Orofino Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission, as recommending board, held an open public hearing for items on the agenda for their regular July 21 meeting. Commissioner Rita Kaufman served as Chair for the Commission as Teena Gortsema was not in attendance.

A hearing was held for the application concerning the rezoning of Bartlett Street by the City of Orofino P&Z Commission to offer a recommendation to the city council on a proposed zoning district boundary change from Single-Family Dwelling District (R-2), to Mixed Use District - Sales and Service, R-2 Residential District (MXD).

These properties, zoned R-2, Single Family Dwelling District, are located in Sections 6 and 7, Township 36 North, and Range 2 East at 431 Bartlett Street, currently the new Clearwater Historical Museum and 510 Bartlett Street, formerly known as A-1 Body Shop (Cummings).

In his staff report, Perry listed those responding to the city’s invitation to residents residing within 300 feet of the external boundaries to comment. A letter was received July 15 from the resident residing at 914 Kalaspo Avenue, expressing concern for the Bartlett family residences.

Chris St. Germaine also submitted a letter to the city on July 16, requesting not to rezone the area. She believed by leaving it zoned as R-2 and requiring a Special Use process with conditions if necessary was a better solution for future development.

Other correspondence was received from Jesse and Kim Osborne, at 902 Walrath Avenue who strongly oppose rezoning for the following three reasons: additional traffic, potential environmental concerns and a reduction in property values.

Joe Pippenger who resides on Bartlett Street was in attendance to offer uncommitted testimony regarding the zone change. He asked for clarification of the property involved and raised concerns of a recurrence of speeding traffic through the school zone, as there was when the body shop operated above the site of the new museum, though no signs indicating the school zone were ever posted along Bartlett.

“There are children present and playing in the area throughout the year,” he added, “not only when school is in session.”

No other testimony was presented either in support or opposed. The council discussed amongst themselves how to move forward. Commissioner Carver stated there were certain businesses she didn’t want to see operating above the elementary school. “We have more control of what takes place by leaving the zoning as is and continuing to utilize the Special Use process for those properties.” Commissioners agreed and voted to deny recommendation of the application to the council. 

Another application presented was a Special Use request by Tina Lauria to allow a multi-family dwelling (aka duplex) within a single family dwelling district.

The property zoned MXD, Mixed Use Sales and Service, R-2 Residential District, is located in Section 2, Township 36 North, Range 1 East at 617 Michigan Ave.

In her statement to the commission, Lauria explained that she had a couple of family members moving to the area, to include her nephew and a 78 year old, who were at a loss for finding suitable housing in the town’s limited options. She said that she had looked at several properties with the idea of adding a duplex and has finally found a location to accommodate space for three separate dwellings with sufficient room for parking, with the council’s consent for a special use permit.

Site plans illustrated constructing two units in the building’s full basement, with five 10’x20’ parking spaces.

In his staff report, Building Administrator Todd Perry presented the only two comments received upon notifying all residents living within 300 feet of the property of the request.

A verbal comment was made to city staff by Glenda Szoka on July 7, stating she had no objections, as long as there was adequate parking. On July 10, Karen Hunter informed staff that she had no objections.

Following a brief discussion, Commissioner Kaye Carver made the motion to accept the request for recommendation to the council, with the condition that two parking spaces be provided per unit. Perry confirmed there was room available at the property to provide all six parking spaces.

The motion was seconded and the request passed unanimously. 

A third action item on the evening’s agenda was a request by Clearwater County for the Commission’s review and recommendation on an application for a Conditional Use request within the Area of City Impact.

Clearwater County Conditional Use request ZC20200053, is a request by Mark Dover to allow commercial use in his current residence.

This property zoned R-2, the Medium-High Density District, is located in Section 4, Township 36 North, Range 1 East, at 13714 West 1st Avenue, an Orofino address in Clearwater County. This property is located within the Area of City Impact.

In the report, presented by Bobbi Kaufman with the Clearwater County Building and Planning Department, Dover currently operates a barber shop along Hwy. 12, and has an established, but small clientele. Dover would like to work from home, four days a week.

He stated he had at most, two customers at a time, and haircuts required about 10 minutes each. He will be required to follow proper building plans to meet all requirements. Dover plans to use half of his yard to provide sufficient clientele parking.

Bobbi Kaufman added that if the area were ever to be annexed by the city, the agreement provided by the county’s Conditional Use requirements in this circumstance, would agree with the standards set in the city’s Special Use process.

With questions answered regarding traffic and parking, Carver made a motion to recommend approving the conditional use request. A vote resulted in all ayes.

The next regular Orofino P&Z meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 18.

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