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20081021_PC_mtg_min 1 PLANNING COMMISSION CITY MANAGER Libby Bacon Diane Schleicher Demery Bishop James P. Boyle PLANNING & ECONOMIC George Dausey 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 October 21, 2008 – 7:00 p.m. Vice Chair John Major called the October 21, 2008, Planning Commission meeting to order. Other Commissioners present were: Libby Bacon, Demery Bishop, James Boyle, George Dausey, Anne Miller, David Postle, and Whitley Reynolds. Major explained that he would be acting as Chair because Chuck Powell was absent due to not feeling well. Anne Miller moved to approve the Minutes of the September 16, 2008, Planning Commission meeting. George Dausey seconded. The vote in favor of the motion to approve was unanimous. John Major asked if there were any Disclosures. Demery Bishop noted that on the first agenda item, the Shook property, he was in a business relationship with Mark Boswell but it did not have an impact on the Shook property. John Major disclosed that he owns property within 500 feet of a bed and breakfast. Major asked if there were any Recusal Appeals. Brannyn Allen said there were none she was aware of. John Major opened the Public Hearing for a request from Elizabeth and Thomas Shook for a Zoning Variance (Section 5-090) from Section 3-090, Schedule of Development Regulations, for 3 Tenth Street, PIN 4-0006-15-006, Zone R-2. The request was for a height variance of 1.64-feet from the 35- foot height limit for a new single-family structure. Brannyn Allen said the request was to elevate the house to alleviate drainage and flooding problems. Major clarified with Allen that as Acting Chair he would be voting. Libby Bacon asked why the variance was a better resolution than filling to make it level with the surrounding lots; why an extra thick slab as opposed to fill. Mark Boswell, engineer, said the area to the south and east drains across the property, and building it up would block that drainage, which was against ordinance. He said they have to leave a path for the other lots to drain through. Bacon asked if the elevation of the lot would not be changing but the slab would begin at the same elevation that it was now. Boswell said that was basically correct. He said that he and Downer Davis, Tybee’s engineer, came to a compromise about the slab elevation. Bacon said that if the variance were granted, because of the higher elevations of the other lots if they were to build up the peaks of all the roofs would be about equal because the Shook lot was lower. Jeff Cramer, architect, said that the surrounding lots were approximately a foot or a foot-and-a-half higher. Bacon asked if the heights were maxed out on the other lots would they be the same height. Cramer said yes, approximately. Bacon asked if this was a better solution than some other kind of drainage after fill. Boswell said that he did not know if any other type of drainage would work because the whole area floods; it was a pond basically. Whitley Reynolds asked if there was any other way to work it out. Boswell said that it was the best scenario they he and Davis could come up with without causing anyone around it problems. David Postle asked about a note on the plan about conditions based on drainage and weather not being predicted. Boswell said that was a note that should not have been on the plan. Postle said that the projected height of the building, putting 2 aside the thickened slab, would be 34-feet, 11-inches, and the under-the-building parking was slated to be 8-feet high, the first living floor 9-feet, and the second living floor 8-feet. He said that adding those together made 25-feet. He said he could not find the height between the ceiling of the second living floor and the ridgepole of the roof. Cramer said that they do the roof slope on a structure based on the slope of the roof and the width of the house. He said they picked a roof slope that would fit under the height limit and they used 3-1/2 and 12 for the pitch, which was the shallowest roof slope for shingles. Postle asked if there was another type of roofing that would give a lesser slope, lower the height of the ridgepole and stay within the height limit. Cramer said that there were other roofs besides shingles to lower the pitch of the roof. Postle asked by how much. Cramer said as much as the willingness to do it. Postle asked if there would be enough grade for adequate runoff. Cramer said that most roofs that are flatter, from his experience, leak more often and also cost more. Major asked if there was only one way to get from the third floor to the second floor. Cramer said yes. Major discussed variance requests for a second means of egress that the Planning Commission had previously heard. Major and Cramer discussed drainage. Major asked Allen if the request fell within the definition of a hardship. Allen said that in the strictest application of the rule, no, because the lot could be developed. She said that there were extenuating circumstances because of the surrounding topography that needed to be considered. Major and Allen discussed the circumstances. Referring to drainage, Demery Bishop asked if the variance would help to eliminate an existing problem. Boswell said that was correct. Bishop asked if it benefited not only the landowner but also the surrounding area. Boswell said that it would not benefit the surrounding area because they were using the Shook property for a detention pond. After Boswell discussed the drainage, Bishop asked if the plan would help alleviate the flooding issues in the area. Boswell said no. Allen said it would alleviate the flooding issues for the Shook lot. After discussion between Bishop, Allen and Major regarding the height of the peak, Major asked if the same thing could be accomplished by lowering the ceiling heights. Cramer said that it could. Major said that he was trying