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Plans for local crisis shelter taking shape

Plans for a crisis center shelter in Detroit Lakes are coming to fruition.

Thursday evening the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission discussed and voted in favor of rezoning a piece of property that was donated to the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center to allow a multi-family residence.

The piece of land, which is located between Pelican Lane and Highland Drive, was rezoned from R-2, one and two family residence district, to R-3A, multi-family residence with a maximum of four-plexes.

The original request was for R-3, which didn't limit it to four-plexes.

The change came when resident Paul Goecke suggested R-3A instead of R-3.

"I understand your concern and this could certainly be done," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said. "It's a very good idea, I just never thought of it. It would be fitting to this area."

The 11-acre tract of land will house a 10,000 square foot building for the crisis center facility that will include the ability to shelter 16 individuals at one time.

"This is a wonder physical location for our facility," Executive Director Jan Logan said. The spaciousness and the trees in the area are just the feel the organization is looking for, she added.

While a few residents came to the planning commission meeting with questions, most had been answered at a previous meeting between the crisis center and the residents.

One concern raised was another exit off Pelican Lane. With only one access from Highway 34, Goecke asked if the city would put in another entrance/exit in the future.

Remmen said the residents in the area could petition the city council for a second access, but if Pelican Lane was extended to 8th Street, he pointed out there would likely be an increase in traffic from people cutting across to Highway 34.

Resident Dan Abrahams asked if there would be an access point to the crisis center building from Highland Drive instead of Pelican Lane.

"I'm certainly open to the ministry of this, but if that could be arranged, that would be good," he said.

Remmen said due to wetlands, it would likely be impossible.

The building will be set back a total of 96 feet from Pelican Lane, 52 feet of that being grass and the remainder a parking lot.

Although R-3A districts only allow four-plexes, the crisis center facility would still be suitable because state law allows this type of facility with 16 units or less "to prevent communities from excluding these types of facilities," Remmen said.

The reason for the lower density vote is if in the future the crisis center decides to divide and sell off portions of the 11 acres, only four-plexes would be allowed in the area and not higher density apartment buildings.

"That's certainly not the intention or the vision of the organization," planning commission member Cyndi Anderson said.

The planning commission voted unanimously -- with Anderson abstaining from the vote -- to approve the rezoning to R-3A and recommend that to the city council.

The council will discuss and vote on the issue Tuesday.