The Saratoga Planning Commission met Tuesday night, introduced a new member of the board, Nora Asbury, and heard an array of topics.
The topics on tap were a plea for a variance on a sign footage increase at the Rawlins National Bank (RNB), a presentation on town annexation for the U.S. Forest Service currently outside town limits, a setback variance to build a garage addition and a discussion on the possibilities for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) addition to existing zoning categories.
Dan Runner, of the Saratoga branch or RNB, attended the meeting and asked to add 20 feet of signage to their current outdoor advertising. The request for a variance comes because the bank’s total signage already measures in 120 feet, the town limit for such outdoor advertising. Runner brought photocopies showing where the additional double-sided 2x5’ signs would go and said that, in his opinion, the additional signage on the southeast corner of the property at Elm and First would not cause any roadway visibility problems.
During the comment period, board member Chris Duke said, “Looking at the visuals of it, it’s fine. We’re not turning into Vegas or anything.”
Board member Carl Smith then asked if the additional signwork met the hardship requirement needed to grant a variance and further explained that to grant an increased sign footage variance there needed to be a qualifying hardship imposed that would impair said business.
Further discussion was held with Board member Will Faust ticking off the rest of the requirements in the planning codes for such an addition. Faust then informed Runner of the need to contact businesses within 300 feet of the bank’s property to get their approval before a public hearing could be called and a variance approved.
Smith said that, in the absence of a planning officer, that he would stop by RNB to measure existing outdoor signage again and make sure the numbers were correct.
Melanie Fullman, of the USFS office outside Saratoga, showed up with USFS facilities engineer Jacob Brown to present a proposal for the annexation into the town for the purpose of adding water and sewer. The pair stated a need for potable water and a better functioning sewer system for the USFS property so the agency could expand their capacity to attract and house more employees at the location. Also presented was a detailed map showing the engineering plans for expanding water and sewer across the property. The plan included a lift station that Brown said would be maintained by the Forest Service until such point as more services were added past the USFS property boundaries.
Tim Lamprecht, of the Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (JPB), then said that the USFS had previously asked to have water and sewer added to their property and that it was determined that the town could only provide these services if the property in question became a part of the town. Lamprecht then added that any time these services had been added to a property outside town limits it was because that property owner had granted easements to the town.
Randy Raymer, also on the JPB, then told the commission that the Forest Service had adequately provided any materials or engineering asked for in the past.
After this discussion, Fullman was told by the commission the steps that needed to be taken for annexation. Fullman responded by saying she would start the process the following day.
Rick and Nicole Maners, who live at 234 Condict Court, showed up at the meeting to ask for a setback variance to remove an older addition to their house and add an attached garage. The addition would be a foot-and-a-half over the back setback requirement of 20 feet. The commission did not seem to think this was too much of a problem since the house itself was built over the rear setback requirement to start with. The commission then informed the couple of petition requirements that needed to be filed before a public hearing could be held and a variance granted.
Discussion on a Planned Unit Development (PUD) addition to zoning categories was tabled because work on the description is currently being reviewed by the town attorney.
Sid Fox, of the county’s Department of Planning and Development, was on hand though and a short discussion on phrasing for the newly-created zoning category was held.
A PUD addition to current categories would allow the town to grant mixed usage to currently limited zoning categories along with the ability to set limits on usage that are not allowed under current zoning categories that set single uses for properties such as solely residential or strictly business.