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Long Lake land use plan settled

Receiving a lot fewer comments then anticipated, the commission passed the Long Lake Area Land Use Plan Thursday night.

Since the annexation of the Long Lake area, the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission has been working with residents to find a plan for the city that everyone can agree on. Some of the main concerns have been a road connecting to Highway 10 through the park, closure of Airport Road and commercial property in the residential area.

In the approved plan, there are no plans for Long Lake Lane to link to Highway 10. Fran Johnson, president of the Long Lake Association, asked the commission to add a stipulation saying the park and green space is appreciated as a natural area and it should be preserved.

Commission chairman G.L. Tucker said he wasn't comfortable saying there won't ever be a road in the future, because who's to say what the future holds. He said the plan is considered a "living will" and could change somewhere down the road. He's not for the road, he said, but he also can't predict the future.

Commission member Cyndi Anderson said she felt the commission should add the clause, recognizing the green space and that it will be preserved, but that that could change in years to come, as well.

Audience members seemed agreeable with the conclusion to include the valuable green space.

Another Long Lake resident, Lee Kessler, said, "I congratulate you for developing this land use plan."

His concern was still the closing of Airport Road if the airport expands and suggested an underpass at the airport. He said with the road closure, he doesn't feel traffic flow would be safe or convenient.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said an underpass hasn't been looked at because it still hasn't been decided if the airport will expand, stay in the same location or if Airport Road will even be closed.

Resident Jim McCormack addressed the potential commercial use of the area, and asked a time constraint be put on the area to limit noise and keep the area more family-friendly.

Remmen said that would be a zoning issue and would likely need to be done throughout the city, not just in one area.

With about two hours budgeted for the topic, the plan was passed within half an hour.

Also passed at the commission meeting

n The rezoning, conditional use permit and preliminary plat of Lake Breeze Estates on Randolph Road. The two building, 20-unit structures (10 units in each structure, connected by a sunroom) are situated on 6. 4 acres. The Duluth-based company plans to build the units mainly for dementia patients.

The business will employ 30-36 employees, and a representative from Lake Breeze LLC said the company isn't looking for any financial help from the city. Usually allowed 25 percent impervious surface, Lake Breeze will only use 11 percent. There also won't be traffic in the area since patients won't be able to drive.

Patients will also have security bracelets on so they can't wander out of the building.

Area resident Jeff Swanson said his only concern was when larger buildings start coming in and asked the city to consider not letting multiple-story facilities in the area.

"I think it (the assisted living facility) a great idea. I'll probably be living there one day," he said. "I think they'll be quiet neighbors."

Remmen said with the zoning, the company could actually ask for 24 units, so it was a reasonable plat, and would be a lot less impervious surface and disruption than 24 houses in that area.

Commission member Harry Johnston said he felt the assisted living units were a much better idea than "a development with dogs and motorcycles."

The plan was unanimously passed.

n Took the recommendation of the park board and didn't require a park dedication from River Hills RV Park. Both entities said with the amount of open space and the easement along the river, there was plenty of green space.

The final plat and planned unit development were also approved for the development.