The Shady Cove Planning Commission started off 2013 with a bit of déjà vu. Once again an applicant was seeking approval for a variance so he could have a second access point to the rear of his property. In this instance applicant James Plumlee wanted to build a second garage on his property on Old Ferry Road. Due to the long, narrow lay out of the property the garage would need to be accessed from Melrose Lane. The twist in this application; the Melrose driveway already exists and had been used by previous owners/tenants for years. No one knew a variance was needed for this second entrance until Plumlee came to City Hall to apply for a permit for the garage.
Refresher course: for those who don’t know, here’s how a Public Hearing for a variance flows. The hearing is opened by the Chair, Ed Mayer, who also reads the public hearing opening statement. Following questions of Jurisdiction, Ex Parte, etc. the City Planner, Lois DeBenedetti presents staff comments. DeBenedetti is the workhorse for the application process, compiling a 20+ page report detailing the reason for the variance request, specifics of the property – including photos and maps – and reporting on whether or not the application meets the six criteria for approval. In Plumlee’s case all six were met. Next the applicant may speak. Plumlee had little to add except to thank DeBenedetti and to clarify that the driveway was already in existence. Following the applicant, other proponents may speak and then any opponents will have their say. Plumlee was the lone speaker for his application.
The hearing is then closed or continued to a date certain and the commissioners proceed with deliberations/discussion and a decision (if the hearing closes). Plumlee’s variance was approved with a 4/0 vote (Commissioner Steve Mitchell was absent).
Following the hearing, commissioners began their New Year’s tasks of setting some short and long term goals. Proposed goals included work on the riparian ordinance project, completion of the sign ordinance and public outreach/education. Possible goals will be compiled, reviewed by City Council and then set in a future Council/Commission meeting. Lastly the Commissioners also discussed forming several sub-committees who will be tasked with achieving the goals once they are set.