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MINUTES-PLANNING COMMISSION-REGULAR MEETING-OCTOBER 18, 2011

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 18th day of October, 2011, 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 Rudney, Granger, Livingston, Gades and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Johnson and Hoffman, and ex-officio Miller were absent.  Also present was City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 9/20/11 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  On the 2nd page, 3rd paragraph, the first sentence reads, “Bill Stewart, 401 West 9th Street, asked if the City could have an airplane span the area…..”  It was the consensus that the word “span” should be changed to “scan”.  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Gades, to approve the minutes of the 9/20/11 regular meeting with the noted change.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  Continuation of Zoning Amendment Hearing:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther explained that the Planning Commission must decide if the proposed zoning map amendments should be sent to the City Council for approval.

Discussion ensued regarding the request of Jay Morrell, owner of the concrete plant on Pacific Avenue, to leave their zoning I2 instead of changing it to I1 as proposed.  Commissioner Rudney asked if it makes a difference either way.  City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill indicated he feels Mr. Morrell was arguing there is a value to having a railroad spur to his property.  Hill noted there is not a lot of room between the railway and Pacific Avenue and therefore doesn’t believe many major heavy industry businesses will be looking to locate there.  Elevators are conditional use permits in both I1 and I2 zones.

Kuchenreuther feels the sentiment of the Planning Commission is that there should not be heavy industrial businesses in the city center.  Granger indicated there are a large number of residential areas around the railroad corridor, and a rail spur can be installed in the Industrial Park if a prospective owner was looking to locate along a spur.  Hill noted the heavy industrial zone provides for intensive land use, and light industrial uses are not to detract from an area of less intensive land use.  This corridor being right next to so much residential area does have an impact on that area.  Kuchenreuther pointed out dust, building height, etc. cannot be screened.

Granger indicated she does want to make sure grain elevators are allowed to operate. Hill pointed out grain elevators are permitted as a conditional use in the I1 zone.  Hill indicated he feels it is a good plan to keep the I2 zone away from the residential areas.

Commissioner Livingston asked what would prevent a future Planning Commission from changing the zoning.  Hill indicated he feels by changing the zoning from I2 to I1, this Planning Commission is making a statement as to what they believe should be allowed in this area.  He indicated it can always be rezoned by a future Planning Commission.  Livingston indicated he feels it makes sense to change the zoning to I1.  Commissioner Gades also feels the area should be zoned I1. 

Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Livingston, to retain the original proposal that the area around the railroad tracks be zoned I1.  Motion carried.

Item #3 as noted in the 9/20/11 minutes is to change the Mohr Plumbing and Melchert properties along Highway 28 from Highway Business to Single and 2 Family Residence.  There is an area north of this that the Planning Commission had proposed be zoned Municipal Conservancy. The owner of that property has indicated it is not a wetland, and would prefer that be zoned Residential.  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Rudney, to change this area to Residential rather than Municipal Conservancy.  Motion carried.

Granger indicated she spoke out at the last meeting about the comprehensive plan because she did not want anyone to think the Planning Commission’s work on these zoning changes has been arbitrary. 

Granger indicated that after last month’s meeting, Commissioner Johnson mentioned that Aaron Carlson Woodwork is in the Central Business District. 

Hill noted the UBC building has been sold and will be turned into a grocery store. 

Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to present the zoning amendments as amended to the City Council.  Motion carried.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 5:53.

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