Planning Commission minutes July 5, 2023

Minutes of the Richfield City Planning Commission meeting held on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at the Richfield City Center, Richfield, Utah, commencing at 6:00 p.m. Chairman Josh Peterson presiding.

  1. Roll Call
  2. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Angela Brown to requesting approval of Sunee Soles Foot Zoning to be located at 427 West Valley View Drive (R1-10 zone – C-1 use).
    b. Mario Gonzalez to request approval to operate a business called Luigi’s Bike Shop at 94 North Main. (Downtown Zone, C-1 use)
  3. Short term rentals
    a. Jim McKim to request approval to operate a short-term rental out of a portion of his home at 501 W 2300 S (C-1, RR-1)
  4. Public Hearings –
    a. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 12, Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places.
    b. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 13, Public Service – “Storm Water Quality and Enforcement.”
    c. AMENDMENT – Receive comments on proposed amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 15, Buildings and Construction to improve administration and enforcement.
  5. Action on Public Hearings –
    a. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption of amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 12, Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places.
    b. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption of amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 13.
    c. AMENDMENT – Consider recommending adoption of amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 15.
  6. Land Use Ordinance Work Session
    a. Richfield City Subdivision Ordinance – The City is proposing various text amendments to the City’s Subdivision Ordinance.
  7. Minutes Approval
    i. Consider approving minutes of June 7, 2023.
  8. Other Business
  9. Adjournment.
  10. Roll Call
    Present: Josh Peterson, Blaine Breinholt, Susan Jensen, Lisa White, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt, Wayne Cowley.
    City staff present, David Anderson, deputy clerk.
    Others present include City Engineer Micklane Farmer, Planning Specialist Kendall Welch (via online conference video), Jim McKim, Mario Gonzalez, Angela Brown
  11. Conditional Use Permits/Home Occupation Permits
    a. Angela Brown requested approval of a Home Occupation Permit allowing her to conduct a business called Sunee Soles Foot Zoning to be located at 427 West Valley View Drive (R1-10 zone – C-1 use).

Brown’s concept is a simple little business operating from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The foot zoning consists of one-on-one therapy sessions with a single client at a time. There won’t be any noise, garbage or traffic impact. The commission viewed a Google Earth map view of the area where the business is located, seeing no significant impact.
Motion: Commissioner White motioned to approve the business as presented. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jensen. The motion carried by unanimous roll call vote with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

b. Mario Gonzalez requested approval to operate a business called Luigi’s Bike Shop at 94 North Main. The business has been operating out of the shed at Mr. Gonzalez’s residence, and has grown to the point he said it was time to open a downtown location. Mr. Gonzalez has purchased the property and plans to continue leasing the north portion of the building to Security Finance. However, the south portion of the building, which has been vacant, will now a business focused on servicing mountain bikes and road bikes. There will be very little noise. The store front will also offer a limited amount of bike parts, apparel and helmets for sale. Initially plans are to open the business from noon to 7 p.m.
Commissioner Breinholt said there ought to be a demand for it with the uptick in bike use in the region.

Commissioner White asked which C-1 use it was being approved under. Deputy Clerk Anderson said the application was processed under the commercial retail C-1 use. Commissioner Breinholt said it wouldn’t really be different than an office supply store. Commissioner White asked to clarify that bikes and bike parts would be sold from the facility, which Mr. Gonzalez affirmed.

Motion: Commissioner Breinholt moved to approve the shop as presented. The motion was seconded by Commissioner White. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt voting aye.

  1. Short Term Rentals –
    a. Jim McKim – Request approval to operate short-term rental out of an attached portion of his home. McKim explained the floor plan of the proposed short-term rental. The main home and the short-term rental would be attached through a breezeway sharing a common roof line. Commissioner Jensen asked if the short-term rental had its own utilities, which it does not.

Deputy Clerk Anderson provided copies of the ordinance 17.1708 and 17.1707 concerning Bed and Breakfast and Short-Term Rentals and Internal Accessory Dwelling Units, respectively.

Commissioner White said the casita portion of the ordinance was modified in part due to McKim’s initial presentation when he first started the construction process. At that point the intent was for it to be used by Mr. McKim’s family.

