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									                                       CITY OF FIFE
                                PLANNING COMMISSION
                                 MINUTES OF MEETING

Fife City Hall                                                                    March 3, 2008
                                                                                  7:00 p.m.

CALL TO ORDER –

The Planning Commission meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. with the following present:

Commissioners: Chairman Gerald Albertson, Jeffrey Brown, Shannon Thornhill, Jim Call,
Grant Neilson and Richard Garchow.

Staff present: Director Carl Smith, Senior Planner Beverly Boyle, Planner Chris Pasinetti, Code
Enforcement Officer Chris Larsen, and Administrative Assistant Katie Bolam.

Public signed in:
    Dave Boitano


APPROVAL OF MINUTES – February 4, 2008

Commissioner Call moved, seconded by Commissioner Garchow, to approve the minutes of
February 4, 2008 as presented. Motion carried unopposed.


NEW BUSINESS

   a. Portside Development Agreement

This item was not available for presentation. Director Smith explained the background of the
project and that the City is close to a Development Agreement with them. He asked the Planning
Commission to agree to delay this item for a special meeting later in March. After some
discussion, all agreed to have a special meeting on March 17 at 7:00 pm, following the already
scheduled subcommittee meeting at 5:30 pm. Director Smith pointed out that a related subject is
the alternate route for trucks to avoid the 20th Street corridor. Commissioner Call asked for
confirmation that the developer will have until 2010 to build the pedestrian-oriented buildings;
Director Smith said that is correct, and is in line with general timelines allowed to developers.
He also noted that there may be one more item on the evening’s agenda.


OLD BUSINESS

   a. Work Plan Item #5 – Development Design Standards 20th Street
        i. Street Design Standards for 20th Street CMU Zone
Fife Planning Commission
Minutes of Meeting
March 3, 2008 – Page 2 of 6


Planner Pasinetti gave a presentation on what a revised street standard could do for the 20th
Street corridor, focusing on 3 areas:
     Traffic improvement – presented a case study which showed average daily trips increased
        after a particular roadway was streamlined.
     Safety improvement – slower traffic and the separation of traffic from pedestrians by
        parked cars will have the effect of increasing safety
     Economic improvement – by increasing the attractiveness and encouraging a pedestrian-
        friendly environment, businesses will post more profits, and the City will have an
        increase in revenue
He gave a description of the proposed standard – 10-foot sidewalks, 8-foot parking lanes, 5-foot
bike lanes and 12-foot drive lanes, totaling a 70-foot roadway. He advised the commission that
engineering for improvements to this corridor is under way now, so the recommendation of the
commission is timely for the proposed change, or variations to it.

Discussion then ensued regarding pros and cons of the proposed standard. Chairman Albertson
brought up the need to make allowances for high school bus and car drop-off. It was decided to
make the on-street parking area in front of the school exclusively for bus and car drop-off.

Commissioner Neilson referred to the letter from Dr. Jeffrey Clary, a business owner along 20th
Street. He felt the letter has a valid point, that there should be a turn lane to 62nd, and ample
room for emergency vehicles.

To Commissioner Call’s question, Director Smith replied that construction is slated to begin next
year. Commissioner Call then stated that he is in favor of the proposed 2-lane roadway and
believes this standard would put the City in the right place for any potential land-use changes to
school-owned properties. He also is in favor of bike lanes, stating whether we need them now
isn’t as important as how much we may need them in the future.

Commissioner Garchow asked if angle parking would not be an easier and quicker option for
traffic flow, pointing out that some areas of Tacoma are converting to angle parking. Director
Smith answered that angle parking works best in very slow areas and documented studies show it
increases accidents. Also, there is not enough room to have it on both sides of the street.
Commissioner Call mentioned a friend who lives on an angle-parking road, and watches
accidents occur almost daily. Commissioner Garchow also asked if the City is paying for the
new development. Planner Pasinetti answered that the City would pay a small amount to change
the current engineering design. The developer will pick up some cost, as well. Director Smith
added that City Council has allowed for the redevelopment of the 20th Street Corridor through
grants and other sponsored monies. Commissioner Call then asked if the City is going to cover
the costs up front, then collect from future developers after-the-fact. Staff answered that the cost
effect is not much different than now, but there would be less impact fees offset by
improvements. Commissioner Garchow then asked about current businesses such as Acura –
will they be required to tear up the improvements they’ve done and pay for it? No, Director
Smith answered, there would be deferral options.

Chairman Albertson likes the 2-lane roadway as well, wondering how people access off-street
parking, and how the street will handle emergency vehicles. Director Smith said that developers
will need to provide access by driveway to off-street parking, and that when emergency vehicles
Fife Planning Commission
Minutes of Meeting
March 3, 2008 – Page 3 of 6


are approaching, traffic will naturally pull off to the sides, utilizing bike lanes, allowing a center
corridor for emergency vehicles.

