October 13, 2010
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES OF MEETING
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.
OPENING COMMENT/LEGISLATIVE PRAYER Rick Bingham
MINUTES REVIEW AND APPROVAL
Minutes of the Planning Commission meeting held September 22, 2010 were reviewed and amended. Commissioner Kjar made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Rasmussen and passed by unanimous vote (5-0).
PUBLIC HEARING (ADDITIONAL HEARING) – GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT – SOUTH MAIN STREET CORRIDOR PLAN (BETWEEN PARRISH LANE TO PAGES LANE) - Consideration of adoption of a General Plan Amendment, Section 12-480-7, South Main Street Corridor Plan; and changes to the Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 12-48, South Main Street Corridor Zone, between Parrish Lane and Pages Lane. Centerville City, Applicant.
Cory Snyder, Community Development Director, reported these applications came because of a request by the City Council to review the South Main Street Corridor Plan (“Plan”), which was adopted in 2008, and make any necessary revisions because of public concern over mass transit. The South Main Street Committee (“Committee”) was reconvened and reviewed the Plan. As a result of that process the Committee has recommended six thematic changes to the Plan documents. The Planning Commission is not being asked to create new policy. The policy (i.e., the Plan) already exists and has been in place since its adoption. The Commission is only being asked to review the edits as suggested by the Committee and determine whether or not to recommend the same edits, revise the edits, or recommend new edits to the City Council for final approval. Staff feels the information needed to make a recommendation has been researched thoroughly and provided for the Commission’s review. This is also the second public hearing to be held on the matter at this level. Staff urges the Commission to forward a recommendation to the City Council after tonight’s deliberations. The Commission should compare the proposed edits against the intent of the original ordinance. If the Commission chooses to deny the edits, then the Plan will revert back to its original state, as adopted in 2008. A denial will not throw out the Plan. The Plan will remain in effect without the proposed edits.
Mr. Snyder reviewed the criteria for approving the proposed edits. Does it reasonably promote the public interest? Does it conserve values of other properties? Does it avoid incompatible development? Does it encourage appropriate use and development? Does it promote the general welfare of the City, as a whole? Mr. Snyder also reviewed the South Main Street Corridor Districts; North Gateway, Civic District, City Center District, Traditional District, Residential Boulevard District, and South Gateway.
Mr. Snyder reviewed the proposed edits as described in the staff report dated October 13, 2010: lower building heights; conditional use permit density; TOD vs. TND; modification of photos within the Plan; Core District renamed to City Center; and improved architectural standards. Mr. Snyder explained that demolishing an existing building is costly. Therefore, the City has tried to find a way to allow options for reinvestment of property. A property owner may choose to reinvest or not. A property owner is only required to bring their property up to the new standard if they choose to make a substantial change to their property (i.e., more than 30% or if new certificate of occupancy is required). The Plan is a 30+ year plan. These changes will happen very slowly.
Mr. Snyder reviewed the issues raised at the last public hearing, including density. At the last public hearing the comment was made that with this Plan it may be possible to get 900 apartment units between City Hall and Porter Lane. This is a gross over-estimation. There are currently only 28 buildings in this area. If all those buildings were able to develop at the maximum density of 8-units per building that would only provide for a total of 228 units. If for some reason the number of buildings were able to be doubled it would only allow 336 units, not 900. It is also not likely that all buildings would be residential. The maximum of 8-units per building is only allowed per a conditional use permit, which means the development would be held to a stricter standard. In addition, all developments are required to meet landscaping, setbacks, and parking standards. This will also limit the number of units possible in a building. Mr. Snyder explained, for arguments sake, that doubling that number again (to 672) would require almost triple the amount of existing buildings. The speculation of 900 units is a scare tactic and is not possible. The Plan was designed to provide flexibility and opportunity for reinvestment. Mr. Snyder said if for some reason this Plan brings about highly noticeable changes or saturation of one concept, then the Plan can be revised again.
Commissioner Fillmore explained the Plan places an overlay zone on the Main Street Corridor and that redevelopment, and thus these new standards, will not be forced upon any property owner. Property owners may choose when they would like to reinvest in their properties. These changes will happen very slowly and will only happen as property owners choose. For argument’s sake, Commissioner Fillmore said if all existing 28 buildings developed with the mixed-use residential option at the maximum permitted density (4 units) then there would only be a possibility of 112 units. This number is even unlikely, or would take a long time to get to.
