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20080219_PC_mtg_min 1 PLANNING COMMISSION CITY MANAGER Libby Bacon Diane Schleicher Demery Bishop James P. Boyle PLANNING, ZONING & ECONOMIC Sandy Chandler DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR John Major Brannyn G. Allen Anne Miller David Postle Chuck Powell CITY ATTORNEY Whitley Reynolds Edward M. Hughes MINUTES Planning Commission Meeting February 19, 2008 – 7:00 p.m. Mayor Jason Buelterman called the February 19, 2008, Planning Commission meeting to order. Present at the meeting were: Libby Bacon, Demery Bishop, James Boyle, Sandy Chandler, John Major, Anne Miller, David Postle, and Whitley Reynolds. Chuck Powell had an excused absence. Mayor Jason Buelterman performed the swearing in of the following City Council appointees to the Planning Commission: James Boyle, Sandy Chandler, Anne Miller, and Whitley Reynolds. Their two- year terms would end January 31, 2010. Brannyn Allen called for nominations for Planning Commission Chair. John Major nominated Chuck Powell. David Postle seconded. Sandy Chandler nominated Whitley Reynolds. James Boyle seconded. The vote was four in favor of Chuck Powell (Demery Bishop, John Major, David Postle, and Libby Bacon), and four in favor of Whitley Reynolds (James Boyle, Sandy Chandler, Whitley Reynolds, and Anne Miller). Allen said that she would elect a Chair for the evening and they would have another election for Chair at the next regular meeting. She asked Whitley Reynolds to serve. Reynolds said that there were two items for which he would have to recuse himself. Allen called for nominations for Vice Chair. Libby Bacon nominated John Major. David Postle seconded. There were no other nominations. The vote was four in favor (Libby Bacon, David Postle, John Major, and Demery Bishop) with four abstentions (Anne Miller, Whitley Reynolds, Sandy Chandler, and James Boyle). Allen said that because of the abstentions, John Major would Chair the meeting and there would be another election at the regular meeting in March. John Major called for a motion on the Minutes of the January 7, 2008, Planning Commission agenda meeting. Demery Bishop motioned to approve and Libby Bacon seconded. The vote was unanimous. Major asked for a motion on the January 15, 2008, meeting Minutes. Sandy Chandler motioned to approve and Demery Bishop seconded. The vote was unanimous. Brian Curran was not in attendance to present a Site Plan Approval petition (Land Development Code Section 5-080) for 1002 Highway 80, PIN 4-0026-11-002, Zone C-2. The request was for an ice vending machine on a vacant lot. Whitley Reynolds disclosed that he had worked on the property for another owner. This was not a recusal. Libby Bacon asked about a billboard that had been previously approved for the lot. Brannyn Allen said the billboard was shown on the Site Plan and the driveway was designed to not interfere with the sign. Demery Bishop confirmed with Allen that no permits for the ice machine would be issued prior to DNR and Land Disturbing permits being issued. David Postle asked 2 about the road on the east side of the property. Allen said that the DNR would have to be involved in permitting any improvements to the road. She said that before Curran incurred the time and expense of engineering those improvements he wanted approval for the Site Plan. John Major asked if anybody from the audience wished to speak for or against the petition. Sandy Chandler motioned to approve and Whitley Reynolds seconded. The motion to approve passed unanimously. Paul Theron was not present for a Site Plan Approval (Land Development Code Section 5-080) for 211 Butler Avenue, PIN 4-0004-08-004, Zone C-1, for owner Ronen Navon. The petition was for a two- sided billboard on a vacant lot. Whitley Reynolds recused himself. John Major verified with Brannyn Allen that the improvements were not substantive enough to warrant a soil erosion and sedimentation plan. Major asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak for or against the petition. Anne Miller motioned to approve. Demery Bishop seconded. The motion to approve passed unanimously. Clyde Johnson presented a Major Subdivision Plat Procedure (Land Development Code Section 5-130) for Battery Drive, PIN 4-0024-02-003, Zone R-2. The request was for final plat approval. Johnson spoke of an upcoming dedication of the park located on the property. John Major asked for comments from the Commissioners and then from the audience. He next called for a motion. David Postle moved to approve and Anne Miller seconded the motion. The motion to approve passed unanimously. Phillip McCorkle presented a Zoning Variance petition (Land Development Code Section 5-090) from Section 3-080, Off-street Parking Requirements, for 609 Second Avenue, PIN 4-0005-12-013, Zone R- 2. The request was for two driveway openings. McCorkle said that five of the ten houses on the block had split driveways. He described his proposed driveway configuration in relation to an oak tree located on the property. He said the driveway would also prevent backing out onto the street. John Major spoke of the driveway ordinance and an amendment to it. Anne Miller asked McCorkle about the type of driveway. McCorkle said it would be concrete pavers. Miller asked about the surfaces of the five neighborhood driveways that were split. McCorkle said that two were pavers, two were concrete, and one was white rock. Miller asked if they were inward circular or outward circular. McCorkle said that three were inward circular and two were outward circular. Miller asked how close the driveway would be from the oak tree. McCorkle responded 8 feet. The driveway ordinance and the amendment were discussed. Major asked the audience if anyone would like to speak for or against the petition. Sandy Chandler motioned to approve. James Boyle seconded. The motion to approve passed unanimously. John Major announced that the petitions would go before City Council on March 13, 2008. John Sheppard presented a Zoning Variance petition (Land Development Code Section 5-090) from Section 3-090, Schedule of Development Regulations, for 1114 Jones Avenue, PIN 4-0006-21-007, Zone R-2. The request was for a spiral stairway to be built in the setback. Sheppard said that there was one existing exit to the house which is off the front porch. He said he was unable to use that exit during a fire so he went out the back window on the second level of the house. Sheppard said that he elected to rebuild the house and had concerns about having one exit. He described a third level of the house. He said he discussed another exit with his architect who recommended spiral stairs. Sheppard stated that the architect said that was the simplest solution to get access from the third floor. John Major asked how far the stairway would extend into the setback. Sheppard said 5 feet. Major asked if the hedge on that side was Sheppard’s or the neighbor’s. Sheppard said that the hedge was on the property line. Sandy Chandler asked why the location was chosen for the spiral stairway. Sheppard said that the stairs from the third level come down to that point. Demery Bishop asked if a round window on the house was where the exit would come out. Sheppard said yes. Major asked if the spiral staircase was moved forward if it could be accessed from the third level. Sheppard said no. Whitley Reynolds confirmed with 3 Sheppard that the spiral stairway would be outside of the house with no roof over it. David Postle asked if there was room next to a fireplace to cut a door to bring a spiral staircase down inside the tool storage area. Sheppard said that he would have to reframe the second floor to get a spiral stair down from the third level. Postle said that technically it did not meet the City’s definition of a hardship. He said that many of the one- and two-family homes and some of the condos on the island have one exit. He said the City had a chance to pass an ordinance requiring two exits from multi-storied dwellings when the insurance law was changed in the mid-80s. He said that if the Variance should be granted it could open the door to a citywide rash of similar Variances based on the same circumstances as Sheppard. Postle next spoke of pipe and chain ladders. Sheppard described the third level of his home and that he would have to crawl about 15 feet over a roof and then have a pipe and chain ladder to get down. Postle, Sheppard and Major discussed the levels of the home. Sheppard said that he might as well put a ship’s ladder on the side of the house. Referring to the Staff recommendation, Major asked Brannyn Allen if it were not for the fire would the City look on it any differently. Major also asked Allen about precedent. Allen said that because Sheppard was asking for a second means of ingress and egress to the structure, there was a safety issue. She said that Postle was correct that current Code does not require that, but it seemed prudent on the part of the homeowner to request it. Allen said that insofar as setting precedent, each Variance request was taken on a case-by-case basis and each one needed to be evaluated on its own merit. Major spoke to Sheppard about the ordinance’s definition of hardship. Major confirmed with Allen that approval would not set a precedent. Whitley Reynolds said that Sheppard was making the best of a bad situation. Reynolds said that Sheppard was salvaging something that was there. Sandy Chandler said that maybe this would be good as an impetus to get the City working on an ordinance. He said that the fire only served to illustrate the dangerous situation. Demery Bishop said that Sheppard should not be penalized for City code neglect. He said that they have a situation that needs remedied. Bishop said that each and every request for a Variance would be taken on its own merits. He said this should bring attention to the fact that maybe there was a need for some type of revision for safety purposes. Bishop spoke further about Sheppard’s request. Anne Miller said that Sheppard had other options to put another stairwell. She spoke of her home having a ladder rope and hammer in every bedroom. She suggested Sheppard come down into the carport or into the storage room. Miller spoke of a fire truck or other vehicle not being able to get through the side yard. She encouraged Sheppard to think about another place to put the stairs. Sheppard spoke of that requiring a stair tower and he said it would be overkill to rebuild the third level to get a second set of stairs. He and Miller discussed the levels. Major and Sheppard also discussed the house and then Major asked if it was feasible to consider putting the spiral staircase inside the house by the fireplace. Sheppard said that the area was the dining room and the staircase would take up 6 feet. He said anything could be done, but this request was what the architect said was the most logical approach from a fire safety standpoint that accomplished everything they were trying to do. Postle asked if the architect suggested a Plan B. Sheppard said yes, that they tear half the house down and rebuild it. He said that instead of spending $3,000, he could spend $25,000 to $30,000 to get a fire exit. Major asked if anybody from the audience wished to speak. Reynolds moved to approve. Chandler seconded. The vote on the motion to approve was six in favor (Bacon, Bishop, Boyle, Chandler, Major, and Reynolds) and two opposed (Postle and Miller). The motion to approve passed. Dale Williams presented Special Review (Land Development Code Section 5-070) and Site Plan Approval petitions (Land Development Code Section 5-080) for himself and Debbie Kearney at 1018 Highway 80, PIN 4-0026-11-006, Zone C-2. The request was for a special event structure as it related to the Special Event Structures Ordinance for the C-2 zone that was adopted by Council on February 22, 2007. Whitley Reynolds recused himself. Brannyn Allen asked that the Site Plan be voted on first and the Special Review second. Williams said they would like to add event facility to an existing bed and breakfast, The Outdoor Inn. John Major asked if any of the requirements for Site Plan or Special Review had been waived. Brannyn Allen said that the Site Plan requirements were waived in that it was an 4 existing business. She said that a detailed parking diagram and a detailed description of the proposed use were provided. Williams said that they were applying for a 72-person event facility. He said that at present they were operating a bed and breakfast and would like to have gatherings for wedding receptions, family reunions, and the like. He said that the Ordinance required parking, neighbor and Fire Marshal considerations. Williams said that the Fire Marshal requirements were for gatherings inside the building; there were not Fire Marshal requirements for outside. He said it was their plan to meet any Fire Marshal requirements. He said that the parking requirements were a space for every four persons. He said the parking plan showed that they have space for 72 people. He said that the City Engineer suggested subtracting a space by the sidewalk and adding two spaces to the carport area. Major asked about trees. Allen said that there was one Bradford Pear that may have to be removed to make the parking plan work. Williams said he did not want to remove it. He and Allen discussed the 24-foot wide parking aisle and the tree. Allen suggested that Williams request keeping the tree as part of the Site Plan Approval. Williams said he would definitely like to keep the tree. Allen asked the Commissioners to keep in mind that the Staff Report was reviewing the Land Development Code as technically as possible. She said that conventional commercial requirements would call for removal of the tree and some other safety issues. She said that because of the special use that was being requested, the parking plan would not be used day in and day out the way it would if it was an office building or another commercial facility. After the parking plan was discussed further, Sandy Chandler clarified that Bradford Pear was an ornamental tree, not significant, nor native. David Postle asked how many bedrooms were in the bed and breakfast. Williams said four. Postle asked how many parking spaces out of the 18 were for renters. Allen said that the number of parking spaces required was based on the number of people permitted in the structure as arrived at by the Fire Marshal. She said that whether they were there for a special event or for the bed and breakfast, it was a fixed number of bodies that could be in the structure. Postle spoke about the parking. Williams said that the structure occupancy, per the Fire Marshal, was 85. He said that the Inn would not be rented to individuals during special events. Postle said he was satisfied with that. Major asked if anyone from the audience wished to speak for or against the petition. Postle moved to approve the Site Plan. Anne Miller seconded. The motion to approve the Site Plan passed unanimously. Major called for a motion on the Special Review. Miller moved to approve. Libby Bacon seconded. The motion to approve Special Review passed unanimously. Paul Jackson presented a Site Plan Approval petition (Land Development Code Section 5-080) for 1311 Butler Avenue, PIN 4-0007-16-002, Zone C-1. The request was for a deck extension and a deck roof at an existing commercial site. Jackson described the relocation of his business [Cousin Vinnie’s Pizza] and that they are going out 12-1/2 feet from the existing deck and putting a roof over the deck. Major asked how many outdoor tables were there now. Jackson described three. Major asked how many they would be able to accommodate. Jackson described five or six additional, 4-person tables. He described the drainage and said that they were not going to affect any trees or anybody’s vision. Jackson said he spoke to a neighbor who had no problem with what Jackson was doing. Jackson said he wanted it for outdoor dining; no bands or anything. Major asked if the workers there now were working for Jackson. Jackson described the work at the site. Demery Bishop asked about parking. Jackson said that they were going to lose two