Transcription of recording of Board of Supervisors Special Meeting 11-19-09       

total time 54 minutes - time markers indicated by [X:XX]
unintelligible comments are in [  ] or indicated by .... or by ? if unsure of a particular word

Key to abbreviations:
    OBOO - Owner Builder Opt Out
    CC - Cochise County

present: Ortega, Call, English, Searle; Buchan, Hanson, Howard, Vlahovich, someone from Human Resources;
H Jackson, Porier + 3-4 other people. There were no introductions. The public did not have an opportunity to speak.

I started recorders a little late, these lines summarize --

Buchan - a continuation of previous meeting on the Owner-Builder Opt Out [OBOO]. At the previous meeting, the Board discussed extending the OBOO to areas other than those designated RU-4. Says staff was asked to do more research...

Transcribed from the recorder --

Buchan: ...directed to do a little more research on options for creating separation of the guide for the OBOO versus just zoning district and growth plan areas the way it is now. I have the existing OBOO amendment [mumbling -- Buchan passes copies of the OBOO to a few people around the table] ... take a copy of that. Let me give you a little background to refresh everyone's memory. In CC, an average house is about 2300 sq. ft. and an acre is 43, 560 sq. ft., plus or minus, and this is a constantly changing thing every time we rezone, plus or minus 90% of CC is zoned RU-4, a minimum of four acres per dwelling unit. We have a few other zoning districts that require four acres minimum but they are minor. Most of the four acres are RU-4. Currently, setbacks in RU-4 are 20 feet, except for Special Uses which are double. So what this creates is a potential for houses in RU-4 that are rural that qualify for the OBOO to be 40 feet apart, both houses 20 feet from the property line minimum. Given that we don't have the opportunity to inspect or review plans for houses where owners opt out, we wanted to find a way to do two things. One - to find some flexibility for owner-builders who want to build in other zoning districts but two - keep intact building safety elements and separation. There is a possibility - the most dramatic things in houses that happen that are dangerous are explosions from gas furnaces and fireplaces and to a lesser extent ranges. Of all the things that I think can happen in a house fairly quickly that can affect your neighbors in a very negative way, not to mention yourself. Those are probably the most common things that happen.


Buchan: So after our first work session, we looked at some -- I did a little more research and there were some questions brought up by the public, and by the Board, what the possibility of problems with OBOO houses are, we don't have any established research to go by on OBOO homes. They may or may not have any additional safety issues, and in fact many owner-built homes are extremely nice homes, they are built very well. I mean, the problem is that the issues caused by things like fireplaces and furnaces are not necessarily craftsmanship issues, these could be a simple thing like a nozzle is blocked up in a furnace in a very, very nice home, the gas backs up in it, the electronic ignition sparks, and Boom! This is not, this is not - I just want to make it clear - this is not some kind of verdict on owner-builder homes, not being quality homes, it's just that without the opportunity to review plans for placement and actually inspect, there is no way we can verify that installation is done properly. There may be actual mechanical defects in the unit, so I just want to be clear about that.


Buchan: The three leading causes of residential fires in order are cooking, heating appliances, and arson. Currently our OBOO option as I mentioned that are allowed in areas that are RU-4 and SM and SR with four-acre minimum. There's a SM-187which is 187,000 sq.ft. Category D, much of the county is Category D, that's the rural category, with a rural or rural residential designation. One other issue is that there are times when people who take the opt-out option have had difficulty satisfying lenders and insurance companies requirements, and I just make that note, what we've found is basically the full OBOO folks [...] the literature and they may have that difficulty. It's not a county issue, but it's just an issue that sometimes comes up. Lenders especially lately have been very strict [?] about that.


Buchan: So I just wanted to - I don't want to overstate the frequency with which these kinds of things happen, but this particular one had a good definition of what can happen if a furnace blows up [Buchan shows a slide of a news article or report]. This was last year, a year ago, in Blue River CO which is a real rural place that didn't have any local fire district nearby. It was a log home. Basically what's interesting here is they talk about the 60 foot flames, and there was a video with this that I couldn't get to work, and basically a witness says that the logs, which were about 1000 pounds apiece, blew about 30 feet. So this is something that is really significant. And also, something interesting about this, we don't know if this person opted out of the building code [...] but this is a $521,000 home, I just wanted to use this as an illustration, this is not a verdict on style or quality of home, this can happen anywhere. And last night, when I was putting the finishing touches on this, I just googled recent gas furnace explosions in houses just to see how often this happens. These are the two that popped up most recently. So about once a month, someone's house blows up. So it does happen, this is not a once-a-decade issue, so we do want to [...] on safety.


