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    7.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 07/18/2017  
Subject:    PC 17-10 Appeal Planning Commission Approval of Site Plan for Parking Lot Expansion, Adams Elementary, 8989 Sycamore St., Anderson-Johnson Assoc.
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION

On June 15th the Planning Commission approved a site plan for the expansion of the parking lot at Adams Elementary School. The expansion included a circular drop off area and an additional 13 parking spaces. The item was first considered at the May 18th meeting. The Commission postponed action on the item to the June 15th meeting to allow the applicant time to revise the plan and add additional screening between the drop off area and the resident's back yards. The Commission reviewed the revised plan and unanimously approved the site plan.

Residents Appeal

On June 26th an appeal to the Planning Commission's decision was filed. The appeal was signed by 11 property owners that live on 90th Street.
 
DISCUSSION

Background

On June 15th the Planning Commission approved a site plan for the expansion of the parking lot at Adams Elementary School. The expansion included a circular drop off area and an additional 13 parking spaces. The approval followed a lengthy discussion at the May 18th meeting. At the May 18th meeting residents on 90th Avenue spoke against the project they were concerned about the parking lot being turned into a raceway, the loss of open/green space, the removal of the playground and potential drainage problems. The Commission postponed action on the item to the June 15th meeting to allow the applicant time to revise the plan and add additional screening between the drop off area and the resident's back yards. The revised plan included seven evergreen trees planted in two clusters in such a way as to screen headlights as vehicles went around the drop off area.  

Issues Raised in Appeal

1. Project will affect property values: The residents thought that the project would negatively affect their property values. The Assessing Department looked at the residential lots that abut the existing parking lot on the south side of the school property. They found that the land value of the three lots adjacent to the existing parking lot are no different than the three lots adjacent to the open space. A map illustrating the land values is attached.

2. Proper Zoning: The zoning of the school property is LDR 1. The zoning of the properties on 90th Avenue are LDR 2. Staff misspoke at the meeting. However, public schools are an allowed use in both districts.

3. Water Drainage: Some residents are having drainage problems and believe the project will make them worse. All the drainage from this project will drain to the south into a stormwater pond. The Assistant City Engineer met with adjacent property owners on June 9th to discuss drainage issues. He explained how the drainage will work following construction and also discussed existing drainage on the resident's lots. A memorandum summarizing that meeting is attached.

4. Traffic Control: The residents are concerned about headlights shining into their yards and cars racing around the drop off area. The applicant added 40 trees to the landscape plan to provide additional screening and will install speed bumps to minimize speed around the drop off area. A revised plan is attached.

5. Child Safety: The residents are concerned adding additional cars to the parking lot will endanger those children with long walks. The intent of the project is to provide a designated area on school property to drop off and pick up students. Currently students are being dropped off and picked up on Sycamore Street, 89th Lane and the cul-de-sac on 90th Avenue. The students then walk to school from there. The project will provide an additional drop off area on school property and reduce the need to drop off and pick up students on adjacent streets. 

6. Environmental Impact: The residents are concerned about potential environmental impacts and asked if an environmental study has been done. A project of this scale does not typically undergo a specific environmental study. The noise associated with this project will not significantly increase nor will the vehicle emissions. There will be green space remaining following the project and the additional landscaping will help buffer the adjacent properties from the parking lot.

7. Alternate Solution: The residents suggested the parking be moved to the west side of the school. There is not sufficient room on that side of the school to accommodate a parking lot/drop off area.
RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 17-10, the Council can affirm the Planning Commission's site plan approval, reject the Commission's approval or amend the Commission's approval. Staff is recommending the Council amend the Commission's approval and approve the revised site plan/landscape plan.

Attachments
Location Map
Appeal Letter
Engineering Memo
Property Values Map
Approved Site Plan
Revised Site Plan
Minutes 5-18 PC mtg
Minutes 6-15 PC mtg

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