City Council  |  Contact the City  |  Home


The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 19th day of October, 2010, 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, Granger, Rudney, Livingston, Gades, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioner Gades was absent.  Also present were City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill, Ex-officio Miller, and Building Official Jacobson.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 9/21/10 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Hoffman moved, seconded by Granger, to approve the minutes of the 9/21/10 regular Planning Commission meeting as presented.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.


OTHER BUSINESS:  Zoning Update Discussion:  Hill handed out a listing of parcels in the townships that would be affected by the proposed zoning changes.  He indicated the listing is based on the City's zone of authority as set out in the Orderly Annexation Agreement, which is not necessarily ½ mile as previously thought.  No parcels within City limits that may be affected by the proposed zoning are included in this listing.  He indicated he feels the next step in this process would be to meet with township officials and then conduct a public hearing with the township people.  Kuchenreuther asked if a separate hearing would be held for those people in City limits that would be affected by the proposed zoning changes.  Hill indicated that would be his intent.

Hill indicated people have been piecemeal selling farmland around the City for a long time and according to the Orderly Annexation Agreement, that should not have been happening.  He stated the whole purpose of the hearing it so take public input, but the City ultimately makes the final decision.  He indicated he has discussed this with all the township officials once already.

Granger asked if the notices will indicate what they are zoned, and what we are proposing.  Hill indicated it would not as it will be a general overall notice.

Hill indicated residential parcels have been developed all over in the county.  Granger asked what is wrong with that.  Hill indicated the purpose of the zoning ordinance is to protect the farmland and residents.  He stated it's an environmental nightmare to have all these little parcels that have wells and septic systems on them.  Granger pointed out the State of Minnesota has laws set up that cover the installation of septic systems.  Hill indicated that as a City we should have been more proactive on septic systems and allowing them on the fringes of the City limits. 

Miller asked about zoning for the new church going in on Yankee Ridge Road.  Hill stated he thinks that is outside the City's zoning jurisdiction. 

Kuchenreuther asked if it would be workable to handle all the townships at one hearing.  Hill indicated he thought it would as they would all have the same questions.  He thinks if he meets with the township officials before the hearing it might answer some questions.  He indicated he would envision this as an evening meeting at the high school.

Granger asked if the Stevens County Board of Commissioners and Planning Commission were in support of the zoning changes.  Hill indicated they have not been contacted regarding the changes.  Granger asked if politically and as a courtesy, it would be good to let them know of the proposed changes.  Hill agreed it would.

Hoffman indicated he feels it would help at the hearings if all the people in the townships know beforehand why the City is proposing the changes.  Granger indicated one reason would be that the City has zoning authority ½ mile out, and we are now exercising that authority.  Hill stated the City is also doing this to protect the City and protect farmland. 

Granger suggested looking at the Comprehensive Plan and pulling language and goals from that to be used at the hearing.  She feels the Planning Commission should have something that says why they are doing this.  One reason is the City is trying to organize things so there are not incompatible uses next to each other.  Kuchenreuther indicated she feels that information should go out with the notice.  She also suggested having a large projected map, laser pointer and microphones at the hearing.  Hill will look into the cost of providing a color map with each notice. 

Hill suggested language that states this is the way the City wants to see things develop.  He reiterated that the public hearing is not a debate or mass argument; rather it's a time to listen to people and take their input. 

Granger read off a list of issues from the January 2005 zoning hearing.   They included land value effect, definition of non-conforming use, grandfathering, people affected had never been exposed to zoning, drainage, why does an area that will never see any growth need to be zoned, fertilizer runoff in the MC district, will the zoning lead to annexation, the map provided at the hearing didn't have enough detail so that people could locate their parcels, and should call it a land use map instead of a zoning map.  Granger indicated she feels it would be good to have answers to some of these questions for the upcoming hearings.  Hill indicated he feels he could answer all of those questions.  He further stated he agrees the comprehensive plan should be tied into the hearings.  Granger indicated having the City Manager at the hearings to support some of those issues would be good. 

Hoffman indicated he feels the reason this is being done is to protect the people in the City.  He feels if that is the premise of the meetings they will go better. 

Kuchenreuther suggested putting a map in the library and having the newspaper do an article.  She also suggested that if a map is sent with each notice, there be a couple sentences defining each of the zoning districts. 

Granger asked if the townships zone land.  Hill indicated he does not think so.  He thinks it would be the county doing the zoning.  Granger suggested finding out what the county zones are.  Kuchenreuther suggested having a county zoning map at the hearing.  Granger suggested the City Manager discuss the proposed zoning with the County Commissioners and the County Planning Commission.  Hill indicated he could do that.  Hill indicated he feels now is the time to get them involved and look at the comprehensive plan. 

Miller asked about a timetable.  Hill indicated he will write a letter to township officials next week to set up a meeting.  Granger indicated the County Planning Commission chairperson could come to one of the City's Planning Commission meetings and get the communication going. 

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

Website Services by Iceberg.