Commission tackles kennels, crushing and tax abatementIn a move designed to simplify the city code, Cloquet Planning Commission members Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend a plan to no longer require a city license for commercial kennels, because the kennels are already required to go through a very similar process to obtain a conditional use permit.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
In a move designed to simplify the city code, Cloquet Planning Commission members Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend a plan to no longer require a city license for commercial kennels, because the kennels are already required to go through a very similar process to obtain a conditional use permit.
However, private kennels — basically residents with four or five dogs and cats, over the city’s legal limit of three — will still be required to get a license from the city.
“Staff tried to eliminate the private kennel [clause] and make the limit three for everyone, but the council wasn’t ready,” City Planner Al Cottingham said during the public hearing at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, adding that anyone who wants to get a private kennel license needs letters from all neighbors within 100 feet and has to go through a public hearing process.
If approved by the Cloquet City Council at its May 7 meeting, language pertaining to commercial kennels would be dropped from Section 8 of the City Code and it would be addressed instead in the city’s zoning ordinance, which is Section 17 of the City Code.
Also Tuesday, commission members voted unanimously (with Kelly Johnson and Chuck Buscher absent) to recommend approval of a conditional use permit (CUP) for Kiminski Paving, which requested the permit to allow for outside storage at its facility on 1441 Moorhead Road. The request was made to allow the paving company to store asphalt, concrete and gravel, which it crushes and recycles for use as base material in construction projects.
Only one neighbor attended the public hearing; he expressed concern over the hours of operation, saying the company should have limits on the hours it could crush the construction materials.
Adam Kiminski told planning commission members that limitations on the hours for crushing were reasonable, adding that he expects crushing of materials to happen every two years for a couple weeks at the most, and likely even less frequently because they have to hire an outside company to come and do the crushing.
Commissioners recommended two conditions on the permit, including limiting crushing of materials to the hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and placing a maximum height restriction of 40 feet on the piles of construction materials. City Council will vote on the CUP at its May 7 meeting.
Finally, commissioners found unanimously that a request by SpecSys Inc. — an engineering company with an office in the Royal Building — for city tax abatement is, indeed, consistent with both the City Code and Comprehensive Plan.
Cottingham explained that tax abatement allows a company to regain the difference in property taxes before and after a renovation project for a limited period of time, no more than 15 years. He did not address the company’s request to have the original value of the property placed at $0, a figure SpecSys officials think is reasonable because the building — although occupied — was owned by the city and under consideration for demolition.
“The Planning Commission needs to look at this to see if it’s consistent with the Comprehensive Plan,” Cottingham explained. “We don’t act on the dollars and cents.”
Planning Commission Chair John Sanders noted that the company’s renovation of the property at 1111 Cloquet Ave. supports the idea of redeveloping distressed properties in the city center.
Cottingham noted that the city plans to landscape and pave the parking lot to the west of the Royal Building later this summer.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on the SpecSys request for tax abatement at its 7 p.m. meeting May 7 at City Hall.