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Park Rapids City Council OKs apartment conversion, ax-throwing business

Two conditional use permits and two planning and zoning requests were approved on Nov. 22.

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids City Council on Nov. 22 approved several planning and zoning requests.

Bruce Bolton, doing business as Golden Ratio, Inc., requested a conditional use permit (CUP) to convert a commercial office unit into an apartment at 602 1st St. E.

According to City Planner Ben Oleson, Bolton previously obtained a CUP to convert the two upstairs units of the split-level building from offices to apartments. Now he was making the same request for one of the two downstairs units, at the back of the building as viewed from 1st Street.

The staff memo in the council packet says the new apartment would have direct access from outside, without having to go through the building, as well as from the building’s lobby.

Oleson said the city’s planning commission recommended approving the CUP with four conditions, requiring a separate entrance from that used to access the remaining business, requiring rezoning from the current highway business district before converting the remaining office unit to an apartment, prohibiting outdoor storage except for operable passenger vehicles and requiring the facility to comply with the city’s rental code.

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Council member Erika Randall’s motion to approve the CUP passed unanimously.

Ax throwing and more

The council also approved a CUP request from Chadwick Duregger, doing business as CDE, LLC, to operate an ax-throwing recreational business out of the north side of the former J&B Foods building at 1104 S. Park Ave.

Oleson said Duregger does not plan to serve alcohol, and that the planning commission recommended approval with one condition, requiring compliance with all regulations.

Again, Randall’s motion to approve passed unanimously.

Shane Sundet had submitted two requests regarding 903 Park Ave. N., to amend the city’s comprehensive plan and future land use map from single-family to commercial and to rezone the property from single-family residential to residential-business transitional.

Oleson said this would give the owners more flexibility with how they can use the property, which contains both a single-family home and a commercial building that has been there for many years. The approvals passed in two separate motions.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Certified five delinquent utility bills totaling $1,933 to the Hubbard County auditor to assess on property owners’ tax bills payable in 2023. Amounts to be assessed, including 10% interest, include $108 to Brett Peterson, $167 to Sandra Lutgen, $466 to Nicholas and Flo Bretz, $361 to Sheila Jacob and $830 to Nathan Turnquist.
  • Renewed Hubbard County Attorney Jonathan Frieden’s contract to prosecute crimes in the city at a rate of $5,972 per month in 2023 and $6,151 per month in 2024.
  • Renewed the city’s contract with City Planner Ben Oleson, AICP of Hometown Planning for three years, starting Nov. 10. Oleson’s previous contract ran for six months from October 2021 and was renewed for another six months in May. According to City Administrator Angel Weasner, the city submitted a request for proposals (RFP) for the position and the contract was negotiated after Oleson submitted the only proposal.
  • Approved a three-year (2023-25) labor agreement with the Park Rapids Police patrol officers represented by Minnesota Teamsters Public Law Enforcement Employees’ Union Local 403. 
  • Gave full-time accounts payable clerk Dawn Rouse a wage increase to the two-year step of $23.89 per hour.
  • Gave part-time Rapids Spirits liquor store clerk Shari Carlson a wage increase to the six-month step of $13.68 per hour.
  • Advertised for a full-time police officer. Police Chief Jeff Appel voiced regret that Investigator Colter Diekmann is leaving law enforcement to work in the private sector, but said he is asking Diekmann to consider serving on a part-time basis.
  • Opted not to waive monetary limits on municipal tort liability. For claims where statutory limits apply, this would limit the city’s liability to $500,000 per individual claimant and a total of $1.5 million per occurrence. 
  • Paid BerganKDV $19,500 for the audit of the city’s 2021 finances.
  • Paid Government Forms & Supplies $2,267 for blank utility bills and shipping.
  • Paid Johnson Controls $2,084 for the annual fire alarm system inspection and certification at Rapids Spirits.
  • Paid the League of Minnesota Cities $12,258 for 2022 workers’ compensation premiums.
  • Paid the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association $2,700 for annual dues.
  • Retroactively approved paying the Minnesota Department of Public Safety $2,308 for sales tax and titling fees for the public works department’s new Ford F-350.
  • Paid MVI $2,500 to replace an irrigator pump.
  • Paid Northland Trust Services $49,230 for a 2016 general obligation capital improvement bond and $59,250 for a 2019 general obligation improvement bond.
  • Paid OCEM/Multi Electric Manufacturing $1,445 for three circuit board resistor assemblies, four strobe flash tubes and three bridge rectifiers at the municipal airport..
  • Paid Park Rapids Ford $15,544 to add necessary equipment to a public works Ford F-350 purchased in January for the water/sewer department. 
  • Paid Tyler Technologies $3,000 to convert the city’s utility billing system to their software.
  • Authorized Weasner to move forward with the Open Edge credit card processing system to allow residents to pay utility bills online.
  • Acknowledged donations to the city from Oct. 27 to Nov. 17, totaling $10,310. These included a $10,000 donation to the wastewater fund.
  • Approved prepaids totaling $573,682.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 at city hall.

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MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
Department heads gave a report on the past year or two at a city council workshop on Jan. 24.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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