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MINUTES - PLANNING COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - MAY 16, 2017

 

The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 16th day of May, 2017, 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 Rudney, Kurpiers, Granger, Wulf, Gades and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Also present were Zoning Administrator Jacobson and City Manager Hill.

 

READING AND APPROVAL OF 4/18/17 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to accept the minutes of the 4/18/17 regular meeting as presented.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGSGary Wahl and Henry Hall dba Stone's Throw Cafˇ Variance Request:  This hearing is on a zoning variance request from Section 11.70, Subd. 20 D 5 of the Morris City Code which requires 1 off-street parking space for every 200 square feet of floor space in order for a restaurant to be allowed.  This request is by Gary Wahl and Henry Hall dba Stone's Throw Cafˇ, P. O. Box 251, Morris MN.  Subject parcel is 511 Oregon Avenue, legally described as Block 2, North _ Lot 1, North _ East _ Lot 2, Original Townsite, parcel number 20-0114-000.  This variance, if granted, would allow a restaurant by reducing the number of required off-street parking spaces from 9 to 0.

 

City Manager Hill indicated he had one call about this request.  The caller asked about dumpster space and product delivery.  Hill indicated that deliveries in most restaurants in town are made from the street or alley.  He also indicated that he and Zoning Administrator Jacobson do not see any issue with granting this variance request.

 

Greg Buss, owner of Don's Cafˇ at 15 East 5th Street, asked where patrons of Stone's Throw Cafˇ would park.  He indicated he leases the parking lot between Don's Cafˇ and the building owned by Don Wohlers at 19 East 5th Street for his patrons.  He also questioned where their grease barrel and dumpster will be located, and asked where their employees will park. 

 

Commissioner Granger asked if the parking lot that Buss leases has a sign indicating it is for Don's Cafˇ parking.  Buss indicated it is not signed, but he will sign it if he has to.  Commissioner Rudney asked if people other than Don's patrons are consistently parking in the lot Buss leases.  Buss stated not unless there is something going on in the neighborhood.  Rudney pointed out that without signage, no one knows it's a private lot. 

 

Commissioner Wulf asked how many parking spaces are in Buss' leased lot.  Buss estimated about a dozen or more.  Wahl indicated they do not intend to use Don's leased lot for parking, and he pointed out their entrance does not face Don's lot so there wouldn't be easy access.

 

Hill asked if Buss leased the lot when Federated Telephone was the owner.  Buss indicated he did not lease it then as they let him use the lot.  Hill noted that the Met Lounge does not have their own parking lot. 

 

 

Gary Wahl and Henry Hall dba Stone's Throw Cafˇ Variance Request:  (continued)

Kurpiers indicated about 60% of the lots between the 500 and 600 blocks of Atlantic Avenue on the East side of Atlantic Avenue are signed.

 

Rudney indicated he feels Buss' concerns are reasonable, but he feels Buss' lot should be signed. 

 

Kuchenreuther asked the hours of both Don's and Stone's Throw Cafes.  Don's is open 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. plus 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.  Stone's Throw Cafˇ will have a fair amount of hours that overlap, but initially they will not be open Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

Wahl noted they will be a farm-to-table cafˇ, so they will have no fryers and no need for a grease barrel.  He indicated they will be working with the Food Co-op on the location of a dumpster.  They are trying to reduce the need for a large dumpster. 

 

Rudney asked if Stone's Throw Cafˇ would be willing to put a sign at their entrance asking their customers to park on the street.  Wahl indicated they would be willing to do that. 

 

Rudney asked how many tables would be in the Cafˇ.  Wahl indicated they will have 35 seats. 

 

Arne Kildegaard, 548 East 5th Street, was present representing the Pomme de Terre Food Co-op.  He indicated that as a gesture of good will, they would be willing to pay for signage to identify Don's Cafˇ' parking.

 

Granger asked where employees will park.  Wahl replied they will park on the street also.  They would expect there would be 1-4 employees working at any given time.  Kuchenreuther noted that her observation is that a lot of the time, the on-street parking in front of the proposed Cafˇ is pretty empty.

 

Granger asked what in the City Code is triggering this variance request.  Kuchenreuther indicated it's the performance standards for restaurants.  Jacobson noted that according to the Building Code, if a use is changed then there are certain things that need to be looked into, parking being one of them.  He noted that if this were a new development, the City would require off-street parking.

 

Rudney indicated the City wants to bring businesses into the community, and doesn't think having to walk a little way to a restaurant is a bad thing or problem.  Granger agreed but is trying to see the justification for granting the variance in the City Code.  Hill indicated he feels the justification is because of the way that area is established.  He does not feel granting this would be a safety issue. 

 

Hill indicated the building the Cafˇ would be located in will be split in half ownership-wise, and this variance should be contingent on the actual splitting of the building. 

 

Gary Wahl and Henry Hall dba Stone's Throw Cafˇ Variance Request:  (continued)

Jacobson noted that if the use of the building wasn't going to change, then the parking requirement wouldn't come up.

 

Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Wulf, to grant this variance request contingent upon proof of ownership and an updated parcel number and address for the property. 

 

Rudney reiterated that the Commission would like to see the following;  signage in the parking lot next to Don's Cafˇ, the owners of Stone's Throw Cafˇ have discussions with their vendors regarding unloading merchandise, and signage on the Cafˇ's entrance asking patrons to park on the street.

 

With Commissioners Rudney, Granger, Kurpiers, Gades and Wulf voting in favor, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther abstaining, motion carried.

 

OTHER BUSINESSDiscussion of Central Business District and Performance Standards:  Kuchenreuther indicated that she will try draft a new ŅPurposeÓ in the CBD for the Commission to consider at the June meeting. 

 

Granger asked if the requirement for off-street parking in the CBD can be reduced.  Hill indicated it can be done in what he calls a maintenance ordinance, which is an ordinance that cleans up language in the City Code.  Kurpiers cautioned that if the parking requirement is removed from the CBD, a developer could purchase an entire block of buildings to redevelop, and then wouldn't be required to have any off-street parking. 

 

Planning Commission Training:  This was informational for the Commission.

 

Coborn's Building:  Rudney asked if the developer that purchased the old Coborn's building will be using the existing building or building new.  Jacobson indicated they will be using the existing building. 

 

Commissioner Hoffman Replacement:  Kuchenreuther indicated UMM geographer Ed Brands is interested in serving on the Planning Commission.  Rudney indicated Brent Barnstuble has also indicated his interest in serving on the Commission.  Because of his planning background, the Planning Commission is recommending Brands be appointed to the Commission.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Gades, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:25.

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