Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date:

July 8, 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: Jack Wheeler, Chair; King Coltrin; Gloria Roling; Thomas Baird, IV;Jay McClelland, Matthew Edwards; Jim Hansen; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development, Ralph Rognstad, Director of Planning and Development; Daniel Neal, Senior Planner, Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; Errin Kemper, Public Works; Eric Clausen, Public Works; ABSENT: Shelby Lawhon, Phil Young.

 

Approval of Minutes:

The minutes of June 24, 2010, were approved unanimously.

 

Communications:

Mr. MacPherson said that Daniel Neal and John Sellars would be making a presentation regarding the agenda item dealing with proposed changes to the zoning ordinance. 


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.)     (None.)


HEARINGS:

ZONING: 

1.    Z-13-2010/COD#35                                                                Advocates for a Healthy Community
      (700 block East Bob Barker south side)

To introduce this case, Mr. MacPherson read the following excerpt from the case’s explanation sheet:


This is a request to rezone approximately .84 acres from HM-Heavy Manufacturing, District to a CC, Center City Zoning District, to allow for the construction of a medical clinic, and/or additional parking for the existing clinic facilities.  The Conditional Overlay District allows the traffic engineer, at his discretion, to require a traffic impact study to determine any public improvements required when any proposed development exceeds 100 trips per peak hour and/or 1,000 trips daily.  The proposed 30,000 square foot medical/dental clinic would be allowable with no TIS requirements. Access is provided to the site from East Tampa Street via a 32’ cross access easement.

Mr. MacPherson said that staff was recommending approval based on the following findings, which he read:

  1. The proposed zoning and land use is complimentary to the existing medical campus and allows the Clinic to expand services and/or provide additional parking in a consolidated location.
  2. Access is provided to the site from East Tampa Street via a 32’ access easement.
  3. The conditional overlay district provides a methodology to measure the traffic impacts and public infrastructure requirements for other uses that might develop on the site.  A medical/dental clinic would be allowable with no TIS requirements.

He said the Conditional Overlay part of the case dealt with the fact that the City was stipulating that the City Traffic Engineer was authorized to require that a traffic impact study be submitted by any developer whose development was expected to generate a high level of vehicle trips.

Mr. Hansen asked about the access easement mentioned by Mr. MacPherson. Mr. MacPherson said that the easement would follow the alignment of “Jones Alley.” Mr. Hansen asked why Benton Ave. could not be used instead. Mr. Macpherson said that the condition of that roadway was “inadequate.” He said the easement would include Jones Alley and land abutting it to the west.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Derrick Lee, 2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd., said he was representing the owner, and that if a medical clinic does “go in here” the resulting roadway/driveway would be “comparable to Tampa.” He said he would answer questions. 

Mr. Hansen asked if Jones Alley would be widened all the way down to Phelps Street. Mr. Lee said no, and he added that, south of the subject site, Jones would continue to exist in its present form.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing. He said he was in favor of the proposal. 

Edwards made a motion to approve case Z-13-2010/COD#35. McClelland seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


2.   Z-15-2010                                Debco Properties, LLC

     (1700 block S. Luster, east side)

Mr. MacPherson said that this case was a request to rezone a tract zoned R-MD (Medium-Density Multifamily Residential) to O-1, Office. He then read the following excerpt from the City’s staff report:

  1. The requested O-1 zoning is consistent with the existing office zoning and development to the south and is compatible with the existing multi-family residential development to the north and west and the office and commercial development to the east. 
  2. The subject property is situated along Luster Avenue, a local roadway, with access to Sunshine, a primary arterial roadway.  The location of the subject property is appropriate for low intensity office development.  Approval of this request will provide more opportunity for infill development of this property where public infrastructure already exists. 

Mr. MacPherson said the proposal did not involve subdividing the subject property and therefore the City was not asking that sidewalks be provided or funded. He said there was a row of trees alongside the road at the site, and their presence might complicate a sidewalk construction project.

