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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING – JANUARY 20, 2009

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:16 p.m. this 20th day January, 2009, 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, Hoffman, Granger, Rudney, Gades, and Chair person Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Carpenter arrived at 5:21.  Also present was City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.  Ex-officio Miller arrived at 5:25.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 12/16/08 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Several typographical errors were pointed out:  on the second page, fourth paragraph, first sentence, the word “tress” should be “trees”; on the third page, second paragraph, last sentence, the word “talked” should be “talk”.  On the same page, fourth paragraph, the first sentence should read, “Nels Enberg, 404 East 4th, stated he feels there would be a lot of congestion at 5th and California during a day when there was a funeral at First Lutheran, along with all the cars from the Courthouse.”; on the fourth page, sixth paragraph, the last sentence should read, “Hill indicated the Safety Committee looks at those types of things.”; and on the last page, the word “city” should be capitalized in the second condition of the conditional use permit.  Commissioner Johnson moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve the minutes as amended.  Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Elect Chair and Vice Chair for 2009:  Commissioner Johnson moved, seconded by Rudney, to nominate Kuchenreuther as Chair person for 2009.  Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Hoffman, to nominate Rudney as Vice Chair person for 2009.  Motion carried unanimously.

Elementary School Redevelopment Update:  Chair person Kuchenreuther indicated there will be a work session at about 6:00 p.m. after the City Council meeting January 27 on this issue, and the Planning Commission is invited to attend.  Treeline and Stahl, the architects on this project, will present their ideas for the school site.  She indicated that ultimately the Planning Commission will have to do some zoning for this site.  Kuchenreuther also invited the Planning Commission members to tour a grow home in Fargo on January 31 that was designed by Stahl.

Commissioner Johnson asked how this project will affect the funds of the City.  Hill indicated the next step is to figure out how to develop this property. 

Gades asked if the floor plans will be dictated for homes on this site.  Hill indicated size will be dictated.  Kuchenreuther indicated setbacks will also be dictated for the geothermal systems.  Discussion was held on various aspects of the development, and how much interest may or may not be generated with this type of development. 

Zoning Map:  Granger asked if the zoning going west out of Morris by Olson Implement on the south side of Highway 28 and past the marsh on the north side of Highway 28 should be HB.  It was the consensus HB would be correct. 

She questioned the zoning north of Westwood Acres.  It was agreed that RM is appropriate in that area.

Granger asked about the zoning at the ethanol plant.  On the map it is I2, heavy industrial.  She suggested that because of noise it should be I1.  She feels I2 property should be moved farther from residential areas.  She stated there is a hammer mill at the ethanol plant that is not enclosed and that produces the noise.  Currently the ethanol plant has temporarily closed due to economic conditions.  Hoffman indicated he does not want to make it impossible for them to reopen by rezoning this.  He does not like the timing of changing that zoning.  Kuchenreuther indicated according to the City Code the correct zone would be I2 because brewery and malt house are allowed in the I2 zone.  Granger stated if the nuisance ordinance were enforced this would not be a problem.  Hill pointed out that even if it were changed to I1, that industry would be grandfathered.  Ex-officio Miller indicated he would hate to see the City put a regulation on that property that may prohibit certain industries from pursuing it if it were to go up for sale.  Carpenter indicated that by changing the zoning the City would not be saying there couldn’t be an ethanol plant there.  Granger indicated that according to statute, a legal nonconforming use can be continued, but a zoning ordinance can prohibit expansion, extension or rebuilding.  It was the consensus to leave this area I2. 

Going back to the area by Olson Implement on the west side of town, Hill asked if it was wise to put HB next to R.  Miller indicated Ken Lesmeister rents out parts of his building for trucks and there is the potential of someone purchasing a portion of the Sullivan property.  Hill indicated he doesn’t feel the City can force Sullivan’s to clean up their property, but feels they may be willing to let the City help them clean it up.

At the November meeting the Planning Commission discussed the CBD district extending to the east of California Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets.  At that time it was decided that should be RM.  Kuchenreuther questioned why that should be RM instead of R.  Given the uses in that neighborhood it was decided that the lots the Morris Dental building are on on the north side of East 6th Street and the lots Schuster Agency and Raymond James are on on the south side of East 6th Street should be CBD, and the lots to the east of these should be RM. 

Granger asked if the area of Mohr Plumbing and Carrie Melchert’s home should be zoned R instead of HB.  Carpenter questioned why we wouldn’t rezone Denco, but we would rezone Mohr Plumbing.  She feels it would be hypocritical to do this if Mohr Plumbing is interested in expanding his business.  Hoffman indicated Mohr Plumbing does not own the property the business sits on.  Hoffman suggested having someone call Mohr Plumbing and see if they intend on making any changes.  Hill suggested making a list of all the zoning changes, identifying any that may be controversial and making contact with those individuals.  Rudney indicated he feels the Planning Commission will have to make good arguments on any changes recommended.  It was the consensus to change the Mohr Plumbing/Melchert area to R.

At prior meetings the Planning Commission identified areas to be revisited on the zoning map.  The first item was whether homes should not be allowed uses in the HB zone.  Hill indicated all present houses in the HB district would be grandfathered in.  Granger suggested moving homes from being a permitted use to being a conditional use in the HB zone.  Hill indicated as a conditional use they would be easier to control.  Granger indicated there are no front yard setbacks in the HB zone unless it is across the street from an area zoned R.  It was the consensus to have Hill write a modification of the ordinances to make houses in the HB zone a conditional use. 

Another revisted item discussed was whether the area east of the high school where the University fields are should be R or RF.  It was the consensus that the school property should be R and University property should be MC.

Hill will make a list of all the proposed zoning changes discussed by the Planning Commission. 

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Hoffman moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:35.

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