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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - MAY 21, 2013

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:18 p.m. this 21st day of May, 2013, 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, Kurpiers and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Gades and Hoffman were absent.  Also present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 11/20/12 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Granger indicated the last sentence on the second page should read, “Granger indicated the Housing Study did that and it indicated the old school grounds, in light of market need, had a capacity for 16 – 20 twin home rentals, 20-24 owner-occupied townhomes or twin homes, and student housing with 3-4 students/unit.”  Commissioner Kurpiers indicated the last sentence of the 5th paragraph on page 2 should read, “Kurpiers noted the property itself is valuable and very attractive to developers, and adding in the TIF District is an added bonus that could help maintain a little more say in how it’s developed.”

Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to approve the 11/20/12 minutes with the above corrections.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for 2013:  Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Livingston, to elect the slate of Kuchenreuther as Chairperson for 2013, and Rudney as Vice Chairperson for 2013. Motion carried.

MPCA Request for Closed Landfill Restricted Zone Creation/Other Updates:  City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill received a letter from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recommending that the City adopt a zoning district called “Closed Landfill Restricted” which will control any development on the landfill property.  Right now the property is zoned Heavy Industrial, and the MPCA believes most of the identified uses in the Heavy Industrial zone are not compatible with the MPCA’s future responsibilities for the site. 

MPCA has designated a waste footprint, land management area, groundwater plume, groundwater area of concern, and methane area of concern.   

Hill stated the area south of Bonanza Bean in the Industrial Park is the area that the City is interested in purchasing for the expansion of the Industrial Park.

Kuchenreuther asked if the City had ever thought of collecting the methane.  Hill indicated the City does not own the property. 

The Commission reviewed the maps included in the MPCA packet.  Also included was suggested language for a new zone, however, there are a lot of blanks in the document.  Hill will do some research in order to come up with a completed document.

Hill noted that once an ordinance is drafted for the creation of the new zone, the City will give notice to adjoining properties, and hold a public hearing.  Hill will check and see if the County is also creating a new zone. 

Hill asked that the Planning Commission members review the MPCA information.

Variance Requests:  Hill indicated there have been a few inquiries about possible variances, but no requests have come in at this time. 

Old Elementary School:  Ex-officio Miller noted the City Council, through its Economic Development Authority (EDA), authorized advertising for the sale of the 17.75 acres on which the old school sits.  Proposals will be taken until June 20th. 

Granger asked what the public input process is when the proposals come in.   Hill noted the EDA is the owner of the property.  The EDA has the ability to meet, review, and negotiate the sale of the property.  Then everything is brought back to a public hearing.  Hill indicated there has been a lot of discussion on public input, and he feels the public input has been going on for the last seven years while development of this property has been studied by various groups.  The property is zoned RM, and the developers Hill has talked to are interested in developing the property into things that are permitted in the RM zone. 

Kuchenreuther indicated she feels one of the really good things about the process over the past years was the sensitivity to the surrounding neighborhood that the architects tried to show, and she hopes that is taken into consideration. 

Granger asked what the process is by which the public gets to see the proposals.  Hill indicated that happens during the public hearing.  Granger indicated this is the largest redevelopment in the City of Morris and asked if a public information meeting could be held to review proposals.  Hill pointed out anyone buying the property has to follow all the rules and regulations for developing the property, and the City and EDA cannot tell the developers all the specifics of what they develop.  He noted his goal as City Manager is to get this property into the hands of people with money that will develop the land.  He feels this will not be accomplished by a muddled process of how it should be developed.  He indicated the City does not have the money to develop the property. 

Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the Planning Commission should be involved.  Hill pointed out the zoning dictates setbacks, etc., and the Planning Commission will be involved in the platting process.  Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the City needs to look at alternative models if there are no proposals.  Hill stated that the City didn’t want to lead the development.  If one developer wanted to buy the whole thing, subdivide it and petition the City to put in the water, sewer and streets, we probably wouldn’t take the risk.

Granger asked if the public input process is to attend the EDA meetings.  Hill indicated that is correct. 

Considerable discussion was held.  Granger noted the Housing Study said the infusion of new construction and housing is good for a City.

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

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