Joint Meeting of the Irrigon City Council and the City of Irrigon Planning Commission
May 1, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Irrigon City Hall
500 NE Main Avenue
1. Call to Order and Roll Call
Chair Roberts called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.
Planning Commission members present: Tom Roberts, Foster Carroll, Harold Poeling, Glena Hoffman, and Bill Earle.
City Council members present: David Burns, Elleanor Partridge, Michelle Hagen, and Ken Matlack.
Staff present: City Manager Gerald Breazeale and City Clerk Penny Moore.
Audience: Pastor Rick Yardley, Lyman Branson III, and Kelly Branson.
Change in Agenda: Chair Roberts announced a change in the agenda to bring the Oath of Office for Bill Earle forward.
2. Oath of Office
City Manager Gerald Breazeale issued the oath of office to Bill Earle as a new planning commissioner.
Chair Roberts welcomed Commissioner Earle. Mr. Earle is an Irrigon resident living in the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The Irrigon Commission can have one resident from the UGB area.
3. Approve Minutes from the April 3, 2012 Planning Commission Meeting
There being no corrections or additions to the minutes, it was moved by Commissioner Poeling and seconded by Commissioner Carroll to approve the April 2, 2012 planning commission meeting
minutes. Vote was taken. Motion carried unanimously.
Change in Agenda: Chair Roberts announced a change in the agenda to bring forward (b) fence code.
4. City Code Review
Fence Code Issue, Height Limitation: City Manager Breazeale gave some background requirements for residential zone fences. The front yard setback is 15 feet from the property line that faces the street. The fence on the side street must not be higher than 4 feet within the 15 feet of the front line.
Pastor Yardley passed around pictures of his house and of the street in front of his house and the side of his property. Pastor Yardley was requesting to have the variance fee of $200 waived to take down his 6 foot high hedge and replace it with a board fence of 6 feet, not 4 feet and/or to change the city code to 6 feet within the 15 feet setback. His reason was to put in a 6 foot fence and install an underground sprinkler system that would improve the property value and not cost $200 and also for privacy and safety. Manager Breazeale read the city code 10-3B-4 on Fences and Walls. There was a discussion on variances verses changing the code for fences. The clear vision area would not apply since the house is not on a corner lot.
There was discussion on changing the language in the code. Chair Roberts stated that he was in favor of changing the language in the code and that the planning commission is here for the community and want them to feel safe in their own houses and yards. It was stated that currently the commercial zones can have a 6 feet fence on the side.
It was moved by Commissioner Poeling and seconded by Commissioner Carroll to review the code for possible re-writing and re-visiting at the next month meeting June 5, 2012.
There was discussion on 4 feet of the 15 feet for vision and Chair Roberts stated that he thought it was to look open and for safety reasons. Manager Breazeale read the city code book section 10-3A-2; J, Fire Access and Turnarounds; K, Vertical Clearances; & L, Clear Vision Areas.
Councilor Matlack stated that he did not agree with the variance costing so much and that he would support changing the code. Chair Roberts asked if it would be easier to change the variance cost instead of changing the code. Manager Breazeale stated that the cost of the variance is to cover cost to mail notices to everyone living within 250 feet of the applicant’s property and a notice is published in the newspaper.
Chair Roberts called for the vote after the lengthy discussion. Vote was taken. Motion carried unanimously. Chair Roberts asked that the issue be put on the June 2012 agenda.
Parking of Vehicles on Private Property: The city council has some concerns about the language in the disabled vehicles and parts vehicle ordinances. Chair Roberts invited the city council members to attend this joint work session meeting. Manager Breazeale stated that the code states vehicle parking and storage, including storage of disabled vehicles, is allowed only in driveways, carports and garages. This brought up what is a definition of a drive way. It was stated that because of the way the code is written, the code officer said it could not be enforced; the definition needs to be specific.
There was a discussion on defining parking on private property. Chair Roberts stated that when this issue was first brought to the commission it was not enforceable based on the existing language. Commissioner Poeling stated that they need to figure out what their goals are, and are we telling the property owner how to use their property or how to park their cars. There was a discussion on how to narrow down the language and definition. Chair Roberts stated that previously discussed was if there should be a limit on how many vehicles to park on the property. Commissioner Poeling stated that there might be multiple drivers with multiple vehicles. Discussed was Christine’s Inc., how many vehicles are parked out back, it’s not a commercial zone. The purpose is to have limits, so that property parcels don’t look like a used car lot. Councilor Matlack stated that if the code states gravel or paved driveways and most properties in Irrigon are not paved or graveled, should that be an issue, should it be defined as clean or designated for parking.
