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20080318_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, Vice Chair Brannyn G. Allen Anne Miller David Postle Chuck Powell, Chair CITY ATTORNEY Whitley Reynolds Edward M. Hughes MINUTES Planning Commission Meeting March 18, 2008 – 7:00 p.m. Chuck Powell called the March 18, 2008, Planning Commission meeting to order. Other Commissioners present were: Libby Bacon, Demery Bishop, James Boyle, Sandy Chandler, John Major, Anne Miller, David Postle, and Whitley Reynolds. Brannyn Allen called for nominations for Planning Commission Chairperson. Sandy Chandler nominated Chuck Powell. James Boyle nominated Whitley Reynolds. Anne Miller nominated John Major. The vote was six in favor of Chuck Powell (Libby Bacon, Demery Bishop, Sandy Chandler, John Major, David Postle, and Chuck Powell), two in favor of Whitley Reynolds (James Boyle and Whitley Reynolds), and one in favor of John Major (Anne Wilson). Chuck Powell was elected Chairperson. Allen called for nominations for Planning Commission Vice Chairperson. Sandy Chandler nominated Whitley Reynolds. Libby Bacon nominated John Major. The vote was five in favor of John Major (Libby Bacon, Demery Bishop, John Major, David Postle, and Chuck Powell), and four in favor of Whitley Reynolds (James Boyle, Sandy Chandler, Anne Miller, and Whitley Reynolds). John Major was elected Vice Chairperson. Chuck Powell called for additions or corrections to the Minutes of the February 11, 2008, Planning Commission agenda meeting. Powell then called for a motion. David Postle motioned to approve. Whitley Reynolds seconded. The vote was unanimous. Powell asked for corrections or additions to the Minutes of the February 19, 2008, regular meeting. He then said that he would like the record to show that he had an excused absence rather than that he was just absent from that meeting. Demery Bishop motioned to approve as amended and Sandy Chandler seconded. The vote was unanimous. William Gustin represented a Zoning Variance petition (Land Development Code Section 5-090) from Section 3-090, Schedule of Development Regulations, for 2001 Highway 80, PIN 4-0024-02-002, Zone R-2. The applicant was requesting a zero setback rather than the required 10-foot side setback and a 10- foot setback rather than the required 20-foot front setback. Gustin said that his wife owned the property and he was acting as her agent. He said they are interested in building a retirement place on the property. He said that in order to have enough room to do anything they needed a zero variance on the easterly line and a 10 foot variance on the southern line. Libby Bacon said that the Chatham County Property Record Card said that the lot could not be built on per the DNR and Corps. Gustin said that was moot and it was through a misunderstanding that got put into the tax records. Bacon said that from the aerial it looked like it was heavily treed. She asked if it had been cleared recently. Gustin said no, and that the dirt was taken and used for the ramp for the Lazaretto Creek bridge. John Major said that it appeared 2 that the zero setback was at one corner of the building. He asked about the other end of the wall. Brannyn Allen said that the footprint shown was the maximum size they would build to. She said that the exact placement had yet to be determined. She said they are looking for the flexibility of a zero lot line so they could turn the building. Major asked if the Staff recommendation would be the same regardless of how the building sat on the property. Allen said that it would because it was an unusually shaped parcel. She said that Battery Row, the next property over, was permanent open space. Sandy Chandler asked if any of the property was a dump. Gustin said not that he knew of. After Chandler spoke further about a dump in that area, Gustin said that it was on the Haar Tract. Chandler spoke of people that built in the same vicinity that requested a variance to put a seawall because they had saltwater underneath the house. He said that he assumed the Staff recommendation for approval was because of the geographical features of the property. Chandler said he did not question Gustin’s right to build but he believed it was a bad idea and that they were setting a bad precedent with a zero setback and that close to the marsh. Gustin said that it was not near the marsh; there was a 25-foot buffer. Gustin said that the foundation would be put on solid footings. Whitley Reynolds questioned if the zero setback was with no opposition from the adjacent property. Gustin said there would be no infringement on them. He described the Battery Row property. Allen said that the adjacent property owners were aware. David Postle asked if the driveway would be where the posts are currently located. Gustin said yes. Postle asked if the DOT had been contacted. Allen said that because there was an existing culvert and existing curb cut, Gustin would be allowed to move forward with the improvements. Bacon asked Gustin if they could maximize the footprint and not have a zero setback. Gustin spoke of the adjacent property owner’s fence being on the property line and that it did not bother him. Bacon said that people were allowed to put fences on property lines but not homes. Gustin said if he could foresee any infringement or harm on someone else’s property, he would not be asking for the variance. Bacon asked if he could see any other alternative. Gustin said that in order to make a plan he had to have latitude of what areas he could use, and