Buchan: So what I've done, is I've made some slides -- these are about four-acre parcels, and I have one that's a two-acre parcel, and I just wanted to illustrate what the effect of some setbacks on a just-over four-acre parcel would be, and the house I'm using is a 2800 sq.ft. house, a little larger than the typical house in our county.

 [Buchan shows several slides. The house is a colored block in the middle of the larger green four-acre block. Slides show the effect of a 150 foot, 100 foot, and 75 foot setback, which are shaded in the diagrams]

Buchan: The reason I want to [...] this a 150 foot setback on a four-acre parcel is when you start having that setback what you're left over with is the residual area here - the red part is the initial building footprint. It's important as we think about setbacks that we do leave some flexibility. If there was a wash going right through that or the best tree on the property going right in the middle of that, you might want to move. So you don't want setbacks so restrictive that there's only one place on a perfectly square parcel. We also want to have safe setbacks. So here's 150 foot setback, then 100 foot setback, and if you look at the little sidebar on there, that's a little over an acres in building area, so now you are able to move that house around and pick an appropriate spot and still be within 100 foot setback. And then a 75 foot setback on a four-acre parcel leaves quite a large area, residual building area and still meet your setbacks. And again, these are square parcels so this is the ideal, but that's one of the reasons we wanted to leave the setback open. On a two-acre parcel, when you have a 150 or 200 foot setback, there's no residual building area. So with that setback you're out of the opportunity to have a house of any size, or any house at all. A 100 foot setback, we'll look at that one [...] I think you understand, 100 foot setback you've got a lot - uh - this happens to be 300 x 300, just over two acres, a 100 foot setback yields a 10,000 sq. foot footprint for building, that's the gold color. So it leaves some possibilities. So that's a look at how those setbacks affect.


Buchan: I also want to run through here how our local county incorporated areas deal with building codes. They all have building codes of different levels. Sierra Vista has pretty much adopted all of the 2003 available building codes, Douglas has 2006 [...] 2003 [...] 2000 Huachuca City. But all of our surrounding areas have adopted a measure of building codes. And also counties, the only county missing is Greenlee County here being the only one that does not, they have an Informational Permit. The rest of these have at a minimum the 2000 building code, International Building Code. Most of them have 2003 or 2006 building code. That gives you an idea of where we are in terms of other codes. Then I did a little bit of research on is our owner-builder option - are we being flexible, are there other places that have it? Actually I was somewhat surprised to find that we're unique in AZ, there's no place in AZ that has this kind of program, and in fact from the research I could do, I could find no evidence that any other place in the United States allows this flexibility. It's a very flexible system. Mendocino County owner-builder plan is actually more stringent than it seems. [Buchan rattling paper obscures words] [...] owner-drawn plans, expected to be reviewed just like any other plan and inspections to be done like any other building. What it means is that the owner can do the plans, essentially, which is true in most cases in AZ. Island County in Washington had an amendment like ours but had to revoke that because of the state of Washington adopting the state liability code. Here are some links that anyone who is interested can follow to find those codes.


Buchan: So after sorting through all of this information, my take on this was that 100 foot setback offers a substantial building site on a four-acre parcel, and an adequate building site for a two-acre parcel and would accommodate smaller parcels that adhere to the setback. And allows for irregularly shaped four-acre parcels and maybe three-acre parcels that are out there in proper zoning that might qualify for OBOO. The photographic evidence and witness descriptions of situations where these furnaces blow up indicate the materials alone can be catapulted from 20 to 50 feet. So I think we have to keep that in mind. A 100 foot boundary or setback would assure that the debris wouldn't collide with adjoining structures or more likely [... burn?] structures beyond the property line - collide with anything on someone else's property. And just to note, if we were to adopt a different criteria than we have now, that actually mandates separation versus zoning district. We have to do a couple of things. We have to revise the owner-builder option we have now and our zoning regulations in the section that was specifically designed when the owner-builder came out that defines rural as category D, RU-4, we have to change that. That would require a recommendation from the P&Z Commission. I believe legally, is that right? [someone says "yes"] the idea is to go to the P&Z Commission and then come to the Board.

