Commission delays decision after no-showAbsolutely no one showed Tuesday night for a Cloquet Planning Commission public hearing on a possible amendment to the city’s Comprehensive Plan – no neighbors, not even the business owners who requested it.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Absolutely no one showed Tuesday night for a Cloquet Planning Commission public hearing on a possible amendment to the city’s Comprehensive Plan – no neighbors, not even the business owners who requested it.
Up for debate was a request to amend the Land Use portion of the city’s Comprehensive Plan by changing the current classification of property on the west side of B&B Market on Big Lake Road from “moderate to high residential” to “highway commercial.”
City Planner Al Cottingham explained that B&B owners John and Kim Lind would like to construct a banquet facility on the 1.2-acre property.
“This is the first step in a three-phase process,” Cottingham said, explaining that if the Planning Commission and City Council approved the change to the Comprehensive Plan, next the property would have to be formally rezoned and finally, a site plan would have to be approved.
Commission Chair John Sanders asked why the request was for “highway commercial,” a designation mostly reserved for businesses along the Highway 33 corridor in Cloquet.
Cottingham explained that it is simply an expansion of the current zoning for B&B Market.
“I don’t know why it’s [highway commercial] instead of ‘neighborhood commercial,’” Cottingham said, noting that highway commercial would allow for a greater number of uses for the property. “Another possibility would be to zone it ‘neighborhood commercial’ and rezone the B&B Market.”
Cottingham said sewer and water would have to be extended to the site, likely at the business owners’ expense, and access to the site would be via the extension of Spruce Street south of Big Lake Road and possibly from Big Lake Road, although that would require approval from the county because it is a county road.
Rick Norrgard, safety officer for the Carlton County Transportation Department came looking for information on behalf of the county.
Both Norrgard and the members of the Planning Commission ended the public hearing with some questions unanswered.
Cottingham said he was surprised no one from the neighborhood attended, adding that he had sent the hearing notice to all residences within 300 feet of the property and to the business owners (also requesting their presence at the meeting). However, Kim Lind said Wednesday that she understood from the city that they didn’t need to attend. Cottingham also posted a legal notice in the Feb. 14 issue of the Pine Journal.
In the end, after closing the public hearing with no outside comments, members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously to table the zoning case until March 12, provided the Linds or a representative could appear at that meeting. There will not be a public hearing at the March 12 meeting, however.
In other matters Tuesday, the Planning Commission:
- Voted unanimously to amend the zoning ordinance where it deals with in-home businesses. The commission voted to recommend the city council remove the city’s requirement that people conducting a business within their home purchase a home occupation permit.
“I think we have a total of about 20 people with permits now,” Cottingham said. “I can’t imagine how many more people have businesses in their home and don’t have a permit.”
The commission did vote to add language to the zoning code allowing for enforcement of city regulations on in-home businesses.
- Voted unanimously to eliminate duplicate entries and update language in the city code pertaining to wireless communications facilities.