P&Z Minutes Jan 19 2017

Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission

January 19, 2017

Public Horace ‘Marty’ Martinez, Rick Peterson
Planning & Zoning Ron Self, John Cranor, Tim Heenan, Scott Fuller, Kim Peterson, Matt Cossalman, Marciavee Cossette, Wade Purdom, Caleb Davis
Absent Counselor Tevis Hull
Staff John Moss

At 5:30 pm Chairman Caleb Davis opened the meeting and after identifying the presence of a quorum asked if there were any changes or corrections to be made to the Minutes of the December 15 meeting. There being none, Davis asked for a motion to accept the minutes. Ron Self so moved, seconded by John Cranor. The motion to approve the minutes from the December 15 meeting carried unanimously except for Matt Cossalman who was absent.

[Planning & Zoning minutes are transcribed from the conversation that takes place during the meeting. Topics are condensed, eliminating verbatim comment in order to condense the material. Key points are included in this extraction and all votes taken are recorded.]

Next on the agenda was the election of officers. Ron Self moved to retain the current officers, seconded by Kim Peterson and the motion carried unanimously except for Matt Cossalman who was absent. Davis thanked everyone and especially Wade Purdom for stepping up when the need arises and taking over.

Davis turned the meeting over to Staff to discuss changes proposed to the current ordinance. Staff asked if everyone had signed the Thank You card for Matt Cossalman, whose last meeting this was of his eight year tenure. All had signed,and previously signatures had been obtained from the County Commissioners, Glenda Poston and Olivia Drake. Staff placed the card under glass, in a frame provided by the County Commissioners, to preserve its appearance.

Turning to the agenda, Staff asked if everyone had received the packet of material sent. On the affirmative response, the first item to discuss related to Section 4. Enforcement. Under 4.1. Infractions were two changes being proposed, the addition of 11.8.1. and 11.8.2. relating to failure to file a simple subdivision or Final Plat, as well as a typographical correction in, referring to Section 20.9 rather than Section 20.10. for penalties.

At this point Peterson questioned the penalty process, asking how the amount was determined (Section 4.1.1. ...'a penalty not to exceed $100 per occurrence'...) and by whom and how this was accomplished. Staff responded by saying the changes have nothing to do with the procedure, which is not being altered. If a violation is being processed, Staff said, the marshal is contacted to serve notice and the fee amount would be taken from the ordinance - in this example, one hundred dollars. However, none of this process is being changed and this review of the current ordinance recognizes the change to incorporate failing to file a Final Plat and also correct a typographical error.

Peterson asked what was changed such that we were referencing this Enforcement section. Staff responded that Section 11.8.2. Failure to sign a Final Plat, was being added to the Subdivision Section of the ordinance. Since there was much to discuss in that area, Staff suggested we return to the point we were discussing, keep the awareness of the relationship in mind so that when reviewing Section 11.8.2. in context we would see how the enforcement section tied in with the total change. Staff further explained that the changes being reviewed in the Final Plat process actually related to an absence in the current ordinance of any time constraints in completing the platting process.

Attention returned to the changes being proposed, next in sequence being Section 11. Subdivisions, specifically which is the Approval process for a Short Plat procedure being decided by the County Commissioners. Staff explained that Section had been added to incorporate the provision for the Administrator to issue a permit, something not seen in the current ordinance.

Pausing in the discussion, Staff heard footsteps coming down the corridor and said "If Matt doesn't show up we'll not give him the card"; everyone laughed and then - Matt walked in! After the welcoming died down, Matt graciously accepted the Thank you card; it was time to get serious again, Staff brought the meeting up to date, reviewing what had already been discussed for Matt's sake. There wasn't much to add at this point, and the meeting continued where it left off, looking at the approval process of the Short Plat procedure under the auspices of the Boundary County Commissioners. Again, this section was added to specify the time when the Administrator is to issue a subdivision permit.

Matt Cossalman looked at the proposed changes and suggested they were good, in outline form, but might well be enhanced with a more descriptive explanation of what is taking place. Staff said he could do that, add verbiage to make the section work as a task list, a description of just what each step involved. Further, Staff explained that Section had been expanded, this section being processed by the Planning & Zoning Commission as the Long Plat approval process. Again, Staff pointed out that there was in the ordinance no provision for just where to issue the permit. Looking at this Section (, the County Commissioners would take this step in the Long Plat approval as a guide to establishing the conditions associated with approval.

Turning to changes proposed for Section 11.7.12. Recording the Final Plat, the procedure outlined in this section enables defining a time line for completion, provide for an extension of time if needed to make the completion date, and establish penalties for failure to comply (new Section 11.8.2. Failure to Plat). Staff explained that because there were no time constraints in existing code regarding completion of recording a final plat, there are some properties where a final plat was never recorded although permission was given (in some cases over 6 years ago), and when the owner wants to complete the process of subdividing his property it becomes apparent that time has passed, and if the zone definition has changed or the area of impact to an adjoining city becomes an issue now when it was not a problem when the subdivision was approved, all of these considerations become moot if there had to be completion of the plat process in a defined time frame.

