Call to Order
PRESENT: Teree Bergman, Chair
Bill Adler, Commissioner
Joe Hornat, Commissioner
Robert La Masters, Commissioner
Alan Caine, Commissioner
Scott Merry, Commissioner
ABSENT: Clark Reddin, Vice Chair
Also Present: K. C. Carter, Vice Mayor and Councilmember
Sarah More, Planning and Zoning Director
Joe Andrews, Chief Civil Deputy, Town Attorney
Amanda Jacobs, Economic Development Specialist
Matt Michels, Senior Planner
MOTION: Commissioner Adler MOVED to approve the April 7, 2009, meeting minutes with the addition of the discussion on special delivery vehicles and the discussion regarding the part time employee. Also on Page 3, middle of the page, correct Mr. Adler’s comments about "The issue of stoves...", he thought he said "The removal of kitchens will increase the number of units." Commissioner La Masters seconded the motion. Motion carried 7:0.
MOTION: Commissioner Adler MOVED to approve the April 21, 2009, meeting minutes as written. Commissioner La Masters seconded the motion. Motion carried 7:0.
Public Hearing: OV7-09-04, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., represented by the WLB Group, requests approval of a text amendment to the Rancho Vistoso PAD to allow a maximum building height up to 48 feet, with an additional allowance for mechanical equipment and exhaust appurtenances, for buildings within the Ventana Medical Systems campus.
Matt Michels gave the staff report and PowerPoint presentation.
Clarification discussion points:
- A.1.c.1)c) - Solar panels being exempt from the building height limitation, is a derivative of State statute which says the functionality or ability of solar facilities to function preempts other consideration, local ordinance or rule. [Editor's note: HOA rules] There is no prescribed height limitation.
- Rooftop mechanicals may exceed maximum building height up to 10 feet above the 48 feet. The Rancho Vistoso CPI does not apply. Per Zoning Code, with DRB approval an additional area for mechanicals up to 10 feet is allowed.
- Exhaust pipes may exceed height limitation. This is a matter of functionality of equipment and the demonstration to DRB that it can be treated asthetically.
- Building height is defined in the Zoning Code; ground floor is not. The intent is to not count a basement floor by using the words ground floor.
- Attorney Andrews said when dealing with the PAD, if it is not said in the amendment, the Zoning Code would apply. He suggested deleting the sentence.
- With the mechanical penthouse the height is a total of 54 feet.
- The sentence "Additional height may be granted by the DRB." should be clarified to state the DRB approves anything for mechanical equipment or chimneys, etc., above the 48 feet.
- To be clear the amendment should have specific language that this amendment applies only to Ventana.
- Solar panel language should be cleaned up regarding design guidelines so it is consistent.
- Clarification is needed on what the 8 foot security wall is accomplishing.
Applicant Greg Forszt, Ventana Medical, Director of facilities. Paul Oland from WLB, Paiman Owtad, Terrel Thomas and Andy Anderson were also present. Mr. Forszt gave a PowerPoint presentation. Ventana needs additional building height of 48 feet to accomplish what they need to do as a corporation. The 8 foot wall will be where needed for security only, not around the whole complex.
Clarification discussion points:
- There are technologies other than a wall that could be considered. There are no designs or plans to do the wall at this time. Eight foot seems adequate for security.
- All that is in the interstital space is piping and ductwork. A central utility plant will provide for AC, etc. A lot of the equipment is vented and the penthouse is to help hide those.
- The exhaust chimneys, etc., won’t all be within the 10 feet. It depends on technology and equipment available at the time. Solar panels are included for a green facility.
- At this point design has not begun. The wall won’t go all the way around the campus.
- The wall probably won’t be see through. Guidelines have to be met. The wall was included in the proposal to make the facility secure. Currently there are no walls.
- A solar array is under design for flat roofs of the facility and may be use as parking shades.
- The Roche green building standards are not to platium LEED building. Roche standards are environmentally friendly and are more stringent than US Green building standards.
PUBLIC HEARING opened at 6:48 p.m.
David Welsh, with Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, supports Ventana’s request for increased height and the fence. Ventana is a central component of the bio-science community and represents a diversity and vitality needed to emerge from this recession, as well as to ensure that we have the economic engines to mitigate future recessions. Most firms are looking for some kind of incentive, usually financial. Innovation Park is a gem for the whole state in its ability to attract firms like sanofi and Ventana. The decision tonight is an opportunity to send the message that Oro Valley is serious about our commitment to this sector. He encouraged the Commission to support the request.
Beth Koch with sanofi aventis supports Ventana Roche expansion. She is concerned about loosing part of their view. The land behind them is owned by the Town, but if made as an exception, would that land be able to be built on? She understands the R&D building to code restrictiveness. She questions why the garage parking, the utility plant, and the office need to go higher. Overall, she looks forward to Ventana Roche’s expansion and the park becoming a research biotech center.
John Cocco with sanofi aventis supports Ventana’s proposal. We have built within the 36 feet, but would have loved to have that additional 10 feet for the interstital space. For an R&D building that extra space is needed and would make a more efficient and safer building.
PUBLIC HEARING closed at 6:53 p.m.
Discussion and comments from Commissioners:
- The property behind sanofi aventis is zoned C1 Commercial. Campus industrial is not allowed. The height limit is lower.
- The amendment is limited to the Ventana campus parcel. Staff is trying to preserve views of Pusch Ridge.
- The extention for R&D seems justified. It is not unusual to have specific height limits for several different type of buildings in the same zone. It is typical to have a zone and a uniformly applied height limit and then some buildings may be lower when constructed.
