January 29, 2024 Joint Commission Meeting with Goodland Planning Commission

January 29, 2024 Joint Commission Meeting with Goodland Planning Commission

January 29, 2024 Joint Commission Meeting with Goodland Planning Commission

website_admin Minutes


Joint Commission Meeting with Planning Commission

January 29, 2024                                                                                                                            6:00 P.M.

Mayor Aaron Thompson called the meeting to order with Vice-Mayor J. J. Howard, Commissioner Jason Showalter and Commissioner Brook Redlin responding to roll call.  Commissioner Ann Myers was reported absent.

Present from the Planning Commission were Matt McKenzie, Grady Bonsall, Dennis Snethen, Wallace Hansen and Mary Ellen Coumerilh. 

Present virtually from Community Matters Inc. were Barb Cole and Bob Haywood.

Also present from the City were Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Mary Volk – City Clerk, Zach Hildebrand – Building Official and Kent Brown – City Manager. 

Mayor Thompson led Pledge of Allegiance


  1. Creating More Housing Choices – Mayor Thompson stated, we are here to discuss findings from housing survey and see where we are with our codes.  Barb provided a summary of the worksheets completed by City Commission, Planning Commission and City Staff, identifying items need to address in city code.  Barb stated, we had 100% response from commission and staff and we also had construction board complete the worksheet but did not include their results in information.  The purpose of this meeting is to reach agreement in principle how the land use regulations may be amended to remove barriers to create additional housing in Goodland.  To recap there is a need for housing units to accommodate economic growth, some which may be needed quickly. 

Bob Haywood stated that if Goodland gets 100 jobs in the next 1 to 2 years, what does that mean.  Bob stated we looked at 2022 statistics for Goodland.  54% of population provides prime workers for Goodland with each family household providing 1.5 workers.  The 100 jobs would create the need for 77 housing units.  There is a multiplier to be applied for indirect jobs that would result from the creation of primary manufacturing jobs.  Bob stated that in small towns it is hard to be exact; but, it is 1.3 to 1.5 jobs for every primary job. Mayor Thompson asked, so for every 100 new jobs, it really makes 130 to 150 new jobs from other services created.  Barb stated, yes and to manage anticipated change, you need to plan for it, understand both the up and possible downside.  Second point is to know where you are at all times.  You cannot manage what you cannot measure.  You need good information on a variety of attributes including economic, physical, social, and the ability to serve.  The last point is to ensure flexibility in your policies and regulations.  Successful communities design their policies and regulations with enough flexibility to respond to as many future outcomes as possible.

Barb then reviewed the answers to each question on the worksheet.  Bob analyzed what the likelihood of each question based on the responses provided.  So, the first question on what type of housing is needed, Barb stated 100% said that we need single family homes.  The next highest answer was single family homes for the aging population.  If homes were built for the aging population, it would free up housing units for the people moving in.  Third highest answer was manufactured homes if design standards are met.  Next was the mixed use buildings with the downtown apartments on the second floor.  Next were apartments with more than six units stacked on top of each other.  Most of you were in favor of accessory dwelling units (ADU’s).  Those questions on apartments and ADU’s were not mutually exclusive. Finally were questions on two units with a common wall (duplexes) and tiny homes on wheels in a designated area. 

Based on the results provided, Barb asked the commissioners can we move forward with initial code amendments to foster this type of development?  Mayor Thompson replied that he is interested in looking at all types of housing that could be brought into the community.  Vice Mayor Howard stated he agreed that the parking ia a problem if you have a building on Main Street.  Main Street buildings used to have all full of people in them.  The parking thing for families with two or three vehicles; that’s the only problem with the downtown with the apartments up above the buildings.  Barb said yes I think we have a solution for that problem that has worked in other small towns.  We will get to that later.  Barb said currently your parking requirements are basically for almost every kind of residential dwelling is two spaces per dwelling unit and it doesn’t matter what kind of dwelling unit.  A thought is to provide off-site parking within a certain linear distance of the residential unit. 

Kent asked what people thought about the other couple questions listed as a result of the worksheet answers including lot sizes or that ADU’s are okay.  Barb stated it appears in 2001 the City increased lot sizes which presents a problem for building code.  Does anyone know why it was increased from 7,000 to 8,400 square feet in the R-1 District?  Mayor Thompson said I’m not sure and not sure anyone knows why it was changed.  Barb stated what is confusing is if the lot was platted and existed in 2001 it was ok.  If you want to remove barriers to housing, you need to keep it simple and straightforward. 

