Ordinance overhaul gets mixed responseAfton’s design review committee got the equivalent of a “could do better” comment on its latest assignment.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton’s design review committee got the equivalent of a “could do better” comment on its latest assignment.
The city’s planning commission sent a handful of ordinance amendments to the city staff for further work after members declared themselves not completely satisfied with the alterations proposed by the design review committee during a public hearing.
The amendments — covering subjects including building height, standards for windows, new construction, screening of mechanical equipment, trash enclosures, landscaping and disabled ramps — were discussed at the commission’s April 7 meeting.
Wording in the landscaping amendment was dismissed as too vague, as it “encouraged” applicants to use planters and use native plants.
Commission member Barbara Ronningen objected to the use of the word “encouraged”, explaining that an ordinance should be binding upon residents and business owners, and so that section should be removed unless it was to be enforced.
“A stop sign means you stop at the stop sign; it does not mean you are encouraged to stop,” she added.
Fellow commission members also objected to the inclusion of the wording “exceptions… may be considered… on a case-by-case basis,” which applied to ordinance sections on properties’ exterior siding and new construction.
“It says we have all these rules, but then we don’t have to follow them if we don’t want to,” said Greg Pennella.
“If we are going to have these rules and we think they are good, then we stick to the rules.”
Discussion also revolved around the creation of an ordinance requirement upon businesses in the VHS-C district to integrate trash enclosures into the principal structure of the building, or at least to screen and secure any trash storage area.
Members debated whether to also place the requirement on residential properties, although there were concerns about the issue of enforcement.
“Do we really want to be the trash police, going up and down the road, because that’s what’s going to happen,” said Pennella.
City staff will work to incorporate the commission’s comments and revisions in re-worded ordinance amendments before bringing them back for the conclusion of the public hearing.