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Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 8:00 a.m.

Fargo Planning Commission Regular Meeting

City Commission Chambers, City Hall

Agenda
 

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.  Items A through C

A:   Approve Order of Agenda

B:   Minutes:  Regular Meeting of September 12, 2007

C:  Discussion of future agenda scheduling

D:  Summary of Non-conforming Uses and Structures Brown Bag meeting

Public Hearings 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Items 1 through 6

1.      (2007-07-01) Continued Hearing on a Petition requesting a Zoning Change from AG, Agricultural to LC, Limited Commercial on the West half of the Northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 138, Range 49 West. (Located at the Southeast corner of 45th Street and 52nd Avenue South at 5498 and 5776 45th Street South) (Larry Scheffler) (jh)

2.      (2007-10-01) Hearing on a Petition requesting a Zoning Change from MR-3, Multi-Dwelling Residential to GC, General Commercial on the North 5 feet of Lot C and all of Lot A, Block 13, Eddy & Fullers Auditors Outlots.  (Located at 1402 1st Avenue South) (Duane J. Fercho and Debra Rehorst) (mw)

3.      (2007-10-02) Hearing on a Petition requesting a Conditional Use Permit to allow non-farm commercial uses on the West 1/2 of Section 15, Township 140 North, Range 49 West. (Located at 4269 40th Avenue North) (Ronald Knutson) (jh)

4.      (2007-10-03) Hearing on a Petition requesting a Plat of Ed Clapp Park Addition (Major Subdivision) a replat of part of Lot 2, Block 2 of Bluemont Park First Addition. (Located at 2801 32nd Avenue South) (Fargo Park District) (nc)

5.      (2007-10-04) Hearing on a Petition requesting a Plat of Liberty Square South First Addition (Minor Subdivision) a replat of part of Lot 1, Block 3 of Anderson Park Addition.  (Located at 2350 45th Street South) (Cityscapes Development) (nc)

6. (2007-10-06) Hearing on a Petition for a Zoning Change from LC, Limited Commercial to GC, General Commercial on Lots 3, part of 4, 19, part of 20, Block 1, and the adjacent vacated 15 feet of 13 1/2 Street South of Bohnsacks 1st Addition;  part of Block 8 of Fargo Investment Co 1st Addition. (Located at 1707 and 1720 University Drive S);and from SR-2, Single-Dwelling Residential  to GC, General Commercial on Lots 1 through 6 and 12, Block 7 of Fargo Investment Co 1st Addition. (Located at 1701, 1719, 1723, and 1747 11th Street South) (MeritCareHospital) (mw)

Other Items

Brown Bag Luncheon – Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Fargo Planning Commission Meeting is broadcast live the second Wednesday of the month at 8:00 a.m. Rebroadcast times are every Sunday at 9:00 a.m., the Third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m., and the Fourth Wednesday of the month at 8:30 a.m.

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Fargo Planning Commission

Regular Meeting

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Present:  John Paulsen, Mark Brodshaug, Kristi Fremstad, Jeff Morrau, Rich Slagle, Jan Ulferts-Stewart, Claire Vigesaa, Catherine Wiley

Absent:   Terry Nordenstrom, Kelly Ruth

Chair Paulsen called the meeting to order.

Item A:  Approve Order of Agenda

Chair Paulsen stated Item No. 1 will be continued.  Mr. Vigesaa moved to approve the Order of Agenda as amended.  Second by Ms. Ulferts-Stewart.  All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item B:  Minutes:  Regular Meeting of September 12, 2007

Ms. Fremstad moved to approve the minutes of the September 12, 2007 Planning Commission meeting.  Second by Ms. Wiley.  All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item C:  Discussion of future agenda scheduling

Jim Hinderaker led a discussion regarding future agenda scheduling.

Mr. Brodshaug asked that time be set aside at brown bag meetings to allow for more interaction between the Board Members so they may ask questions and talk as a group.

Mr. Hinderaker made a power point presentation summarizing multiple projects that the City Commission has recently taken action on.

Item D:  Summary of Non-conforming Uses and Structures Brown Bag meeting

Nicole Crutchfield summarized the September 26, 2007 Brown Bag meeting regarding non-conforming uses.  She reviewed the main points of the meeting, including defining non-conforming uses and structures.  She stated planning staff and lenders will consider the following:  the number of cases where this issue is impacting owners; whether current processes, such as rezoning, will take care of the issue; and how to better determine the minimum change to address their concern by working with financial institutions.