- It is fairly common to have different heights for principal buildings and accessory buildings. Garages seem to be accessory. Could that distinction be made here?
- A 100,000 square foot building is not accessory. Parking use is. Ms. More would like to look at other areas in Rancho Vistoso before calling it accessory. The site on the west slopes down from the road, as does where the new construction will be on the east. The buildings will stairstep down the hill and would not necessarily be the same height.
- Clarify the amendment by saying "R&D buildings that have an interstitial need within the Ventana Medical Systems..." instead of saying "Buildings within the Ventana Medical Systems...."
- Mr. Forszt said parking garage space will be needed for an additional 2000 employees. Four levels of parking are needed to park that many cars. The buildings will not be small. That space is needed per code. The central utility plant is a 2-story building. The second floor is for offices for maintenance personnel.
- This is a campus park industrial and considerations of height are different than if adjacent to a residential area and will be reviewed by the DRB and citizens.
- This is an industrial area and is intended to be the economic engine for this community. Building heights of 50’ and more are not uncommon in industrial districts.
MOTION: Commissioner Merry MOVED to recommend that the Town Council approve OV7-09-04, applicant’s request for a text amendment to the Rancho Vistoso PAD to allow a maximum building height of up to 48 feet for building within the Ventana Medical Systems campus, and with Exhibit A with the following clarifications and changes: 1. Add some language that defines the specific parcels that make up the Ventana Medical Systems campus as it exists today in the amendment. 2. In paragraph A.1.c.1)c), of Exhibit A, strike sentence "from the finished grade to the top of parapet." 3. In paragraph A.1.c.1)c) strike sentence #2, "The building height shall be measured from the finished floor elevation of the ground floor." 4. Delete paragraph A.6) of the amendment that deals with an allowance of an 8-foot perimeter wall. Commissioner La Masters seconded the motion.
Discussion: Commissioner Adler asked why the security wall was being stricken.
Commissioner Merry sees a community friendly area now when he drives down Innovation Park Drive. The new sound walls going up off Oracle Road at La Canada Wash area are unattractive. Innovation will feel like driving down a walled canyon and will have a cold, hard feeling.
Commissioner Adler said we are not in the design business and don’t approve or disapprove because we fear the design may be unattractive. The issue before us is whether they are entitled to have a security wall. How it looks and where it is placed, etc., is a design issue. To strike it is denying Ventana the opportunity which they feel is important to have as a security deterent.
Commissioner Adler made a friendly amendment to delete item #4 from the motion. Commissions Merry and La Masters accepted the friendly amendment. The Motion with the friendly amendment reads as follows:
MOTION: Commissioner Merry MOVED to recommend that the Town Council approve OV7-09-04, applicant’s request for a text amendment to the Rancho Vistoso PAD to allow a maximum building height of up to 48 feet for building within the Ventana Medical Systems campus, and with Exhibit A with the following clarifications and changes: 1. Add some language that defines the specific parcels that make up the Ventana Medical Systems campus as it exists today in the amendment. 2. In paragraph A.1.c.1)c), of Exhibit A, strike sentence "from the finished grade to the top of parapet." 3. In paragraph A.1.c.1)c) strike sentence #2, "The building height shall be measured from the finished floor elevation of the ground floor."
Commissioner Adler asked if the maker of the motion would also consider adding reference that the text amendment clean up the issue of solar panels and the design guidelines of the PAD to be consistent to the other laws that pertain to solar?
Ms. More said for purposes of the code amendment that is not necessary to add to the motion. Instead add "The intent is to have staff amend design guidelines to be consistent with this text amendment."
Chair Bergman asked if the last sentence in A.1.c.1)c) could be clarified as to what it applies to before it goes to Council.
MOTION carried 7:0.
Recess: 5 minutes
Discussion and Training on Ex Parte Communication
Joe Andrews, Chief Civil Deputy, Town Attorney, gave a brief presentation on Ex Parte Communications. Ex Parte is Latin meaning "from the part", and essentially means communication without representation by the other side.
- Commissioners should avoid discussions individually,or disclose everything at the next meeting.
- Contested cases should not have Ex Parte communication.
- This is not a law, but a rule and is an integrity issue.
- Clarification issues should go through staff instead of calling directly.
- Property site tours should include all Commissioners and be posted for a quorum 24 hours in advance.
- If Commissioners are approached and give information, they should come to the meeting and share that information in front of the board and public.
- Commissioners decisions are made based on what is seen and heard at meetings.
- Restructuring of the neighborhood meetings format may prevent Ex Parte discussions with neighbors.
Ventana Master Plan for the entire site is going through Development Review Board (DRB) review soon. A reduced level of engineering data is being submitted to DRB, testing a new system.
- Staff recently sent out letters to businesses to educate the community on signage rules, in particular turning off illuminated signs at night 1 hour after closing.
- A DVD has been purchased on Planning for Climate Change and includes 2 parts for a total of about 3.5 hrs. This is offered to the Commissioners to borrow, and would count towards educational training credit and for information.
- ESLO process: The Technical Advisory Committee has met a couple of times. The Public Advisory Committee is not meeting until June. They are working on background information at this time.
- Ms. More will get information on when the landscape code will come to the P&Z Commission and bring to the next meeting.
- Discussion should be started regarding sustainability.
Adjourn Regular Session
MOTION: Commissioner Caine MOVED to adjourn the May 5, 2009, Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Commissioner La Masters seconded the motion. Motion carried 7:0.