Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission
September 15, 2016
(16-125 – R Unruh) – Meredith Keller, Clint Kimball (Road & Bridge); Absent: R Unruh
(16-140 – G Unruh) – Fred Olmsted; Absent: G Unruh
Planning & Zoning:
Caleb Davis, Scott Fuller, Wade Purdom, Matt Cossalman, Marciavee Cossette, Tim Heenan
Absent: Kim Peterson, Ron Self, John Cranor, Counselor Tevis Hull
At 5:30 pm Co-Chairman Caleb Davis opened the meeting and 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. After it was determined there were no questions related to procedure, Davis asked if anyone had any changes or concerns regarding the minutes for September 8, 2016. There being none, he asked for an approval of the minutes from the September 8 meeting. Matt Cossalman moved to accept; Wade Purdom seconded, and the minutes were approved unanimously. The two items on the evening's agenda were switched in sequence.
[ 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.]
Staff recused himself from Administrator responsibilities to be replaced by Olivia Drake, acting as Administrator for application 16-140 submitted by Gilbert Unruh, a Variance Permit to allow a setback of less than 20 feet in a Suburban zone. Co-Chairman Davis read the script for a quasi-judicial hearing specific to the terms of application 16-140, including the specific criteria to be considered by the P&Z Commission:
184.108.40.206. 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.
220.127.116.11. Whether failure to grant variance would infringe on the rights of the property owner or would constitute a taking of private property rights.
18.104.22.168. 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. (It was acknowledged that several neighboring parcels are of a similar non-conforming size.)
22.214.171.124. 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.
After determining there was no ex-parte contact or conflict of interest on the part of any P&Z Commission member, Co-Chairman Davis established the procedure for providing testimony and asked the applicant to make an opening statement.
The applicant was not present. After determining there was no one present to support the application, Davis asked for a staff report. Drake said the situation was pretty much what it looked like: the pole barn in question was placed on the north/south parcel line in the north west corner of the parcel. The ½-acre parcel is heavily timbered and the placement of the barn at this location was intended to preserve the trees as much as possible. Along the north edge of the parcel there is a county road having a 30 foot easement from center-line, and the barn is on that line. The barn is situated on the west parcel line, having no east/west setback. Drake said the applicant was unaware of a setback requirement at the time the barn was placed on the property and the focus was to be able to utilize the barn while protecting the trees. Drake also reminded the Commission that Road & Bridge had evaluated the request and had stated the easement on the county road was not impaired by the structure and that it was acceptable to Road & Bridge to waive the easement requirement. Commission members clarified with staff that the setback restriction was in effect at the time the barn was built. It became apparent through the use of Google Earth that the barn was non-existent in 1998 but by 2004 was present. There being no further questions of staff, Caleb asked if there an uncommitted voice, and there being none asked if there was anyone opposed to the variance. Fred Olmsted spoke with concerns in the neighborhood relating to setback distances being allowed when his property was adjacent to land which may have setback limits waived next to his property and he was opposed to that idea. It was determined that Olmsted's parcel was in the neighborhood but the concerns were related to development next to his property and not specifically the Unruh parcel. Olmsted said that he didn't care if the Unruh setback was waived and that his concerns related to his own property and the prospect that his neighbor might encroach in the future.
There being no further testimony in opposition, Davis closed the meeting to public comment and asked the Commission for their deliberation. Reviewing the details of the request, it became clear the owner, Gilbert Unruh, had two parcels adjoining east/west, and that the parcel in question presented a setback issue because the barn was on the property line. Road & Bridge had suggested in their analysis that the west-side parcel should give easement to the barn, enabling the future owner of the barn to have easement should the eastern parcel be sold in the future. The Commission determined that should the parcels be combined, the east/west setback issue would disappear. Caleb Davis suggested that in the absence of the ability to set terms and conditions, the east/west absence of any setback suggested the applicant would have to resolve the setback requirement, even though the north/south variance was acceptable to Road & Bridge.
