February 24, 2016

PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES OF MEETING
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
7:00 p.m.

A quorum being present at Centerville City Hall, 250 North Main Street, Centerville, Utah.  The meeting of the Centerville City Planning Commission was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT
Becki Wright
Cheylynn Hayman
David Hirschi, Chair
Gina Hirst, arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Kevin Daly
Logan Johnson

MEMBERS ABSENT
Scott Kjar

STAFF PRESENT
Corvin Snyder, Community Development Director
Lisa Romney, City Attorney
Kathy Streadbeck, Recording Secretary

VISITORS
Kevin Merrill
Ann Fadel
Robyn Mecham
Robin Carlsbough

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

OPENING COMMENT/LEGISLATIVE PRAYER    Chair Hirschi

MINUTES REVIEW AND APPROVAL

The minutes of the City Council & Planning Commission Special Work Session held February 10, 2016 were reviewed and amended. Commissioner Hayman made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wright and passed by unanimous vote (5-0).

The minutes of the Planning Commission meeting held February 10, 2016 were reviewed and amended. Commissioner Johnson made a motionto approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Daly and passed by unanimous vote (5-0).

PUBLIC HEARING – CODE TEXT AMENDMENTS FOR THE SOUTH MAIN STREET CORRIDOR (SMSC) OVERLAY ORDINANCE (CHAPTER 12-48) - Consider the code text amendments for the South Main Street Corridor (SMSC) Overlay Ordinance, which include City Council directives and changes to the South Main Street Corridor (SMSC) Public Space Plan, and Maximum Unit Allowances and Density Caps for the South Main Street Corridor (if deemed necessary).

Cory Snyder, Community Development Director, reported the City Council recently discussed the South Main Street Corridor Plan (SMSC) with regard to the public space plan and density as recommended by the Planning Commission. City Council members raised issue, specifically liability, with the public space plan elements and made a motion to remove all benches, planters, and drought tolerant grasses. In addition, it was moved that the light pole position be changed. This motion redirected these items back to the Planning Commission for further consideration. Mr. Snyder said he included the City Council minutes regarding this matter for the Commission’s review and understanding. He explained the City Council did not specifically move for a change in the density at this time and did not specifically ask the Commission to review density. However, staff did publicly notice amendments to the SMSC plan as a whole, so any items the Planning Commission discusses is acceptable and appropriate. Mr. Snyder said the City Council plans to discuss density in more detail at a future date. Mr. Snyder said the Commission is not expected to make any decisions tonight. The Commission may choose to look at additional information, re-discuss items as needed, or stay with their original recommendation.

Lisa Romney, City Attorney, said she was asked by some of the City Council members to specifically point out their concerns with liability related to the public space plan, which is why the removal of these public space elements has been suggested. She referred to the City Council minutes from January 21, 2016. She also explained the noticing decision for these amendments. She said the City Council did not remand the density decision back to the Commission for review at this time, but staff did notice the entire SMSC plan for tonight’s discussion. She said this is a matter of general policy and practice so the acting body can discuss any issues as needed. Often times as one item is discussed another issue may arise or conflicts within the ordinance are discovered, and this noticing practice allows for those discussions to take place.

Chair Hirschi said the Planning Commission spent a great deal of time wrestling with these issues and ultimately arrived at a decision supported by a majority of the Commissioners that was recommended to the City Council. He said there may be some items that warrant additional discussion because there were some unknowns, e.g., UDOT requirements, possibility of additional property acquisition, possible speed limit adjustments, etc. Chair Hirschi said it seems as though the City Council may have had some additional information from that which the Planning Commission reviewed. He asked if any new information has been presented since the Planning Commission’s review. He asked if any empirical evidence regarding liability was presented. He said the Planning Commission should be provided with the same level of information prior to any additional recommendations. Chair Hirschi said reducing the speed limit on Main Street may help limit liability. This is information that should be reviewed. If a lower speed were allowed, perhaps more public space options could be possible. He said there may be some modifications that would allow more flexibility with the public space elements.

Mr. Snyder said a landscape architect was hired to graphically create the public space elements. This rendering with graphic details was not available when the Planning Commission reviewed this matter, but was present for City Council consideration. Some City Council members saw a liability with these elements that they were not comfortable with. He said there was no empirical data presented regarding liability. Mr. Snyder said the City Council did have a bit more clarification regarding UDOT standards and expectations. UDOT prefers break-away elements and looks at liability from the standpoint of the roadway; any element with which a vehicle could collide with is considered a liability for UDOT.

Commissioner Wright said she is struggling to see the liability with some of these elements. She said there are many light poles already located within the city that are not break-away. She would like to see all information and reports prior to any further decisions so that an informed recommendation can be made. Perhaps the Commission needs to provide more evidence as to why these elements are appropriate and not a liability. She said she would like to look at data with regard to reducing the speed limit, public safety, and traffic incidences; perhaps the Police Chief is willing to provide some information. She would like to review the history of the SMSC plan and understand how it has evolved. Commissioner Wright also suggested the Planning Commission not discuss density at this time as the City Council has not sent a specific directive to do so.

Commissioner Hayman questioned the realistic risks of these public space elements. She would like to see information from other cities with similar public spaces to understand what level of liability is represented. She said removing these elements will significantly change the vision for Main Street. She also mentioned the height of the planter boxes and vegetation could easily be adjusted to increase visibility.

