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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING – JULY 17, 2012

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:17 p.m. this 17th day of July, 2012, by Vice Chairperson Rudney 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 Granger, Gades, Kurpiers, Livingston and Vice Chairperson Rudney.  Chairperson Kuchenreuther arrived at 5:19.  Commissioner Hoffman was absent.  Also present were Ex-officio Miller and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 6/19/12 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to approve the minutes of the 6/19/12 regular meeting as presented.  With all voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Comprehensive Plan Review (pages 29 – 35):  Number 3, Commercial Land Use on page 29 notes the fact that the downtown business mix had changed and they conclude the downtown focus has changed to offices, specialty services, and community facilities.  Commissioner Granger does not feel that is the case anymore, and suggested this paragraph be rewritten to read, “Retail businesses are concentrated downtown, along Highway 28 East, and along Highway 9 South.  The downtown has been changing since 1980 with more offices and services and less retail.  Despite this shift, however, the downtown remains the commercial hub of the city.”  Rudney agreed. 

Hill noted that a lot of the trends discussed in the Comprehensive Plan did not come true, and feels the Planning Commission needs to address what is happening now.  He stated there are areas in the Plan that discuss the County and schools, things the City does not have control over.  He feels the Comprehensive Plan needs to be a tool the City can use, and noted there is a lot of purpose to this document.  Kuchenreuther feels the reference to the school in this document came out of the community visioning meetings and it was a big deal when this was written.

Kuchenreuther feels there is a lot of redundancy in the Plan and feels all like information should be grouped together.  Hill noted this document needs to provide specific guidance, and feels the zoning map is a good example of that. 

Hill noted there is a section that discusses negotiating with major institutional landholders about possible land swaps.  He stated the City has never had a discussion along those lines. 

Number 4 on page 29 discusses the Industrial Park.  Kuchenreuther asked if the Park is full.  Hill noted it is full, but stated the City is working on an option to purchase more land to the south.  Granger feels this entire section needs to be rewritten to state the current size and information regarding the Industrial Park.  In that section, it was also felt manufacturing should be added to the uses that appear to be increasing in the community.

Hill noted he feels the City should be looking at shifting businesses to more appropriate zones.

Kurpiers asked why, on the zoning map, the City’s ½ mile zoning jurisdiction does not extend north of the Hillside Addition.  Hill explained the City’s zoning jurisdiction does not extend a true ½ mile outside City limits, rather, it is a legally described area.  The City’s zoning jurisdiction moves out as the current zoning jurisdiction is filled to a certain percent.  Kuchenreuther stated she thought State law granted the City control out ½ mile.  Hill will check on that. 

Kuchenreuther stated she feels the City should get the commercial and industrial businesses along Pacific Avenue off of the lake.  She noted there is no turf on 3-4 blocks in that area.  She also asked that the City talk to the elevator about controlling their dust.

Hill noted it appears that when the Comprehensive Plan was written, the Industrial Park was not a very pleasant place to be.  He feels the top paragraph on page 30 needs to be rewritten. 

Kuchenreuther questioned #5, Agricultural Land Use, on page 30.  She feels it may be moot as there is an Orderly Annexation Agreement in place that directs if and when any of that agricultural land will change in use.

Number 6, Environmental Issues, on page 30 lists the most critical features in need of protection and/or proper management.  Granger feels environmental issues should be way more important in this document so it influences decisions.  She feels the language in this paragraph is way too soft.  She feels the tree canopy should be listed because it is a significant community asset.  She stated 1/3 of the City’s tree canopy is ash, and the City should support redevelopment of the tree canopy with more diverse species.  Hill agreed trees should be included.  Kurpiers noted rivers should also be included in this section.  Kuchenreuther feels the Natural Habitats bullet should specifically list Pomme de Terre, along with shoreland.  Granger feels the MC zone should be added also.

Livingston asked if the City has a storm water plan.  Hill indicated it does not, but there are some regulations that may require the City to do something with storm water before it leaves the City and goes into the river.  Granger noted that should also be a goal, along with noting the value of wetlands.  Hill feels there needs to be a discussion on where trees are planted.  Kuchenreuther also feels night sky lighting should be included in this section. 

On page 30, C. f. states growth management and community development should promote planned use of land surrounding Highway 59 bypass.  She asked if that is superseded by the MC zone. Hill noted that is correct. 

Page 30, C.g. discusses reserving sufficient land to allow for needed expansion for community facilities such as hospital clinics, schools, etc.  Granger feels all categories of use should be considered when talking about expansion.  Kuchenreuther and Hill both feel this section is moot. 

Page 30 C.d. discusses park land.  Hill feels a statement should be made in the Comprehensive Plan about parks and where they should be located, along with how to get to parks.  Granger noted parks have several purposes such as providing breathing space, passive green space and add to property values.  Kuchenreuther noted a park does not have to be 100% bluegrass, and feels the City should be smart about what kind of green space is put in.  Granger asked if there is a sidewalk or trail plan.  Hill noted there is not.  He noted he will be working on a sidewalk plan that will focus on the main routes first. 

Page 30 C.c. discusses street extensions and alignments.  It was felt that can be removed. 

Granger questioned what C.b. on page 30 means. 

C.1. on page 30 should read, “be consistent with the Official Zoning Map.”

Hill noted the City does not have a flood plain map.  Granger asked if it is relevant to the Comprehensive Plan.  Hill indicated he did not think it was relevant.  Rudney noted that when the Riley’s Riverside area was platted, the Planning Commission did discuss the flood plain.  Kuchenreuther asked if the City could petition the Federal government to do a flood map.  Hill stated he does not think the City wants to do that. 

Hill noted that on page 31, the top paragraph (h), there should be language added that the mixed uses should be buffered from other uses. 

Granger feels language should be added about cleaning up the railroad corridors and current underdeveloped areas. 

Hill noted all the information that the UMM was going to update is now ready.

Homework for the next meeting will be to review pages 31-35 of the Comprehensive Plan.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Livingston moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:28.

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