Jan 25, 2022 Council Meeting

Agenda (click to open)

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Item K (Accessory Buildings) 

Keep in mind that this change only applies to > 1 acre lots and in the new developments it’s likely an HOA has much tighter regulation. 

This was a long time in the making, and it should have been done decades ago. For years I’ve said our accessory building ordinance was ridiculously restrictive. Over the years it’s had some restrictions added... and then removed. Not long after I built my gambrel barn, the city decided building colors, siding, and roof slopes had to match the house. Why? Because the elected officials, at the time, decided they knew better as to what looks good on your property than you did. Yes, not everybody will agree that your choice of colors is what they would have picked... or that the 6/12 pitch on your house roof means that the 4/12 pitch on your building will make people spontaneously throw up. 

The notorious "pole barn." A pole barn (as many people use the term) may very well have a slab or footing foundation (though it's not likely). Conversely, a very nice looking building can be built on a pole foundation.  Structurally, there is nothing wrong with a pole foundation. Banning a foundation type (pole) is...  odd. That language was removed.

Finally, addressing the "not allowing any part of a building to be in front of the house'' rule. I agree that residents could do some pretty ugly stuff, but I can also point to properties where putting that structure in front of the house was the correct way to go. This change is a little complicated, but to some extent it’s now allowed. 

Other highlights: 

  • More square footage (roughly twice.) 
  • Multiple buildings (based on acreage.) 
  • Greenhouses now allowed. 
  • Carports now allowed. 
  • Subjective language taken out (if it can’t be enforced, why is it there?) 

Any building greater than 200 square feet will still require a permit. 

Item L (Roers concept plan) 

This was a concept plan to build 156 townhomes along 81 just north of territorial. I’m not sure they planned this to its best use, but I’m not an expert in development design. The planning commission and staff had a number of issues with it, but that’s why we have concept reviews. 

One of my goals has been to diversify our housing density. I believe the higher density development should be on the outer edges of our city where they have access to major roads. Unfortunately, the 81/territorial access has been a mess and it’s possible the county ends up killing this. 

Item M (Nostalgia Woods Concept) 

Another concept review for a development just south of South Diamond Lake Road on Pineview. The original portion of the development went in years back. There are still 16 acres to the south. The developer's goal is to do something unique and put in 7 high-end homes with a private drive. There are still some challenges, but the private drive allows a lot of trees to be used as selling points rather than bull dozer fodder. 

Item O (Truck Stop on Interchange) 

I’ve covered this topic many times in my updates. This was just a final nail in its coffin. The vote to deny it was 3-2 (Julie, Dave, and myself in the majority). It can be revisited 6-12 months down the road if nothing else comes along that fits the comp plan.

The applicant did say they would be coming forward with another application that removed the truck stalls. Unfortunately, it appears to me it removes any ability for the remaining lots to be used for anything but truck stalls, but we’ll see. 

Item P (Condemnation Dayton Parkway) 

Dayton Parkway just North of 81 will need ROW (Right of Way) from 3 businesses. To get that will require authorization for condemnation. That does not mean it will get to that point, but a vote to authorize it means the city gets to negotiate holding all the cards. 

The previous council had no problem with condemnation, but this council has a different makeup. For many months a couple of council members (me included) have notified staff that we would not sign condemnation authorization without a signed contract from the property owners first. My reasoning is simple. If we have an agreement beforehand, the only way condemnation happens is if the property owner changes their mind. At that point their word is no good and condemnation is a very fast way to enforce the contract. 

So here we were with an authorization to condemn and only one signed contract. Now, this one is a little different from the next item in that the other 2 owners apparently are on track to sign. Scott and I voted against this but the other 3 were for it. I don't want to put words in his mouth but I suspect Dave was ok with it only because it did sound like the remaining 2 properties were on track to sign. 

Item (Q) (Condemnation West French Lake) 

This involves upgrading West French Lake Road and widening it. I continually feel like we’re rushing this project. As of last spring we had no intention of touching this road for a few years. 

This is a little more complicated in that there is permanent AND temporary ROW needed. Temporary ROW is needed in order to do the work. It’s basically the city borrowing property along the road to have working room until the work’s done. I’m not concerned about temporary ROW because my goal would be that the city leaves the property and/or owner in better shape than when the project started. 

The city needs 4 permanent ROWs on this. Not only were no agreements made, there were no appraisals done yet. A motion was made to table this and that passed 3-2 (Scott, Dave, and myself in the majority). 

Item R-S (Scannell Preliminary) 

This preliminary approval was for a 125,000 sq ft office/warehouse not far from the interchange. Not a lot of controversy and it was pretty straightforward. It does put to bed a long-standing wrong I believe this city did a few years back to a Dayton Family. In 2009 the family was assessed roughly $500,000 for a sewer/road update. Since they couldn’t afford to pay that amount (and couldn't sell it for anywhere near that amount), they deferred it. Deferments are charged interest so that the city doesn’t end up paying to carry that loan (which was 4%). The city decided to add on (which state law allows) an “admin” fee of 1.75%. The real cost to “admin” this loan is roughly an hour a year of time. So, in the first year $8,750 was added to their bill and it continued from there. But that wasn’t the end of it. In 2015 the city refinanced that 4% bond to 2.5%, but did not adjust the deferment rate which made the “admin” fee 3.25%. By then the total had accumulated to $685,000. So that year’s “admin” fee was $22,000. Fast forward to today and the total lien is about $1M. For a while Scannell (the developer) wasn’t sure they could make this work, however TIF allowed it to happen. I’m not concerned about this TIF because as far as I’m concerned, the city had ill-gotten gains off this family along the way. 

As usual feel very free to contact me with questions you have.