Planning commission minutes Aug. 2, 2023

COUNTY OF SEVIER
CITY OF RICHFIELD

At the Planning Commission
In and for said city 

Minutes of the Richfield City Planning Commission meeting held Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at the Richfield City Center, Richfield, Utah, commencing at 6:00 p.m. Chairman Josh Peterson presiding

  1. Roll Call
  2. Permitted Use permits
    a. Audrey Knight to request approval to operate a pet grooming business called The Dog Shop at the south unit of a building located at 155 W 1500 S. (P-2 use in a CS zone)
  3. Short term rentals
    a. Lexa Larsen, Dustin Rooks to request approval to operate a short-term rental out of a home located at 495 East 200 N. (R1-10 zone, C1 use, #10 of 45)
    b. Tyson Hansen to request approval to operate a short-term rental out of a home located at 433 East 950 North. (R1-10 zone, C1 Use #11 of 45)
  4. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Emily Taylor to request approval to operate a business called “A Cookie A Day” from her home at 355 N 200 W (C-2 Use in a R1-10 zone).
    b. Pablo Galeana to request approval to add a drive through window to Los 5 Amigos Restaurant on 300 North (C-2 Use in a Commercial Shopping Zone).
  5. Public hearing –
    a. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Richfield City Zoning ordinance section 16.1620 defining materials used for fences between commercial and residential zones.
    b. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendment to the Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance.
    c. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to the Richfield City Development and Construction Standards.
  6. Action on Public Hearings –
    a. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption by the city council of amendments to Richfield City Zoning Ordinance defining materials used for fences between commercial and residential zones.
    b. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption by the City Council of amendments to Richfield City Zoning Ordinance to increase consistency and compliance with state requirements.
    c. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption and codification by the City Council of existing Development and Construction Standards.
  7. Land Use Ordinance Work Session
    a. Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance –
    b. Richfield City Zoning Ordinance –
    c. Richfield City Development and Construction Standards –
  8. Minutes Approval
    i. Consider approving minutes of July 5, 2023.
  9. Other Business
  10. Adjournment.
  11. Roll Call
    Present: Josh Peterson, Susan Jensen, Lisa White, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt, Wayne Cowley. Blaine Breinholt was excused.
    City staff present, David Anderson, deputy clerk.
    Others present include City Engineer Micklane Farmer, Planning Specialist Kendall Welch (via online conference video), Audrey Knight, Emily Taylor, Marna Winn, Dustin Rooks, Tyson Hansen, Donovan Allen and Brandon Anderson.
  12. Permitted Use permits
    a. Audrey Knight to request approval to operate a pet grooming business called The Dog Shop at the south unit of a building located at 1075 W 75 East.
    Knight is a dog groomer who has outgrown her current space, and is now expanding to an area located in the south portion of a building shared with Mike’s Auto Clinic. People will drop their dogs off one at a time. It’s anticipated that eight clients for each employee will be served each day, with up to three to four dogs per client. The business will have two employees at a time working, with four people in total employed at the business.
    There will be kennels for the dogs to await being picked up by owners with a max wait time of 15 to 20 minutes. No overnight boarding will be offered. A shared dumpster will be utilized.
    Commissioner White asked about hair traps as well as any other issues of having dogs in the shared space. Knight said a special tub with built in hair traps will be used, as well as an additional hair trap being installed into the building’s plumbing. She said there is space outside for dogs to take care of sanitary needs and the business would provide bags for owners to clean up afterward. She sees no other issues.
    Motion: Commissioner Leavitt motioned to approve the business, seconded by Commissioner White. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.
  13. Short term rentals
    a. Lexa Larsen, Dustin Rooks to request approval to operate a short-term rental out of a home located at 495 East 200 N.
    Rooks said the home has taken the better part of a year to repair and upgrade the two-bedroom, one-bathroom house. There is plenty of off-street parking.
    A business license will be required for the operation of the home as a short-term rental.
    This will be the 10th short-term rental of the 45 allowed in this zone.
    Motion: Commissioner White motioned to approve, Seconded by Commissioner Kirshner. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

