from here. The proposal before you tonight is it – it lowers the pole and is what we thought a workable solution. The property owner agreed to this, I do not think I will get him to agree to anything else, especially if there is a statement that the sign has to be removed.  We are your best option in this deal. If this fails, there will be a battle.
Commissioner Meadows stated that he agrees 100 sq.ft. is pretty small. Proposed sign looks good and is reasonable. It is unfortunate that the property owner is not here tonight to discuss this. I think that the interim use permit is a good solution to allow you to continue operating and does not cost you or the owner anything. It would allow us to review the sign ordinance. It is pretty restrictive.
Commissioner Martin stated that the interim use permit option has no expense to it for you.
Monte Howerton: The property owner will not agree to or sign anything that contains a condition that the sign is to be removed. He believes that sign is "grandfathered" in and will not take it down.
Commissioner Martin stated that the interim use permit will allow you to have and use that sign for a specific period of time – such as 3 years. At the end of the 3 years, the sign will then be required to be removed to be in compliance. It's a win/win situation and will not cost anyone anything.
Monte Howerton: The Planning Commission can make a recommendation to the City Council that the find a way to resolve this issue.
Commissioner Martin stated that is what we are trying to do with the issuance of an interim use permit. It will allow you to use the current sign at no cost to anyone. At the end of the specific time period agreed to, the sign will be removed.
Monte Howerton: There is no way the property owner will sign anything that is an admission that the sign will be required to be removed. He believes it is "grandfathered" in and will not sign anything that contains anything about removal of it. There would more than likely be an escrow required to guarantee the removal and he will not do that. He wants to fight the city on this one.
Commissioner Martin stated he appreciates Mr. Howerton's situation, but this sign issue has been going on long before you leased the site.
Monte Howerton: Its been going on for years – whose fight is it? I am trying to employ people and pay taxes here. I have applied for signage on the building that the City will not issue to me and they will not sign the dealer's license that I need to operate my business here. It is all pending the outcome of this sign issue. I am in the boat business and not I seem to be fighting a battle that has been going on for 10 years before me. We brought this proposal forward as a workable solution to this and I am asking you to help me get this done.
Commissioner Martin stated that he cannot vote in favor of the variance as there is not uniqueness to this property that warrants the issuance of a variance.
Commissioner Denker stated that this discussion is not what the Planning Commission should be talking about, this should be discussed with the City Council. Our job is to only recommend either approval or denial of your request or of the alternative option. I would recommend denial of the variance as it does not meet the criteria for approval.
Monte Howerton: Would the interim use permit change the signage so that it can be transferred?
Planning Consultant Grittman: The interim use permit would make the sign a permitted use during the specific time period designated in the permit. When the expiration date of the permit comes the removal of the sign will be required.
Commissioner Martin stated that the sign must be removed when the "sunset" clause or expiration date is triggered.
Monte Howerton: So I would be granted 3 years with the existing sign without removal.
Commissioner Martin stated that it would be required to be removed at the expiration date. You would have the opportunity to reapply for another interim use permit to extend it.
Monte Howerton
: He (the property owner) won't agree to anything that requires the sign to come down. My lease with him is for 3 years.
Commissioner Martin stated that the interim use permit could be for 3 years the same as your lease. Then it would still be required to be removed after 3 years or you could re-apply for another interim use permit.
Monte Howerton: That would be the same situation, if its required to be removed he (property owner) will not sign anything.
Commissioner Martin stated that the variance request hasn't met the criteria for it to be approved. The interim use permit will give everyone what they want.
Commissioner Meadows stated that would also give the City the opportunity to review our current sign ordinance.
Commissioner Martin stated that the interim use can be for 3 years, the same as your lease. Sign the permit and it's a win/win deal for everyone.
Monte Howerton: He (property owner) won't sign that permit as long as it has anything in it that says the sign comes down. He wants you to take him to court on this. Letters have been sent to him over the years and he hasn't done it. There has not been any enforcement by the City. I'm held hostage here. I care about my employees and my business and I am stuck. I have had to let a couple of employees go over this.
Commissioner Denker stated that the interim use permit allows everything that you want.
Commissioner Meadows stated that the existing sign can stay with the interim use permit. You can continue to use it as is for 3 years. It's a win/win/win for all involved.

