P&Z Minutes Mar. 17 2016

Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission
March 17, 2016 Regular Meeting

Attending: Kim Peterson, Caleb Davis, Marciavee Cossette, Scott Fuller, Ron Self, Wade Purdom, Matt Cossalman
Staff: John Moss. Absent: John Cranor, Tim Heenan, Tevis Hull

At 5:30 pm Chairman Kim Peterson opened the regular meeting and asked for an approval of the minutes from the February 18 meeting. Davis moved to accept. Cossalman seconded, and the minutes were approved by all except Self (absent Feb 18 meeting).

{ Planning & Zoning minutes are transcribed from the conversation that takes place during the meeting. Topics are condensed, eliminating verbatim comment in order to condense the material. Key points are included in this extraction and all votes taken are recorded.}

Chair Peterson then read the script for conduct of Public Hearings, reviewing the procedure to be followed for all official proceedings per Section 19 of the Boundary County Zoning and Land Use Ordinance 2015-2.

The first item on the agenda, application 16-040 by Clint Kimball on behalf of Boundary County, was announced and concerned an application for a Conditional Use permit covering gravel borrow operations to obtain landfill cover and winter traction sand for Road & Bridge. The criteria for reaching a recommendation/decision was presented:

7.7.1. Whether the application, site plan and additional documentation provided by the applicant sufficiently demonstrate the full scope of the use proposed.
7.7.2. Whether the proposed use conforms to all applicable standards established by this ordinance.
7.7.3. Whether there is sufficient land area to accommodate the use proposed, and whether development is so timed and arranged so as to minimize adverse effects on surrounding properties and uses.
7.7.4. How the impacts of the use proposed compare with the impacts of existing uses within the zone.
7.7.5. Whether concerns raised by other departments, agencies or by the providers of public services, including but not limited to road and bridge, water, electricity, fire protection, sewer or septic, can be adequately addressed.
7.7.6. The potential benefit to the community offered by the use proposed.
7.7.7. Whether specific concerns aired through the public hearing process have validity and whether those concerns can be adequately addressed.
7.7.8. Whether the use proposed would constitute a public nuisance, impose undue adverse impact to established surrounding land uses or infringe on the property rights of surrounding property owners, and whether terms or conditions could be imposed adequate to mitigate those effects.
7.7.9. Whether the use proposed would unfairly burden Boundary County taxpayers with costs not offset by the potential benefits of the proposed use.

Mr. Kimball was asked to make an opening statement, and he provided the background of his own experience in the county as well as the need for the gravel and sand materials related to the application. He explained the need to continue covering the landfill contents, as well as the need to obtain a ready source of traction sand to serve the county's winter travel needs.

The Road & Bridge Superintendent explained that this property was purchased in 1997 with a projected capacity set to last until 2021. It appears that through efficient use and maintenance of the landfill this capacity has been extended; needed immediately is the sand and soil to be moved from this site to the landfill. Road & Bridge has an agreement that winter sand be taken from this source. The need is for 200 yards of sand per week, which amounts to 20 truck loads per week.

By taking this material from the north end of the property the impact is minimal due to minimal use of the roadway (Hillcrest) and minimal disruption to farming related to hay and alfalfa fields; operations would not be obtrusive to traffic, and dust control practices would be in effect. Alternatives to this location are cost-prohibitive. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has offered to help seed the topsoil pushed aside for later reclamation.

Claine Skeen, Supervisor, Boundary County Solid Waste, said that the property proposed is adjoining the landfill and a far easier, cost-effective resource for landfill cover. Access to this resource does not impact local residents since landfill access to the property crosses Hillcrest (does not travel along the road). He continued that because of the number of trips, timing of activity, dust control measures and open visibility of the area, the residents will not be at risk.

Gayla Roady, a neighboring resident of 35 years, said the use of this property to create a pit would effect the view, and that air quality would be a factor due to sand blowing. She said the land was originally to be used for methane testing – was any found? No, OK – there is a visibility issue due to Roady traveling Hillcrest and being unclear as to how to avoid the trucks; it just takes one accident…

She asked about the 2 acre reclamation plan – will this take place 2 acres at a time, or what is the plan for restoring the acreage of land after removal? What considerations have been made related to the wildlife in the area – elk, deer and turkey in the field? She noted that 30 acres of farmland may not seem like much, but once removed from production it does not come back She asked to know the proposed life of the new pit, and stated they were in favor of any other option to using this field as a pit.

