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Neighbors upset over expansion, ask for landscaping plan

Norseman Motors plans to expand, but neighbors aren't happy.

Tuesday night, the Detroit Lakes City Council approved the rezoning of 416-530 Oak Street from residential to auto oriented business district, but not without a lot of opposition from neighbors.

The two recommendations that came out of the community development committee and the planning commission to move forward with the request were that the commercial access to Oak Street may not be allowed unless approved by the city council, and that landscaping must be provided between the car lot and residential property.

By the time the council meeting happened Tuesday night, the neighbors had admitted defeat.

"He's already won, we just want our wishes to come true, too," Diane Knutson said.

The neighbors came Tuesday to make sure a decent landscaping plan is approved so they won't have to look at a car lot.

"Is this written in stone so it gets done or is it going to get blown off for years to come," she asked the council.

Property owner Dan Sauvageau will have to submit a landscaping plan to community development director Larry Remmen for approval, and with the council's motion, it must be implemented in 2013 as soon as possible.

Mayor Matt Brenk said that with the neighborhood's concern and the city trying to do right by everyone, the city will send out notices to the neighbors when Sauvageau has submitted the plan so neighbors can come look at them and give feedback.

When questioned what the recourse is if he fails to landscape as directed, City Administrator Bob Louiseau said the issue would be turned over to the city attorney for legal ramifications.

Alderman Bruce Imholte assured the residents that council members back strong landscaping plans because they want the city to look nice as well.

Alderman Madalyn Sukke also told Sauvageau that since the city worked hard with the neighbors to find something everyone could live with, he should "also try to bend over backwards and be a good neighbor" to meet their desires in landscaping.

Tuesday was the first reading of the rezoning ordinance. It will come before the council again in January for a second and final reading before it is officially rezoned.

Also at the Detroit Lakes City Council meeting Tuesday, aldermen set the 2013 tax levy at 3.23 percent. Because of the expanding tax base, it will only feel like a .84 percent increase.

On a $100,000 home, it means about a $6.60 increase a year, and on a $250,000 commercial business, it will be about a $39 increase.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.