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HDC_10 09 2017Page 1 of 7 LITTLE ROCK HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION MINUTES Monday, October 9, 2017, 5:00 p.m. Board Room, City Hall Roll Call Quorum was present being six (6) in number. Members Present: Chair Dick Kelley Vice Chair Ted Holder Toni Johnson Jeremiah Russell Dale Pekar Amber Jones Robert Hodge Members Absent: Lauren Frederick City Attorney: Debra Weldon Staff Present: Brian Minyard Citizens Present: Frank Barksdale James Sullivan Approval of Minute Commissioner Jeremiah Russell made a motion to approve the July 10, 2017 minutes as amended. Vice Chair Ted Holder seconded and the motion passed with a vote of 4 ayes, 0 noes, and 1 absent (Frederick) and 2 abstentions (Jones and Hodge). Note for the record that no meetings were held in August or September 2017. Mr. Brian Minyard, Staff, made a note to the record that this was a public hearing and that all citizens are invited to speak. DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax: (501) 399-3435 Page 2 of 7 DATE: October 9, 2017 APPLICANT: Staff ADDRESS: District wide REQUEST: Committee for preapplication meeting During one of the Preservation Implementation Committee meetings, there was discussion of the possibility of a preapplication meeting between applicants, staff, and commission members for infill buildings. Staff would like to present this item to the full commission for discussion and possible implementation. Staff has spoken with Catherine Barrier, AHPP CLG coordinator, and she is unsure if any other Arkansas CLG practices this mandatory preapplication meeting. She did mention that Russellville has started along this path, but has not completed it. A call was made to Kurt Jones, Staff for Russellville CLG, and they have not im plemented anything thus far. Also, see QQA letter attached to the end of this item. The purpose of the pre-application meeting would be to have a public meeting (meaning that the press is alerted that a meeting will be held with two or more commissioners present) with the applicants, the applicant’s architects, designers, commission members, and staff to discuss upcoming projects on a conceptual level or preliminary design level. This has the possibilities of several positives. 1) The applicant can save design money and time by discerning what aspect of the project is of concern to the commissioners, 2) This can save multiple hearings on the same project that are required by edits and redraws, and 3) This can build goodwill between the commission and the public by listening and working with the applicants in an informal environment. The negative of this would be 1) the tendency of commissioners to design the project for the applicants, and 2) Some applicant may not be ready for their project to go public at the time of the preapplication meeting. There are multiple factors to consider on how this would work. Mandatory or voluntary: The original discussion was mandatory for all infill buildings. Discussions could be beneficial for all applicants, rehab or infill. What if they were individually listed on national register, have conservation easements, are contributing versus non- contributing? DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT 723 West Markham Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201-1334 Phone: (501) 371-4790 Fax:(501) 399-3435 www.littlerock.gov STAFF REPORT ITEM NO. VII C. Page 3 of 7 Size of project: Do major additions to structures in the district require a pre-application meeting? What would be the threshold of the addition size? A percentage increase or a minimum of ‘x’ square feet or whichever is smaller? Time of meeting: Some commissions have met immediately before or after the regular hearing. This could stretch out the meeting at the end of the work day, but would limit the meetings to once a month. With the deadline for filing the Friday before the hearing, Applicants may be tempted to try to file the next morning and ask for exemptions to the deadline. A pre- application meeting after the legal ad was published and in the middle of the cycle, could give the applicant time to finish or revise drawings in time for the normal filing deadline. Location of meeting: Planning Commission has subdivision meetings in the boardroom with the addition of tables on the floor of the boardroom which gives you more of a workgroup environment. Another option would be to have it in the Planning Department conference room which holds a dozen people. How many commissioners: The PIC (Preservation Implementation Committee) has three of the seven commissioners which is less than a quorum. The Planning Commission has 2 committees, the Subdivision and the Plans committee, which are five members out of an eleven member commission. Again, this is one less than a quorum. These meetings would be required to have notification of the press because there would be two or more commissioners present. Discussions in the PIC meetings focused on the members consisting of the Chair, the QQA representative and the architect. Any comments made in the pre application meetings would be considered non-binding. Any applicant may request a pre-application meeting. The HDC Bylaws state under Article III Officers 1 c: c.The Chair shall present to the Commission for its approval the names of all persons appointed to committees established by the Commission. The Chair shall designate one (1) member of such committee to serve as the committee Chair. The Little Rock Planning commission mandates preapplication conferences on Planned Zoning districts and plats over ten acres. These are with Staff only. The following text describes other committees and how they are structured. The Planning Commission Bylaws describe Standing Committees and their role. A.Standing Committees - Standing Committees may be created by the Planning Commission and charged with such duties as the Commission deems necessary or desirable. Such Committees shall be composed of two or more Commissioners, but less than a quorum of the full Commission, and shall hold membership for one year or until succeeded. 