Barb moved onto question #2 – Who is in most need of housing?  Responses were senior citizens at the highest percentage, new workers, families with children, people who currently work here and students.  Barb asked if the commissioners were surprised at these responses.  Mayor Thompson said he was making his own generalizations and assumptions based on what he has seen. Doesn’t know if it is 100% need of the community.  Commissioner Showalter stated that he disagrees with the need for senior citizen, independent living finding because the community has built housing for that type.  This included Sparks and Handy towers that was specifically designed for that category and they were unable to fill it.  The owners had to convert it to low income or student housing.  Planning Commissioner Bonsall stated that he was thinking if senior citizens had a smaller home to go to than their current home would be available for other families to purchase.  Barb stated that an issue brought up in the interviews is that no one wants to take care of these big yards anymore.  Mayor Thompson said that for the most part people take care of their yards; but, the maintenance issue is not any different from other communities. 

Question #3 – Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) and Duplexes.  Barb said an observation from Community Matters is that duplexes are allowed in R-1 and R-2 districts; but, the town doesn’t have many.  Also, the R-2 district which was developed for multifamily that right now in town there are only 11 occupied multifamily residences.  Zach confirmed that there were only 11 units.  Barb said the worksheet results had ADU’s should be allowed so long as it is not bigger than the single family home.  Everyone agreed (89%) that ADU’s including tiny home that are moved on to a lot but set on permanent foundation should be allowed.  Finally, a majority agreed that the city should reduce lot size and lot width to encourage more duplexes.  Zach explained that currently to build a duplex the lot has to be a minimum of 9,000 square feet.  That’s 4,500 square feet per dwelling.  For a three or four plex it is only 3,000 square feet per dwelling (in code – 2,000 square feet) with a minimum of 8,000 square feet.  Barb said the numbers are all big.  Barb asked, are you in favor of lot sizes less than 7,000 square feet?  Mayor Thompson asked, looking at current plat of lots, what is the benefit to go smaller?  After discussion, Barb said it is just a regulation that is making it difficult for people to understand what they can do.  Barb asked the commissioners if they would consider anything smaller than 7,000 square feet?  Planning Commissioner McKenzie stated, I feel it creates a problem for lot width and setback becomes an issue.  Barb stated, if you reduce lot size then you should also adjust width with setbacks.  Your land use regulations doesn’t reflect what is on the ground.  The code has not been exercised over the years with minimal building.  There have been larger homes built, but no infill houses.  How do you feel about splitting lots and building another unit?  Mayor Thompson stated, I have no problem with that but people tend to get possessive with how they feel their neighborhood should look.  It should be manageable once they get past the initial shock since they are not used to it.  Planning Commissioner McKenzie stated, I believe it is a great way to infill empty lots but we will have to adjust setback.  Mayor Thompson stated, the consensus of the commission seems to be positive. 

Barb stated, you have a lot of accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) in town but if you exercised your code I am unsure how you would enforce code.  There are also many vacant lots that will allow infill of different structures.  Mayor Thompson stated, I feel if we can keep the structure on the lot, we need to maintain the structure. 

Barb stated, you have some multi-family structures in town with ADU’s already.  Barb reviewed a house that has been converted to 3 units and a back building on the lot that is 2 units.  This is a historic residence.  Commissioner Howard said the house has been there since 1907.  On Question #4 after reviewing the answers on multifamily housing then reviewed the option for Planned Development (PD) zoning which is a heavy lift for any community.  If the code is changed, the commissioners might want to set a minimum size for PD zoning. Barb then asked if the commission is interested in rezoning properties for multi-family use or should city be open to requests?  Mayor Thompson stated, I am open to requests rather than rezoning an area for multi-family housing.  I worry about the ability to keep it filled.   Planning Commissioner McKenzie stated, I do not feel making a change to multi-family zoning will trigger anything so we should be open to requests.  Mayor Thompson stated, we need to be flexible to meet needs.  If we rezone a lot of property we will be open to criticism.  Barb stated, you have properties in city where if the rules were simpler it would make it easier when jobs come. 

