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MINUTES    PLANNING COMMISSION     REGULAR MEETING     NOVEMBER 18, 2014

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 18th day of November, 2014, 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 Gades, Livingston, Rudney, Hoffman, Granger and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Kurpiers arrived at 5:20.  Also present were Ex-Officio Miller and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 9/16/14 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to approve the 9/16/14 regular meeting minutes.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

10/21/14 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve the 10/21/14 regular meeting minutes.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  Zoning Change and Code Addition – K Bid Online Auction Collection Site on Atlantic Avenue:  Hill pointed out the area in question on the map.  The proposal is to rezone the area between East 10th Street from Columbia Avenue to Atlantic Avenue from Light Industrial (l1) to Highway Business (HB) and Single and Two-Family Residence (R).  Hill explained it would basically change one lot along East 10th Street on the North side from Oregon Avenue to Columbia to residential so there would be residential across from residential.  

Kuchenreuther stated this public hearing also includes a request to add Online Auction Collection sites as a conditional use in a Highway Business District.

Chairperson Kuchenreuther opened the public hearing at 5:20 p.m.  

Brian Kruize, representing Morris Co-op at 1000 Atlantic Avenue, stated that with this change the     Co-op would have some property that would be rezoned residential and he would not be in favor of that.  Kruize stated he is okay with it going from l1 to HB and would just as soon it all be HB.  

Granger asked if there was a reason he would rather have it be HB.  Kruize stated the property would be in two different zones that way and if some future plans for expansion come to fruition he would like it to be l1 or HB. Granger asked what the status of grandfathered in meant.  Hill stated that whatever a person is doing now they can do and maintain it, but they can’t expand what they’re doing.    

Rudney asked what the Co-op has on their property now.  Kruize explained it is parking and equipment storage.  Hill noted that if the Co-op wanted to expand in a residential zone they wouldn't be able to, but it would be allowed in the HB zone.  Miller asked if the Co-op property butts up to the railroad property.  Kruize indicated it does.  Kruize asked the council to please consider his comments.  

Hill suggested a solution is to make it all HB from Columbia Avenue to Atlantic Avenue.  Hill indicated there is some question as to how much Subway owns, but it looks like Lots 7 – 12 of Block 46 which  brings them right up to the corner of Columbia Avenue.  Hill stated he doesn’t know whether or not they have an agreement with the railroad for additional property on the south side where the alley would have been.  

Zoning Change and Code Addition – K Bid Online Auction Collection Site on Atlantic Avenue: (continued)

Granger questioned if the NW corner of Columbia and 10th is presumably railroad.  Hill stated it appears the railroad goes all the way to the end.  Granger stated she has often thought for the 10th Street area, that running residential all the way to the corner is a good idea but she can understand the Co-op’s concerns.  Granger proposed a line be drawn where the east Co-op property is, as a buffer to those houses on 10th Street.  Granger pointed out her partner Scott, who lives at 15 East 9th Street at the NW corner of 9th and Oregon, noted that HB can be kind of noisy at night so keeping it quieter for those residences would be nice.  Granger stated she would recuse herself from voting because this is a block east of where her partner lives.

Kurpiers stated he liked the idea of keeping it residential, or if people want to keep the East half for non-residential, that is another option.    

Rudney stated he supports the Co-op in keeping it HB and not changing it to residential.  

Hill suggested taking the first three lots (4, 5, 6) and making that all HB and then everything else would be residential.  

Gades stated he thinks it should be HB or CBD because both of those allow residences in their permitted use.  Gades stated there is not much of a buffer to begin with.  Miller pointed out it is railroad property right now and it's probably not the spot where a new house in town would be built.  Miller would rather see it stay HB.  Hill believes the railroad doesn't have any intention of using that property for anything different than what they are.    

Miller pointed out the railroad has been agreeable to putting some greenery in other locations to make it more eye appealing, so maybe they would do it for that section of town.      

Hill stated if it’s made residential the only thing that's going to go in there is residential.  Hill suggested trying to match up the zones.    

Kuchenreuther added that she would be in favor of calling it residential rather than HB.  

Considerable discussion was held as to what the area should be rezoned.    

Livingston stated it doesn’t make sense to him to fragment stuff.

Hill noted the only reason he suggested residential in the first place was from a planning perspective, because if the city ever got possession of the railroad property in that area it would be a good place to put housing.  

Granger stated there is a lot of pressure on the people who live in the inner part of the city.  There is not a lot of investment in this area and part of it is because of the adjacent businesses.  Granger feels that changing the zoning to residential may increase the likelihood that on East 9th Street somebody may invest or build if they have a little bit of distance from an encroaching business or noise.

Phil Gausman asked that the commission take a good hard look at this and ask themselves if they really think the railroad property is going to change hands in the next 25 or 50 years.  Gausman stated quite honestly he doesn’t see this area being anything but railroad until after everyone in the room is long gone, so why not just rezone it to HB.  

Zoning Change and Code Addition – K Bid Online Auction Collection Site on Atlantic Avenue: (continued)

Ron Gausman, 52348 210th Street, asked if as the area gets rezoned and they are looking to purchase the K Bid site, would that be something that is grandfathered in.  Hill stated the existing business of West Central Implement is an allowable use.  Gausman asked if rather than having their proposed online auction site as a conditional use if it could it be listed as an allowed use in the HB zone.  Gades noted that he thinks it should be a conditional use.  The conditional use would allow them to conduct their auction site without too much hindrance.

