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Mitchell developer withdraws request to rezone land for housing project

A large portion of residents who live along the edge of the proposed development pushed back on the rezoning request during the June 27 meeting over concerns that the PUD rezone would negatively affect their existing homes and properties

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Shown here is a field on the west end of Lake Mitchell along North Ohlman Street where a local developer is seeking to build a housing development on.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — After coming up against opposition from nearby residents, a local developer seeking to build a large housing development near Lake Mitchell has pulled his request to rezone the property.

During Monday’s city Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, local developer Chuck Mauszycki announced his decision to withdraw the application to rezone the roughly 40 acres of land near the lake into a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district. After the meeting in an interview with the Mitchell Republic, Mauszycki said his decision alleviates concerns that some nearby residents had with the rezoning plan. Instead of rezoning the property, Mauszycki opted to keep the land zoned as Residential Lake (RL) — which is a more restrictive zoning district than a PUD.

"The PUD had some people in the area concerned about the development. By keeping the development in an RL zoning district as it has has been, we are looking forward to get moving on this," Mauszycki said.

At the June 27 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Mauszycki announced his plans to rezone the land into a PUD , a move he said would make way for “bigger and better homes” to be built on the proposed South Lake Estates development.

Another key reason behind the initial rezone request was allowing a new local nonprofit organization that Mauszycki is partnering with to build some of the first phase of the development to build twinhomes.

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“The changes we made were toughening up the PUD. The purpose of the PUD, as I see it, is to put bigger and better homes on the land,” Mauszycki said during the June 27 Planning Commission meeting. “The lots are about 85 by 120 feet, and we would like to abandon the alley. We can set the setbacks in the PUD at like 3 feet in the side yard and 20 to 25 feet in the backyard, which we’ve suggested.”

A large portion of residents who live along the edge of the proposed development pushed back on the rezoning request during the June 27 meeting over concerns that the PUD rezone would negatively affect their existing homes and properties. Some nearby residents were concerned of the permitted uses that are allowed in a PUD zoning district and the type of homes that could be built within a PUD.

Kelly Gross was among the homeowners pushing back on rezoning the land, pointing to it as a move that would “junk up” the area that’s surrounded by a stretch of residential homes. Gross said he was shocked to find out a lawnmower business is one of several permitted uses to operate out of a home in a PUD.

“That’s wrong. We have too nice of an area out there to junk it up,” Gross said at the June 27 meeting.

According to the master plan of the proposed South Lake Estates development, the project is aiming to bring over 100 homes to the patch of land along North Ohlman Street. Commission Chairman Jay Larson emphasized the land has already been platted for homes to be built, indicating the land will ultimately welcome a housing development.

Mauszycki said the homes would range in price of around $300,000.

Concerns over special assessment

While there was little discussion on the rezoning application withdrawal, a resident used the public comment portion on the agenda item to discuss his concerns with the development. Chris Wieczorek, who resides in a home along the edge of the development, pointed to the roughly $21,000 special assessment he’s facing to help pay for some of the development’s new curbs and gutters as an unwanted expense that could force his family to move from the area.

A city ordinance allows developers looking to build a housing project to assess nearby property owners who will utilize a development’s new roads, curb and gutters. When property owners are assessed for new infrastructure installed adjacent to their properties, they are requested to pay for a portion as part of the new development build out.

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Wieczorek said the initial special assessment he was facing for a portion of the infrastructure near his home was $42,000. However, he noted he was informed a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District that the Mitchell housing nonprofit organization is pursuing would reduce his $42,000 special assessment by half. Despite the price tag drop, Wieczorek emphasized it’s still a “large chunk of money” for his family to take on.

“That is a burdensome amount for us as a family, and it puts us in a position where we have a serious possibility to either sell our home or afford that in the long run by a loan or something like that,” Wieczorek said. “We are trying to live in a neighborhood we really enjoy.”

By partnering with the nonprofit organization called Mitchell Area Housing Incorporated, the group has plans to help pay for the infrastructure in phase one through a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district, pending the Mitchell City Council’s approval.

While the rezoning change was withdrawn, City Planner Mark Jenniges said Mauszycki could apply to rezone his land to a PUD at any time in the future.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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