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Planning Commission to Present Zoning Changes for City of Morris.

The Morris Planning Commission recently completed the Zoning Plan for the area just outside the City limits known as the Orderly Annexation Area. The work on that plan also included a review of the Zoning Plan for the area inside the City limits. The Planning Commission identified a number of changes and is now ready to present those changes to the public. A public hearing is set for Tuesday, September 20, 2011 in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center at 5:15 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to consider amendments to the current zoning map and codes for selected areas within the City limits of Morris. The City will send out a notice to every property owner in the City limits whether affected by the changes or not. You are not required to attend the hearing. A map showing the zoning is available on the City's website at and at City Hall.

The Zoning Plan addresses the future of Morris and the changes reflect some of the changing trends in how Morris has developed since the first plan was adopted. An example of a change is that East 7th Street used to be a main highway coming into Morris. Part of this area was zoned Highway Business. Now the highway is further out. The new zoning for this area will be Multiple Family Residence. The current businesses in this area are grandfathered in, but new businesses will have to locate in other appropriate areas of the City.

The changes proposed by the Planning Commission are as follows:

  1. Change the Highway Business (HB) zone along East 7th Street from Columbia Avenue to Iowa Avenue near the old elementary school to Multiple Family Residence (RM).
  2. Leave the Morris Dental Building, Schuster Agency, and Raymond James Office on East 6th Street and the Professional Building on East 7th Street and California Avenue as Central Business District (CBD) and change the rest of the lots on those two blocks to Multiple Family Residence (RM).
  3. Change the Mohr Plumbing and Melchert properties along Hwy 28 from Highway Business (HB) to Single and Two Family Residence (R).
  4. Change all Morris Public School Property near the University to Single and Two Family Residence (R).
  5. Change the area along Iowa Avenue near the Iowa Avenue Townhomes from Highway Business (HB) to Multiple Family Residence (RM). This includes the apartment to the northwest of the Townhomes and the small triangular lot to the east of Iowa Avenue near 7th Street.
  6. Change area north of the Elementary School from Farm Residence (RF) to Single and Two Family Residence (R). This includes the small triangular area east of the Columbia Avenue and South Street corner.
  7. Change the zoning for all railroad property northwest of the Denco II plant from Heavy Industrial (I2) to Light Industrial (I1).
  8. Change the lots from West 5th Street south to West 4th Street on the west side of Pacific Avenue from Heavy Industrial (I2) to Highway Business (HB).
  9. Change the lots from West 6th Street south to West 5th Street on the west side of Pacific Avenue from Heavy Industrial (I2) to Central Business District (CBD).
  10. Change the area around Riverview Townhomes First Addition up to the rear lot lines from Single and Two Family Residence (R) to Municipal Conservancy (MC) coming up to the property lines.
  11. Change the small triangular area north of Riverside Addition and east of the Highway 59 bypass, plus the small open area immediately across the Highway 59 bypass from Single and Two Family Residence (R) to Municipal Conservancy (MC).
  12. Change the triangular parcel shown Light Industrial (I1) on the zoning map along South Highway 9 in the southeast part of the map to Highway Business (HB), along with a 600' wide strip (from the front property line) extending diagonally to the southeast. The area north and east of this Highway Business (HB) strip should be Single and Two Family Residence (R).
  13. Change the Municipal Conservancy (MC) zoning in the southeast corner of the zoning map to include a Single and Two Family Residence (R) zone extension extending southeast along the area just east of the newly created Highway Business (HB) zoning area to the 1/2-mile line of authority.
  14. Change the newly acquired school property near the water tower from Farm Residence (RF) to Single and Two Family Residence (R).
  15. Change the single-family homes on the south side of Thomas Street from Multiple Family Residence (RM) to Single and Two Family Residence (R), leaving the multi-family complex the same.
  16. Change the south side of North Ridge Drive from Farm Residence (RF) to Single and Two Family Residence (R), except that a 600' strip (from the front property line) in the southeast corner should be changed to Highway Business (HB) and should run in a line equal to another line of Highway Business (HB) property for the adjacent properties.
  17. Change the land designations to Highway Business (HB) along a line east of and parallel to Highway 9 from the northwest line of authority running southeast to the east west line of the Highway Business (HB) property designation, which is northwest of Highway 28 as presented on the updated Zoning map.
  18. Zone the Fairgrounds area Highway Business (HB) and add as a permitted use.
  19. The area between Pacific Avenue and the Burlington Northern right of way north of 7th Street should be Light Industrial (I1) all the way north to Park Avenue. The area between Pacific Avenue and the Burlington Northern right of way between 7th Street and 5th Street should be Central Business District (CBD).
  20. Move residential single-family homes from a permitted use to a conditional use in a Highway Business (HB) zone.

The Planning Commission has been working on this plan to determine what the city should look like moving forward for a long time. The zoning process included some deep discussions about where you put things and why. What things? Things like homes, businesses, industry and nature areas. The result of the process is the Zoning Map or the Planning Commission's best determination as to where these things should go. Residential in areas that are undeveloped, but near utilities and other resources. Commercial in the Central Business District where other businesses are located or along the highway in the Highway Business District. Industrial near other industrial properties and away from residential or commercial areas. Finally, Municipal Conservancy (natural areas), where they located along creeks, streams and rivers.

The next step following the public hearing is a recommendation from the Planning Commission to the City Council. Then the City Council will have to decide whether they want to approve the changes. This approval is done through an Ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance. The Ordinance process includes a first and second reading of the ordinance and then upon approval of the City Council, publication of the new ordinance and a 30-day waiting period. Then the new ordinance becomes law.

Click here to view the 2010 Zoning Map (PDF Document)

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