February 25, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
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.

David P. Hirschi, Chair
Gina Hirst
William Ince (arrived at 7:07 p.m.)
Logan Johnson
Scott Kjar (arrived at 7:04 p.m.)
Kevin Merrill
Debra Randall

Corvin Snyder, Community Development Director
Lisa Romney, City Attorney
Katie Rust, Recording Secretary

Interested citizens (see attached sign-in sheet)

OPENING COMMENT/PRAYER    Commissioner Randall



The minutes of the February 11, 2015 Planning Commission meeting were reviewed.  Chair Hirschi and Commissioners Merrill and Kjar requested amendments.  Commissioner Kjar made a motion to approve the minutes as amended.  Chair Hirschi seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (7-0).


During 2014 the Planning Commission held some public discussion meetings to assess the possibility of allowing accessory dwelling units as part of the housing options within the city.  Generally, these meetings indicated that allowing such a housing type might be appropriate, provided sufficient use regulations could be developed.  However, there were some concerns regarding allowing detached ADUs, or units constructed separately from the primary dwelling.  The Commission also questioned whether some aesthetic design standards were actually needful.  Staff was asked to prepare a draft Ordinance to review and discuss.

At 7:14 p.m. Chair Hirschi made a motion to reopen the public hearing to receive a letter from Linda Harrison into the public record for consideration, and for further public comment.   Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (7-0).

Dale Engberson – Mr. Engberson owns a home and property in Centerville that he thinks would work well with the addition of an ADU.  He said he thinks the draft Ordinance is well written.  Mr. Engberson referred to the size limit of 200 square feet per resident and the maximum limit of 800 square feet per ADU, which equals a proposed maximum ADU occupancy of four residents.  The State has an occupancy limit of 200 square feet per person, but Mr. Snyder stated that he is not aware of occupancy levels being enforced in the State of Utah during his career.  Mr. Engberson said he assumes inspections would be required to make sure everything is up to code.  He added that he thinks it would be a good idea for the City to maintain a list of ADU occupants for emergency situations.  He also suggested that the City provide an instructive packet for ADU property owners that could include ways to screen potential occupants.  Mr. Engberson mentioned the limitations imposed by required setbacks.  He suggested that it would be fair to charge a percentage of some of the impact fees rather than the full amount.

At 7:24 p.m. Chair Hirschi closed the public hearing.  Chair Hirschi said he knows there are some citizens who could benefit from the Ordinance, but he is not sensing a huge amount of support or need right now.  Mr. Snyder reported that three or four citizens call him regularly in support, and he regularly hears from one citizen against.  Mr. Snyder said he personally believes that an ADU ordinance would be low-key in Centerville to begin with, but the General Plan states that the option should be considered.  Commissioner Randall said she believes there are quite a few ADUs already in operation.

Mr. Snyder mentioned several concerns brought to him by Commissioner Merrill, including placement of ADUs, and the question of whether or not the City should address existing ADUs.  Chair Hirschi referred to the issue of “free access” on page two, item (e) of the draft Ordinance.  Mr. Snyder responded that access is a distinguishing factor between a duplex and an ADU.  An ADU is intended to be subsequent to the main residence, with a proposed size allowance of 25% of the main residence, which would avoid a duplex situation.  The Commission discussed the proposed requirement of owner occupancy of at least six months of the year.  Mr. Snyder explained that a provision is included for “sabbatical leave” if the City is given notice.

As written, the draft Ordinance restricts detached ADUs to the backyard of a residential property.  Through the conditional use permit process the Commission will have an opportunity to check the location of any detached ADU and analyze potential impact on neighboring properties.  Mr. Snyder responded to a question from Chair Hirschi that he is not aware of any study related to ADU impact fees.  Chair Hirschi brought up a potential scenario involving homeowners who pay impact fees when they purchase a home, raise a family, and years later decide to rent out a portion of their home, with the rental situation causing less impact on the community than the family did when the home was purchased and the family was young.  He asked if the homeowners would be required to pay impact fees again if they decide to rent out a portion of the home.  Commissioner Randall stated that charging impact fees twice in that situation would not seem right.  Chair Hirschi suggested that one solution might be to assess a different impact fee for a detached dwelling than for a converted portion of an existing home.  Impact fees are determined, in part, by the number of fixtures in a dwelling.  The Planning Commission indicated that some type of tiering might be preferable for ADU impact fees, depending on potential added impact.  Chair Hirschi asked staff for further education regarding how flexible the City can be with impact fees.  Lisa Romney, City Attorney, responded that impact fees are intended to pay a fair share for services in a community, not to increase level of service.  She commented that the City does not charge impact fees based on family size or number of residents, and stated that the final decision should be defensible with analysis.  Chair Hirschi agreed that the City needs to be clear and consistent.  Ms. Romney added that the City includes an exception in all of its impact fee ordinances that allows residents to provide proof of lesser impact and apply for a reduction.

Chair Hirschi commented that some of the City’s residential roads are narrow, and additional need for parking might exacerbate an already difficult parking situation, especially in winter months.  Mr. Snyder stated that the draft Ordinance allows a maximum of 800 square feet, with four occupants and one required parking spot.  City Code requires two parking spaces for a primary residence, and the Commission could recommend requiring two parking spaces for ADUs as well.

