Section 260 - Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals
Section 260:00. Planning Commission. A planning commission is hereby continued as heretofore established to be known as the "Planning Commission of the City of Owatonna." Said Commission shall consist of seven (7) members, one (1) member of which shall be appointed from each Ward and two (2) from the City at large. The Mayor shall seek candidates for each Planning Commission position. Candidates will be reviewed by a committee of the Mayor, President of the Planning Commission and City Planner, with recommendations forwarded to the City Council by May 30 for review and subsequent approval. Appointments made to fill mid-term vacancies shall be done so in an expeditious manner. Resignation from the Planning Commission shall be in writing, submitted to the Mayor, who shall notify the City Council and Planning Commission of the vacancy. Each member shall be appointed for a term of three (3) years. The members of the Planning Commission in office at this time shall hold office until the 30th of April of the year in which their terms expire and until their successors are appointed and qualified and the present series of staggered terms shall be continued. All department heads and other City staff members shall cooperate with the Commission, and upon request of the Commission, shall assist in every possible manner the work of the Commission. The City Planner shall act as Secretary of the Commission. The Commission shall annually elect from its members a President and a Vice-President to serve until their successors are elected and qualified. Members who have served for three (3) full, consecutive terms shall not be eligible for reappointment.
The Planning Commission may adopt by-laws and rules of procedures and operations consistent with City Ordinance and applicable State legislation, except that such by-laws must provide for a minimum of one (1) regularly scheduled meeting a month. Such by-laws shall be submitted to the City Council for approval.
Section 260:05. Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission is charged with the development and subsequent revision of the City's Comprehensive Plan. The content, form of the plan and procedure for plan adoption and amendment shall be consistent with State municipal planning legislation. After adoption, the Planning Commission shall submit to the City Council the Comprehensive Plan, any element of such plan, or revision of existing plan. After review, the City Council may, by resolution of a majority of its members, adopt and amend the Comprehensive Plan or portion of plan. Until so adopted by the governing body, the plan shall constitute only the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
After the Comprehensive Plan has been adopted by the City Council, no publicly owned interest in real property within the municipality shall be acquired or disposed of, nor shall any capital improvement in excess of $100,000.00 be authorized by the municipality until after the Planning Commission has reviewed the proposed acquisition, disposal or capital improvement and reported in writing to the City Council or other political subdivision concerned, its findings as to compliance of the proposed acquisition, disposal or improvement with the comprehensive municipal plan.
For the purpose of this Ordinance, capital improvements shall mean buildings or structures with construction costs in excess of $100,000.00; or the construction of community infrastructure including streets, sanitary and storm sewer, and water lines when such streets or lines shall extend into and serve a previously undeveloped or unserved area. The maintenance or replacement of equipment and the servicing of individual properties from the street to the building is not included. Failure of the Planning Commission to report on the proposal within forty-five (45) days after such a reference shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this provision. The City Council may, by resolution adopted by two-thirds (2/3) vote, dispense with the requirements of this subdivision when, in its judgment, it finds that the proposed acquisition or disposal or real property or capital improvement has no relationship to the comprehensive municipal plan.
Section 260:10. Plats. The Planning Commission of the City of Owatonna may establish such reasonable regulations and restrictions as they deem advisable to ensure the planned growth and expansion of the City of Owatonna, and said Planning Commission may prescribe requirements before approving plats.
Such regulations, restrictions and requirements shall be consistent with applicable State law. No plat shall be accepted or filed without the approval of said Planning Commission and of the City Council. All proposed streets and public ways on such plat shall conform to the plans of the municipality as indicated upon the official map.
Section 260:15. Official Map. The Planning Commission may provide for the future laying out of streets outside of platted territory and extending across unplatted territory within the corporate limits of the City of Owatonna, and may provide for the future widening or improvement of any existing streets or highways, and may, in cooperation with the City Engineer, prepare a map of the City of Owatonna to be known as the official map of the City of Owatonna, which map shall indicate thereupon the proposed future extensions or widening of existing streets of the municipality. Before said map shall be adopted as such official map, a public hearing shall be held after ten (10) days' notice thereof has been given in a legal newspaper, published within the City of Owatonna. After such map has been adopted showing extensions of existing streets, alleys or other public areas, the City of Owatonna is not required in such proceedings to pay for any building or structure placed without a permit or in violation of conditions of a permit within the limits of the mapped street or outside of any building line that may have been established upon the existing street or within any area thus identified for public purposes.
No utility, municipal service or improvement shall be constructed on any street, highway, alley or other public way until the said street, highway, alley or other public way has been approved by being designated upon a plat or dedicated by easement, duly approved and accepted or properly indicated upon an official map of the municipality as herein provided. No permit for the erection of any building shall be issued unless it shall be located upon a street or highway giving access thereto which has been duly approved and placed on the official map, and shall conform to the building line established upon a street of the municipality and as projected into this plat or to the lines therein established.
Section 260:20. Zoning. The Planning Commission shall exercise such duties and responsibilities as provided in the Owatonna Zoning Ordinance, including the initiation of Zoning Ordinance amendments, and shall be the body responsible for holding public hearings for Zoning Ordinance amendments and conditional use permits.
Section 260:25. Special Projects. Upon direction of the City Council or by their own initiative, the Planning Commission may hold public hearings and develop plans and recommendations on specific issues that may not be specifically addressed in the Comprehensive Plan but are related to City development issues.
Section 260:30. Zoning Board of Appeals. A zoning board of appeals is hereby established in compliance with State municipal planning legislation and the Owatonna Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Commission of the City of Owatonna shall sit as the Zoning Board of Appeals, and may adopt by-laws and rules of procedure and operation consistent with City Ordinance and applicable State Planning legislation, except that such by-laws must provide for a minimum of one (1) regularly scheduled meeting a month. Such by-laws shall be submitted to the City Council for approval.
Section 260:35. Duties of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Board shall have the power and duty of hearing and deciding, subject to appeal to the City Council, appeals or requests in the following cases:
a. Appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative officer in the enforcement of this ordinance.
b. Requests for variances from the literal provisions of this ordinance in instances where their strict enforcement would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the individual property under consideration.