MINUTES – MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR
MEETING - AUGUST 27, 2013
The regular meeting of the
Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 27th day
of August, 2013, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
ROLL CALL: Roll call was taken with the following
members present: Council member Wohlers, Solvie, Miller, Storck and Mayor
Giese. Also present was City Manager Hill, Interim Police Chief
Tiegs and Finance Director Raasch. Public Works Director Dittbenner
arrived at 5:25 p.m.
CITIZENíS COMMENTS: Robi Bowman, 315 Eleanor Avenue, was present
at the meeting with a group of citizens wanting to address the council about an
outdoor pool on the old elementary school property. Bowman stated the
issue was brought up in 2007 but because of timing of the new school and the
grandiose pool that was proposed that was stopped. Bowman
indicated she went around SCMC and got 46 signatures and if given more time she
feels the council would find there are more citizens that would like to see
this go forward. Bowman asked that the council consider these things when
they move forward with the management of that property.
Evan Varga, 20591 462nd
Avenue, stated he has some concerns about the Prairieland proposal. Varga
indicated there has been some talk about housing for students and he cautioned
the city to try and provide student housing. Varga stated he understands
the need for more accessible housing for seniors but feels the housing stock the
city has is in pretty good shape. Varga stated this piece of property is
in the hearts and minds of the people in the city and he would like to see a
park or pool there as a legacy to the town.
Sid Wilcox, 210 Montana,
stated he has a building on East 7th Street, along with 10 other
businesses along there, and from Columbia Avenue to Iowa Avenue it has been
designated as only housing. Wilcox indicated he has been told he has to
tear his business down. Wilcox noted if he were to tear his building down
and build a house, according to the specifications the only house he could get
on that lot would be 13 feet wide.
Wilcox stated all the businesses
along East 7th are having a hard time. Most of them are to the
point of retirement and theyíre being told they can't do anything. Wilcox
pointed out he has had 9 people that have wanted his building. Wilcox
noted he checked with an attorney and stated that his property cannot be forcibly
taken from him and that the city would have to reimburse him.
Wilcox also spoke on the
school property. Wilcox feels that the council should not approve
accepting the bid from Prairieland. Wilcox asked the council if they have
looked at any of the projects these people have built, checked to see how
financially secure they are or how many liens have been filed against their
company. Wilcox noted over 50% of the people he has talked to would
rather see the boys from Riley Brothers take this property over.
Wilcox further stated that
the city is going to host the VFW state tournament in two years and a new
scoreboard is needed. Wilcox noted Riley Brothers have helped out with
those kinds of things plus donated to Habitat for Humanity houses. Wilcox
questioned how many of those things the other company would help out
Pilar Eble, 4 North Court,
stated she has heard the idea of student housing but encouraged the council to
talk with the chancellor. Eble noted she feels the real problem for
housing is for young professionals.
Eble asked about the idea
of using some of the school property for a community place such as a
pool. Eble stated the area seems big enough to do some housing plus a
community space. Eble, who has four children, stated last year they paid
a membership to the Benson pool and ended up spending a lot of their dispoable
income in Benson when it could have been spent in Morris. Eble indicated there
is not a lot to do in town with small children or teenagers. Eble pointed
out there is the RFC but that is not the ideal place to go on a hot day. Eble
agreed that not everyone should be taxed and suggested the idea of sponsorships
for the pool. Eble noted she has heard that pools don't make money but
would like to try to add some other elements so it could be a viable
option. Eble does not feel it is an all or nothing issue.
PUBLIC HEARINGS: None
READING AND APPROVAL OF
MINUTES: 8/13/13 Regular
Meeting Minutes: Council member Storck moved, seconded by Miller, to
approve the 8/13/13 regular meeting minutes. Motion carried.
Version Minutes: Council
member Solvie moved, seconded by Mayor Giese, to approve the 8/13/13 condensed
version minutes. Motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA: Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council
member Wohlers, to approve the consent agenda which included the following
of City Bills
Commission Minutes, 7/16/13
for Exempt Permit – Wild Turkey Federation
PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND
Report from American Legion: Council member Miller moved, seconded by
Storck, to accept the gambling report from the American Legion. Upon a
roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor and Mayor Giese abstaining
as an officer of the Legion, motion carried.
