Minutes – Public Hearing

boone Town Council/Planning Commission

July 23, 2018

Call to Order - Town Council

COUNCIL MEMBERS:   Mayor Rennie Brantz, Mayor Pro-Tem Loretta Clawson, Marshall Ashcraft, Sam Furgiuele, Connie Ulmer, and Lynne Mason (arrived at 6:02 p.m.)

 

PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBERS:  Eric Plaag, Frank Veno, Michael Sanchez, and James Hedrick

 

PLANNING STAFF PRESENT: Jane Shook-Director of Planning and Inspections, Marty Little-Planner, and Brenda Henson-Board Secretary

 

OTHERS PRESENT:  John Ward-Town Manager, Allison Meade-Town Attorney, and Serena Wilson-Intern

 

 

Mayor Brantz called the Town Council to order at 6:00 p.m.

Motion

In Chairperson Shay’s absence, Commission Member Sanchez made a motion to elect Eric Plaag to act as Chairman for this meeting.  The motion was seconded by Commission Member Hedrick.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Michael Sanchez, Commissioner

SECONDER:              James Hedrick, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca

EXCUSED:              Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

Call to Order - Plannng Commission

Acting Chairman Plaag called the Planning Commission to order at 6:01 p.m.

Meeting Minutes

Town Council

April 23, 2018 Public Hearing minutes

Motion

Mayor Pro-Tem Clawson made a motion, seconded by Council Member Furgiuele for Town Council to approve the April 23, 2018 Public Hearing minutes as written.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Loretta Clawson, Mayor Pro-Tem

SECONDER:              Sam Furgiuele, Council Member

AYES:              Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca

EXCUSED:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

Planning Commission

April 23, 2018 Public Hearing minutes

Motion

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              James Hedrick, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Frank Veno, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca

EXCUSED:              Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

Case PL01607-062918 Cooper General Use Zoning Map Amendment

The Town of Boone has initiated a General Use Zoning Map Amendment to rezone the southern portion of property owned by John and Faye Cooper located on Grand Boulevard (Watauga County PIN: 29100899168000) from R3 Multiple-Family Residential to R1 Single-Family Residential.  Currently, the property is split zoned R1 Single Family Residential and R3 Multiple Family Residential.

 

Ms. Shook presented the request as it was outlined in the packet.  Ms. Shook explained that the bottom portion of John and Faye Cooper’s property is zoned R3 while the top portion is zoned R1 and, under current UDO requirements, the Coopers would not be able to build a house on the R3 portion. 

 

Council Member Furgiuele asked Ms. Shook to clarify the R1 and R3 columns in the Table of Principal Uses provided in the Board packet.  Ms. Shook explained that the table showed the different uses that are allowed in R1 and R3 zoning districts.  Council Member Furgiuele asked if the dimensions of the lot, if subdivided, would prohibit anything being built on the R3 portion.  Ms. Shook replied that the lot would need to be at least 5,000 sq. ft. to build on it and though she wasn’t positive she thought she had measured if for Council at their last meeting and believed the R3 portion of the lot to be less than 5,000 sq. ft.  Council Member Furgiuele asked if it was correct that the rezoning of the property did not subdivide the property and Ms. Shook stated that was correct.

 

At 6:05 p.m. Mayor Brantz opened the floor for public comment.

 

Jim Marsh, owner of several of the Daniel Boone Condos and President of the Daniel Boone Condos POA, stated he was speaking on behalf of the interest of the Property Owner’s Association.  Mr. Marsh noted that the parking area for the condos was located right below the Cooper’s property and he wanted to make sure that the parking lot would not be rezoned to R1 as well.  Ms. Meade explained that the rezoning of the Daniel Boone Condos parking lot was not under consideration in this request.  Mr. Marsh expressed concern that the parking lot property might be rezoned to R1 in the future.  Ms. Meade assured Mr. Marsh that he would be notified in the event the rezoning of the Daniel Boone Condos parking lot was being considered.

 

The next speaker was John Cooper.  Mr. Cooper stated that rezoning the property to R1 was the only way they could build on the lot.  Commission Member Sanchez asked Mr. Cooper if he planned to combine the lots.  Mr. Cooper replied that if he built a new house he would not have to combine the lots but if he wanted to expand his current residence he would have to combine the lots.  Mr. Cooper added that he does not have any plans to build anything at this time.