Commissioner Thornhill asked how left-turn traffic will flow. Staff explained a bit, and then
said a diagram for this would be provided next meeting. The City can either allow or disallow
traffic to cross the center stripe for a left-turn; the alternatives include U-turns allowed at specific
points, or alleys for a double-back option. She also asked if this recommendation means we are
“locked in” to this exact standard for the foreseeable future. Director Smith answered that we
are locked in to a 70-foot roadway, but future City residents may choose to alter the lane and
sidewalk designations as they see appropriate. He also reminded the commission that, in order to
keep federal and state grant monies available, cities must show options for people, like bike
lanes.

Commissioner Brown asked to clarify whether this would be from 54th to 70th, or to Freeman;
staff said to Freeman. He also asked if the motion that is proposed is a recommendation for the
diagram as shown. Planner Pasinetti said that yes, except the forwarded diagram would have
more of an engineering look to it.

Chairman Albertson then suggested the proposed motion should include the words “as seen and
similar to the attachment 1.”

Director Smith confirmed that the proposed motion is intended to point to a design very similar
to that shown in Attachment 1, where the current center turn lanes are replaced with turn pockets
at intersections and on-street parking. This will bring a sheltering effect for the pedestrian area,
providing greater safety and convenience for shoppers. By asking developers to provide parking
in the back tends to make fewer curb-cuts, as well.

Commissioner Garchow then asked if there’s a plan for a designated alleyway behind the
businesses for garbage/recycling space. Director Smith said no, that would be a site-design
question – the only difference from current site design standards is the parking and
garbage/recycling space would be in back instead of in front.

Commissioner Call moved, and Commissioner Brown seconded, to recommend to City
Council the adoption of a new “downtown” arterial designation for the 20th Street Corridor
from 54th Ave East to Freeman Road East as seen in attachment 1. The motion carried 5-1.


            ii. Design Standards CMU Zone – Street Scape Amenities

Planner Pasinetti reported that the purpose of Sreet Scape Amenities is to make for a uniform and
attractive appearance – to make the area “pretty”. Two main areas:
     Landscaping – change from current 4’ planting strip to full 10-foot sidewalks with
        openings for trees in grates and planter boxes interspersed, leaving space for car doors to
        open and people to exit vehicles onto the sidewalk.
     Urban Amenities – attractive and available trash cans, benches, water fountains, street art
        and lighting.
Fife Planning Commission
Minutes of Meeting
March 3, 2008 – Page 4 of 6


Commissioner Call suggested this would be a good place to put in a pocket park. Commissioner
Garchow asked if there are plans for commonality throughout the City, matching things with
Pacific Hwy, to create a sense of Fife throughout, and what the plan is for the maintenance of
these amenities. Staff stated an active interest in maintaining a common theme throughout the
City, matching lighting fixtures, planter boxes and such on the Pacific Hwy corridor as well as
on 20th. Also, the City will absorb some of the maintenance, as well as requiring business
owners to take on some. Commissioner Call asked for caution with regard to street lighting,
referring to the nice-looking lights on 54th that spray too much light. He also suggested public
restrooms be addressed in the code. Planner Pasinetti said he’d return next meeting with
proposed code.

No motion required.


       b. Work Plan Item #2 – City-wide Review of Land-use Zones
            i. Medium-Density (MDR) and High-Density Residential (HDR)

Planner Pasinetti reported on the subcommittee meeting of February 11, where Commissioners
reviewed Medium and High Density Residential zones, and he listed the pros and cons of the
recommended changes.

Discussion began with the Medium-Density Residential zone: Chairman Albertson summarized
that the subcommittee suggested slightly altering the density levels and requiring a PRD in many
cases. Commissioner Call stated that he has very strong opinions on this topic. He understands
the need for a grocery, and that it takes more people to attract that, but “stacking people” isn’t the
way to get there. He stated we have enough multi-family housing, and is concerned that more
will encourage a lower-income, transient population. Planner Pasinetti stated that density isn’t
negative when it’s done right, but limiting density limits good design. Director Smith reminded
the commission of the goal to provide for a range of housing needs, and to think about the mix
that is most desirable to meet those goals. Chairman Albertson concurred, stating that Fife is in a
great location of Puget Sound to attract a wide range of people. The Radiance development was
brought up numerous times, both as an example of too-much density and of a cookie-cutter look.
Administrative Assistant Bolam and Commissioner Brown, both residents of Radiance,
disagreed with these statements, saying the development fit what they were looking for.
Commissioner Neilson said he thinks the subcommittee’s direction on MDR is a right one, and
that we can be flexible with the PRD code. Commissioner Garchow stated that we are going to
have to live with more people per square mile and we need to keep Medium Density at the
“medium” level. Commissioner Brown said he’d like to see multi-family apartments and condos
in HDR, and triplex/duplex units in MDR, which was agreed on by Chairman Albertson, who
said let’s protect the single-family with yards while allowing for more density elsewhere.
Commissioner Thornhill agrees that the future must allow for more density, but would push
toward the lower end for MDR. Commissioner Call stated the we have the 1-acre lots, we have
Radiance, we have HDR – we need something else. Chairman Albertson answered that we have
something else in the small-lot residential, allowing for 7-9/acre, or 5300 sf lot size down to
3700 with PDR; he asked if there’s a medium lot size, and Director Smith answered the standard
is 7200 sf. He also stated that a PRD is the main way we get open space; if we require open
space another way, then we won’t need to rely on PRDs.
Fife Planning Commission
Minutes of Meeting
March 3, 2008 – Page 5 of 6