At 8:47 a.m. , the Board recessed until the 9:00 o’clock a.m. scheduled Hearings.

After recess:  All Members present.  Chair Paulsen presiding.

Item #1:  (2007-07-01) Continued Hearing on a Petition requesting a Zoning Change from AG, Agricultural to LC, Limited Commercial on the West half of the Northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 138, Range 49 West. (Located at the Southeast corner of 45th Street and 52nd Avenue South at 5498 and 5776 45th Street South ) Continued to January 9, 2008:

( 9:00 a.m. )  A Hearing had been set for July 11, 2007 on a petition for a zoning change on the west half of the Northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 138, Range 49 West.

At the July 11, 2007 meeting, the Hearing was continued to this date and hour; however, the developer has requested that the Hearing be continued to January 9, 2008 .

Mr. Morrau moved the Hearing be continued to January 9, 2008 .  Second by Mr. Slagle.  All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item #2: (2007-10-01)Hearing on a Petition requesting a Zoning Change from MR-3, Multi-Dwelling Residential to GC, General Commercial on the North 5 feet of Lot C and all of Lot A, Block 13, Eddy & Fullers Auditors Outlots.  (Located at 1402 1st Avenue South) APPROVED:

( 9:04 a.m. Mark Williams stated this property has been used for a small engine repair shop for approximately 19 years and the owner would like to bring it into zoning compliance with current requirements in the event the property/business is sold.  He stated the property was originally given Special Use Permit approval at the July 13, 1988 Planning Commission meeting for the existing structure and small engine repair use.  Mr. Williams stated staff is recommending a zoning change to GC, General Commercial, but the Board may also consider downgrading it to LC, Limited Commercial, which staff would also be supportive of.

There was discussion regarding the effects approving GC, General Commercial versus LC, Limited Commercial would have on the property.  The Board also discussed which zoning would bring the site into the closest conformity. 

The petitioner declined commenting on the application.

Mr. Slagle declared a conflict of interest and asked to be excused from voting.

Ms. Wiley moved the findings of staff be accepted and approval be recommended to the City Commission of the proposed zoning change from MR-3 to LC as it complies with the approval criteria set forth in the Land Development Code.  Second by Ms. Fremstad.  On call of the roll Members Wiley, Fremstad, Vigesaa, Ulferts-Stewart, Brodshaug, Morrau, and Paulsen voted aye.  Mr. Slagle was excused from voting.  Absent and not voting:  Nordenstrom and Ruth.  The motion was declared carried.

Item #3:  (2007-10-02)Hearing on a Petition requesting a Conditional Use Permit to allow non-farm commercial uses on the West 1/2 of Section 15, Township 140 North, Range 49 West. (Located at 4269 40th Avenue North) DENIED:

( 9:12 a.m. )  Mr. Hinderaker reviewed the petition and stated the applicant is seeking to construct a new building near two existing buildings.   He stated the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) would apply only to a limited area and would not involve the two existing structures.  He said the petitioner would like to use the building for a family operated fireworks business during June and part of July, and use the building for storage during the balance of the year.  Mr. Hinderaker expressed staff’s concern regarding fire protection and referred the Board to correspondence received from Dell Sprecher, Fire Inspector with the West Fargo Fire Department.  He stated an additional concern of staff is the long-term viability of a fireworks facility with the uncertainty of future annexation. He said staff is recommending standards of design not be imposed and signage be limited to half of what is allowable by the Sign Code.  Mr. Hinderaker stated two letters of protest were received.  He explained the first protestor felt this area was to be zoned as residential; however, the growth plan shows commercial zoning and therefore the proposed usage is in compliance.  He stated the second protestor is concerned about safety and storage of fireworks.  Mr. Hinderaker explained that staff was concerned with safety also and those concerns have been addressed by the West Fargo Fire Department.  In answer to a question by Chair Paulsen, Mr. Hinderaker stated a sprinkler system would need to be installed only if fireworks were stored in the building throughout the year.