The P&Z Commission discussed these ramifications, and the point Staff made was that whether dealing with a long plat or short plat, the processing timeline should begin when the short plat processing approval (by the County Commissioners) is given and the time line commencing with final plat recording should begin. What is seen in Section is a process that defines the steps needed to complete the final plat process. Staff said that this is a first time view of the material involved in addressing time constraints, and help from the P&Z Commission would be appreciated in reviewing this process.

At this point as an aside Staff mentioned concerns that someone had voiced regarding noise, specifically offensive noise levels in some zones, but not others. Staff suggested that perhaps a definition of noise, in decibels (db level) could be defined and that each zone (or use class within a zone) could establish an acceptable (non-objectionable) noise level. Staff also made it clear that a noise would be considered objectionable if measured from the parcel line, NOT the source point of the noise. Noise within the parcel could be muted in various ways so as not to be objectionable to others not on the parcel.

Matt Cossalman suggested that the subject of noise had been discussed in depth in other meetings. He said that because of the need to measure noise mechanically, such as with a decibel level measuring device, this requires the availability of such a device and someone authorized to use it and respond to various complaints regarding noise levels. All of this, he said, made it problematic to be more specific than existing code requires. It was agreed that now is not the time to resolve an issue that is not an issue; noise concerns expressed by staff was dropped.

Moving on to proposed changes to Section 18. Amendments Staff pointed out that he had been asked to update the Airport Overlay (not the reference in Section 16. Overlay Zones but the Airport Overlay itself. He explained that he could not do this as the Ordinance does not provide a means of modifying an Overlay. In Section 18. Staff added a new piece of code, Section 18.2.5. Amending or Creating a new Overlay. This section is modeled after Section 18.2.3. Amending the Ordinance and simply expressed in identical terms the authority to make changes to an Overlay. No concerns were expressed by the P&Z Commission in reviewing this proposed change.

Next, Staff reviewed proposed changes to Section 20.11. Transfer of Real Property to Family Members, stating his concerns as expressed in a letter to each P&Z Commission member and Tevis Hull. To quote:

The whole concept of gifting to a family member is now 100% a matter of trust; there are no controls of any kind to assure the recipient of the parcel is in fact a family member, is of legal age to own property or is a legal guardian of said minor family member: when the minimum density is waived the matter of trust becomes challenged. The process is defined and described in the current Ordinance:

  • 20.11. Transfer of Real Property to Family Members:
    • 20.11.1. Conditions of Family Transfer Privilege:
    • Objective: To establish an equitable means by which the owners of privately held unplatted land may attain a reasonable increase in residential density expressly for the purpose of conveying real property to immediate family members.
    • Immediate Family Members Defined: For the purpose of this section, immediate family members will be deemed to be and limited to the property owner’s children, stepchildren, adopted children, parents and grandparents.
    • Corporations not Eligible: The provisions of this section will not be exercised to divide lands owned by corporations, LLCs or other business entities, but may be exercised on lands held jointly in family trust.
    • Eligibility: The provisions established by this section may be exercised when:
      • The property owner transferring real property under this provision has owned the land for a period of not less than one year; and
      • The lands to be conveyed are suitable for residential construction in that they have adequate access and do not lie in an A Flood Zone, wetland or other hazardous or sensitive area; and
      • The recipient of the property has not previously been given property within Boundary County by any other family member under this provision or any similar provision previously allowed by Boundary County.
      • Restrictions and Limitations: The provisions established by this section may be exercised when:
        • The property owner receiving real property under this provision agrees to own the land for a period of at least two years; and
        • The lands being conveyed are intended for residential occupation
    • 20.11.2. Maximum Density Allowed: Where the provisions of this section are exercised, the maximum net residential density requirement will be waived, however, neither any new lot created nor the remainder will be less than one-quarter (¼) acre if both water and sewer service are available; when either community water or sewer service is available, but not both, no lot or parcel will be less than three-quarter (¾) acre in size; or, where neither community water or sewer services are available, no lot or parcel created will be less than two and one half (2 ½) acres in size.
    • 20.11.3. Administration: Property owners seeking to exercise the rights established by this section will, prior to conveyance of property, submit application for a parcel division, processed on forms provided by the administrator. Where a single parcel is divided into two parcels, process as a primitive parcel division. Where a single parcel is divided into three or four parcels, process as a simple parcel division. If such parcel is divided into five or more parcels, process as short or long plat subdivision. Where platting is required, road rights-of-way and slope standards as established in the County Road Standards manual will be met, but surfacing standards may not apply.

