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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISISON – REGULAR MEETING – MARCH 16, 2010

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:17 p.m. this 16th day of March, 2010, 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 Gades, Hoffman, Granger, and Vice Chairperson Rudney.  Commissioner Johnson and Chairperson Kuchenreuther were absent.  Also present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 11/17/09 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  The last sentence of the fifth paragraph on page two reads, “She found that of the 1,300 wind turbines in Minnesota, none are within city limits.”  Granger indicated that sentence should be changed to read, “She found that of the 1,300 wind turbines in Minnesota, none of this size are within city limits of a small town.”  Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the minutes with the noted change.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Zoning:  City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill indicated the next step in the zoning issue is to set a schedule for the meetings and hearings. 

Hill indicated the Orderly Annexation Agreement (OAA) with Morris, Darnen, Hodges and Framnas Townships and Stevens County, dictates what happens around the City of Morris.  The language in the OAA talks about a ½ mile area of authority around the city, the Orderly Annexation Area (OAA).  However, there is also language in the Agreement that specifically describes the area.  The problem is that these areas don’t necessarily match up. 

The agreement talks about two additional areas that are ½ mile each and are again described by legal description.  The first area outside of the city’s first zoning jurisdiction is the Township Agriculture Holding Area (TAHA) and the next area is the Township Agricultural Land Area (TALA). 

Once the OAA is 75% developed, then the TAHA shifts to the OAA.  The TALA shifts to the TAHA and then a new TAHA is formed ½ mile further out. 

Hill indicated he sent an email to City Attorney Glasrud regarding this but has not yet received a response.  Hill indicated he does not feel the City has zoning jurisdiction ½ mile around the entire city, but rather within the areas legally described in the Agreement.  Hill marked a City map with the legal descriptions in the Agreement.  He indicated the City has to make sure it is aware of the areas over which it has control when meetings occur with the townships.  He feels there should be easily-definable

lines when describing the areas of jurisdiction.  The legal descriptions accomplish this. 

There is an individual that would like to buy an acre of land just outside of City limits, and build a house.  According to the Orderly Annexation Agreement, in order to build on that small of a lot that individual would need a variance and would have to go through the Townships, County and City.  Hill discussed this with County Coordinator Thoreen.  Thoreen feels the agreement is outdated.  Hill pointed out it is still in force.  Rudney asked who is watching out for this type of thing at the County level.  Hill indicated the zoning administrator for the County is Thoreen.

Granger asked if the City has sole zoning authority.  Hill indicated in the first area the City handles the zoning, in the next area the City, County and Townships have authority, and in the furthest area the Townships and County have authority. 

A question was raised on whether the County had a Planning Commission and who was on the Commission.  Hill will check into that.

On the proposed zoning map, Hill asked about the railroad property by West Central Implement on East 10th Street.  It is proposed to be I1.  It was the consensus that area should be HB.  Granger questioned if Co-op could expand if the City were to change the zoning.  Granger indicated the Co-op cleans their sprayers out in that area.  Ex-officio Miller indicated he will talk to the Co-op manager about that practice.  Granger asked if there is any place that defines a property owner’s rights of being grandfathered into something.  Hill indicated he believes that is in State Statutes. 

Hill indicated the next step in the zoning process is to set a schedule.  He feels it would be easiest to talk with the Townships first.  Hoffman indicated he feels the entire rezoning process may be easier this time around as there is not as much building and expansion happening as there was in the past.

Hoffman indicated he would like to have the Planning Commission address the issue that happened on East 2nd Street.  A house was moved onto an empty lot, however, the houses on both sides of that empty lot were built very near to, or right on, the property lines, therefore the houses are very close together.  Hoffman feels there should be something in place that would prevent that from happening again.  Granger asked if the ordinance could be changed to require a setback, and a certain amount of area between buildings.  Hill indicated that would be possible.  Hoffman suggested there be an ordinance that says if a building is moved in, it should be inspected first.  Hill indicated in order to move a building into Benson, the City Council has to approve it first.  Rudney indicated there would have to be standards that the Council would have to follow.  Granger suggested checking with other towns to see what they do, along with checking at the League of Minnesota Cities.  Hill

indicated that could be done, but questioned if it was worth the time as there aren’t many houses moved into the City.  He stated codes are complicated. 

Courthouse Update:  Rudney indicated the Courthouse remodeling project is getting a lot of mud on the road.  He indicated there are MPCA guidelines on controlling mud on construction sites.  He indicated he spoke with the City’s building official and he will talk to the City’s public works director. 

Court Order:  Hill informed the Planning Commission of a court order he received from Judge Siebel requiring the City to plow the roads by the courthouse by 7:30 a.m.  After all was said and done, the court order was rescinded and the County is taking care of that plowing.

Potholes:  Rudney asked about the potholes around town.  Hill indicated the City will begin working on them soon.

Recycling:  Rudney asked if there was a recycling agreement with the garbage hauler.  He indicated they often pick up recycling two days in a row at his house, and he would rather have them pick up recycling every two weeks if they have the manpower.

Wind Power:  Miller indicated he received a letter from a company promoting household wind power.  He feels the City should have something on the books regulating wind generators.  Rudney indicated he thought Chairperson Kuchenreuther was going to look into that.  Granger indicated the League of Minnesota Cities has model ordinances on this.  City Manager Hill will look into that.

ELECTION OF CHAIRPERSON AND VICE CHAIRPERSON:  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Hoffman, to nominate Kuchenreuther as Chairperson and Rudney as Vice Chairperson for 2010.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Planning Commission Member:  Nancy Carpenter chose not to be reappointed to the Planning Commission this year.  Hill indicated her 4-year term needs to be filled and asked Commissioners to think of nominees.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Hoffman moved, seconded by Granger, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:22.

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