On Question #5, Manufactured and Modular Housing Units, Barb stated that the commissioners are open to manufactured and modular homes, but the design standards are outlined in the definitions which is in the wrong location of the code and are rather outdated.  Commissioners were also in favor of changing the lot size in mobile home park zone to allow tiny homes/temporary units on wheels if the park owner is interested.  Barb then asked should the city be more proactive and rezone a selected area of the city for small lots that could also be used for senior one level housing as well as more affordable units.  Rezoning current lots is not very popular.  Planning Commissioner Bonsall stated, if we do that will the tiny homes depreciate value for neighboring properties?  Barb said yes it would because the purpose of zoning is to get like sized things in particular areas.  Barb stated, an option would be for the city to let developers know you are open to smaller lot development that will require a strategy plan with education.  Another option is to create a zoned district in your code for small lots with tiny homes so you do not have to rezone existing property.  Mayor Thompson said that allows the developer to come and request a rezoning.  Planning Commissioner McKenzie stated if we pick this option we can have it available, but they will also have to do some work.  Planning Commissioner Coumerilh liked that both options 2 and 3 could work together for smaller lot development.  After discussion on planned unit development (PUD) or PD zoning, Barb said that PUD is basically a negotiated zone district. Mayor Thompson stated, I do not want a complicated process.  Members on boards change and others may not like what we plan so want to make sure plan we have is long term.  Commissioner Redlin stated, I agree, we have to resolve our situation now.  Mayor Thompson stated, appears the consensus is having a combination of options 2 and 3 to be open to smaller lots and possibly create a zoned district for smaller lots. 

On Question #6, Housing Affordability, Barb stated, a good strategy on the part of the commission is to use incentives rather than requesting new development to create or contribute to affordable housing. 

On Question #7, other changes to the City’s current Land Development Regulations, Barb said there was a favorable response to making a new mixed use district.  A number of the questions were small changes to the code that make a big difference.  Barb asked should the city consider allowing a property line to move if no improvements are necessary and lots are under same ownership?  Same question regarding the lot split regulation.  Currently, lot sizes are too big and the lot split regulation is unworkable.  Should you change your C-2 district to a downtown mixed use district so you understand what the property is used for?  Consensus of commission is to consider the change in district as it makes sense.  Barb stated, it is going to be difficult to rehabilitate apartments above Main Street if you have to provide two parking spaces.  You could reduce number parking units then allow development to create parking spaces that are not next to the apartment.  Planning Commissioner Coumerilh stated, that would have solved a lot of problems for our business downtown.  I am not a native of Goodland and it was very common where I came from to walk a half block to get to your parking space from your apartment.  I do not think this will be a barrier if people understand.  Mayor Thompson stated, I am in favor of reducing parking requirements but concerned where we will designate parking for the people in Main Street apartments.  There are some privately owned properties but uncertain they will want parking on the property.  Barb stated, in some communities they have in lieu of parking fee that goes into special fund in city to acquire land in downtown area.  Issue with this is the city does not buy land soon enough and prices sky rocket so out of luck.  Another question is should the city draft mixed use zone that can apply to other areas of the city?  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, I do not see the need in other locations.  Mayor Thompson stated, I like the idea but not sure the idea will encourage a small neighborhood amongst themselves.  So I am in favor but do not see need.  Planning Commissioner Coumerilh stated, we have an uninhabitable house next to us, we could make it a gathering place for people.  Kent, stated, this could apply to the area next to Shiraz and what the college has done to some of those units.  The hotel could be put into residential apartments.  Commissioner Showalter stated, there are plenty of beauticians that would like to operate a shop in their house.  Barb asked, what do you do with home occupations?  Kent stated, it is allowed in code but we never address it.  Barb stated, in the past there were regulations but that was before technology.  What about loosening up those regulations?  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, that is more understandable than a mechanic working out of his home.  Barb confirmed that with subdivision regulations, to make it easier to move a lot line, combine lots or a lot split, the commissioners wanted to make it an easier process.  You will need to be clear where City wants to go with information. 

Barb stated what would be helpful going forward is agreements in principle.  Barb presented options to the commissioners.

#1 – Appears consensus is to allow ADU’s as an accessory use and create workable dimensional standards.  ADU must be smaller than the primary residence and the ADU could include a tiny home on a permanent foundation.  Mayor Thompson said yes there is consensus. 

