A regular meeting of the Hopkins Planning & Zoning Commission was held on May 23, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Hopkins City Hall.
Present were Commission Members Laura L. Daly, Kristin Hanneman, Brian Hunke, Matthew McNeil, Gary Newhouse, Emily Wallace-Jackson and James Warden. Also present was City Planner Jason Lindahl.
Chair Hunke called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Warden seconded, to adopt the agenda. The motion was approved unanimously.
Commissioner Warden moved, Commissioner McNeil seconded, to approve the minutes of the February 28, 2017, regular meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.
1. Planning Application 2017-04-CUP, 1521 Mainstreet
Mr. Lindahl gave an overview of this request for approval of a conditional use permit to allow a second floor residential use in the B-3 district. The building is currently occupied as business/second floor residence, and the CUP requirement was either not required or missed 34 years ago. Mr. Lindahl said that the proposed buyer contacted him because she plans to add a garage. Mr. Lindahl stated he has advised her of all requirements, including setbacks, street access and private entry to the residence, a parking space for clients, and a driveway permit. Mr. Lindahl recommended approval of the CUP.
The Commission discussed ADA access from the street, design of the garage in relation to the desire to upgrade the west end of Mainstreet, parking and signage. Commissioner Newhouse stated he felt the applicant should be required to meet higher architectural, maintenance and sign standards as part of the conditional use permit. Staff explained the parking regulations require at least one off-street parking space for clients, while the conditional use permit standards also require a garage for the residential use. Staff also explained that any changes to the existing signage would require approval of a separate administrative sign permit.
Proposed buyer Susan Gallucci and broker Lynn Kuznia came forward to answer questions. They stated the design of the garage has not been determined yet and indicated they intend to do brick tuck-pointing and other maintenance once they close on the property. They stated all required improvements to the property and conditions will be met. Mr. Lindahl stated that these can be addressed through the CUP conditions.
Chair Hunke opened the public hearing. No one came forward to speak. Commissioner Wallace-Jackson moved, Commissioner Hanneman seconded, to close the hearing. The motion was approved unanimously. The hearing was closed at 6:58 p.m.
Commissioner Wallace-Jackson moved, Commissioner McNeil seconded, to adopt Planning & Zoning Resolution 2017-02, recommending the City Council approve a conditional use permit allowing a residential use on the second floor of 1521 Mainstreet, subject to conditions. The motion was approved 6-1, with Commissioner Newhouse voting nay.
1. Planning Application 2017-05-TA, Pawn, Coin and Currency Exchange Zoning Amendment Discussion
Mr. Lindahl stated that in view of the Council’s moratorium in January, the upcoming LRT station at Blake Road and the relocation of Pawn America, the goal at this meeting is to update the Commission, discuss the standards of other cities and the state and review present policy—all to provide staff direction for drafting appropriate licensing and zoning standards
Mr. Lindahl opened up discussion among the Commissioners. More background on concerns about pawnshops was requested by the Commission. It was asked why pawnshops, currency exchanges and coin dealers were being grouped. Mr. Lindahl stated that they are often grouped, especially pawn shops and coin dealers, because there is the potential of stolen goods to be involved. State licensing is very detailed regarding business operation and background information. The most important concern for local government would be location for these types of businesses to address proximity to children, alcohol sale, parks, Mainstreet, etc., and whether to require a CUP.
The Commission questioned the inclusion of currency exchanges, not wanting to limit something that is useful to the immigrant population. Terms “alternative banking” and “payday loans” and how other cities used them were discussed. Also discussed was the regulation of business practices through licensing vs. land use ordinances, the requirements of state licensing and whether local licensing is necessary, especially for currency exchanges, since none of the other cited communities do? The ability of a conditional use permit to address concerns was also discussed. Commissioners stated they don’t want to single out the whole industry, don’t want pawn shops on Mainstreet but don’t want to limit them completely and feel the issue of type and quality of businesses is in the domain of the Council. Mr. Lindahl stated that he and the City Attorney have plans to update the zoning ordinance.
