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Zoning dispute ends in compromise at council meeting

Mitchell city officials were able to negotiate a compromise regarding the future home of the Mitchell Soccer Association. At Monday's regular City Council meeting, several members of the Mitchell Soccer Association and neighbors who would be impa...

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Mitchell city officials were able to negotiate a compromise regarding the future home of the Mitchell Soccer Association.

At Monday's regular City Council meeting, several members of the Mitchell Soccer Association and neighbors who would be impacted by the soccer club's move into Boyd and Kay Reimnitz's property at 723 E. Ash Ave. ended a minor difference in opinion.

The Mitchell Soccer Association intends to enter a lease purchase agreement to eventually buy the property, which was formerly the Mitchell Christian School, but some neighbors were concerned that Boyd Reimnitz could potentially take advantage of the rezoning.

The property is currently zoned as a single-family residential district, one of the most restrictive types of zoning districts that doesn't allow an indoor recreation facility. The soccer club and the Reimnitzes asked the city to rezone to a transportation, warehousing and commercial district that allows dozens of uses.

Eight neighbors to the facility opposed the rezoning, including Brad Bowling, who lives across the street from the Reimnitz property. The Reimnitzes did not attend the meeting to speak against the the opposition.

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Bowling said the property is littered with abandoned cars and an "incredible amount of junk," and the neighborhood has not been able to get Reimnitz to clean up his property for years. Bowling said rezoning to a TWC district could allow Reimnitz or the MSA to back out of their lease purchase agreement and use the facility for something like a salvage yard.

In an interview with The Daily Republic before the council meeting, Bowling emphasized that he and other neighbors had no problem allowing the soccer club to practice in the facility, but he doesn't trust Reimnitz if he were to have expanded options for the property under the TWC districting.

"Our problem is, it's a trust issue with Boyd," Bowling said. "Once that's rezoned, he can do anything he wants there, basically."

Public Works Director Tim McGannon proposed a solution to the rezoning ordinance that appeared to make both the property's neighbors and the MSA members happy.

McGannon's compromise would keep the property in residential zoning while setting conditional uses that would require abandoned cars to be removed from the property and force Reimnitz or the MSA to conduct a general cleanup.

The only concern with McGannon's proposal is that it would delay the lease purchase agreement between the MSA and the Reimnitzes. McGannon said in order to establish a conditional use permit, it would require notices to be sent to neighbors and would have to go through both the Planning Commission and City Council. The delay could last until January.

But City Attorney Carl Koch said the MSA could still use the facility while the permit is being enacted.

Before the first reading of the proposed ordinance was tabled by the council, MSA President Jodie Cain-Lambert explained why her organization would be a good fit on East Ash Avenue.

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"We're really trying to bring activities to town that benefit and bring tax dollars," Cain-Lambert said.

Cain-Lambert said the group's ability to attract indoor soccer tournaments in the winter makes her group a "viable entity" in town. She also believes the MSA will be good stewards of the land.

"We are as concerned about that property as anybody," Cain-Lambert said.

The MSA is attempting to purchase the facility due to its issues with finding practice space in Mitchell. After trying to find time for the organization's 15 indoor teams at the current Mitchell Christian School, Mitchell Middle School and John Paul II Elementary, Cain-Lambert said the new facility has been a "godsend" since the organization tried it out last winter.

"For those that have no idea, trying to find gym space in this town is beyond a struggle," Cain-Lambert said.

Thanks to McGannon's proposal, the organization's 125 indoor soccer players may soon have a permanent home. And the neighbors to the property were appeased.

"It's a win-win if it's being used for the proper use," Bowling said.

Consent agenda

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The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

• Minutes from the Oct. 19 City Council meeting, Oct. 13 Planning Commission and Oct. 19 Traffic Committee.

• Set a date of Nov. 16 for a hearing on the application of the Palace City Lions Club of Mitchell, for a special event license and a liquor license for the Avera Winter Party on Jan. 15 at the Corn Palace and City Hall.

• Set date of Nov. 16 for a hearing on the application of TG Partnership, 1610 S. Burr St., to transfer package off-sale liquor license PL-4697 to T.E.A.M. Haus Inc. doing business as Northside Sinclair, 1905 N. Main St.

• Change order No. 2 to increase the contract amount for the Paving and Overlay No. 2015-15 contracted to Commercial Asphalt by $109,697.52 to adjust final quantities as constructed on project, adjusting project amount to $636,973.57.

• Change order No. 1 to City Hall and Community Center Facility No. 2015-33 contracted to SEH, increasing the contract amount by $3,000 for inspection of the wall of the American Legion building on South Main Street, adjusting the contract amount to $24,200.

• Election workers compensations for the Dec. 8 special election.

• Gas and diesel fuel competitive quotations.

• Pay estimates, bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires and authorized payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business

In regular business, the council:

• Called meeting to order and heard roll call.

• Entered executive session from 5:25 p.m. to 7 p.m. to consult with legal counsel or review communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters. No action was taken upon exiting the executive session.

• Conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard invocation from First Lutheran Church, heard citizen input and conducted roll call after first recess.

• Recessed as the board of adjustment and set date of Nov. 16 for a hearing on the application of Marilee Johnson-Geary for a conditional use permit for a home occupation that provides counseling services located at 1321 E. Second Ave., legally described as Lot 1 and East 1/2 of Lot 2, Block 12, St. Greene Addition, Mitchell.

• Approved resolution No. 3314 of the intent of the city of Mitchell to enter into real property exchange with a private individual and notice of hearing.

• Tabled the approval of the 2015 Personnel Policy Manual until Jan. 4.

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