Planning Commission Minutes
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Planning Commission Minutes

January 7, 2021



JANUARY 9, 2021


Present: Katherine Hudson, Dan Cross, Richard Cromwell, Shane Bronson, and Gregg Gainer. Also, Clay Wilson – City of Johnson Building Official, Sarah Geurtz- Earth Plan Development Alternatives (EDA), Juliet Richey- Garver, four guests were in attendance.


Public hearing was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Chairman Dan Cross.

Comments from the Public were requested for consideration of changes to Section 14.04.09 in the Zoning Code regarding Landscape Standards and Parking Standards for the City of Johnson.

Chairman Cross allowed the public meeting to remain open to allow comments from anyone who may arrive late. No additional comments were offered.

Public hearing was closed at 6:05 P.M.


Planning Commission Meeting was called to order at 6:05 P.M. by Chairman Dan Cross.

Chairman Dan Cross requested to reverse the order of Old Business and New Business to review New Business first with no objection from the Planning Commission.


Chairman Dan Cross requested to amend the agenda to include the nomination and election of Planning Commission Officers for 2021 with a term of two years. Richard Cromwell made a motion to amend the agenda and the motion was seconded by Henry Layes. All Approved.

Dan Cross volunteered to remain Planning Commission Chairman with no objections. A roll call was taken as follows: Gregg Gainer: Yes, Shane Bronson: Yes, Katherine Hudson: Yes, Richard Cromwell: Yes, Henry Layes: Yes. All Opposed: None. Dan Cross will remain Planning Commission Chairman for 2021-2022.

Chairman Dan Cross nominated Henry Layes as the Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2021-2022. A roll call was taken as follows: Dan Cross: Yes, Gregg Gainer: Yes, Shane Bronson: Yes, Katherine Hudson: Yes, Richard Cromwell: Yes. All Opposed: None. Henry Layes will remain Planning Commission Vice-Chair for 2021-2022.

Commissioner Shane Bronson nominated Todd Wood as Planning Commission Secretary for 2021-2022. A roll call was taken as follows: Dan Cross: Yes, Gregg Gainer: Yes, Shane Bronson: Yes, Katherine Hudson: Yes, Richard Cromwell: Yes, Henry Layes: Yes. All Opposed: None. Todd Wood will remain Planning Commission Secretary for 2021-2022.

Approval of November 05, 2020 Planning Commission Minutes: A motion was made by Katherine Hudson and seconded by Greg Gainer. All approved.

Petition 2020-15: Requesting an AMENDMENT TO THE JOHNSON SQUARE P.U.D. to address signage and lighting for property located at Johnson Mill Boulevard and Main Drive known as Johnson Square. Requested by Jason Bailey, representative of Johnson Square Holdings, LLC, owner.

In attendance of support for Petition 2020-15 is Ward Davis and Erin Adkins-Oury with High Street Real Estate and Onyx Coffee Owner, Jon Allen. City of Johnson Building Official, Clay Wilson, stated that a sign ordinance had not been developed for Johnson Square thus placing it under the City of Johnson’s sign ordinance. As a result, the developers are requesting an amendment from the City of Johnson sign ordinance to allow for rooftop signage and signage that could be animated. The High Street Real Estate representatives provided historical precursors to their requests as well as an overview of their future plans. Mr. Allen from Onyx Coffee went into detail about his desire to add to the artistic culture of Johnson Square with use of signage and this location for his business being distinctively different as it is extremely important to him as a long time resident of Johnson.

Commissioner Shane Bronson voiced his concern that if an amendment were to be granted there would be no limitations on businesses within the square having competitive and growing signage as to potentially overtake the area and deter from the architecture, cultural arts, and City of Johnson.

Commissioner Henry Layes stated his concerns about making exceptions to city ordinances for specific areas in the city could potentially be seen as non-inclusive.

Chairman Dan Cross reiterated Commissioner Layes concerns based on previous legal issues and recommended reviewing concerns with legal.