spaces, one on each side. He said the deck would help a lot more than two parking spaces. He described the parking. Major asked if the reduction of two parking spaces was okay based on the capacity of the building. Allen said that because of the proximity to a public parking lot, yes. Major asked if anyone from the audience wished to speak for or against the petition. Bishop moved to approve the Site Plan. James Boyle seconded. The motion to approve passed unanimously. The final agenda item was the Coastal Protection Ordinance Subcommittee. This was not a Public Hearing. John Major gave a summary of the history of the Subcommittee including that City Council had sent it to the Planning Commission with a recommendation that the setback line be 25 feet from the 5 landward toe of the dune and that specific plants be included. He said that through the Subcommittee’s review of the Georgia Shore Protection Act and the current Tybee Ordinance it came out that the Georgia Shore Protection Act recommends and encourages locales to become their own issuing authorities for permits, they have certain financial and other benefits, and they make available to the locale model ordinances and resource staff. Major spoke of the recommendation by the Subcommittee which was presented at the January 24, 2008, City Council meeting. He said that the recommendation was that they take advantage of the resources, that some people be appointed, that they meet with DNR and come back to the Commission and back to City Council with a specific ordinance recommendation. He said they want to make it real clear that that was the recommendation of the Planning Commission: that City Council authorize somebody to meet with DNR to take advantage of the resources, to look into what would be required, and the other recommendations that were part of that. He asked Brannyn Allen what they needed to do. Allen said that it was requested at the agenda meeting that this be added to this meeting’s agenda so the Planning Commissioners could make a formal request to City Council that they take action on the Commission’s recommendations and request. Major said that their specific recommendation was that they get assistance from DNR, modify Tybee’s Ordinance to incorporate the scientific principles to stop further seaward advancement – which was what all the science was recommending, specify reasonable setback to protect the dynamic dunes with the goal of protecting property owners’ interests so that property that was reasonable could be built on and still protect the vital sand sharing system, and also that it specifically address teardowns and rebuilds on combined lots, storm damage rebuild, and comprehensive hurricane build-back. David Postle said that if they drafted a letter to Council, even carefully worded, it may look like they are trying to push something that they may not be ready to deal with. He said they got no response from Council either during that meeting or since about the report. Postle asked if it would enhance their recommendations if they went ahead and worked with the DNR and drafted an ordinance which the Council could then take under advisement in addition to a letter for timely action. Major said that he would not recommend doing that without being authorized by Council. He said that the Planning Commission did what was asked of them by Council: the Commission went back to them and said they had looked at the science, the ordinances, the Georgia Shore Protection Act, and that resources are available. Major said that he would like Council to say who would be in charge. Whitley Reynolds asked if the Commission recommended a 25-foot setback. Major said that came from City Council. Major described properties in relation to the Tybee line and variances. He said that DNR had expertise but he did not think they would recommend adopting the Georgia Shore Protection Act because it was very vague and in come cases established a line that was worse for the property owner than Tybee’s, and it did not define setbacks, it just was an area that needed permitting. Reynolds said Council would want them to look at the impact. After Major discussed build-back programs and vacant lots, Demery Bishop said that the recommendations had been made to Council and Council said that they would take it under advisement and consideration and provide some direction. He said that at the agenda meeting it was requested how the Commission would move forward with a formal request to Council to move it forward. Bishop asked Allen how they accomplish that. He said that they do not need to deliberate on, nor discuss, the recommendations of the Commission previously, but they need to move forward with a formal request to seek action from Council. When asked by Bishop if that was correct, Allen said it was. Major said that where they may have fallen short was that Council was not handed a paper of the Planning Commission’s recommendations. Allen said that Council was considering the recommendations and the overall ordinance. She said that her impression from Council was that they were working on a revision to the ordinance. Sandy Chandler pointed out that Council sets policy and the Planning Commission advises. He said that the Commission had carried it as far as they could. Allen said that the recommendation that the City become the issuing authority was taken as a recommendation. The meeting adjourned.