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Ordinance would limit size, duration of soil stockpiles

City looks to avoid hazards, eyesores as construction projects increase

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 7:53 a.m. CDT

A public hearing will be held during the Morris Planning Commission meeting on June 26 regarding a new soil stockpile ordinance.

The Planning Commission has been working on an ordinance in preparation for future development, said Bill Cheshareck, building and zoning officer. The commission met last week and approved the draft ordinance and moving forward with a hearing.

The soil stockpiles become an issue when they are created during construction and then left after the development is completed.

For example, said Cheshareck, if someone owns two lots and is building on one of them, they often put the soil dug out at the construction site in a pile on the second lot. When the house is then finished, it is often left on the site.

“Then kids play on them, weeds grow, and you can’t get a mower up on them,” he said.

The piles become an eye sore and a nuisance, so the commission worked on an ordinance to get these piles — and other major piles larger developments use for mass grading — eliminated in a timely manner.

The draft ordinance states non-mass grading piles shall not exceed six feet and shall be removed in six months or upon the issuance of an occupancy permit, whichever comes first.

If a developer wants more time, they may request it of the building and zoning officer 60 days before the time limit expires.

For mass grading piles, the ordinance states it shall not exceed 15 feet, or two acres in area, and it should not be located within 500 feet of any developed lot.

In addition, it shall be removed within two years, or within 30 days after 50 percent of the lots platted in any final subdivision are built on or sold.

The buildling and zoning officer can extend this in six-month increments at least 60 days before the time limit ends. No stockpiles can remain after the completion of the last structure in a development.

These rules do not apply to stockpiles in connection with municipal or school projects, according to the draft ordinance.

The public hearing will be held during the Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. June 26 in the Morris Municipal Services Facility. Following the hearing, if the ordinance is approved by the commission, it will move on to the full city council.

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