the more that he had, the more flexible he could be with the size and shape of the house. Bacon said that if Gustin was granted a zero setback variance, the whole side of the house could go to a zero setback. Gustin said it was because of the configuration of the useable land and if they do not get the zero setback it would cut down on the length of the house considerably. He said that was why they were trying to get a 20 by 40 building area. He said they do not intend to build all the way along the line. Chuck Powell asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the project. Reynolds moved to approve. James Boyle seconded. Seven Commissioners voted in favor and Bacon voted in opposition. The motion to approve passed. City Council would consider the request on April 10. Erin Sheldon represented a Map Amendment [Land Development Code Section 5-020(D)] for 13 Fourteenth Street, PIN 4-0007-06-001, Zone R-T. The request was to rezone from R-T to C-1. Sheldon explained that she was one of six owners of the property. Chuck Powell said that his concern was spot zoning. After Powell spoke about zoning of the property, Brannyn Allen said she felt comfortable recommending approval because the change to commercial use was more in keeping with the existing land use patterns in that area and the ongoing changes in the south end business district. She said there was commercial on three other corners of what already was a very important intersection for the island and R-T does not serve those purposes. Libby Bacon asked about the future development map referenced in the Staff Report and if there were plans to zone Fourteenth Street to the Strand as commercial. Allen explained that the map was the Future Character Area Map from the Master Plan. Bacon asked if it was appropriate for it to be commercial to the Strand so that Sheldon’s property would not seem spot zoned. Allen said that there were not imminent plans to rezone all of Fourteenth Street. She said that the South End Business District was changing and becoming the commercial center. Powell asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the request. Keith Gay, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, said that had the petition been presented before the Committee they would have been very favorable in support of the zoning change. He said that it was a unique 3 location and has many attributes that worked both in favor of and against it from an R-2 standpoint. Gay said that the highest use for the property was what had been proposed. Anne Miller moved to approve. Demery Bishop seconded. The vote was unanimous. The motion to approve passed and would go before City Council on April 10. Gary Sanders, Ciphers Design Company, represented Paul Scarborough for a Site Plan Approval petition (Land Development Code Section 5-080) 406 First Street, PIN 4-0003-13-020, Zone C-2. The plan was for a new retail/commercial building. Sanders said that it would be connected to the High Tide building. He spoke of one of the biggest challenges being the trees on the property. David Postle said that it appeared there were eight oak trees slated for removal. He said the trees were between 7- and 27- inches in diameter and between 25 and 250 years in age. He asked Sanders the plans to save as many trees as they could. Sanders said that parking drives the size of the development. He said the site was both blessed and cursed with many trees. He counted fifteen trees that they had put parking around. He said that he hated to see anything happen to the 27-inch tree and that with relaxation of the 24-foot maneuvering space needed for parking, they could save the tree and the one behind it. Postle, Sanders, Brannyn Allen, Sandy Chandler, Libby Bacon, John Major, and Chuck Powell discussed trees, greenspace, the parking/drive aisle plan, and the Land Development Code. At Postle’s request, Allen agreed to review the parking standards of the Land Development Code. Allen said that should the Commissioners decide to make a motion for approval they could condition it in a variety of ways that would save the trees. Following discussion of possible conditions, Allen said that any variances would be tacitly approved as part of the Site Plan. Powell asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the project. Chandler motioned to approve with the condition of allowing a decrease of up to 3 feet in some sections of the drive aisle width only in an effort to save trees as well as the labeling of the affected parking spaces “for compact vehicle use only.” James Boyle seconded. Whitley Reynolds asked if they were being too vague on the motion. After discussion which included the estimated number of remaining parking spaces, the vote on the motion was unanimous. The motion to approve with the conditions of allowing a decrease of up to 3 feet in some sections of the drive aisle width in an effort to save trees and the labeling of the affected parking spaces “for compact vehicle use only” passed. City Council would consider the petition on April 10. Bonnie Gaster represented Randolph Bishop for a Zoning Variance petition (Land Development Code Section 5-090) from Section 5-010(J), Shore Protection with Variance Clause, for 8 Palmwood Court, PIN 4-0002-24-005, Zone PUD. The applicant was requesting a shore protection line variance for a single-family dwelling proposed to be built 10 feet landward of the toe of the dune. The difference between that line and Tybee’s line was approximately 15 feet at the widest point and 3-1/2 feet at the