Commissioner Jensen read from the ordinance, A guesthouse or casita shall be used only by the occupants of the primary dwelling or their non-paying guests. Short-term rental of a guesthouse or casita is not permitted. The guesthouse or casita shall not be leased or rented independent of the main dwelling.
Commissioner White said asked where the changes were made to the casita portion of the zoning ordinance, which Commissioner Leavitt said were in 17.1705. White said the big question is what the structure is, because when it was originally approved, casitas were not allowed. Where it’s attached, the structure becomes more difficult to define.

Commissioner Breinholt said if the roof is attached, it’s attached. Commissioner Kirschner said it’s no different than allowing an Air BnB out of one’s basement, other than its much more convenient. It’s all under one address and water meter. Commissioner Leavitt said it’s a perfect short-term rental under 17.1708.

Motion: Commissioner White moved to approved operating a short-term rental out of a portion of the McKim home 501 W. 2300 S. Seconded by Commissioner Kirshner. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt voting aye.

  1. Public Hearings
    a. Chairman Peterson opened the public hearing concerning amendments to Title 12 of the city’s code concerning Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places. Hearing no comment, he closed the hearing at 6:26 p.m.
    b. Chairman Peterson opened the public hearing concerning amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 13, concerning Storm Water Quality and Enforcement. Hearing no comment, he closed the hearing at 6:27 p.m.
    c. Chairman Peterson opened the public hearing concerning amendments to Richfield City Code, Title 15, concerning adherence to current building codes. Hearing no comment, he closed the hearing at 6:28 p.m.
  2. Action on public hearings
    a. Recommending adoption of proposed updates to Title 12.
    Commissioner Kirshner asked about merchants like Christensen’s and Gary’s Shoes, which sometimes tie off canopies to city posts for sidewalk sales. He said this has been done for a long time and doesn’t cause harm, and so long as they are temporary and taken down at night, should be allowed to continue to do so. He was concerned the new code would disallow it.

Welch said it would be addressed, but that they could make sure those type of uses would be allowed to continue with adoption of the updates. Commissioner Leavitt asked for clarification that it would be addressed once the commission looks at section 13 of the zoning ordinance. Welch said it would and the language drafted would not cause a detrimental effect to Main Street merchants.

One of the things Kendall Welch found in her review of the zoning ordinance is it has some of the same requirements found in the city code. The intent is to combine them in the zoning ordinance. It is something that can be addressed as the commission works on updating the zoning ordinance.

Motion: Commissioner Leavitt motioned to recommend adoption of the changes to Title 12 to the Richfield City Council. The motion was seconded by Lisa White. The motion carried by unanimous roll call vote with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt voting aye.

b. Recommending adoption of proposed updates to Title 13. Welch added in a new chapter called 13.16 titled Storm Water Quality and Enforcement. Everything proposed would be new. Welch was asked by city the specifically look at storm water quality requirements. Micklane Farmer said the amendments to Title 13 also address fugitive dust control requirements for construction projects.

Commissioner Kirshner said the dust control requirements are heavily needed.
Commissioner Breinholt said in St. George the street in front of a construction zone has to be cleaned off every night.

Welch said the changes will also give the city a foot to stand on in making sure contractors are cleaning up after themselves as well as providing adequate dust control. She said a lot of the additions to Title 13 are not new, and are simply formalizing what’s already being done.

Welch said since stormwater quality is a public safety, health and welfare concern, the process for adopting this portion of the ordinance could be expedited. Otherwise it would be subject to the standard noticing period.

Commissioner Kirshner said dust control needs to be addressed as soon as possible. He said as a business owner across a construction zone, as well as for homeowners in areas where future construction is being done, dust control is vital.

Motion: Commissioner Kirshner motioned to recommend adoption of the amendments to Title 13 of the city code. He later amended the motion to recommend adoption of the amendments to Title 13 as a health, safety and welfare issue. The motion was seconded by Susan Jensen. The motion passed unanimously with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

c. Recommending adoption of proposed amendments to Title 15. This portion of the updates to the city’s code concerns adherence to state and international building codes.
Commissioner Breinholt said the amendments basically keep Richfield City in compliance with international building code, which has been going on forever. Commissioner White said the amended language is focused more on following the current building codes so that the ordinance doesn’t have to be updated each time building codes are changed.
Motion: Commissioner Breinholt moved to recommend adoption of the amendments to Title 15 to the city council. The motion was seconded by Commissioner White. The motion passed unanimously with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner and Zach Leavitt voting aye.

