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RED FEATHER LAKES PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
October 11, 2007
The meeting was called to order at 1:45 PM by Chairperson Eunice Michalka (EM)
Members in Attendance: Eunice Michalka, Susan Bradley, Ted Carter, Terry Ferebee, Dennis Frydendall, Bud Thomas, Lucille Schmidt, Michael Sledge, Roger Svendsen, Gene Barker, Gene Allen
Member Excused Absence: Bill Gilbert, Ted Carter, Ross Reid
County Government: Jill Bennett, (LC Planner)
Citizens: Pat Bradley, Chuck Pittock, Ester Pittock, Pat Clemens, Ben Myers, Sarah Myers, Joe West, Bill Finlay
Adoption of Agenda: the Agenda as distributed was adopted.
Approval of Minutes: The minutes were approved as amended.
Communication Items: Jill reminded the PAC and attending citizens of the commissioners meeting.
1. Committee member communication item: None
2 County Communication Item: None
Audience Comments: Joe West, who has a retreat cabin in RFL, asked questions about the rezoning of the business district and of business. Jill Bennett advised Mr. West that what is displayed here only affects the existing business; the business themselves do not change; they have more flexibility that benefits them; it is not creating an opportunity for new business development or putting in new infrastructure. The plan did establish, in a preliminary way, what might be a future business area in the village center. The plan didn’t address future business development in other areas, such a Red Feather Lakes Road, although it was discussed. There was not a consensus at that time. Mr. West commented that what concerned him was that the initial plan grows and the intent becomes something very different 10 years down the road. Mr. West stated that he understood the critical mass in the village area but to later link up the business sites in other areas of RFL may present a problem. Susan Bradley (SB) asked Mr. West if his concern was a possible tax increase and Mr. West advised that that is certainly a part of it. SB stated that she sees the PAC committee as addressing water and sewer as a real problem for this area and that the health and sanitation of this area may create a major problem in the future and as a result the PAC will have to address a water and sewer district and if that happens there will be a tax increase.
SB asked for input from the PAC and Roger Svendsen advised that her statement about a tax increase bothered him because we are so far away from an improvement district that telegraphing a tax increase may not be appropriate at this time. Mr. West advised, as a private property owner, he had already had to address water and sewer and that he has complied with applicable codes and that he would be disappointed if someone who got by on the frontier regulations came in a stated that he had to upgrade his water and sewer and as an adjoining land owner was accessed part of that tab. Gene Allen advised that there was another reason to rezone the existing businesses and that is if they were not rezoned for the use that is there it would create a significant hardship on them if they want to make any changes or improvement on their property, a non-conforming use. Mr. West stated that a far as zoning, RFL is far behind the train and this PAC effort is to get the train at least in site.
Eunice Michalka asked if there were any other comments from the audience. Hearing none, she advised that PAC that the PAC will continue with rezoning discussions and turned the floor over to Jill Bennett. Jill handed out a packet which included a staff report, in the standard format, which will go to the Planning Commission next week. The staff report describes the project as a continuation of planning process that started approximately three years ago. The map identifies property in the plan. The plan identifies property that has more than one principle structure on the property or property that has a single family residence on the same property as the business. These are long established uses that the business owners think are very beneficial to the community and consequently specific language was used to address these needs and a new zoning district was approved by the Planning Commission in August 2007. There are some businesses that are not non-conforming and some of these businesses choose not to be rezoned, like the Gallery that is zoned C-commercial and they decided that this zoning was appropriate.
JB advised that had been an inquiry from a land owner about a possible future business and it was decided that the plan only address current business.
EM asked if the Fire Department was not included because of the Fire District and JB advised that she had been in contact with a Fire Department representative and it was decided that there was no advantage for the Fire Department to be included in the rezoning. If the Fire Department would decide to move and sell their property, they can always request rezoning in the future that would have to be consistent with the plan and the rezoning request may not be free. However, the Commissioners can always waive the rezoning fees and historically, they have been very sympathetic to non-profits making these type of requests. The medical clinic is also not included the rezoning because they are in the process of dividing the property but Larry Trimm has stated that the County may waive the rezoning fee in the future.
