Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission

June 21, 2012

Members present: Matt Cossalman , Co-Chairman, John Cranor, Marciavee Cossette, Ron Self, Dan Studer (Acting as member to approve minutes).

Members who notified office unable to attend: Steve Shelman

Members absent: Bruce Behrman, John Moss. Staff present: Dan Studer.

Cossalman opened the meeting at 5:30. The first order of business was the approval of March and May Minutes. Cossalman asked for any additions or corrections of May minutes. Ron Self had a correction for spelling of name; also, Marciavee had correction for spelling of name. Ron Self made a motion to accept the minutes with changes noted, John Cranor seconds the motion to accept with changes, no further discussion Cossalman calls for the question of motion with all commission members voting yes.

Cossalman asked the commission for any additions or corrections to the March minutes (two parts). Ron Self had a correction to the second part of the minutes, and Marciavee corrected spelling of names. Cossette made a motion to accept the minutes as corrected, Self second the motion to accept as corrected; Cossalman called for the question of the motion and the motion was accepted by unanimous vote.

Cossalman asked Studer for an update on the status of Planning and Zoning: Studer reported that Mike Weland had discussed with the Commissioners taking a Disability Retirement. The Commissioners plan to meet next week to discuss options and needs. Studer also said the Commissioners stated they would like to see more applicants for P&Z commission; they have directed Studer to issue additional press releases for applicants.

Cossalman asked Studer if there were any applicants present this evening? Studer indicated yes and introduced Caleb Davis to the members of the commission. Cossalman asked the commission if they would like to take advantage of Caleb’s presence and ask him questions. The commission together indicated they would.

Caleb Davis introduced himself to the commission. He is a resident of Moyie Springs, served as a committee man on the Boundary County Republicans, and had done some paralegal work for an attorney. Cossette asked Davis why he wanted to become a member of the P&Z commission? Davis indicated that he supports our form of government which requires the input of its citizens, be a part of the community and participate in this. Cossalman asked if Davis had read the ordinance or comprehensive plan? Davis indicated he had read other counties plans, but not ours specifically. Cossalman asked what he felt the purpose of the ordinance was? Davis indicated that the purpose was to protect people, private property rights, a check against abuse of rights. Self pointed out that Bonner and Boundary Counties and asked how Davis felt Boundary County should go in the future, with jobs, income, etc; Davis indicated he is very much for job growth and welcomes it. He is aware of lower incomes in this area (food stamps) and would favor better jobs in the area. Cossalman asked how the ordinance and comp plan relate to jobs in the community? Davis said the role of the P&Z Commission advising Commissioners would give him the opportunity to provide input and direction.

Cossalman saw that there were no further questions for Davis from the Commission, so Cossalman thanked Davis for his willingness to answer questions.

There being no other business Cossalman had Studer explain the procedure rules to Julien and the need for the hearing of his Variance be moved to July due to a quorum not being met.

Self made a motion to adjourn, second by Cossette, motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned by Cossalman.

Members reconvened when John Moss arrived.

Members present: Matt Cossalman , Co-Chairman, John Cranor, Marciavee Cossette, Ron Self, John Moss. Members absent: Bruce Behrman, Steve Shelman. Staff present: Dan Studer.

Matt Cossalman reopened the hearing; he read the instructions and procedure order for the public meeting to take place. Studer clarified that the final decision was the Planning and Zoning Commissions. Cossalman read the criteria for rendering a decision. He then asked if any member had a conflict of interest or ex-parte knowledge for which they would like to step aside; no member affirmed.

Cossalman opened the hearing for public testimony, asking the applicant Roger Julien to come forward and explain his reason for application.

Roger Julien testified he travels frequently for work, sometimes for periods up to a year. He would like to have a person he trusts and wants to live up here, have their own piece of property, and watch over his property when he is gone.

Cossalman asked for questions from the board. Self asked about the split location, and septic placement; Julien described the triangle east location bordering the US Forest Service and the improvement locations.

Cossalman asked if Panhandle Health had approved a septic system on the proposed location? Julien responded he had received a packet of information from Panhandle Health and had his own septic approved. Julien reviewed setback requirements for installation of a septic system. Self asked when Julien expected approval from Panhandle Health, Julien responded that if this variance is approved he will proceed with the approval requirements. Julien explained that the fees for this process are expensive.

Cranor asked about water, if it is to be a well system? Julien said it would either be a well system or he would allow for an easement to Meadow Creek where he has his water system; he has water rights established on Meadow Creek.

Cossalman asked about the property boundary at the creek; Julien explained the zig zag boundary was established so all property owners would touch the creek and have access to the water on their parcel.

Cossalman asked about the size of the lots and did owners typically own more than one parcel? Julien said the owners next to him only have one parcel, and the size is typically 3.5 to 4 acres. Cossalman asked if any lots were as small as the one he's proposing? Julien responded no.

John Moss asked regarding the agreement with the friend, is there a commitment established? Julien responed, only if this variance is passed. Moss asked if the person was acting as a caretaker as a condition of the land purchase? Julien indicated no, they are missionaries and will travel also.

Cranor asked if the person building on the piece would rent it out if they traveled? Julien explained that he had talked to the individual about their commitment to stay, and not to sell and not rent.

