Joint Meeting Council/Planning Board 6-29-15


                                                                 VILLAGE OF FOREST HILLS

                                                                             June 29, 2015



The joint Planning Board and Council work session meeting of the Village of Forest Hills was held at the Webster Town Hall at 6:00pm on June 29, 2015.


The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Ron Mau

Councilmember Carl Hooper

Councilmember Dan Perlmutter

Councilmember Clark Corwin


The following member of the Planning Board were present:

Steve Brown

Lee Budahl


The following Non-Council members were present:

Stephanie Gibson, Town Clerk

David Moore, Village Attorney

Tanner Hall, Sylva Herald

Gerald Green via Skype, Professional Planner


1)      Call to order:  The meeting was called to order at 6:00pm by Mayor Kolleen Begley. 

2)      Review & discussion of Gerald Green’s recommendations:  Councilman Corwin shared that the Planning Board recommended that discussions about changing the ordinances for lot and house sizes be subbed out to a professional, he noted that Gerald Green is a Professional Planner and they retained him to advise them on how to proceed.

Mayor Begley summarized Gerald Green’s recommendations, he recommended reducing the lot size requirement to .05 acre or 1 acre lots if owner is on a well.  Mr. Green said that any size lot in Jackson County that needs a well, is required to be at least 1 acre.  Mr. Green noted that he did a sampling of lots in Forest Hills using 25 lots and noted that most that have a lot size of approximately ½ acre vary in width from 100 – 130 ft.  One lot of those sampled had a lot width of less than 100ft. He noted that the current required lot width of 100 feet for new lots and 50 feet for lots created prior to the initial adoption of the Village Zoning Ordinance is appropriate.  He also shared that of the developed lots in the Village that were sampled, all structures met the current required setback of 25 feet from the edge of the road right-of-way or 25 feet from the road centerline if no road right-of-way existed.  

Mayor Begley noted that she researched lots in the Village and found that approximately 87% of lots in the Village are less than 2 acre lots. 

Councilman Mau recommended that the Council may not want to reduce lots to less than 1 acre in order to reduce groundwater issues, less dense use of septic systems.  He told Gerald that he was confused about older lots, Gerald said that the county sub-division ordinance does not stipulate lot size, the set back is 25’ from pavement edge, and Councilman Mau asked if something from the center would be more accurate.  Gerald noted that measuring from the edge of the road is the most uniform practice.  Councilman Mau asked about the unpaved area and Gerald said it would be measured from the edge of the travel way.  He noted that the maximum setback would be 50”, he suggested looking at DOT’s guidelines to be uniform with all roads.  

Mr. Green recommended that the minimum house size standards for single family homes be eliminated.  He feels that the Village should allow the desires and needs of the home builders and buyers to dictate the size of their homes.  Also, he recommended that the standards for manufactured homes be revised to identify a minimum width (24 feet) for these structures in addition to the minimum square footage requirement.  

Lee Budahl said that he Googled information on house size trends and noted that the average home sizes were increasing according to the data he found, he asked Gerald where data indicating the trend was going toward smaller homes was from.  Gerald replied that he received data from Real Estate Brokers, Homebuilders, and the American Planning Association.  

Mayor Begley said that being employed in the Real Estate and Building Industry, she has seen evidence of smaller homes being most popular. 

Lee said that in keeping the aesthetics and ambiance he would recommend house sizes to be no less than the original requirement of 1300 sq., ft.  Attorney Moore said the Municipality should not look at concerns of aesthetics, they would be more appropriate for a Homeowner’s Association, he said there are legal issues that have to be considered.  Steve Brown asked Attorney Moore if legal cases have been filed regarding these issues, Attorney Moore said that the fight has not been about house size but about the number of non-related individuals that can reside in a single family residence. 

3)      Planned Community Standards:  Councilman Perlmutter asked Mr. Green about the Motel District being a greater vision, he asked if there was any avenue to discuss reviving the pool and/or tennis courts with the owners, Gerald replied that he feels it would come down to the Village wants to be involved financially and when that is determined, then you could approach the owners.  He recommended looking at the ongoing expense to be incurred Councilman Corwin suggested having a master plan for how to address the potential use of the pool and/or tennis courts, noting that the motel doesn’t operate as a typical motel, they only have a few rooms that they rent on a limited basis. 

Gerald recommended that the Village Planning Board work with the owner of the University Inn property and with Village residents to identify future uses for the property that would meet the goals of the property owner and be compatible with the surrounding properties and community as a whole.  He said upon an identification of an agreement for potential future uses of the property, the zoning classification should be revised to incorporate these uses. 

Planned Community Standards:  Gerald summarized his recommendations, he said that the Golf Course property has Powell Bill eligible roads that the Village could receive funding for.  Mayor Begley asked Gerald if he would be able to write these ordinances if applicable and he said that he could. 

Attorney Moore asked Gerald if it is typical for a developer to disclose how they intend to finance a development, Gerald replied that he has never known a developer to disclose this information.  Attorney Moore asked about a policy on how the development will be completed, whether in phases or at once.  Councilman Hooper recommended having a completion bond.  Gerald noted that an assurity bond would only take care of public areas.  Attorney Moore said that he does not feel that there is anything wrong with requiring a plan from the developer.

Steve said that he felt the Village and/or Planning Board need to communicate with the developer to at least discuss the concept and possibility.  Councilman Corwin said that Mr. Green is looking for benefits from the Village in order to create a green space.  Gerald noted that Chris would get tax benefits if it were given as a donation. 

4)      Review and discuss map from Chris Green:  Council reviewed the revised map that Mr. Green provided and noted that the map seem to be more in line with what the community desires were as identified at the charrette.  Council feels that further discussion and review of Mr. Green’s development plan is necessary to be able to discuss further.

 5)      Outside professional assistance with a Master Plan for Village:  (Kristy Carter was recommended by Gerald Green):  Mayor Begley said that the Council needs to further define Planned Community Standards and when they are defined, Gerald could write them.  She asked where Kristy should be involved and Gerald said she could assist with defining standards. 

Councilman Corwin provided slides as examples of mixed use developments. 

6)      Adjourn:  At 8:05pm Councilman Corwin made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Perlmutter, unanimously approved.