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Mitchell man seeking to open cafe claims rights being violated due to city's requirement for site plan

“Given that site is tucked between a business and a residential home, it’s very, very warranted,” Mitchell Building Inspector John Hegg said of the city’s site plan requirement Haines alleged is a violation of his rights

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Shown here is the vacant lot along Sanborn Boulevard where a Mitchell man is seeking to build a cafe and coffee shop drive-thru.
Sam Fosness / Republic
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MITCHELL — A Mitchell man who is seeking to open a small drive-thru cafe and coffee shop along Sanborn Boulevard is pushing back on the city’s requirement to submit a drainage plan.

During Monday’s city Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Patrick Haines criticized city officials for not waiving the requirement to submit an engineer-stamped site plan for his drive-thru cafe plan to materialize.

In a fiery three-minute testimony during the citizens input portion of Monday's Planning Commission meeting, Haines alleged his rights had been violated for not being included on Monday’s agenda. However, there wasn’t any action that could have been taken for Haines to be included on Monday’s agenda since the Planning Commission already approved his plan on May 23 for the cafe and coffee shop he's proposing to build on a vacant lot next to Dominos.

“Taking me off the agenda is criminal. I want to enforce that,” Haines said during Monday’s meeting at City Hall. “You just can’t shut the public because they have a problem. That’s a country that’s shutting’ people up for no reason. I want to make sure that my rights are not trampled upon.”

Public Works Director Joe Schroeder said the key reason behind requiring an engineer site plan is to verify Haines’ drainage would not encroach onto neighboring properties.

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After Haines spoke at Monday’s meeting, John Hegg, the city’s building inspector, emphasized the importance of requiring Haines to submit a site plan that shows the drainage plans for the proposed business.

“Given that site is tucked between a business and a residential home, it’s very, very warranted,” Hegg said of the city’s site plan requirement.

The 10-by-17 foot building that Haines is proposing to construct next to Domino's would be situated in the middle of the small lot that he recently purchased. The lot previously housed a residential home that was aging. Prior to Haines purchasing the lot, the home was demolished.

“My proposed building is less than 3,000 feet. I have every right to ask for an exemption,” he said.

Haines' opposition to the site plan centers around the cost of having the plan completed.

During Haines’ testimony on Monday, he pointed to a 2020 incident that involved a Mitchell man being removed from a Mitchell School Board meeting for refusing to wear a mask at Mitchell High School as an example that he alleged showed the city has violated others’ rights in the past.

“The last time I saw somebody give an impassioned plea here to try to assert their rights, you had them arrested, jailed and put on trial,” Haines said, alluding to the school board incident involving Reed Bender, who was removed by officers after refusing to wear a mask.

However, members of the commission reminded Haines that the city of Mitchell is an entirely separate governing body from the Mitchell Board of Education and has no involvement with how the school board does business at its meetings.

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With Haines’ opposition to complying with the city’s requirement of submitting an engineer-stamped site plan, it’s unclear whether his plan to open the cafe and coffee shop will materialize.

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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