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MINUTES  -  PLANNING COMMISSION  -  REGULAR MEETING  -  JUNE 19, 2007

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:17 p.m. this 19th day of June, 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 Granger, Hoffman, Rudney, Carpenter, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Johnson arrived at 5:40.  Commissioner Stevenson was absent.  Also present was ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 5/15/07 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to approve the minutes of the 5/15/07 regular meeting as presented.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Dark Sky Ordinance:  Commissioner Granger indicated she feels she needs more time to study the language of this ordinance.  She handed out information from the national Electrical Manufacturers Association.  One of the statements in the paper notes that an ordinance written without a full understanding of the issue can inadvertently cause problems. 

Rudney indicated he has spoken with Terry Timmerman, who has talked to Messner Electric and Messner has found some new lights for Timmerman to use on his billboards. 

Rudney indicated he is still confused on the definition of a transitional yard. 

Granger indicated she has a number of questions regarding the potential ordinance as it is written.  She feels the Planning Commission needs to define its goals on lighting.  She questioned the difference between items #4 and #7 under General Standards.  Hoffman indicated he feels #4 addresses transitional yards and #7 talks about commercial facilities. 

Kuchenreuther agreed the ordinance needs to be gone through with a fine tooth comb. 

Carpenter asked if the ordinance would rule out porch lights.  Granger indicated she feels the ordinance would try to help control things over a certain brightness. 

Kuchenreuther suggested developing a fact sheet for contractors and retailers of lighting fixtures regarding lighting.  Granger suggested handing out the information sheet along with building permits to simplify the process. 

Carpenter suggested that when thinking about the ordinance, different lighting situations that currently exist in town need to be taken into consideration, i.e. the Stevens County

 

Dark Sky Ordinance:   

Historical Society building.  Miller also noted that many times lights are used for security reasons.

Outdoor Wood Burners:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther provided several items on outdoors wood burners.  Included is information discussing health concerns with outdoor wood burners, what governments can do about complaints, a model ordinance from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and a draft ordinance Kuchenreuther put together on outdoor wood-fired furnaces.  She stated she put a lot of alternatives in the draft ordinance and the Planning Commission will have to decide what they want in the ordinance. 

Kuchenreuther indicated Subd. 3 alternative 1 prohibits wood-fired furnaces altogether.  She stated alternative 2 might be more what Morris would do, that is allow outdoor wood-fired furnaces with certain conditions.  She indicated some municipalities only allow wood-fired furnaces in ag zones.  She indicated the zone restriction could be eliminated.  B. implies all furnaces have to be compliant, not just new ones. 

Granger asked about homemade wood burners.  Kuchenreuther indicated there is nothing in the draft ordinance regarding homemade wood burners, but it might make sense to have them included.

Subdivision 4 talks about what can be burned in the furnaces.  Alternate 1 says only dry wood can be burned.  The Wisconsin Division of Public Health’s information indicates the burning of wet wood and other types of wood can release very toxic chemicals and should never be burned in outdoor wood burners.   

Subdivision 5 discusses distance requirements between the wood burner and buildings.  Kuchenreuther indicated the healthcare information suggests a distance of 300’ – 500’ from the outdoor wood burner to the nearest building which is not on the same property.  The information from the manufacturer suggests 25’ from the property line, and at least 100’ from another building not served by the outdoor wood burner.

Miller noted that when an outdoor wood burner is not calling for heat, it smolders and fills the neighborhood up with smoke, but when it does call for heat it heats up and creates an updraft.

Subdivision 6 discusses chimneys. 

Subdivision 7 discusses exceptions.  Kuchenreuther questioned if this should be included in the ordinance.

Subdivision 9 outlines violations and penalties. 

Outdoor Wood Burners: 

Hoffman indicated he likes the alternate which prohibits outdoors wood-fired furnaces altogether.  He feels it is such an uncontrollable process.  Miller commented the furnaces are a health hazard. 

Kuchenreuther asked if the laundromat gets grandfathered in if this is adopted.  Carpenter asked if the Beyer’s furnace meets the conditions of the proposed ordinance.  Rudney indicated he doesn’t feel Beyer’s furnace meets the setbacks.  He stated Beyer was allowed to install the furnace because the City has no ordinances against it.  He questioned how the ordinance would apply to the UMM’s biomass project.  Miller indicated he thinks they are researching how to keep it burning hot enough to not be a problem.  Kuchenreuther indicated MPCA has indicated the biomass project is not a health hazard. 

Kuchenreuther asked the Planning Commission members to think hard about this before the next meeting.  She suggested the goal for the July meeting is to make a recommendation on outdoor wood fired furnaces to the City Council. 

Carpenter indicated she feels it would be a good idea for someone to talk with the Fire Chief regarding the ordinance.  Miller will discuss this with him. 

Granger asked if there is any way to mitigate the negative health issues with the outdoor wood-fired furnaces. 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:22.

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