Self asked about the possibility of Julien buying the property back from them, and possibly putting the parcels back together in the future? Julien indicated he wasn't sure.

Discussion regarding the current status of the lots: two parcels under one tax id.

Self suggested including a condition that Panhandle Health approve the septic before the variance is established. Julien said that would not be a detriment to him. He explained the he and his wife are perfectly at peace if this does, or does not work out.

Cranor had discussion with Self regarding approval of septic as condition of acceptance of application. Cranor asked Julien about electric, it will be solar; Julien explained there is no other feasible way.

Cossalman asked about how many other homes are built up there, Julien was unsure, there are about five households living up there.

Cranor asked if he had discussed this with his neighbors, he responded that he had and said he told them if they oppose this and spoke out he would not hold it against them.

Moss asked about minimum lot size for the zone. 10 acres. Cossalman explained this was the cause for a variance.

Cossalman closed questions for the applicant and asked Studer for the staff report.

Studer read through the staff report and application narrative.

Self asked Studer who owns land to the east of the property. Studer responded USFS. Self asked if they were contacted about this, no they hadn't, all private owners in the area were notified. The land was signed with notice and the paper also had notice of hearing.

Cossalman asked if this could be a lot line adjustment due to two different parcels. Studer said since a new lot is being created the variance would apply. Cossalman stated that if lot 5 and 6 were joined and then the split on the east occurred no new lot would be created. Self commented on the cost of survey to do that.

Cossalman seeing no other comments coming forth asked Julien if he had any further statement/rebutal. Julien said that when he was in the office in February speaking to Mike Weland, he had mentioned the need for a survey.

Cossalman wanted some clarification from Julien that in granting a variance we would be creating a third parcel here. Would it be acceptable to join the lower parcels and separate the one on the east side of the road? This would in effect not allow you to separate your parcel on the west side of the road. Julien acknowledged yes. Right now his house is on lot 5 and septic on lot 6 anyway, so he won't want to separate lots 5 and 6.

Cossalman closed the public comments and opened discussion.

Self expressed major concern the Forest Service was not contacted. Discussion, Cossalman expressed he had no concern over this. Cranor, anything done here adjacent to Forest land can be done and has no impact.

Self expressed concern over septic, if we approve the variance and the septic is not approved... Cossalman mentioned vaults and composting toilets alternatives.

John Moss brought up the ability of neighbors to split their property if this goes through as a precedent. Cossalman added that the criteria states we must set no special privileges for one individual. Are all property owners entitled to a split now? John Moss suggested we may need to stop and think about this, Self expressed the same concern, and brought up again the need for a survey and get the lots re-platted. Cossalman agreed to this solution, changing the way the lots are divided is preferable. John Moss agreed.

Cossalman asked the question can we approve a variance creating a parcel based on a lot line adjustment joining lots 5 and 6? Is this a two step process or can we approve a condition to join the remaining parcels? Studer responded he did not know, but as in a conditional use permit the stipulations and conditions apply to the application. Studer said he did not have the ordinance with him and did not know if conditions could be applied. Cossalman suggested we add our recommendations for the passage of the variance, and stipulate that our attorney approve our procedure and recommendations before Matt approve the variance and sign off on it. Studer said he would do this.

Cossalman asked for more comments; Cossette is concerned over the size of land needed to build the cabin, septic, and water. Unintelligible.

Cossalman asked group if they agree they are not granting special privileges, or taking of property rights, or creating health issues etc. There was short discussion, followed by Cossalman asking for a motion.

Motion by Self to grant the variance: upon the approval of the attorney as to our procedure and conditions; and with the stipulation that lot 5 and 6 are surveyed and joined prior to the split of the 1 acre area east of the road ; and approval of septic by Panhandle Health. Motion second by John Moss.

Cossalman called for discussion of the motion. Cranor asked regarding the need for approval of septic, Self discussed. Self mentioned the surveyor’s will require approval of septic before surveying is done. Cranor, if that is true then we do not have to duplicate it.

Cranor asked to amend the motion. John Moss clarified the discussion clearly. Further discussion by Self and Cossalman regarding septic and ordinance.

Cranor made a motion to amend the previous motion, and remove the septic approval as part of the requirements. Second by Cossette. Discussion by Self and Moss to clarify the amendment. Vote is unanimously approved.

[Amended Motion: Motion by Self to grant the variance: upon the approval of the attorney as to our procedure and condition; with the stipulation that lot 5 and 6 are surveyed and joined prior to the split requested for 1 acre east of the road. Motion second by John Moss.]

Cossalman re-opened the public hearing to hear Roger Julien. Julien expressed concern that if the Panhandle Health septic approval was not established he would then have two taxed lots and no septic. Julien is concerned over the tax implications, the one acre would have high tax consequences. Julien is ok with the septic as a condition. If there is no septic, he doesn't want the variance. He would want to know the septic is approved before the land survey is done. Moss discussed the tax consequences with Julien.

Cossalman closed public testimony. Discussion, Moss, Cranor and Cossalman agree that adding the septic provision protects the applicant best.

Self makes a motion to amend the currant motion back to the original motion. Second by John Moss. Passed unanimously.

Cossalman called for a vote on the original motion. Passed unanimously.

Self moves to adjourn, second by Cranor. Passed and adjourned.

Notes by Dan Studer