Commissioner Poeling talked about licensed drivers in the home and unlicensed or nonworking vehicles to narrow down the language of non-operable with registration or insured vehicles. Chair Roberts stated that the commission had discussed the verbiage involved in the non-operable vehicles that still needs to meet the requirements of registration and that the council had suggested registration or insurance since they would be holding some sort of comprehension insurance on the vehicles which shows some kind of interest in the vehicles.
Chair Roberts left meeting at 7:18 p.m.
Manager Breazeale read Ordinance 210-11 on providing one inoperable vehicle to be allowed to be kept for a parts vehicle and establish a permit procedure for such use and then Ordinance 208-11 for nuisance definitions of inoperable vehicle.
Chair Roberts returned to the meeting at 7:27 p.m.
Councilor Matlack stated that Ordinance 208-11 was passed October 18, 2012. Chair Roberts stated that the city does have codes that the council adopted which have helped to narrow down their vision some; however, there still are some outstanding issues beyond that. Councilor Matlack stated that Ordinance 208-11 states that one inoperable vehicle be allowed to be kept for a parts vehicle and establishing a permit procedure for such use. Chair Roberts stated that Ordinance 208-11 amended the section in the definition of inoperable vehicles, so therefore in the code it stated that you may have an inoperable vehicle for use as a car if it meets the criterion. The commission previously looked at the definition and then the code. Chair Roberts stated that he felt that the ordinance should include “any motor vehicle not currently registered with the State of Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or maintained with a current insurance policy”. Councilor Matlack stated that citizens might say that their home owner’s policy covers the value of their car.
Councilor Hagen left the meeting at 7:35 p.m.
There was a discussion on Ordinance 210-11 that provides for one inoperable vehicle to be allowed to be kept for a parts vehicle and establishing a permit procedure for such use outside of a garage or driveway.
Councilor Hagen returned to the meeting at 7:40 p.m.
Some citizens would state that their home owners insurance will cover their vehicle that is in a garage, therefore not needing a permit. Chair Roberts stated this is an insured vehicles verses unlicensed vehicles, perhaps the vehicle owner has a financial invested interest, such as keeping the registration current with DMV or maintain some form of insurance. Most citizens would look at this as a junk car. City Manager Breazeale stated that this issue has not been enforced yet because there is still the issue that you cannot park your vehicle anywhere except in your driveway or garage.
Councilor Matlack stated that this issue needs to be addressed because there are so many citizens that do not have gravel or paved driveways. Manager Breazeale stated that is why this is such a difficult process, there are so many pieces of this code.
Chair Roberts stated that looking at the whole issue, the definition of inoperable vehicles has been taken care of and the situation of enforcing inoperable vehicles. There is still the number of vehicles per property and where can they park, which in under the definition of a driveway which is not enforceable currently. Then the ATV’s, boats, etc. and how to address them needs to be undertaken. Councilor Matlack stated that there would be a problem with ATV’s/4 wheelers, and then there are snowmobiles which are not licensed because they are run only on private property. Chair Roberts asked if the city wants to specially take the State’s definition of a ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile and then in the code address them specially or does the city want to go for an umbrella definition of a recreational vehicle that may consist of a list of how many, or where they will be parked, etc.
There was a discussion on how does the city decide on language for parking of vehicles? If operable, licensed, however, not attractive, though not all over the property disarranged. If the city wants nice yards, nice houses, the city also wants vehicles parked to look nice. This discussion came back to what is a definition of a driveway.
Councilor Poeling left the meeting at 7:55 p.m.
Commissioner Carroll suggested defining a driveway as a commonly used way for access to a carport, garage or paved parking area. This brought up a discussion on the paved area, not all citizens have or would be able to pave a parking area. Manager Breazeale stated that a driveway cannot be more than 50% of the property lot frontage.
There were good discussions with no decisions made; however, this gives direction for the council and planning to build on.
Trucks on City Streets:
There was discussion on Semi-trucks (tractor-trailers) on city streets and weight requirements. Councilor Matlack stated that formerly there were requirement on commercial vehicles on residential streets. Chair Roberts stated that there are no designated truck routes in city limits at this time. Commissioner Carroll stated that there should not be any access on the side streets; the tractor-trailers going through Third Street are destroying the street.
Councilor Matlack stated that a new ordinance to address the issue of parking on streets could be that commercial vehicles that weights more than 20,000 pounds or whatever the criteria happens to be, will not be allowed to park in the residential areas of Irrigon. City Manager Breazeale stated that currently there is no parking of tractor-trailers on residential city street and there have been complaints from residents on California and Idaho Streets about the dust the trucks create, however, it is legal because they are parking on their own property. Some cities have no trucks on city streets except for deliveries. There was no action taken at this time.
