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Turnquist CUP request kicked back to Park Rapids Planning Commission

The city council discussed issues relating to the conditional use permit, including complaints about development jumping the gun and whether to require the lot to be paved.

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Park Rapids City Hall
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday referred a conditional use permit application back to the city’s planning commission for further review.

Nathan Turnquist requested a CUP for a 5.7-acre parcel at the southeast corner of State Hwy. 34 and 169th Ave., zoned as B-1 highway business.

The application proposed using the property as an outdoor auto, boat, RV, trailer, shed, golf cart, ORV, ATV and shipping container sales, detailing and online auction lot, with a separate single-family dwelling for the owners.

City Planner Ben Oleson said the planning commission recommended approval of the CUP with seven conditions, including:

  • Compliance with all codes and regulations.
  • Planting at least 10 trees along the north and 20 trees along the west property lines, to be maintained indefinitely, and another 10 trees along the northeast perimeter unless the property to the east is purchased within five years.
  • Placing the proposed house and its septic system so that it can be subdivided from the larger property while still meeting all required setbacks.
  • Properly maintaining a waterfall truck feature that may be installed on the northwest corner of the property.
  • Keeping signage in compliance with city code and Minnesota Department of Transportation scenic byway regulations.
  • Maintaining a lot surface of at least crushed asphalt for erosion control. 
  • Limiting shipping containers on the property to three at a time, set back 450 feet from the north property line, not to become permanent fixtures or derelict in appearance.

However, Oleson reported that since Turnquist submitted the application, he learned that his lender prefers the dwelling to be on a separate parcel, which would require him to apply for a minor subdivision and rezoning.
“But he asked that the commission recommend approval of it in case he’s able to find a way to do that without financing,” Oleson added, referring to the home building part of the project.

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Council member Erika Randall voiced concern about crushed asphalt not being sufficient for a vehicle sales lot and suggested requiring at least part of the lot to be paved, with a timetable for paving the rest of the lot.

Asked how much should be paved at first and what kind of timetable she had in mind, Randall said she would like the planning commission to make a recommendation.

Oleson noted that city code only requires crushed asphalt surfacing for a lot that does not have curb and gutter, and that an adjacent property’s CUP was granted with that requirement.

Randall recalled council discussion about the importance of having paved lots, including requiring a certain amount of paving at a nearby auto sales business. She added that she would like the council to reconsider the city code.

“I don’t think crushed asphalt’s good enough,” she said. “I just want to see that we’re making sure the aesthetics of new businesses are consistent, going forward.”

Oleson said the planning commission had discussed shortages of certain paving materials while considering Turnquist’s request.

Council member Tom Conway made a motion to send the CUP request back to the planning commission for review. Randall urged stressing the paving issue and Conway agreed, but added that he had become aware of complaints about work already being done on the project.

City Administrator Angel Weasner said these complaints were being investigated.

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“I want to send it back and make sure that everything meets the requirements for the planning commission to make a recommendation,” said Conway. “I don’t have the knowledge to say what should or shouldn’t be approved at this point, and I don’t know that the planning commission was aware of what work has already been completed.”

Conway added, “I’m fine with making the stipulation of having it paved,” if the permit is approved.

The motion passed without dissent.

MORE RELATED COVERAGE:
The jury is out on whether it's usual or unusual for city officials to report monthly to the council. You're the jury. So what do you say?

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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