MINUTES - PLANNING
COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING - AUGUST 18, 2015
The Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was
called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 18th day of August, 2015, by
Chairperson Kuchenreuther in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior
CALL OF THE ROLL: Roll call was taken with the following
members present: Commissioners
Kurpiers, Rudney, Livingston and Chairperson Kuchenreuther. Commissioners Granger, Hoffman and Gades
were absent. Also present were City
Manager/Zoning Administrator Hill and Ex-officio Miller.
READING AND APPROVAL OF 5/19/15 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES: Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by
Kurpiers, to approve the minutes of the 5/19/15 Regular Meeting as
presented. With all present voting
in favor, motion carried.
Preliminary Plat - Old Elementary School Property First Addition: Rudney asked why there are two Lot
1's. Hill explained this is the
First Addition, so there is a Lot 1 on this plat, and a Lot 1 on the plat
Kuchenreuther indicated the only thing she has heard has
been from someone who lives on East 5th Street that is not happy
about having a multi-story apartment across the street from them. She noted that nothing can be done about
that because it is zoned multi-family.
Hill indicated he thinks the apartment building will be built down the
hill, so they may not see the building, but they may see more activity. He noted the apartment building on Lot 5
of this plat will be market rate, and not low income.
Kuchenreuther indicated the same person is concerned that
there are no roads or access diagonally through this large piece of property. Hill indicated there are no plans for an
interior road on this property. He
noted the HRA is interested in Lots 1 and 4. Rudney stated obviously they would have
to have a way to move people from those lots to 5th and 7th
Hill indicated the developer that is interested in Lot 5
will also own and control the pond so they do not wind up with issues with
Rudney asked about curb, gutter and sidewalk. Hill indicated the City will require
curb and gutter on the parking lots as it's the best way to control
drainage. He also feels the City
will eventually want to see sidewalks around the area.
Miller asked if there will be adequate off-street parking
for the apartments. Hill noted
there is a mandatory number of off-street parking required.
Considerable discussion was held on setbacks and
easements. Kurpiers noted there is
no easement or setbacks noted on Outlot A, which is the lot on which the pond
will be constructed. Hill noted he thinks there are no setbacks or easements because
no buildings will be constructed there.
Kurpiers asked if they should be on the map for a sidewalk, future
pedestrian bike path or future potential alleyway. Hill indicated they wouldn't need to put
in a sidewalk or alley easement.
The utility easement would be their call. Without a road going through this
property, Hill doesn't think the City can require an easement for a sidewalk. There was a question as to why there is
no 15' easement on the south side of Lot 2 and north side of Lot 3. Hill will look into this.
Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to
recommend that the City Council approve the Old Elementary School Property
First Addition Preliminary Plat as presented. With all present voting in favor, motion
Sign Ordinance Update: Hill indicated he has looked at a
variety of signs in town, measured some, and tried to come up with a
recommendation on sign lighting that is reasonable and uses common sense. He feels the key is not allowing
electronic signs in Residential zones, or shining into Residential zones.
One change he is suggesting is allowing for 30 square foot
signs instead of the formula currently in the Code. He pointed out the City always maintains
the right to regulate hours of illumination and how bright the lights are.
Chairperson Kuchenreuther indicated she got a telephone call
from Commissioner Granger regarding the Sign Ordinance, and she has a lot of
thoughts on this and would like to participate in the discussion, so she has
requested this be tabled so she can be involved in the discussion.
Kuchenreuther suggested the changes include the terms "R"
"RM" zone for the Residence District, as that is how it is referred to in the
Kuchenreuther indicated she has a problem with adding
language to the General Regulations indicating that lettering on a building
identifying the name of the building may not constitute a sign, but it needs a
sign permit, especially if it will have back lighting. She feels it makes sense to allow large
lettering on a hospital, church or school.
However, she feels if the Christus House had applied for a permit for
the lettering on their building, it would not have been approved because the
letters are too big. She asked what
would prevent her from putting lettering on her house that identifies she lives
there. Hill pointed out the
Christus House is a religious center, and not just a house. He noted there is really no language in
the sign ordinance that says they couldn't put lettering on the side of their
building. Kuchenreuther reiterated
she believes it makes sense on a public building, but allowing it in an R zone
means she could put lettering on the side of her house.
Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the Planning Commission
needs to look at this very carefully.
Hill pointed out there have been no complaints from neighbors about the lettering
on the Christus House.
Kuchenreuther doesn't think students believe they have the standing to
complain about the lettering. She
doesn't feel the City should let the mistake of allowing the Christus House
lettering take precedence for others in the R District.
Livingston indicated he does not have an issue with the
Christus House sign being lit reasonably early in the evening before 9:00 p.m. He does feel the Planning Commission
needs to decide if lettering on the side of a building is a sign. Rudney questioned why the Christus House
would want to light their sign all night anyway. Kuchenreuther indicated she feels the
City needs to protect what little integrity the neighborhoods have so that we
have nice neighborhoods. Hill noted
there are landscape lights that are pretty bright.
Hill indicated the Planning Commission needs to decide what
they want to do regarding regulating signs. He stated they need to figure out what
is reasonable and enforceable.
Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by Livingston, to table
this issue until the September meeting.
There being no further business, Commissioner Rudney moved, seconded by
Kurpiers, to adjourn. Motion
carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:17.