MINUTES - PLANNING
COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - APRIL 21, 2009
regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15
p.m. the 21st day of April, 2009, by Chair person Kuchenreuther in
the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.
OF THE ROLL: Roll call was
taken with the following members present:
Commissioners Carpenter, Johnson, Granger, Gades, Rudney and Chair
person Kuchenreuther. Commissioner
Hoffman arrived at 5:16. Also
present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.
AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES: February
17, 2009 Regular Meeting: The
following changes to the minutes were recommended: The first bullet in the last paragraph on the first page
should read, “Make the property from Olson Implement on the South side of
Highway 28 west to the road and the property past the marsh on the north
side of Highway 28 Highway Business (HB)”; the second sentence of the second bullet on the second page
should read, “The reason for this change is because Farm Residence (RF) would
not allow appropriate density to be compatible with the surrounding
neighborhood.”; the last sentence
of the last bullet on the second page should read, “The reason for this change
is that views of the river in the designated R and the rest is a logical area for HB.”; the last sentence
of the fourth bullet in the third page should read, “The reason for this change
is because this is an appropriate place for highway business.”; the first
sentence of the fifth bullet on the third page should read, “Change the farm
land to the South side of North Ridge Drive, which is owned by the University,
from Farm Residence ……”; the last sentence of the fifth bullet on the third
page should read, “To the south, the area should be HB because it’s by the
highway.”; change the eighth bullet on the third page to “The quarter section
south of West 8th Street right outside the city limits, along with
the quarter section directly to the west should be Farm Residence (RF). The reason for this is that the
utilities have been extended out West 8th Street and this would be a
good place for new homes. The two
quarter sections south of these should be Municipal Conservancy (MC) because
this is a wetland.” Commissioner
Rudney moved, seconded by Carpenter, to approve the 2/17/09 meeting minutes
with the above amendments. Motion
HEARINGS: Stevens County
Variance Requests: This
hearing is on a request for two variances as provided in Section 11.23, Subd. 2
D 3 and Section 11.23, Subd. 2 D 4 of the Morris City Code, along with a
request to vacate a portion of a street.
These requests are by
Stevens County. The property is
located at 400 Colorado Avenue, legally described as Block 70, Railway Subdivision,
parcel number 20-0543-005. These
variances, if granted, would allow Stevens County to remodel and add on to the
existing Courthouse building and exceed the height restriction of 30 feet by 1
foot, and the lot coverage percentage of 25% by 1.91% in a Residential (R)
zone. The request for street
vacation is for that portion of Colorado Avenue between 5th Street
and 4th Street in front of the Courthouse. The vacation would allow for the utilization of the vacated
property for sidewalks, mall frontage and parking lot.
Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill explained the variance requests are based on
the current plans for the courthouse remodel, law enforcement center, and
Hoyer sent an email regarding his concerns with the jail project.
indicated City staff does not have any issues with the variance requests or the
request to vacate a portion of Colorado Avenue.
Schneider of Klein McCarthy Architects, the architects on the project, was
present. He passed out sketches of
the project. He pointed out that
on the south end they are lowering the parking lot, so the building height will
be at 30’ 8”. They have applied
for a variance of one foot which would allow their building height to be 31’.
asked what would happen if the plan were to change. Hill indicated the County would then have to re-apply for
any required variances.
were no comments from the public on the building height.
Hoffman moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve the height variance request of
1’. Motion carried unanimously.
variance request for lot coverage is for 1.91% over the 25% limit. Schneider indicated the variance is for
about 2,000 square feet. He
indicated originally they were going to acquire land from First Lutheran Church
for this project, but that has fallen through, therefore the need for this request.
asked if there is anything they can do to get the building within the 25%
limit. Schneider indicated they
have looked at all options and this is their best.
asked if these numbers are based on the City vacating Colorado Avenue in front
of the Courthouse. Schneider
indicated they are.
asked if this plan reflects the landscaping plan required by the conditional
use permit. Schneider indicated he
believes it is fairly close.
However, he indicated it does not show new shrubs and bushes.
Lesmeister, 502 East 4th Street, asked if there was a variance for
the parking lot space. Hill
indicated they have met parking requirements so no variance is required.
Saugstad, 1001 West 4th Street, stated that if the street vacation
of Colorado Avenue is not approved, then this variance does not matter. Hill indicated that is correct. He pointed out that the Planning
Commission holds the public hearing on the street vacation, but the City
Council approves or denies the request.
Carpenter moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the variance request for 1.91%
over the 25% lot coverage standard.
Motion carried unanimously.
County Street Vacation Request:
Stevens County has made a request for street vacation for that portion
of Colorado Avenue between 5th Street and 4th Street in
front of the Courthouse. The
vacation would allow for the utilization of the vacated property for sidewalks,
mall frontage and parking lot.
indicated City staff has reviewed this issue and has no problems with the
Lesmeister handed out a list of 22 questions he has with the project including
parking lot issues, snow removal issues, garbage truck issues, traffic issues
and sanitary sewer issues. Hill
indicated staff has addressed most of these issues.
Carpenter asked if the law enforcement committee ever invites the public to
their meetings in order to get public input on issues. Hill indicated he does not know. Hill pointed out the placement of stop
and yield signs does not require Council action.
Lesmeister asked if there is any room for overflow parking. Schneider indicated City Code requires
them to use a formula for parking that is based on the square footage of the
building and its use.
Saugstad asked if the entrance/exit to the parking lot is designed for 1-way or
2-way traffic. Schneider indicated
it is designed for 2-way traffic.
Saugstad indicated the impact of the increased traffic on use of the
alley is a concern to him.
indicated he feels a lot of Lesmeister’s concerns have been addressed, but the
one unknown is how the expanded Courthouse would affect the traffic pattern.
suggested that even though not legally required, it might make sense to put
stop signs at the exit of the parking lot.
Lesmeister asked how the transition from the east parking lot onto East 4th
Street would be designed. Schneider
indicated a civil engineer has completed plans for that and it meets all slope
Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve the vacation of Colorado Avenue
between 4th and 5th Streets. Motion carried unanimously.
Carpenter moved, seconded by Granger, to recommend that the law enforcement
committee carefully examine the traffic controls and seek public input if and
when actually implemented. Motion
BUSINESS: School Reuse: Kuchenreuther indicated Granger, Hill,
Miller and she are all members of the school reuse committee. She indicated it would be very useful
for them to hear any comments on the school reuse information that was
presented at the public meeting.
She indicated two subcommittees are meeting to address financing the
demolition of the elementary school and a new zoning district.
Day Seminar: Miller indicated
there is an Earth Day Seminar tomorrow.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business,
Commissioner Carpenter moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn. Motion carried and the meeting
adjourned at 6:25.