to understand it from the ordinance perspective, which was that the property was otherwise unbuildable unless the variance was granted. Cramer asked when there would be a topography problem that would allow for a variance if this one did not. Major said that the question was if the property was buildable without a variance. The variance of 1.64-feet was discussed. Allen told Cramer that the average adjacent grade had been recalculated. Postle said that by lowering the ceiling from 9- to 8-feet, the ridgepole would only have to be lowered .5-feet to stay under 35-feet. Major asked if any trees would be impacted. Allen said no. Postle said he thought there were trees. Boswell said that there were no trees in the way. Major asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the petition. Petitioner Thomas Shook said that they are the pond for the area and what they were asking for was essentially an elevation variance. He gave the history of their ownership of the property, the development of neighboring properties, drainage, and the variance request. Bacon asked Shook to confirm that the existing concrete from the house to the road would be removed and replaced with pervious pavers. Shook said that it would. Major asked if granting of a variance did not set precedence for future actions. Allen agreed. Major closed the Public Hearing. Reynolds moved to approve. Anne Miller seconded. Reynolds said that he did not feel the Shooks were pushing the envelope with an 8-foot garage, 9-foot second floor and 8-foot third floor. Major agreed. Bacon and Allen discussed the elevations and the drainage plan. Allen said that an as- built would be required to verify the height. The vote on the motion to approve was unanimous. The motion to approve passed. John Major opened the Public Hearing for a request from Cathy Kilday for a Text Amendment (Section 5-110) to Section 3-060.A, Residential Bed and Breakfast. The proposal would increase the number of allowed guest rooms from five to seven, allow an afternoon snack, and allow hosting of special events of up to twenty guests. Brannyn Allen said that Kilday was suggesting that a limited site plan be required that would show the number and location of guest rooms, the parking plan and the proposed design for the buffer. She noted that the Text Amendment would be applicable only to residential bed and 3 breakfasts; it would not affect commercial bed and breakfasts. Whitley Reynolds asked if the special events would be something that could be done forever or would they come to ask for a particular event. Allen said that it would be allowed as a matter of right for events limited to twenty people. Major commented that special events and bed and breakfasts needed to be separate approvals. He spoke of the Master Plan and of further encroachment of commercial use into residential areas. Libby Bacon said that twenty people could make a lot of noise at an event, and when next to residential places it could have an impact on neighbors. She said that special events should be a separate process. Major asked about dealing with that when they came to a motion. Allen said that they could motion to allow special events only after special review or some sort of condition. Bacon asked if the special events would be only for guests or would it be a separate business. Kilday, owner of Tybee Island Inn, said that the biggest request for weddings was the bride and groom walking to the beach, getting married and coming back to spend the night. She said that in the event that it rained they were not allowed to do the wedding ceremony inside the facility. Kilday said it made it impossible for them to do weddings because they did not know what the weather was going to be. She said it was mostly guests but there may be people staying somewhere else or locals. She said that they could not do food service so it was not a typical event. She described it as being quiet with a purchased wedding cake, a token toast and the people leaving for dinner. Major spoke of it having been before the Planning Commission eleven months previous and at that time Kilday was asking to increase the number of rooms, and it was suggested that they wait until the Master Plan had been approved. Major asked Allen if there was anything in the Master Plan that would enlighten them. Allen said that she did not find any specific direction one way or another; there was concern in the Master Plan about the encroachment of commercial uses into residential areas. Kilday said that the benefits far outweighed and that since 1994 there had not been a complaint about their business. She spoke of positive aspects of bed and breakfasts. Major asked for the history of the limit being five rooms. Kilday said that it was in the original ordinance. She said that R-T bed and breakfasts could have more than five rooms, and residential bed and breakfasts could have five rooms or less, and commercial bed and breakfasts did not have any limit. Kilday said that since that ordinance was written everything had changed in terms of how everyone but the City classified the properties; for insurance and financing purposes it was considered commercial. She said it had become impossible to run it with five rooms, which the IRS said was the breakeven. She said that last year they incurred a loss in their business. Kilday said that Tybee had to make a decision whether this was a good business. Major and Kilday discussed afternoon snacks. Kilday said that doing small weddings was an industry standard and was not restricted in Savannah. Major asked if they had five rooms. Kilday said they have more than five rooms available; they were not allowed to rent. Major asked if each room had a private bath. Kilday said that they did. She said that one room was a two bedroom, one bath suite, which was not allowed under the current ordinance. She said the definitions had gotten so technical