Livestock in City Issues:
Chair Roberts stated that this issue has been talked about at the commission meetings for three months and has allowed public comment to see which direction the commission should to go on this issue. Councilor Matlack stated that from a code perspective he suggested that the closer to the county code the city code could be the better. He continued to say that the issue on the west side of town is that the people are fearful that they will lose their ability one day and that they will get annexed into the city. And if they have a 1 or 2 acre parcel they will not be able to have a horse or a cow. In the city 20,000 square feet or approximately half an acre is allowed for one large animal or two large animals on an acre. Councilor Matlack continued and stated that he would not support the ability to eliminate any animals in Irrigon. City Manager Breazeale read the code on large animals allowed on square footage in Irrigon.
Chair Roberts researched and presented a draft at the April commission meeting regarding a starting point for some definitions on livestock and fowl, proper shelter for animals and what would be considered for property size. And would this be allowed for the entire city or not in the city but make exceptions on a case by case basis. Councilor Matlack stated that if the city were to say that if it is subdivided out to where they couldn’t have animals anymore, or no longer have any animals once there are gone to replace with, this will take a while and the city will have an issue in terms of the UGB, that will come into the city and not be subdivided or in position as of now. Chair Roberts suggested that the UGB be another subsection as opposed to having a commercial zone to allow certain things on the UGB until they are incorporated into the city. Manager Breazeale stated that this was driven from public comments regarding animals on lots and the care of the animals and their waste.
At this time Chair Roberts read the draft section on keeping livestock or fowl prohibited within city, exception permits, violations and exceptions. Chair Roberts stated that the commission was looking at not allowing livestock anymore unless they go through on a case by case basis and allow for exceptions or under certain provisions as they would define, the purpose being that Irrigon has grown in the last ten years and will continue to grow in the next ten years. Does the city want something on the book now, instead of waiting ten years? Chair Roberts asked the council for their comments. Mayor Burns stated that the governor’s office has done a very high powered study of Irrigon’s water system. The first mention on the report was to cut down on the hobby farms which are adding to the nitrate problem that the city has fought so hard to get away from. Commissioner Hoffman asked if the water was being tested. Manager Breazeale stated that the water was being tested this week. Commissioner Hoffman stated that the city does need to know how this affects the city. There was a discussion on waiting until the water reports come back and the study shows the science of the nitrates.
There was a brief discussion on 4H program being an exception, the program teaches responsibility for caring for the animal and leadership, etc.
There was a 5 minute break at 9 p.m.
There was no action taken on this issue.
City Manager Breazeale stated that recently there have been Pit Bulls that have attacked people or animals and other cities have addressed this issue.
Manager Breazeale supplied a copy of Heppner’s code as a guideline or starting point and stated that this is not to only point to Pit Bulls but any breed. This is a place to start if any animal is threatening anything or anyone. Council Matlack supports that having a provision in place for a dangerous or potentially dangerous animal that the code enforcement officer or the judge could decide to destroy the animal or have a condition for keeping the animal within the city. Mayor Burns talked about keeping our children (and citizens) safe from danger.
Chair Roberts stated that the city does not have anything on the books to allow for enforcing this issue, therefore the city needs to address working on an ordinance. It was the consensus of the council and the commission to review Heppner’s ordinance as a starting place.
Council Matlack left the meeting at 9:25 p.m.
5. Creation of New Zone – R-3, Estate Residential
Manager Breazeale stated that this issue is to address the UGB and the fear of being annexed into the city. If there was an R-3 Estate Residential Zone with one acre minimum that would address the issue, currently they are 2 acre parcels. According to the existing agreement the city is supposed to zone the area in the UGB. Manager Breazeale stated that it was something for the commission to think about, and if they wanted to take action, they could describe another new zone to allow larger lots which would allow livestock. Chair Roberts stated that the commission would like to look at this issue more closely. Manager Breazeale stated that the new commissioner lives in the UGB, Bill Earle, he is the UGB representative. Bill Earle stated that they like the UGB the way it is. Manage Breazeale stated that the UGB is the area that the city will grow into, that is what it is for and so it needs to be addressed in such a way that the people that are in the UGB are comfortable as the people inside the city are.
6. Additional Discussion
Mayor Burns stated that when you call the Sheriff office about a dog that has gotten out of their yard, a Deputy talks to the owners of the dog and then the next time the dog gets out and it is reported and you complain because nothing is done about the dog getting loose again, the Deputy may ask you if you want to sign a citation against the owners of the dog, which you need to do in order to get something done about the dog that keeps getting out and running loose. Then the owners get angry at you because they got a ticket. Councilor Hagen stated that the Deputy cannot issue a citation without witnessing the crime themselves, therefore the person that witnessed the crime can sign the citation as the witness.
Adjournment: Chair Roberts thanked the council for joining the commission tonight and adjourned the meeting 9:30 p.m.
Planning Commission Secretary