Chair Pedersen opened the public hearing.
Cami Layton, 26 West 700 South, said this issue should be tabled. It seems the Planning Commission is confused on what all the issues are and if the Planning Commission still has questions, then no decision should be made tonight. She is concerned with density and building height. The density and building height proposed will change the Centerville that citizens have grown to know and love. Citizens want a community with a rural hometown feel. She agreed the Plan has good design and landscaping, but the density it too high. Good design will not change the traffic or the amount of congestion that will come with this density. Main Street is not the heart of the city. That has moved west of Main Street, there is no need to make Main Street a commercial center anymore. This type of density will support the need for rail/mass transit. The Mayor stated in the last newsletter that this Plan will take advantage of transit opportunities. Citizens do not want mass transit. TND stand for “traditional” there is nothing traditional about this Plan. Businesses and residences along Main Street are adamantly opposed to this Plan. If mixed-use is to be a part of this plan then the units should be owner occupied. There are too many conflicts with rentals.
Sherry Allred, 445 East 400 North, said she and her husband have been landlords for many years. In her experience, residential rental properties among business areas never amount to permanent residences, but rather tend to be a burden on cities and neighbors. She said the school system is already overcrowded and adding more density will not help. Recently, a junior student was hit by a car on Main Street at Centerville Junior High. There is no need to add more density and in turn more traffic to this area. Permanent residential properties would be a better option than temporary rental properties. Increases in density would be better spent further west in the city.
Larry Smith, 114 West 550 North, said he spoke in favor of apartments only four years ago, but Main Street is not the place for apartments. Main Street should be for single-family homes. Main Street is also not the place for three-story buildings. Allowing three-story buildings will overshadow adjacent single-family homes and yards. This is too high. He believes these proposals are to solicit money from UTA for mass transit. The proposed density and building height would be okay on Parrish Lane, the true corridor to the city, but not on Main Street. He said the city is close to build out, so now the option is to stack on top. This is not acceptable.
Jason Bunting, 445 East 900 South, said the building height is only a maximum, it is not a requirement. He questioned what determines a significant change? The information seems ambiguous. He said it is important to focus on the general feeling and not on exact numbers, and the general feeling of this Plan is not what the community wants. The community is concerned with density; if that issue is addressed then frustrations will go away. He said the City’s website is pathetic and lacks information. Knowledge is important. He offered to run the City’s website for free. If citizens had the information they needed then many of these issues could be resolved. He said the Plan is not written in blood and should be thrown out. Centerville has enough apartments. Eliminate apartments all together. Why does there need to be a vision for Main Street? It is fine the way it is. Do not change it.
Robert Hogge, 93 West 550 North, asked what the plan is for the North and South Gateways. He lives directly behind the Fresh Market grocery store. What is the proposed building height and density for these districts? He said his neighborhood does not fit into any plan, it is a separated subdivision.
Janet Gill, 438 North Main Street, said she received communication from the State of Utah (in June 2010) stating they were going to relieve her of 12-20 feet of her front yard property to widen the Parrish Lane/Main Street intersection. If the State of Utah can widen one individual’s property then it is possible for them to extend that all the way down Main Street. She was also told that UTA already has ½ of the money needed for the Parrish Lane/Main Street intersection project. She cautioned the Planning Commission to vote carefully and consider the future.
Brett Messer, 182 East 500 North, said communication is key and lack of communication creates conflict and lack of trust. The Commission asked the public what they want and the public has been clear; lower density and building height. He urged the Commission to take these comments into consideration and vote accordingly. There needs to be more communication and a work session process in order to correct the Plan as needed. He asked the Commission not to vote tonight, but rather set a new date to vote, giving time for more input.
Bryan James Espenschied, 355 South 600 East, said he is in favor of traditional residential development. He is concerned with the proposed setback of 2-5 feet. This will create a walled affect, which would not be desirable on Main Street. He suggested the Plan add more depth to the setback.
