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Planners OK new apartment buildings

A new apartment complex is proposed in this 1300 to 1400 block of West 23rd Avenue in Mitchell. The complex is to be built in the empty field just to the right of the small church (the lone building on the mostly undeveloped side of the road) in this photo, which is shot from the northwest looking toward the southeast. (Chris Huber/Republic)1 / 2
This drawing shows what proposed new apartments in Mitchell would look.2 / 2

A Sioux Falls firm's proposal to build two apartment buildings in Mitchell was recommended for approval Monday by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission voted 5-0 at City Hall, with two members absent, in favor of a conditional use permit for CJM Consulting Inc., of Mitchell, and Eagle Construction Inc., of Sioux Falls, for the proposed Pheasant Ridge Village Apartments. The Mitchell City Council will review the proposal Monday.

Steve Boote, the president of Eagle Construction, said work should start soon if the proposed development passes through all the required steps. Boote said two apartment buildings, each with 64 units, are planned. One will be built at first, and a second will likely follow, he said.

The property is located in the 1301-1401 blocks of West 23rd Avenue, also known as Cemetery Road, and is zoned R4, multi-family residential. Anything more than 24 units requires a city permit.

The development would be just west of a small church that is located on the south side of the street.

Boote said he plans to build one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with decks and patios.

Mike and June Wenande returned a notice from the city about the project stating that they disapprove of it. In a letter on the back of the notice, and in comments during the meeting and in a discussion outside the meeting with Boote, they said they are concerned about traffic.

There is a lot of traffic in the area on mornings and evenings, June Wenande said. Adding up to 100 cars with the new apartments would worsen the situation, she said.

In the letter, the Wenandes also asked about the impact on property values, and during the meeting, she asked about access to the apartments in an emergency. There is only one entrance/exit, Boote confirmed, but he said there are easements and front and back yards that could provide ways in and out.

"There's plenty of room to maneuver fire engines around the property," he said.

If a new stretch of Commerce Street is added, a second driveway would be built, Boote said.

"Commerce Street is a very, very important part of this project," he said.

If the street is not constructed, the second apartment building would not be built, Boote said.

Chuck Mauszycki Sr., of CJM Consulting, is selling land to Eagle Construction. Boote said Mauszycki may build townhomes as part of the development.

City Public Works Director Tim McGannon said he has had an "active discussion on Commerce" with Mauszycki.

Mitchell lawyer Don Petersen, who has extensive experience with tax increment financing districts, said a new TIF will likely be sought to pay for the new street, which may or may not be named Commerce Street. In a TIF district, new and higher property tax revenues from development projects are captured to pay off financing for things like streets.

McGannon said it appears right now that the city will build the grade and provide gravel, and a TIF would pay for curb and gutter.

McGannon said he plans to build one block of the street this year. It may not connect to the existing Commerce Street for some time, or may never do so, but a plan calls for the street to wind around and join the new section.

He said the sewer in the area is adequate for the development, answering a question from Commissioner Bernie Schmucker.

Morris Equipment TIF

The commission recommended approval of a proposed $200,000 tax increment financing (TIF) district for the proposed Morris Equipment project on South Ohlman Street, south of the Ramada. The company, with its corporate office in Fort Pierre, another store in Pierre, and a dealership in Mobridge, plans to open a sales and rental facility in Mitchell this year.

The plan, and a plat, for this project were approved at the March 11 commission meeting.

The Mitchell Tax Increment Financing Review Committee unanimously recommended approval of the city's 20th TIF district, which is being created to help pay for drainage at the building site and other costs. Work is scheduled to start in April.

Mitchell lawyer Don Petersen, who attended the meeting along with Doug Smith, general manager of Morris Equipment, said it will be a "developer-financed TIF," and the city will not have to issue a bond.

Morris will be repaid when the TIF, which is set for 20 years, expires. Petersen said the current projection will be paid off in a decade, but he recommends going to the state limit of 20 years to his clients to be safe.

"I'd rather err on the side of caution," he said.

The store will employ up to 20 people when it is fully staffed, and will produce $100,000 to $200,000 in sales taxes to the city annually, he said.

Commission member Jay Larson said building a retention pond will solve a problem at the site that has been there since before he moved to Mitchell in 1978. He asked who will pay for a pump station, and Smith said his company will pay for that as well as piping.

As part of the project, the commission also recommended approval of the revised plat of Lots A, B and C, a subdivision of Blocks 5 and 6 in the Sunnyside Addition to the city.

The new plat shows where the retention pond will be located, City Planner Neil Putnam said. The plat that was approved earlier will not be filed.