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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - OCTOBER 18, 2016

 

The regular meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 18th day of October, 2016 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 Hoffman, Kurpiers, Granger and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Rudney, Gades and Wulf were absent.  Also present were Ex-officio Miller, City Manager Hill and Building Official/Zoning Administrator Jacobson.

 

READING AND APPROVAL OF 9/20/16 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Hoffman moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to approve the minutes of the 9/20/16 regular meeting.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

 

In the 9/20/16 minutes, Hill indicates he doesnŐt ever remember the Planning Commission reviewing a landscape plan.  Granger indicated she remembers the Planning Commission reviewing a landscape plan for Dacotah Bank and the Courthouse.  It was pointed out the Courthouse had to come before the Planning Commission for a Conditional Use Permit.

 

Building Official/Zoning Administrator Jacobson was introduced to the Planning Commission. 

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None.

 

OTHER BUSINESS:  Zoning Code Review:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther noted there are inconsistencies in the Code with regard to zoning and the Planning Commission should look at those issues and recommend changes to the City Council.

 

Hill indicated he doesnŐt feel the entire zoning code needs to be reviewed.  He suggested the Commissioners only review issues they see as vague or confusing.

 

Several things noted by Commissioners that should be reviewed are Airbnb rentals, wind and solar developments in the City, landscape plans, dark sky compliant lighting, and whether there should be a cap on the size of multi-family developments that could be built without a conditional use permit.

 

Kurpiers indicated he could see a problem with airbnbŐs because although an owner is renting out their home, they most likely wouldnŐt be having rental inspections.  Hill indicated the bottom line is that a person cannot rent their property out without a rental inspection.  He suggested a reference to airbnbŐs could be put in the rental ordinance.

 

Granger indicated the Tree Board is talking about trees and how they could be affected by solar panels, as there is the potential a person would cut down a boulevard tree in order to accommodate their solar panel.  The Tree Board is working on language to

Zoning Code Review:  (continued)

prevent that from happening.  She feels removing a boulevard tree affects an entire neighborhood.  Kuchenreuther suggested the Tree Board keep the Planning Commission advised on their progress and then the Planning Commission can make recommendations to the City Council.

 

Granger indicated she feels parts of the zoning code were written in order to accommodate buildings that were already in place. 

 

Granger noted that she doesnŐt feel a 4-story building should be allowed in a Residential area.  Also she feels the Planning Commission should review landscape plans.  Hill noted that in order to enforce the City Code, a plan needs to be in place.  He questioned if the Planning Commission would require a professional landscaper to draw up landscape plans, and asked who the professional landscaper would be on the Planning Commission.  Hill noted that with landscape plan review, the timing and how the Planning Commission is involved has to be thought out.  Hoffman noted that the Planning Commission needs to be cautious not to be too restrictive so they donŐt discourage development.  Hill noted the Planning Commission needs to be careful with the conditions they put on Conditional Use Permits as they have to be enforceable. 

Kuchenreuther indicated she doesnŐt feel itŐs unreasonable to ask for a landscape plan.  Granger noted it is common in other cities to require a landscape plan. 

 

Jacobson indicated if specific items are required in a landscape plan, they need to be spelled out in the Code so that landscape professionals can look at the Code and know what is required.  Granger indicated that when thinking about landscape planning, she wasnŐt necessarily thinking of specific trees, but rather things like green space and screening.  Jacobson noted that site plans show sidewalks, runoff and landscaping. 

 

Kuchenreuther indicated Morris is a GreenStep City which is a program sponsored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  The GreenStep City program is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and qualify-of-life goals.  The program provides model ordinances for such things as energy efficiency, landscaping, and wind energy.  The website for this program is greenstep.pca.state.mn.us.  Kuchenreuther feels the Planning Commission should look at this program to find ideas and language for ordinances.

 

Hill noted that the City of Morris has done a number of things as a GreenStep City such as changing out light bulbs in the City buildings and maintaining Tree City status. 

 

Kuchenreuther indicated the American Medical Association recently issued a report on human and environmental effects of LED community lighting.  The report warns against LED lighting that is too blue.

 

Granger indicated the illuminated sign ordinance also needs to be finished. 

 

Zoning Code Review:  (continued)

Hoffman feels the allowed uses in the CBD need to be addressed.

 

Jacobson indicated storm drainage is also an issue the City will need to address.  The City of Willmar has an Environmental Specialist that addresses this concern.  He indicated the State will help the City regulate this.  Hill noted there will probably be a new chapter in the City Code dealing with storm water.  He indicated the CityŐs engineering firm is working on this.  There is no funding for this mandate, but the City is charging $5 on each utility bill for administration of storm water. 

 

Hill noted the City is also building narrower streets in town.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Hoffman moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:24.

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