Rebecca Kim, 236 East 1250 North, said her job requires her to be in her car and she is constantly traveling Main Street multiple times a day. She said she would like to see a slower pace on Main Street, a lower speed limit, and more landscaping. There is too much business on Main Street.
Andrea Richman, 327 West Windsor Lane, said three-story buildings are too high for Main Street. She asked the Commission to table this issue until more input and discussion can be done and the City can get it right. She said all plans seem to focus on development and density. The Plan should focus on protection. Protect what Main Street already is, single-family with low commercial. Why does it need to change?
Blair Furner, 501 North 100 East, said when he moved to Centerville there were cows roaming Main Street and Parrish Lane. He said if the community had had their way back then none of the public that is here tonight would be living in Centerville. Growth is inevitable. He encouraged the public to be progressive and open minded. He said in another 30 years the public will be begging for mass transit. He said a central district on Main Street would be nice. He said the old timers have put up with the current citizenry moving in and the current citizenry should plan for future growth.
Alan Hayward, 62 West 550 North, said he moved to Centerville because of its rural nature. He said he also uses the bus system on a regular basis and it is adequate for the city. There is no need for mass transit. If more density is allowed then mass transit will come. Centerville citizens take pride in their homes and yards. Rental residents do not. Apartments are not desired for Main Street.
Jennifer Turnblom, 249 South Main, asked what constitutes a change in occupancy. There is not a clear definition. She said if she were to turn her current home into something described in the Plan it would cost thousands and thousands of dollars. She said there is already a commercial district in Centerville, the City does not need to create another.
Tim Hawkes, 443 South 225 East, said there is not a big disagreement about the vision for Centerville; there are only disagreements about how to get there. Centerville still feels like a small town. This is what needs to be preserved. The Plan ought to protect that feeling. Change and growth are inevitable, but there are elements in the Plan that may threaten the small town feel. Main Street ought to be walkable, have lower traffic speeds, and lower building heights. Density does not need to be part of that mix. He said he has lived in a city with high density and mass transit and this is not what Centerville is about. Density will increase traffic and congestion and will drive the demand for mass transit.
Jim Dean, Bamberger Station, said when a plan was created in the past there would be consultants, work sessions, committees, and public input. He asked if any of these processes were part of this Plan. He agreed the plan should be to preserve what already exists on Main Street. Small businesses are no longer viable on Main Street. These properties should be reclaimed for residential.
Chuck Madsen, 342 Ford Canyon Drive, said he moved to Centerville because of its rural feeling. The Planning Commission should represent the wishes of the people and the public’s wish is to leave Main Street as a rural, slow growing community. Any increase in density is against the will of the people. If the Commission votes for high density then it will come. This issue should be tabled until the Plan can be rewritten, reducing density and slowing growth. High density will change the flavor and feeling of rural Centerville.
Michael Randall, 346 South Main, said he was only leasing his property (now owns the property) when he was informed about the plans to create a Main Street Plan. He did not get involved because he was not the owner at that time. He now wishes he would have participated with the process from the beginning. He said his vision was to live in the home directly south of his business, but it seems the new plan will not permit that vision. The Plan is geared toward more business and more sales tax. He knows the creation of the Plan was done legally and followed all necessary processes and requirements but there are still many that are opposed and would like to see additional changes. The density is too high.
Sherri Lindstrom, 224 West Porter Lane, said in the late 90’s the Governor’s office became aware of planning issues that would result due to projected growth in Utah. At that time Envision Utah was created to deal with these concerns. A structure was created that would fit Utah and its projected growth. Major considerations included: market-based land use, incremental steps to provide for market circumstances; local government control of land use; and strategies aimed toward providing a broader array of choices, not restrictions. The Plan provides that broader array of choice. If property owners don’t ever want to change their properties they don’t have to. In 2001, Dan Burton completed a walkable audit of Main Street and said that Centerville has no identity--it is a nebulous between Farmington and Bountiful. The Plan provides Centerville an identity. Centerville City has researched mixed-use developments for many years and has seen many that work and some that do not. Centerville has built their own version of mixed-use that will enhance and support the current community. She questioned the legal liability and possible shortfalls, if a commercial property on Main Street were rezoned to single-family residential. She said in her opinion, the density is not too high, but protects Centerville from true high density. There are many cities in Utah that are discussing 12-story buildings and true high density. Centerville’s Plan protects against this by setting a reasonable limit.
