- PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - OCTOBER 15, 2013
Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15
p.m .this 15th day of October, 2015, by Chairperson Kuchenreuther in
the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.
OF THE ROLL:
Roll call was taken with the following members present: Commissioners
Rudney, Hoffman, Granger, Gades, Kurpiers, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.
Commissioner Livingston was absent. Also present were ex-officio Miller
and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.
AND APPROVAL OF 9/17/13 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES: Commissioner Rudney moved,
seconded by Kurpiers, to approve the minutes of the 9/17/13 regular meeting as
presented. Motion carried.
7th Street Rezoning: This hearing is to consider an
official request from the Morris City Council to amend the City of Morris Land
Use Regulation (Zoning) map to change the zoning on the northwest side of East
7th Street from Columbia Avenue to Iowa Avenue from a Multiple
Family Residence (RM) District to a Highway Business (HB) District, reversing a
change that was made in December of 2011. This amendment, if adopted,
would allow the properties located in this area to continue as Highway Business
properties as they were previously.
Kuchenreuther opened the public hearing at 5:20 p.m. City Manager/Zoning
Administrator Hill indicated the Planning Commission is required to hold a
public hearing, take input, and decide on a recommendation back to the City
Council regarding this zoning. He pointed out the Planning Commission
only makes a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council makes
the final decision. Hill indicated the State of Minnesota recently passed
a law that requires any change in zoning from residential to another zone
requires a 2/3 affirmative vote of the Council to be approved.
indicated notices were sent to all property owners within 350’ of the area to
be rezoned. He has received no questions or comments regarding this.
Geier, 116 East 8th Street, Unit #1, indicated she would like to see
that area rezoned to allow for a 24-hour community space that students and
community members could to go.
Wilcox asked how long the rezoning process would take. Hill indicated the
Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council. The
Council meets next Tuesday, October 22, and will take the recommendation under
consideration. If the City Council decides to rezone the property, they
hold the first reading of the ordinance next Tuesday, and set the public
hearing and second reading for November 12th. If adopted at
the November 12th meeting, the ordinance would be published November
16th, and it takes effect 30 days after publication.
Goodnough, 901 Park Avenue, indicated his interest in this lies with the old
Elementary School property across the street from this area. He indicated
he is excited about that property and what development may take place
there. He is interested in how this plays out long term. He noted
if there is heavy traffic on 7th Street, it will impact the area
right across the street.
Kuchenreuther indicated the purpose of the RM District is to provide a district of medium density housing in
multiple family structures and directly related complimentary uses. She
read the permitted uses and conditional uses in this zone.
Hoffman indicated this area was zoned HB until recently when it was rezoned
RM. The Planning Commission is looking at this now because the existing
business owners are unable to do what they want with their property.
Wilcox, 210 Montana Avenue, indicated he owns a building on East 7th
Street. He indicated if the zoning remains RM, apartment buildings would
not be allowed on the old elementary school property across the street because
the RM zone doesn’t allow businesses, and apartments are businesses.
Kuchenreuther indicated that in the City Code, apartments are considered
dwellings, not businesses.
Wilcox stated if the zoning remains RM with an eye toward development of the
old school property, that benefits the City, and she would consider that a
“taking”, which devalues their property. Granger indicated she does not
think State law says rezoning is a taking. She pointed out the impetus
for the rezoning was not for the old elementary school property, rather the
entire City was reviewed. Hill indicated zoning laws do not allow Cities
to zone people out of their businesses. He stated that in this case, the
Planning Commission is not doing anything with regard to the City, and pointed
out the City won’t even own the old elementary school property in the
Danowitz, 113 West 5th Street, indicated he feels the Planning
Commission should make a recommendation based on the start up of small
businesses along 7th Street.
indicated that with the current zoning, the only thing he can do with his
building is tear it down and build a 13’ house on the lot. He feels the
Planning Commission is destroying all the businesses on the north side of 7th
indicated that at the Planning Commission meeting in September, the Commission
discussed the development of a new zone that would permit small businesses and
be more compatible with R and RM zones. It would not allow big
industries. She would like to see the Planning Commission study such a
indicated he thought the City Council mandated the Planning Commission to change
it back to HB. Hill pointed out the Planning Commission does not change
the zoning – they make a recommendation to the City Council, and the City
Council changes the zoning. If the City Council wants the zoning to
change, the Planning Commission is required to hold a public hearing and then
make a recommendation to the City Council.
indicated that in developing a new zone, the Planning Commission is trying to
come up with a compromise.
Ascheman, 6499 White Oak Road, Lino Lakes, is Vice President of Operations of
Brown Wilbert at 513 East 7th Street. He reviewed the history
of Brown Wilbert. He indicated they have plants in several cities, and
are considered light industrial in most of them. He indicated they have
10 employees that spend their money in Morris. He indicated as a result
of the rezoning, they can no longer add on to their building, which they would
like to do. Kuchenreuther explained that their business would most likely
be considered an allowed use in a heavy industrial zone, so they couldn’t even
expand in the HB zone. Ascheman indicated if the City chases them out of
town, they might not stay in the area. He feels the City has a
responsibility to keep employment here.