Searle: Would you explain that again? I understand you need to change the building - uh - OBOO option, how does it tie into the P&Z Commission?

Buchan: In the P&Z regulations, [someone hands Buchan a copy] Section 508 is called Rural Zoning Districts. And I'll just read it. It's very brief, I'll just read it. "For the purposes of application of building codes, all lands in Category D (Rural) Areas shall be considered rural zoned areas. Certain lands within the above Areas, as specified in the ordinance establishing building codes, as currently adopted or as hereafter may be amended, may be exempted from the Cochise County Building Safety Code by the Board pursuant to A.R.S. section 11-861" The reason we did that, in that ARS section, it says the Board may exempt certain areas from building codes that are defined rural. So we defined rural here as Category D, 4 acres. If we were to adopt a separation minimum, we'd have to change the language so that for the purposes of the building code, rural would be redefined as a parcel that has the ability to have X number of feet setback.

Searle: Does that definition have to be in the Planning & Zoning regulations?


Hanson: No, I mean there's other ways to have done it - so - if we could go back in time, we could have written a provision that would allow the change just by ordinance, separate from the Zoning Regulations. But this is what we did. So right now we have to go through the amendment language. But you bring up a good point. Something you might want to consider doing if you are going to send it back to the Commission this time, is then change the Zoning Regulations to give flexibility so if you want to change it in the future you don't have to go all the way through this process. But this is what we did. So because our Planning and Zoning Regulations define "rural" if you want to change that definition you are in effect changing the Zoning Regulations. As I said, it didn't have to be done that way, there's a way we could have done it that would be a less onerous procedure.

English: So am I to understand that any recommendation that we have today, the recommendation goes to the P&Z Commission?

Hanson: Right.

English: So what I mean to say, what we're saying here doesn't mean anything.

 [English and Hanson interrupt each other]

English: [...] comes back to us for final approval.

Hanson: The P&Z Commission makes recommendations to the Board...[...] so if they decide to do something -

English: That's what I meant. Why would we send our recommendations to a board that only makes recommendations to us?

Call: Public hearing process.

Hanson: Yeah, well we could still do the public hearing process at the Board level. Even if you did the - I'll come back to your question in a second -

 [talking over each other "Let me tell you about procedure" etc.]


Hanson: Logically, I understand that but the Statutes define the logic we have to follow. And because you are changing the zoning regulations it's required that we go through that process. Even if we do what I said we could do in the future, which is amend the Zoning Regulations so if you want to change it in the future, if you don't want to go through the P&Z Commission, you would still have to have a public hearing, and there would be an ordinance you would have to revise, so we have to have at least a 15-day - I think it's 15-day - notice. So no matter what, even if we had been - had the foresight a couple of years ago to have zoning regulations that didn't have to go through the P&Z Commission, you could still do what you want and you could just be done with it. [stumbling] With a 15-day notice.

English: Uh...

Hanson: Yes, your question, I understand, you're having a Work Session, you need to come to a conclusion what this Board wants, so logically why go through the Planning & Zoning Commission? That's a good question.

 [all talking]

English: So the definition, is that what we are going to recommend? To the P&Z Commission? I thought it was more finite than that, that we were looking at establishing X number of feet from the property line as being the trigger.

Hanson: Well...

English: Are we making two recommendations? I'm looking for what kind of recommendation we need.

 [all talking]

Buchan: I didn't want to muddy the waters by bringing this in, I just want to make the Board aware that there was a part of the Zoning Regs that needed to be changed. I think the primary thing is you are looking at creating separation as the criteria - in other words setbacks as the criteria if you are opting out. You would - you would make a recommendation about that. I'm just making you aware that in the process of changing our current OBOO program we will also have to make a change to Section 508. And so [..] we got to do to make everything fit.


