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The Special Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 2nd day of October, 2012, 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, Granger, Rudney, Livingston, Hoffman and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Also present were Ex-officio Miller and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF AUGUST 21, 2012 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Chairperson Kuchenreuther indicated the Planning Commission deferred consideration of these minutes at the 9/18/12 meeting.  Commission Rudney asked about the first sentence at the top of page 2 which reads, �Granger noted that the Planning Commission was not consulted when the 2007 annexation took place, and is wondering why the mobile home park on East 7th Street was not included in the annexation.�  He stated this is inaccurate, as the Planning Commission was consulted on the annexation.  Granger also noted she did not say that at the meeting.  The Secretary will review the tape of the minutes and amend the minutes to state �Commissioner (whoever made the statement) wondered why the mobile home park on East 7th Street was not included when the 2007 annexation took place.�  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Hoffman, to approve the minutes with the noted amendment.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS: Hennen Variance Request:  This hearing is on a zoning variance request from  Section 11.23, Subd. 2 D 5 (c) of the Morris City Code which requires a 10� interior side yard setback in a residential (R) zone.  This request is by Stan Hennen, 50406 260th Street, Morris, and the subject parcel is 600 West 8th Street, legally described as Block 4, Lot 4, Sunset View, Parcel #20-0859-000.  This variance, if granted, would allow the addition onto an attached garage within 6�8� of the side yard property line.

Hill noted this is a variance request to construct an 8� addition to the single garage.  He talked with a neighbor, Mr. Rosen, today.  Originally the Rosens had issues with this request regarding fire protection and drainage.  Hill indicated he didn�t think either of those will be issues because of the distance between the two properties.  Hill stated two issues the Rosens have after talking with Mr. Rosen today are how the overhang of the new addition plays into the setback, and how the variance would affect them if they want to put an egress window in on the side of their house facing the Hennen house.  Hill indicated he discussed the overhang issue with the City�s building official.  The building official indicated the measurement of the variance is from the wall, not the overhang.  Rosen indicated the Hennen house has a 2� overhang on the end, and a 3� overhang on the back of the home.  Hill indicated setback requirements do not affect egress windows. 

Stan Hennen, 50406 260th Street, indicated they purchased the home as a retirement home.  One of the concerns they have with the property is the steepness of the grade from the garage down to their additional parking spot on their yard.  This is a reason they decided to add on to the garage.

Commissioner Hoffman indicated he does not see anything dramatic with this request beside the fact the home sits kitty corner on the lot. 

Ex-officio Miller asked if the setback will be 6�6� as stated on the application, or 6�8� as stated on the plan.  Hennen replied it is 6�8�, and there are property markers.

Ron Rosen, 804 Sunset Place, stated their home is 10� from the property line.  He stated the former owner of the Hennen home followed the rules strictly.  He stated it will take some getting used to going from that neighbor to a neighbor that is requesting a variance. 

Granger asked about the fire issue, and being able to get behind the homes for fire protection.  Hill noted one could get to the back of the homes off 8th Street, and also noted the Rosen�s structure is 10� off their property line, which would be a total of 16�8� between the homes if the variance were granted.  Ex-officio Miller indicated that chances are that during a fire, a fire truck would not be driven to the back of the properties, rather a hose would be brought to the back.

Rudney indicated he does see both points of view on this variance request, and does not see a reason not to grant the request. 

Kuchenreuther indicated in this case she feels an extraordinary circumstance exists with the house sitting kitty corner on the lot.

Granger indicated she is comfortable granting the variance because it is an addition to a single car garage making it a double car garage.

Commissioner Granger moved, seconded by Rudney, to grant the variance as requested.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Granger asked if the criteria on the Checklist for Variance Requests is still valid with the new law regarding variances.  Hill will look into the language on the checklist.

Kathy Benson, 612 West 5th Street, asked what the rule is on variances.  Kuchenreuther responded that the practice the Planning Commission has applied is to use sensible judgment on if what is being asked causes a hardship to the neighbors.  Benson asked if the Commission would consider 5� from the property line too close.  Kuchenreuther indicated that the Commission would have to look at all the surrounding circumstances.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 5:43.

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