Kurpiers indicated he is the newest member of the Planning Commission, and his
understanding is that the purpose of zoning is to establish a long term vision
of an area.
Geier expressed her support for a zone that would be a mix of business and
residential areas. She feels it would be a good idea to have some
businesses here to support the area.
615 East 7th Street, indicated he has owned his property on East 7th
Street for 40 years and considered this to be their retirement. He feels
there are sneaky little comments in the Code that prevent owners from doing
what they want with their property. He feels it would be simplest for the
Planning Commission to change the zoning to HB. He asked if the public
would be able to hear what would be allowed in the proposed new zone. Kuchenreuther
indicated the Planning Commission could make a recommendation to the City
Council that no action on zoning take place until the Planning Commission can
craft language for this new alternative district to make it friendly to
existing businesses. Granger listed some of the things that are allowed
in such a district in other cities. Ascheman said he didn’t hear anything
on the list that would fit their industry. Kuchenreuther indicated
currently in the City’s Code, Brown Wilbert would only fit into the I2
zone. She noted the list is not final, and indicated the City values
their business and does not want to chase it out of town. Ex-officio
Miller indicated the new zone would exclude any businesses with high traffic
that produce a lot of noise, and have a lot of lights.
Danowitz thanked the Planning Commission for their work and for looking into
indicated he feels the key to this whole thing is that the Planning Commission
is only making a recommendation to the City Council. He indicated there
was no opposition to the zoning change 2 years ago, and now feels the Planning
Commission is stuck in the middle of the disagreement. He feels the
zoning should be changed back to HB.
indicated their Fargo plant is by a church, golf course, and park. He
noted they are in a light industrial zone in Roseville. He pointed out
they do not have ready mix trucks at their plant in Morris.
being no further comments, the hearing was closed at 6:19 p.m.
Commissioner Rudney indicated he is in favor of creating a
new district to make various businesses viable. Hoffman noted his only
concern is the amount of time that would take. He suggested the zoning be
changed to HB with the caveat to look at other things that come up as he
doesn’t feel it’s fair to tie these property owners up. Granger feels the
City Council should be able to hear the alternative idea. She indicated
this is a central part of town, and this should be done right and thought
through. Kuchenreuther indicated an alternative district could be created
that is thoughtful and considers the needs of the surrounding area.
Granger read out of the Code that the HB zone is intended to provide a district of centralized areas for service
oriented enterprises, and for quasi-industrial and wholesale enterprises that
do not require an industrial setting but have considerable contact and a
dependence on transient trade and traffic. She pointed out East 7th
Street is not a highway anymore.
Kurpiers indicated it is important that the City Council
knows the Planning Commission doesn’t think changing it to HB solves all the
issues either. Miller indicated the City would want to restrict huge
industrial businesses in the new zone.
Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Gades, to recommend
that instead of immediately rezoning to HB, the City Council recommend that the
Planning Commission explore the establishment of a new zoning district that
would take into account existing and future small businesses as well as the
residential character of that neighborhood. With five Commissioners
voting in favor, one Commissioner absent, and Commissioner Hoffman abstaining,
Wilcox asked if the Planning Commission meets at other
times besides the regular meeting time. Kuchenreuther indicated they do
not, unless there is a work session.
OTHER BUSINESS: Sign Question – Zion Lutheran Church:
Don Munsterman was present representing Zion Lutheran Church. He
indicated the church is contemplating installing a new sign on the boulevard at
their Church. The Code indicates no illuminated signs are allowed in an R
zone. He questioned what illuminated means. They are considering an
LED sign. Hill noted his interpretation is that illuminated would include
LED signs. Gades asked if the sign would have scrolling messages. Munsterman
indicated it would not have scrolling message. He indicated it would be
double sided, and wouldn’t face the street.
Kuchenreuther asked the rationale for the sign.
Munsterman indicated presently they have no identification sign. He noted
a lot of churches have signs like the one they are interested in
installing. He indicated they would like to request a variance or a code
change. Kuchenreuther indicated the Planning Commission cannot give a
variance for something that is not allowed.
Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the Planning Commission
would have to recommend a change to the Code in order to allow or recommend
this. Hill indicated an attorney on a webinar he watched recommends
approving an amendment to the Code prior to allowing the use.
Munsterman indicated they can wait a few months for
this. Kuchenreuther recommended putting this on the November Planning
Commission agenda, and having Hill craft something for the Planning Commission
to consider at that time.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Commissioner
Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn. Motion carried and the
meeting adjourned at 7:02 p.m.