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Mystery business near the Pavilion

Detroit Lakes is going to be seeing more growth this summer and fall with a business expansion, a new business and a church addition.

At the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, members approved the Pine to Palm resort along West Lake Drive converting to condos, an expansion to Chaney’s 2 and one to Community Alliance Church and an addition to the Giovanni’s building at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive that will house a new business.

While all four projects were approved, they will still need to come before the city council on Tuesday evening for final approval.

Giovanni’s building

Mitch Wimmer would give very few details on the business coming to the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive, but the planning commission approved an addition to his building that will house a business in the food and beverage industry.

Wimmer asked the planning commission to approve a variance for 42 percent impervious surface so he could add on a 1,500 square foot addition to the former Giovanni’s building. The commercial lot already stands at 39 percent impervious surface, which is 4 percent more than allowed for commercial buildings.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said that while the impervious surface is a bit more than city requirements, with the addition to the building, Wimmer plans to make some stormwater changes to the property that would actually improve the site.

Wimmer said he has consulted Tera Guetter at the Pelican River Watershed District for suggestions on drainage for the lot. Like all building projects, a permit from the PRWD would need to be granted for the project, too.

“It’s going to improve the property, there’s no doubt about that,” Wimmer said.

He said that it may be possible for him to do the project and stay at the 39 percent impervious surface that the property already is at, but he requested the 42 percent for some “wiggle room.”

Besides the impervious surface, the planning commission discussed the parking arrangement for the lot extensively.

The parking for the Giovanni’s site and the parcel next to it that houses SOL paddleboarding, which is also owned by the Wimmers, is shared.

Technically the parcel with Giovanni’s would only be at 27 percent impervious surface with the addition, but the two parcels are being tied together because the parking is on the parcel with the SOL building, which is why it’s brought up to 39 percent impervious surface total.

“It makes sense for the property; it will enhance the property,” Wimmer said of the project.

The planning commission and Remmen said it’s hard to say how much parking would be required for Wimmer’s project since no one knows what the project is. Wimmer assured them that he would make sure there was parking for the business otherwise he wouldn’t go through with the plan. He said he wouldn’t build on to the building if he knew he wouldn’t be able to provide the parking or get a variance from the city for the parking.

Lakeside Tavern owner Chet Collins said that he was concerned with the vagueness of what the business is and how the city can approve a building without the parking portion of it. He said his parking lot sees a lot of cars that aren’t necessarily for his business.

Wimmer said the business would be food and beverage related, but wouldn’t elaborate.

“Certainly, what goes in there would have adequate parking,” he said.

Commission member Harry Johnston said that while he is concerned about the parking issue, “that’s not what’s before us tonight.” Instead, the question before the commission was about allowing the impervious surface to exceed the already 39 percent.

He made a motion to approve the plan and give the 42 percent because the plan would be a drainage improvement over what’s already there.   

The motion passed, but commission members Judy Stowman and Roger Josephson voted opposed, expressing that they would rather have the impervious surface stay at 39 percent.

Pine to Palm resort

A conditional use permit was granted for D&J Investments to convert the 13 unit resort to a seven unit resort/condo where people can own their individual units.

The outside of the structures won’t change, but inside walls will be changed to convert the structures.

Remmen said the result could be compared to Breezy Shores, though that resort is timeshare units and this would be owned units. But, it is the same concept where it wouldn’t be a residential unit and would still keep its semi-commercial dock license.

Because there won’t be any changes to the outside of the structures, the property will be grandfathered in for impervious surface requirements. Commercial units should be at 35 percent impervious surface, but the Pine to Palm resort is at 86 percent.

Attorney Joe Irby said on behalf of the property owner that this would actually make the property a more favorable usage because there would be less traffic in and out. With people owning their units, there wouldn’t necessarily be the constant flow of weekenders.

The conditional use permit was approved with seven stipulations including not to exceed the already 87 percent impervious surface, no more structure to be built and association bylaws must be in place and approved.

Community Alliance Church

After moving their Wednesday night youth groups to various buildings in Detroit Lakes for over 10 years, the Community Alliance Church is planning to expand and “bring them back home.”

Pastor Matt McKenzie said the youth have been “homeless for well over 10 years,” shifting from the multiple buildings throughout town.

With the church owning 21 acres of land where it sits, there is no issue with impervious surface, but the planning commission is asking the church to provide more greenery in the parking lot.

Remmen said that the church simply needs to get the approval because it is located in a residential district and has to get approval with any changes made to the building, even though it’s in compliance with all ordinances.

 The request was unanimously approved.

Chaney’s 2

The auto repair shop Chaney’s 2 will be expanding.

The planning commission unanimously approved a side yard setback variance to construct a 60-by-50-foot addition to the building for storage purposes.

Remmen said the addition would make the property look nicer because much of the storage outside would now be indoors.

Owner Jon Mickelson said that he started the business with just him but now has four employees and they are “tripping over each other” because they are outgrowing their space.

He also said that the house to the north of his property along Washington Avenue is in foreclosure and if the price is reasonable, he intends to buy that also.

The setback variance was unanimously approved.

The four items will go before the community development committee on Thursday and then the city council on Tuesday for final approval.

Following Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.