Vlahovich: Madame Chair, that section was originally in zoning regulations because we exempted certain growth areas from the Building Code. Years ago it said excepting Categories B, C, D.

English: Right, I remember that well.


Vlahovich: That's why it was there originally, we just had to modify it because of Statute. Statute said we needed to define what rural is if we were going to exempt certain areas. .

English: So what we're looking for today is --..

Searle: I got an idea here. O-kay. There are several ways of approaching this. Um - in reading the definition here, it says "all category D." I guess we are looking at broadening the opt-out to other growth categories. So the only way we can do that is [to change rural?] It does make sense that we have to change what our definition of rural is. I guess the next question is - before we go with a motion on this - is do we want - right now the opt - owner builder - is limited to those who have four acres or more, and are zoned RU, SM, and SR. And the thought here is to broaden it to anyone who has sufficient acreage to have the setbacks we are talking about. I guess the question is, do we want to allow smaller parcels, smaller than four acres to be able to be considered rural? That takes us back to the setback, if they have the setback.

 [all talking]

English: What we're concerned about should be is this appropriate for safety because that's supposedly why we have the Planning and Zoning, because of safety.

Searle: Right. Doesn't matter what - how much...I was - you know - in the five years I've been on the Board, all I've heard is "RU-4 is rural."

English: Now you know it isn't.


Searle: So using that criteria, I was thinking, I didn't have a problem leaving the four acre minimum in there, to be defined as rural. Because if you do have a one-acre parcel or two-acre parcel, even if you have the setbacks, you could be coming in an area that is - could be considered less rural.

English: Depends on what you think rural is.

Searle: Yeah, how do you define rural? I like the idea of going to the setback requirement as opposed to what the zoning is, because we have areas - we have people who have 40 acres that's all TR 36, they are in a rural area, they have the land, they're in a rural setting but because of the zoning they can't take advantage of the OBOO. So I like the idea of going to setbacks. Also in some of the heavier growth category areas, we have areas that may have 20 acres, they can't take advantage of this. Even though they do have plenty of ground for setbacks.

English: So what would be your recommendation to the P&Z Commission?

Searle: Actually it sounds like we need to change our definition of rural.

English: I was under the impression that if we send to them that we like the idea of setback, then that would automatically set into motion the change of the - uh...

Searle: ..definition of rural...

English: Yes, I don't think - that was originally my question, to find out if we need to do both, apparently one will start the ball rolling to get the other done. ..

Buchan: Madam Chair, I would just like to clarify. This particular section, is the definition of rural with regard to the building codes. Because there are definitions of rural for other - like Comprehensive Plan issues, much more major issues - so this is specific, we are changing the definition of rural as it applies to building codes [?] [all talking]

English: Haven't heard from you, Mr. Call.

Call: You're doing all the talking, doing just fine.

 [laughing and joking]


Call: [...] so we come up against a lot size that is long and narrow. What sort of flexibility do we have to allow folks to utilize that? With the setbacks, regardless of what they are.

Buchan: That would be where this actually becomes more restrictive. If you can't remain X number of feet from your neighbor's property, you would not qualify for the OBOO. .

Call: Would not preclude a home, they'd just have to use the code. .

Buchan: Because they have the potential to be much closer to their neighbor's home. ..

Searle: Right now there's a current 20 foot setback. So regardless, if you are going to go code or not code, you are going to have at least a 20 foot setback.

Buchan? Yes.

Searle: So, whether we go - depending on the setback requirement - you came up with the recommendation - you gave it 150, 100, and 75 foot - my question is, if we went down to 50 foot, you'd still have a 70 foot minimum setback. My concern is not so much the house itself as with the outbuildings. We start eliminating the setbacks, making bigger setbacks, lot of times people may want to build their house under the building code but they want to build their barn or shop or garage under the OBOO.

Call: There was a note I have here, would you address that now? The setback was based on the fact there may be something that would explode and hurt somebody else...

Buchan: That's right.

Call: But if there was nothing in that outbuilding that could explode, then what?....

Buchan: I think that's - definitely the setbacks - the 100 foot setback I recommend is based on a trajectory of something when it explodes. If there's a huge shop with a gas furnace, it would have the possibility of explosion, but if there's a horse barn, with no heat in it, you know, it had electricity, it has the opportunity to catch fire, but all of our structures with electricity have the opportunity to catch fire, that might be an area of [...]..

