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MnDOT seeks roundabout right-of-way

The Park Rapids Planning Commission voted on Monday to recommend the sale of a right-of-way to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

At issue was MnDOT's request that the city sell or donate .48 acres of city-owned land along the east side of U.S. Highway 71 at CSAH 15/Crocus Hill Street, where the state plans to build a roundabout in 2019.

City Planner Ryan Mathisrud told the commission that the city obtained the property as part of the Great Northern Railroad right-of-way disposition in the 1970s. It includes 100 feet of abandoned railroad bed where nothing has been built.

Mathisrud said that MnDOT would prefer that the city waive compensation for the property.

The commission recommended that the city council approve the land sale for right-of-way purposes, contingent on staff negotiating an acceptable cost-sharing structure for the project.

Mathisrud said the request will go before the city council at its July 10 meeting.

Conditional use permit

After a public hearing, the commission recommended that the city council approve a conditional use permit from Shannon Jacob of Menahga to allow automobile display, sales and service at 18154 169th Ave., south of State Highway 34 in the recently annexed area at the east end of the city.

The 1.68-acre property, zoned B-1 highway business, is currently owned by Dale Breitweser and would have to be subdivided from a larger parcel that straddles both sides of the street.

At present the property contains a log house that is in disrepair, a doghouse and a barrel that seem to be protecting two well openings, an easement for recreational vehicles across the north end of the property and a driveway across 169th Ave.

Jacob told the commission that he proposes to pave an area large enough to display 10 used vehicles, with the option to expand the display area if the business proves successful.

Jacob said he would pour a concrete slab next to the log structure, move the building onto it and rehabilitate it to serve as a sales office for the lot, which would be staffed. He also proposed installing a septic holding tank next to the building and undertook to plant trees and clean up debris scattered around the property.

The commissioners recommended granting the CUP with the conditions that:

• The business will comply with all local, state and federal regulations.

• The owner will obtain a certificate of survey and subdivide the property.

• The city engineer approves the paved display area.

• All signage meets zoning ordinance standards.

• The owner will submit a landscaping plan for the city planner's approval and plant the approved plantings within six months.

• No vehicles or equipment will be displayed within the public right of way.

• All vehicle service will be done inside an approved building.

Simonson request

The planning commission also recommended that the city council approve a request by developer Arch Simonson to amend the final plat of the Simonson Addition.

On June 12, the city council approved Simonson's plat for two lots zoned as a highway business district between Main Avenue and Park Avenue on the north side of State Hwy. 34.

The requested changes were to combine the two-lot subdivision into a single lot and to shift the north-south utility easement running across it five feet to the east, where the existing utilities are located.

According to Mathisrud, Simonson ran into difficulty getting MnDOT to approve permits for driveway accesses for two separate retail locations he initially planned, so he now plans to have a single building.

Simonson's request for a plat revision was also on the city council agenda for Tuesday.

The planning commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, July 23 on the lower level of the public library.