Planning & Zoning Commission Minutes

May 31, 2016

A regular meeting of the Hopkins Planning & Zoning Commission was held on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Hopkins City Hall.

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


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


Commissioner Warden moved, Commissioner Newhouse seconded, to adopt the agenda.  The motion was approved unanimously.


Commissioner Warden moved, Commissioner McNeil seconded, to approve the minutes of the April 26, 2016, regular meeting.  The motion was approved unanimously.


1.  Planning & Zoning Commission Bylaws Update (PR 16-12-TA)

Mr. Lindahl stated that the Commission will discuss the bylaws at this and one other meeting, a formal draft will be written and brought to the City Manager and City Attorney, and the Commission will have a chance discuss that draft before it is adopted.  He stated that there are several discrepancies among the bylaws, City Charter, City Code 325 and state law that should be resolved.  Among the discrepancies are:  the Commission has the power to approve plats; the Commission can amend the bylaws with a 2/3 vote; the Commission is referred to as “Planning & Zoning Commission; one business owner can/should be on the Commission; and, the Development & Planning director and a City Council liaison as ex officio are members of the Commission.  Mr. Lindahl stated that the goal is to have the final draft by the end of summer.  Following are some of the comments from Commissioners:

McNeil:  Keep “Planning and Zoning Commission” name as it’s more descriptive.
Warden:  Bylaws should be based on City Charter.
Ms. Wallace-Jackson stated she is chair of the Charter Commission, and they did not have their regular annual meeting in April because the Assistant City Manager retired.  She asked Mr. Lindahl to check on when the Charter Commission will meet next.
Warden:  Clarify articles membership, removal and absenteeism standards.  They should be consistent with City Code.
Hunke:  Keep membership provision that includes Hopkins business owner. 

2.  Shady Oak Station Area Zoning (PR 16-11-TA)

Mr. Lindahl stated that staff’s vision for this station is that it be mobility-oriented, recognized as a trail head, include innovation district uses and build upon the authentic raw industrial character of the area.  Generally the Commission was concerned about balancing implementation of this zoning district and its impact on existing businesses.  Following are some of the comments from Commissioners:

Warden:  Concerned about auto-oriented uses and how they will fit in this transit-oriented district.  Simplify the use table to be more like a Form Based code.
Tait:  Does the City have any redevelopment assistance available for this area?  Mr. Lindahl responded that the City has not identified specific resources for individual businesses; however, the City will be making investments in trails, roads and storm water infrastructure with the expectation that these investments will spur private investment and redevelopment.
Newhouse:  Concerned about parking calculation methodology; 25% bicycle parking credit and reallocation of parking from the Blake Road station to the Shady Oak and Downtown stations.
McNeil:  If riders can’t find a parking spot they will move to the next station closer to their destination.  He asked staff to provide parking information for the St. Louis Park stations.
Hunke:  Likes the minimum and maximum parking standards, and suggested Minnetonka rename 47th Street to fit in with the surrounding street names.

3.  Election of 2016-2017 Planning Commission Officers

Vice Chair Hunke requested nominations for the position of Chair.  Commissioner Newhouse nominated Commissioner Warden, who declined. Commissioner Tait nominated Commissioner Hunke; Commissioner McNeil seconded the nomination. Commissioner Warden nominated Commissioner Wallace-Jackson, who declined. Commissioner Tait moved, Commissioner Newhouse seconded, to elect Commissioner Hunke to the position of Chair. The motion was approved unanimously.

Vice Chair Hunke requested nominations for the position of Vice Chair. Commissioner Hunke nominated Commissioner Warden; Commissioner McNeil seconded the nomination.  There were no other nominations. Commissioner Tait moved, Commissioner McNeil seconded, to elect Commissioner Warden to the position of Vice Chair. The motion was approved unanimously.


During the announcements, Mr. Lindahl updated the Planning & Zoning Commission on the following items.

  1. Planning & Zoning Commission Members Update:  The Council will reappoint Commissioners Hunke and McNeil on June 7.  Commissioner Tait is also up for reappointment but must meet the residency requirement by the end of his current term to be eligible for reappointment.  Commissioner Kerssen’s second term ends in June, which will be his last meeting.  The Commission welcomed his replacement, Kristin Hanneman, who was present.
  2. Japs Olson Plat:  City Council approved this plat on May 3. 
  3. Moline Groundbreaking:  Commissioners Kerssen and Hunke attended the groundbreaking for this project on May 16.
  4. 2040 Comprehensive Plan Update:  Staff is working on an “elevator speech” video commercial for the Comprehensive Plan that will be part of the City’s social media public engagement process.
  5. Mr. Lindahl provided an update on LRT, stating that the Legislature adjourned without funding this project but the Governor and Legislative leaders are suggesting that it could be addressed during a special session.
  6. Commissioner McNeil provided an update to the Commission about his concerns with the Hopkins mobile phone app and suggested staff continue to work with City Center, the app developer, to fully implement it.


Commissioner Tait moved, Commissioner Warden seconded, to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was approved unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.


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