  1. Work session Subdivision Ordinance –
    Commissioner Peterson sent out comments on the proposed changes to the city’s zoning code. He said his comments were minimal and were as follows –

Page 23 of the document: Traffic Impact Study needs to show what is expected from the study such as existing volume (AADT), projected volume with entire build out, and projected Turning Movement numbers of affected intersections, and roadway or safety improvement recommendations. This Traffic Impact Study will need to be reviewed and approved by the City Engineer. I have seen some firms provide some very bare bones and developer influenced TIS.
Page 27 C Subdivision Roads and Streets: The plat should label if the streets will be city owned or privately owned, this is asked at every meeting. This note may apply better elsewhere.
Page 27 D Storm Drainage: Should a note be added that all developments are required to maintain their storm water on their property/development
Page 52 8. No more than fifty percent shall be lawn: I would like to have more discussion on this.

Commissioner Peterson said the 50 percent grass in front yard and side yard has been a topic of discussion lately. The city has R1-6 and R1-8 zones with smaller lot sizes, and the 50 percent may be too stringent for smaller lots. Peterson wondered if smaller lots should be allowed to have two little patches of grass on either side of their driveway.

Commissioner White said limiting grass, especially in front and side yards where it has no utility is a good practice. She said where grass is useful, go ahead and put it down and dump water on it, but where grass isn’t useful there is no point in wasting water on it. Eagle Mountain prohibits grass in park strips and slopes as well as a limit of 35 percent grass covering the landscaped areas. Even with the proposed updates in the subdivision ordinance, Richfield is still far less restrictive than Eagle Mountain as well as Santa Clara, St. George, Las Vegas and Washington County. It is not wrong to limit grass in a desert climate.

Chairman Peterson said grass does have benefits, such as keeping heat down.

Commissioner Kirschner agreed, and pointed out pets like grass. Commissioner White said grass in the backyard can fulfill the benefits for pets and for people to play on, and there are ways to have a very attractive front yard with no grass.

Commissioner Breinholt said there are more options available now with decorative rock and other materials that look attractive.

The restriction doesn’t limit other types of plants, and it possible to have a very attractive yard incorporating plants that are not grass, Commissioner White said. She said the limitation would not apply to small residential lots with less than 250 square feet of landscaped area.

The commission is trying to do the right thing, but the smaller lots may be challenged more by the restriction, according to Chairman Peterson. He said even as a grass lover, once he’s done with redoing his yard, he will likely be close to the 50 percent threshold.

Part of the restriction depends on what is defined as the side yard, according to Micklane Farmer.

Kendall Welch said the city can use the plan of the structure to determine side yards. Side yards are defined as the area between rear line to front of the home, from the home’s walls to the property line.

The commission agreed it is good to encourage waterwise options.

Commissioner Breinholt said many side yards it’s difficult to grow grass anyway due to the shade of the home, trees and fences. Another waterwise option available to people is artificial turf.

Another issue to consider is that many people put in grass and then don’t take care of it, resulting in the grass being replaced by weeds – especially in side yards, according to Commissioner Kirschner. While he feels he has a lot of grass in his yard, he may be under the 50 percent threshold in the proposed ordinance.

A point of clarification Chairman Peterson would like to see is that while the amount of living grass is limited, that doesn’t mean there can’t be other kinds of greenery or plants incorporate into landscaping.

Welch said when talking about landscaped areas, it generally means non-impervious areas, so driveways and sidewalks would not be included in the formula.

Limiting living tuft, such as Kentucky Blue Grass, is a reasonable restriction, White reiterated. She said she’s not opposed to the driveway and sidewalk being included as part of the 50 percent of non-living turf covered area in front and side yards. The Eagle Mountain example showed even with the proposed restriction, Richfield is still being laxer than most communities in Utah.

Chairman Peterson said it should be well defined as to what is included in the 50 percent to avoid future confusion as to how to apply the formula.

Next the Commission discussed the condominium portion of the proposed ordinance.
Commissioner White asked for clarification on the condos portion of the ordinance. The planning commission has not discussed condos in the past and that dealing with them for the first time is scary. She asked why the sections dealing with condos were highlighted in the draft.

Welch explained the condos portion was highlighted to give the Commission an idea of which direction the ordinance was headed at this point. She said if the condos portion of the ordinance needs more work, it can be broken out of the larger subdivision ordinance to prevent the entire thing from being held up.

Chairman Peterson asked how the condo section compares with the city’s current standards.