    Here are the concerns:

    • 1. Should the application for parcel split (simple and primitive) contain name/relationship of intended owner if split is for a family member, especially if the parcel size is less than minimum density size? Currently, there is no provision for recording this aspect of granting a parcel size below minimum. Beyond the application itself, there should be a means of recording this aspect of ownership on file! Currently there is not even a standard flag or indication anywhere that a parcel has been created and the minimum density requirement has been waived.
      • 1. It is reasonable to place a 'release date' on file;
      • 2. see next item for a description of date and amount of penalty if parcel is sold prior to 'release date'.
    • 2. When considering the question of pending ownership resulting from a transfer to a family member, it would be reasonable to not only capture the date of transfer but establish a time/date of ownership obligation (release date, example: 2 years) such that a transaction (sale?) prior to the release date would be discouraged by some means; e.g., fined by an amount or percentage of value. Like the date (see next item) this amount could be established at the time of the split and placed on the parcel record.
    • 3. Currently, there is no provision for tracking parcels sold if said parcel was created as a transfer to a family member and is less than the minimum density size. By establishing a ‘release date’ this sale could be monitored. As it is, there is absolutely no control at all.

    The simplest way to handle the transfer of ownership to a family member allowing a waiver of density is to deny it: remove the waiver for 'Maximum Density Allowed' entirely. What we have now can not be administrated. Currently, applicants know (and have expressed delight) there is no provision or requirement for retaining land for any period of time; they know (and plan) to transfer then sell in a short time - defeating the whole intent as expressed in the Objective of this Section. Note that if you don't want to delete the provision, there must be some way to administer it, and that means modifying the file record to identify that the waiver has been granted, and a change to the application to enable identifying the family member involved, the recipients age (if a minor), and much more.

    Incidentally, there is no provision now for administering the third item, 20.11.4. Eligibility; no way to see if the recipient has previously received a gift of property from a family member since this information is not captured and filed.

    As seen on the web site (http://www.boundarycountyid.org/node/66/), the application forms for simple and primitive parcel splits are available for review. Note the absence of any opportunity to collect family member information, nor any information relating to time pending a 'release date'.

The P&Z Commission reviewed the specific changes proposed to Section 20.11. Transfer of Real Property to Family Members, and relative to the proposed Section Restrictions and Limitations, Matt Cossalman suggested an additional item be added: The recipient has not received property previously using this provision.

When it became clear that most members were accepting of the changes, yet some (Kim Peterson, Caleb Davis) wanted more time to review penalties and process flow, it was suggested by Matt Cossalman that most of the items were straightforward and could be given blanket acceptance, but for those items which might prove contentious someone be assigned to review and discuss these questionable items so the focus would be on where differences lie and not a lot of time spend on those changes everyone accepts. He reiterated the idea that Sections and (Administrator to issue Permit) should be more than an outline of items but carry more description of what each 'ordered item' would contain.

Kim Peterson said that she was comfortable with everything proposed except for the enforcement provisions. Scott Fuller agreed that there was no real teeth in the enforcement code, and John Cranor said that he was comfortable with the changes as proposed. There was some discussion about emailing thoughts and ideas, and Staff reminded everyone that meetings are public and emails (if sent regarding Planning & Zoning substance) are to be considered public as well. It was agreed that ideas may be shared but comments regarding someone's ideas were to be reserved for the next scheduled public meeting.

Staff expressed concern that much of what was being discussed required writing code, and that he understood that the job of administrator was just that, and that the P&Z Commission has the role of writing the code. The ensuing discussion made it clear that the P&Z Commission felt that it was the job of the Administrator to write the code proposal, and it was their job to determine what was and was not acceptable. As such, the P&Z Commission made it clear they expected Staff, as Administrator, to present material which could then be evaluated for legitimacy.

For example, Staff said that a concern (for example) in establishing a 2 year time frame for retaining ownership of a parcel was a good idea based on the objective of family transfers but how to administer the 2 year time frame? How to know when two years is up and who wants to watch the real estate market to see who is selling and is their two year time limit up and now its OK to sell but last week it wasn't? Self agreed that establishing something like this is a problem to track and where is the tool for that purpose? Staff said it would have to be a mechanical thing, like a wall calendar or something similar that would have to be referenced. At this point Staff had everyone's sympathy but no real answer to the question as how to maintain awareness of a two year no-sale time constraint.

The discussion then revolved around the imposition of penalties associated with failing to conform to rules regarding retention of the land for two years, and Staff suggested that the whole family transfer concept be removed from the code. The question then became how does someone get a parcel of land of less than the minimum density size if family transfer with density waived is not an option? Tim Heenan and Caleb Davis suggested that Staff work up an answer to this question. Staff said he would work on getting something in writing before the next meeting. Everyone agreed to review the changes proposed prior to the next meeting.

Marty Martinez was asked how he felt about the meeting. He replied that it was interesting and that he enjoyed the visit. Matt asked what he looked for in a meeting like this and how he felt he could contribute. Marty replied that he enjoys this exposure to the P&Z Commission and that he believes he brings his life experience to the group if he is selected to belong. Rick Peterson was thanked for his attendance, and everyone said one last 'Thank You!' to Matt Cossalman.

Staff suggested the February meeting should be held on schedule to resolve questions regarding the changes being discussed (there were no public hearings scheduled). Ron Self moved to adjourn, Kim Peterson seconded, approved unanimously at 7:10PM.

John B. Moss

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 19:30
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