that it made it difficult, and houses were not built as bed and breakfasts. Major and Kilday discussed the number of guests per room. Major said that at the previous Planning Commission meeting there was discussion about rental properties, and that bed and breakfasts were tightly regulated and rental properties in residential areas were not controlled. He discussed a group of property managers that were going to work on that with the City and that the Master Plan addressed it. Allen said there had not been any decisive action. She said that one of the biggest concerns was that the State prohibits registering of rentals so that hindered what the City could do to regulate them. She said the only way to track them was through hotel/motel tax. Kilday said this was a full-time job for her and her husband. She spoke further and then David Postle said that the Kildays’ business brought money to Tybee; if they have the physical capacity to increase the business that would have a positive economic spinoff for Tybee. He said that if some changes were not made the businesses were going to be detailed to death and disappear. He said that was counterproductive to people having the right to use their property the way they want as long as it does not violate the law, and not all laws were good. He said it was a very tough decision. He suggested rewriting the ordinances dealing with bed and breakfasts. Postle said the problem was parking 4 in a residential area. Kilday said that the Text Amendment would not give automatic approval; it would have to come back to the Planning Commission and Council for their specific bed and breakfast. Reynolds spoke about the importance of site plan review. Major asked if every bed and breakfast would have to come for site plan review. Allen said that was not the way it was worded but it could be a condition of the motion. Kilday said it only applied to residential bed and breakfasts. Major said as it was written, the ones that would be covered by it would have things granted to them. The way the proposal was written was discussed and suggestions were made by James Boyle, Bacon and Major. Major asked if anyone from the public wished to speak. He closed the Public Hearing. Reynolds moved to approve subject to administrative site plan review for expansion from five to seven rooms and for special events. Postle seconded. Bacon voiced concerns about the special event part being done administratively. Major asked if Reynolds would consider amending the motion. The group discussed. The motion was amended to approve subject to expansion from five rooms to up to seven rooms being subject to administrative site plan approval by Staff, afternoon snacks being allowed, and hosting of special events for up to twenty people being subject to one-time special review by Planning Commission and approval by City Council. All voted in favor of the motion except for Anne Miller. The motion to approve subject to expansion from five rooms to up to seven rooms being subject to administrative site plan approval by Staff, afternoon snacks being allowed, and hosting of special events for up to twenty people being subject to one-time special review by Planning Commission and approval by City Council passed. Major told Kilday that she would appear before City Council on November 13. John Major opened the Public Hearings for a Text Amendment and a Map Amendment for a North End Cultural Overlay. Brannyn Allen explained that the Light Station, the Museum, the Shrine Club, the North Beach Parking Lot, and the North Beach Grill were now zoned R-1 so they were nonconforming uses. She said that the North End Cultural Overlay would bring them into compliance with the Land Development Code and give a better handle on how to deal with future expansions and changes. Major and Allen discussed a previous overlay for the campground area. Allen said that under the proposed overlay, if the Light Station wanted to bring in new structures it would be permitted as a matter of right as opposed to expansion of a nonconforming use. She said that it would still require site plan review and approval; it would not require a variance. Major confirmed with Allen that it would come before the Planning Commission and City Council. James Boyle asked if it would make the area commercial. Allen said that it would not be zoned commercial. She spoke of the area lending itself to historical, cultural, and educational facilities, as opposed to commercial. Anne Miller asked if the houses in the fort were included. Allen said no, those parcels were excluded. Major asked where Battery Backus fell in the overlay. Allen said that it was not included. Libby Bacon asked if the lot lines of the houses on the batteries extended to the beach. Allen said that the area was City property. Bacon asked about fireworks. Allen said that it was a first draft and she was open to comments, suggestions and feedback. Various uses and activities were discussed. Major asked Allen to let Elizabeth and Thomas Shook know when they were to appear before City Council. Major asked if anyone from the public wished to speak for or against the proposal. Sandy Postle asked who owned an area near the overlay boundary. Allen said that it was privately held. Possible activities and the verbiage to allow them were discussed. Major closed the Public Hearing. Boyle motioned to approve with the stipulation that there be no private use of fireworks or any private activities involving firearms including hunting, skeet-shooting, target practice, crossbows or archery. Bacon seconded. The vote in favor was unanimous. The motion to approve with stipulations that there be no private use of firearms, including hunting, skeet-shooting and target practice, no private use of crossbows or archery, and no private use of fireworks passed. Whitley Reynolds moved to adjourn the meeting. Anne Miller seconded. The vote was unanimous.