 

With no further questions or public comment, Mayor Brantz closed the public hearing for this case at 6:10 p.m.

Discussion of Building Height Mitigation

Council Member Furgiuele stated he requested this item be put on the agenda for discussion of building height limitations in transitional zones.  He stated there had been some interest expressed to him about the possibility of allowing projects located within a transitional zone to proceed with their project without having to seek a Special or Conditional Use Permit if they agreed to certain requirements. 

 

Council Member Furgiuele asked Ms. Shook to explain transitional zones for the benefit of the new Planning Commission members.  Ms. Shook stated that a transitional zone was an area of land measured from the edge of a developments disturbed area to the boundary of any R1, R1A, RR, R2 or RA zoned properties.  Ms. Shook explained that projects whose development falls within a transitional zone are required to obtain either a Special Use Permit or a Conditional District rezoning and satisfactorily prove that noise, light, visual, traffic, and health impacts from the development will be mitigated.

 

Council Member Furgiuele stated he was not looking to make any resolutions to this topic tonight but would like to start the conversation.  He suggested items such as limiting a building to 3 stories or allowing no balconies on a transitional zone side of the building as possible concessions a developer could make in order to build their project by right instead of having to get Board approval.

 

Council Member Mason noted that a development could build by right if they chose not to encroach into the transitional zone with their limits of disturbance.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Clawson expressed concern for single family neighborhoods.

 

Ms. Meade felt it would be a stretch for the Board of Adjustment to require a developer to limit their building height in the transitional zone if it met the height requirement allowed by the UDO.  She stated that any requirements the Town wished to have that would allow development in a transitional zone by right be listed in the UDO.

 

Ms. Meade asked Ms. Shook if there were any smaller developments that had felt the transitional zone process was too onerous and it caused them to back away from the project.  Ms. Shook stated she could not think of any but noted that Staff meets with a lot of developers with ideas for development that do not follow through nor do they contact the Town to say why they decided not to pursue the project.

 

Council Member Furgiuele stated the General Assembly made the Special Use Permit process more expensive by requiring more skilled or expert testimony, such as appraisers and traffic engineers.  Ms. Shook noted that if the applicant for a Special Use Permit was a corporation they were required to have legal representation at the Board of Adjustment hearing which also added to the expense.

 

Council Member Furgiuele stated he would like to know what kind of conditions the Board of Adjustment has placed on projects in transitional zones in the past.  He felt this might provide some ideas of possible issues with transitional zones that would help them develop specific criteria for applicants to meet in order to build their development by right.

 

James Milner with Appalachian Commercial Real Estate stated the Ordinance was a difficult document.  He felt the reason the Town was seeing more 4-story buildings was because developers were utilizing UDO Section 15.11 that has a requirement for 100% ground floor commercial, which creates a limitation, and they try to maximize the value of the land.  Mr. Milner noted that he served on the Board of Adjustment for a long time and he supports transitional zones.  Mr. Milner stated that part of the transitional zone requirements talk about property values.  He stated that at the last Board of Adjustment meeting Ms. Meade said the burden of proof is on the property owner to come to the hearing and say that they feel their property value is being harmed.  Ms. Meade replied that she did not recall that coming up but suggested she would have said the burden of production would probably be on the applicant.  Mr. Meade felt the UDO was unclear on that point.  Council Member Furgiuele stated he thought the UDO was explicit that the burden was on the applicant.  Mr. Milner stated in his history the burden had always been on the applicant.  Mr. Milner went on to say that appearing before the Board of Adjustment was cumbersome and the applicant had to put together a lot of experts such as attorneys, traffic engineers, architects, appraisers, and engineers.  Mr. Milner noted than an appraiser came to the Board of Adjustment meeting but was not called to testify.  Mr. Milner stated that the transitional zones as they are today are not perfect but felt the intent was there, was clear, and served good purpose but suggested looking at the language for transitional zones as well as height mitigation.  Ms. Meade wished to clarify that the attorney decided not to call the appraiser to testify at the Board of Adjustment meeting.  She stated she had discussed with Ms. Shook the possibility of presenting more clear language in the UDO regarding burdens of proof and burdens of production.  Ms. Meade felt Mr. Milner had a valid point. 