Chairperson Kuchenreuther closed the public hearing at 5:45 p.m. and brought the matter back to the Planning Commission for action.

Hill stated if the commission wanted to make it an allowable use as opposed to a conditional use then they would have no authority whatsoever to place any conditions on that property.  Hill recommended that as far as the zoning goes either way would work, to do it all HB or split HB and residential.  As far as the K-Bid site, Hill believes it should be a conditional use.  

Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Livingston, to rezone the area between East 10th Street from Columbia Avenue to Atlantic Avenue from Light Industrial (l1) to Highway Business (HB).  Upon a roll call vote taken and Gades and Livingston voting in favor, Kurpiers, Rudney, Hoffman and Kuchenreuther voting against and Granger abstaining, motion failed.

Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to rezone the area between East 10th Street from Atlantic Avenue to the end of Lot 4 as Highway Business (HB) and from Lot 3 eastbound to Columbia Avenue as Single and Two-Family Residence (R).  Upon a roll call vote taken and Gades and Livingston voting against, Kurpiers, Rudney, Hoffman and Kuchenreuther voting in favor and Granger abstaining, motion carried.   

Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Livingston, to make a recommendation to the City Council that Online Auction Collection Sites be allowed as a conditional use in the Highway Business (HB) portion of the code.  Motion carried.

Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to schedule a public hearing for the 12/16/14 PC meeting to consider the conditional uses for an Online Auction Collection Site.  Motion carried.

Code Change – Building Height Restriction in HB Zone:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther stated the second public hearing is to take comments on the proposed change for the height restrictions in the CBD from 2 ˝ stories or 30’ to 3 stories.  Chairperson Kuchenreuther opened the public hearing at 5:50 p.m.  Hill explained that there is a new hotel going up and they want to build it as a three story hotel.  Hill indicated no one was probably aware of this limitation.  Hill stated the owners obtained a site permit to start the work.  Hill did not hear from anyone with comments about this change.  Hill has talked with the fire department and they have no problems with this and have the capability to fight a fire with the ladder truck.    

There being no comments from the public hearing, Kuchenreuther closed the public hearing at 5:55 p.m.  

Commission Rudney moved, seconded by Gades, to make a recommendation to the City Council to change the height restriction in a Highway Business District (HB) from 2 ˝ stories or 30’ to 3 stories.  Motion carried.  

Wilco Precision:  Hill explained that Jeff and Kathy Wilcox have purchased the old Kieffer building on the corner of Oregon Avenue and East 5th Street and would like to use this building in the Central Business District for a machining business.  Jeff and Kathy Wilcox were present at the meeting and explained the process of what their business does.  They made parts for Superior for 20 years and then it came to a point where that wasn't going to work anymore and they got rid of all their employees.  Jeff Wilcox stated an opportunity came along for them to sell their property in the Industrial Park so they did that and then purchased the Kieffer building.  They still make small precision parts, with the majority of them being shipped through UPS.  

Kathy Wilcox explained that they get semi load deliveries of materials approximately 12 times a year.  They typically don’t ship their product by semi, most of it is small enough to be shipped by UPS.  Kathy stated their machines are quiet for the most part.  They recently put air conditioning in the building so they wouldn’t need to have the doors open while they’re running production.  Kathy stated there is no smoke, dust or odor from the product, and a small amount of heat generated by the equipment.  Their inventory is also stored inside the building because the EPA does not allow them to store raw material outside.

Granger asked if they do any of the work on nights or weekends.  Kathy stated they do sometimes, but not after 9:00 p.m.   Granger asked if they could foresee adding another shift and according to Wilcox that is not something that will happen.  Kathy Wilcox explained that they had been looking for a building for a long time and there are some repairs to the building they are going to take care of this winter in their down time.  Wilcox stated she feels the city as a whole will be pleased with the building when they’re done.  Wilcox noted there is plenty of parking and they shouldn't have to block the alley when they’re unloading items.      

Hill noted that the city already has conditional uses in a CBD for automotive repair shops and auto body repair shops.  Hill stated the commission would be amazed at how clean their production is and most people would go by and not even know there’s a business in there.  

Phil Gausman stated he hopes the commission does whatever it takes to keep them there and not to let an opportunity like this slip away.  Gausman indicated there is a similar business run out of the school in Alberta and you can’t hear anything on the outside as to what they do in there.   

Commissioner Kurpiers moved, seconded by Livingston, to schedule a public hearing for the 12/16/14 meeting to consider adding a Precision Machine Shop as a conditional use in a CBD zone. Motion carried.  

Commissioner Hoffman stated he is in favor of this and understands if there’s an urgency they should move on it but suggested the commission start thinking about other things that may come up.  Hoffman stated the city doesn’t know what the future is going to be, but if a lot of things end up by the new motel he doesn’t want to see a lot of vacant buildings.  Granger stated the nature of small towns is changing and it’s not the nickel and dime stores anymore.  Hoffman indicated he would hate to see somebody new come in and not even consider a property because something isn’t an allowed use.  Granger agreed it is better to plan ahead because people do follow the zoning laws before they buy property.

ADJOURNMENT:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

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