MINUTES – PLANNING
COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING – APRIL 20, 2010
Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15
p.m. this 20th day of April, 2010, by Chairperson 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 Granger, Hoffman, Rudney and Chairperson Kuchenreuther. Commissioners Gades and Johnson were
absent. Also present were City
Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.
AND APPROVAL OF 3/16/10 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES: Commissioner Rudney asked if the Commission was going to be
updated on items discussed at the 3/16/10 meeting. Hill indicated he would provide an update on several
issues. Commissioner Rudney moved,
seconded by Granger, to approve the minutes of the 3/16/10 regular meeting as
presented. With all present voting
in favor, motion carried.
HEARINGS: Hentges Variance
Request: This hearing is for a
zoning variance request from Section 11.23, Subd. 2 D 5 (i) of the Morris City
Code which requires a 6.8’ sideyard setback in a residential (R) zone. This request is by Peter J. Hentges, 13
Brook Street, legally described as Block 1, Lot 7, Elles University Addition,
parcel number 20-1515-000. This
variance, if granted, would allow an addition to an attached garage within 6”
of the interior sideyard line.
indicated he has received no calls or correspondence regarding this
request. He noted 6” would make
this a very tight sideyard. He
also noted the house next door to this request has a detached offset garage in
the back yard. Hentges’ property
is 130’ deep, and the remainder of the land behind the lot line belongs to the
City. Hill’s biggest concern is
fire control, but indicated all the homes along this street have access through
the back yards.
asked why the required sideyard setback is 6.8’ instead of 10’. Hill indicated there is a section in
the City Code that states if the lot of record has less than the width required
(which in this case is 75’), the required side yard setback for a single family
dwelling from the side yard property line shall be reduced to ten percent of
the width of the lot, except that in no case shall an interior side setback
line be less than five feet nor a side street setback line be less than 25
feet. This lot is 68’ wide.
asked what the spacing is to the home to the east. Hentges indicated that with the addition onto his garage,
the distance would be about 8’ to the neighbor’s garage. Hentges presented letters from his
neighbors to the east and to the west.
Both letters support the proposed addition.
asked Hentges if he had thought about building a detached offset garage in the
back yard. Hentges indicated he
has thought about that, but would like to
fenced in area in the back yard, and also feels a detached garage would take up
most of the back yard.
asked what the chances are of the City vacating the property behind these homes
and then homeowners could build garages with doors to the north. Hill noted there is an alleyway with
gravel about 3 houses down from Hentges.
He stated homeowners just drive over the grass now. Hentges indicated he feels there would
be a lot of dirt work involved in
putting an alley in, and also noted there would be no outlet on the east end of
indicated she worries about fire equipment getting around the back of the
house. Hentges indicated there is
door access from the back of his house.
noted Hentges’ home is garage to garage with the neighbor to the east.
indicated he would suspect a detached garage in the back yard would be bigger
than what this garage would end up being.
Hentges indicated that is correct.
pointed out a 6” setback is unheard of unless it’s in a commercial
neighborhood. She feels that for
aesthetics, access, painting, or planting, 6” is too small of a setback. She questioned if a single car garage
was really a hardship as she counted 40 in the Meadowbrook Addition.
indicated he remembers granting a variance for building right on the property
line, so granting this would not be the first precedent.
pointed out the Planning Commission always struggles with the hardship requirement
for granting variances.
Kuchenreuther indicated she too is uncomfortable with how tight the
space would be between the two homes with the addition to this garage. Hentges presented a picture showing two
houses in his neighborhood that are about 8’ apart. Granger indicated she feels the zoning ordinance should be
changed, or more stringent rules or goals should be implemented. Hill noted that the consistent hardship
is the single garage in this day and age.
indicated he has mixed feelings on this request. He indicated he hates to see something so close to the
property line, even though it makes sense to put it there. Hoffman indicated things have changed
so much and questioned how the Planning Commission could not let people bring
their homes up to today’s standards.
Granger indicated the 40 houses she saw in the Meadowbrook neighborhood
are not blighted. Hoffman
indicated if the ordinance was changed to allow closer setbacks, the Planning
Commission would have no control over the situations that are so close. With variances the Planning Commission
does have control over them.
some discussion, Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Hoffman, to grant this
variance as requested. With all
present voting in favor, motion carried.
BUSINESS: Discussion of
Potential Variance Request at 401 Washington Avenue: The property at 401 Washington Avenue
is for sale and there is a potential buyer. That buyer wants to demolish the existing garage, build an
attached garage, and add onto the house.
The City owns the land toward the lake.
Judy Flicker, who have a home at 404 West 4th Street just west of
this property, were present. Kevin
read a letter they received some years back from City Attorney Glasrud
addressing the area between the property at 401 Washington and 404 West 4th
Street. In that letter Glasrud
lists three potential options for vacating that land: 1. Forget about
vacation and not run the risk of running afoul of any regulations because the
middle lots do not have access to a street. This would land lock some of the lots. 2. Ignoring that vacation would make some lots landlocked. 3. Rearrange lots 1-6 in a way that Lots 1-2 would become Lot 1
and Lots 3-6 would become Lot 2.
This way both lots would have frontage on the street.
Flicker indicated they have been told they have access to Wyoming Avenue which
is actually the bus garage parking lot.
She indicated they do use access from Washington through 4th
Street. She stated Raasch thought
he owned the property that extends from 4th Street.
indicated there is a row of trees on what would be a boulevard. There is no road but it is
platted. There is a right-of-way. He would not recommend that be vacated
by the City. He stated the issue
is actually whether the potential buyer would be required to get a variance to
add onto the home. If there were a
road where it is platted, there should be a 25’ setback. Also if they add to the front of the house
it would have to be in line with the other houses on the block, but Flickers
house actually faces the alley.
indicated if both the Flickers and the potential buyers of 401 Washington were
to petition the City for vacation of that land, the City would probably vacate
it. Kevin Flicker indicated their
primary concern is that they continue to have access to their property from
West 4th Street.
Hoffman noted that if the property is vacated, the property owners would
have to be sure to get a perpetual easement with the property and have it filed
at the Courthouse.
Kuchenreuther indicated she does not feel this requires a
variance. Granger indicated if
this were considered a corner lot then they would need a variance. A corner lot is described in the City
Code as “A lot situated at the junction of, and abutting on two or more
intersecting streets, or adjacent to or abutting unplatted or undeveloped
property, or a lot at the point of deflection in alignment of a continuous
street, the interior angle of which does not exceed one hundred thirty-five
(135) degrees.” Kuchenreuther
indicated she feels the intent of the description of a corner lot is for
developable land, which this is not.
It was felt that a variance is not required for this
Questions from Last Meeting: Hill indicated City Attorney Glasrud
has not yet responded to his question regarding annexation discussed at the
Hill indicated there is a County Planning Commission. Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the
City Planning Commission should meet with them regarding zoning.
Possible Variance: Hill indicated an individual has applied for a zoning
variance that would enable him to convert existing porches into bedrooms. This conversion would make the home a 7-bedroom
home. Hill indicated neither he
nor the building official feel this would be a good idea. Hill will contact the applicant.
Planning Commission Vacancy: The Commission was reminded of the
vacancy on the Planning Commission.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30.