At the October 1 meeting of the Preston City Council, Andy Bunge explained his request for a lot split. He has a development agreement with the city.
Bunge said he initially intended to try and develop the appropriate number of living units on the property per the agreement. His daughter and son-in-law have since approached him about building a three bedroom, two bath house, two car garage with a small attached apartment (18 feet x 36 feet) which could be rented. He would still be providing two living units but not a duplex.
To follow through on this idea he would either need to seek a variance to meet setbacks or get a lot split, 15 feet off the adjoining lot.
He related conversations with two widowers who don’t drive who wanted to know if there was anything small to rent. He has also been looking in to three-plexes. Another individual has said he is interested in half of a duplex.
Bunge said his focus has been on senior citizens in the past, but in this case a young couple with a child is interested in investing in a property.
Mayor Kurt Reicks asked if the lot split would still leave enough room in the adjoining two lots for two duplexes. Bunge said there would still be room.
City Attorney Dwight Luhmann noted that what Bunge is suggesting is actually providing more square footage than required in the development agreement. He did not see a reason to modify the development agreement.
Bunge said there is a need to build nice, affordable units. He thinks smaller, more efficiently laid out floor plans will have an appeal. The small apartment (648 square feet) which will have a handicapped bathroom is an experiment in a way. If it is what someone can afford and what the individual wants, it is feasible.
Bunge went on to say that a wide variety or smorgasbord of housing is needed, everything from starter homes to expensive homes in a wooded area.
The lot split (15 feet off the adjoining lot 4 to be added to lot 5) was approved. Bunge will be allowed to build the single family home with attached apartment on lot 5.
City Administrator Joe Hoffman presented a list of pledges and donations for the veterans home. The total is over $1,050,000. The city of Preston and Preston Utilities have donated $360,000 and Fillmore County has donated $350,000. Wabasha, Freeborn, Blue Earth, Mower, and Houston Counties together donated a total of $45,000. The Preston Area Community Foundation pledged $100,000. Nearly $200,000 has come from private contributions. These donations were eligible for the 2:1 federal match. Donations that continue to come in until early spring 2019 will still be eligible for the 2:1 match.
On October 2, the numbers will be conveyed to the state at a meeting for planning purposes. The preliminary planning process will begin at this meeting. Access possibilities to the site will be discussed. Hoffman suggested we may learn how big of facility we can afford. On November 8, a second meeting will be held with a number of people involved in the planning process. On December 6, a large, community meeting will allow interested community leaders and citizens to see ideas for the design.
Other Business in Brief
•Hoffman reported councilman Charles Sparks (training valid to July 2019) and councilwoman Holly Zuck (training valid to July 2020) have been trained for the Board of Appeal and Equalization. At least one member must be present at the Appeal and Equalization meeting that has had the training in the last four years. If no member is present with the training the duties are transferred to the county. Hoffman encouraged another council member to take the training which is available online. Trainings must be completed by January 31, 2019.