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Bunge zoning and variance requests approved

Fri, Sep 26th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Planning and Zoning Committee held a public hearing on the Andy and Eric Bunge's request for zoning changes and variances just prior to the Preston City Council meeting on September 24. Councilman Robert Sauer was absent from the council meeting.

The Planning and Zoning Committee, after the public hearing, recommended that the requests be approved. The zoning changes from R-2 (one and two family residential) to R-3 (multiple family residential) on the former Kaase property on the 400 block of Fillmore Street West and on the former Strahl property on the 400 block North Street West were requested to allow for construction of single story triplexes. Multiple variances on both properties were requested on setbacks and lot-line widths.

Councilman Jon Haugan asked about the public hearing and if people were for or against the plan. Andy Bunge said that there was some argument against, but many were for the planned construction.

Cara Ristau expressed her misgivings for the property on Fillmore Street. She would live across the street from the development and wanted the property to remain a single family home. She was also concerned about parking, snow removal, and the future value of her home if surrounded by "apartment living."

Andy Bunge said that the garages would be on the north side, there would be some parking on the pad, and that the development would make a significant increase in the city's tax base. He disagreed with the term "apartment living" being applied to the single level triplexes with some common walls. Bunge added that he was interested in working with lots in town that need to be recycled.

Bunge said that building the triplexes is responding to the market place, meaning people are not now looking for single family homes, but energy efficient, affordable residences within walking distance of down town. He admitted that not all of the triplexes may be sold, as some will possibly be rented. He noted that since word of the plans for the triplexes has circulated around town, six people have expressed interest.

Mayor Kurt Reicks stated that he has historically supported efforts to increase the city's tax base. He suggested to Ristau that the new construction across the street could actually increase her property value. Councilman Heath Mensink added that there is no cost to the city in this plan to recycle deteriorated property.

The council voted to approve the zoning change and variances for the former Kaase property with Haugan voting against.

Haugan asked about adjacent land owners as to their opinion on the changes for the Strahl property. Bunge said that no unfavorable concerns were voiced at the public hearing. Approval for the zoning change and variances for the former Strahl property were unanimous.

School House

Sheila Craig and Richard Petsch of the Preston Historical Society (PHS) described their plans to receive ownership of the school house on the fairgrounds. The fair board would like to give it to the PHS. Craig explained that the city would need to actually own the school house, the PHS would maintain it, and the Ag Society would need to make a lease arrangement as the school house will sit on its property.

Petsch said that the school is a historical site and its use in this past year's fair instead of a booth worked well. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann discussed the options to work out the legalities and suggested that a long term lease with the Ag Society would be workable. City Administrator Joe Hoffman said that the increase in insurance costs to the city would be negligible. Council members offered their support letting the PHS work out an agreement with the Ag Society.

Tennis Courts

Heath Mensink explained that the tennis courts were finished except for some turf restoration and lighting. Payment requests were approved for the fencing in the amount of $15,606.48 and for the surface treatment and nets in the amount of $11,205.00. Mensink noted that there is still about $2400 available from the Community Foundation in matching funds for use on this project.

Street Projects

Bonestroo submitted a contractor's request for payment for improvements on Chatfield Avenue, Industrial Drive, and St. Anthony/Mill Street in the amount of $127,867.30. The payment was approved.

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