He read the following findings from the staff report:

  1. The proposed O-1, Office Zoning is consistent with the existing office development to the south and compatible with the existing multi-family and mixed-use development to the north, east and west.
  2. Approval of this request will provide for infill development of this property.
  3. The location of the subject property is appropriate for low intensity office uses.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Diana Dohmen, P.O. Box 1395, Springfield, said she was willing to answer questions.

Mr. Hansen asked if her client was planning to build a sidewalk. She said that there was no plan to develop the property in the immediate future, and issues such as sidewalks and storm-water would be better addressed at the time of development.

Mr. Baird asked about the process for deciding if a sidewalk would be required. Mr. Macpherson said that typically, a sidewalk would only be required “if a subdivision of the property occurred.” 

Ms. Dohmen said that if a sidewalk were required it should be built to the east of the site’s trees (that is, well back from the edge of the street). She added that “there is no other sidewalk in the neighborhood.”

Don Bracy, 2900 S. Fremont, said that the right-of-way along the subject site is 70 feet wide. He said that if the sidewalk were put “behind the trees” it would be aligned such that it would dead-end in a parking lot of an adjacent office complex.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Mr. Hansen said he thought a sidewalk along the east side of the trees would be “wonderful” and would not need to line up with a future sidewalk. He said we need to start somewhere where the provision of sidewalks is concerned. He said he is in favor of providing sidewalks.

Mr. Bracy returned to the podium and said that a sidewalk behind the trees would “come right through those two parking lots.” Mr. Hansen said he thought a sidewalk behind the trees would be feasible and could be “swung back in” to “line up with any future sidewalk that might be there.” Mr. Bracy asked if any of the owners of adjacent tracts would be required to “go through the other people’s property?” Mr. Hansen said no, and Mr. Rognstad said “No, they wouldn’t be required.”

Hansen made a motion to approve zoning case Z-15-2010. Coltrin seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


PRELIMINARY PLATS:

3.  Talmage Trio Subdivision                   Talmage Trio
    (1435 W. Talmage)

Mr. MacPherson said that the purpose of this case was to create a one-lot residential subdivision, 1.87 acres in size.

Mr. Hansen asked about condition number 2.a. Mr. MacPherson said that Talmage Street was substandard in terms of its right-of-way width and therefore the applicant was being asked to dedicate an additional ten feet of right-of-way. Mr. Rognstad said the word in the staff report should be sixty rather than fifty.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Derrick Lee, 2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd., said he was a “partial owner” of the subject tract. He said he wanted to discuss Condition number 5 of the staff report. He said his subdivision would not have any covenants and it would not have a common area. He said Condition 5 should therefore be taken out. 

Ms. Yendes said that the purpose of the condition was to ensure that, in the event the owners somehow “split off so that there’s a common area separate from the lot that’s created, we have to have some way to place a lien on the benefited property in the subdivision.” She said it would be acceptable to revise the condition to indicate it would only apply if there were common area in the subdivision.

In response to a comment from Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Lee said the condition would require him “to put language in a document that doesn’t exist.”

Mr. Wheeler asked Ms. Yendes if it would be better to drop the condition. She said she wanted the public record to reflect that the condition could be dropped if the applicant would agree to come back to the Commission if, in the future, he decides to establish common area so that the condition in question could be re-applied to the subdivision.

After more discussion, Mr. Lee said he was inclined to accept an amendment that would specify that Condition 5 would only apply in the event that common area was created in the subdivision.

Mr. McClelland asked how many dwelling units would be put into the subdivision. Mr. Lee said that the property was zoned single-family and “we’re trying to sell it,” and that means “one family just like my house.”

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Mr. Hansen said he thought that the condition should not simply be deleted.

There was some discussion between Mr. Wheeler and Ms. Yendes on how Condition 5 could be modified and whether it or something like it might in fact be needed in the future.

Edwards made a motion to amend the preliminary plat of Talmage Trio Subdivision so that its Condition 5 would be changed to read as follows: “If common area is dedicated in the future, the restrictive covenants, rules and bylaws creating the common ownership must provide that if the owners of the Property Owners Association shall fail to maintain the common area or improvements in reasonable order and condition in accordance with the approved plans, the City may, after notice and hearing, maintain the same and assess the costs against the units or lots, per the Common Open Space and Common Improvement Regulations section of the Zoning Code.” McClelland seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.

Hansen made a motion to approve the preliminary plat of Talmage Trio Subdivision as amended. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


SUBDIVISION VARIANCE:

4.  Subdivision Variance 333                                      Assemblies of God Financial Services
     (1720 W. Battlefield)

Mr. MacPherson introduced this case by reading the following part of the City’s staff report:

The applicant is requesting a variance from Section 410(6)(b) of the Subdivision Regulations, which requires sidewalks on both sides of collector and arterial streets in certain nonresidential zoning districts.

He said the Commission had approved a preliminary plat at this site at its meeting on May 13, 2010; he then read the following statements from the staff report:

  1. The Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) currently maintains high-voltage transmission lines that run adjacent and parallel to the southern boundary of the subject property.  Centered over the lines is a 100’ wide electrical easement.  Structures, including streets and sidewalks, are prohibited within this easement.  However, under special circumstances, certain encroachments may be allowed as long as they do not compromise the integrity of the transmission lines or create a safety hazard. 
  2. This easement is more restrictive than similar electrical easements within the City.  For example, City Utilities may allow public streets and sidewalks within their easements, provided necessary measures are taken to protect public safety and the integrity of their poles.  The applicant has already shifted the alignment of West Montclair Street approximately 31’ north so that it will lie outside of the SWPA’s easement. This  has resulted in a significant loss of developable land.  Without a variance, the applicant will be required to shift the street alignment further north, thus resulting in an even more significant loss of developable land.
  3. Granting this variance will not be detrimental to the public safety, convenience or welfare or be injurious to other property in the vicinity.  Sidewalks will be installed along the north side of West Montclair Street.  Also, the applicant will be required to pay a fee in lieu installing sidewalks, the proceeds of which will be used for sidewalk improvements that are needed elsewhere in the City.

Mr. Baird asked why the applicants were being required to pay a fee when they were also committing themselves to installing a sidewalk. Mr. MacPherson said that normally they would have been required to construct a sidewalk on the south side of the street as well as the north, but the variance was asking permission not to build the south-side sidewalk.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Kelly Short, no address given, said he was representing the owner. He said he would answer questions.

Mr. Hansen said that he noticed, when visiting the site, that there were sidewalks in place east of the subject site and he wondered why they had been allowed to be put in the easement but the one under discussion would not be allowed. Mr. Short said that the federal Dept. of Energy, speaking for the SWPA, had told the developers that they were “not comfortable” with putting the subject sidewalk in the easement. He said the developers had been told that despite past actions along Montclair St., the SWPA would not now allow a “parallel encroachment” into this particular easement. Mr. Baird asked how much land would be lost if the roadway were shifted further north to get the subject sidewalk out of the easement. Mr. Short said that the road would need to be shifted about 8 feet to the north, which would mean losing an amount of land that would be calculated by multiplying 8 by approximately 600.

Mr. Wheeler said he was a big fan of the payment-in-lieu method of providing sidewalks. Mr. Short said the sidewalk on the north side of Montclair would tie into a sidewalk that currently runs north-south along the east side of Kansas Expressway.

In response to a question from Mr. Baird, Mr. Short said there would not be a traffic light at the intersection of Montclair and Kansas Ave. or Montclair and Kansas Expressway.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Mr. Hansen said was concerned about pedestrian safety along Montclair St. but would still vote in favor of the variance.

Mr. Coltrin asked if City staff gets involved in discussions with the SWPA in matters such as this. Ms. Yendes said that yes, staff had tried to help the applicant deal with the SWPA in this case. Mr. Coltrin asked if the money from the payment-in-lieu in this case could “go outside of this part of town.” Mr. Rognstad said the money would go to finance sidewalks located in the area served by whatever elementary school served the subject area.

McClelland made a motion to approve Subdivision Variance 333. Roling seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT:

 5.  Landmarks Board Amendment                      Springfield Landmarks Board
       (City-Wide)

Mr. Neal said the Landmarks Board would like to make some changes to the ordinance under which it has been operating since 1995. He referred the Commission to the City’s staff report, in which the Staff Comments section gives a bulleted list of the proposed changes and Attachment A gives the proposed new language and deleted language. He said one of the more significant changes was that the Board would be able to review interior changes to a historic Landmark or within a historic district “if the historic nomination describes interior features.” He said other major changes would establish new duties for the board and establish new membership criteria.

Mr. McClelland asked whether Item F on page 8 of Attachment A meant that the director of BDS can stop the demolition of a building. Mr. Neal said that passage would only apply if a building was proposed to be designated a Landmark or Historic District. He said the proposal was to delete some language in that paragraph because section 4-2405 of the ordinance goes over the same topic.

Mr. Hansen asked about changing the language that currently mentions “15 working days” to “15 days.” Mr. Neal explained that fifteen working days amounted to about three weeks and traditionally the time that elapses between an application and a board meeting has been fifteen days, or roughly two weeks. So the language being proposed to more accurately reflect reality. Mr. Rognstad said that “the meetings are two weeks apart, but the deadline, by doing fifteen working days, is three weeks.”

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. John Sellars, no address given, said the Landmarks Board, of which he is the chairman, had spent nine or ten months fashioning the proposed changes to the ordinance. In response to a question from Mr. Hansen, he said the Board was proposing language that would avoid a situation in which a building that had used an interior feature as a justification for receiving special status could not in the future modify that feature with impunity because the Landmarks Board was only authorized to review changes to exterior architectural features. He said that in some cases, “the building itself is the designee, but the interior feature is the major reason that it was designated.” In response to a question from Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Sellars said that wooden windows can be just as energy-efficient and long-lasting as vinyl or aluminum-clad windows.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Hansen made a motion to approve the agenda item titled Landmarks Board Amendment. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.

           
USE PERMIT:

6.  Use Permit 389                                              Robert Ross
      (661 S. New)

Mr. MacPherson said that the proposal would allow a non-residential building to contain a retail use and a residential use in a residential neighborhood. He quoted the City’s staff report as follows:

  1. The applicant is requesting approval of a Conditional Use Permit to permit the adaptive use of the existing non-residential structure to allow a semi-precious gem retailer and residential use. The purpose of the Conditional Use Permit for the adaptive use of non-residential structures is to allow for the use of structures, originally constructed for non-residential uses and currently located in residential districts, for selected non-residential, multiple unit residential and mixed non-residential and residential uses provided the proposed use would not have significant adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhood. The regulations provide the opportunities to make productive use of non-residential structures that could otherwise be a blight on the neighborhood if left vacant and not maintained. The subject property was originally constructed as a grocery store and has fallen into disrepair over the years. Infill of the existing structure will improve the property and allow the building to have productive use. 
  2. Staff has reviewed the applicant’s request for a Conditional Use Permit and has determined that it satisfies the standards for Conditional Use Permits, outlined in Section 3-3310 of the Zoning Ordinance. The applicant’s proposal involves in-fill in an existing non-residential building.

Mr. MacPherson said that staff is recommending approval of the request based on the following findings cited in the staff report:

  1. Approval will provide opportunities for productive use of the existing structure which will improve the appearance of the property.
  2. This application meets the approval standards for a Conditional Use Permit and is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Baird asked about the current zoning of the subject site. Mr. MacPherson said he thought the building “was being used, and it was not a legal use.” He said the front of the building would contain a gem retailer and the rear of the building would be used as a residence. Mr. Rognstad said the site was currently zoned single family. He said dealing with such sites through the conditional use permit process was an effort to introduce flexibility into the zoning ordinance. He said each site could be reviewed on its own merits and the Commission could decide, for example, if a lack of parking would be detrimental to the neighborhood. Mr. MacPherson said that the proposal under discussion included an area for off-street parking.

