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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - MAY 15, 2007

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 15th day of May, 2007, by Chairperson 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 Rudney, Hoffman, Johnson, Carpenter, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Granger and Stevenson were absent.  Also present were City Manager Larson and ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 4/17/07 MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to approve the minutes of the 4/17/07 meeting as presented.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Grass/Weed Ordinance:  Kuchenreuther indicated intern Minion responded to recommendations from the Planning Commission and has amended the proposed ordinance so the height limit for grass is 8 inches, the setback from the front property line for native grasses is 10’, and noxious weeds as defined by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are prohibited. 

Carpenter indicated sideyard and rearyard setbacks were discussed at the last meeting and she questioned if they had been resolved.  Kuchenreuther indicated they were not resolved. 

Kuchenreuther indicated she didn’t think her neighbors would be happy with native grasses coming right up to their property lines.  Hoffman indicated he didn’t think it would be a problem, as he feels anyone that does this would do it with a conscience.  Ex-officio Miller agreed.  Rudney indicated he didn’t think sideyard and rearyard setbacks were necessary. 

Kuchenreuther indicated Larson had suggested at the last meeting that those people with prairie grass plantings register with the City.  Carpenter suggested not requiring that and seeing if it becomes a problem. 

Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Johnson, to send these potential amendments to the ordinance to the City Council.  Motion carried.

Noise Pollution Ordinance:  Minion indicated the City should look at signage regarding jake braking rather than putting something in the Ordinance.  Because the City is not in the 7-county Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the City of Morris does not need to pass a resolution stating it will enforce Minnesota Statute 169.69 (muffler) or Minnesota Statutes 169.693 (motor vehicle noise limits). 

Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Rudney, to recommend to the City Council to install “Vehicle Laws Enforced” signs at major entrances into Morris.  Motion carried.

The Noise Pollution Requirements ordinance, Subd. 4B states that no power lawn mower, power hedge clipper, chain saw, mulcher, garden tiller, edger, drill or other similar domestic power maintenance equipment shall be operated, except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekends or legal holidays.  Snow removal equipment is exempt from this ordinance.  Rudney indicated he thinks 7:00 a.m. would be acceptable for weekends.  It was the consensus to change the language so that the exception is between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on all days. 

Subd. 3H, addresses amplified sounds from motor vehicles.  The last sentence reads, “In addition to an owner or a driver, any person who controls or assists with the production, reproduction, or amplification of sound in violation of this section is guilty of the violation.”  Carpenter asked if this would mean that the person that installed the sound system could be held liable.  It was the consensus to drop that sentence.

Kuchenreuther asked about block parties.  Miller indicated he feels businesses already apply for permits and they are regulated. 

Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Hoffman, to send the Noise Pollution ordinance to the City Council as amended.  Motion carried.

Dark Sky Ordinance:  Kuchenreuther indicated she feels there are several definitions missing.

Rudney indicated the word “art” in 10. under the definitions should be “part”. 

General Standards #1 states, “The use of searchlights or flashing lights except by civil authorities for public safety is prohibited.”  Kuchenreuther asked if the airport is a civil authority.

Number 2 under general standards discusses lights for outdoor advertising, but it does not address signs that are internally lit.  She feels language should be added regarding internally lit signs.

Number 3 talks about transitional yards.  Kuchenreuther feels transitional yards need to be added to the definitions. 

Number 8 reads, “Any luminaire with a lamp or lamps rated at a total of more than 1800 lumens, and all flood or spot luminaries with a lamp or lamps rated at a total of more than 900 lumens shall not emit any direct-light-emitting part of the luminaire.” 

Kuchenreuther indicated she feels that is wrong.  She suggested this section needs to be checked with the model after which it was written. 

Under Shielding Standards, numbers 2 and 3 talk about semi cutoff and full cutoff.  These need to be defined. 

In General Exceptions, #3, there are 2 typographical errors – “schedules” should be “scheduled’, and “which” should be “that”.

Number 5 should read, “Fossil Fuel Light produced directly or indirectly….”

It was felt garden lighting should be a general exception as long as the lights are low voltage.  Carpenter suggested adding that language to #6 in exceptions.  Kuchenreuther suggested adding “Low voltage ground level decorative lighting is exempt” as a new #3. 

Under Nonconforming Luminaries, #2, there is a typographical error in the second sentence.  The word “of” should be replaced with “if”. 

Carpenter indicated she feels #3 is mind-boggling.  Kuchenreuther feels #3 and #5 conflict with #1. 

Commissioner Johnson questioned who would enforce this ordinance.

Number 5 under Effective Date states that any lighting not in compliance with this ordinance seven years hence shall be immediately brought into compliance.  Carpenter indicated she feels it would be a nightmare to leave that in the ordinance. 

The second paragraph under Exterior Lighting Plan Required spells out who prepares a lighting plan, and the contents of the plan.  Carpenter questioned this section.  Kuchenreuther pointed out a lighting plan is required for anything with use of greater intensity than a one or two-family dwelling. 

Effective Date, #3 should read, “Upon repair or replacement of any component of any luminaire, or relocation of any luminaire, the requirement that such luminaire be made full cutoff shall apply.”

The Violations section talks about a Code Enforcement Officer.  Kuchenreuther asked who holds that title.  City Manager Larson indicated no one holds that title for the City, but indicated it could be the Building Official.  Kuchenreuther indicated the language in this section should be changed to “he/she” instead of just “he”.  She also suggested that regular mail be used for notification instead of certified mail. 

Carpenter asked who would review any exterior lighting plans.  Kuchenreuther indicated the Building Official would do it when reviewing building plans, but they would have to know what they were looking for.

Outdoor Wood Burners:  City Manager Larson indicated a laundromat in town is using an aquaburner to heat water for the washers.  He stated a neighbor has registered a complaint about the smoke from the burner, and at this point there is nothing in the City Code that addresses these types of burners.  He suggested this needs to be addressed to develop standards for location from buildings, height of stack, etc.

Miller indicated he feels the key to this is a requirement to get updraft of the smoke.  Kuchenreuther will do some research on this and it will be discussed at the June meeting. 

Summer Meetings:  Larson indicated in the past the Planning Commission has met at noon during the summer months.  He asked if they would like to do that again.  It was the consensus to continue with the 5:15 p.m. meeting times.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Hoffman, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:13.

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