Nolensville Planning Commission

Regular Meeting

September 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

Board Members Present:  Jimmy Alexander, Andy Grosson, Larry Felts, Bob Haines, Rick Owens, Doug Radley, Jimmy Reaves 

Board Member Absent:    Charissa Mishu 

Staff Present:    Henry Laird, Attorney Bob Notestine, Kali Mogul and Bob Hayes 

Citizens Present:       13 

1.  CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Chairman Rick Owens.

2.  PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance was led by Chairman Owens.

3.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A. Approval of minutes from August 9th Regular Planning Commission Meeting Chairman Owens made a motion to approve the minutes from the August 9th, 2011 Regular Planning Commission Meeting.  Commissioner Bob Haines seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.

B. Approval of minutes from August 30th Special Planning Commission Meeting  Chairman Owens made a motion to approve the minutes from the August 30th, 2011 Special Planning Commission Meeting.  Commissioner Larry Felts seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Jimmy Alexander announced that Commissioner Charissa Mishu recently had a baby girl.  He also mentioned there would be an Open House and Dedication Ceremony for the New Town Hall building on Monday, September 19, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.  Immediately following the Planning Commission Meeting, there will be a Public Meeting on Trails and Recreation grants.

5.  CITIZEN COMMENTS

None

6.  NEW BUSINESS

A.    Catalina Subdivision Phase 2 Construction/Floodplain Spoils Plan.

Tom White, attorney, represented the applicant Turnberry Homes.  Mr. White asked permission to distribute a written letter to the commission members with photos detailing support of the cut and fill operation in the Catalina subdivision (letter is attached to these minutes for reference).  Mike Wrye of Lose and Associates, also representing Turnberry Homes, was introduced to review the letter.  The points reviewed by Mr. Wrye were:

* In response to Town staff’s previous opposition to the spoils plan because it is contrary to the open space marked on the preliminary plat, the client states this area falls within the definition of open space; the mounded spoils area in the floodplain would be re-vegetated and maintained at a level “as good or better” than it is today.

* In response to the Town staff’s belief that the spoils plan is a violation of open space requirements. The client states the plan results in no reduction of open space.

* Town staff, pointing to the Zoning Ordinance and subdivision regulations, feels the spoils plan does not reserve natural and historic areas and amenities, with removal of trees.  The client is willing to replace specimen trees.

* In response to a question regarding disturbance of the floodplain area, the client states that there are 44.75 acres of floodplain on this subdivision property, and the spoils plan would impact 1.81, or 4%, of the floodplain in this area.

* Town staff previously mentioned that the proposed spoiling plan was not a permitted use of the area.  The client states that earthwork is a consequence of construction and therefore defined as a land use.

* On a question regarding topography in the area, the client states the grading plan proposed would provide a fill approximately 10-feet higher than the roadway elevation.  The client believes that considering the amount of open space, the mounding of spoils material would be no consequence to the area.

* In response to the question of subsequent mounds of material being generated from spoils, the client states that they do not anticipate having spoils of this magnitude in the future.

* In response to Town staff concerns about storm water impact, the client has conducted a flood study for the stream demonstrating a net decrease in the base flood elevation as a result of the grading proposed.

* In response to concerns about devaluation of existing homes, the client does not believe the mounding of spoils material will devalue the existing lots or those to be platted in the future.

* In response to the Town’s comment that there would need to be a good reason for the cut and fill operation, the client states that this is a standard practice in the construction industry in order to avoid hauling off spoiled material.

* In response to the “basic expression that the spoils plan is a bad idea,” the client states that the cost of removing this material is approximately $250,000.

* Mr. White stated that the client feels the plan meets the town regulations and will result in a huge financial impact. 

Chairman Rick Owens asked approximately how large the fill area will be.  Mr. Wrye stated that the surface area would be approximately the width of two lots—1.8 acres and 150-feet by 300 feet.  Mr. White added that the area would be seeded and strawed.  Chairman Owens asked to clarify the height of the fill area.  Mr. Wrye answered that it would raise 10-feet over the roadway elevation and the maximum depth at any one location would be 16-feet. 

Commissioner Bob Haines asked whether the hill would be on a slope.  Mr. Wrye and Mr. Michael Black of Lose and Associates stated there would be a slope with a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. 

Commissioner Doug Radley asked what the volume of the spoils material would be.  Mr. Black answered 30,000 yards. 

Larry Felts asked about a possible discrepancy in the amount of area disturbed.  The letter written to the Commissioners stated there would be 1.8 acres and 4 acres disturbed.  Mr. Wrye explained that the mounded spoils material represents 1.8 acres and another area would be cut to compensate for the filled area.  Together, the cut area and filled area equal approximately 4 acres. 

