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MINUTES    PLANNING COMMISSION    REGULAR MEETING    JUNE 15, 2010

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 15th day of June, 2010, by Chairperson 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:  Commissioner Gades, Johnson, Rudney, Granger and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Hoffman was absent.  Also present was Zoning Administrator Hill and  Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 4/20/10 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the 4/20/10 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

OTHER BUSINESS:  Brainstorm Things to Work On:  Kuchenreuther noted she would continue working on an outdoor wood burning ordinance.

Rudney suggested the Building Inspector make recommendations on things that should be changed in the city code.

Hill stated there is a need for the city to do a general review of the codes.  Some items to look at include:

·       Dog licenses – they are required but not pursued.

·       Rentals – only 3 people per unit. 

·       Wind turbines – there is currently nothing in the code. 

·       Review of comprehensive plan  

·       Licensing of bicycles - obsolete

·       Moving buildings into town

·       Pets/kennels

·       Lighting ordinance

·       Solar energy

Rudney stated initially they were restricting the number of people in units but due to federal regulations that had to be stopped.   Kuchenreuther read the definition of a family from the code, which was effective in November of 1999.  Hill stated what's in the code should be followed and if it’s not, it should be corrected. 

Hill noted the university put their new solar thermal unit for the RFC on top of the sewer but the city does not have the authority to regulate University property. 

Kuchenreuther pointed out one other thing about rental property is that the city may want to look at specific language for off street parking.  Hill indicated everything ties in with how many people are living in a home.

Discussion was held on the house at West 6th Street & Washington.  The commission questioned how many rental units were in the home.  Granger pointed out the house is in an R district, not RM. 

Granger also asked about the house on East 7th Street by the Salvation Army that has no front yard because it is used as a parking lot.  

Hill suggested the city could possibly withhold issuing rental certificates if they aren't following city code. 

Kuchenreuther suggested trying to find a grant for a student to look into these issues.  Granger stated the city tried that and it was too cumbersome a task.  Granger indicated a task force may be a better solution.

Hill pointed out state code grandfathers in anything that met Code at the time it was done, so most of the houses inspected can't be inspected for code.  However, when charges are made it needs to be brought up to code at that time.  

Hill indicated time has been an issue for conditional use or variance requests because everything seems rushed.  Hill suggested a 30 day minimum and language should be put in the code to that effect.  The city is also going to be looking at fees that are charged for variances and conditional use permits.  Hill also pointed out the commission can’t pre-guarantee something when it’s not exactly sure what will be done, e.g. the church issues.  Hill pointed out even if a church was in an area that was zoned correctly it would still need a conditional use permit and that takes time. 

The commission indicated some of the priority issues would be rentals and the moving of buildings into the city.  The commission suggested getting copies of what other towns the size of Morris do and possibly putting requests on the list serve.

Rudney stated the city is not increasing the number of rentals it has.  Kuchenreuther added that it has been and continues to be a goal of UMM to increase the number of students.  Granger noted that Morris cannot have a strong, healthy community that grows if it does not have decent housing.   

Hill stated law enforcement does a good job at controlling the noise associated with rentals.  Hill indicated there have been a few problems with garbage, but not many.

Hill informed the commission that the city’s building inspector did an inspection of the church one of the groups is looking at moving into town.  They were given a bill for the inspection because the location of the church was out of city limits.  Building Inspector Jacobson had indicated to Hill that it would be fairly easy to bring the church up to code.  This group was looking at the former Steve’s Strawberries location on East 7th Street for a location for the church; however there is no water or sewer there. 

Hill indicated a different group is looking at the possibility for a church on the old Stahler property.  They would be looking at a church with a fellowship hall, a couple of residential lots and a cemetery.  Hill stated there are two separate groups, one of which is looking at bringing a church into town and the other is looking at building a new one.

Zoning Plan Update:  Hill stated he has started working on a database for notices with regard to the public hearings on zoning.  Hill indicated the map reflects everything in the Orderly Annexation Agreement.  It was suggested to have a meeting with the county because the city should be working together with them on the area outside of city limits.  Granger also suggested having a worksession before the hearings so the commission is familiar with the issues and to revisit the reasons why things were done the way they were. 

The house that was moved in on East 2nd Street was mentioned because of the basement and height of the house.   

Commission Member:  Miller indicated that Dale Livingston is interested in being on the planning commission.  The commission requested that the Mayor appoint him to the commission at the next council meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Granger, to adjourn the meeting.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:24 p.m.

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