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MINUTES-PLANNING COMMISSION-REGULAR MEETING-NOVEMBER 16, 2010

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 16th day of November, 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:  Commissioners Johnson, Granger, Gades, Hoffman, Rudney, Livingston, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Also present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 10/19/10 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Gades, to approve the minutes of the 10/19/10 regular meeting as presented.  Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Warzecha Letter:  The Planning Commission received a letter from Clint Warzecha who has purchased the former UBC property at 10 West 6th Street.  A few years ago this property was rezoned by the City from Heavy Industrial to Central Business District.  At that time a church was interested in purchasing the property and requested the zoning change.  Warzecha indicated in his letter that because the church’s need to rezone is no longer relevant, and the new zoning limits his plans for the property, he is requesting that the property be rezoned back to heavy industrial.

Warzecha’s letter states he would like to store vehicles on the property and feels this would work well with the buildings on the site.  His long term goal is to renovate the retail center into offices for businesses.

Rudney asked if Warzecha could store vehicles in the CBD with a conditional use permit.  Granger indicated warehouses are allowed with a CUP in the CBD.

Granger indicated she doesn’t feel this property was rezoned because of the church; rather she feels it was part of the move to get the Heavy Industrial uses into the outer parts of the City.  Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the rezoning was prompted by the church, and feels it is much better for the City to move the Heavy Industrial uses to the outer parts of the City.

Granger indicated that in researching this issue she found a lot of cities dovetail self storage into the warehouse definition, and all commercial zones allow warehouses.  No cities allow outside storage without 8’ high solid screening.  Kuchenreuther indicated Warzecha’s long-term goal for offices is compatible in the CBD.  Hoffman agrees that is Warzecha’s long-term goal, and stated his short term goal is to produce some income from the property to continue renovations.  He indicated he does not feel Warzecha’s request is unreasonable. 

Hill indicated clarification needs to be made on the definition of a warehouse.  He questioned if it included rental storage.

Granger asked Hill what he thought about allowing warehousing as a CUP in the CBD.  Hill indicated it depends on where he wants to store things.  He feels the CUP would be fine and feels Warzecha needs to establish what he wants to do with the property.  His main concern is that there are already vehicles being stored there, and outdoor storage is something that needs to be controlled in the downtown area.

Miller indicated he feels a timeframe should be included on a CUP for this property.

Hill will contact Warzecha and explain the conditional use permit process to him.

Zoning Update:  Hill indicated there is a very prominent relationship between the City, County and Townships on expansion, and each entity’s responsibilities were laid out in the Orderly Annexation Agreement (OAA).  He has been in contact with Bill Kleindl and Brian Giese from the County regarding zoning. 

Hill noted that when he was putting together the mailing list for the hearing, he was amazed at all the little developments on the outskirts of town.  According to the OAA  that was not supposed to happen.  The City is supposed to designate land development around the City, and that is what the Planning Commission did with all the work they have been doing on zoning.

Granger asked if building permits are required in the County.  Hill indicated he believes they do issue building permits, but doesn’t think they look at zoning.  He feels the next step is to meet with the townships.  He indicated the meeting could take place at the High School Auditorium.

Kuchenreuther indicated it sounds to her that it would be good for the City to be proactive with the Townships and County and work with them to direct development within a reasonable distance from Morris.

Granger indicated she does not understand what is wrong with a little parcel of property in the country and why that is not allowed.  Kuchenreuther indicated farmland is not well protected if small parcels of land are sold off.

Considerable discussion was held on septic systems on properties that have been annexed into the City. Hoffman indicated he feels extending utilities to the newly-annexed areas is more eminent than one might think.  Granger asked if all cities assess in the same manner.  Hill indicated cities assess differently.  In Morris for example, the City pays for the road.  He stated at least 22% of a project has to be assessed in order for the City to qualify for assessment bonds.  If the City does not qualify for assessment bonds, it must go to referendum. 

Hill indicated he feels the zoning hearings should be held after the first of the year.  He indicated 8 X 11 colored maps will be included with hearing notices.  Miller suggested putting the map on the City’s website.  Kuchenreuther indicated she has discussed this with Tom Larsen of the Morris Sun Tribune and he is willing to help get the word out about the hearing.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:11.

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