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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - MARCH 18, 2008

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:20 p.m. this 18th day of March, 2008, by Vice Chairperson Rudney 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 and Vice chairperson Rudney.  Commissioners Carpenter, Johnson and Chairperson Kuchenreuther were absent.  Also present were City Manager Hill and Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 2/19/08 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES: The minutes were not considered because there was not a quorum present.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Morris Community Church:  Pat Franey of the Morris Community Church was present.  He indicated the church is interested in purchasing the old UBC property for use as their church.  This property is zoned I2 (Heavy Industrial).  A church is not a permitted or conditional use in the I2 zone.  He indicated the church would be located in the old retail area and they may expand into the warehouse area.  He stated they would remove the open-faced storage sheds.  He indicated their goal would be to beautify the property bit by bit and hopefully get the parking lot paved.  He stated they are not interested in competing with any retail businesses, and it appears there are no other offers on this property.

Rudney indicated a concern may be how closely the building is situated to Pacific Avenue.  He also stated he feels this looks like a good use of the property. 

City Manager Hill indicated that the I2 zone is set up for heavy industrial activity.  He stated we are talking about changing the use of the property so suggested they file a conditional use request.  Granger asked if a conditional use permit can be issued for something that is not a permitted use.  She asked if the ordinance could be amended so a church would be a permitted conditional use in the I2 zone.  Hill indicated that would require an ordinance change.

Rudney indicated he feels this makes sense.  Hoffman asked what happens if 10 years down the road a heavy industrial use moved in next door.  Granger indicated the purpose of zoning is to separate uses.  Hill indicated maybe the best approach is to add churches as an allowable use in the I2 zone with a conditional use permit.  That way any such uses would come before the Planning Commission for review and to determine if it would be compatible with the surrounding area.

Granger indicated the reason this area is zoned I2 is because businesses needed access to the railroad, however she feels that is changing.  She indicated she would like to figure out a way to add churches as a conditional use in the I2 zone.  Rudney agreed.

Hill indicated he could talk to the City Attorney regarding this.

Hill indicated there is a building on the site that has windows broken.  Hoffman indicated he would like to see the church see if there is some way to address being so close to Pacific Avenue.  Granger indicated she does not think there are setback requirements in the I2 zone.

Granger indicated she likes the idea of revitalizing that area.  Ex-officio Miller indicated he agrees it is a good use to clean up the area, make use of it and get rid of some dilapidated buildings.

Franey indicated in the next week the church will be signing a purchase agreement on this property with the contingency that the City approves the use.

Hill will consult with the City Attorney on the procedure to allow this.

Greenwaldt Variance Request:  There was not a quorum present, so the Planning Commission did not take any action on this request.  Greenwaldt indicated he would like to start digging in late April and have it framed and shelled in by the beginning of the summer. 

Rudney questioned if there is an easement in place.  Greenwaldt indicated he has talked with Dave Wente (the neighbor to the east) regarding the trees along the property line.  The trees are on Wente’s property, approximately 2 ½’ from the property line.  It is their intention to remove those trees and possibly place a hedge along there.

Rudney asked if there is a low spot along the property line.  Greenwaldt indicated water does pond in the back where it is pumped out into the street by a neighbor.  He stated he has never had any problems with water and the addition would not stop the natural flow of the water. 

Rudney asked if Greenwaldt could make it a 20’ garage instead of a 26’ garage.  Greenwaldt indicated that is what he has now and it’s very tight.  He stated the purpose for the addition is to give him more room in the garage. 

Greenwaldt’s request is to add to his garage to within 4’ of his property line.  Granger indicated 4’ is very small and she can’t see that a hardship could be argued on this request.

It was the concensus of the Planning Commission to hold a special meeting on April 9th, 2008 at 5:15 in the Council Chambers to address this request.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:05.

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