Planning and Zoning
On Monday January 8 during the regular meeting of Planning and Zoning, the board discussed under public hearing the conditional use permit requested by Gi Gi’s Purz and Pawz and Safehaven Animal Rescue to relocate the cat shelter, currently located on city land near the animal shelter, to an R-2 Residential District at 520-522 East Second Street. During the discussion the board asked questions about how much of a capacity the shelter might have at any time. Georgia Drager explained there will not be any more than twenty cats in the structure at any time. There was some discussion by the board about the fact the conditional use permit is asking to have what amounts to an accessory building placed on a parcel of land, which is not something allowed in the zoning ordinances – having an accessory building without an existing building. Tim Wynes, Director of Economic Development, expressed to the board, the building would actually be considered a kennel, which is allowable under a conditional use permit. Some of the considerations the board expressed to Drager and to Sue Manion, who was there as the property owner and a representative of Safehaven Animal Rescue, were an explanation that once the board approves a conditional use permit for the property, whatever the conditions and terms of the use permit are, they cannot be changed or transferred without coming before the Planning and Zoning board again to issue a new permit.
Manion expressed to the board the fact that this shelter is not intended to be a permanent solution to remain in place forever. It is both hers and Drager’s hope and desire that there will be a day when this particular shelter is not needed, because the cat population problems faced by the city are no longer an issue needing to be so urgently addressed. Manion expressed the hope that the city would be building a new animal shelter better able to address the animal issues, including cats in the city.
Mike O’Donnell, the board chairman, explained to Manion as well that to place this conditional use permit on the entire property, would mean that as long as it was in place, the property could not be utilized for any other purpose other than what is expressly outlined in the permit.
The city staff was prepared to recommend approval of the conditional use permit with certain requirements in place, including the right of code enforcement and animal control to inspect the property and shelter at any time. Manion spoke up and said they would not accept any condition where animal control was permitted to inspect the premises because Gi Gi’s Purz and Pawz and Safehaven Animal Rescue are both under the state purvey for licensing and therefore animal control has no reason to have any involvement in the operation of this independent shelter. If a complaint is received by animal control about the shelter, they would contact the shelter, just as they would any other private owner and then the shelter would have to address their concerns and also address the state in regards to the complaint.
After a continued discussion with the P&Z board about the requirements for the property, including developing an entrance off of the street to a gravel drive for the portion of the property to be used and the possible necessity to revise the use permit to include only a single lot, Manion and Drager both requested the board continue the public hearing until they could determine the feasibility and costs which might be necessary to comply with the city requirements. Members of the P&Z board stated many times this was not an attempt to hinder the plans of the movement of the shelter, but rather these are requirements and considerations they would make of anyone in any similar situation and should something similar come before the board again, they must be certain they are treating every situation equally and fairly. Manion and Drager expressed their understanding of that being the case. The public hearing on the conditional use permit was continued to the next meeting and O’Donnell said if everything is not prepared by the next meeting, they can continue the public hearing again if needed.
The board continued with new business with the discussion of the Dollar Tree Project on Pence Road. Applicant Brock Ashley recently went before the Board of Adjustments to request a variance for storm water detention due to the size of the lot, the variance was approved with requirements including a retaining wall to help with storm water run off and a commitment letter stating if there are infrastructure improvements they will be willing to participate with the city in those plans. The site plan and drainage easement were before P&Z to be approved. The board approved the plans unanimously.
During discussion of old business, the board looked at the plats near Dawn Avenue and Kristen Street to look at easements and the layouts of the plats in anticipation for the development which will be happening on the property owned by Dan Earley on Evergreen street. The intent was to see if Dawn Avenue was stubbed to allow a road to be attached and it is and on Kristen Street to be certain a piece of land will not be land locked without access, but there is access to the land. There was no actions necessary, O’Donnell just wanted the board to have an opportunity to look at the plats and get oriented on where the easements and layouts of the existing plats are for future reference, in anticipation of future meetings regarding the development.
Wynes also discussed with the board the necessity to take a look at the existing zoning codes to bring them into the present and plan for the future. Wynes said it is a good idea to go through the zoning codes on occasion and see what is necessary to be changed, revised or better defined to assist staff in the continued enforcement of the codes and to make it easier not only for staff to understand an interpret the code, but also to make it easier for the public to read the codes and understand their intent.
The board went on to discuss city building permit fees to see if there was room to raise them a little bit, not so much as to gauge someone, but to make it beneficial to provide quality services and be able to provide quality equipment to staff to perform inspections. Any changes to permit fees will have to go through City Council for approval, but Wynes said even those things which have to go to City Council, it is his intention to bring it to P&Z first to discuss and engage the board in the discussion and to help provide a recommendation to the City Council. The board voted to recommend the removal of section 3-18 and to approve Article 27 to the council.
The City Council also had requested that P&Z have a discussion to look at setback regulations. After a brief discussion the board decided no changes were necessary at this time.
During the first public participation of the evening, a Cameron resident was before P&Z to ask what might be necessary to create a community garden on land they own. P&Z directed her to speak to Wynes about what steps might be necessary and Wynes will assist in bringing anything before P&Z that might need their approval.
The next meeting of Planning and Zoning will be Monday February 12 at 6 p.m.