Matt Cossalman moved to deny the application for a variance allowing a setback of less than 20 feet in a Suburban zone. Tim Heenan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously. Olivia Drake was thanked for her participation as Administrator for the Gilbert Unruh hearing and John Moss resumed the staff position.
Next on the agenda, application 16-125 submitted by Roger Unruh was for a Long Plat Urban Subdivision. Co-Chairman Davis read a revised script for a quasi-judicial hearing related to taking from the Table the resumption of the Hearing commenced on August 18, 2016. After reminding the Commission of this status, Davis asked for clarification regarding an updated status report. Staff responded by showing the updated status report, as requested in the previous regular meeting:
Applicant should meet with R&B and City of Moyie Springs prior to next meeting
1. Property in question must show it has actual expressed easement recorded with each of the four 10 acre parcels
2. Applicant will provide an amended plat that involves the City of Moyie Springs and County Road & Bridge
It was determined that the applicant was not present nor had there been any contact of substance with the P&Z Administrator, Road & Bridge or the City of Moyie Springs. Being unable to deliberate further, and in the presence of both a concerned neighbor and a representative of Road & Bridge, Co-Chairman Davis asked the Commission if they would like to reopen public comment. Wade Purdom moved to reopen public comment, Matt Cossalman seconded, and the motion carried unanimously. Davis asked if there was anyone who wished to make a statement.
Clint Kimball of Boundary County Road & Bridge said he would like to make a clarifying statement in that he had concerns regarding the development and wants to prevent inadequacies in the future. Kimball said he believed there are viable options to provide good access but that he hasn't heard from the applicant. He suggested that a new preliminary plat containing the provision for required signatures would be the first positive step going forward.
Tim Heenan asked about sidewalks, storm drains, and drainage. Kimball responded that the question of drainage probably was a lesser concern for Road & Bridge, that Panhandle Health District and/or a private consultant might provide answers in that area. The area is flat and drains pretty well, he said. Road & Bridge has road safety as a prime concern, regarding the least amount of encroachment, the least amount of entrances as possible. He said the goal is a nice entrance, one stop sign, simple and safe. When asked about easement width, Kimball replied that a lot of places in the county are 50 foot wide easements, and the choice of a 60 foot easement was safer and better. He presented a suggestion regarding the proposed use of East Mountain View Road and an easement between proposed lots 2 and 3 and between lots 3 and 4 as a means of access the ten acre parcels proposed. He again stated that there are good options available and that future problems because of inadequacies can be avoided.
Next, Meredith Keller spoke in opposition to the application. He pointed out the following provisions of the Ordinance:
126.96.36.199.1.3. Whether the proposed subdivision is designed so as to reduce or eliminate adverse impact on adjacent properties or land uses.
188.8.131.52.1.5. Whether access is sufficient to accommodate increases that might result from the subdivision proposed.
Keller said these requirements were entirely overlooked and went on to say that the intent of the applicant was to provide income property for the Unruh heirs, and that the ten-acre parcels as proposed would be potentially split by these heirs with little to no concern for the surrounding property owners.
Davis again closed the hearing to public comment, and some of the P&Z Commission suggested that without applicant input, no decision can be made. Davis noted that this was an official public hearing scheduled to review the application as set before the board and that the failure to appear was an affront and an inconvenience to the public and the Road & Bridge representatives who are here before us today. Staff affirmed that no contact had been made, specifically no revised Preliminary plat had been received nor had there been any contact, verbal or written. There was further discussion and Matt Cossalman moved to table the application for one month to enable the applicant time to respond. Tim Heenan seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Before adjourning staff asked about the changes to Land Use Ordinance 2015-2. He stated that application 16-111 had been created but required detail before establishing a public hearing date. Purdom said he was working on that and would have it ready by September 22 2016. There being nothing further to discuss, Scott Fuller moved to adjourn, Wade Purdom seconded, approved unanimously at 9:30PM.
John B. Moss
Caleb Davis Co-Chairman Date