Chair Mike Schell presided and called the meeting to order by Zoom teleconference at 4:00pm on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020. Committee Members present: Jim Wright, Bill Carlblom, Jeff Erickson, Bobby Koepplin, and Joe Faure. Mike Bishop was absent
Others: City Attorney Carl Martineck, City Administrator Gwen Crawford, City Assessor/ Acting Secretary Sandy Hansen, and Interim Building Inspectors Lance Coit & Mike Blevins.
Audience members: Luke Trapp.
Jim Wright moved to approve the Minutes of the June 10th, 2020 regular meeting, seconded by Bobby Koepplin, followed by roll call and approval.
Public Hearing for a Rezone Application for Lots 1 & 2, Block 4, Maier’s Addition, located on 3rd Ave NW, Valley City (63-2660177), and West 50’ Lots 4-5-6, Block 3, Maier’s Addition, located at 111-1/2 St NW (63-2660173), Valley City; request filed by Luke Trapp.
Chair Mike Schell opened the public hearing. As there were no inquiries or questions, Wright moved to close the public hearing with Joe Faure a second. Followed was internal discussion. Chair Schell said that since there were two parcels to consider, the board should discuss each parcel separately starting with Lots 1 & 2 along 3rd Ave NW. Wright stated that he didn’t think it looked buildable. Chair Schell asked Interim Building Inspector Lance Coit what he saw when he looked over the site; Coit told the board he was concerned about hill slides in that area and had photos to point that out. Chair Schell said he also looked over the area and mentioned water leaks coming out of the hill and leaching out of the pavement below, indicating underground water problems. Land owner Luke Trapp told the board he had a professional surveyor look over the property and told him that any land is buildable but for what he wants to do, it may be cost prohibitive. Trapp indicated he would not be going forward with his plans to build on this property. Wright moved to deny the first part of the rezone request regarding Lots 1 & 2, with Faure seconding followed by roll call and unanimous approval. The board moved on to the second part of the request which was a rezone and also a replat request. Trapp said he wants to add on to his deck but doesn’t have adequate green space to allow it and needs this added parcel to get approval. But the issue is that this parcel next to his residential parcel is in a separate subdivision and cannot be combined to his home parcel without a replat. The board felt this solution was more complicated than it had to be, plus there was no map to actually consider a replat. After discussion with City Attorney Carl Martineck, it was decided that Trapp should apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) which would allow him to proceed with construction. Koepplin moved to deny the request for a rezone/replat with Wright seconding followed by roll call and unanimous approval.
Discussion on penalties for zoning violations
City Attorney Martineck said the city is taking more interest in properties that have junk & abandoned cars, and it was noticed that a number of properties have construction equipment and building materials that don’t qualify as junk but violate zoning codes. Currently the only recourse the city has is to charge property owners with a criminal penalty or take them to District Court and sue them to remove their property. Martineck discussed this issue with City Administrator Gwen Crawford and Police Chief Phil Hatcher and it was suggested changing that to administrative or civil penalties rather than going to court. Martineck wanted to get direction from the board if this was something they would like pursued. The board agreed that they would like to see this go forward.
Building Inspector Report
Interim Building Inspector Coit gave a general overview as to what had been happening since the June meeting. There has been a total of 48 permits issued for various projects since that time. Mike Blevins of Midwest Inspection Services let the board know that Coit has been working alongside him on many projects and is more that capable. Blevins said projects have been going well; the three main commercial projects currently underway – Love’s Travel Plaza, the Barnes County Correctional facility & the VCSU Fine Arts building – are all moving forward as scheduled with no delays at this time.
With no other items to discuss, Chair Schell called for the meeting to close at 4:38pm.