BAXTER — A request to construct a boarding house for workers at a nail salon business along Highway 371 was denied by Baxter.
Applicant Kim Anh Thi Nguyen proposed using the former Brock White warehouse building on Forthun Road as a boarding house and commercial storage space.
Brock White previously moved west into the former Stock Lumber building on Independence Road, just off Highway 210.
The applicant was requesting an interim use permit for an eight-room boarding house and requested an ability to put in property improvements to bring the building up to code done in phases. The phased-in improvements would be triggered when a nail salon building permit was taken out. The district is zoned commercial.
The city’s planning commission recommended denial of the application stating the boarding house did not fit in the commercial zoning and wasn’t compatible with the surrounding land uses.
Tuesday night, the city council agreed.
The applicant reported the boarding house would be used temporarily by employees as they found housing in the area.
Mayor Darrel Olson said the planning commission also struggled with the idea of completing the project in phases, which may have appealed to other developers as well who didn’t have that option. Olson said he understood the petitioner asking for the time, but noted the high visibility of the area for the city and the city’s desire to have things done at the beginning.
In other business, the council:
Approved the purchase of new handguns for the police department, which were reported to have the potential for savings in ammunition cost and increased accuracy by the officers. Staff recommended purchasing new guns using the drug/alcohol forfeiture funds.
The police inventory includes 16 Glock, model 22, .40 caliber handguns with most of the pistols purchased in the 1990s or early 2000s, the police department reported, noting many pistols were manufactured between 1999 and 2003. Some of the pistols do not have night sights or are in need of replacements.
The estimated cost to maintain the Glock handguns was $3,485. Instead the police department reported a fourth generation Glock service pistol with improvements in the grip, reliability and recoil.
In a detailed report by Sgt. David Timm, the police department recommended getting a pistol for each patrol officer, plus sub-compact models for two investigative officers and spare pistols for a part-time officer or to be used in the event a weapon was out for a repair or not able to be used.
The estimated cost for the new handguns was $7,650, minus the trade-in value for the existing inventory anticipated to be $4,420, leaving a cost of $3,220.
The approximate purchase price per pistol with night sights and three new magazines of ammunition was estimated to be $425. The approximate trade-in value of the used handguns was about $260 depending on condition.
Heard a recommendation from Council member Mark Cross to look at potential cost savings by moving to digital information packets versus paper copies.
Rescinded a conditional use permit for a planned unit development for Security State Bank of Aitkin for the Woodland Office Park, off Hastings Road, to move from a conservation design with a planned unit development (PUD) and common areas to move to more traditional lots and blocks. Current owners, the city reported, believe the PUD design is a deterrent of development for the remaining lot. With the change, the common green areas and setbacks will be eliminated.
Authorized correspondence regarding a proposed playground at Whipple Beach Park.
In 2011, the city entered into an agreement with Marta McClanahan/Hayden’s Landing Initiative, donors, for the development of a universally accessible playground at the park off Whipple Lake.
In the written agreement, the donors agreed to raise at least $500,000. The plan was to contract with consultant Shane’s Inspiration for the playground design, which would return to the council for final approval. Park equipment would include a specialized playground surface and sensory equipment. Recently, a question arose as to whether the donors were to raise $400,000 or $500,000. Council member Jim Klein and McClanahan talked and apparently came to an agreement for $400,000 for the play equipment with the donors then trying to raise more money if possible for the trail access to the park. Klein previously stated raising an extra $100,000 was out of whack for the trail access since a sidewalk was already in place from the parking area. The city was basing the cost on numbers from such a playground design in Red Wing. City staff reported the 12-foot wide trail access for emergency services.
In the council’s notes on the issue, it was noted no one has the authority to renegotiate an agreement the council already entered. The council agreed to resend a letter to all parties that the original agreement for the $500,000 was in place and any other representation of the city’s commitment to the project should be disregarded unless it was signed by the mayor and city administrator.