Adjournment - Town Council

Motion

Mayor Pro-Tem Clawson made a motion to adjourn Town Council at 6:45 p.m.  The motion was seconded by Council Member Ulmer.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Loretta Clawson, Mayor Pro-Tem

SECONDER:              Connie Ulmer, Council Member

AYES:              Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca

EXCUSED:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

Recess & Reconvene Planning Commission

Acting Chairman Plaag recessed the Planning Commission meeting at 7:45 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 7:56 p.m.

Meeting Minutes

April 23, 2018 Planning Commission minutes - beginning on packet pg. 9

Motion

Commission Member Sanchez made a motion, seconded by Commission Member Hedrick to approve the April 23, 2018 Planning Commission meeting minutes as written.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Michael Sanchez, Commissioner

SECONDER:              James Hedrick, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca, Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

Consideration of Case Heard at the Public Hearing

Acting Chairman Plaag wished to disclose that his wife is employed at Mast General Store and he serves on several committees with John Cooper.  Commission Member Hedrick stated that his mother is also employed at Mast General Store.  Neither Acting Chairman Plaag nor Commission Member Hedrick felt their opinions on this request would be biased and the Commission proceeded with discussion.

 

Commission Member Sanchez stated he was concerned about the possibility combining the property.  Ms. Shook explained that this request was only for a general use rezoning and the Town has no ability to limit or place conditions on this type of request.  Ms. Shook further explained that the property in question was one parcel of land that contained two different zoning classifications.

 

Commission Member Veno asked if the neighboring property had the ability to rezone their property as well.  Ms. Shook replied that Town Council asked her to reach out to the adjacent property owner to see if they would like to include their property in this rezoning request but they were not interested in doing so at this time.

 

Ms. Shook advised Commission members to consider any applicable Comprehensive Plan policies and suggested they may want to take a few moments to compile their thoughts before making any motions.

First Motion and Vote

Commission Member Sanchez made a motion that the proposed amendment to the Town’s zoning map is consistent with the Town’s comprehensive plan and any other adopted plan(s) of the Town that are applicable because of Comprehensive Plan policy 2.3.2(E) Community Character,  “New development, redevelopment and rehabilitation of structures and sites shall occur in a manner which is consistent with the neighborhood and architectural context of the immediate area, and supportive, whenever possible, of Boone’s original community character as a High Country small town’. 

 

Acting Chairman Plaag wished to amend the motion to add Comprehensive Plan policy 2.3.3(A) Housing & Neighborhoods “The protection and rehabilitation of viable neighborhoods shall be encouraged to insure their continued existence as a major housing source and as a reflection of the area’s image as an attractive, highly livable community”.  Commission Member Sanchez accepted the amendment.  The motion was seconded by Commission Member Veno.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Michael Sanchez, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Frank Veno, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca, Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

Second Motion and Vote

Commission Member Hedrick made a motion that the Planning Commission recommends approval of the proposed amendment to the Town’s Zoning map and believes approval is reasonable and in the public interest because of Comprehensive Plan policy 2.3.2(E) Community Character “New development, redevelopment and rehabilitation of structures and sites shall occur in a manner which is consistent with the neighborhood and architectural context of the immediate area, and supportive, whenever possible, of Boone’s original community character as a High Country small town” and Comprehensive Plan policy 2.3.3(A) Housing & Neighborhoods, “The protection and rehabilitation of viable neighborhoods shall be encouraged to insure their continued existence as a major housing source and as a reflection of the area’s image as an attractive, highly livable community”.  Commission Member Sanchez wished to amend the motion to add that the rezoning of this property to R1 would be more convenient for the Town of Boone because the R3 portion was too small for development.  Commission Member Hedrick accepted the amendment.  The motion was seconded by Commission Member Veno.  Acting Chairman Plaag wished to amend the motion further to add that this rezoning would permit the property owner to make full use of his property.  Commission Members Hedrick and Veno accepted the amendment.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              James Hedrick, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Frank Veno, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca, Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson

Other Matters by Board Members or Staff

Adjournment of Planning Commission

Motion

Acting Chairman Plaag made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:33 p.m.  The motion was seconded by Commission Member Veno.

RESULT:              APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Eric Plaag, Commissioner

SECONDER:              Frank Veno, Commissioner

AYES:              Veno, Plaag, Hedrick, Sanchez

ABSENT:              Shay, LePlaca, Furgiuele, Ulmer, Ashcraft, Mason, Clawson