Planning & Zoning Commission Minutes

March 29, 2016

A regular meeting of the Hopkins Planning & Zoning Commission was held on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Hopkins City Hall.

Present were Commission Members Scott Kerssen, Brian Hunke, Matt McNeil, Gary Newhouse, Mike Tait, Emily Wallace-Jackson and James Warden.  Also present was City Planner Jason Lindahl.


Chair Kerssen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.


Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Tait seconded, to adopt the agenda.  The motion was approved unanimously.


Commissioner Tait moved, Commissioner Hunke seconded, to approve the minutes of the February 23, 2016, regular meeting.  The motion was approved unanimously.


ITEM:  Request by the City of Hopkins for a Text Amendment Related to SubdivisionRegulations (2016-09-TA)

Mr. Lindahl reviewed the application to amend Section 500 of the City Code related to waiver of plat standards.  He explained that the amendment, which was initiated by staff, allows the platting process to be done administratively and waives the public hearing step.  Mr. Lindahl stated that a prior change in 2014 allowed consolidation of plats to be handled administratively.  

The Commission raised questions about the elimination of the public hearing requirement for administrative subdivisions and the waiver of plat processes and discussed other ways to notify the public and let their concerns be voiced.  Mr. Lindahl stated that the recommendation to eliminate the requirement for a public hearing would apply only to a limited number of applications that conformed to all the zoning requirements and would modernize and streamline the process for residents and property owners.  Commissioner Tait discussed the potential loss of an easement between buildings. In response to a question from the Commission, Mr. Lindahl stated that the difference between the current and proposed processes to be completed is 60 days currently vs. 25-30 days at most with the proposed, streamlined process.

Public Hearing: Chair Kerssen opened the public hearing at 7:13 p.m.  No one came forward to speak.  Commissioner Tait moved, Commissioner Newhouse seconded, to close the public hearing.  The motion was approved unanimously.  The public hearing closed at 7:14 p.m.

Commissioner Newhouse moved, Commissioner Tait seconded, to adopt Planning Commission Resolution 2016-09, recommending the City Council approve an ordinance amending Section 500 of the City Code related to waiving of plat standards.  The motion was approved 6-1, with Commissioner McNeil voting nay.


ITEM:  2040 Comprehensive Plan Update Process

Mr. Lindahl gave the Commission an overview of the process for updating the Comprehensive Plan.  He stated that the significant changes in this plan will be the creation of goals that are more measurable and the increased connectivity of all components.  The Planning Commission will ultimately hold a public hearing and make a recommendation on the Plan.  Mr. Lindahl’s presentation included the following ideas:

  • Creation of a task force including diverse groups (ambassadors) already in existence and the Commission’s role relative to it
  • Economic development plan for downtown
  • Public engagement, i.e., Pecha Kucha event; existing events; through technology and social media

Mr. Lindahl presented the following timeline:
2016:   Consult with City Council and advisory boards; form internal team led by Planning
department; hire consultant for technological parts of plan; soft launch of public engagement process in summer.
2017:   Task force will create timeline for 2017 work and complete first draft.
2018:   Finish final draft and submit to surrounding cities and communities for comments for period of six months.
2018:   Planning & Zoning public hearing and recommendation followed by City Council

The Commission had the following comments:

  • The plan should have geographic balances; and every neighborhood should be included
  • Best way to get representation is go to where people live, schools, make people comfortable, be informal, social media
  • Consider financial impacts of different land uses
  • Ask what is unique about Hopkins in addition to “What do you like?”
  • Make plan vital
  • Understand we don’t know the future—don’t box in, make it malleable
  • Plan should be broad; have everyone’s perspective
  • Should expansion of downtown be discussed?

The Comp Plan will cover many different topics, so the task force should be diverse and more than just the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Several Commissioners stated they would like the Commission to be very engaged.  Mr. Lindahl stated that he anticipates giving monthly updates on the Plan to the Commission.


Staff met with Minnetonka staff to develop Shady Oak zoning standards. The goal is to review and develop with the Commission by the end of the year.


Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Newhouse seconded, to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was approved unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

City of Hopkins logo (H with raspberry)City of Hopkins, Minnesota

Inspire. Educate. Involve. Communicate.