narrowest. Whitley Reynolds recused himself because he had worked on the project. Demery Bishop said that there was no relationship between Randolph Bishop and himself. Gaster said the footprint with the Tybee jurisdictional line was almost 50% less than was originally approved. She said it was a planned unit development with an approved footprint that followed the toe of the dune. She requested going by what was recommended by DNR. She said as it was they would only have a 47-foot footprint on the north side. John Major said that the DNR jurisdictional line was more restrictive than the Tybee line and, in the absence of trees and structures, the DNR generally uses ten feet. He said he would not agree with Gaster that it was what DNR recommends; it was what they recommend absent anything else. Gaster agreed. Powell asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the proposal. Sandy Chandler motioned to approve. Anne Miller seconded. Major said that this was one of the lots where Tybee’s line was questionable and that what was recommended was reasonable. Reynolds had recused himself and the seven remaining Commissioners voted to approve. The motion to approve passed. The petition would be heard by City Council on April 10. 4 * * * * Tom Waters presented Bobby Chu’s Zoning Variance petition (Land Development Code Section 5-090) from Section 3-080, Off-street Parking Requirements for 5 Palmwood Court, PIN 4-0002-24-003, Zone PUD. The request was for two driveway openings closer than 50 feet on one lot. Waters said he was agent for Chu and he explained the request. He said that the site plan that was presented when the house was being considered was a single driveway. He said that driveway was almost impossible to put in because it was in the center of a cul-de-sac. He said that they do not have much depth from the front to the back. Waters said that when coming off the cul-de-sac there was not enough radius to turn in. He said that if they put in two driveways it would cover about 20% more property, limiting the amount of greenspace. He explained that the proposed driveway was comparable to what about 90% of the sites in the subdivision are using. Waters concluded his remarks and Chuck Powell asked if anyone from the audience wished to speak for or against the project. Whitley Reynolds moved to approve and James Boyle seconded. The vote to approve was unanimous. The motion to approve passed. The request would be before City Council on April 10. Jim Stone represented Titan Advertising Group for a conceptual site plan for 1112, 1116 and 1120 Highway 80, PINs 4-0026-11-010, -011 & 012A, Zone C-2. This was not a Public Hearing. The concept was five mixed-use structures on five lots. Stone said that he was representing Elk Property Development. He said the developer had approval for five duplexes and was looking at alternatives. Stone said that mixed-use would be the most consistent with the area. He went on to describe the proposal as live/work spaces at an affordable price point using LEEDS technology. He talked about wanting to keep trees and that they were working on a parking plan. Sandy Chandler asked the function of the top. Stone said it was the elevator overrun with solar panels on it. He said that the kinds of people that have the money to afford to move to Tybee are interested in LEEDS buildings. He spoke of a roof catchment system and columns of renewable wood. James Boyle asked if the carport area would be parking. Stone said yes and that it would be from the side. He said an extensive parking study needed to take place. Whitley Reynolds asked how parking would be calculated. Stone said the residences would require four spaces and for every 200 square feet he would be required to have a parking spot minus 15% for common area. David Postle spoke about other mixed-use buildings that have been built or proposed. He asked Stone what assurances there were that the buildings would not turn into condos. Stone said they would not be putting shower/kitchen facilities in the office/condominiums. He said they were not asking for any expansion beyond the two residential units currently approved. Stone further described the project. Demery Bishop commented favorably on the buildings being tiered and staggered. He asked, since this was conceptual and was previously approved as a residential complex, did it require a formal recommendation and approval. Brannyn Allen said that it would not move on to City Council. She said that the applicant was looking for feedback. Libby Bacon said she would like the City to look at the parking ordinance, but if the City was not able to work with Stone on the parking, was there adequate parking for what he wanted to do. Stone said that to go by the Code and save trees, it would be tight. He said they were willing to reduce the amount of commercial space. Chuck Powell explained that this was not a Public Hearing and then he opened the discussion for input from the audience. Powell called for a show of hands of those in favor of the concept. All of the Commissioners raised their hands. Chuck Powell pointed out that the Synopsis of the March 13 City Council meeting was included in the Commissioners’ packets. Powell reminded the Commissioners of the training at Garden City on March 25. The dates of upcoming City Council and Planning Commission meetings were reviewed. Referencing the election at the beginning of the meeting, Powell concluded by saying that it would be his pleasure to serve as Chair for the remainder of the year. The meeting adjourned.