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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING-NOVEMBER 19, 2013

The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m .this 19th day of November, 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 Granger, Livingston, Rudney, Kurpiers, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Gades arrived at 5:20, and Commissioner Hoffman was absent.  Also present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 10/15/13 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the minutes of the 10/15/13 regular meeting as submitted.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESSNeighborhood Commercial District Discussion:  City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill indicated he took the City Code format and tried to include those things that would be included in a Neighborhood Commercial (NC) District in writing the draft.  In the NC zone he included all permitted uses of the RM District, and added other uses he thought would be compatible in an NC District, along with accessory and conditional uses.  He noted that setbacks need to be addressed in the new district.  He indicated it comes down to what the Planning Commission wants permitted in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Rudney noted whatever is permitted in the NC needs to apply to the entire City, not just this area.   Hill questioned if there are any other areas in the City where NC would apply.  Rudney thought there may be several areas along West 5th Street that may apply.  Livingston indicated he is trying to think about potential uses down the road. 

Kuchenreuther indicated she feels warehouses and wholesale businesses should be conditional uses.  She feels the NC district should supply neighborhoods with businesses.  She feels UMM students do not venture downtown a lot, and feels they would go to small businesses along East 7th Street, therefore this district would be a neighborhood serving its residents.

It was felt businesses that need large parking lots would not be appropriate in the NC zone.  Granger indicated a lot of model ordinances she looked at restrict the size of buildings rather than restricting certain businesses. 

David Fluegel submitted his thoughts in writing about the zoning on East 7th Street.  Chairperson Kuchenreuther read the email. 

Neighborhood Commercial District Discussion

Kuchenreuther asked about parking regulations in various zoning districts.  Hill noted a special notation regarding parking for the NC zone could be included in Section 11.70 of the City Code. 

Granger indicated possible additions to the items Hill noted as permitted uses could be personal services, laundry, therapeutic massage, veterinarian clinic, newspaper publishing, catering, etc., and she was trying to think of ways to generalize uses that could be added.  Rudney suggested “General retail sales and services” could be added.  Granger indicated she feels lighting and noise created by a business should be considered, as well as size.  Rudney indicated he thinks controlling the size of buildings might be helpful. 

Hill has included Parking Lots as a possible permitted use in the NC zone.  He indicated that would be a place where parking spots are sold, leased or rented, and would not include parking that is required for a business. 

Hill indicated the dilemma is trying to determine what should be included as permitted in the NC zone.  He feels using general terms would be the best idea so the Commission isn’t trying to list every single use. 

Discussion was held on limiting the physical size of the buildings versus limiting the size of the property. 

Hill indicated all the businesses currently along East 7th Street will be grandfathered in.  Discussion was held on lot coverages. 

Granger suggested excluding those things that would not be compatible, and allowing everything else. 

Kurpiers indicated light, noise, sound and dust could be restricted under District Requirements.  He also feels screening and signs might be something to look at closer.  Kuchenreuther indicated the screening requirements listed in 5 seems bizarre to her.  Granger indicated Performance Standards in the City Code differentiate screening adjacent to residences.  The language on Screening Requirements in this draft is taken from the HB zone. 

Kuchenreuther pointed out the Landscaping Requirements listed in the draft is in conflict with the Permitted Use of Garden and Landscape Sales. 

Rudney indicated he feels setbacks need to change in the rear of properties and possibly the sides, as he feels all the businesses in this zone would be designed for parking in the front.  Hill reminded the Commissioners that the setback is from the property line and not the curb. 

Kuchenreuther feels there should be a sidewalk on the north side of East 7th Street if there are going to be businesses there.  Hill indicated the right of way is where a sidewalk is allowed, and there may not be room for sidewalks along that stretch.  Miller noted there is a sidewalk on the south side of East 7th Street, and doesn’t feel there would be a need for sidewalk on both sides.  Miller suggested a pedestrian crossing be put in.  Don Werk indicated the sidewalk is on the south side of 7th Street because that is the side of the street where parking is allowed. 

Rudney asked if it would be sufficient to require 20’ setback and have vehicles park straight on toward the buildings.  Kurpiers noted it depends on where the property pins are located, and feels it would be good to do some measuring.  Hill indicated parking spots are required to be 9’ X 20’.

Sid Wilcox indicated his attorney told him to give the Planning Commission until January 1st before he kicks in.  Miller asked Wilcox if there is anything definite he is proposing to do with his property.  Wilcox indicated there isn’t.  Hill informed the Commissioners that if someone is threatening the Commission with legal action, the City’s League of MN Cities attorney will deal with it. 

Hill summarized the things the Planning Commission needs to address:  setbacks, size of existing buildings, purpose of the district, lot coverage, allowed building size, how to deal with getting what is intended in the NC zone, screening/landscaping, and height restrictions.  

Brown/Wilbert:  Kuchenreuther indicated this is an intractable issue.  Hill indicated he feels this business is either light or heavy industrial, and they could either be spot zoned or included as a use in another zone, but that he didn’t think either would probably be the right way to do it. 

Worksession:  It was the consensus to meet in work session on Monday, December 2, 2013 at 5:30 to further discuss the NC District and Brown/Wilbert.

AJDOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:30.

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