b. Tyson Hansen and Donovan Allen to request approval to operate a short-term rental out of a home located at 433 East 950 North.
Hansen said this is his first foray into the short-term rental business. The property includes a three-car garage, plenty of parking in the drive-way and along the garage. Hansen said clients will be told to not park on the street. There will likely be a two-night minimum to reduce the laundry needs.
Allen said this is a chance to accommodate larger families who may be looking for a place to stay as it is a five-bedroom home.
Commissioner White asked if the code had been changed to allow for more than three bedrooms. Deputy Clerk Anderson said the most updated version of the zoning code did eliminate the three-bedroom limit.
Chairman Peterson said his only concern is the possibility of large house parties, which have been a problem affecting short-term rentals to the point it that has reached the news.
Hansen said large party situations are bad for owners as well as neighbors. He said both he and Allen live in the area and would be able to check and make sure clients are not booking it for one family and then sneaking in five families. He said this will help avoid excessive wear and tear. Hansen said owners have the ability to be selective as to who rents the home. User reviews can provide information that would allow people who have been problems in past rentals to be denied a booking.
Allen added there would likely be a limit as to the number of people allowed to stay in the home, probably to a maximum of 14. He said he wouldn’t expect the party situation in Richfield.
Commissioner Peterson expressed concern that Richfield could be turning into the next Moab, and that the town needs to be careful how it manages the growth of short-term rentals.
This is the first home of this size to be approved for a short-term rental in Richfield, so it is essentially a pilot program. All the others are smaller two- and three-bedroom homes, Peterson said.
Hansen said another limiting factor is that due to the price and size of the home, he and Allen would need charge double the amount of the smaller 2- to 3-bedroom homes in order for the venture to be profitable. Hansen and Allen are in the process of closing on the property.
Commissioner Kirshner said there is a need for this type of a rental.
Fire code would be a good reason to keep the number of people limited, but Hansen said there wouldn’t be more than what’s allowed by fire code to stay in the home. The owners plan to have the home ready for rental use in 30 days.
Motion: Commissioner White made the motion to approve it, with the following conditions: Hansen and Allen must have ownership of the home, the occupancy can not exceed what the fire code would allow, and the home may only be rented only as one unit, not room by room. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jensen. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.
This will be the 11th of the 45 short-term rentals allowed in this zone.

  1. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Emily Taylor to request approval to operate a business called “A Cookie A Day” from her home at 355 N 200 W.
    This is a business that would focus on a monthly pick up of cookies, as well as catering orders. Big catering orders would come to Taylor’s home. Taylor said she has jumped through the state-required hoops for cottage foods, which include certain stipulations on recipes as well as an inspection of her kitchen facilities. No refrigerated products are allowed for sale as cottage foods. Recipes also have to approved.
    Taylor cited HB 181, which allows production and sale of foods at home as long as consumers are informed that products are home produced and not regulated by the state. No employees would be involved with this business.
    The business is not expected to receive deliveries that would impact traffic in the neighborhood.
    Commissioner Leavitt asked about the garbage impact, of which Taylor said it would be minimal – just butter boxes. Commissioner White said it is allowed to have an additional garbage can in Richfield City for a nominal monthly fee, which is intended specifically for residential use. Taylor said she also considered food boutiques or farmer’s markets, but would rather take orders.
    Motion: Commissioner White motioned to approved, seconded by Commissioner Leavitt. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.
    b. Pablo Galeana to request approval to add a drive through window to Los 5 Amigos Restaurant on 300 North (C-2 Use in a Commercial Shopping Zone).
    Mr. Galeana didn’t attend the meeting.
    Motion: Commissioner White motioned to table the item, seconded by Commissioner Leavitt. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.
  2. Public hearings –
    a. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Richfield City Zoning ordinance section 16.1620.
    Chairman Peterson opened this public hearing, and hearing no public comment closed the hearing at 6:38 p.m.
    b. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendment to the Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance.
    Chairman Peterson opened this public hearing, and hearing no public comment closed the hearing at 6:39 p.m.
    c. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Chapter 2 of the Richfield City Development and Construction Standards.
    Chairman Peterson opened this public hearing, and hearing no public comment closed the hearing at 6:40 p.m.
  3. Action on Public Hearings –
    a. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption by the city council of amendments to Richfield City Zoning Ordinance defining materials used for fences between commercial and residential zones.
    Commissioner White said the proposed ordinance addressed the items previously discussed by the planning commission. Commissioner Leavitt asked if vinyl was considered “durable,” which the consensus was that it is.
    Motion: Commissioner White motioned to recommend approval of the ordinance amending fencing regulations. Seconded by Susan Jensen. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

b. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption by the City Council of amendments to Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance to increase consistency and compliance with state requirements.
Motion: Commissioner White motioned to recommend approval of amendment to the subdivision ordinance. Seconded by Commissioner Cowley. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

c. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption and codification by the City Council of existing Development and Construction Standards.
Motion: Commissioner White motioned to recommend approval of modifications to the city’s Development and Construction Standards as presented. Seconded by Commissioner Leavitt. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

  1. Land Use Ordinance Work Session
    a. Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance – Kendall Welch gave an overview of the condominium portion of the subdivision ordinance, which was broken out into its own section at the request of the planning commission.
    In general provisions, the process for establishing or converting condominiums is the key focus of this portion of the ordinance. This defined where the land use authority is for each step of the process lies. The language is designed to outline the process, the fees associated with it and making it consistent with other processes in the city. It is also eliminating redundancies and making sure Richfield’s ordinance is referenced to and compatible with state statute.
    One of the things being done to eliminate redundancies is to consolidate as much as possible into the city code.
    This proposed section of code would require a plat for condominiums, which would have to be approved by the city. Everything needs to conform to what is in the proposed condominium section in order to be approved. There are standards in this section specific to condominiums.
    The responsibility of making sure applications are complete will fall upon the zoning administrator. Applications need to be complete before moving on in the process of being approved.
    Final approval needs to be completed within a year of application, including a signed and executed plat.
    One section is aimed at defining how a condominium conversion can be done, with both process and standards.
    Kendall said the parking requirements for the condominium portion of the ordinance is one example of something that could be combined with the city code, essentially making condo parking subject to the other parking requirements in the city code.
    However, there are some standards and design parameters specific to condominiums that would remain in this section. There will also be some new definitions added to the city code relevant to condominiums.
    Chairman Peterson asked to clarify on the administration table, if the planning commission denies a condo at the preliminary level if the applicant can either appeal or start over.
    Kendall said city staff felt the planning commission would be well-versed enough to make the call on preliminary approval, with the city council acting as the land use authority on condominiums. She said the city council will also have a chance to put its input on this process as well.
    Chairman Peterson said he would prefer simplifying the parking requirements and keep them in one area in the city code.
    Commissioner White agreed and said simplifying and consolidating the code at any opportunity would benefit the public.
    The parking portion hadn’t been consolidated at this point to give the planning commission an opportunity to have a discussion on what they want to see on parking requirements and see if they are appropriate.
    Within the proposed parking section of requirements in the city code, a line would be added to address condominiums specifically. The addition would include one space for every four dwelling units in addition to what is already required to account for the extra vehicles [recreational vehicles, trailers, etc.] that result from people living in a complex.
    Chairman Peterson said one example of why the additional parking spots are needed is the Armstrong Apartments, where there are several recreational vehicles parked in the facility’s parking lot, while the primary transportation cars and trucks are parked on the city street. He said he would like to have extra parking included to avoid a situation like Cedar City where all the parking is on the street and home owner associations are disallowing people from parking in front of their condos.
    Commissioner White said currently there is off street parking required for all single family, two-plex, three-plex, four-plex units, as well as condo dwelling units and asked if the verbiage designed to address recreational vehicles should be added to those designations as well.
    With an area that is friendly to outdoor recreation as Richfield, there will continue to be a lot of recreational vehicles. The additional parking would help address the issues caused by recreational vehicles.
    Welch said she would loop that requirement into the code for all future apartments, three-plex and four-plex developments. Commissioner Jensen said the additional parking won’t be needed for single family homes.
    Commissioner White said all the concepts are good, and the language just needs to be as simple as possible. A public hearing on the condominium portion of the subdivision ordinance can be scheduled for the September meeting with the noted changes.

