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Middle School apartments expanding

A proposal to convert smaller classrooms to apartments was approved by the city. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Twelve new one bedroom, two bedroom and efficiency apartments will be constructed in the existing middle school building near downtown Park Rapids.

Scott Rech and LouAnn Rech, owners of the property, approached the city about rezoning two parcels from B-2 and R-2 to R-B, Residential Business Transitional District and asking for variances to complete a project. The properties, at 117 Third Street East and 200 Washington Avenue South, are the vacant portion of the old middle school and an existing vacant single family home.

The middle school property was purchased in 2003 and was rezoned in 2004 to R-B to accommodate 11 apartments. In 2006 the property was replatted into three lots and a Conditional Use Permit was approved for an additional 16 units.

In the current proposal, the applicants are proposing converting smaller classrooms from the middle school into three two-bedroom apartments, one one-bedroom apartment and eight efficiency units. In order to accommodate 16 off street parking stalls, the Rechs purchased the lot to the east of the school to make a parking lot.

A variance was needed to split the parcel to create a parking lot and possibly convert an existing home into a duplex on the remainder of the existing parcel.

City staff and the Park Rapids Planning Commission recommended approving the variances and rezoning with several conditions.

The Rechs will need to provide a parking site plan to include a stormwater mitigation and drainage plan, two ornamental trees will need to be planted, if the applicants want to convert the home into a duplex they will need to acquire a building permit, security lighting will need to be placed on the property with the new parking lot and adequate screening will need to be added on the east side of the lot.

In other business, the council:

n Approved a lot exchange with Pete Meyers for property in the Steinmetz and Nary Addition near South Street. The city will acquire a lower lot that can be used for stormwater purposes and a buffer for his property. The lots are similar in size and value.

n Approved a farm lease for 755.34 acres for irrigation sites 1-5 to Gregg Malm for $111,533.

n Approved hiring Keith Bunnell and Cynthia McGrath as part time liquor store clerks.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561