Dennis Frydendall (DF) asked JB if there were any business that objected to the process. JB advised that early on, there were some questions and concerns, but after further discussions more people saw the rezoning as a beneficial project. Lucile Schmidt (LS) agreed that most saw this rezoning as a benefit.
EM advised the audience that the PAC would be taking a vote on the proposed rezoning and asked the audience if they had any questions. Mr. West asked if there are specific equipment and property on an approved business site. For example, are there guidelines were some things would not be acceptable. JB responded “absolutely.” Mr. West then states, so they come in where they have had no regulation and then under the new one, would they be grandfathered in because it has always been there or would they be subject to review. JB advised that under a previous zoning, O-open, “everything goes” where the landowner could do most things. JB further states that in 1963, the definition of O-open changed and it became primarily a residential district and agricultural district. At that time the County didn’t do a very good job at looking at what was already there. With the new zoning, Mr. West asked if the businesses are called to a higher standard in terms of appearance. JB answered “no.” Pat Clements as if she wanted to add on to the historical cabin, would she have to bring it up to code. JB stated that the cabin would probably have to be brought up to an “in between standard” that pertained to life and safety codes, i.e., exit and fire standards.
Gene Barker (GB) made the motion that the PAC approve the rezoning plan as it is written.
Bud Thomas seconded this motion.
Michael Sledge and Lucille Schmitt excused themselves from voting on this motion because they own property that is affected by the rezoning.
Eunice Michalka advised that a quorum was present without the votes of MS and LS.
All present and eligible RFL PAC committee members approved the rezoning plan.
EM advised the PAC that she wanted to move on the community pathway discuss and that we have been discussing roads lot lines, easements and related issues. EM advised that she had spoken to JB on the phone concerning DF’s comments last month about the county just stating that the roads are where they are and just leaving them that way. EM advised that the County does not have the authority to direct this recommendation. EM stated that before the PAC could address the road issue, we had to determine where one’s property is and property line disputes and how the PAC and the County can come up with a solution to this issue/ can we have one final GPS survey that rules. EM stated that the PAC can never move forward on the road issues until the property line issue is resolved. MS advised that this would be a very big project and to make it more doable, we need to survey the properties that adjoin the main roads discussed in the last two meetings. EM asked the PAC if they were in agreement that before the PAC can deal with the road issues, the PAC needed to get to the root of the problem and that is property lines. LS advised that it is not an either or situation – we need to know where the roads are.
GB advised that you can survey roads but cannot get all the property lines. GA advised that roads are better designed by the plating process. The platting process established the road better and there intended original location and if we get into individual property lines, the process will bog down. The road are a major interest that RFL has to deal with.
JB passed out public records information that were historic plats and a new amended plat to show the PAC. She stated that some people are very familiar with what Plat means and what dedication means, but so some people these are foreign items. RFL was initially platted in the 1920s under very different standards and survey abilities and things have changed substantially since then.
SB objected that JB was bringing up something that she had no notice of, i.e., property that the SB’s family owns without prior notice. After some discussion, the subject on this issue closed.
JB advised that 1923/24 plats were for two subdivisions and they contained no dedication statements. JB discussed the Plat of Record of West Hiawatha Heights. Plats are legal instruments and there were four plats developed over a period of several months and that the public roads are identified by a solid line and that the private roads are identified by dashed lines. MS asked about the width of the roads and JB advised that the heavy lined roads are about 20 feet which by current standards would be a pretty narrow road.
JB advised that the county attorney, county engineer and right-of-way agent will meet next week to discuss the road situation in RFL. The current issues is which roads are public and which are not and where they are physically located now and where there are disputes there are legal avenues to discuss these issues of which some don’t involve the county at all, especially if they are private roads.
JB continued discussing the plat/road history in RFL with questions being asked by PAC membership and answered by JB. Additionally, in response to a question, JB discussed the survey process.
Meeting was adjourned at 3:55PM.