Commissioner Andrew Grosson asked about the amount of future excess material and where this material would be placed.  Mr. Wrye answered that he does not have any additional estimates on future spoils material and that any answer he could provide would be speculation. 

Commissioner Jimmy Reaves asked whether this spoils mound is common area that might require maintenance by homeowners in the future.  Mr. Wrye replied that the floodplain is common area.  Nicky Wells of Turnberry Homes concurred.  He explained that this area is currently left in a natural state and there is no maintenance there currently.

Mayor Jimmy Alexander expressed concern about the homeowners in the Catalina subdivision.  He said that when residents purchased their homes, the original plans for the subdivision showed an area marked as “open space” and that asking the Planning Commissioners to change the original plan would be tough and doesn’t seem natural.  Mayor Alexander also mentioned that in all the time that he worked with the Metro Planning Commission he never saw an area left for spoils in Planned Unit Developments and subdivisions.  Mr. White responded that his client will be financially affected by the outcome of this plan.  He said the current lots are hundreds of feet away from the proposed mounded area and appealed that individuals who may purchase lots in the future would see it in advance and be aware of the mound.  The client feels that this 150-foot by 300-foot area would be an amenity to homeowners. 

Mayor Alexander reiterated that the client is asking the Planning Commission to make a change to the original plan where open space is supposed to exist.  Mr. White stated there is no definition of open space.  It could contain trails, gazebos and play areas.  Mayor Alexander responded that there is a definition of open space in the town’s Zoning Ordinance. 

Open Space - The portion of a site consisting of reserved agricultural, forested or grassland common areas, not including required buffer yards.  Open space should clearly be an integral part of the development and remain undeveloped in perpetuity. 

Mr. White states that this area is currently undeveloped and would remain undeveloped.  It is a relatively small part of the open space.  He said he doubts that anyone who bought a lot in Catalina read the Zoning Ordinance on open space. 

Mayor Alexander also pointed out that according to the Subdivision Regulations 5.14 under Section 1, 

"Existing features which would add value to development and the Town as a whole, such as trees, drainage ways, streams, cemeteries, historic sites, stone fences, and similar irreplaceable assets, should be preserved to the greatest extent possible in the design of the subdivision…" 

Mr. White explained that any trees of stature would be replaced caliper per caliper.  Currently the area is inhabited mostly by scrub. 

Commissioner Owens, in looking at the preliminary plat, noted that the future phases are quite close to the proposed fill area.  Mr. White pointed out the current phase is actually thousands of feet away from the fill area.  The future phases would be adjacent to the area but completely aware of the mound in the open space. 

Commissioner Reaves pointed out that the fill area would be a permanent feature in the subdivision that would result in an endless expense and burden to the homeowners.  If the homeowners decide to maintain and mow the mound, the sides are so steep that it would result in ruts which would then need to be filled in and reseeded.  Mr. White answered that buildups of material are often considered amenities where gazebos can be placed.  The area is simply open space and the cost to maintain it would be negligible. 

Commissioner Reaves asked what depth of soil would be placed over the rock in the mounded area and up the side slope.  Mr. Wells said that typical depth of topsoil would be 12-inches.  Mr. Reaves said with a side slope of 3:1 would be nearly impossible to mow.  Mr. Wells said that currently the area is unmaintained and there are no plans to maintain the area in the future even after the fill is placed.  In his view, this area is the same as the other 40+ acres of open space in the subdivision.  

Mr. Wells also clarified that Section 2 of Catalina does not abut the fill area.  There is still another future section between the fill area and Section 2.  No lots in Section 2 have been sold. 

Mr. White restated that the client suggests leaving the proposed cut and fill area unmaintained.  This area is less than two acres of 40 acres of open space.  Once the residents take over the Homeowner’s Association, they will decide whether they want to maintain the open space area. 

Commissioner Reaves asked who currently controls the HOA.  Mr. White replied that the client, Turnberry Homes, currently controls the HOA.  Commissioner Reaves indicated that currently Turnberry Homes has the right to decide whether the mounded area is maintained, but eventually the homeowners will have the right to decide.  At that point, they may want to have the mounded area maintained, which would be expensive due to the topography.

Chairman Rick Owens concurred with the Mayor that several items are in conflict—there is a violation of the original preliminary plat showing tree preservation in the floodplain and open space area.  There also is a conflict with the Town’s subdivision regulations stating that open space should preserve natural features.  