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Ende seconded a motion to close the public hearing.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

The Planning Commission discussed the following:
• The owner and the City to enter into an interim use permit for 3 years would solve the problem for now
• No hardships to allow for a variance, does not meet the criteria

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Ende seconded a motion to recommend denial of the variance, based on the findings that there are no hardships to warrant the variance.

Planning Consultant Grittman asked that the findings of fact for denial that were provided in the packet be included as part of the recommendation.

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Ende seconded the motion to amend the motion to recommend denial of the variance, based upon the following findings:
1. The applicants propose to modify an existing illegal sign to a height and area that exceeds Rogers' sign ordinance allowances.
2. The modified sign would exceed the sign height by approximately 24 feet (260 percent), and the sign area by approximately 110 square feet (210 percent).
3. The requirements for variance consideration include a finding that the property conditions creating the need for variance are unique to the property, and that the proposed use would be consistent with the intent of the City's ordinances and plans.
4. The property is situated along Rogers Drive with extensive, unimpeded view from the Interstate 94 traffic, similar, if not in fact superior to, many properties along the Rogers Drive frontage road.
5. The ordinance regulations were adopted with the intent that non-conformities would eventually be brought into conformance with the new regulations.
6. The existing sign has been found to be illegal in that the property was vacant and the sign did not identify any existing business for more than one year.
7. Approval of a variance cannot be supported by any of the required findings from the City's code or Minnesota Statutes relating to the consideration of variances.

and recommend that the option of an Interim Use Permit for 3 years be pursued by the City Council, NRD Powersports, and the property owner to resolve signage issues and allow Mr. Howerton to continue his business.

On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

There was a brief discussion relating to reviewing the sign ordinance especially along the I-94 corridor.

B. (continued) Public Hearing to Consider the Addition to the Zoning Ordinance to Create a B-3, General Commercial District and a B-C, Business Campus District
Planning Consultant Grittman provided the background information commenting on the following:
• This is a consolidation of the 3 commercial zoning districts that were in the former Hassan Township
• These districts are located on the northerly edge of Rogers, west and east sides of Hwy 101 and north of 144th Ave., but south of the Crow River
• Created to incorporate most of the land uses that are located there
• The joint planning board has worked on these districts for quite some time
• Audience members are here to speak on the B-C, Business Campus district

Vice-Chairman Denker opened the meeting for public comment.

The following comments were registered:
Howard Roston, 220 S. 6th St., Mpls. – attorney for property owner Bob Cotes: My client owns approximately 49 acres south of the river and on the west side of Hwy. 101. I appreciate your efforts in developing these districts and I apologize that we have not been more involved in the process. Our concerns are with the uses in the B-C, Business Campus district. We are not asking for any text amendments tonight. We do have concerns with the uses, restrictions, policy and code. We are asking that you table action on this ordinance to allow us the opportunity to meet with staff to address our concerns.
Commissioner Martin stated that this property was zoned as such in 2007 with the Comprehensive Plan amendment. This what not just done recently, it was several years ago.
Mr. Roston: I apologize, I did not know that it was that long ago. Once again, we are just asking that action on this item be tabled to allow us to meet with staff.
Dan Swartz, CBRE, 4400 W. 78th St., Bloomington – realtor for property owner: I have been working in this area for the past 15 years, 8 years with properties along the Hwy. 101 corridor. The B-C district seems restrictive as to the uses. There has been more activity in this area (Rogers) and there is quite a bit of industrial in the area of Graco, etc. The Hwy. 101 corridor has been more traditional commercial with outdoor storage. As you are aware, the full access to this area from 147th was changed by Henn. County. They no longer were allowing the cross access, so you can only get to this property from 141st Ave. As you go down Northdale Blvd. to get to this property, you pass by commercial properties that have outdoor storage and metal storage buildings.
Consulting Planner Grittman stated that if the B-C district is tabled tonight it will not affect any applications.
Commissioner Denker inquired if they are proposing to change the land use in this area.
Mr. Roston: The permitted uses within the B-3 district have more potential market uses than is allowed within the B-C district. We are asking for the opportunity to review the uses and possibly modify the uses from the B-3 district to the B-C district.
Commissioner Denker inquired if there were specific uses he was interested in.
Mr. Roston: We are just asking for you to table any action to allow us to meet with staff to review our concerns.
Mike Day, Direct Digital Controls, Otsego: I am looking at potentially purchasing a property on James Road. The overlay district for signs doesn't speak to the B-3 or B-3 districts. I am wondering what would be allowed here, it would be within the proposed B-3 district. Would it be the same as the RB district?
Consulting Planner Grittman: It would be the same as the RB district. We will need to define these new districts in the table within our sign ordinance.

