COMMISSION-REGULAR MEETING-AUGUST 18, 2020
Regular Meeting of the Morris Planning Commission was called to order at 5:15
p.m. this 18th day of August via Zoom by Chairperson
OF THE ROLL:
Roll call was taken with the following members present: Commissioners Brands,
Granger, Wulf, Kurpiers, and Chairperson Kuchenreuther. Commissioner Gades was
absent. Also present were Ex-officio Gullickson and City Manager Hill.
AND APPROVAL OF 2/18/20 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES: Commissioner Granger
moved, seconded by Brands, to approve the minutes of the 2/18/20 meeting as
written. With all voting in favor, motion carried.
BUSINESS: Replacement for Steve Rudney on the Planning Commission: Commissioner
Granger moved, seconded by Kurpiers, to send a letter of recognition to Steve for
his service on the Planning Commission because he was a very valuable member
for a long time. Motion carried. The Commissioners were encouraged
to try think of someone that may be interested in serving on the Planning
City Manager Hill explained the old flood plain map was from 1975. A lot
of banks check on the flood plain when they are looking at loans for home
purchases. It appears the flood plain pretty much follows the wetland
areas, and Pomme de Terre Park is in a flood plain. Commissioner Granger
asked what the purpose is of the map. Hill responded the purpose is to
prevent building in a flood plain. If someone builds there, they would
have to buy flood insurance. There are a lot of properties in a flood
plain in Breckenridge and they flooded out because they were built next to a
river. Commissioner Kuchenreuther indicated that at least twice she was
told her home was in a flood plain, and she is way above lake level, so it's
good to have this. Hill indicated the map is determined by
elevation. Granger indicated that according to the key it looks like most
of Morris is in an area of minimal flood hazard. Commissioner Wulf indicated
he is happy the City got a new map that is approved and it makes life easier
for people getting loans. Hill asked that the Commissioners to let him
know if they see anything that may be off on the map. He also noted it's
good to know where the flood plain is when the Planning Commission is
zoning. Commissioner Brands commented it appears that part of the
University baseball complex and compost pile are in the flood plain. The
flood plain would not have any effect on the new softball complex at UMM.
Commissioner Granger commented that parks are a good use of the land in a flood
Chairperson Kuchenreuther commented that the City needs to encourage solar
systems while also protecting trees and properties. City Manager Hill
explained that there are some local citizens looking at putting together a
cooperative purchasing group through which they would install solar systems on
would be a non--profit organization that comes in and facilitates the
solar is a permitted use in all districts in Morris except the commercial zone,
but our zoning code indicates it requires a CUP in each one of those districts
and that's conflicting information. If someone walks in today and wants
to put solar on their house Hill doesn't think the City could prohibit that.
The Fergus Falls ordinance is fairly simple as to what is allowed. Solar
is a permitted use in their zoning districts. Solar farms are a different
story - they aren't allowed here because Otter Tail Power controls
Kuchenreuther indicated she feels Morris needs some good performance standards
regarding solar. She wants to make sure trees are protected. She
said Wisconsin has a pretty robust State code that says what municipalities can
do in regard to allowing solar.
indicated there's nothing in the City's ordinances that would allow a property
owner to take any action on a neighbor with their property and trees just for
their own solar.
indicated he doesn't feel it's necessary to include something in a new
ordinance that is already prohibited. Kuchenreuther is afraid someone may
install solar and then expect a neighbor to cut their trees down so the solar
is effective. Hill thinks adding language would be going down a path that
would make things more confusing. Kuchenreuther feels the City
should be explicit about the fact that a person doesn't have exclusive access
to the sun. Hill said to prohibit something that's already prohibited
doesn't make sense to him. Kuchenreuther asked if the new Sustainability Coordinator
could look into this. Hill indicated he is already working on it. Commissioner
Brands suggested that instead of putting the issue of trees into the ordinance,
perhaps a solar guide would make more sense. Hill indicated he feels that
would work. Hill just wants to make sure when someone comes in and wants
to do a solar project, the City is prepared. Commissioner Granger
indicated she likes the idea of the ordinance coming from the Planning Commission
and since Hill knows how our ordinances are written, she thinks he is the
logical person to draft something. Commissioner Kurpiers likes the idea
of having a solar brochure to hand out so there are no misunderstandings of
what is allowed. Commissioner Granger agreed with Kurpiers. Hill
indicated he would be comfortable drafting an ordinance addressing solar
projects. Commissioner Kurpiers feels the Planning Commission should look
to the future regardless of what the local utility landscape looks like
currently. Hill noted that once the Sustainability Coordinator comes on
board, he could look into this too.
Kuchenreuther will share information she has gathered on solar systems.
Wulf feels comfortable having Hill and the new Sustainability Coordinator draft
something and then have it reviewed by the Planning Commission.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no
further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:10.