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MINUTES – PLANNING COMMISSION – REGULAR MEETING – JANUARY 21, 2014

The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 21st day of January, 2014, 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, Livingston, Kurpiers, and Vice Chairperson Rudney.  Commissioner Hoffman arrived at 5:17.  Absent were Chairperson Kuchenreuther and Commissioner Gades.  Also present was City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.  Ex-officio Miller arrived at 5:30.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for 2014:  Commissioner Kurpiers moved, seconded by Granger, to continue with the same officers for 2014 – Kuchenreuther as Chairperson and Rudney as Vice Chairperson.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Neighborhood Commercial District Discussion:  Commissioner Granger pointed out three typographical errors in the draft.  Subd. 2.D.1. should read, “No parcel shall be larger than three (3) standard 50 X 140 ft. lots or 21,000 sq. ft.” instead of 2,100 square feet.  In Subd. 2.C.12, the last word should be plural – structures.  In Subd. 2.D.4 (b), Granger feels in the second sentence, the word “he” should be changed to “they”.  It was the consensus to make these changes.

Granger asked why parking lots are listed as permitted under Accessory uses, and then are listed again as Conditional uses.  Hill indicated he interprets that as parking lots are for a business, and automobile parking lots as listed under Conditional uses are as a business.  It was the consensus to change the wording of C.14 to Automobile parking lots as a primary use. 

Granger questioned the maximum lot coverage of 40%.  She indicated if a parcel included 3 lots for a total of 21,000 square feet, that would mean a building could be 8,400 square feet which is larger than about every building in Morris.  She calculated building sizes and as a comparison, Bank of the West is 5,600 square feet, City Hall is 4,000 square feet, Dakotah Bank is 6,300 square feet, and McGinnis Appliance is 3,500 square feet.  She feels this district should be more compatible with residential neighborhoods, and an 8,400 square foot building wouldn’t be compatible.  Granger suggested 30% coverage per lot – one lot would allow 2,100 square feet of coverage, two lots would allow 4,200 square feet of coverage, and three lots would allow 6,300 square feet of coverage.  She suggested it could be reduced to 25% for the largest parcels.  Another suggestion would be to put a limit on a combination of parking and building size.   Rudney indicated he feels it would complicate things to limit the combination of parking and building size, and feels the size of the building only should be limited. 

Granger indicated the Planning Commission is trying to make this new district compatible with residences, and she feels 30% coverage would accomplish that.  Hill indicated that he figured the setbacks on a lot, and 40% coverage was what was left over.  That is how he came up with 40%.  He noted it was originally 30%.  Hoffman indicated he feels 30% would be compatible with the residential neighborhood.  Hill noted the R zone addresses coverage by lot size – a lot less than 7,000 square feet is allowed 30% coverage, and a lot of more than 7,000 is allowed 25% coverage.  Hoffman noted that in a new structure, the bathrooms alone take up a large amount of space.  He feels nothing will be done in this district if the Code is too restrictive.

It was the consensus to allow up to 40% coverage (2,800 square feet) on one lot, 30% coverage (4,200 square feet) on two lots, and 25% coverage (5,250 square feet) on three lots. 

Front yard setbacks are 25’ in the R and RM zones, and that is what is being proposed in this new zone.  Granger pointed out the rear setback in this new zone is proposed to be 20’, but it is 30’ in the RM zone and 28’ in the R zone.  She questioned if the rear setback should be 30’ as in the RM zone.  Side yard setbacks in the R zone are 10’, and that is being proposed in this new zone.  Granger feels this setback is too small.  Kurpiers suggested screening could help.  Granger feels screening cannot be accomplished with a 10’ sideyard setback.  Hill pointed out the sideyard setback is 5’ on a 50’ lot in the Residential zone. 

Sid Wilcox stated the corner lots have to be taken into consideration.  Hill noted in the R zone there are interior sideyard and street sideyard setbacks.  Granger pointed out with the setback requirements in this zone a 50’ lot would accommodate a 40’ wide by 70’ deep building. 

Rudney asked what the difference was between 3 under Permitted Uses, “The renting of rooms or the providing of table board to not more than three persons per single family dwelling”, and 5 under Permitted Uses, “Boarding and Lodging Houses.”  Hill indicated the difference is that the renting of rooms listed under Permitted Uses is a primary use of the property, and boarding and lodging houses in Permitted Uses are accessory.

Rudney asked for clarification between on and off sale liquor establishments under Conditional Use Permits, and Restaurants listed under Permitted Uses.  It was noted restaurants would not sell alcohol, whereas the liquor establishments would have a liquor license. 

Granger indicated she feels the 5-story building height for residential multi-family structures is out of scale.  Hill indicated the Planning Commission could change that. 

Chairperson Kuchenreuther could not make it to this meeting, but sent a note to the Planning Commission regarding screening.  She feels the 2nd sentence of Subd. 2.D.6. should read, “However, the Planning Commission may permit a lesser degree of screening if it is presented with an alternative plan that adequately promotes and protects the use and enjoyment of properties within the adjacent residential districts or…”  It was the consensus to include this language. 

Discussion was held on signage and allowable sizes.  Hill noted the only thing he had for signage is that this district should be included in a category in Performance Standards.  Granger indicated she feels signage in this district should be limited more than the Central Business District, which allows up to 16’ X 16’ signs.  There is no limit on size in either CBD, HB, I1 or I2 if a sign is painted or attached to the front of a building.  It was the consensus to include the NC District under Subd. 2.D.i of Sign Regulations in Performance Standards as it requires smaller signs for commercial buildings.

Granger indicated she proposes 15’ to 20’ sideyard setbacks.  Rudney pointed out that those setbacks leave very little buildable space on a 50’ lot.  It was the consensus that 10’ sideyard setbacks are adequate. 

Granger indicated that presently an entire lot can be parking lot except for the right of way.  She feels that should be restricted.  Kurpiers pointed out parking lots are an accessory use, and small scale automotive sales are allowed.  It was the consensus to add (e) to Subd. 2.D which states there is a 25’ street sideyard setback for non-residential uses.

Granger asked about addressing towers and satellite dishes in the Performance Standards.

Hill suggested adding to Subd. 2.D.10 which states “Where the City Code talks about Residential and Commercial Districts, the Neighborhood Commercial District will be considered Residential and the more restrictive rule will apply, except for signage.”  Livingston asked if this would prevent someone from getting a variance.  Hill indicated a person could still get a variance.  It was the consensus to add this phrase.

Hill explained the new draft will be sent to the City Council for their review, the Planning Commission should set a public hearing on the new zone to be held at the February meeting to take City Council and public comment, and then the Ordinance should be sent to the City Council for 1st and 2nd readings, and final passage.  Commissioner Kurpiers moved, seconded by Livingston, to do the three things listed above.  Motion carried.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Livingston, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:33.

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