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Panel says no to Giovanni’s plan

The Detroit Lakes Community Development Committee didn’t agree with the Planning Commission recommendation when it came to development at the corner of West Lake Drive and Washington Avenue.

Tuesday night the planning commission voted to approve an addition to the former Giovanni’s building owned by Mitch Wimmer that would tip the impervious scale from 39 percent to 42 percent.

Commercial buildings are allowed 35 percent impervious (paved) surface on their developments, and the two lots in question — Giovanni’s and what is rented out to SOL paddleboarding — is already at 39 percent.

Though Wimmer said he thinks he could possibly stay at the 39 percent, he asked the planning commission for some “wiggle room” up to 42 percent. They complied but not without discussion, and two members voted against the increase.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said one saving grace for the addition is that Wimmer agreed to put in some more green space and a rain garden by the building, which would help with some of the water runoff. Right now, there is no treatment of the runoff.

The community development committee members said they preferred the 39 percent impervious surface rather than increasing it more. The Lake Detroiters Association said they would prefer the 39 percent as well.

City Council Alderman Ron Zeman said the city has cracked down on only allowing homeowners the 25 percent impervious surface, and the exception shouldn’t be made for a business or it would be setting a bad precedent.

“It will come back to haunt us,” he said.

The matter will come before the Detroit Lakes City Council on Tuesday at 5 p.m. for a final vote.