Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: March 4, 2010
Time: 6:30 P.M.

The regular meeting and public hearing of the Planning and Zoning Commission was held on the above date and time in City Council Chambers, third floor of City Hall with the following members and personnel in attendance: Shelby Lawhon, Vice Chair; Phil Young; Thomas Baird, IV; Gloria Roling (absent until 7:01 p.m.); King Coltrin; Jay McClelland; Matthew Edwards; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Ralph Rognstad, Director of Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; ABSENT: Jack Wheeler, Jim Hansen.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:          

The minutes for February 4, 2010, were approved unanimously.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Mr. MacPherson said that, regardarding items 1 and 2, the applicant had requested that the cases be tabled until the Commission meeting scheduled for March 18. After consulting with Ms. Yendes. Mr. Lawhon declared that the requested tabling was granted.

FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT ITEMS:
(These consent cases will be approved by Commission unless a Commissioner or someone else wishes to speak to them.  If so, those cases will be moved to the appropriate place on the agenda and they may be spoken to, and voted on, at that time.)    

  1. Relinquish Easement 747                                   Assemblies of God Financial Services Group
    (1600 block W. Battlefield)
    (The above item was tabled. See the COMMUNICATIONS section above.)

HEARINGS: 

PRELIMINARY PLAT:

2.     CECC Subdivison                                         Assemblies of God Financial Services Group
       (1600 block W. Battlefield)
       (The above item was tabled. See the COMMUNICATIONS section above.)


ZONING:

3.    Z-07-2009                                                       Lakes Country Rehab
      (2600 block W. Olive)

Mr. MacPherson described the purpose of the case, saying it was intended to rezone approximately 0.37 acres of land located on the south side of the 2600 block of West Olive Street from an HC, Highway Commercial, district to an R-LD, Low-Density Multifamily Residential, district, with the added restrictions of Conditional Overlay District Number 32. He said that the applicant was proposing to construct two duplexes on the subject property. He quoted from the City’s staff report as follows:

Conditional Overlay District #32 will restrict the density of development to a maximum density of eleven dwelling units per acre. Since the applicant has requested a maximum of eleven dwelling units per acre, the Multi-Family Development Location and Design Guidelines do not apply. As part of the Conditional Overlay District, additional right-of-way and sidewalks on Olive Street are required.

Mr. MacPherson referred the Commission to Exhibit C of the staff report for more detail on the conditions imposed by the overlay district. He said that staff was recommending approval of the proposal because of the following findings:

  1. Approval of this request will permit the construction of two duplexes and is compatible with the existing residential development to the west and south.
  2. Commercial development of the subject property would be difficult with today’s more extensive development requirements.
  3. Approval will allow for infill development on this property where public infrastructure and services already exist.

Mr. McClelland asked if the existing duplexes to the west of the subject site were part of the eleven dwelling units per acre. Mr. MacPherson said no, they were not. Mr. McClelland asked if the person who built the duplexes to the west was also the owner of the proposed new duplexes. Mr. Macpherson said he did not know if the parcels under discussion were all owned by the same person.  

Mr. Lawhon opened the public hearing.

Bob Scheid, 1329 W. Swallow, said he was representing Lakes Country Rehabilitation Center. He said the duplexes would be used as transitional housing for vocational rehabilitation clients.

Mr. Lawhon asked how long the clients would typically be living in the duplexes. Mr. Scheid said that “they would be mentally/physically handicapped developed who come in for vocational evaluation, job training, and job placement.” Mr. Lawhon asked if “some of that” would be done in the duplexes. Mr. Sheid replied that the duplexes would only be used as dwelling units. 

Pam DeWolfe, 2615 W. College, said she was concerned about the safety of her family members, who live near the subject site. She said she was also concerned that the new duplexes might be built right up against her property line. Mr. MacPherson said that if the property were developed it would have to be done in accordance with guidelines that govern such things as setbacks from adjoining property.

Ms. DeWolfe asked if, later on, she would be able to see what the plans are. Mr. Lawhon said yes, she would. 

Mr. Rognstad said that, in addition to setbacks, there would need to be a bufferyard when the property is developed due to the presence of an area of single-family zoning to the south. 

Mr. Lawhon closed the public hearing.

Edwards made a motion to approve zoning case Z-07-2010/COD 32. Coltrin seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Coltrin, Young, Baird, McClelland, Edwards, Lawhon; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Wheeler, Roling, Hansen.

4.     Z-02-2010                                        SFS Properties, LLC
          (245 and 300 blocks of S. National)

Mr. MacPherson said that the case was a request to amend the Walnut Street-West Urban Conservation District generally located between the 900-1200 blocks of East Walnut Street and the 200-300 blocks of South National Avenue to create two sub-areas.
 
Mr. MacPherson said that the Commission had already spent some time on this case but that he would briefly give some background information on it. He gave the following information.

The applicants originally proposed to rezone approximately two acres of property from an R-HD, High-Density Multi-Family Residential District with Walnut Street-West Urban Conservation (Overlay) District to a CC, Center City District at the Planning Commission Meeting on January 7th. Following the testimony, Commission indicated they did not support the rezoning to CC but were inclined to remove the subject properties from the UCD. Commission requested staff meet with the applicants to identify alternatives to the CC district and allow the Landmarks Board a chance to review and comment. After a meeting between the applicants and staff, staff drafted a memo and amendment to the Walnut Street UCD creating subareas A and B. Staff sent the draft to the applicants and the Landmarks Board for review and comment. The Landmarks Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed amendments to the Walnut Street-West UCD at their meeting on February 3, 2010.