Discussion then moved to High Density Residential. Planner Pasinetti stated that the review of
this code is strictly housekeeping, as there are no redevelopable acres in this zone.
Commissioner Neilson asked about the building that was torn down near the Denny’s – Director
Smith answered that any new development would have to comply with current requirements. He
also said that the HDR zone is especially good for those who need services available close-by.
Commissioner Garchow stated that we are probably going to see 3 and 4 story apartment
complexes, but these would be in the RC and CMU zones. Commissioner Call called attention
to the Comprehensive Plan goal policy 3 and asked how staff monitors the housing market.
Planner Pasinetti answered by researching foreclosures – intent is not to build mansions if we
can’t sell them. Director Smith added the orderly development of our community includes smart
development with good services.

No motion required.

Chairman Albertson called for a break at 9:04 pm. The meeting was called back to order at 9:14
pm. Chairman Albertson took this time to remind Commissioners of the formation of a zoning-
review subcommittee, and the fact that no more than 3 may be present for those meetings to
avoid a quorum.

       c. Benthien Loop Status Report

Code Enforcement Officer Larsen presented his pre-annexation report on Benthien Loop. City
Council looking for ways to mitigate the cost vs. potential income imbalance. There will be a
public hearing at the April 8 meeting. Community Development staff is meeting with Public
Works staff on 3/5 to discuss possibilities, and there will be a question-and-answer session with
property owners on 3/26. Commissioner Neilson asked if the City of Tacoma sewer availability
was taken into account in these estimates, to which Code Enforcement Officer Larson answered
that will be made more clear in Wednesday’s meeting with PW. Director Smith pointed out that
Chris Larson put the report together, something cities can pay thousands of dollars to a
consultant firm to do, so “good job” to Chris is in order, which commissioners agreed with.
Director Smith also said that the tentative agreement that was made with Pierce County and the
City of Tacoma, regarding the boundary that runs through some parcels, may not be the best
agreement, so staff is looking into that further. Commissioner Neilson asked if Council is asking
for Planning Commission input on the 4 options mentioned in the staff report. Code
Enforcement Officer Larson said this item is for informational purposes, but the comments of the
commission echo the approach of the Council.

No motion required.


       d. Chapter 18 Status Report (verbal only)

Code Enforcement Officer Larsen reported that Chapter 18 was recently reviewed by legal, and
staff will present it to the Planning Commission in April.

No motion required.
Fife Planning Commission
Minutes of Meeting
March 3, 2008 – Page 6 of 6


DIRECTOR’S REPORT

   a. Announcement of Firm selected for LID Analysis

Director Smith informed the Planning Commission that City Council had authorized the contract
expenditure for a firm to help the City write LID codes and standards. Interviews of responding
firms were held on February 15, and the firm SvR Design was chosen, and the contract should be
finalized this week. Staff hopes to introduce them to the Planning Commission in April.
Everything SvR suggests will be reviewed by the Planning Commission. LID codes and
standards are intended to imitate nature and avoid the pollution and energy losses development
currently posts.


   b. Planning Commission Vacancy Status (verbal only)

Director Smith reported that City Council intends to form a subcommittee to interview Planning
Commission candidates. They may advise staff to advertise the vacancy one more time.


PROFESSIONAL INTEREST ITEMS

One item – a letter received regarding January’s invitation for public comment – was included in
the packet.


Prior to adjournment, Commissioner Call asked if City Council agendas can be emailed to
Commissioners. Following the meeting, staff received all email addresses for this purpose –
only one Commissioner does not have email.

Also, Chairman Albertson again reminded Commissioners of upcoming special meeting on
March 17.


ADJOURNMENT

Commissioner Garchow moved, seconded by Commissioner Brown, to adjourn the meeting
at 9:28 p.m. Motion carried.




                                                         Prepared by: Katie Bolam, Administrative Assistant
                                                         City of Fife – Community Development Department

								
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