Matthew Bryson, 59 West 550 South, said he lives a few houses from Main Street. He has been involved with this issue for the past year, attending most of the City Council meetings, Committee meetings, and public hearings. He has also read the entire Plan page by page. He said he has talked to hundreds of local students and has found that the changes concerning the Plan are in his best interest, and in his opinion, the best interest of the general public. He said the Planning Commission has listened to the concerns of Centerville’s Main Street business owners and its citizens. He also said that if mass transit were to come to Centerville he would utilize it and so would many students and residents of Centerville.
Scott VanOrman, 15 Canyon Breeze Drive, said density and transit impact one another. Centerville does have an identity; it is a small, safe, low-crime community. There is already mass transit in West Centerville there is no need to encourage UTA to spend more tax money on another mass transit system. The Planning Commission should be representative of the citizens and deny the Plan.
Connie Madsen, 342 Ford Canyon Drive, said she moved to Centerville because it was a safe place to raise her children. High density will impact traffic on Main Street, which in turn impacts small surrounding streets. Frustrated drivers will take smaller roads at unsafe speeds. This density will impact more than just Main Street. Three-story buildings are also a concern. This will affect residents’ quality of life and that same quality of life should be maintained for grand-children.
Eileen Turnbloom, 249 South Main, said three-story buildings are too high.
Lisa Malmstrom, 390 North 400 East, said if there is still question as to how the community feels about this Plan then the Commission should do the foot work and go door to door. The Commission should represent the citizens of Centerville and deny this Plan.
Lenore Robinson, 362 East 100 North, said she moved to Centerville because of the mountains, large lots, rock homes, and trees. In the 20 years she has lived in Centerville she has never wished that she did not live here. She loves the trees in Farmington City and would love to see that same thing in Centerville. She encouraged the Commission to leave Centerville the way it is.
Chair Pedersen closed the public hearing.
Lisa Romney, City Attorney, said the Planning Commission is being asked to make a decision, but that decision could be to table, to deny, to amend, or to request for further information regarding the application. Typically an issue is only tabled if further information is needed, if staff is requested to provide additional information, or if there was a lot of public comment and the Commission needs time to consider and review those comments. In staff’s opinion, the proposed edits are minor and the information has been provided.
Commissioner Holbrook thanked the public for their participation. He agreed the edits are minor and said he would vote against the changes because they are minor and have no bearing on the intent of the current Plan. It is clear the public is against the building height and density and would like to preserve the rural feel of Centerville. The Commission is not voting to throw out the Plan, only to modify it. He said the Plan has been in place since 2008 and encouraged the public to continue to fight for their desires. If the public remains vigilant after this meeting then perhaps a major change to the Plan will take place.
Commissioner Kjar agreed the text changes are minor. Public comments boil down to building height and density. The proposed changes actually reduce the building height allowance that is already in place. The edits also eliminate any language regarding mass transit. He said he is comfortable with the text changes, but there has been a lot of concern and wondered whether additional review of the Plan may be warranted.
Commissioner Markham said it appears the City has overshot the mark with the Plan. It is clear the public is not comfortable and unfortunately the Plan did not get the attention needed when it was originally approved. The overall vision of the Plan is to make Main Street the heart of the city. It appears this is not what the community desires. Citizens want to protect and maintain the current character of Main Street. He said he has seen similar plans developed in other cities and there are numerous vacant businesses. These developments have missed what they hoped to achieve. There are some developments that have been successful, but it is clear that this is not what the citizens of Centerville want. This Plan needs to be looked at fresh and changed to get back to slow growth, existing businesses, and single-family homes.