Commissioner Ince asked how strictly the City enforces exact setbacks and design requirements.  Mr. Snyder responded that enforcement of design require is disciplined approach.  Enforcement of behavior is on a complaint basis.  Chair Hirschi added that through the conditional use process the Commission will have the ability to look closely at individual situations.  He stated that the provision regarding location of entrances was confusing.  Mr. Snyder responded that character of the neighborhood and privacy are factors considered in determining location of entrances.  Mr. Snyder confirmed that the draft Ordinance requires at least six feet between a main residence and a detached ADU for emergency personnel access.

Commissioner Johnson referred to the letter sent by Linda Harrison that cites Orem as a negative example of ADU occurrence, and asked Mr. Snyder if he knows the difference in the number of single family units in Orem compared to Centerville.  Mr. Snyder responded that he imagines Orem has significantly more single family homes than Centerville.  Commissioner Johnson said he felt the letter centered around the topic of expectations, and asked how the Planning Commission should balance people’s expectations with the needs of the City.  Mr. Snyder stated that Centerville was originally organized with the idea of varying single-family lot sizes.  In 2003 the City instituted completely different parameters based on gross density.  Cities change through time and zoning, creating differences in expectations.  Chair Hirschi added that the demographics in Centerville have changed significantly.  Commissioner Merrill commented that the city has changed since he bought his first home 40 years ago, but he still loves Centerville.  He feels the city still has a small-town feel, but provides what people need and want within the city.  Commissioner Merrill stated he has embraced the change that has taken place, and he thinks the younger generation in the community will want to stay.  Commissioner Johnson stated that he would personally tend to disregard expectations that things remain the same, and asked how much the expectations should affect decisions made by the Commission.

Commissioner Randall commented that if all the properties on her block built detached ADUs in the backyard, there would be a big impact on the neighborhood.  She said she is fine with existing structures being converted to ADUs, but the detached concept makes her nervous.  She would not want the neighborhood to become a different place.  Chair Hirschi added that there are parts of the city where separate structures would be possible, but many neighborhoods in the city where it would not be possible.  Commissioner Randall agreed that it would increase what some citizens are able to do with their property.  Commissioner Hirst stated she agrees with some of the concerns voiced in Ms. Harrison’s letter, but at the same time, Centerville is not Orem City.  Commissioner Hirst said she cannot imagine that many homeowners will be interested in adding ADUs, and she does not think the City will see an entire block of properties add detached structures.  Commissioner Merrill seconded what Commissioner Hirst said, and added that he does not anticipate a clamor to add ADUs.

Commissioner Ince asked about enforcement against existing ADUs.  Mr. Snyder repeated that the City enforces on a complaint basis.  If a report were to come in on a pending ordinance, he would not take action until a decision is made.  The proposed draft Ordinance may not make all existing ADU situations legal.  Some would benefit from the draft Ordinance, some would not.  Commissioner Ince said he has an issue with things seeming to be arbitrary in government, and stated that the 25% and 800 square feet limitations seem to him to be arbitrary.  He suggested there should be some latitude or tolerance for different circumstances.  Mr. Snyder stated that the 25% and 800 square foot limit is consistent with other communities with ADU ordinances.  ADUs are a limited use opportunity.  Mr. Snyder clarified that an owner could live in either the primary residence or the ADU to satisfy the occupancy requirement.  Chair Hirschi suggested clarifying the definition of “the dwelling” on page 6 Section (a)(2) of the draft Ordinance.

Commissioner Randall made a motion to table the issue, which was seconded by Commissioner Merrill.  Mr. Snyder asked the Commission for direction regarding design standards.  Chair Hirschi stated that he personally thinks design standards make a lot of sense because appearance reflects the character of a neighborhood.  Commissioners Merrill, Kjar, and Randall indicated support for leaving design standards in the Ordinance.  Chair Hirschi voiced support for requiring that exterior finishes must be compatible with the primary residence, and that entrances remain non-intrusive.   Chair Hirschi suggested changing the word “must” to “should” with regards to matching windows on the main home.  Commissioner Ince suggested requiring that exteriors be “complimentary” to the main home.  Mr. Snyder agreed to continue working on the design standards portion of the Ordinance.

The motion to table passed by unanimous vote (7-0).  Commissioner Ince asked what constitutes the definition of a family in a residential situation.  Mr. Snyder responded that State law states that family/guardianship situations constitute family, as well as four unrelated individuals sharing a dwelling.  The City Codes include related individuals, plus two additional individuals in the definition of a family.


The Planning Commission will meet next on March 11, 2015, beginning with a work session before the regular Planning Commission meeting.  The Planning Commission will also participate in a planning priorities work session with the City Council on March 17, 2015


At 8:59 p.m. Chair Hirschi made a motion to adjourn.  Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion, which passed by unanimous vote (7-0).

_________________________        _____03-11-2015______
David P. Hirschi, Chair                              Date Approved

Katie Rust, Recording Secretary