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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING – AUGUST 21, 2012

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 21st day of August, 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, Hoffman, Granger, Kurpiers, Rudney and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Gades was absent.  Also present were Ex-officio Miller and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 7/17/12 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to approve the minutes of the 7/17/12 Regular Meeting as submitted.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESSCity Code Update:  Hill indicated the City Code contains words that to him do not make any sense and feels the language in the Code needs to be modernized. 

Hill indicated there is a development company interested in the property north of Highway 28 at the Highway 9 junction.  They would build a building that a business in Morris would rent.  The area is platted, but there is no infrastructure.  Hill noted he refers to the City Code frequently for these types of projects.

Old School:  Kuchenreuther asked about the schedule for demolition of the old school.  Hill noted he is meeting with a bond consultant tomorrow regarding the old school.  He indicated if the funding can be figured out, he hopes to take bids on demolition after January 2013.  Rudney asked if the property will be rezoned.  Granger noted it is zoned RM already, but it is not platted.  Kuchenreuther suggested any potential purchasers of the property be reminded of the Affordable Green Neighborhood Plan for the property.  Miller noted those ideas have been shared with interested people.

OTHER BUSINESSComprehensive Plan:  Kuchenreuther noted she feels when this Comprehensive Plan was written, the most important thing was to figure out how to redevelop the central city and get rid of decrepit properties.  Granger recommends implementing the Housing Study.  Kuchenreuther feels another goal should be to work with the County to avoid sprawl.

Hill noted that b. at the top of Page 32 suggests developing an Orderly Annexation Plan.  Hill pointed out the City has an Orderly Annexation Plan, and feels it should be enforced on the County and Township levels also.  He feels the City does have good communication with the County on planning issues.

Granger wondered why the mobile home park on East 7th Street was not included when the 2007 annexation took place.  Hill stated that will come up when the utilities are put in on 7th Street and out to the Hillside Addition.  That will happen when either the City decides to build the infrastructure, or the residents petition to have it done.

Page 32, D.1.c. discusses creating new parks that will provide parkland for every 100 residents.  Granger encourages the development of a park plan that addresses the location of the parks and their use, and also management and maintenance recommendations because of budget constraints and new realizations about environmental controls.  She suggested parks could be maintained in a different way that would bring maintenance costs down.  Kuchenreuther feels the number of acres of parks seems less relevant than the placement of the parks.  Granger suggested having parks for organized sports, and others for more informal or passive uses.  Hill doesn’t feel it is necessary to mandate a park for every so-many people.  He feels page 32, D.1.d. regarding the expansion of trails is a better thing to promote. 

Kurpiers suggested language for D.1.c. that would state, “It would be nice if parks and green spaces are considered”, instead of the mandated park for every 100 residents.  Section 12.30, Subd. 2, DD and EE of the City Code set out the requirements for parks in new developments. 

Granger asked about the development of a park plan.  Hill noted there is already a park plan.  Granger suggested incorporating the park plan into the comprehensive plan.  Hill feels the Hillside Addition is one that should have had a little park area, as that addition is not connected to the City with any other trails or sidewalks.  He stated the City wants to make sure new developments have sidewalk connections.  He noted in the Public Improvement Code the city is now going to designate major arterial roads, City arterial roads, rural urban roads, collector roads, and residential roads, and build the roads to those standards.

Granger doesn’t feel 2.a. on page 32 should be under Residential Land Use.  She feels it should be higher up for each use.  Kuchenreuther agreed. 

Under 3. on page 32, Commercial Land Use, Granger feels encouraging the sharing of parking lots should be added, along with encouraging new parking lots with environmentally best practices.  She also feels a large section should be added stating we shall preserve, protect and enhance natural resources in the environment.  She feels someone needs to go through the entire Code and find deficiencies on handing environmental issues.  She feels a committee of 10 people should take a year and look at Morris in terms of City management and planning on how it should be environmentally responsible.  Hill indicated one of the easiest ways to make sure new projects comply with State and Federal mandates is to work with architects as they know and understand the regulations. 

It was felt 2b. on page 32 could be removed.

Homework for the September meeting will be pages 32 – 35 of the Comprehensive Plan.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

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