Commissioner Gregg Gainer reiterated the need for addressing the signage in Johnson Square due to the absence of current signage P.U.D. He believes that the developers will be prescriptive based on their work up to this point, but has some concerns about their request being carte’ blanche. He went on to request possibly adding some verbiage to place limitations on anything excessive and for liability purposes, and/or requiring an individual review by the Planning Commission for each sign outside of the City of Johnson signage ordinance.

Mr. Ward stated that he has no issues with review by the Planning Commission, but is apprehensive to place that requirement on every sign used due to the lengthy process involved potentially causing substantial delays. He recommended verbiage including works of art to encompass a percentage.

City of Building Official, Clay Wilson, discussed the recommendations by Juliet Richey from Garver to update Ordinance 2020-05 regarding Signage in the City of Johnson to clarify P.U.D. districts to supercede the city ordinance with each P.U.D. being unique, which would eliminate some of the Commissioners concerns. Juliet Ritchey expanded on the need to update the verbiage in the City of Johnson’s current sign ordinance and reiterated that P.U.D. 's should be considered as unique.

Mr. Wardand Mr. Allen requested that corrections and recommendations be made in a timely manner to allow time for sign development.

Commissioner Cross recommends the document be updated to include specific language and final document reviewed by the Planning Commission prior to forwarding to City Council. Commissioners Gregg Gainer, Shane Bronson, Henry Layes, agreed to meet with the City Building Official, Juliet Ritchey, and High Street Real Estate Representatives to discuss and develop the final draft.

A motion to table Petition 2020-15 to February 2021 Planning Commission Meeting Agenda was made by Commissioner Gregg Gainer and seconded by Commissioner Henry Layes. All Approved.

A motion to Approve the 2021 Calendar to include application dates was made by Commissioner Shane Bronson and seconded by Commissioner Katherine Hudson. All Approved.


Chairman Dan Cross reviewed the denial of Petition 2020-06 at the November 2020 Planning Commission meeting. Commissioners were provided a copy of the letter provided to the applicants with the appeal process information. Chairman Cross stated after review with the City of Johnson Legal Representative, it was established that all denials must be provided in writing the reason for denial and the appeals process.

Chairman Cross discussed some concern that there may have been some confusion regarding recommendations made by the City of Johnson Building Official and/or the City Engineer. Clay Wislon reiterated that in February 2017, it was established that the City Building Official and the City Engineer are only to voice the specific issues they have identified within their subject matter expertise in reference to how these issues affect the City of Johnson, but are not to make formal recommendations for or against applications. Previous Planning Commission Secretary, Chairman Gregg Gainer, stated previous documentation reflects that this was discussed in February 2017, and April 2019, with documentation congruent with statements from the City Building Official.

Discussion of changes to Section 14.04.09 in the Zoning Code regarding Landscape Standards and Parking Standards for the City of Johnson.


Commissioner Gregg Gainer discussed several concerns with Landscaping to include

percentages of native species required, narrow tree lawn description, parking dimensions, turf grass, specific invasive species, inorganic mulch, 12’ requirement in section 4.e., street tree maintenance responsibility, open fences, and iron spikes on fencing. After extensive discussion of each issue, it was agreed that the 12’ requirement in section 4.e. would be changed to 15’, percentages of native species changed from 50% to 25% required, Trident and Japanese Maples to be removed from invasive species, and language and formatting would be updated on remaining issues to provide clarity.


City Building Official queried the dimensions on page 9, table 4, possibly being inverted. Henry Layes discussed parking change requirements recently made at the University to adjust for motorcycle requirements that should be considered. Juliet Ritchey provided clarification, agreed to shade the chart to add clarity, and change dimension from 3’ to 5’; there were no objections to proposed changes.

Clay Wilson requested clarification on page 12, item k, to which Juliet Ritchey replied she will update language as to not limit to four cars.

Richard Cromwell made a motion to approve the Section 14.04.09 in the Zoning Code regarding Landscape Standards and Parking Standards for the City of Johnson with the proposed changes. The motion was seconded by Henry Layes. All approved.


Motion to Adjourn Planning Commission meeting was made by Richard Cromwell and seconded by Gregg Gainer. All approved. Meeting adjourned at 8:44 P.M.

*Please note that the date listed for January minutes is wrong. The correct date January 7, 2021

*Please see attachment for complete document