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City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 02/05/2019  
Subject:    Consider Appeal of Planning Commission Decision, Planning Case 18-21, Site Plan, 6- unit Townhouse, Grandemoore Homes
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

On December 20th, following public comments from four neighbors, the Planning Commission approved a site plan for a 6-unit townhome building for Grandemoor Homes. The project is located at 2403 109th Avenue, next to Hoover Elementary school. The site is .895 acres and contains a single family residence. On December 28th the City received an appeal of that decision from four adjacent property owners. The Council may affirm, amend or reject the decision of the Planning Commission.
The property is zoned Moderate Density Residential and has been zoned such at least since 1985. Townhomes at a density between 4 to 7 units per acre are a permitted use. The site is currently a vacant single family residence. At the December 15th Planning Commission meeting public hearing the four appellants spoke against the proposed site plan. The Commission discussed the design and colors of the building. They noted that the rear dormers that were shown on the line drawings were not included on the colored rendering. The Commission also discussed the need for a fence along the north property line and decided to make it a condition of approval. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan.

In support of their appeal, the appellants provided the attached letter. In the attached letter they list their reasons for the appeal. Those reasons are addressed as follows:

The proposed building exceeds height requirement, setback requirements and lot coverage requirement 

The maximum height allowed is 55 feet, the proposed building is 23'6" feet high. The height of the building is measured from the ground to the average height of the peak. The required building setbacks are 25 feet from 109th Ave and the property lines. The building will be setback 25' from 109th; 25' from the east property property line; 80' from the west property line, and 53' from the north property line. The maximum lot coverage is 50%, the proposed lot coverage is 49.9%.

Traffic impacts of the project

The Engineering Department looked at the traffic that the project will likely generate and wouldn't see this proposal generating enough traffic to warrant a concern. They found that the project will generate approximately 40 trips per day, which is relatively minor in comparison to the existing traffic levels on 109th Avenue. Most of the trips generated from this site will access 109th Avenue via Xavis Street, and would not likely be traveling past Hoover Elementary School. The Hanson Boulevard project will make traveling past Hoover Elementary School and then east through the neighborhood via 108th Avenue circuitous and less convenient versus Xavis Street where a full access intersection with traffic signal at Coon Rapids Boulevard already exists. On street parking is allowed throughout the the City. If on street parking becomes a problem, there is a process in place to address the issue.  The number of cars is currently limited by code to one car per licensed driver plus two additional cars.

Assure the design of the building has "eye appeal" including dormers on the rear of the building; landscaping is adequate and maintained, and a HOA is in place and an HOA Agreement is approved

As shown on the elevations, the front of the building includes a mix of materials and colors. Gable overhangs, supported by wood posts with a brick base that matches the brick wainscoting on the building, cover the entrances. Metal canopies over the garage doors also provide interest. The rear of the building includes roof eyebrow gables and metal canopies, similar to the ones over the garage doors, are placed above the patio doors. The landscaping complies with the requirements; and in addition, the Commission required a privacy fence along the north property line. Provisions for landscaping maintenance are found in Section 11-1207.1, which requires all site improvements, including landscaping, be kept in good condition and replaced as necessary.The HOA agreement must be approved by the City Attorney.

Consideration of limiting development to one story units. The building will shade adjacent properties and will impact neighbors privacy. Lighting will shine into neighbors homes and yards. Disallow windows on the north side because of privacy issues.

The proposal presented to the the Commission was a two story building. The style of building proposed by the applicant is very common and allowed by code. On the second floor of the front elevation are three windows, two in the master bedroom and a transom over the entry. There are no windows on the main floor. On the north elevation there is one window in the living room on the main floor. There are three windows on the second floor, two bedroom windows and one bathroom window. The number and placement of windows is no different than what is typically found on two story single family homes. The height and placement of the building should have a minimal impact on shading adjacent properties. The building is 80 feet from the lot on the west and 53 feet from the lots to the north. The height of the building is typical of a two story single family home. The Commission, in response to the neighbors request, required a privacy fence along the north property line as a condition of approval. By code the maximum height of the fence allowed is seven feet. The neighbor to the west did not bring up a fence and the issue was not discussed by the Commission. The lighting plan submitted includes three lights in the parking lot. They are situated and shielded so that they shine away from the property line and towards the parking lot. The plan complies with the city lighting  requirements.

Concerned about population stability - no units being rental or subletting

When reviewing a townhome development, unit ownership is not a criteria the Commission evaluates. However, in response to the question at the public hearing, the applicant stated the units would be owner occupied.

Provide opportunity for School District 11 to comment on the plans.

The school district was mailed a public hearing notice. Staff was not contacted by the district nor did they provide comment at the public hearing.
In Planning Case 18-21, the Council affirm the Planning Commision's approval of a site plan for a 6-unit townhome, including all of the conditions noted in the December 20th staff report.

Location Map
12-20 Planning Commission report
12-20 draft PC Minutes
Appeal Letter
Site Plan
Grading Plan
Landscape Plan
Lighting Plan
Front Elevation
Rear Elevation
Exterior Elevations - line drawings
Floor plan - 6 units
Floor Plan - single unit

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