Mr. Snyder said, procedurally, the Commission is being asked to forward to the City Council their recommendation regarding the proposed edits to the Plan. The biggest issues seem to be that of building height and density. Staff does not believe the proposed density is excessive, but rather conservative. Staff feels the Commission has the necessary information to make a decision on this issue. As to building height, a 35-foot building is already the permitted maximum height across the city, in both residential and commercial zones. However, the Commission may debate whether the building height in conjunction with a residential option incentivizes the 35-foot maximum. If the Commission feels the Plan is no longer valid then the Commission may send that recommendation to the City Council as well, but the edits should be dealt with separately. Mr. Snyder reminded the Commission that they are to consider applications in light of the best interest of the general public, the future, the property owner, and the City, not just by public input.
Commissioner Fillmore questioned the desire to keep things frozen at the current level of use. She asked if there is any responsibility of the City to keep property values fair. Mr. Snyder explained there is a right to rezone property up or down, but this could limit opportunities for investment, which is a problem. Rezoning commercial property on Main Street to residential could potentially lower property values and/or the return for the sale of that property.
Chair Pedersen questioned what the effect would be if the Commission recommended lowering the building height to two stories and setting the maximum density at four units per building with no conditional use density. Mr. Snyder explained the purpose of the Plan is to create reinvestment options. If you lower the building height from 35-feet to 28-feet, then you take away the incentive to reinvest and you affect the probability of change. There are several land owners who desire to redevelop their properties but the investment in commercial is not viable right now due to the current economy. The residential option in the Plan provides another incentive to reinvest as it provides the rooftops/people necessary to demand a commercial service.
Chair Pedersen said it seems the public does not want commercial on Main Street, so there is no need for additional roof tops. He said additional roof tops also increase traffic. He asked if a traffic study was preformed. He also asked how long it has been since single-family residential was permitted on Main Street.
Mr. Snyder said a traffic study is done when a development brings an application to the table. It is up to the applicant to show that the affected streets can handle the impacts of the proposed development. He explained transit increases the capacity of Main Street and already exists in the form of the bus transit system. He said single-family residential has not been permitted on Main Street since 1985. He also said the Residential Boulevard District is strictly residential and remains that way under the current Plan.
Commissioner Fillmore said the currently allowed height is four stories; the recommended edit is to lower the building height to three stories. The Committee did not recommend lowering the building height below the three stories because that is the norm throughout the city and it did not seem fair to limit property owners on Main Street. She agreed the conditional use density of 5-8 units per building is conservative. She said market growth predictions warrant and request even higher densities, but they are not appropriate for Centerville. The proposed conditional use density of 5-8 units is Centerville pushing to keep the small town feel. She said currently Centerville has 80% single-family, 1% apartments, and 20% townhomes or duplexes. Market demand desires 60% single-family, 26% apartments, and 14% townhomes or duplexes. If Centerville were to allow the market to control growth, then densities would be much higher. Allowing a few more apartments on Main Street allows growth but at a much smaller rate of change. Centerville will always be predominately single-family residential. That will never change.
Mr. Snyder said many of the numbers stated this evening come from Envision Utah which encourages each community to take on their fair share of the market needs by creating pockets of infill. This reduces the need for more roads, sewer lines, water lines, and other infrastructure which can be costly. The Plan considered the Envision Utah guidelines and tried to implement them in a manner reflecting Centerville City. Centerville’s Plan received the Governors Award for implementing many of these concepts and contributing to the growth of the whole region by providing different land use housing types. As expected there are many who like the Plan and many who do not. The previous public process (when the Plan was originally adopted in 2008) was mostly positive, but this public process seems to be more negative. The Planning Commission must balance both. With respect to affordable housing, the City has a responsibility to prove they are making reasonable strides to provide affordable housing and report those strides to the State of Utah. Affordable housing is housing which 80% of the medium-income families of a community can afford.
Ms. Romney said the State of Utah requires cities to have a moderate-income housing plan as part of the General Plan showing how this issue is addressed. It does not mean the affordable housing in Centerville has to be located on Main Street, but it is an option. Some affordable housing has been planned for west Centerville, but more may be needed and the City must look at the community as a whole and Main Street is a good option.
Commissioner Holbrook made a motion for the Planning Commission to table this item. He feels, based on the comments made tonight, the issues need more thought and review. He feels if the edits are sent on to the City Council then the public will feel as though they have not been heard and this public process will repeat at the Council level. He suggested the Commission take the time to review the edits in greater detail and perhaps revisit the Plan as a whole. The proposed edits do not bring the Plan to a level the public is comfortable with.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Markham.
