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    11.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 06/04/2019  
Subject:    PC 19-10 Consider Request for Dimensional Flexibility, 3050 Coon Rapids Blvd, Allina Health
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION
Allina Health, the applicant, is requesting dimensional flexibility for impervious coverage, parking stall length and parking setback in conjunction with a stormwater management project at Mercy Hospital.
DISCUSSION


For the past several years Allina has been working with the Coon Creek Watershed District and the City Engineering Department on developing a comprehensive stormwater management program for Mercy Hospital. The final phase of the plan is to construct an underground system in the southwest corner of the south parking lot. The area currently includes surface parking and a stormwater basin. Once the system is completed, it will be covered with an additional 191 parking stalls.

The additional surface parking requires dimensional flexibility because it will result in an increase in impervious coverage, above the maximum allowed; to match the existing parking stalls, the new stalls will be 18 feet long instead of the required 20 feet, and to match the existing curb line, parking will be closer than the required 20 setback from the right-of-way for 115th Avenue.


Request for Dimensional Flexibility

Per Section 11-903.12(2), dimensional flexibility may be approved provided the following findings are made:
  • The modification will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities, or additional public amenities that will further the intent of this Section.
Impervious Coverage

The applicant is requesting dimensional flexibility to exceed the maximum impervious coverage of 80%. The current impervious coverage of the hospital property east of Dakotah Street is 81.5%; the impervious coverage following the proposed project will be 85%. Dimensional flexibility may be approved provided the following finding is made:

The modification will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities that will further the intent of this Section: The proposed increase in impervious coverage is a result of improving the stormwater management of the site and bringing it into compliance with current standards. The proposed underground system will not be impacted by winter conditions and will provide an opportunity for additional parking. This dual use of the area, stormwater management and surface parking, creates an opportunity for better integration of uses for the hospital.

Parking Stall Dimensions

The applicant is proposing parking stalls with the dimensions of 9 feet by 18 feet. City Code requires parking stalls be 9 feet by 20 feet. Dimensional flexibility may be approved provided the following finding is made:

The modification will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities that will further the intent of this Section: The proposed parking stall dimensions will match the existing parking stalls. By allowing parking stalls that are 18 feet deep instead of the required 20 feet, the hospital can avoid dangerous changes in the drive aisle width. The drive aisles for the new parking area would be 2 feet narrower than the existing drive aisle. The 18 foot deep parking stalls will match the existing stalls and can be better integrated into the existing parking lot.

Parking Setback from 115th Avenue

The applicant is proposing install parking stalls that encroach 5 feet into the street easement for 115th Avenue. City Code requires parking stalls be setback 20 feet from the street right-of-way. Dimensional flexibility may be approved provided the following finding is made:

The modification will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities that will further the intent of this Section: The proposed parking along 115th Avenue is designed to match the curbline of the existing parking. There is a 33 foot street and utility easement that extends from approximately the center of 115th Avenue north into the hospital property. For setback purposes, street easements are treated the same as street right-of-way. Therefore, the required setback is 20 feet from the north line of the easement. In addition to not complying with the 20 foot setback, the parking will encroach 5 feet into the easement. The proposed 5 foot encroachment into the easement will allow the proposed parking to align with the existing parking, avoid a disruptive design and better integrate the new parking with the existing parking layout. 115th Avenue is a gravel street; the City Engineer has reviewed the proposed plan and does not believe the parking will interfere with future improvements to 115th Avenue.   

Landscaping

To mitigate the aesthetic impacts of expanding the parking lot, staff recommends additional landscaping be installed along Dakotah Street and 115th Avenue.  The landscape plan should include additional evergreen trees along the street frontage as well as shrubs. The shrubs should be a larger species planted five feet on center in front of the evergreens. The locations of the trees will be determined following installation of the project. This will allow the placement of landscaping where it will be most appropriate.

Planning Commission Meeting

At the Planning Commission meeting held on May 16th, several residents spoke at the public hearing. One resident asked if the residents would be assessed for any improvements related to the project. It was explained that this is a private project with no public assessments. Another resident expressed concern about lights and the pond provides a buffer. It was explained lighting will have to comply with city code and additional landscaping will be planted along the streets to increase screening. She also thought there was sufficient parking and the project would decrease property values. The applicant explained the projected long term parking needs and this project is intended to address those needs. A third resident was concerned the additional parking was not needed and would have environmental impacts. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the requests for flexibility for impervious coverage, parking stall length and parking setback.
 
RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 19-10, the Commission recommended the Council approve the request for dimensional flexibility for impervious coverage, parking stall length and parking setback from 115th Avenue based on the following findings:
 
  • The modification will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities, or additional public amenities that will further the intent of this Section.
Impervious Coverage
The proposed increase in impervious coverage is a result of improving the stormwater management of the site and bringing it into compliance with current standards. The proposed underground system will not be impacted by winter conditions and will provide an opportunity for additional parking. This dual use of the area, stormwater management and surface parking, creates an opportunity for better integration of uses for the hospital.

Parking Stall Dimensions
The proposed parking stall dimensions will match the existing parking stalls. By allowing parking stalls that are 18 feet deep instead of the required 20 feet, the hospital can avoid dangerous changes in the drive aisle width. The drive aisles for the new parking area would be 2 feet narrower than the existing drive aisle. The 18 foot deep parking stalls will match the existing stalls and can be better integrated into the existing parking lot.

Parking Setback From 115th Avenue
The proposed parking along 115th Avenue is designed to match the curbline of the existing parking. There is a 33 foot street and utility easement that extends from approximately the center of 115th Avenue north into the hospital property. For setback purposes, street easements are treated the same as street right-of-way. Therefore, the required setback is 20 feet from the north line of the easement. In addition to not complying with the 20 foot setback, the parking will encroach 5 feet into the easement. The proposed 5 foot encroachment into the easement will allow the proposed parking to align with the existing parking, avoid a disruptive design and better integrate the new parking with the existing parking layout. 115th Avenue is a gravel street; the City Engineer has reviewed the proposed plan and does not believe the parking will interfere with future improvements to 115th Avenue

Condition of Approval

Additional landscaping be installed along Dakotah Street and 115th Avenue.  The landscape plan must include additional evergreen trees along the street frontage as well as shrubs. The shrubs should be a larger species planted planted five feet on center in front of the evergreens. The locations of the trees will be determined following installation of the project. This will allow the placement of landscaping where it will be most appropriate.

Attachments
Location Map
Existing Conditions
Site Plan
Grading Plan
Utility Plan
Applicant's Narrative

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