The proposed Holiday Inn Express in Baxter gained early approval Tuesday.
The Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional use permit application from Merrill Cragun Jr. to operate the 80-unit three-story hotel and water park on Highway 371, and to allow the height of the building to exceed 45 feet.
Plans call for a 39-unit three story future extension, the 18,000-square-foot water park, and about 10 employees.
The CUP was granted on the following findings: That the use is approved in a Commercial-2 zoning district; that adequate facilities, sewer, water and streets will be constructed in 2004; that other facilities have been constructed by the city of Baxter; and that a storm water plan has been approved by the utilities commission.
Conditions for the CUP include: That the utilities commission approve the final storm water plan before permit issuance; that lighting be boxed with pole heights no greater than 30 feet and all light be kept within the property boundary except as approved by the city engineer for ingress/egress purposes; and that all ground-mounted and roof-mounted mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment be screened from public view.
Brooke Silvernail, with Nor-son Inc., the architect and engineer firm representing Cragun, said the highest part of the building, the hotel peaks, would be about 50 feet high. The water park would be less than 50 feet in height.
Lewis Smith, owner of Lewie's RV Center, told the Planning and Zoning Commission that he was concerned about storm water being pushed from the hotel site onto his property, which is located to the south.
Silvernail said the storm water ponds have been designed for a 100-year rain event. He also noted that a type 2 wetland would be filled in exchange for a type 7 wetland on the site.
Down the highway to the south, Wal-Mart received its final permits and started work with silt fences. Clearing was expected to begin right away. While Wal-Mart's corporate office has yet to announce a lease agreement for the current store, there have been architects from Gander Mountain looking at the site.
Caribou Coffee signs signaling a beginning for a Baxter shop are now up near Grizzly's restaurant.
LTC Truck and Equipment Repair Shop opened along Highway 210 about two miles east of Brainerd. Owner Brent Olson is a certified diesel mechanic. Olson owns the Longville Truck Center and while he is keeping some things in Longville most is moving to the lakes area.
LTC provides Department of Transportation inspections and work on semi-trucks down to one-ton pickups. Olson said he had a chance to get a start in the Brainerd lakes area and took it. The business opened about three weeks ago.
Mario's is reopening. The restaurant/bar on Highway 371 near the Gull Dam Road received a liquor license from Crow Wing County last week.
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