Commissioner Fillmore said the City Council directed the Committee and the Commission to be responsive to the public and as a result these edits have been recommended. She feels the Commission should move forward with a recommendation on the edits and complete this portion of the application as directed by the Council. If the Commission feels the Plan as a whole needs to be revisited then that should be done as a separate process and it is the Council’s responsibility to direct the Commission to that next level.
Commissioner Rasmussen said she feels the Commission should move forward and recommend the edits to the City Council. The Plan is based on sound principles and the edits are minor and appropriate.
Chair Pedersen said he is not completely comfortable with the Plan. He feels it could be modified even more, but tonight the Commission’s responsibility is to deal with the edits only. The Commission needs to weigh in on the edits and then let the City Council make their decision.
Commissioner Markham said the public present tonight may not represent the majority of Centerville, but they do represent the majority of those affected by the Plan. This is why we should be listening. The purpose of revisiting the Plan was to refine, modify, or eliminate if needed. The process has moved forward to this point and according to what has been heard tonight from the public it seems the mandate from the City Council has not been fulfilled. The Plan is not consistent with the desires of the public. It may be necessary for the Committee to revisit the Plan or for the Commission to sit down in a work session and review the Plan page by page.
Chair Pedersen called for a vote on Commissioner Holbrook’s motion. The motion failed with a roll-call vote (3-3). Commissioner Rasmussen, Fillmore, and Kjar opposed.
Commissioner Kjar asked if a motion should be made to approve all the edits except for those dealing with building height and density and let the City Council decide on those issues. The Commission could table this item, but ultimately the arguments on building height and density will remain.
Commissioner Fillmore suggested recommending approval of the edits and let the Council finish this process. She then recommended, if desired by the Commission, a second motion encouraging the City Council to further discuss the issues of building height and density as a separate process.
Commissioner Fillmore made a motion for the Planning Commission to recommend approval of the following and allow staff to make any additional proof reading text edits as needed.
Action #1 - General Plan Amendment
1. Amend Section 12-480-7, South Main Street Corridor Plan, with the recommended edits suggested by the Main Street Oversight Committee, as attached in the October 13, 2010 Staff Report.
Findings/Reasons for Action:
a. A decision to amend the General Plan is a matter within the legislative discretion of the City Council as described in Section 12-21-060(a) of the Zoning Ordinance.
Action #2 - Zone Text Amendment
1. Amend Chapter 12-48-South Main Street Corridor District, with the recommended edits suggested by the Main Street Oversight Committee, as attached in the October 13, 2010 Staff Report.
Findings/Reasons for Action:
a. The Commission finds that Section 12-21-080(c) authorizes the “legislative” body to initiate a zone text amendment.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Rasmussen.
Commissioner Kjar made a motion to amend to recommend the City Council focus on concerns with density and height. The motion to amend died for lack of a second.
Chair Pedersen called for a vote on Commissioner Fillmore’s motion. The motion passed with a roll-call vote (4-2). Commissioner’s Holbrook and Markham opposed.
Commissioner Kjar made a motion for the Planning Commission to ask the City Council to pay special attention to the concerns of the public with respect to building height and density along Main Street. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Markham. The motion passed with a unanimous roll-call vote (6-0).
PUBLIC HEARING – ZONING CODE TEXT AMENDMENT – PARK STRIPS (WHAT IS ALLOWABLE IN THE PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY?) - Consideration of modifying the zoning code in regard to “Park Strips” and what is allowable in the public right-of-way. Changes are proposed for Section 12-12-040-Definitions, Section 12-51-070(a)(6) & 12-51-070(f)(2)-Landscaping Requirements, Section 12-63-070(c)-Parrish Lane Streetscape Standards; and Section 12-55-230-Visual Obstructions. Centerville City, Applicant.
Chair Pedersen made a motion for the Planning Commission to postpone the public hearing, discussion, and possible action on this agenda item until the next Planning Commission meeting to be held on October 27, 2010. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Fillmore and passed by unanimous roll-call vote (6-0).
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR’S REPORT
a. The next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be held on October 27, 2010.