Mr. Lindahl asked for recommendations to assist in drafting an ordinance--what are appropriate zoning districts, what should zoning classification be–permitted vs. conditional use, what should zoning standards be–separation, number per population, storefront appearance, etc., and are there other options? Commissioners comments included: eliminate use in B2, with possible exception of coin dealers; change zoning districts where allowed or mandate CUP; City licensing without location standards is necessary, with possible exception of coin dealers and currency exchanges; need more data. Mr. Lindahl stated zoning standards for mixed use are in place for Blake and Downtown stations. Shady Oak station is still being worked through with Minnetonka. None of these uses is allowed in the station areas.
Commissioner Hanneman left the meeting.
2. Election of 2017-2018 Planning Commission Officers
Mr. Lindahl stated that this voting time was set when the bylaws were updated and the new terms start at the July meeting. The terms of Commissioners Wallace-Jackson, Warden and Newhouse are up for renewal. All but Commissioner Newhouse want to seek a second term. The Council has identified current Park Board Commissioner Libby Goeman as a new Commissioner, and she has enthusiastically accepted. She will be at the July meeting.
Commissioner Warden nominated, Commissioner McNeil seconded, Chair Hunke to continue as Chair.
Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Warden seconded, to close the nominations for Chair. The motion was approved unanimously.
Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Daly seconded, to elect Chair Hunke to continue as Chair by unanimous consent. The motion was approved unanimously.
Commissioner Wallace-Jackson nominated, Commissioner McNeil seconded, Vice Chair Warden to continue as Vice Chair.
Commissioner Wallace-Jackson moved, Commissioner McNeil seconded, to close the nominations for Vice Chair. The motion was approved unanimously.
Commissioner McNeil moved, Commissioner Daly seconded, to elect Vice Chair Warden to continue as Vice Chair by unanimous consent. The motion was approved unanimously.
During the announcements, Mr. Lindahl updated the Planning & Zoning Commission on the following items:
1. Downtown Bike Parking Plan
The Council passed a proclamation that Hopkins recognizes May as bike month in conjunction with the national recognition. The City has been promoting bike safety and activity on the website. Staff partnered with Three Rivers at The Depot May 15 for National Bike to Work Week to disseminate information to the public there. The Depot provided free coffee for those who stopped. Mr. Lindahl gave the Commissioners the MN Bicycle Alliance handbook that was distributed. The Police also had a safety camp. The goal of the City’s pedestrian/bike plan was approved a few years ago. In conjunction with the Artery construction, 51 bike racks will be installed in locations throughout the community, with the highest concentration on the Artery. The new Bike rack design is more standardized for functionality and less expensive. The Clock Tower plaza will have covered bike parking and the City is looking for a sponsor of a fix-it station and finding a location for it in town.
2. Citizens Academy and Planning and A Pint/2040 Comprehensive Plan Update
Staff has attended several events to interact and gather comp plan surveys. Events include: St. Patrick’s Day at Activity Center (40-50 surveys); reps from Blake Road Collaborative at Ramsgate (30 people); Planning and A Pint; Citizens Academy; National Biking events. Staff is planning to attend the ICA client resource fair June 13. We will continue talking about what activities in the Blake Road area and other civic groups we can connect with. Community Guides were sent out last week to every address in town and the survey was publicized on the website.
The City’s website also highlights a question of the week that has received good feedback. Overall there are 400 responses so far. Will start social media push for Ideas map. The RFQ for a consultant resulted in selecting Bolton & Menk and their partner, the Cunningham Group. Council will review June 6. Staff hasn’t digested all feedback, but generally there are consistent themes. Staff feels we have taken a broad approach and gotten a good amount of feedback. The emphasis now will be to focus on groups we haven’t heard a lot from—civic and Blake Road, for instance.
In response to a comment that it is really good that staff is focusing on broader community, not just LRT, and being proactive reaching out to groups who haven’t been as active, Mr. Lindahl stated staff is focusing on community engagement and incorporating it into the comp plan and building a relationship for the future.
Commissioner Warden moved, Commissioner Wallace-Jackson seconded, to adjourn the meeting. The motion was approved unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.