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MINUTES-PLANNING COMMISSION-REGULAR MEETING-FEBRUARY 20, 2007

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 21st day of February, 2007, by Chair person Kuchenreuther in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.

 

CALL OF THE ROLL:  Roll call was taken with the following members present:  Commissioners Johnson, Granger, Hoffman, Rudney, Carpenter and Chair person Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Stevenson was absent.  Also present were City Manager Larson and ex-officio Miller.

 

READING AND APPROVAL OF 1/16/07 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  The last sentence of the 6th paragraph on page 3 reads, “Hoffman questioned if the Planning Commission overstepped its boundaries by even discussing this.”  Hoffman explained he was talking about lighting on private homes, not dark sky compliant lighting in general.  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve the minutes with the last sentence of the 6th paragraph on page 3 reading, “Hoffman questioned if the Planning Commission overstepped its boundaries by even discussing lighting on private homes.”  Motion carried.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

 

OTHER BUSINESS:  Noise Issues – Amanda Minion:  There were a number of complaints last fall regarding the noise from a grain elevator in town. 

 

Planning Commission Intern Minion provided a copy of the Noise Pollution Control Section of the Minnesota State Regulations published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  The City of Morris has adopted this section by reference in the City Code.   

 

City Manager Larson indicated Minnesota Pollution Control has provided a sound meter to the City to measure the noise from the elevator.  The recommendation is to conduct a one-hour test at a certain distance to determine if there are violations of the noise limits.  The test has not yet been conducted.  Discussion was held on where the test is to be conducted. 

 

City Manager Larson and Commissioner Granger both feel the noise levels aren’t as bad from the New Horizons elevator as they were last fall.  Larson indicated once the noise testing is done, the results will be presented to the Planning Commission.

 

Chair person Kuchenreuther indicated she has met with Minion to start work on dark sky compliant and yard ordinances.  Minion will also research septic system standards. 

 

Granger suggested another issue to research would be the potential incompatibility of rental units in residential neighborhoods, and trying to keep inner parts of the city habitable.  She feels rental units are actually businesses.  With UMM trying to add another 300 students to the campus in the next few years, there will be even more rental units in town. 

 

Granger indicated the Housing Study should be done toward the end of March.  It will have a number of recommendations on housing issues.  Rudney indicated the housing concerns

 shouldn’t be unique to Morris, as there are other college towns.  Granger indicated the trouble is that Morris is the smallest community in Minnesota with a college the size of UMM. 

 

Billboard Technology:  Commissioner Carpenter suggested the City may want to look at updating its billboard signage standards to keep up with technology.  She cited a very bright billboard in Sauk Center and questioned how it would be regulated in Morris.   Kuchenreuther suggested investigating possible performance standards.  Carpenter indicated the City needs to revisit and update performance standards in light of today’s technology.  City Manager Larson suggested Intern Minion research this.  He stated this issue is going to the Legislature and stated the City will keep an eye on the issue.

 

Conditional Use Permits:  Commissioner Rudney asked what procedure is followed to be sure conditions attached to conditional use permits are carried out.  He also asked what line of communication the Planning Commission has to the building inspector.  Kuchenreuther pointed out the Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on conditional use permits and they make the final decisions on them. 

 

City Manager Larson indicated the City and County are looking into sharing a planner.  The Planning Commission’s communication with the building inspector would be through the planner.  Rudney indicated he feels the dark sky compliant condition on the Iowa Avenue Townhomes development and the Riley’s Riverview development got lost and never was followed.

 

Kuchenreuther indicated she is planning to meet with Otter Tail to discuss alternatives for different street lighting.  She indicated the former Planning Commission intern met with Otter Tail and they seemed quite amenable to dark sky compliant lighting. 

 

Granger asked if conditional use permits could be attached to building permits.  City Manager Larson indicated he feels the standards need to be developed first and presented to the City Council. 

 

Tree Planting:  Commissioner Granger indicated the City Council has approved entering into an Agreement with MNDOT to plant trees on the East Highway 28 entrance into Morris.  The goal is to eventually plant trees on all entrances to Morris.   Kuchenreuther pointed out that Highway 9 is a prairie corridor and suggested everything be done to preserve the prairie along that right-of-way.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Carpenter, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

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