Forrest Graham, a neighbor living on Chokecherry, mentioned the recent test holes dug by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) looking for ground water, and none was found. He suggested that this means the landfill could end up in this area. He asked about the plans for this 20 acres in the future: the definition of the 20 acres specifically, a definitive plane for future disposal of Boundary County waste. Five or six years ago there was no mention of any expansion; now, we want to know the plans.

Chad Argon, concerned about neighboring property he purchased in 2014, said he was told by his realtor and the prior owner that the land in question would never be a landfill. He said if he had known this when he bought, he simply wouldn't have bought. Argon requested that alternative land sources be sought now, because later will come in time and in the meantime the County is ruining the quality of life here.

Mr. Argon stated that road safety is a big issue, and that with the increase in traffic across Hillcrest this is being turned into a commercial area. He requested that it be put in writing that this property would NEVER be used for a refuse area. He also asked for a complete financial study showing long term benefits in view of alternative resources. He said 'Remember, you WILL have to use alternative resources. It's just a matter of time.' A cost study would show that whatever the cost, in the meantime our property values are affected.

Cossalman asked: How far is your house from the north property line of the proposed parcel? Argon replied '500 yards'. Cossalman: '1500 feet. Thank you.'

Shelly Kramer, another Chokecherry neighbor, expressed concern that road maintenance is an issue. She said that the area is a high traffic area, and that many Bonners Ferry residents choose to do a lot of walking in the area.

Claine Skeen said in closing that no Methane has been found in any of the tests, which are ongoing quarterly. He said there are 40 acres set aside for EPA compliance and that there is no documentation available on any proposed landfill expansion. He said any trucks on Chokecherry Drive would be sand trucks, and that when tested for ground water the EPA hit bedrock at 150' and found no ground water.

Mr. Kimball was asked to make a closing statement, and said that he was sorry if wildlife is a problem, and that he was sorry if a realtor sold a bad deal. However, there would be no increase in truck traffic and it is what it is, has been since 1966. Road & Bridge makes every effort to do what is best for the County, and admittedly not everyone would be happy.

Following public testimony, the Chair closed the meeting to further public comment and asked the P&Z Commission to deliberate and reach a conclusion.

Cossalman stated, in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions as enumerated by Davis (Section 7.8.), that the Reclamation Plan addressed a means of mitigating concerns in that Section and as expressed in public comment, and moved to accept the proposed Conditional Use as presented. Davis seconded, and the vote was as follows:
Cossalman – Aye, Davis – Aye, Cossette – Aye, Fuller – Aye, Peterson – Aye, Purdom – Aye, Self – Aye
Tally: Aye – 7; Nay – 0 Absent – 2
The request for Conditional Use permit 16-040 was approved.

The second item on the agenda, application 16-041 by Alan Sandaker, was announced and concerned an application for a Variance permit concerning lot sizes in a Residential zone The criteria for reaching a recommendation/decision was presented: Whether special circumstances of the property, such as its shape, size or features, render the parcel unsuited for uses that would otherwise be allowed in the zone district. Whether failure to grant variance would infringe on the rights of the property owner or would constitute a taking of private property rights. Whether granting the variance would confer special privilege to the property owner, or if it would be granted to any property owner in similar circumstances. Whether the grant of variance would be detrimental to the general public welfare, create a public hazard or be injurious to property or improvements in the immediate vicinity.

Mr. Sandaker was asked to make an opening statement, and he explained his desire to restore the lot sizes he owned prior to placing a duplex on his property. He explained that he has had approved lot sizes of less than. .25 acres for over 6 years, but that due to ordinance requirements involving setbacks he was asked to combine two lots such that the duplex would not be resting on a parcel line. He complied with that request, and stated his request for a variance allowing zero setback on a parcel line for this proposed duplex16-014) was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission (01/21/2016). Now, because the original lot sizes were acceptable he is requesting the variance to reinstate these same dimensions in order to proceed with a request to establish an urban subdivision (that hearing is pending the results of the outcome of this request).