Commissioner Hirst said generally public space elements are traffic calming and are safer for pedestrians as they create more space and a barrier from traffic. She too would like more information regarding true liability.

Ms. Romney said she is willing to provide a legal memorandum and explanation of liability. She said property ownership is not the only factor in liability.

Chair Hirschi opened the public hearing.

Robyn Mecham said the original zoning for Main Street mirrored that of the city’s gateway, Parrish Lane. She said Main Street is not Centerville’s gateway but rather the middle of town. The original idea for Main Street was walkability with small shops. She said this idea is no longer feasible but rather Main Street is more likely a soft commercial area. She said potential parking at the rear of these commercial buildings also hinders walkability. She said given the lack of walkability on Main Street no pedestrian will be looking to sit down on a bench. She said the area being discussed is not even the entirety of Main Street but rather only a few blocks. She questioned how many amenities really need to be included in this limited area. She said these few blocks are the thoroughfare for the Junior High School. She is concerned a student who skateboards or bikes this area, and falls in this public space, causing injury, is a liability for the City. She agreed that information from the Police Chief regarding public amenities would be helpful. She also suggested the Commission consider the maintenance costs for these amenities. She suggested the Commission speak with the Public Works Director regarding installation costs, maintenance costs and employee time required for such elements. She said planter boxes with tall grasses are a potential visual hazard. She said a small child walking this area could be obscured from a drivers view and that child could easily walk into traffic unseen. She said she is on the Transportation Committee and it is not likely that UDOT will lower the speed limit on Main Street, especially for only a few blocks. The remainder of the residents on the northern half of Main Street would not be pleased with a reduced speed limit. She also mentioned density should be limited stating that Main Street should not be turned into an apartment row.

Seeing no one else wishing to comment, Chair Hirschi closed the public hearing. (Note: per the motion the public hearing will be continued to a future meeting)

Commission members discussed several items of information, data, and clarification they would like to review before making any further decisions. These items included the following:

•    Legal analysis of liability including risk vs. benefit.
•    Information from other cities with similar public space elements and their experience with such elements including installation and maintenance costs.
•    Presentation and/or a report from the Landscape Architect who completed a graphic rendering of Main Street with the public space corridor and elements as provided to the City Council.
•    Timeline and/or report of the history of the Planning Commission’s discussions and recommendations to the City Council regarding the SMSC Plan.
•    Planter box options including box height and alternate vegetation options.
•    Review and/or report regarding public safety issues and traffic calming techniques, including a perspective from the Police Chief.
•    Criteria and/or the process required with UDOT for requesting a speed limit modification.
•    Information and/or a report from the Trails Committee regarding urban pathways for this area.
•    Information and/or a report from the Police Chief regarding types of accidents and tickets along Main Street.
•    Information and/or a report from UDOT regarding speed data and violations for Main Street.

Chair Hirschi made a motion to table this matter including the public hearing until the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for March 23, 2016. In addition, Chair Hirschi moved to direct staff to provide the information as listed in the bullet points above. Staff will work with Chair Hirschi to determine which items may be ready for discussion on March 23, 2016. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hayman and passed by unanimous vote (6-0).

DISCUSSION – Continuation of discussion regarding 2016/2017 Planning Commission Goals and Priorities

Chair Hirschi explained the Planning Commission has been invited to a work session with the City Council to discuss goals and priorities on March 23, 2016. The Planning Commissions goals and priorities should be submitted to the City Manager by March 15, 2016. Chair Hirschi reviewed the list of goals discussed at the last Planning Commission meeting (February 10, 2016) and asked the Commissioners to respond with their top priority as well as any other goals that have not yet been added to the list.

Commissioner Wright she would like to add park development to the list. She recently served on the Parks and Recreation Committee and she discussed the recent approval of the RAP tax which allocates money for parks. She suggested meeting with the Parks and Recreation Committee and/or the Trails Committee to get their opinion and review their goals for future parks, park upgrades, and trails. She said her top priority would be to delegate the approval of simple applications to staff in order to free up more time for the Planning Commission to proactively plan.

Chair Hirschi agreed a review of administrative decisions is the top priority. He said if this is done first, then prioritizing the other items may not be as necessary because the Commission will have more time to plan and work on each item.

Cory Snyder, Community Development Director, discussed the Routine and Uncontested policy of the City. He explained this policy currently has no applications listed within the policy. He said the Commission would need to review all administrative decisions and decide which applications they feel may be appropriately added to this policy then make a recommendation for City Council approval.

Lisa Romney, City Attorney, offered to put a chart together of all administrative decisions with each step of the approval process for each application. She will also include which public hearings are required by State statute and which are required by ordinance. This may help the Commission in their discussion and recommendation. The Planning Commission agreed this would be helpful and also agreed this is the top priority.

Chair Hirschi asked the Commission to further review the list of goals and come to the next Planning Commission meeting ready to discuss additional prioritization.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR’S REPORT

1.    The next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
2.    Upcoming Agenda Items:
•    2016-2017 Goals/Priorities
•    Parks & Recreation Committee and/or Trails Committee presentation of their Goals/Priorities
•    Planning Commission Training including Administrative Decision Review

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

_________________________________            ___03-09-2016______
David Hirschi, Chair                                             Date Approved

__________________________________
Kathleen Streadbeck, Recording Secretary