During Monday night’s regular Preston City Council meeting, resident Trish Keating submitted a request to split her lot, located at the corner of Valley Street NE and Pleasant Street NE, in order to create two buildable parcels with a second home to be built on the south parcel.
To do this the council also considered the lot variance as the lots would be 7,200 square feet instead of the 8,000, which is required by the city’s zoning ordinance.
“This is an issue that has come up before. Standard lots within the city are 60 feet by 120 feet or 7,200 square feet. The vast majority of the lots in the city are platted that size,” city administrator Joe Hoffman explained.
Planning and Zoning (P&Z) held a public hearing prior to the council meeting. With no public input they recommended the approval of both the lot split and the variance request.
The council approved the motion.
Northwest Industrial Park rezoning
The council discussed rezoning lot 1 in the new industrial park from B-2 for highway commercial to I-1, for industrial use because Rockney Moger plans to move his circuit board manufacturing business to the location.
Generally, the city prefers not to “spot zone” or mix zoning within an area such as the industrial park, but Hoffman explained, in this case, it is inevitable.
P&Z held a hearing for this situation prior to the meeting and again recommended the rezoning.
The council approved the request.
Golfview Estates lot consolidation
Andy Bahl and Karen Haugerud approached the council to discuss the council’s thoughts on allowing lot consolidation within the subdivision.
The topic was first debated during the council’s July 7 meeting when Cathy Enerson, Preston’s economical development authority (EDA) director, asked the council to consider purchasing the properties, which are coming up for sale through state forfeiture.
After much discussion, the council decided to not purchase the property, allowing the public the option to purchase lots.
Bahl told the council, “The house we want to build is 105 feet long, with an in-law suite which makes it a little longer than a regular house. So, in a 60-foot lot there’s no way; we need two lots. If we buy these lots at the auction we need to know that we can do this, otherwise we are going to have two lots that we can’t do anything with.”
“When Cathy was discussing it she talked about tax base and population, which is what we want,” Mayor Kurt Reicks commented. “A house that size is going to be comparable to two homes’ tax base.”
Hoffman reported it would take “simple council action” and a public hearing to eliminate the lot lines and the setbacks along the lot lines once the property is purchased. P&Z reported they are in favor of the consolidation.
“I think at this point we’d support your venture,” Reicks told Bahl.
Property issues on Winona Street
The council moved on to a quite complex issue regarding the actual ownership of land involving the property of Laurice Kneeskern who is trying to sell her home.
During the surveying process it was found the property sits in the right of way of Winona Street due to an error in surveying, possibly as far back as the 1940s or 1950s when it was surveyed from the west instead of the east, which is the generally accepted practice.
This, in turn, created “more land on paper than people can own” according to Hoffman. “Further it appears that Winona Street, as it exists, sits primarily on lot 5, which in all likelihood belongs to Carole Bond. Obviously, the council is going to want to get this resolved.”
Further complicating the situation is the street vacating process because typically the street would be split down the middle, but, in this case, it would not solve the problem.
“It looks like potentially the city would need to acquire some of this property and at that time vacate the street then give a portion of the vacated street back,” Hoffman noted.
“So the biggest problem is that we have what is now considered city property that should be private property,” asked councilmember Robert Maust.
“Or we have part of a house,” quipped Reicks.
The council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing during its next meeting, in order to allow the work to continue in the resolution of the issue.
Knies flood buyout
Hoffman updated the council on the Hazel Knies flood buyout, which was initiated last fall. Unfortunately, after reviewing the benefit cost analysis Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management discovered Fillmore County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan had expired last July. Because of this the city’s application was denied. The county is updating the plan, but it may take nine to 12 months to complete.
Hoffman stated after discussing the situation with Hazel Knies and her family, they have decided to try to sell the property.
Other business
• Preston ambulance director Ryan Throckmorton told the council he is looking to either sell or donate two Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) now that they have been replaced with newer models as part of the Mission: Lifeline Minnesota Program. He stated F&M Bank is interested in one and he will be contacting POET as they initially donated the funds to purchase these AEDs.
• The council approved the adoption of the comprehensive plan tabled during the previous meeting.
• The next council meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 6 p.m.