b. Richfield City Zoning Ordinance – The purpose of tonight’s discussion is to give an overview of what the draft zoning ordinance changes include. The ultimate goal is to fold the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance into the city code, according to Welch. She said the public is conditioned to look to the city code, so having the zoning and subdivision ordinances incorporated in it would help better serve the public.
There have been three passes of the current draft.
The first pass of the new draft focused on clarity and correctness issues, and to address internal redundancies. A lot of areas in both the subdivision ordinance and the zoning ordinances were removed due to the fact they were repeated in multiple areas in the city’s code.
The second pass of the draft focused on statutory issues – making sure the city’s ordinance follows state law. By staying in the bounds of state law the city is less likely to be exposed to litigation.
The third pass is focused on recommendations made by the planning professionals. These items reflect the best practices and current industry standards. This includes making sure the policies and procedures are accurate in how they are outlined in the document. The goal is to have consistency as there is changeover in staff.
As part of the zoning code revision’s purpose is to fold it into the municipal code, items are being renumbered so they match up with where they will appear in the municipal code.
A land use authority chart is also included for consistency. It makes the entire process more consistent, similar to what has been done in the subdivision ordinance.
Another change is to the temporary and season uses. Instead of abbreviating them as “T-1” or “S-1,” they will now be abbreviated as “T” and “S”. This is being done to avoid confusion with the public so there isn’t an assumption that there is another level or seasonal or temporary use, which there is not.
One suggestion Chairman Peterson said should be updated is the public notices. He said the state requires noticing in two locations, but in the Richfield City code it is required for many notices to appear in The Richfield Reaper or newspaper of record. Peterson said he would like to see the city code reflect the state code to avoid potential legal pitfalls if something doesn’t get noticed in the paper.
Welch said another item that is being changed is language that essentially states that city officials can require a public hearing if they feel something warrants it. This could lead to inconsistency in the review process, which can call cause some legal liability. It’s a best practice to make sure everything is standardized so each application is treated the same, Peterson said.
Deputy Clerk Anderson asked to clarify that a change to P-1 and P-2 (Permitted 1 and Permitted 2) uses is also included in this draft. Welch confirmed that P-1 and P-2 are being consolidated into one thing – abbreviated as “P”. At the end of the day a permitted use falls into the use by right category, which is something not typically required to be subject to formal approval process involving a meeting or hearing. Permitted uses would be handled on a staff level.
Conditional uses are another area to look at as well. Staff recommended that the C-1 and C-2 approval categories remain in place.
In order to make sure applicants are looked at consistently from application to application, one of the questions to consider is, “If some specific standards were put in place, could a use be allowed without city council authorization?” Those types of uses should be handled administratively instead of being approved on a case by case basis by the city council, according to Welch. Welch said the commission should look at the use table and see what uses should be considered permitted, or conditional. Also having defined standards that would be grounds for approval or denial would be helpful in consolidating the process.
Chairman Peterson asked Welch to go through the use table and make some recommendations. Welch said there are some recommendations in the current draft to consider.
There are also some uses that have been listed as prohibited. Commissioner White said there is a sentence in the ordinance that says if a use is not in the use table, it is determined to be prohibited.
Peterson said one thing to make sure doesn’t happen is to make sure if a use isn’t in the use table, it doesn’t provide a blank check – similar to what happened in Milford when a hog farm was located within the city limits. Without a mechanism to stop it, the farm had to be allowed.
Commissioner White said there are other things not included in the code, such as a shipping fulfillment facility and a dog grooming facility that technically are not allowed as they are not specifically included in the use table. She said sometimes those have been fitted in under other uses.
Deputy Recorder Anderson said with some set standards, a use like a dog grooming facility could be approved administratively instead of having to go through planning commission or city council.
Commissioner Leavitt said it’s important to preserve the language that makes any use not identified on the use table as a prohibited use.
Chairman Peterson said once a crack in the door is provided, people will exploit it.
Commissioner White said if the use isn’t in the use table, that can be brought to planning commission to see if it can or should be added. As a general rule every developer who comes in will complain about having to wait, but they are asking the city to change something that has a process in place for doing so.
Commissioner Leavitt said the temporary approval is there to not hold people up while the commission decides if it should be added.
Welch said there is generally language in the code that gives the city some leeway before outright banning a use, and that she would double-check and see to make sure it’s included.
The adoption of RM-24 zones in Richfield is an example of something that was exploited by developers before the city even had its bearings, and should give the commission some trepidation in adopting new uses, Chairman Peterson said.
Another area of the code Welch said could be updated is the format of the use table. She said many communities simplify their use table by simply stating the use in the table, leaving definitions in a separate area. Richfield’s use table currently includes definitions and some specifications for uses on its use table. Welch asked if the commission would like to remove definitions and specifications from the use table.
Commissioner White said she doesn’t favor changing the use table as its current form is one of the most useful parts of the city’s code. It can also be an extra step for staff and the public by making people look up definitions in a separate location. Commissioner Kirshner said he agrees, and he likes the Richfield table better than others that he’s looked at.
The commission felt another work session is in order to complete the zoning ordinance updates.
c. Richfield City Development and Construction Standards –
This item was not needed and was crossed off the night’s agenda.