Call: What if it was an all-electric home that was heated and that was not using propane?

Buchan: Again - uh - that could - I uh -

Call: I guess my concern here is if someone comes to us and there's [construction? obstruction] like this, people that [counted on the owner builder ??] and we said no, that there's the ability to have some flexibility here, if what someone's doing doesn't exactly fit, and if there's - if it - if it's reasonable that they could have something closer to a lot line because they aren't using propane.

Buchan: One of the things that concerned me is the way we have it now you could be 40' from each other. The explosion possibility would - is definitely a major, immediate problem. The only thing I think we have to consider is if someone had an all-electric home, and the electric system was not inspected, and it was somehow default - faulty - in certain areas of the county it can take 20 minutes easily for a fire truck to get there. I throw it out there because we have to balance several things.

Searle: I've had some time to think about this. After our previous work session. And I personally think we could probably double, if we doubled our existing setback to 40 feet, including the 20 feet the neighbors have, would give an automatic 60 feet, and I have no problem with bumping it to 50 foot setback.

Call: For homes or uh --

Searle: Just any building. It gives the property owner the flexibility, that they can - uh - with sufficient buffer in there. Regardless of zoning, as long as they meet setbacks. I originally was going to stay with the four-acre, but the point I want to make is if they can meet the setbacks, it doesn't matter how many acres., one, two, twenty, or a hundred acres. So I guess that side of it doesn't make much sense. Just go with the setbacks. I recommend that we go with a 50 foot setback.


Call: The Department is recommending a hundred.

Buchan: Yes, and part of that is obviously [...] the debris, but, you know, if there's a distance between homes that when you hit someone else's property, you might not hit their home you might hit their child, their car, you might hit anything, so that was really, the impetus is safety, certainly we don't want home to home, but you could hit anything else someone might own that happens to be standing there when this happens, it's instantaneous. I want to be very clear these things have the potential to travel. We could have a -.

English: If someone has a contractor building their home, they can build within 20 feet of their property line. Things can still happen, do you see what I'm saying? I suggest we don't want to - we don't want to send the message that all of these are going to be junk homes, that are owner opt-out.

Buchan: Right, right.

English: They could be subcontracting to very reliable people to do the job for them.

Buchan: Yes.

English: And they don't want the government intervention. So I think that's what we're looking at, to establish a reasonable safety zone. Without getting too hyper about it, that these are going to be substandard properties.

Buchan: If I may, Madam Chair, I certainly don't want to send the message that these are substandard properties. In fact, an appliance can look brand new, out of the box, in an absolutely gorgeous home and have the potential to do this. When we find those, and we do occasionally find them, in our building inspections as well as electrical issues, it would almost be easier if it were oh this is a junk home. We shouldn't do this. It could actually be a very, very nice home that this could happen in, so that's my concern.

Vlahovich: Madam Chair, I just want to clarify something, you're not suggesting a minimum acreage, just a minimum setback.

Searle: Minimum setback.

Vlahovich: Now in existing RU-4 areas that could opt out with a 20 foot setback, are we now saying that in those areas we are going to require a 50 foot setback as well?


Searle: It would be 50 foot, it would be across the board, and that was the whole purpose of this, in rural areas, and actually Susan brought this up several months ago, that it uh --

English: ..If we want to retain the ruralness then people need to be farther apart. It's not condos, it's [...]

Ortega: Madam Chair, I have a question, it's more about logistics. Is it possible that the P&Z Commission and Board could meet jointly on this topic? Or have the Commission meet and address the issue, advertise two public hearings, one for the Commission and one for the Board on the same day?

Hanson: I wish I had a schedule in front of me -

 [all talking]

Vlahovich? ...have to be separate hearings

Hanson: The Commission has to meet to make a recommendation, there has to be a time period for advertising...

Vlahovich: 15 days after the Commission meets.

Ortega: Madam Chair, just one point, maybe there's a way, if there's a way, we could use some of that time -

Hanson: If I had the schedule in front of me, I might be able to figure out some way of doing that, but - uh -

Searle: Well, you know -

English: We're looking now for our recommendation to send to the P&Z Commission for their consideration of the change of the OBOO [NOTE: she actually said Owner Opter Build Out] from zoning to setback. But not yet.

