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The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 19th day of May, 2015, in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center by Chairperson Kuchenreuther. 

CALL OF THE ROLL:  Roll call was taken with the following members present:  Commissioners Rudney, Livingston, Kurpiers, Gades and Chairperson Kuchenreuther.  Commissioners Granger and Hoffman were absent.  Also present were ex-officio Miller and City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill.

READING AND APPROVAL OF 4/21/15 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to approve the minutes of the 4/21/15 Regular Meeting as presented.  With all present voting in favor, motion carried.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  LP Properties of Morris, LLC Conditional Use Permit Request:  This hearing is on a request from LP Properties of Morris, LLC, dba Golden Horizons, to construct and operate an assisted living facility in a Multiple Family Residence (RM) zoning district.  The assisted living facility will be located on the northeast corner of the former elementary school property near the intersection of East 7th Street and College Avenue.  The property is currently being platted and there is no address or parcel number assigned as of this notice.  This Conditional Use Permit, if granted, would allow the construction of a 30-unit assisted living facility with the option of additional assisted and memory care units. 

City Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill indicated notices were sent and he received one phone call regarding storm runoff from the property. 

The public hearing was opened at 5:18.

Commissioner Kurpiers asked what the grade of the property is like at the College Avenue entrance to this parcel.  Kent Marthaler of KC Companies, the builder of this facility, indicated they are having a topographical study done and the grade will be identified at that point.  He indicated he thinks the architect for this development was working off setbacks and line of site of the intersection when setting the entrance.

Ex-officio Miller asked if the entrance off 7th Street will be constructed.  Marthaler indicated it would be constructed. 

Marthaler indicated they have done an amendment to their purchase agreement and will be purchasing 40 more feet to the west which allowed the building to be pushed forward a little bit and will allow for future expansion and additional parking and garages. 

Commissioner Gades asked if both of the accesses would be used as both entrances and exits.  He indicated he drives the City Transit and would be concerned about traffic flow.  Marthaler indicated the drive is 24' from curb to curb, which should work, but it could be modified. 

Miller noted there is no access to the rear of the building for public safety or fire.  Marthaler indicated all the mechanical rooms are in the front of the building, so rear access should not be needed.

Chairperson Kuchenreuther commented the parking lot is quite large, and asked how the storm water would be handled.  Marthaler indicated the retention pond planned just to the west of this property would handle the runoff.  The runoff will go into the storm sewer and run underground to the pond.  The pond will service the entire 17 acre parcel.

Kuchenreuther asked if the existing trees would stay.  Marthaler indicated they would keep as many as possible.  Kuchenreuther encouraged them to try diversify the types of trees that are planted.  Marthaler indicated the architect will work with the landscape designer on trees.  Kurpiers asked if the reason for removing the trees on the back and sides of the property is for access.  Marthaler indicated it is for access and future expansion.  Kurpiers indicated he doesn't feel the trees will create screening, but he would say it's more of a visual break up along the back and would be beneficial.   

Kuchenreuther asked if the lighting would be dark sky compliant.  Marthaler indicated it would be dark sky compliant. 

Don Werk, 615 East 7th Street, indicated his concern is water runoff down 7th Street.  He feels a catch basin should be installed to handle that water.  Hill noted there are no plans to do any street work with this project.  Engineering Surveyor/Inspector Fier indicated the pond will be sized for the entire 17 acre parcel.  They will do a hydraulic study for a 50-year storm and size the pond according to that.  He indicated water will be contained in the pond so it doesn't overflow the existing system.  He doesn't know if another catch basin would be needed because of this project, but he stated it could be looked into. 

Barb McGinnis, 552 East 5th Street, asked if a permeable parking lot would be an option.  Fier indicated those are just being experimented with in Minnesota now.

Kuchenreuther indicated she would argue having a nice storm water retention pond planted with nice plantings would be an asset for the residents of this project.

Mike Sax, 13 Meadow Lane, asked about the dimensions of the property.  He also asked about the Conditional Use Permit process.  Hill explained that the Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the request and makes a recommendation to the City Council.  The City Council makes the final decision on approval or denial of the Conditional Use Permit.


Kuchenreuther asked if the building would be just one story high.  Marthaler indicated it would only be one story high, and it will all be sprinkled.

McGinnis asked if anyone has had any experience with the chain that will own the property.  Hill indicated the Conditional Use Permit process does not deal with that.  He noted they do have other facilities in Minnesota.  He also noted they will be coming to the City for tax increment financing which can be used for land purchase, parking lot, cost for a portion of the pond, and other items.  He noted this is a $3.3 million project.

Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Rudney, to recommend approval of this Conditional Use Permit to LP Properties of Morris, LLC for the construction of a 30-unit assisted living facility with the option of additional assisted and memory care units. Kurpiers asked if the College Avenue access traffic hazard issue is a Code issue or if it is just left up to the developer to decide where it should be.  Hill indicated the City Code addresses how far accesses have to be from a corner, and that is why the College Avenue access is located where it is.  With all present voting in favor of the above motion, motion carried.

Curfman 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 Damon Curfman, 262 South Columbia Avenue, Morris, MN.  Subject parcel is 262 South Columbia Avenue, legally described as Block 1, Lot 8, Maplewood Addition, parcel #20-0067-000.  This variance, if granted, would allow the owner to build a two-car attached garage up to within 1' 6" of the south interior side yard property line. 

Hill indicated notices were sent regarding this request, and he received no calls or comments on the request.  The Curfmans are planning to add on to the back of their house, and enlarge their garage from a single car to a 2-car garage.  The house addition is within the Code requirements, but the garage addition requires this variance.

Kuchenreuther noted there will be added roof area on the garage with the addition and asked about runoff to the south of the garage where there is an abrupt slope to the neighbor's property.  Damon Curfman explained they will be installing French tile along the South edge between his and his neighbor's properties, which will take care of the runoff.

Miller asked about an overhang on the garage.  Curfman indicated he will have an overhang, but it won't extend beyond his property line.

Commissioner Livingston moved, seconded by Rudney, to approve this variance request to allow a garage addition up to within 1' 6" of the south interior side yard property line at 262 South Columbia Avenue.  With all voting in favor, motion carried.

OTHER BUSINESS:  Final Plat – Old Elementary School Property:  Hill noted the Preliminary Plat was changed before it went before the City Council because the builders realized they didn't have enough buildable property, so they purchased more property.  That is the only change between the Preliminary and Final Plats. 

Commissioner Gades moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to recommend approval of the Final Plat for the Old Elementary School Property as presented.  With all voting in favor, motion carried.

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Commission Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to adjourn.  Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:00.

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