Planning Commission Minutes – January 05, 2011

Minutes of Helena Township Planning Commission

January 05, 2011

Meeting called to order by Robbins at 7:07 p.m. Swan arrived prior to roll call and chaired meeting.

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call: Present: Jim Swan Jim Gurr

Mike Robinson Bonnie Robbins

Chris Dewald

Absent: Rodger Dewey Bob Johnson

Township officials present: Guy Molby Bob Logee

David Peterson

Approval of Agenda: Motion with change (remove SUP for Build within Environmental-placed on agenda for discussion) Swan, 2nd Gurr. Carried (5,0)

Statement of Conflict of Interest: None

Approval of Minutes: December 01, 2010 Motion: Gurr, 2nd Dewald. Carried (5,0)

Public Comment: None 10 present

Communications: Letter from T. Comfort concerning build within environmental district.

New Business: Special Use Permit: Living quarters over garage.

Meeting closed for Public Hearing 7:15

Molby: 4 responses to mailing; 3 negative, 1 positive.

Applicant: Use would be for extra company or family during the summer. Would not be rented. Homes on either side are currently rental properties.

K. Cohegan: Will this have a furnace and additional plumbing. Historically these sleeping quarters over garages did not contain kitchen or bath. Is there a square foot requirement for living quarters?

H. Brown: This could set precedent for approval of under sized living quarters. Understanding that there is a rule against bath facilities in a garage.

Gurr: Precedent has already been established for accessory dwellings.

Cohegan: How does it reflect current zoning ordinance? Does it fit definition of living quarters or is it a second home?

Applicant: Lots tend to be smaller on railroad right-of-way. This lot is larger than norm and meets minimum requirement. Willing to meet stipulation and documentation to prevent this from becoming a rental home. Septic was expanded to meet needs when home was remodeled.

Cohegan: Accessory structure use is on the same parcel.

Applicant: It is across the street, property can not be joined under one number because of street running through.

Dewald: Because of shared septic one can not exist without other. View as one parcel.

Discussion with several members of the audience and applicant of living quarters size requirements and if they apply. As an accessory dwelling this requirement would not apply.

Dewald: Will it have a kitchen?

Applicant: Yes

Gurr: Legal council had determined this use is permitted with current zoning.

Continued discussion on required square footage.

Logee: Square footage requirement is for single family home. This is an accessory building.

Public Hearing closed at 7:41 p.m.

Based on finding of fact: Gurr: Application meets township requirements outlined in the ordinance. Granting permission still requires meeting all county requirements. Motion 2nd by Swan: Roll Call: Dewald, Robbins, Swan, Gurr, Robinson all vote Yes.

Motion to retain current officers for the next year (Gurr), 2nd Robbins, carried (5,0)

Robbins left meeting, Robinson left meeting.

No voting quorum present for official business.

Discussion of building in environmental zone.

Swan: What does environmentally sensitive mean.

Public: Defined in the ordinance. Challenge is review of impact of request on that environmental zone.

Swan: When owner determines there is a buildable site and it meets county requirements can they build? Owner obtains site plan that shows buildable sites, can they build? The DEQ is going to say.

Dewald: Process is outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. We can not determine what the DEQ will say.

Public: Based on ordinance it is prohibited.

Public & Commissioners: It is allowed determined on each site. May be permitted after determining impact on the environmental district.

Discussion that permit can not be allowed without a site plan or specifics based on the parcel in question.

Dewald: Would like a determination from DEQ or someone able to make that determination of wetland or buildable site.

Public (Comfort): When I was granted permission to build garage with setbacks and stipulations to not impact area. Area is changing and some areas would meet perk for building.

Questions from Swan about approving build.

Dewald, Gurr, should not and would not approve without specific site plan.

Swan: Applicant does not have to build themselves.

Dewald: Application is not transferable. Who ever builds has to submit the permit request.

Swan: Planning commission put together something to make public aware.

Gurr: Brochure for this has been a long contended issue.

Public (Comfort): Was concerned a blanket approval would deny the township being able to restrict building in the environmental district in the future.

Logee: Previous decision may be in conflict.

Gurr: Warrants asking Bzdok for clarification.

New Business:

ZA Written Report

Dec 2010– 0 Land Use Permits, _14 Field Checks, 1 Attorney Contact, 10 Other Contacts. __1__ Zoning Violations – dilapidated building. Molby trying to locate owner.

Will have annual report

Old Business:

Wind Tower:

Was approved by County, no written statement yet from county. Tabled.

Public Comment:

Comfort: Notice for hearing did not have official mailing address to return form. Also needs ZO phone number and not office number. Difficult for public to respond with limited office hours. This comment offered to make process easier for public to offer comment on special use permits.


Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Robbins

Helena Township Planning Commission Recording Secretary