Searle: I have another question, getting back to procedures here. If we change, even to change the ordinance on the builder opt out, what's it going to take, 15 days notice, what stops us - if we just changed the OBOO to say "rural areas of the county that can meet our setbacks" so right now, if we did that now, we could change it to the setback requirement, and until we change the definition in P&Z, only the only areas that would qualify would be Category D. Is that correct? Then after we change the P&Z ordinance, ti redefine rural, the other categories would come in to play.

Someone - Call? I'm not sure I follow that.

English: Are we making it more complicated?

Searle: Not necessarily. Staff is telling us we have to change P&Z regs before we can change our builder opt-out. I think we have the ability to do it at the same time. We can change our ordinance, and say rural areas of the county that can meet our setback requirements qualify for the builder opt-out. .

Hanson: Not sure I follow you. [...] You are effectively changing what we've got in Zoning Regulations, correct?

Searle: No, we're not. First step, we take our building opt-out ordinance, procedure, ordinance.

English: [...] in the county building safety code.

Searle: Right. We say instead of being areas zoned RU, SM, SR, 4 acres, [...] land, Category D, we say rural areas of CC which currently are defined as Category D, with 4 acres. All right, we change the wording in our ordinance to say rural areas of the county that can meet our setback requirements, so when we do that, if we change this first, then for a time certain the only areas that would qualify are Category D and RU-4, and I mean - .

[several talking at once, nobody seems to get what Searle is saying; then some discussion on how this would affect people applying for the permit]

Vlahovich: You are just not extending it to all the properties until we make changes in the Zoning Regulations.

Searle: Right.

Vlahovich: Changing the ordinance for this 45 day period does not apply to these properties you want to extend it to.

Searle: Correct.

 [all talking]


Hanson: In terms of real people, they haven't gotten [...]

Searle: Actually for real people, the people in Category D would be affected.

 [all talking]

Searle: Would still have to have a public hearing, but it wouldn't have to wait on the P&Z process, and then our own public hearing. I think -

English: I think he said we did have to. .

Hanson: Well just dealing with, if we did that procedure Richard, you'd wind up actually limiting the number of people that at least for a period of time, we'd be limiting the number of people who could take advantage of the opt out.

Searle: No -

Hanson: The setbacks would have been bigger and -

Searle: Actually, no. I disagree with that one. Because all we're doing now is saying the criteria to meet the opt-out is changed. Right now we're at - uh - 4 acres or larger, so nothing's really changed, if you have 4 acres and you are RU, SM, SR,4 acres, you can do it. And actually, any zoning in Category D would then qualify as rural. Because you are not limiting to RU, you are not limiting your definitions to RU, SM, and SR. If you are TR-36 in Category D and you have 4 acres or more, you'd qualify for the OBOO. Which you cannot do right now. So we would -

 Buchan?: What does 508 say?

Searle: [reading from Zoning Regs 508] "For the purposes of application of building codes, all lands in Category D...shall be considered rural zoned areas."

Buchan?: There's no acreage limit.

Searle: And there's no acreage limit. There's no zoning requirements. Zoning requirements are in our builder opt-out. So actually, we could, in a parallel process, we could go ahead and change the.......

Someone: You want your book back? [Talking and laughter]

 [Searle returns the Zoning Reg notebook to Buchan and Vlahovich]

Searle: Actually, in a parallel process we could amend our owner build out, which would broaden the application of it in Category D.

Vlahovich: It refers to the ordinance, which refers to the zoning districts, I think.

English: Let's make it clean. Today we are looking for a recommendation to use setbacks instead of zoning to send to the P&Z Commission

Call: I'd like to make a motion that we get rid of the builder opt-out all together.

English: Would you like to make that motion?

Call: I don't think I'd get a second.

Hanson: I'd like to suggest an amendment to that motion that we never talk about this ever again.