#2 – Do you want to reduce lot size and setbacks?  Go back to the minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet – everyone was comfortable with that.  Next possible agreement was to adjust setbacks so it is possible to build duplexes.  Vice Mayor Howard asked what are the current setbacks.  Zach stated that side yards shall not be less than 10 percent of lot width or a minimum of 6 feet.  Barb said that requires me to do a calculation.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just set a flat rate?  Mayor Thompson asked what is the common limit for setbacks?  Barb said setbacks are crazy and vary between communities.  My rule is the setback must be far enough for me to get a ladder on property to clean windows on second floor.  The rule must be logical, big enough but not too much.  If your rules were simpler it would be friendlier.  Your rules are hard to administer.  Mayor Thompson stated, I like the idea of adjusting setback as the structure gets taller the setback gets larger.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, it simplifies things.  Barb stated, in considering a smaller lot size what size is recommended for single size unit for senior one level housing?  Kent stated that staff has completed a worksheet on lot sizes for most of the residential lots in the city.  Mayor Thompson stated, I agree working with infill lots in town if we cut them evenly and not be left with an odd size property.  I am more in favor of creating a district that would allow even smaller lots.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, if we do that we also have to change requirement of improvement allowed on lot.  We have had some smaller lots with small houses where people bought thinking they were going to put something on lot but could not.  Barb asked if the city has drainage problems currently.  Kent stated that the city does have drainage problems; but, it is not due to impervious area due to lot coverage.  The next item within lot size was reducing lot size in mobile home parks to allow for new type of units if the owners wanted. 

#3 Create areas suitable for multifamily housing.  Barb asked whether to create a new multifamily zone district that allows more apartments; but, based on the discussion it is waiting for an applicant to ask for the rezone and have the city ready with an educational piece about it.  Mayor Thompson and Planning Commissioner McKenzie said yes that is the consensus. 

#4 Create mixed use districts.  Barb said this changing C-2 to mixed use and creating another mixed use district for other areas and also reducing the number of parking spaces required.  Discussion continued on businesses in residential areas and using the conditional use process.  On the mixed use district for other areas; Barb thought there might be a smaller step that we could take. 

#5 Revise Design standards for manufactured/modular housing.   Barb said those requirements should move to a different area in the code so people could find them.  Also update standards to account for new types of housing. 

#6 Recap of possible zone districts.  General agreement on multifamily, mixed use, small lot zone for mix of single family housing and a public lands district. 

#7 Finally, Barb said everytime she looks at the code she finds another item that is difficult.  Barb said if someone wants to annex into the city they have to zone the property R-1.  There should be the ability to zone within a certain amount of time.  Barb said the city’s land use regulations have not been exercised.  The regulations don’t reflect what is already built and what commissioners want.  It is not the fault of the city because there hasn’t been much building in the last few decades.  Barb gave the commissioners the options of A) update regulations to reflect priority items of commissioners, or B) update all regulations to reflect what is on the ground now, or C) undertake a complete code diagnosis to identify current barriers to housing development.  Mayor Thompson said option C would be a good thing to do; but, seems exhausting.  He asked if it was within current contract which is probably not and Barb said no it is not.  Barb asked for any other suggestions.  Mayor Thompson stated, a lot of good progress with positive change.  Kent stated, you have set the foundation they just need to determine how we want to proceed.  Mayor Thompson stated, I look forward to compiling everything and reviewing the end result.  Barb stated, we just need more information on timing needed for the development.  Vice Mayor Howard said they should be taking grain in this fall for the canola plant.  Mayor Thompson stated, I know the motivating push is jobs in town but feel it is healthy for our community to have this review.  Commissioner Showalter stated, when it comes to economic development this may be one of the most important things for us to work together.  Planning Commissioner Bonsall asked, what kind of window are we looking at for the code revisions?  Kent stated, there will be a number of items that will be presented to planning and city commission but I feel a three to six month window is good with timing requirements.  We will have discussions with Barb and let commissions inform us of the priority items.  It takes time to make sure all changes get done.  We have taken these steps but it is important to let the public know what is changing. 

ADJOURNMENT OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION WAS HAD ON A MOTION Board Member Bonsall seconded by Board Member Coumerilh.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Redlin seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 8:20 p.m.


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk