SUNFISH LAKE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – MARCH 18, 2021
ONLINE MEETING - 7:00 P.M.
Chair: Tom Hendrickson
Commissioners: Shannon Nelson, Jeannine Nayes and Dominick Driano
City Planner: Tom Ramler-Olson
City Clerk: Cathy Iago
Commissioner Ginny Becket was absent.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Chair Hendrickson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. ADOPT AGENDA: Chair Hendrickson asked if there were any additions to the agenda and there was no response.
Commissioner Driano moved to adopt the agenda as presented, seconded by Commissioner Nayes and carried (4-0)
3. ADOPT RESOLUITON SETTING DATES OF 2021 PLANNING MEETINGS: Planner Ramler-Olson referred to the proposed resolution setting the dates for the 2021 Planning Commission meetings.
Chair Hendrickson stated that this resolution is adopted annually to establish the dates for the commission meetings. He explained that the City meetings were changed to First Calvary Church on South Robert and that meeting date changed from Wednesday to Thursday evenings in order to accommodate the church schedule. He asked if there were any questions and there was no response.
Chair Hendrickson moved to adopt Resolution No. 21-01-PC titled, RESOLUTION SETTING THE DATES OF THE REGULAR PLANNING COMMMISSION MEETINGS FOR THE YEAR 2021, seconded by Commissioner Nelson and carried. (4-0)
4. APPROVE MINUTES OCTOBER 21, 2020: Chair Hendrickson asked if there were any additions or corrections to the October 21, 2020 meeting minutes and there was no response.
Chair Hendrickson moved to approve the October 21, 2020 Planning Commission meeting minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Nelson carried. (4-0)
5. PUBLIC HEARING: A. Major Site & Building Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit, Lot 2, Block 1, Windy Hill, Riley Property: Chair Hendrickson opened the meeting for the purpose of a public hearing on a Major Site and Building Plan Review and a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application from Matthew Byers, PLAAD LLC, for Lot 2, Block 1, Windy Hill on behalf of property owners Jon and Jill Riley. He asked Planner Ramler-Olson to review his report.
Planner Ramler-Olson explained the application for construction of a single-family residence on the undeveloped property that is zoned R-1, Single-Family residential and that is located within the Shoreland Overlay District. He stated that the parcel shown in his report dated March 10, 2021, consists of three (3) contiguous parcels that are all owned by the Riley’s and that the parcels establish an area of approximately 3.1 acres. He advised that a condition of approval of the requests requires that the property owner consolidate the three (3) parcels and record the consolidation with Dakota County within 90 days of approval of the major site plan.
The Planner explained that the subject site is considered a non-conforming lot as it lacks the 2.5-acres in buildable area required in the Shoreland Overlay district. He noted the buildable area is constrained by areas with steep slopes that exceed 12 percent, a driveway easement and wetland area. He stated that the total area of these constraints results in a buildable area of approximately 0.7-acres out of 3.1-acres. He noted that the Zoning Ordinance states that legal, non-conforming vacant lots of record may be developed for single-family detached uses upon approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
Planner Ramler-Olson referred to the table with dimensional requirements for lots and structures in the R-1 and Shoreland Overlay District and noted that the existing lot would not comply with the with the 2.5-acre building area requirement and, therefore, requires CUP approval. He explained that the proposed structure would meet the lot width at building setback and the minimum front building setback, as it is calculated from a corner lot, and that it also meets the side and rear yard setbacks. He stated that the structure meets the building height requirement and maximum building area.
The Planner noted that there would be some encroachment of the rear patio into the setback, and also the corner of the pool deck. He noted that this type of low-profile structure would be allowed to encroach by 18 inches into the setback.
Planner Ramler-Olson stated that the well and septic field locations are identified on the plans, with the primary and secondary septic locations shown between the northeast corner of the home and the western edge of the private drive. The well location is shown southeast of the garage and staff anticipates that the septic and well sites are adequate. No comments on the plans were submitted by the City’s septic inspector. He stated that driveway access is proposed from Windy Hill Road and that the driveway area will be gradedso that slopes do not exceed 12 percent.
Planner Ramler-Olson stated that a tree inventory and landscape plan were submitted and reviewed by the City Forester. He explained that 36 trees would be removed in the area of the proposed building, driveway and septic area and that 54 new trees would be planted within the site. He advised the new trees include Red Oak, Swamp White Oak, Birch, Balsam Fire and White Pine. He further advised that Evergreens would be planted along the north property line to mitigate headlights from vehicles traveling north on the private entry drive. He noted that some native perenials would be placed within planter beds at the entrance of the home. The City Forester reviewed and approved the landscape plan and tree inventory.
The Planner stated that the plans submitted show 0.7-acres of disturbed area out of 3.1-acres of property. He explained that approximately 4,300 sq. ft. of the proposed home, pool and patio are located within areas with slopes between 12 and 18 percent and about 630 sq. ft. of the pool and patio on slopes greater than 18 percent. The City Code explained that “no land disturbing or development activities shall be allowed on slopes of eighteen (18) percent or more, unless specifically approved by the City Council upon recommendation of the City Engineer.” He noted that this consideration along with development on slopes greater than 12 percent would be evaluated as part of the CUP request. Staff drafted conditions to mitigate the adverse impacts of developing in these conditions.
Planner Ramler-Olson stated the proposed structure is designed in a Tudor-style and the exterior materials are stucco, stone veneer, composite siding and asphalt roof shingles; these materials are consistent with the surrounding residential properties and area allowed in the City Code.
The Planner explained that the City Engineer reviewed the engineering, stormwater management, and site grading issues. He stated that the City Engineer pointed out that due to the steep slopes prevalent across the site and the lose proximity to the wetlands, erosion control blankets should be required over all disturbed areas. He further advised that an infiltration basin would be installed on the rear portion of the site along with rip-rap. He advised that the Engineer recommended approval of the plans with conditions as outlined in the Planner’s report dated March 10, 2021.
Planner Ramler-Olson displayed the drawings showing the different elevations of the home design and how the design addresses the grade changes on the site.
The Planner stated that staff recommends approval of the Major Site and Building Plan application subject to the conditions as listed in the Planner’s report dated March 10, 2021.
Planner Ramler-Olson reviewed the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Shoreland Overlay District evaluation criteria as outlined in his report dated March 10, 2021. He stated staff found the application to be in compliance with the criteria for both the CUP and Shoreland Overlay District criteria.
Staff recommends approval of the Major Site and Building Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit (CUP) based on the Findings of Fact dated March 18, 2021 and subject to the eleven (11) conditions as listed in the Planner’s report dated March 10, 2021.
Chair Hendrickson asked if there were any questions or comments from the Commissioners or the applicant.
Matthew Byers, applicant and architect for the project, stated that property owners Jon and Jill Riley are natives of Sunfish Lake and wish to move back into the city. He explained that a CUP was previously approved for this property in 2014, however, it expired. He stated that the new home would be placed within the same building envelope as initially approved by the city. He advised that the site was challenging, however, in his opinion the home design balances the unique topography of the site.
Chair Hendrickson opened the public hearing for comments from the audience.
Bonnie Holub, 9 Salem Lane, asked who owned the homes on the adjacent properties and if those properties would have any issues with the visibility of the new home.
Jon Riley, 1705 Emerson Avenue South, Minneapolis, stated he is the property owner and explained that the home to the north of the site is owned by his mother Janet Riley. He further advised that the Lamey’s home would not be able to see the new structure; he advised that he spoke to Alan and Melissa Spaulding, property owners to the east of the site, and they had no concerns, and that the Mauer’s own property adjacent to the site, however, they may be able to see the home, but most likely their home view would be oriented toward the lake.
Chair Hendrickson asked if there were any further comments form the public or questions from the Commissioners.
Commissioner Nelson asked why the applicant allowed the 2014 approval to lapse and now back a second time for review.
Mr. Riley explained that he was not ready to build a home at that time as he did not have a design and that he lost track of the time frame for the expiration.
Commissioner Nelson questioned if the 90-day time-frame would be sufficient to incorporate the three (3) parcels and have the document recorded.
Mr. Riley stated the time should be sufficient and that he was unsure why the lots were not combined when they were purchased. He stated that his Engineer indicated that the lot combination was not a lengthy process and that the City could include it as a condition of approval.
Chair Hendrickson agreed that the lot combination should be straightforward and not time consuming. He asked if there were any further comments from the public and, hearing none, closed the public hearing.
The Chair asked if there were any further questions from the Commission or a motion to take action to approve the requests based on the findings of fact and subject to the conditions as outlined in the planner’s report.
Commissioner Nayes asked if this was the property that had used goats to clear Buckthorn from the site.
Mr. Riley responded yes and advised that the goats had been removed from the property.
Chair Hendrickson moved to recommend approval of the Major Site and Building Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit for Lot 2, Block 1, Windy Hill, Riley property, based on the Findings of Fact dated March 18, 2021 and subject to the conditions as listed in the Planner’s report dated March 10, 2021, seconded by Commissioner Nayes and carried. (4-0)
6. ADJOURN: Chair Hendrickson asked if there was any further business and there was no response.
Commissioner Nelson moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 p.m., seconded by Chair Hendrickson and carried. (4-0)
Catherine Iago, City Clerk