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City allows permitted use for two-unit residence

Council reinstates structure's grandfathered status

Per recommendation from the Morris Planning Commission, the Morris City Council approved Monday evening a conditional permitted use and a text amendment.

The permitted use, unanimously approved by the council, was requested by Morris resident Richard Rupslauk for a property located at 836 E. Jefferson St. for use as a two-unit residence.

The residence was used for many years as a two-unit residence, but it became abandoned for more than a year, which made it lose its grandfathered status to allow the house to be a two-unit home.

Rupslauk did not realize the unit was no longer permitted as a two-unit residence when he bought it, but wanted to use it that way.

"I'm fixing it up. It'll look nice for the town," Rupslauk said at the planning commission meeting Wednesday, May 30.

Commission Chairman Roger Gilbertson said the city will see more of these requests where two-unit structures are being foreclosed on and then losing their status to be two-unit residences. As these properties are bought, more buyers will seek conditional permitted uses to keep the buildings two units.

Gilbertson believes everyone on the commission is in favor of these structures having their uses reinstated.


The council Monday also approved with a 7-1 vote a text amendment to the Morris Municipal Code, altering a site plan review process.

One of the more significant changes is how a party can request an appeal to a variance decision made by the Development Review Committee. Instead of going straight to council, the appeal process will now go before the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will make a recommendation to council.

"There are no existing issues, it's just a house keeping matter to get it before the right group," said Bradley Nolden, attorney with the city attorney's office, at the commission's meeting last month.

Alderman Don Hansen asked Monday whether or not adding the extra step before a request makes it before the council would add cost and labor.

"We're adding no cost," Mayor Richard Kopczick said.

In the end, seven alderman voted to approve the amendment and Hansen voted against it.

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