  1. Minutes Approval – Minutes approved as presented. Motion: Commissioner White motioned to recommend approval of the minutes from the July 5 meeting. Seconded by Commissioner Kirshner. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.
  2. Other Business – Chairman Peterson wanted to address the mixed-use definition. He said some developments are trying to skirt around the RM-24 designation through using the mixed-use.
    Deputy Clerk Anderson provided some definitions other communities have used to define mixed use. The definitions fall in line with what the American Planners Association recommends, according to Commissioner Leavitt. The one provided definition that addressed the density issue was Cedar City’s, Commissioner White said.
    Leavitt said it would be a good idea to add a strong definition of the mixed-use term so that developers and the city would be using the same term. He said this would allow for legitimate mixed use and not those trying to skirt. He said its important to define so that developers and the city are using the same vernacular.
    Peterson said there are three pending that could possibly be looking at the mixed-use zone – all old hotels that want to rent out monthly. He said he’d like to see a mixed-use definition for the planning commission to consider adoption of during the next meeting.
    Leavitt and Anderson will develop a definition for the commission to consider.
    It needs to be noticed so that it can be adopted for the next meeting.

Commissioner Kirshner brought up the item of short-term rentals utilizing larger homes. He said the one presented for short-term rental earlier in the meeting by Tyson Hansen and Donovan Allen is a family home, and one of only a handful available in that price range in that type of neighborhood. He said it is addressing a need and there is a market for those types of short-term rentals.
Peterson said it’s a family home being taken out of circulation for housing.
Leavitt said there are currently only seven homes available for people making a median income in Sevier County. Median income was just over $60,0000. Maximum payment would be $1,500 for a median income earner.
Deputy Clerk Anderson said he’s been approached about some new duplexes in town with the possibility of making them short-term rentals as well.
Peterson asked for some recommendations on how to control the short-term rentals. He said a small amount should be allowed, but that the city doesn’t want to be overrun.
Commissioner White said the city has put as many restrictions in place as legal counsel would allow.
Kendall Welch said the state hasn’t said much on the matter. There are a lot of ways communities have tried to regulate the short-term rental phenomenon. She said she would consult with a colleague to see what types of limitations are available for the city to implement.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of articles coming out now relating to the fact that people are moving away from the short-term rental model. Some of the short-term rental companies are changing policies and seeing reduced bookings.
Peterson said we don’t want Richfield to primarily be a tourist town, but keep the community’s agrarian roots and cater to the needs of those who live here first. However, the tourism industry is going to continue to grow, and the state will continue to promote it. Commissioner Kirshner said Richfield is where Moab was 10 years ago.
One possible idea Chairman Peterson mentioned is to disallow the taking of any median income home for the use of a short-term rental to address the housing shortage.

  1. Adjournment. Motion by Commissioner White to adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Leavitt. Motion passed unanimously with commissioners Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.