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Family Dollar store in Preston's future?

Fri, Jan 5th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Newly elected David Harrison, and reelected Mayor Kurt Reicks, Heath Mensink, and Jon Haugan took their oath of office for their new terms at the January 2, 2007, meeting. EDA Coordinator Chris Gastner introduced Richard Sorensen to the Preston City Council. Gastner noted that they had engaged in discussions about Sorensen's proposed development over the past three years.

Richard Sorensen, vice-president of Sorensen Development, Inc. based in Gwinn, Michigan, outlined the company's plans for a Family Dollar Store to be built in Preston. He explained that Family Dollar is a national chain with about 6,000 stores. Sorensen is proposing a 102' by 90' building with a parking area facing Hwy 52. He noted that the lot is slightly smaller than the usual acre necessary for this kind of store. He requested that the council consider vacating a 33' by 183' section of Farmers Street. He also requested a 30' access from Hwy 52 in front of the tourism center.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman listed a number of issues that the developer would need to address. He said that it would be the owner's responsibility to bring a water main to the property. A sewer line which runs eight feet under and nearly down the center of Farmers Street may have to be moved. The city's engineer suggests that the sewer pipe could be relocated fifteen feet south of where it now runs. Hoffman said that it is an aging sewer line. He said that the east access off Hwy 52 would be shared with Preston Liquor. Also storm water issues would need to be addressed. Sorensen didn't seem to think his engineer would have any problem dealing with these issues.

Joe Hoffman noted that the property is zoned B-2 commercial. He admitted that some of the setbacks are short, but with his reading of the ordinances, he didn't see a problem. Council member Robert Sauer suggested that Planning and Zoning could look at the plans next week. Mayor Reicks said that the Utility Commission could be consulted to see if they could contribute to the cost of replacing the aging sewer line.

Council members seemed to imply that vacating part of Farmers Street would not likely meet any resistance. A public hearing would be held. Reicks said that a letter would be needed from both the developer and the current property owner requesting the vacation of part of Farmers Street.

City Attorney

Corson Law Office, Joerg Law Office, and Springer Law Office each submitted proposals for the position of 2007 city attorney. Steve Corson campaigned for retaining his position citing his experience in municipal law and his familiarity with the office over the past three years. Dwight Luhmann of the Joerg Law Office noted that he would do most of the work for the city, but that he would have access to the long time experience of David Joerg. Joerg praised his associate and insisted that both of them would be available.

Council members voted to accept the proposal of a flat annual retainer offered by the Joerg Law Office. It was the low quote for an annual retainer. Joerg and Luhmann also had the lowest meeting retainer and hourly rate combination.

Official Paper

The Republican Leader was selected with a slightly lower approximate overall cost than the Fillmore County Journal. Council member Sauer abstained as he noted that he had an interest in one of the papers. Council members were assured that the Republican Leader would also publish notices in the Bluff Country Reader, a free paper with a wide circulation including all of Preston.

2007 Board Appointments

City council representation was approved for the various boards as follows: Park Board, David Harrison; Planning and Zoning, Robert Sauer; Tourism Jon Haugan; Tree Board, Heath Mensink; Library Board, Robert Sauer; EDA, Kurt Reicks, Jon Haugan; Street Commissioner, Heath Mensink; Fire Department Commissioner, Kurt Reicks; and Emergency Management and Noxious Weed Commissioners, Heath Mensink. Mensink was again selected to serve as Mayor Pro-tem.

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