Mr. Hinderaker stated the petitioner will not contest any annexation measures initiated by the City on the basis that the fireworks portion of this CUP will become void if the property is annexed.

There was discussion regarding allowable signage on the property.  Mr. Williams stated the Fargo Sign Code allows for three square feet per lineal front foot, or 40 percent of the face of the building; whichever is greater.  He said the question would be how much lineal front foot this property has.

Mr. Hinderaker reiterated that a 50 percent reduction of the three square foot per lineal front foot is recommended by staff.  He stated staff’s recommended signage size was a compromise to address the petitioner’s concerns about the existing buildings that are there and the competition associated with them.  He stated the primary reason for the CUP request is to allow for commercial storage outside of the fireworks season.

Mr. Brodshaug questioned what communication has taken place with Reiles Acres and Reed Township regarding this application.

Mr. Hinderaker stated the extraterritorial jurisdiction dissects this property.  He stated he spoke with two members of Reed Township regarding this application and they did not have any concerns.  He said their involvement is limited and the township is responsible for drainage issues.

Chair Paulsen summarized a discussion saying that if residential development occurred south of County Road 20, it would not take precedence over the continued existence of the fireworks business.

Mr. Morrau stated the existing fireworks signage is non-conforming and he is not sure he is comfortable with allowing a non-conforming use.  He stated he feels the City of Fargo Sign Code signage requirements are the most appropriate to follow.

In answer to a question by Mr. Brodshaug, Mr. Hinderaker stated the growth plan is showing AG Research for the area south of County Road 20 and the Reiles Acres extraterritorial area south of County Road 20 is showing Residential.

Planning Director Jim Gilmour stated the land to the south of County Road 20 is zoned PI, Public/Institutional.  He stated it belongs to NDSU and the zoning provides for a wide variety of land uses including student housing and agricultural research facilities or barns.

There was discussion regarding the petitioner applying for a zoning change instead of a CUP.

In answer to a question by Mr. Brodshaug, Mr. Gilmour stated staff did discuss commercial zoning as an option, but because of the availability of the utilities and services, staff was not sure that the city was ready for the level of commercial zoning. 

There was discussion regarding other zoning options.  

Cindy Gray, representative of Ron Knutson, stated the applicant is looking at the larger picture.  She said they have looked into the issue of future annexation and have prepared an initial agreement which will be submitted when the city is ready.  She said Mr. Knutson would like his property to be completely within Fargo , and not split with Reiles Acres. 

In response to a question by Ms. Wiley, Ms. Gray stated she believes her client would agree to a conforming sign for the storage and a temporary fireworks sign if that is what the Board recommends.

City Engineer Mark Bittner questioned why this application is not for a zoning change.  He stated the City of Fargo will be constructing water and sewer lines in the area within two years.

In response to Mr. Bittner’s question, Mr. Gilmour stated a possible annexation and rezoning could be considered at the time utilities are available in a couple of years.  He stated because half of the property is in the City of Fargo and half is in Reiles Acres, the city has an agreement with Reiles Acres that expires in 2009, so the issue will need to be resolved in the next two years.  He said this CUP will allow this use as a short-term resolution.

At 10:05 a.m. the Board took a five-minute recess.

After recess:  All Members present.  Chair Paulsen presiding.

Ms. Gray stated that Mr. Knutson would like to make use of the property at this time.  She explained his hands are tied as far as what he can do there and who to work with being split between the two communities.  She said he understands that extraterritorial area issues take years to resolve.  Ms. Gray stated that Mr. Knutson knows this is not the highest use for this property; however, they feel that to zone the property commercial now and change the tax structure seems premature; and that is why a CUP was requested.

Mr. Slagle stated he feels that a conditional use is temporary and yet some of this proposal does not seem to be temporary in nature, such as a steel building and the signage.  He questioned if a steel building is a building the city wants in an area of possible future development.  

Mr. Morrau stated he is not confident that a CUP is appropriate.  He stated in consideration of infrastructure coming in within 12-24 months, and other potential zoning changes directly adjacent, he finds it hard to support this CUP.

Mr. Morrau moved to deny the CUP at this point because he does not believe that in the future, neither staff nor the Board will have an accurate recollection of the reasoning behind the CUP and he believes the CUP will not be in conformance with the type of development that will be seen along the arterial. 