 [Laughter, all talking]


English: Can you just come down to a recommendation, a motion we can send to the P&Z Commission and we'll see if it flies.
Call: Before we make that motion I would like to point out that apparently you settled on 50 feet, the Department is recommending 100 feet, what we are talking about is health, safety, and welfare. The Dept. has made a good point with 100 foot setback. I recommend we consider going with the Department recommendation, if not that then I suggest 75 feet. rather than bring it down to 50. It makes a huge difference from a safety standpoint at 75. Fifty starts to overlap [bounds?]. As they have shown us.

Searle: My concern with the 100 foot is that it limits the outbuildings - the OBOO, we're talking barns, we're talking shops

Call: If they are not heated by propane

Searle: We're just saying if you want to build a structure...

Call: We need to discuss that. I thought that outbuildings were not a problem, period. I guess I missed that. I didn't think we needed to put something in about outbuildings could be 20 feet from the property line as long as they don't represent an explosive hazard like heating with propane or something like that. This issue comes down to safety. A home with a possibility of explosion is certainly an issue, but having an outbuilding that's a shed for storage, or whatever, that doesn't have that problem, why should it be included in the setbacks? The setbacks are solely for safety.

English: Are you also including them in the 20 foot setback? That 20 foot setback doesn't have to be for building [...]

 [all talking]

Call: Why not be able to put a storage shed 20 feet from the property line?

Searle: And opt out of the building code to put that - ....

Call: Yeah.

Searle: That's kind of where I was, the concern I had with the 100 foot setback requirements, that we have this proposal for a 100 foot setback, you couldn't build anything...

Call: Understood, understood. But I don't think we ought to put an explosive, the possibility of an explosion, closer than 100 feet [or 75?] But if you have an outbuilding that doesn't have those possibilities -

English: Well there are some outbuildings that don't and some outbuildings that do. If you are talking about a barn you have hay that can combust whether or not you've got a gas furnace in there.

 [All talking]

Call: The builder opt-out doesn't make any difference [practically?] along those lines so - -

English: That's what I'm saying, you know there's some validity in what you say but not total validity because some things that could be within 20 feet of the property line right now that certainly could explode.

 [All talking]

Call: Don't want to change that - [??]

English: You're saying you want to keep it at 20 - you're saying what?

Searle: I would go with 50 foot.

English: For all buildings.

Searle: For all buildings.


Searle: For the builder opt-out.

Call: Going back to my concern. Your point is the explosion being a lot closer than is recommended by the Dept. and [rattling papers, unintelligible] and I'd be willing to have a discussion of outbuildings - I don't see them as a safety problem -not near as much as a big home that close to the neighbors. You've seen the possibility of what could happen. It's just that 50 feet seems a little close to me [...]

English: How close are you to your neighbor?

Call: I have no idea. We are talking about something totally different here, I am assuming in a subdivision. I'm guessing our propane tanks have to be when I was thinking about it, at least 100 feet apart. And we have to have them so far away from the home, too.

English: So some kind of safety has been established here. Say you are 50 feet from the line, these other people are 20 feet, that's 70 feet - I don't know, what is the minimum that people establish as a safety zone? Is that 100 feet or anything?
Buchan: You know. that's what I was trying to come up with, basing it on the worst-case scenario. A big explosion goes 50 feet, potentially. So what's safe? To my thinking, safe is not impacting your neighbor, whether it's their house or their swing set, whatever is on the property. That's the reason. And the fact that most of our rural houses are not right next to a fire station. [...but that's the 100 foot ...]

English: So you'd be comfortable with 75 feet?

Call: Yeah, yeah.

 [all talking]

English: Let's keep it clean.

Call: Actually, I'm comfortable with storage shed 20 feet from the line, regardless. If this was not an OBOO, which means if it was done under the building code, the furnaces and stoves would be inspected. That's what we're concerned about. In that case we can put them up close to the property line.

Buchan: [...] and let me preface that. It would be, the normal setback would 20 feet, and we have right now the potential for a few homes that could opt out that could be 40 feet apart. [Call agrees] But we do a gas [...] our techs, our inspectors, look at those things and they catch them.


English: [...] get a motion.

Searle: You have a preference on setback?


Searle: I've expressed my thoughts, you haven't come up with anything.

English: Before the conversation here, I was thinking that - uh - if there was 50 feet on [both sides?] you'd have 100 feet, so in my mind I was thinking 100 feet would be a safety zone.

