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Commission tables Puetz Corp. parking lot proposal

Puetz Corporation's parking lot proposal drew staunch backlash from a handful of nearby residents during Monday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, leading to the board's vote to table the decision.

Puetz Corporation is seeking approval from the Mitchell Planning Commission to to turn the lots north of the company's Mitchell headquarters into a private parking lot for 25 vehicles and a crane and material storage area. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Puetz Corporation is seeking approval from the Mitchell Planning Commission to to turn the lots north of the company's Mitchell headquarters into a private parking lot for 25 vehicles and a crane and material storage area. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Puetz Corporation's parking lot proposal drew staunch backlash from a handful of nearby residents during Monday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, leading to the board's vote to table the decision.

Mark Puetz, of Puetz Corporation, provided details of the proposed parking lot plan-which would be located on the corner of East Ninth Avenue and Kimball Street, directly next to the company's current 800 N. Kimball St. address-during the commission meeting at City Hall. After both sides spoke, the commission unanimously voted to table the decision until May 6.

"The plan is to convert these properties to a private parking lot for 25 vehicles and a crane parking area, along with material storage for the eastern portion of the property," Puetz said, noting the company would park two large cranes on the proposed lot. "We do a lot of crane rental work, and I'd say the cranes are on job sites 90 percent of the time."

According to Puetz, the construction company recently purchased the two lots where the proposed parking lot would be located at 301 E. Ninth Ave. and 305 E. Ninth Ave., directly north of the company's current location. Puetz said the area previously held a house that was a long-time nuisance property, which the city of Mitchell recently demolished. Another house in the area sat empty for a number of years before the construction company acquired the property.

Puetz said the construction company would plan to install a lattice fence similar to what they have on the north side of its location.

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"We're trying to be as conscientious to the neighborhood as possible, and we know that property wasn't the neatest looking property before we bought it," Puetz said.

Mitzie Johnson, a Mitchell resident whose mother lives at 322 E. Ninth Ave., spoke on behalf of her elderly mother and took issue with the cranes being parked in the proposed lot.

"This proposal was originally a parking lot for employees, but now you want to park two cranes that would be coming and going, along with material storage. And that is essentially a lumber yard on a residential block," Johnson said to the commission. "I've talked to everyone else living on the 300 block of East Ninth Avenue, and they don't want this."

A portion of the alley would also be paved, and the section of the parking lot that would house the cranes would be gravel, Puetz noted.

Elnora Breck, a resident living near the proposed parking lot, spoke in opposition and said she expects her home to lose anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 in property value should the parking lot be approved.

"It's not an industrial park, it's a residential area," Breck said.

Because the residential area where the proposed parking lot would be located is zoned as a residential district, Planning Commission President Jay Larson discussed the complexity of the area, given there is an industrial zoning district close to the parking lot. Larson said R2 zoning consists of single family residences, along with a duplex, but noted to the concerned nearby residents that the "R" equates to residential.

"I'm saying things are going to evolve and change over time, and I understand that Puetz is wanting to expand their business operations, which they need to make more elbow room in order to do so," Larson said. "But I understand the concerns for all of you property owners as well, so it's a tough call and we need some more time to look into this."

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Commission member Jon Osterloo suggested to begin making amendments to residential areas, because his records showed no R2 districts in the city having parking lots included in them.

"I appreciate the feedback, but the parking space is ideally the most important thing, because we invested some money into purchasing those lots to help clean up the area not hurt it," Puetz said.

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