To allow for more time to review, Brainerd City Council members granted a 60-day extension on the decision of whether to approve Justin Imgrund’s application for conditional use permit for an automotive sales and service business on Washington and Northwest Second streets.
Imgrund originally applied for conditional use permits to put in an automotive sales and service business and a variance for less green space than required for the undeveloped lot on Washington and Northwest Second streets just west of the Mississippi River during an Aug. 9 Brainerd planning and zoning commission meeting. The lot, near Ace Hardware, has been home to Balsam Lane’s Christmas tree sales each winter and abuts the Tyrol Hills residential area.
Residents of Tyrol Hills openly opposed Imgrund moving his business to the area during the Aug. 20 council meeting, citing that the business will greatly affect the neighborhood, including concerns of noise and lowering property value.
During the Aug. 20 meeting, following a lengthy open forum on the matter, council made a motion to postpone and readdress the permit. The motion was approved 5-2 with Olson and Koep voting no.
During Monday’s meeting, Imgrund approached council with an update on meeting the city’s conditions, including setting up a meeting with the Tyrol Hills neighborhood on Sept. 10.
“I don’t see a purpose for this extension, we’ve already extended it once for 30 days,” said Imgrund. “And we’ve actually accomplished quite a bit in that time. We are working extensively to get your conditions met and I don’t see the benefit of more time.”
On the other hand, Steve Siller, who said he was speaking on behalf of the Tyrol Hills neighborhood said that they would like to see the extension so more time can be assessed to the matter.
The 60-day extension would push a decision to be made not until the end of November. Currently council would need to have a decision made by Sept. 20, forcing the hand at the next council meeting on Sept. 17.
“I did take a look at this case and I think it’s in the vested interest of the city to take the extra time,” said Brainerd City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick. “If you do not and a decision isn’t made by the 20th (of Sept.) then the action is granted once that original window is closed.
“The extra 60 days will provide a cushion and it is my recommendation to council to go that route.”
Fitzpatrick said that the council must be deliberate in their reasoning for the extension and noted that council is able to make a decision prior to that extension date in November.
Council approved the motion to take a 60-day extension 6-1, with council member Kevin Goedker voting no. The topic will again be discussed during the Sept. 17 council meeting.
Brainerd City Planner Mark Ostgarden presented council with information relating to downtown Brainerd and the Citizen’s Survey. Ostgarden said in meeting with downtown businesses over the past few weeks one of the biggest concerns for many business owners were the bars downtown, noting many said that “they don’t always attract the right types of people.”
Ostgarden said the Citizen’s Survey, which was available to residents from April to June, was met with a varied response.
The survey was comprised of five questions:
1. What do you like about the city of Brainerd?
2. What would you like to change or improve about the city of Brainerd?
3. What opportunities do you see for the city of Brainerd to become the city you envision in 10 years?
4. What threats do you see that will prevent the city of Brainerd from becoming the city you envision in 10 years?
5. In what part of the city do you live?
Ostgarden said an interesting note was that 30 percent of the anonymous respondents listed that they were not residents of the area and found that the most liked thing about Brainerd according to the survey was the size — topping the question with 28 percent.
Ostgarden warned the council in a memo that, “I would like city council to know that it may find some of the Citizen Survey results unsettling and uncomfortable to hear.” That warning was explained when 54 percent respondents said the threat they see to the city is the leadership. Twenty-five percent also said that leadership is something they would like to see changed or improved.
A potential green space levy and referendum, as suggested by Koep, was forwarded to the charter committee for review and will be discussed at a later date.
A call for applicants for the following positions:
• Economic Development Authority, one position, term to expire Sept. 7, 2013.
• Transportation Committee, two positions, both terms to expire Dec. 31, 2013.