The Park Rapids City Council approved two conditional use permits Tuesday, Oct. 26 for mixed commercial and residential uses.

Construction office/home

The first CUP was requested by BCH Builders LLC regarding 201 1st St. E., formerly the Wallace Law Office.

City Planner Ben Oleson said BCH is an existing construction business from Fargo that decided to move its corporate office to Park Rapids.

“They talked about, they really liked Park Rapids as a city, and relocated here,” he said.

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The owner, Brooks Johnson, sought approval to operate the business out of a small office in the building and convert the rest to a dwelling for himself, Oleson said.

He said the city’s planning commission recommended approval of the request with three conditions: having separate entrances for the business and the living quarters; allowing only one commercial and residential unit each, without a separate permit; and storing no business vehicles or equipment outdoors on the property.

Oleson confirmed that BCH plans to park its construction equipment at another site, which he believes is in another city.

He added that Johnson plans to move the property’s driveway from the south side of the garage to the north side, off Washington Avenue.

Council member Tom Conway made a motion to approve the CUP. The motion passed unanimously.

Nonprofit office/dwelling

The second CUP was requested by Ellen Clark for 602 Pleasant Ave. S., formerly the Peloquin Law Office.

Oleson said Clark is interested in buying the building and converting it to both living space and a small business.

“Her original plan was to make use of the basement only for living space and have the whole main level be for her business,” said Oleson. “She’s a forensic scientist, and she was looking to start a nonprofit that helped people with that kind of work.”

However, Oleson said, the basement does not have egress windows, so Clark plans at least temporarily to convert one of the upstairs offices to her bedroom, and to add a basement egress in the spring.

Oleson said the planning commission recommended approval of the CUP with three conditions: limiting the use to one commercial office space and one owner-occupied dwelling, with other uses requiring a separate permit; allowing no outdoor storage of business vehicles or equipment on the property; and covering the interior window between the commercial space and the dwelling.

Conway made a motion to approve the CUP, which passed unanimously.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Approved a lot split requested by Julmar Properties LLC for an irregularly shaped, 26.15 acre parcel located north of Kaywood Drive between Eastern Avenue and Henrietta Avenue. The two resulting parcels measure 11.93 and 14.2 acres.

  • Ordered the preparation of a plan of improvement for the Fair Avenue street and utility project.

  • Called for a public hearing on Nov. 23 to discuss certifying delinquent utility payments for 2021.

  • Paid Luther Built LLC $60,571 for a change order and building materials for the public works storage building.

  • Paid Apex Engineering $40,615 for work on the Career Path, U.S. Hwy. 71 frontage roads, airport utility construction, well and water treatment facility, industrial park drainage and Fair Avenue projects.

  • Paid Flaherty & Hood, P.A. $2,171 for legal services regarding police department labor and employment, review of an airport contract and pump issues.

  • Paid J&J Excavating, Inc. for work on the Career Path improvement project.

  • Approved a $1,986 quote from Ross Lewis Sign Co. to replace the poles on the Warner Garage Door sign at 1008 Park Ave. S. with longer poles.

  • Authorized city officials to certify a $1,500 special assessment for a property at 506 King St. E., owned by Anna Carvao, for emergency repair of the home’s water and sewer connection.

  • Renewed a three-year, planned maintenance agreement with Cummins Sales and Service for annual inspections of six city-owned generators.

  • Heard City Administrator Angel Weasner report she is working on calculating the amount of a partial refund to David Bitker for a planning permission that was withdrawn. Weasner also noted that after considering rental property owner Steven Lindeman’s request to seek payment from tenants instead of landlords for unpaid utility bills, she recommends continuing to apply delinquent utility bills to the property taxes. “That is our best recourse,” she said, adding that all other cities do the same.

  • Heard Public Works Supervisor Scott Burlingame report that the department’s new storage shed is nearing completion and they are already moving equipment in.

  • Heard Rapids Spirits liquor store manager Scott Olson report that drainage issues at the neighboring carwash are limiting access to the store’s driveway, but repairs are underway.

  • Acknowledged a $2,500 donation to the Depot Park tennis court replacement project.

  • Approved payables totaling $140,884 and prepaids totaling $101,861.

Prior to the council meeting, members had a closed meeting as the Park Rapids Economic Development Authority to discuss the potential sale price of a city-owned parcel at the south end of Industry Avenue.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9 at city hall.