Randall City Council votes down proposal to rezone downtown property

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

In a 3-2 vote, the Randall City Council voted not to give a commercial piece of property on Pacific Avenue a conditional-use permit to become zoned residential. The consensus was that taking another commercial building off the market would not be good for the city.

A proposal from the Randall Planning and Zoning Commission came before the City Council Wednesday night. It asked the Council to approve a conditional-use permit for a property on Pacific Avenue, changing it from commercial to a residential classification.

City Manager Jerry Peterschick said the owner of the property, Randall State Bank, was looking at refurbishing the property and changing it to a rental property. But, if the rental unit(s) were not occupied within a year, a conditional use permit would revert back to commercial property.

“This is not in compliance with the city’s 2002 comprehensive plan,” said Councilman Jerry Carter.

Peterschick agreed, saying the comprehensive plan states Pacific Avenue’s commercial properties would stay commercial.

“But, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit. The property sits between two residences now,” he said.

Carter said it’s all semantics. “The bottom line is that it will be a residential occupancy,” he said.

Councilman Charlie An-dres said that if it’s occupied, the residents would be spending money in town.

Carter disagreed, saying he didn’t think the benefit for the city would be much.

“Only the Randall State Bank will benefit,” he said.

Councilman Ricky Turner said the Randall State Bank could not sell the property as it is, that it had been on the market for years. But, if it was a rental property, it may sell.

Councilman Jerry Adam-ski didn’t think the Planning and Zoning Commission had checked out the details when they agreed on a conditional-use permit.

Resident Dan Noss said, “Keeping the property commercial keeps within what the Vision Randall team has suggested. I think it would be detrimental to Randall’s moving forward if it’s changed to residential.”

Carter said that when the Veterans Trail comes through, or near, Randall, businesses will be popping up right and left.

Mayor Bob Riitters said he felt the Council should think about it, for if it votes to change the zoning to residential, it will be too late to change back. But Carter and Adamski disagreed, saying the vote should be taken that evening.

It was also commented on that representatives of the bank were not at the council meeting to give their side of the issue.

A role-call vote was taken. Carter, Turner and Adamski voted against and Riitters and Andres voted for the conditional-use permit.

Randall City Council briefs

Other business conducted by the Randall City Council Wednesday night included:

• Voting to raise the city’s preliminary levy for 2013 by 4 percent, increasing the 2012 levy of $135,000 by $5,400. The proposed levy is required to be in the county auditor’s hands in September so the proposed property taxes can be sent to residents in a timely manner. The preliminary amount may not be increased at the final levy meeting, but it may be decreased.

The truth and taxation meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Dec. 19 meeting. The final levy will be set at the December regular council meeting;

• Voting to accept a resolution to have the city participate in the hazard mitigation planning process with Morrison County. This is a multi-jurisdictional plan that requires public involvement and local coordination between neighboring units of government. It will also allow the county and the participating governments to be eligible to receive FEMA hazard mitigation assistance grants, if needed;

• Voting to add two – 20 mile per hour  speed signs on Minnesota Avenue on either side of Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School;

• Allowing the Little Elk Lions Club to cut down an ugly tree in Bingo Park and to set a cut and decorated tree in its place during the Christmas season. In the spring, the Club will replace the tree;

• Voting to allow Hinten Properties LLC to have a small piece of property rezoned from residential to commercial in order to put up a sign and to allow Loren Strom to add a steel roof and new windows to his property on Fourth Street;

• Learning that fiber optics would be installed beginning Monday and should be completed before the ground freezes; and

• Voting to discontinue setting aside $625 monthly for the squad car fund and put the same amount into a maintenance fund monthly to purchase another zero-turn mower in a few years. The squad account has $30,000 in it and the Council said that’s plenty for another vehicle.

The next city council meeting will be held at the Randall Fire Hall Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m.