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Commercial zoning decision faces council

A Mitchell City Council decision is expected tonight regarding the rezoning of property at the corner of West Eighth Avenue and North Minnesota Street, as the land is being considered for commercial construction and various neighbors have objecte...

Mitchell City Hall. (Republic file photo)
Mitchell City Hall. (Republic file photo)

A Mitchell City Council decision is expected tonight regarding the rezoning of property at the corner of West Eighth Avenue and North Minnesota Street, as the land is being considered for commercial construction and various neighbors have objected to the change.

The council voted to approve the ordinance on first reading on Nov. 5 as a placeholder for the discussion to be held today at the council's regular meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at Mitchell City Hall (612 N. Main St.).

Dave Bechen, owner of Bechen Electric, is seeking to purchase the land on the southwest corner of the intersection to build a new shop for his electrical contractor business. Bechen has plans for a 50-by-80-foot metal building that would house his business and shop, with three large garage doors and two driveways, one from Montana Street and one from Minnesota Street. Currently, the land is empty and is zoned residential but Bechen seeks to zone the land for transportation, warehouse and commercial use.

In the meeting Nov. 5 and a previous Mitchell Planning Commission meeting, neighbors of the property have argued that a business was not suitable for an area so close to the Mitchell Middle School and also that there's too much traffic in the neighborhood.

A number of area residents have collected 125 signatures from city residents against the project, including more than 50 from people in the neighborhood. The Planning Commission's recommendation was against a possible change during its Oct. 22 meeting.

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Carnival decision looms

The council is also expected to make a decision today regarding the future location of the Corn Palace Festival carnival.

The council is weighing a move further north on Main Street to between Fifth and Eighth Avenues, making use of more parking lot space for rides and carnival setups.

Downtown business owners were surveyed by Mitchell Main Street and Beyond about what they'd like to see, but there was no clear consensus on what to do.

The survey asked business owners if they would approve, disapprove or have no preference for the proposed changes to move the festival carnival further north on Main Street between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue. Fifty-one percent, or 19 of the 37 respondents, said they approved of the proposed changes, while 40.5 percent, or 15 respondents, said they disapproved of the proposed layout. Three others stated they have no preference for either choice in the survey.

Currently, the carnival and the entire festival takes place between First and Seventh Avenues on Main Street. But the Corn Palace Events and Entertainment Board is considering the move in location because the carnival's revenue received from Goldstar Entertainment - which provides the amusement rides - has been decreasing, down 19 percent since 2009. In 2018, the carnival brought in $42,733.56 in revenue over five days.

Consent agenda

The following items are subject to approval by the council at once at the start of the meeting:

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• Approve Nov. 5 council minutes and Planning Commission minutes from Oct. 22., and department reports.

• Approve raffle permit from the Mitchell Community Scholarship Fund, with a drawing scheduled for Feb. 25, 2019.

• Appoint the following individuals to city boards and committees as volunteers: Whitney Kroupa to the Community Services Advisory Board representing Palace Transit to fill a vacant position with a term to run through January 2021; and Wanda Baker to the Community Services Advisory Board representing James Valley Community Center to fill the unexpired term of Allan Olson that will expire January 2019, and then renew for the term through January 2021.

• Set bid opening for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Mitchell City Hall for city's used scraper for landfill city project.

• Authorize applying for state grant toward the purchase of landfill compactor.

• Approve pay estimates, bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

The council is also expected to:

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• Hear citizens input.

• Hold a public hearing and consider application from the Corn Palace Shrine Club for a special event liquor license at the Masonic Lodge Dec. 1 for a wedding.

• Consider action to approve applications for renewal of liquor and wine licenses for 2019.

• Meeting as the Board of Adjustment, hold the following hearings: Bill & Barbara Goldammer, 2020 and 2040 E. 8th Ave., requesting a conditional use permit to operate a retail and trades business (property is zoned as urban development.); Rosewood Court Assisted Living, 2101 N. Sanborn Blvd., is requesting a backyard variance of 8 feet, 8.5 inches versus 25 feet as required, and a sideyard variance of 4 feet, 7 inches versus 5 feet as required for construction of an addition (the property is zoned as a high-density residential district.); Alex Hartman and Alexandra Gerriets, 1513 W. Hanson Ave., are requesting a conditional use permit for a family residential child care center in their home.

• Hold second reading on Ordinance No. 2018-14, changing the zoning district classification south of West Ninth Avenue for two-and-a-half blocks between North Minnesota Street and North Sanborn Boulevard. The change would be from a transportation, warehousing and commercial district to a high-density residential district, with a few exceptions.

• Hold a second reading on supplemental appropriations.

• Consider a resolution regarding increases in fees and charges for emergency medical services and ambulance transport, and rentals of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety Training Room.

• Consider authorizing participation in an update to the Davison County Hazard Mitigation Plan with Davison County and District III Planning and Development. No cost is anticipated for the city of Mitchell.

• Hold a discussion with Rocky Knippling, of the James River Water Development District, on South Central Watershed Implementation. The discussion is expected to center on the background of JRWDD efforts, most recent projects, and future goals and objectives for Firesteel Creek north of Lake Mitchell.

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“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.