Disclosure: I am posting as a private individual. My opinion and role in these discussions as a planning commissioner were based on a few criteria.
First, protect property rights as much as possible.
Second, minimize regulations and costs as much as possible and third to adhere to our current codes, ordinances and my role as a planning commissioner with it's limits, restrictions, and rules. These criteria can conflict with each other at times as I have learned.
Third, criteria were the priority influence as a planning commissioner because planning commission is not a legislative position but just an administration position. We are bound to abide by current code and ordinances.
To change code or ordinances would be in the role of your elected representatives!!
I am only one voice on the planning commission and the commission only gives recommendations based on a majority vote to the city council. This website and blog contain my personal opinions and political stance as a private citizen.
Last night was a joint meeting with the City Council and Planning Commission. We discussed accessory apartments, conditional use permits, and sidewalks. I will address each issue as separate posts so to keep the post shorter. Here is some background on accessory apartments. These meetings are live-streamed and can be watched on our PGVoices Facebook page.
Conditional Use Permits-
These permits are allowed in our city ordinances. I am personally and politically opposed to these permits but as a planning commissioner I have to vote on these based on the rules, limits and regulations given to the commission. I feel that these permits are infringing on property owners and add costly conditions and restrictions that are otherwise allowed in the ordinances.
Conditional use permits (CUP) can not be denied by a planning commission if it fits the requirements of the ordinance. It has to be denied if it does not. The planning commission is limited greatly in denying a CUP, but the conditions that can be added is only limited to what is allowed in the ordinance.
Our city ordinance has been written to be very general in this area. CUPs are supposed to be rare and unique but currently they have become common and normal. A CUP is supposed to address property issues that are uncommon for the type of property/zoning area or neighborhood not to change or regulate within an ordinance for personal, publicly emotional, controversial reasons or to impose a punishment or accommodations to friends/neighbors against a development.
As city planning commissioners, we are supposed to help an applicant to do with his property what is possible under the ordinance and not to restrict or add burden to his process. We should only be protecting the property rights of the applicant and our city ordinances. Planning Commissioner are not supposed to be influenced by public clamor, emotions, personal opinions or political views when acting in our role. We are required to base all decisions on factual proof/information submitted at the time of our vote.
I have debated often on conditions being proposed on applicants that I felt was not made in the spirit of our role as commissioners to accommodate complaining neighbors or personal opinions of commissioners. Most of these CUPs have been appealed or were not enforceable.
I have attended to classes on CUPs and it was stated many times by attorneys in these classes that cities need to limit or stop doing CUPs all together. I was also given case law in CUPs in these classes. It is a huge liability risk to our city and can put commissioners outside their intended role if done without the true limitations supported in the ordinances.
The city ordinances need to be amended to include the conditions instead of having the risk of violations/challenges in using CUPs. Most of these decisions by the planning commission are unknown to the city council unless it becomes publicly controversial.
This is a complicated issue so please comment with any questions or clarifications on this issue.
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PGVoices for responsible government following Constitutional principles. True Conservatives who stand for private property rights, limited government and a free market economy. This blog will be a combined effort to give you easy to understand researched local government information.