1.The Subdivision Committee shall be composed of five (5) members appointed by the full Commission and include Planning Commission members only. The Committee shall act as a review body for all conditional use, site plan and planned zoning development issues in addition to platting matters. Page 4 of 7 2. The Plans Committee shall be composed of five (5) members appointed by the full Commission and include Planning Commission members only. The Plans Committee shall act as a review body for all master plan elements, ordinance amendments and other project activities as may occur from time to time as referred by the Planning Commission. STAFF RECOMMENDATION: October 9, 2017 Staff recommends that the commission explore this matter for the above listed variables and any other so discovered. COMMISSION ACTION: October 9, 2017 Brian Minyard made a presentation of the item to the Commission. He clarified that this was a product of the guidelines revision, not the Preservation Implementation meetings. He added an update on different cities in Arkansas and what they do. Russellville has not implemented these meetings. Sandra Smith in North Little Rock stated that their attorney has encouraged them to have these meetings, but no process has been formalized. Fort Smith has a set up similar to Little Rock. They have other pre-application meetings for zoning and subdivision items. They are set up by ordinance. They encourage meeting for HDC but there is not a formalized process. Mr. Minyard spoke to the time of the meeting whether it is at the end of the public hearing or a different time and place. Frank Barksdale, AMR Architects, said that a pre-application meeting would be a good thing to take a pulse on what could be or would be approved. He thinks that they could get to a rough design quicker and spend less time on schematic design. He said that it would be a benefit to design professionals and that a developer may save design dollars. James Sullivan, AMR Architects, supports the idea of meetings to make adjustments and can work towards solutions with more input from the Commission. Commissioner Jeremiah Russell asked Mr. Barksdale if he looked at the guidelines and the response was yes. Commissioner Russell asked if they found the new guidelines more helpful. Mr. Barksdale said that they would be more helpful. Ambiguities will always be there, but they are better than the old ones. Commissioner Russell said that they did not want to design by committee and beholden to the whims of the opinion. Mr. Barksdale stated that unless you have a strict code like Seaside, Florida, the guidelines are unable to come up with all of the possibilities that could appear. He knows that the conversations would be non-binding and there could be some comfort level or change directions on the design. Commissioner Dale Pekar asked him if he thought it should be mandatory or voluntary. Mr. Barksdale said that he would prefer voluntary but may not want to wait for filing deadlines. Commissioner Kelley said that the 900 Scott Street apartments are looking good. Vice Chair Ted Holder thought that it would be beneficial to have the meeting mandatory for larger scale projects. He thought it was a good idea overall, and could lessen anxiety. He asked Staff whether this would be part of the commission or the whole membership of the Page 5 of 7 commission. Mr. Minyard responded that the thought was that it would be three members of the commission. Three cannot be a quorum. Commissioner Amber Jones commented that Capitol Zoning District has three meetings on each item with the advisory committees. She said that it might be better to make it voluntary, but it may be better for first time applicants to go through the process. They do not know what they do not know. She can see both sides of the argument. Commissioner Russell related his experience in working with Jennifer Carmen on the porch renovations on Scott Street. He would encourage it for any applicant. He recommended going through the guidelines with the applicants. He mentioned 1014 Rock Street with the roof changes and that it could have reduced the number of meetings for them. Commissioner Pekar commented that if the committee liked it and then the whole commission voted it down, would it be better to have the whole commission present at the pre-application meeting. Chair Kelley said with a committee, it would be non-binding. Commissioner Russell added that it would be for the commissioners on the committee to say that they had concerns if it fit the guidelines, not if they would vote for it or not. Commissioner Robert Hodge asked if it could delay projects. Vice Chair Holder said that it depended on how it was set up. Capitol Zoning committees record whether they recommend or not. This committee will not make recommendations. Commissioner