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UPDATE: Village Board Votes To Remove Plan Commission Member

Is this a clash in personalities or principals, or both?

UPDATE: With no discussion, the Village Board voted 4 to 1 to remove Jim Morrill from the Plan Commission. Village Board Member Kathy Burton said she was hoping to have the issue discussed out in the open, but since it wasn't she could not support Morrill's removal. Jim Dobbs, a Village Trustee, abstained from voting. Initially, Jerry Griswold, a Village Trustee said he would abstain from voting because Morrill said he had "some type of vendetta against him," but once he realized there wouldn't be enough votes to remove Morrill he changed his mind.

ORIGINAL STORY: Plan Commission member has refused to resign his position when asked by the Village Board to step down.

At the request of theVillage Board, Ron Coutts, the Village President, asked Jim Morrill, a 10-year member of the Plan Commission, to leave the position last week saying that his conduct was “unprofessional.”

However, Morrill refused and said he feels his behavior isn’t the issue. Rather it’s his stance on how the Village should develop, and he wants those issues discussed in an open session meeting.

“I think I was being opinionated and standing up for what I believe,” Morrill said. “Outspoken is one thing, being unprofessional is another…. But I have no respect for that board. They believe that any development is good development if they can make 50 cents in tax money on it.”

Most recently, Morrill voiced opposition to , a trucking terminal, coming to the Village. During a joint meeting between the Plan Commission and the Village Board on June 14, Morrill told the Village Board that, “allowing Time Transport would be selling out Caledonia’s future.” While the Plan Commission had a tie vote, the Village Board preceded to .

But Kevin Wanggard, a Village Board member, said he took issue with Morrill’s conduct.

“Jim was asked how long he had been on the Plan Commission, and he said, ‘Probably too long,’” Wanggaard said. “Then when we do a vote, he gets upset, and closes his book like he wanted to take his bat and ball, and go home. When you behave like that, you are not serving the interest of the village.”

Morrill has also been vocal about keeping the Village’s 40 percent green space requirements, and sticking to the Village’s land use plan.

“I guess we’re at the point where if the Plan Commission doesn’t agree with the Board, you’re gone,” Morrill said. “Yes I said Time Transport was a horrible idea. It was a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

Tom Weatherston, a Village Board member, said he voted for the request and gave his reasons for asking Morrill to step down.

“Jim is just rude,” Weatherston said. “He mistreats the public citizens, and his comments are condescending to the public. After the last joint meeting a bunch of us on the Village Board decided that he does not represent Caledonia’s values in how he treats the public.

“His attitude is not reflective of how we want the public treated. It has nothing to do with the points he made.”

Coutts wasn’t at the Time Transport meeting, but has had his share of agreements and disagreements with Morrill. Still, the request came at the wishes of the Village Board, he said.

“I brought the Plan Commission and Village Board together on the Wal-Mart project and he disagreed with my decision,” Coutts said. “But as a Village President, I had the right to do this. We all agree and disagree, but once the votes have been taken, let’s go forward.”

Click here to read Jim Morrill's letter about his decision not to resign.

Duane Michalski September 08, 2011 at 12:32 AM
One more thing andy...I live very close to a business that has trucks in and out 24-5 days a week...never hear them. The only thing between us is a bean field. and that don't block much noise.
Andy September 09, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Not lying...just asking. Glad that you said you'd be happy to have a trucking close to your house, not all of us do and there are already many locations where you can find houses like that, we don't need to create more.
Heather in Caledonia September 09, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Andy, if someone is close enough that this truck business is in their backyard, they're also close enough to have I-94 in their backyard. Isn't that already loud? Wouldn't they have an idea that moving there might not be the quietest place? I wouldn't want a truck business next to me, but I also wouldn't move right next to the Interstate, either.
Caledonia Transplant September 09, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Gee, I live in a subdivision near where that trucking company is being built. And I really don't want that noise or smell in my "backyard". I live "close enough" to I-94 but do not hear the loud noise that Heather seems to think there is. I pay my taxes and have a right to oppose development. After all, my father fought in 2 wars and won the right for me to do that.
Heather in Caledonia September 09, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Caledonia Transplant, I'm not jumping up and down about how great this business is for the area. However, I know people who live in the trailer park in Sturtevant and we can always hear the traffic from the Interstate. I lived near Hwy 32 growing up and got used to the motorcycles, trucks, trains and fire station noises. We knew moving there that the traffic would create a lot of noise and so do the people I know who live near the I. Heck, they can even hear the dragway. Yes, you have every right to oppose anything you want to, however, what about the rights of the owner of the property to sell his land to whatever business he wants to and what about the right of the business owner to have his business?

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