Mr. Hansen asked what would happen if in the future someone wanted to open a different kind of business on this site. Mr. Rognstad said “they’d have to come back” to the Commission for approval.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

John Ross, no address given, said he was representing the owner. Mr. Hansen asked about the plans for the residential area. Mr. Ross said that there were already two units in existence, “in the back.”

Mr. Baird said he thought the proposal was a good one.

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

Mr. Baird asked if it made any difference whether approval of this case would result in there being a duplex use in a single-family zoning district. Mr. Rognstad said, “No, not with a use permit.”

Mr. Edwards said he was in favor of the proposal and that, in general, this procedure of allowing adaptive re-uses was “a good step in the right direction.”

Mr. Hansen said he too thought the proposal was a good one. 

McClelland made a motion to approve the agenda item titled Use Permit 389. Roling seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


PLANNED DEVELOPMENT:

7.  Planned Development 334                    Noble/Dearborn, LLC
     (2155 W. Chesterfield Blvd.)

Mr. MacPherson paraphrased the following passage from the City’s staff report on this case:

City Council initiated the following rezoning application on June 14, 2010 (G.O. 9787). The applicant is proposing to rezone 0.38 acres from a Planned Development 329 to a Planned Development 334 to allow elementary and secondary schools as a permitted use in the district. The subject properties currently have a building that occupies 2/3 of the lots. The applicant believes the new use will allow more flexibility in tenants. The new PD has also updated any information that needed modifications from the original PD 329 that was not pertinent to this location. 

Mr. MacPherson directed the Commission’s attention to the staff reports’ page EX 1-3, Item 31, to note that the rezoning proposal was very similar to the previous PD but that it added to the list of permitted uses Item 31, which reads as follows:

Schools, elementary and secondary, and schools or development centers for elementary-  and secondary-school-age children with handicaps or development disabilities.

He said the new PD also would add the Use Limitation (in Section E.4.h.) “outdoor recreational areas for daycares and schools.” Also, he said Section F, Intensity of Development, deals with issues of open space and parking. He said there is plenty of parking available “to meet this proposed use.” He quoted the following findings from the staff report:

  1. The proposed rezoning will align the Planned Development uses more similar to the GR district uses which is consistent with the uses in the area. 
  2. The comprehensive plan recommends that this area is appropriate for high-intensity retail, office or housing uses. 

He said that, in the future, if a new business proposed to locate within 200 feet of the subject site and wanted to sell alcohol, it would have to “go to the City Council to get approval.”

Mr. Hansen said he wasn’t sure what the Commission was being asked to approve, since the PD already allows schools. Mr. MacPherson said the uses he had highlighted during his presentation “are different.”

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Larry Lipscomb, no address given, representing the applicant, said he would answer questions.

Ms. Roling said she thought the proposal was “a great use for the building.”

Mr. Wheeler asked where the areas designated for outdoor activities would be located. Mr. Lipscomb pointed to an area of the graphic displayed in the meeting room and said it was “an open field right now” and said the area would be fenced in.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Hansen made a motion to approve Planned Development 334. Coltrin seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Roling, Baird, Hansen, McClelland, Edwards, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Lawhon, Young.


OTHER BUSINESS:

 8.  The ALS Foundation                               City Team
       (City-Wide)

Mr. MacPherson said he would like for the commissioners to join the “City Team,” to support the ALS Foundation. He said there would be a walk on September 18th and a concert was tentatively scheduled for September 10, 2010.


Any Other Matters Under Commission Jurisdiction:

There being no other items of discussion, Mr. Wheeler adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:05 p.m.


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