Approving a Title VI Civil Rights Program for Morris Transit: Finance
Director Raasch stated adoption of this resolution is a federal requirement for
the transit grant.
Council member Solvie
moved, seconded by Wohlers, to adopt Resolution #3177-8-13, Resolution
Approving a Title VI Civil Rights Program for Morris Transit. Upon a roll
call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
Resolution Approving a
Conditional Use Permit for the Morris North Apostolic Christian Church: City Manager Hill explained that there is a
recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve a conditional use permit
from the Morris North Apostolic Christian Church, to construct a new church on
Birch Avenue near the intersection of Highway 9. The conditional use
would allow a church to be built in a residential zoning district. The
only condition placed on the permit was that all outside lighting be dark sky
Council member Storck
asked if there was any chance that Eleanor Avenue would be extended. Hill
stated there is no plan for that at this time. Hill explained the
utilities would come into an area that would be Eleanor Avenue if it was
Council member Miller
moved, seconded by Solvie, to adopt Resolution #3178-8-13, Resolution Approving
a Conditional Use Permit for the Morris North Apostolic Christian Church.
Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.
CITY MANAGER'S REPORTS
& RECOMMENDATIONS: Morris
Planning Commission – Sid Wilcox and Other Owners Issue: Hill stated
what happened is that with the rezoning that was done in 2011, the area along East
7th Street from Columbia Avenue to Iowa Avenue was rezoned from
highway business (HB) to multiple family (RM) residence. A public hearing
was held and there were a number of other changes as part of the rezoning that
was finalized in December of 2011. Hill noted there are some owners that
are not happy with these changes. Hill pointed out they do not have to
tear down their building and if they have a current business they have the
right to sell and continue that same business, because those were grandfathered
Hill explained in the case
of Wilcox's building he is trying to sell it himself and it can't be sold and a
new business established. Hill indicated the City Council could adopt a
resolution tonight asking the Planning Commission to rezone it back to Highway
Business after a public hearing is held. Hill pointed out there was no
real big issue as to why it was changed. When the Planning Commission looked
at the comprehensive plan for the city it was part of the discussion. Hill
stated obviously it's not a highway anymore but there were businesses that were
established because it was a highway many years ago.
Council member Miller asked
if a variance could be granted by the Planning Commission for a different
business. Hill stated no, because they would be considered a
nonconforming use. None of the businesses are allowed to expand under the
current zoning, but could if the area was rezoned. Hill pointed out
everyone in town was notified of the public hearing for the original rezoning.
Wohlers stated that as a
former business owner it doesnít seem fair and the city isnít doing anyone any justice
by leaving the zoning the way it is. Mayor Giese agreed with Wohlers.
Hill explained it wasnít an issue of what the city wanted to try and move out
of there it was a matter of where it wanted highway business to be in the
Hill reiterated that the
matter should go back to the Planning Commission and the council could pass a resolution
asking them to zone the north half of 7th Street from Columbia
Avenue to Iowa Avenue back to highway business
Council member Storck
moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3179-8-13, Resolution Requesting
Planning Commission Action on Zoning. Upon a roll call vote taken and all
present voting in favor, motion carried.
City Manager Report: Hill indicated the preliminary budget would
be presented at the next meeting. Interviews for the police officer
position have been conducted. Tiegs indicated they have made a
conditional offer and they are waiting for the results of the physical and
Hill noted the FEMA disaster
team is in town and the Public Works Director will be meeting with them to go
over the costs associated with the storm in June. The cityís buildings
are covered by insurance but all the time and effort in cleaning up will
probably get reimbursed. Wohlers asked if there was a trickle down to
residents. Hill indicated there sometimes is in the case of a flood, but
not for a storm.
NEW BUSINESS: None
OLD BUSINESS: None
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS: Mayor Giese explained how the EDA works and
what it addresses differently from the council. The school was purchased
by the EDA and has authority over that property.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, Mayor
Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:02 p.m.