The Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday read 10 zoning requests and a chapter regarding electric vehicle (EV) readiness, to be added to the city’s comprehensive plan.

However, a proposed ordinance change regarding planning fees was referred back to staff for further review.

Fee schedule

City Planner Andrew Mack presented the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s fee schedule for building permits and planning and zoning fees.

He said the planning and zoning fees were added to the fee schedule to reflect the council’s adoption of interim use permits (IUP) in January and building official Brad Bail’s billing practice.

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The IUP fees are the same as those for conditional use permits (CUP). The amendment also specifies the escrow amounts for each type of fee, as found elsewhere in the city code.

Meanwhile, the schedule for building permit fees was updated to reflect a change in state law and Bail’s practice regarding plan review.

Mack said the city is a couple rounds of fee increases behind the state.

Exchanges between Mack and the council revealed that council members found the method of calculating plan review fees unclear.

Council member Erika Randall moved to refer the amendment back to staff and ask Bail to discuss it with them at a later work session. The motion passed unopposed.

Twin homes

The zoning requests included three parcels in the Hockings Acres addition, which developer Barry Munson wants rezoned from R-1 single-family residential to R-2 single, two-family and townhouse residential, to allow him to build twin homes.

Mack explained that he made the other seven requests in order to create a coherent neighborhood of twin home parcels. All but one of these parcels already have twin homes on them, dating from an era when twin homes were permitted as a conditional use in a R-1 district. Rezoning will bring them up to date with the current zoning ordinance.

Mack said staff and the city’s planning commission recommended approving all 10 requests, after public hearings in which residents asked questions but raised no objection.

He said he and city engineer Jon Olson visited the neighborhood and talked with Munson and a neighboring resident about plans to resolve drainage concerns.

In four separate motions, the council voted unanimously to approve first readings of the zoning amendments.

EV readiness

Mack also presented the EV readiness plan prepared by recent planning intern Adam Herberg, and recommended for approval by the planning commission.

The chapter establishes criteria encouraging the community and its businesses to become more EV friendly, Mack said. He discussed 75 percent grants that are becoming available statewide to install Type 3, high speed EV charging stations, funded by the diesel and Volkswagen lawsuit settlements.

A medium speed EV charging station is already being installed in the downtown area, he said.

Council member Bob Wills moved to approve the EV readiness chapter for the city’s comprehensive plan. The motion passed unanimously.