Second by Ms. Fremstad.

Mr. Brodshaug explained that he does not think criteria No. 4 is being met with this proposal where it refers to the location, nature and size of the buildings and structures.  He said he questions whether conditional use will dominate the neighborhood, and feels a regular zoning application would be more appropriate for this request in the future because the normal restrictions on types of permitted buildings could be followed.

On call of the roll Members Slagle, Vigesaa, Fremstad, Brodshaug, Morrau, Ulferts-Stewart, Wiley, and Paulsen voted aye.  Absent and not voting:  Nordenstrom and Ruth.  The motion was declared carried.

Item #4:  (2007-10-03)Hearing on a Petition requesting a Plat of Ed Clapp Park Addition (Major Subdivision) a replat of part of Lot 2, Block 2 of Bluemont Park First Addition. (Located at 2801 32nd Avenue South) APPROVED:

( 10:10 a.m. )  Nicole Crutchfield reviewed the petition and staff’s recommended conditions.  

The petitioner declined commenting on the application.

Ms. Ulferts-Stewart moved the findings and recommendations of staff be accepted and approval of the Ed Clapp Park Addition be recommended to the City Commission on the basis that it satisfactorily complies with the Comprehensive Plan, Standards of Article 20-06 and all other applicable requirements of the Land Development Code, with the following two conditions: 1) Provide a joint access easement and ingress/egress easement stipulating both lots have access to 32nd Avenue South, and 2) Execute an amenities plan, including specifications for lot access, shared responsibilities between the lots, and the allocation of special assessments.  Second by Mr. Vigesaa.  On call of the roll Members Vigesaa, Morrau, Brodshaug, Ulferts-Stewart, Fremstad, Wiley, Slagle, and Paulsen voted aye.  Absent and not voting:  Nordenstrom and Ruth.  The motion was declared carried.

Item #5:  (2007-10-04)Hearing on a Petition requesting a Plat of Liberty Square South First Addition (Minor Subdivision) a replat of part of Lot 1, Block 3 of Anderson Park Addition.  (Located at 2350 45th Street South) APPROVED:

( 10:24 a.m. )  Ms. Crutchfield reviewed the application and stated the main issue surrounding the review of the replat involves access control to 23rd Avenue South and 45th Street South

The petitioner declined commenting on the application.

Ms. Wiley moved the findings and recommendations of staff be accepted and approval of the Liberty Square South First Addition be recommended to the City Commission on the basis that it satisfactorily complies with the Comprehensive Plan, Standards of Article 20-06 and all other applicable requirements of the Land Development Code, with the two following conditions:  1) Provide an ingress/egress easement and joint access easement for Lots 1, 2, and 3 conveying access to 23rd Avenue South, and 2) Execute an amenities plan, including specifications for lot access and shared development responsibilities.  Second by Mr. Vigesaa.  On call of the roll Members Ulferts-Stewart, Brodshaug, Fremstad, Wiley, Slagle, Vigesaa, Morrau, and Paulsen voted aye.  Absent and not voting:  Nordenstrom and Ruth.  The motion was declared carried.

Item #6: (2007-10-06)Hearing on a Petition for a Zoning Change from LC, Limited Commercial to GC, General Commercial on Lots 3, part of 4, 19, part of 20, Block 1, and the adjacent vacated 15 feet of 13 1/2 Street South of Bohnsacks 1st Addition; part of Block 8 of Fargo Investment Co 1st Addition. (Located at 1707 and 1720 University Drive S); and from SR-2, Single-Dwelling Residential to GC, General Commercial on Lots 1 through 6 and 12, Block 7 of Fargo Investment Co 1st Addition. (Located at 1701, 1719, 1723, and 1747 11th Street South) APPROVED:

