Crystal Planning Commission Meeting Recap – January 13, 2014

The January 13, 2014 Crystal Planning Commission meeting was rather uneventful.

As it was the first meeting of the year, we voted on new officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary). Officers are only allowed to serve two years in the same position. The current officers were all in year one of the two year limit, and were all unanimously voted in for a second one year term.

We also approved the meeting calendar, which keeps the same meeting schedule as we have been using.

The only other item on the agenda was to take up the garage variance from the last meeting.

As a refresher, a guy and his wife moved into a very strange property on Quail Avenue, over by the lake, and wanted permission to basically build a new garage where the old garage sits. Because the old garage is non-conforming (in that it isn’t set back 3 feet from the lot line) and grandfathered in (in that it was built before the zoning ordinance was passed) it would require a variance to allow a rebuild.

The garages on this particular block are very close to the street, because the street was supposed to be an alley. (See last month’s post for the history.)

The majority of the commission (myself excepted) and the city staff were not thrilled about the idea of allowing a new garage to be built 1 foot from the street. I didn’t mind it, as every other garage on the block is built that way, and many won’t be torn down for many many years to come. Because of the unique nature of the property, and the fact that the encroachment wasn’t new (just a replacement of an existing structure) I was OK allowing the variance.

But, seeing that his variance was going to be shot down, the property owner changed his request during the meeting to agree to a 3 foot setback from the curb, and a 1 foot setback from the lot line that backs up to the neighbor’s garage.

After some lengthy discussion about setting precedents, etc., the commission voted unanimously to allow the variance.

As of meeting time there were no applications in process for February’s meeting, so we most likely won’t meet.

Prepared and paid for by the Kolb for Crystal Committee, PO Box 28373, Crystal, MN 55428