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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - JUNE 19, 2012

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 19th day of June, 2012, 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 Livingston, Kurpiers, Granger, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Rudney, Hoffman and Gades were absent.  Also present was Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 5/15/12 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther indicated the discussion regarding the Riverview Variance Requests on the 3rd page does not specifically spell out that the map for the Riverview homes project that was presented to the Planning Commission at the hearing was not correct, but the Planning Commission did not catch the mistake.  Kuchenreuther indicated she felt that was one reason she was willing to allow their mistake.  It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to add the phrase “instead of the 19’ setback from the property line” to the first sentence of the third paragraph under Riverview Variance Requests.

Kuchenreuther indicated that on the fourth page of the minutes, Engin Sungur’s name is misspelled.

Commissioner Kurpiers moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the minutes as amended.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS   :  Comprehensive Plan Review (pages 26 – 29):  The section reviewed is titled Residential Planning Issues, with the first subtitle being Mixed Densities and Mixed Uses.  Granger indicated she feels the first two paragraphs on mixed densities and mixed uses are no longer important.  She feels the Residential (R)

zones need to be fiercely defended and should not be mixed into higher density  zones.  She noted this section does not address the high number of rental properties in Morris.  Granger cited the percentage of rental properties in a number of cities, and Morris is at the high end.  She indicated rentals bring with them all kinds of problems, such as run down properties, long grass, garbage, and parking.  She pointed out the single family homes turned into rentals are a business, and feels there should be zero tolerance for the nuisances they pose.  She suggested limiting the number of rentals in certain neighborhoods.  Kurpiers asked if that would even be enforceable.  Granger feels this issue should be highlighted in the Comprehensive Plan.

Kurpiers indicated that even if a single family home were changed to a rental, typically it would not be multi family. 

Considerable discussion was held. 

Kuchenreuther would like to see the City be proactive on the rental housing issue and really wrestle with the problem.  She feels the City needs to figure out a way to encourage landlords to rent to families.  She suggested limiting the number of college students that can be in one house. 

The Housing Study lists 5 housing needs for the City, and Granger feels they should be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.  Kuchenreuther feels the Housing Study should be used in this part of the Comprehensive Plan.  Kurpiers asked if the old Elementary School should also be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.  Kuchenreuther feels the issues and opportunities with the old Elementary School should be included. 

On page 27, d. Improvements in New Subdivision, Granger feels street trees should be included.  Kuchenreuther also suggested language should be included on rain gardens and impervious surfaces.  She also stated the City needs to do more to connect neighborhoods with sidewalks, and feels the City should do an evaluation of where sidewalks are needed.  Kuchenreuther also feels this section should have language that requires all new developments to put in dark sky compliant lighting.   

Kuchenreuther feels this entire section needs to be rewritten, incorporating a lot of things from the Housing Study. 

This section states new streets and avenues should be numbered rather than named.  Kuchenreuther feels that should be changed.  Livingston pointed out numbering them makes it easier for people from out of town to find certain addresses.

Commissioners are to read pages 29 – 35 for next month, focusing on pages 29 – 31.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Kurpiers moved, seconded by Livingston, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:17.

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