Welch said the proposed section is designed to make sure condos follow the current zoning requirements, which would be required even with separate plats. Also, if the language is too complex, it can be consolidated and broken out into a more referenced approach. Commission White said she is in favor of a more referenced/user friendly approach for the sake of clarity. Peterson agreed.

In implementing the new ordinance developers will have to comply with the zone they are in regardless of what a development is labeled, Chairman Peterson said. The condo term is strictly how they would advertise and sell the piece. He said it should be clear if an individual power meter, water meter needs to be included for each unit, or if some of it would be a party line type of connection.

Welch will break the condominium section out of subdivision draft. The condo portion of can then be fine-tuned during a work session item during the next meeting. She clarified condominiums deal with the ownership on the plat and similar situations do exist with commercial buildings. Condominiums are buildings with multiple units in them that are individually owned, which can exist as both residential and commercial developments.

Chairman White said she would like to review the section again with the clarifications Welch gave.

Micklane Farmer asked Kendall Welch to touch on the overview of the subdivision ordinance changes as they pertain to the approval process.

One of the biggest areas of emphasis is in the general section. Due to changes in state law, its important to define the land use authority and the process. The end goal is a quick reference for developers and city staff. Welch presented a chart and said the planning commission should consider if it agrees with the changes being made.

Many of the proposed changes are being driven by the state Legislature, specifically SB 174, which specifically excluded city councils from acting as administrative land use authorities for residential single family, two-family or town home development. The final approval becomes the responsibility of the planning commission or in some cases even municipal staff. The bill also sets deadlines and limits the number of times a development can be reviewed.

Micklane Farmer has been working with city staff to create a standardized process and guidance material including a development list to streamline the procedure and allow the city to comply with state law.

Farmer said one aim is to try and to eliminate confusion and prevent projects from being approved prior to proper staff and engineering reviews. The proposed process would also help the planning commission as plans for developments would be complete prior to being presented.

The first phase of the new approval process would include a development review committee consisting of city staff and the commission chair. This preliminary review would be to get an understanding of what a developer wants to achieve, talk about and address concerns and help the developer know what is expected for the city to accept an application. The second phase would be the 2-D preliminary plan review, when the application is formally accepted and made with preliminary plans in place. The third phase would be completed with an in-depth engineering review of the final plans. Farmer said by the end of the three steps, the goal is to have a final design of the whole subdivision ready for approval.

Welch presented a chart illustrating the proposed new process, which is designed to benefit both developers and staff. The chart also outlines roles and responsibilities. Moving forward, staff can maintain the chart, and do some finessing to the process. Welch said there will likely be some fine tuning so the city can remain 100 percent in compliance with state code.

When it comes to platting, the planning commission will act as the land use authority for preliminary and final. Some jurisdictions have made this a staff duty. Subdivisions in sensitive lands with flooding concerns or soil issues will still be run through the current process involving the city council.

Commissioner Peterson wanted to make sure that the traffic study requirements were clearly defined as to what each traffic study has to provide and evaluate. He said there should be no room for interpretation. The city engineer should screen each traffic impact study to prevent any sandbagging and avoid issues caused by insufficient traffic studies. Commissioner White would like it clearly stated each study should be as outlined in the city’s traffic master plan. Micklane Farmer said the traffic study issue brought up by Peterson will be addressed. Kendall Welch said there are ways to address it that are sufficient and the traffic study portion could be refined prior to the next meeting.

Commissioner White said sans the condominiums, and once Commissioner Peterson’s comments are addressed, the ordinance looks like it’s ready to move forward.

  1. Minutes approved: After corrections noted by commissioners Leavitt and White, Leavitt motioned to approve the minutes from the meeting held June 7, 2023. White seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
  2. Other business – Commissioner Wayne Cowley introduced himself as the newest member of the commission. He grew up in Venice, is a graduate of Richfield High School, married Cherish Tebbs and works with the Producers Livestock Auction. Cowley served on the Salina City Planning Commission prior to moving to Richfield two years ago, so he is familiar with the issues and lingo associated with serving on the commission. He said he hopes to be an asset to the commission.
  3. Adjournment: Moved by Lisa White to adjourn, Seconded by Zach Leavitt. Motion passes unanimously with commissioners Blaine Breinholt, Josh Peterson, Lisa White, Susan Jensen, Wayne Cowley, Wes Kirshner, Zach Leavitt voting aye.