Russell stated they the committee could make recommendations based on the guidelines, scale, proportion, etc. The comments would be non-binding and the committee would not be casting a vote on the item. Vice Chair Holder suggested they only speak of the guidelines, whether they meet them or not. Commissioner Russell asked if we had minutes of the Pre-application meeting, would those become part of the record. Chair Kelley asked for a motion on the item. Commissioner Russell made a motion for the Commission to explore creating a committee for the purpose of pre-application meetings. Commissioner Pekar seconded and the motion passed with 6 ayes and 1 absent (Frederick). Chair Kelley spoke of how this topic would be discussed and when. Would it be working sessions like the guidelines or do we do it in a public hearing. Mr. Minyard said that it could stay at the bottom of the agenda until it is ready to pr esent to legal for their analysis. Or, they could go down the list and continue to discuss it tonight. The commission will need to come up with some definite answers and language on each of those topics plus others. The conversations continued with Commissioner Russell suggesting that it be kept as part of the regular agenda but not have any citizen comment on the items, to maybe close the public hearing portion and then have the discussion afterwards. He asked if it would be part of t he minutes if it was held after the meeting. Ms. Weldon said that it would be possible to close the public hearing and have the discussion afterwards but the discussions would be included in the minutes. Commissioner Russell advocated that the meetings be after the regular hearing and the committee of three stay afterwards to have the pre-application meeting. Commissioner Jones commented that if the regular agenda was long, what would happen to the pre-application meeting items and would they be deferred to the next month. Page 6 of 7 Mr. Minyard said that it depended on the timing of the meeting. The filing deadline for the next hearing is the Friday before. The applicants will need time to revise their drawings before the filing deadline. The question is whether they want the preapplication meeting a full month before the filing deadline or if they want it two or three weeks before. Commissioner Russell suggested having at least two weeks to revise the drawings before the filing deadline. Vice Chair Holder suggested that it be held somewhere else and not be such a formal meeting. Commissioner Jones asked in the last two years would have benefitted from a pre-application meeting. Commissioner Russell responded several. She asked Mr. Barksdale if it would have been beneficial and if he would have attended a pre-application meeting. He responded yes to both. Mr. Sullivan said that on small jobs, you would need to stress benefits of coming to the meeting or make it mandatory in some instances. Vice Chair said that some small scale applications would have benefited from a pre-application meeting. Chair Kelley asked about the notification of property owners for a pre-application meeting. Mr. Minyard noted that the press would need to be notified but that no notification of neighbors would be necessary at that time. The meeting dates could be set in the calendar that was adopted at the end of the year. A public hearing would be advertised on the city website but would not require notice of property owners in the area of influence. Ms. Weldon said that she would look into if the applicants would have to send out two sets of certified mail. She will also look at other issues before the next meeting. Mr. Minyard added that the pre-application meeting, by definition, would be before any application would be filed which could make a difference on what Ms. Weldon has to research. Ms. Weldon asked what would be different in what Staff has done before in meeting with the applicants before filing. Mr. Minyard said that Staff would continue to do that, but sometimes the Commission has voted differently than what Staff anticipated. The final vote is still at the public hearing. The pre-application meeting gives more voices to the applicant instead of just Staff. Commissioner Russell suggested that some would be mandatory while some, maybe not visible from the street, would not be mandatory. He continued that in Savannah Georgia, the process is three months. The first month is design only, the second month is materials review, and the third month is the public hearing. The applicants are not allowed to jump ahead in the discussion by discussing materials in the first meeting, etc. Their three meetings are mandatory. Staff was asked to get a copy of Annapolis’s procedures. Vice Chair Holder said that there were open questions on the timeline of meetings. Chair Kelley asked Debra Weldon to come back to the commission with the City Attorney’s thoughts on this, encouraged commissioners to put together some thoughts on the subject and for Staff to provide some examples. Discussion will continue next month. Other Matters: Enforcement issues Staff had none to report to the Commission Certificates of Compliance A spreadsheet was distributed to the Commission earlier in their packets. Citizen Communication There were no citizens that chose to speak during citizen communication. Adjournment There was a motion to adjourn and the meeting ended at 5:55 p.m. Attest: ;k� G'c , Y� Chair Secretary /Staff lc - l -S - Date 2 7 Date Page 7 of 7