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Ende seconded a motion to close the public hearing.

On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

There was a brief discussion by the Planning Commission:
• No problem tabling action
• Update the table within the sign ordinance to include the new districts

Commissioner Denker moved, Commissioner Martin seconded a motion to recommend tabling action on the addition to the Zoning Ordinance to Create a B-3, General Commercial District and a B-C, Business Campus District to the April Planning Commission meeting to allow staff to meet with Mr. Roston and Mr. Swartz to review the B-C, Business Campus district.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

C. Public Hearing to Consider the Addition of a Floodplain Ordinance
Planning Consultant Grittman provided the background information commenting on the following:
• Amended draft ordinance from the February meeting
• DNR has reviewed the draft two times and approve of the ordinance
• Floodplain regulations require DNR updates along with FEMA updates for properties to obtain flood insurance

Vice-Chairman Denker opened the meeting for public comment.
There were no comments registered.

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Meadows seconded a motion to close the public hearing.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

There was a brief discussion by the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Denker seconded a motion to recommend for adoption of the ordinance, with amendments recommended by DNR staff and corrections.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

NEW BUSINESS
A. Concept Plan Approval for TC Homes
Planning Consultant Grittman provided the background information commenting on the following:
• Proposed replat of a portion of the Brockton Meadows townhome area
• Single-family homes are allowed within the R-3 zoning
• Multi-family to single family is unusual – usually asking for more density
• Possible impact on housing density in the next Comprehensive Plan update

The Planning Commission discussed to following:
• Brian Tutt of TC Homes was present and stated that the market for townhomes isn't what it was and there is a better market for single family homes
• Angle lot lines would be a problem
• Park area

Commissioner Martin moved, Commissioner Swanson seconded a motion that the Planning Commission agrees with the intent of the concept of replatting the Brockton Meadows townhouses as discussed, with the condition that all requirements for Preliminary and Final Plat are met, and with the recommended comments in this report, as well as the City Engineer and other staff. A Concept Plan approval is not binding on the subsequent application, but is intended to guide the developer and city officials in the preparation and consideration of the formal plat application.

The Planning Commission also agrees that the City retain the R-3 zoning on the property, and that the applicant prepare a plat according to those requirements to avoid the need to rezone and amend the City's Comprehensive Plan. This recommendation is intended to minimize potential conflicts with outside agencies, and to minimize the reduction in unit count from this property, for the purposes of long-term housing and population benchmarks.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

OTHER BUSINESS
A. Restaurant Parking
Planning Consultant Grittman provided the background information commenting on the following:
• Request by City Council to discuss the parking requirements for restaurants
• Standards are too light – not requiring enough parking
• Standard parking requirement is 1 space for 40 sq.ft. of dining area and add square footage for kitchen
• Additional square footage for bar area
• Rogers code does not require enough parking spaces

There was a brief discussion by the Planning Commission and the consensus is to review the parking standards for restaurants.

ADJOURN
Commissioner Denker moved, Commissioner Swanson seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.
On the vote, all members voted AYE. Motion carried.

Members

Bernie Terhaar
Alternate #1
Bruce Gorecki
Member
Carl Knapp
Member
Dennis Meadows
Member
Dick Martin
Member
Kevin Jullie
Member
Steve Swanson
Member
Rick Ihli
City Council
Keith Neis
Member