Mr. MacPherson said that page 11 of the City’s staff report summed up the proposed changes to the UCD ordinance (the Walnut Street-West UCD Proposed Amendment, Exhibit 1), showing how certain paragraphs were proposed to be changed. The summary on page 11 reads as follows:
  
A.         Paragraph E and F to delete the requirement for the property owners in the new sub-area to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness for site plans, maintenance, and improvements to their property (demolitions will still require a Certificate of Appropriateness);
B.         Paragraph I to require the standard parking requirement for non-contributing structures; and
C.        Paragraph J to delete the requirement for additional interior landscaping in parking lots and require the same as prescribed by the Zoning Ordinance in both sub-areas.
D.        Paragraph L to allow larger and taller signs.

Mr. MacPherson said that staff was basing its recommendation for approval on the following findings:

  1. The properties along National Avenue are situated differently from the properties along Walnut Street in the UCD. The properties along National Avenue can not realize the same economic return and therefore they cannot afford to maintain and improve their properties in conformance with the Certificate of Appropriateness requirements.
  2. There is a significant difference between National Avenue and Walnut Street in relation to the physical characteristics, access, parking limitations and adjacent lot sizes. It is difficult for properties along National Avenue to take advantage of the unique requirements and additional uses in the UCD because of the above mentioned issues.

Mr. MacPherson said that the Landmarks Board was in favor of the proposed rezoning.

Mr. Young asked if there was still the issue of a traffic study to contend with. Mr. MacPherson replied that there was no longer a need for a traffic study because there was no proposal in the current zoning case to change the land uses along National Avenue. 

Mr. Lawhon asked for a definition of a noncontributing structure.

Mr. MacPherson said that term referred to a structure that does not “contribute to the historic or architectural significance of the district.”

Mr. Baird asked why property owners along National would still be required to get a certificate of appropriateness before demolishing a structure on their property. Mr. MacPherson said that the applicants did not object to that provision, and staff, in drafting the revised ordinance, had sought to make “the minimal amount of changes” to the current ordinance. 

Mr. Lawhon opened the public hearing.

Bob Sweere, 302 S. National, said he represented the applicants. He said he wanted to thank City staff and the commissioners for working with his group to arrive at the current proposal.

There being no other speakers, Mr. Lawhon closed the public hearing.

Coltrin made a motion to approve zoning case Z-02-2010. Young seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Coltrin, Young, Baird, McClelland, Edwards, Lawhon; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Wheeler, Roling, Hansen.

ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT:

5.      Multi-Family Districts                                                       City of Springfield
         (City-wide)

Mr. Macpherson said that the purpose of the proposed amendment was to amend the permitted uses section of multi-family districts (Sections 4-1200, 4-1300 and 4-1400) to add the duplex use and reduce its minimum lot area and to amend the minimum distance requirements between multi-family buildings in the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. MacPherson read the following excerpt from the Staff Comments section of the City’s staff report:

  1. City Council approved a resolution on February 22, 2010, to initiate a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to amend the permitted uses section of all multi-family districts to add duplex uses in certain circumstances and reduce the minimum distance requirements between multi-family buildings.
  2. The amendment would reduce minimum lot sizes for duplexes in the multi-family districts and allow for a new permitted use for duplexes in R-MD and R-HD as follows:
  3.                                  Existing                                                           Proposed
                R-LD               7,500 sq. ft.                                                    6,500 sq. ft.
                R-MD              7,500 sq. ft. (existing duplexes)                          5,500 sq. ft. (new)
                R-HD              7,500 sq. ft. (existing duplexes)                          4,500 sq. ft. (new)

  4. The minimum distance requirements between buildings are eliminated in this proposed amendment. The City is attempting to promote increased density in development activity and the infill of smaller lots for multi-family use. The Building Code will address minimum distances between structures.

Mr. MacPherson said that staff’s recommendation for approval was based on the following findings, as stated in the staff report:

  1. The proposed amendments encourage development activity in lots that are currently too small to develop under the existing ordinance.
  2. The proposed amendments will allow for development to occur at increased density.

Mr. McClelland asked, “Why is a low-density square footage more than a high-density square footage?” Mr. MacPherson said that the square-footage numbers indicate intensity of development, and the low square-footage lot numbers allow for more intensive development. 

Mr. Lawhon made a comment about a development’s “footprint.” Then he asked why staff wanted to change the ordinance. Mr. MacPherson said that staff hopes the revisions will facilitate more infill development in older neighborhoods, where lots tend to be smaller, and also facilitate higher-density development in general.

(At this point, Ms. Roling joined the meeting.)

Mr. Rognstad said that sometimes single-family structures are demolished in zoning districts where the lot-size standards currently don’t permit the replacement of those structures with new single-family units and duplexes, and the proposed changes “will allow people to come back in and do infill on these lots.”  

Mr. Lawhon opened the public hearing. No one wanted to speak, so Mr. Lawhon closed the public hearing.

Young made a motion to approve the zoning text amendment titled Multi-Family Districts. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows:  AYES: Lawhon, McClelland, Coltrin, Edwards, Roling, Baird, Young; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Wheeler Hansen.

ANY OTHER MATTERS UNDER COMMISSION JURISDICTION:

(None.)

 

 


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