BREEZY POINT -- The future of a proposed marina restaurant remains in question for Breezy Point International.
Monday night the Breezy Point City Council met in a special session to consider appeals by Breezy Point International. The council upheld the planning commission's earlier decisions to deny variances. Breezy Point International's appeals were based on four variance denials from the planning commission for the proposed demolition and construction of the marina restaurant.
The proposal has been through a series of variance requests. Some were granted earlier for items such as building height for the planned three-story structure, which would replace the existing two-story building.
The marina restaurant currently has a zero setback and the plan called for a building setback of about 18 feet. That variance was approved earlier. The ordinance requires 50 feet for commercial structures. Other variances for other side lot setbacks, parking and impervious surface -- buildings and pavement -- coverage were denied by the city's planning commission.
At issue Monday was the reasonable use of the property, deviations from the city's setback requirements and the overall size of the project. City council members pointed to what they said was already a congested area, particularly for parking.
For the resort a main point came in impervious surface coverage. The building and impervious surface are now at 80 percent. John Fedo, Breezy Point International consultant, said getting to the city allowed 35 percent would mean they could not build anything.
"We are finding it almost impossible to use this property," Fedo said. "... We need you to help us."
Council member David Slipy said the city recognized 35 percent was not feasible but he was looking for something from the resort.
A motion by council member Gary Bakken to approve the impervious surface variance failed for lack of a second. Bakken pointed to the improved protection for Pelican Lake in terms of the proposed stormwater plan.
The council denied the variance in a 3-2 vote with Bakken and Mayor Bob Bundgaard voting no.
Fedo said the resort was really more like a downtown when considering setbacks and how the building fits on the site necessitated the need for variances. One setback variance request was for one foot deviating to 49 feet from the city's requirement for 50 feet. The resort owns the adjoining property.
That point became one council members took up saying the resort should look at other adjacent property to mitigate the parking needs and impervious surface requirements.
Fedo said the resort can pool parking with other lots, planned to add about 100 spaces and had documented use of additional spaces at the Breezy Point Ice Arena through a shuttle service.
Slipy said in regard to height and closeness to Pelican Lake the city had already been accommodating to the resort in a serious way. He said if the resort was more accommodating on parking and impervious surface it may find more agreement from the city.
Slipy said nobody buys the idea people are going to park and be bused from the ice arena. Council member Diane Williams earlier suggested a parking ramp.
Monday Fedo said building a ramp was not financially feasible. After the meeting, Bob Spizzo, Breezy Point International chief executive officer and president, said a ramp would cost $17,000 per parking space and was not realistic for a seasonal business.
Council members said they did not know of anyone against a new restaurant but they were looking for movement from the resort in terms of parking and impervious surface. They spoke in praise of plans to contain the stormwater runoff and protect the lake.
"It's frustrating," Spizzo said of the city's decision. He said the resort had approval for the project back in 1987 and the current project has DNR and Thirty Lakes Watershed approval. Spizzo said he was unsure whether to proceed with the project at this point.
"I think we made progress tonight," Bundgaard said at the meeting's end. "I think we made some headway here tonight."
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