Searle: If you had two OBOO you'd have 100 feet.

English: Right. So, I hadn't considered there might be another home within 20 feet. So, I think the 75 I can certainly go along with. I don't think there needs to be 100. I think that's too limiting on a piece of property, but again the owner opter build out is 50 the other is 20, that's 70, if you give them another 25 feet, I don't think it's going to be too limiting to the builder, that it would provide that 100 of clearance, that's why I asked him the question of even in a subdivision how far apart are you? They're not really in town.

Searle: My biggest concern right now is dealing with my constituents who want to build their barn 30 feet from the property line, and not have to go through building, have to get a building inspection, have to get an inspection of the building, or they want to put in a newer building and go 30 feet from the property line, and not have to go through the process. What I'm trying to do is simplify some of our other rural building issues, not just building a house. That's my concern right now with - uh - the setback requirements. Even if you -uh - I don't want - I want to keep it clean as well. You don't want to have to say well, if you got a home, you have certain set of setbacks, but it starts getting a little more complicated. But that might be -

English: They'd come in and say I have the cement there, well next year they'd have [...], you see what I'm saying? So let's not complicate it with a whole bunch of other things, if we're going to have a setback, let's have a setback.

Searle: I would go with the 50 foot. And you are saying 75, Pat said he would go with 75. So it looks like ... [laughter]

English: That was a compromise on my part, he [Call] looked pretty adamant about the fact that he wanted 100 feet, so I'm saying "what's 25 foot?" You know, I'm -

 [all talking]

Call: I don't want to hold this up any more. If you say 50 feet, I'll vote for it. But I want to make sure my concerns are expressed for the record here, that I am concerned that it is half what the Department recommended, we could be sitting here two years from now and have something happen and think we could have been a little more careful ... [something about making it unanimous] I'd be much more comfortable with 75.

English: The Chair is looking for a motion.


Searle: I'll make a motion that we accept the staff recommendation to change the owner built out from a zoning to a setback requirement, regardless of category, regardless of acreage, and you know I - .

English: And the setback? Will be established at ---

Searle: I would establish it at 50 feet. That's what I think it should be. If I don't get a second for it, I'll go ahead and put it at 75.

English: That's pretty easy to [...] Is there

 [all talking]

English: No second.

Searle: I will change my motion to 75.

Call: Second.

English: Motion and second. Is there any further discussion? I think not. [laughter] All those in favor?


English: Let the record show we have an agreement ... [unintelligible, but they passed this unanimously]

Buchan: I polled the Commission if they would have a second meeting in December. I polled them last night at the P&Z Commission meeting. With our deadline the date would be December 23. I could not get a quorum but we didn't have them all there, so - in other words, a second meeting to, just to consider this. Just wanted to let you know - I will email those individuals who weren't there.
Searle: Just for - uh - I know we made a recommendation to change, with the setback, using the new definition. Is it critical that the P&Z definition for rural be changed before we can implement?

Hanson: Well I think your logic is impeccable. I think you can do that. I think it's going to be a lot more staff work and everything else, I think, to have another meeting, go through the P&Z Commission and have another meeting, uh - you can do it -

Searle: Actually, the way I understand the process is we can do a 15 day public notice, on the OBOO ordinance, changing it from zoning to setback, it's still [applying?] to rural areas, and until we can change the rural definition, other categories can't take advantage of this until we change the definition, which could [..]

English: I think if the Chair will ask the County Attorney to look at the most expedient way to handle this and then report back to us.

 [all talking]

Hanson: Well, I can do it right now, there is no question you can do that. But - I guess the - legally it can be done, whether you want added staff work and meeting time to do it is -

Searle: Why would there be more added staff?

Hanson: Because you'll have to put together the ordinance, have a meeting on it, you all put together agenda items -

 [all talking]

Searle: We're still going to have to have time to put the ordinance together, change the ordinance -

Hanson: And still going to have to put time and staff --

 [all talking]

Hanson: [...] the Board can do that, one supervisor can do that, I guess it's -

 [all talking]

English: Put it together in the most expedient manner....

Hanson: ok

English: Then give us that recommendation

Hanson: All right, ok.


English: Let's go on to item # 2.................................