Commissioner Bob Haines asked whether the handout distributed at the beginning of the meeting was the original plat.  Mr. White answered that it was.  Mr. Haines asked for an explanation about the location of the spoils in relation to home sites on the original plat.  Mr. Wrye indicated that the spoils area would be adjacent to two home sites.  

Chairman Owens acknowledged a citizen who asked to speak.  Ms. Joyce Powers, of 1023 Bitticks Creek, is the chairperson of the Trees and Trails Committee.  Ms. Powers asked whether the proposed cut and fill area is on what was the stream mitigation project.  Mr. White answered that it is not.  Commissioner Doug Radley asked whether the increased velocity of the stream due to the cut and fill would impact the wetland.  Mr. Wrye answered that there would be an increase from nine (9) to ten (10) FPS in channel velocity, which would be negligible and considered a manageable overbank velocity.  Generally erosion occurs when there FPS is in the four (4) to five (5) range. 

Commissioner Haines asked whether the study to determine these data assumed that homes would be built in this area.  Mr. Wrye answered that the hydraulic study conducted by an outside firm did take into consideration homes built in this area.  Mr. Wells mentioned that the subdivision is at the bottom of a watershed and they are detaining on-site. 

Town Planner Henry Laird said there were a few points to clarify from the letter distributed at the beginning of the meeting. 

* Mr. White’s letter indicated that the Catalina subdivision was approved prior to the establishment of storm water management provisions.  Laird said this information was incorrect. Mr. White’s letter indicates that Nolensville’s subdivision regulations allow for any cut and fill operation.  In fact, the storm water and floodplain regulations do not mention spoiling of excess material as an allowable use.  Under Section 18-305 A.11 subparagraph h sets forth conditions for which residential uses, meaning buildings, can be permitted for “lots of record” prior to April 1, 1981.  There must be “no other building site outside the floodplain available…” which clearly indicates that this section only applies to building a residential structure, not a pile of excess materials.

* Laird also pointed out that the landscape plan of the preliminary plat for the development shows trees being preserved in the proposed fill area.

 Chairman Owens made a motion for disapproval of the cut and fill as presented based on the following points: 

* The project does not preserve the natural beauty and topography of Nolensville. 

* Open space would not be left in its natural state as a result. 

* The proposed plan violates tree preservation mandates in the floodplain and open space areas. 

Commissioner Haines seconded the motion for disapproval.  The motion for disapproval passed unanimously. 

B.  Proposed Amendment to Subdivision Regulations Sections Regarding Bonding and Final Surface Installation. 

Mr. Laird explained the staff feels there should be an amendment to the Subdivision Regulations for performance and maintenance bonding to bring the Town’s operating policy in line with written regulations.  Town Attorney Bob Notestine mentioned that a public hearing should be set for the next Planning Commission meeting.  Chairman Owens polled the commissioners to find out whether they would be amenable to a public hearing on the amendment at the October 11, 2011 PC meeting.  By general consensus, all commissioners agreed to the public hearing.

OLD BUSINESS 

A.  Report from last BOMA meeting

BOMA passed second reading of the annexation ordinance requested by Mr. Yazdian.  It also approved the second reading of the zoning text amendment dealing with the non-conforming use sections of the zoning ordinance.  BOMA conditionally approved the release of Pinnacle Bank/Haley Industrial Park from maintenance bonding and acceptance of streets at such time when construction is completed and approved by the Town Engineer. 

B. Bond Actions:

1. Brittain Downs PUD, Phase 1, requests to move from performance bond to maintenance bond for a period of two years at $82,100.00.

      Chairman Owens made a motion to disapprove the request to move to maintenance and extend the performance bond.  Commissioner Reaves seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

2. Winterset Woods Sections 4A and 4B, request release from maintenance bond and acceptance by Town for maintenance. 

Chairman Owens made a motion to approve of release of Winterset Woods Sections 4A and 4B from maintenance bond and recommendation for acceptance by the town for maintenance to BOMA.  Commissioner Felts seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. 

3. Nolen Park Subdivision requests extension of performance bond for Landscaping, Phase 1 Storm Sewer and Roadway, Phase 1 Roadway, and Phase 2 Storm Sewer and Roadway. 

Chairman Owens made a motion to approve extension requests of Nolen Park Subdivision bonding.  Commissioner Grosson seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

 4. Bond Report

Chairman Rick Owens made a motion to accept the bond report, as amended.  Commissioner Reaves seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. 

OTHER

A.  There will be a public meeting and workshop after the Commission meeting to discuss possible walking trail/recreation grant applications.  Please stay and offer your input into the development of future trail and related plans.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 8:11 p.m.