Terry Capurso suggested that there was a precedent being established in Boundary County if a zero setback was being approved. He expressed concern that approving zero setback would initiate a process of more such construction and he saw this as being contra to the ideas expressed in the Comprehensive Plan.

Donna Capurso, speaking for 'Lisa', suggested that the introduction of a duplex into the County creates a scenario where there is a 'cloud' over the title, and she advised against allowing duplexes to be created.

Following public testimony, the Chair closed the meeting to further public comment and asked the P&Z Commission to deliberate and reach a conclusion.

Davis suggested that the request centered around the placement of the duplex on a parcel large enough to hold a duplex, but that splitting the parcel created a precedent in allowing both an exception to setback distance and lot size as well. Staff pointed out that the question of setback was resolved in Variance application 16-014, and that the issue here was lot size being less than ¼ acre per Ordinance This point was acknowledged and Cossalman asked Staff for clarification as to what was and was not in the ordinance at the time. Staff showed the applicant's Certificate of Compliance dated 1/12/2009 (09-001) as evidence of the then Administrator approving the smaller lot sizes.

Cossalman concluded that the denial of the smaller lot size now would mean a taking of property rights ( since the smaller lot size had been approved in 2009. Cossalman moved to approve the Variance and after suggesting that a denial of this application would be successfully appealed in court, Self seconded the motion. The Chair called for a vote, and the vote was as follows:
Cossalman – Aye, Davis – Nay, Cossette – Nay, Fuller – Nay, Peterson – Aye, Purdom – Aye, Self – Aye
Tally: Aye – 4; Abstain -0, Nay – 3, Absent – 2
The request for Variance permit 16-041 was approved.

The third item on the agenda, application 16-036 by Alan Sandaker, was announced and concerned an application for a Long Plat – Urban Subdivision permit concerning a desire to establish a duplex residing on two separate lots in a Residential zone The criteria for reaching a recommendation/decision was presented:

Lots are intended for residential development in which any lot proposed is less than 2 ½ acres in size.
15.12.1. Standard Net Residential Density: Where both community water and sewer service is available: ¼ acre. Where community water or sewer service, but not both, are available, 1 acre. Where neither community water service or sewer service are available, 2 ½ acres.
Whether variance for standard net residential density is approved
Whether variance for setback distance is approved

Mr. Sandaker was asked to make an opening statement, and he simply asked the Planning & Zoning Commission if they had any further questions. He felt that his request was established through discussion of the prior hearing (16-041) and was willing to answer any further questions.

Following public testimony (there was none), the Chair closed the meeting to further public comment and asked the P&Z Commission to deliberate and reach a conclusion.

Cossalman suggested that a recommendation for approval to the Board of Commissioners of the request to create the Urban Subdivision was a foregone conclusion, provided the requirements for platting had been met. He inquired as to Road&Bridge approval of road approaches (the applicant said he had the approvals necessary) and asked Staff if the preliminary plat contained reference to needed utilities (from Bonners Ferry). Upon Staff's answer to the affirmative, Cossalman moved to approve the application. Self seconded the motion. The Chair called for a vote, which was as follows:
Cossalman – Aye, Davis – Abstain, Cossette – Aye, Fuller – Aye, Peterson – Aye, Purdom – Aye, Self – Aye
Tally: Aye – 6; Abstain -1, Nay – 0 Absent – 2
The request for Long Plat Urban Subdivision permit 16-036 was agreed upon to recommend approval to the County Board of Commissioners.

Because of the lateness of the hour, the Chair suggested everyone take home the material provided by Staff related to changes in the Ordinance. The Chair reminded everyone about the workshop schedule for April 7th, and asked that they come prepared to discuss those changes.

Peterson thanked the Commissioners for their participation, and reminded everyone that the workshop, scheduled for April 7 at 5:30PM, required that everyone review the material passed out by Staff which represented the changes made at the previous workshop. Cossalman moved to adjourn, Purdom seconded, approved unanimously at 8:40PM.

John B. Moss

____________________________________ _________________
Kim Peterson, Chairman Date

Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 11:15
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