( 10:30 a.m. )  Mr. Williams reviewed the petition and stated MeritCare is seeking a zoning change to bring these properties into compliance with the Land Development Code.  He stated he would like to address a change to the staff report and clarified that 1719 11th Street South is not vacant and still has a structure on it.  Mr. Williams stated that staff had concerns as far as transitioning from MeritCare Hospital to the parking lot and then to the existing residential parcels on the east side of 11th Street South.  He stated the zoning request meets all of the conditions as required by the LDC, however, staff is recommending a Conditional Overlay be applied to address the conversion of the existing single detached houses on the west side of 11th Street South into parking and the compatibility with the houses across the street.  Mr. Williams outlined the following proposed Conditional Overlay requirements:  1) A nine foot parking buffer along 17th Avenue South , 11th Street South , and 18th Avenue South consisting of one tree and six shrubs every 25 linear feet with a 3:1 berm intermittent through the buffer; 2) Five percent of the interior parking lot must be landscaped. The five percent may consist of the required open space landscaping requirements (3 plant units per every 1,000 square feet of lot), however, the majority of the parking lot landscaping must be made up of shade trees; and 3) No more than three drive entrances are allowed onto 11th Street South .  The north and south drive entrances shall be a minimum of 100 feet from the block corner.  The third drive entrance shall be located at mid block.

Ms. Wiley questioned if the Conditional Overlay is specific to the new lots that are to be converted into parking, or if it will be applied to all parking along 11th Street South .

Mr. Gilmour stated the Planning Commission could stipulate that this Conditional Overlay be implemented with the extension of the parking lot.

Dan Bueide, attorney representing MeritCare, stated the applicant likes the flexibility of the GC, General Commercial.  He stated the primary reasons to be here today are to bring all of the properties into compliance, and also, to continue MeritCare’s long term plans.  Mr. Bueide explained that it is the applicant’s intent that all parking along 11th Street South , current and future, meet the Conditional Overlay criteria.  He said for the vast foreseeable future, there are no plans to move east of 11th Street South .  The desire is to improve parking in the area by pulling on-street parking into the lots.  He stated 1713 11th Street South is a vacant property that MeritCare owns, but because of concerns of staff and neighbors, the property is not included in the current zoning application.  He stated they will grow grass on it until the concerns are addressed.

Maurice Godon, 1731 11th Street South , expressed his opposition to the proposal and questioned if it is common practice to change zoning of residential areas for one block.  

Mr. Gilmour stated compatibility of land use in the area is considered.  He said in regards to houses being demolished prior to approval of this application, MeritCare acknowledges that parking will not be permitted without approval.

Cory Bischoff, 1735 11th Street South , stated the character of this neighborhood has been compromised.  He stated he is concerned with the increased amount of traffic.

Sue Bischoff, 1735 11th Street South , questioned the total number of access points.  

Tim Vangeruud, MeritCare representative, stated MeritCare will comply with three entrances, and as more properties are acquired, those entrances may need to be moved.  He stated MeritCare is concerned with leaving vacant properties in the neighborhood because of hazards such as fire.  He explained MeritCare wants to avoid having cars parked on the streets because it is a safety hazard.  He further explained that MeritCare representatives have not gone door to door; instead, everyone they have purchased from has approached MeritCare.  

Mr. Bueide acknowledged that this is an uncomfortable situation and MeritCare is trying to be as good of a neighbor as possible.  He stated MeritCare is not interested in portions.  He explained that MeritCare’s current land use plan does not extend east of 11th Street South or south of 18th Avenue South.  

Mr. Bischoff stated his concern that MeritCare’s actions will adversely affect his property value.  He stated he feels that his family is being forced out.

Ms. Bischoff questioned if the alley could be used for exiting the facility.  She said she is concerned with slowing down traffic in some way.

(Mr. Vigesaa absent.)

Ms. Fremstad declared a conflict of interest and asked to be excused from voting.

Mr. Brodshaug moved the findings of staff be accepted and approval of the proposed zoning change from LC and SR-2 to GC with the Conditional Overlay, as it pertains to MeritCare’s current and long term parking plan along 11th Street, and 17th and 18th Avenues South to the extent that the Conditional Overlay may be applied, be recommended to the City Commission as it complies with the approval criteria set forth in the Land Development Code.  Second by Ms. Ulferts-Stewart.  On call of the roll Members Wiley, Morrau, Brodshaug, Ulferts-Stewart, Slagle, and Paulsen voted aye.  Ms. Fremstad was excused from voting.  Absent and not voting:  Nordenstrom, Ruth and Vigesaa.  The motion was declared carried.

The time at adjournment was 11:24 o’clock a.m.

Other Items

October Brown Bag Luncheon – October 24, 2007

Topic:  Campus Zone District