9.14.2021 Planning and Zoning Minutes

     Chair Mike Schell presided and called the meeting to order 4:00pm on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021. Committee Members present: Mike Bishop, Jim Wright, Dave Carlsrud, and Bill Carlblom, with Joe Faure attending by Zoom. Absent: Bobby Koepplin.

     Others: City Administrator Gwen Crawford, City Attorney Carl Martineck, City Planner Joel Quanbeck, Acting Secretary/City Assessor Sandy Hansen, Assistant City Building Inspector Lance Coit, City Engineers Chad Petersen (KLJ) & Tracy Eslinger (Moore Engineering), and Engineer Technician Dan Bernhardt (City of Valley City).

     Audience members: Mike Strom (KLJ), Bruce Hoyt, Doran & Liz Chandler, Dawn Ihry, Tim Ost, Chad Zaun, Brandon Christ, and Mark & Patty Oberlander.

     Bill Carlblom moved to approve the Minutes of the August 11th, 2021 regular meeting, seconded by Mike Bishop, followed by roll call and approval.

     Chair Mike Schell told the audience that the first public hearing listed on the agenda regarding Beyer Industrial Acres had been postponed at this time and the meeting would proceed without that item.

Building Inspector Report

     Building Inspector Mike Blevins had sent the board an email outlining current building projects; year to date there’s been 52 total permits and no issues to be reported at this time. He added the Barnes County jail is substantially complete and a full certificate of occupancy should be issued by the end of the month; VCSU Art Center is planning for substantial completion by the week after Thanksgiving; and Concept Dental on West Main should also see substantial completion within 60 days.

Public Hearing for replat request of Lots 2-4, 11-16, and 19-21, Block 1 of Prairie View Addition. Recommendation to City Commission.

      Chair Schell opened the public hearing. As most of the audience members were in attendance regarding this hearing, Schell explained that the land zoning and use had not changed; the developer was simply redrawing lot lines to take the FAA’s Runway Protection Zone for Runway 31 into consideration to be sure that area was only used as green space, and also to allow for possible townhome construction on a couple of the other lots. Tim Ost spoke regarding property questions to the east of Prairie View where he and the other’s homes were located; his concerns were about their tree plantings along the border between these two subdivisions, with some trees possible over onto the Prairie View land, plus some newer additions within five feet of property lines. He asked how that will ‘play out.’ Bruce Hoyt was there to speak for the Prairie View developer; he said he personally likes trees but could not speak for future owners. Ost also mentioned there had been some flooding issues in the past that were helped by land buildup on the sites to be developed. Schell answered that concern by saying any development would need a storm water management plan to proceed. Hoyt also added that plans were for water to run to the west and he didn’t think that needed to be a worry of theirs. When asked if there was a schedule for development, Hoyt said that for now the land is for sale and nothing is scheduled for building at this time. Jim Wright moved to close the public hearing with Bishop a second. With no internal conversation, Wright moved to recommend approval of the application for the replat as stated to the City Commission with Bishop a second and board approval.

Public Hearing for replat request of Lots 10-12 of Andrus & Sifton’s Addition (Valley City State University). Recommendation to City Commission.

      Chair Schell opened the public hearing. Mike Strom of KLJ spoke for VCSU and explained that the replat maintains a utility easement located in the existing alleyway but vacates the alley and combines it with the proposed parking lot. There will be a new, wider alley on the north edge for those neighboring properties to have continued access to the back of their lots. The changes will provide parking adjacent to the new fine arts building and improve pedestrian safety. Strom added that he was contacted with questions by property owners Mike Watterson and MDU and they were satisfied with his answers. Bishop moved to close the public hearing with Carlblom second and board approval. With internal discussion, Wright asked if there was a minimum width for alleys and if the proposed 30’ would work for emergency vehicles; he was assured that the 30’ was more than required and that firetrucks needed a minimum 26’ width. Wright moved to recommend approval to the City Commission with Carlblom a second and board approval.

Open Public Hearing for Replat and Variance request of Lot 1 Block 2 West 5th Addition, and Lots 1-2 and Outlot A Block 1 NP West 6th Addition. Recommendation to the City Commission.

      Chair Schell opened the public hearing. Strom also spoke to this request. This is city-owned land and Dave Zubrod is interested in purchasing it to put up a large storage building. The replat would remove the existing Outlot A and incorporate it into Lots 1 & 2 of Block 1, and also provide access for both Lot 2, Block 1 and Lot 1, Block 2 with an ingress/egress easement that lines up with 18th Ave SW on the other side of West Main. City Engineer Chad Petersen also talked with Zubrod and staked out the Right Of Way (ROW). It was pointed out that the church to the west of this property was built right on the border of the ROW which could be used as a point of reference for Zubrod’s proposed building. He added that Zubrod wants to avoid cutting into the north bank of the property (previous railroad bed) as he’s worried about disturbing possible underground springs and that he in fact will be putting in a retaining wall on that side as extra precaution to protect his building. Bishop moved to close the public hearing with Carlblom second. In internal discussion, City Planner Joel Quanbeck said he would like any motion to approve to include the language that “if one were to build in accordance with the setback it would result in the building cutting into an easement that covers the rail bed. The building should not encroach on that easement. Additionally, there is a large swath of ROW owned by the NDDOT for West Main Street that will never be used. Note that the church building to the west of this property is located nearly adjacent to its south property line. The ROW serves as a substantial buffer that accomplished the function of a setback.” Bishop moved to recommended approval to the City Commission with that recommended additional language, with Wright seconding and board approval.

Consideration of zoning map revision. Recommendation to the City Commission.

      Chair Schell turned discussion over to Quanbeck, with Engineer Technician Dan Bernhardt  distributing individual smaller maps with a large map for review. Quanbeck pointed out that this latest map added the University District not previously listed. City Administrator Gwen Crawford said that this map needs to be approved by this board and the City Commission before they could move ahead with creating an updated extraterritorial boundary. Bernhardt pointed out that all new annexations are represented on this map. Wright questioned the R-2 zoning designation in his own neighborhood along 4th & 5th Ave SW by the college; he had always thought it was R-1.  Bishop moved to recommend approval to the City Commission contingent on having that area in question researched, with Carlblom seconding and board approval


     With no other items to discuss, Chair Schell called for the meeting to close at 4:38pm.

Submitted by: City Assessor Sandy Hansen, Acting Secretary

Posted in Planning & Zoning Minutes.