Council approves zoning change for proposed banquet hall

Cloquet City Councilors and Mayor Bruce Ahlgren took the advice of the Cloquet Planning Commission Tuesday and voted unanimously to amend the city's comprehensive plan regarding land use on property adjacent to B&B Market.

Cloquet City Councilors and Mayor Bruce Ahlgren took the advice of the Cloquet Planning Commission Tuesday and voted unanimously to amend the city's comprehensive plan regarding land use on property adjacent to B&B Market.

Up for debate was a request by B&B Market owners John and Kim Lind 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." As recommended by the Planning Commission, councilors instead voted to change the classification to "neighborhood commercial."

The well-known business owners are considering building a banquet hall on the 1.2-acre site west of the current store.

John Lind told the council and city staff that he and his wife believe there is a big need in the area for a single-level banquet facility that could seat more than 100 people.

"We've had people asking for birthday parties, anniversaries, family reunions and weddings," he said. "A lot of people are looking for between 100 and 200 people and easy access."


City Planner Al Cottingham told the Council that the Planning Commission was more concerned about future use of the land, should the banquet hall fail.

"Their concern is a longer laundry list of uses [for highway commercial property]," Cottingham said, adding that the Commission felt many of those approved uses would not be "comfortable" within the residential neighborhood surrounding B&B and the proposed banquet hall.

Lind asked if the neighborhood commercial zoning would allow for only a few uses.

Cottingham reassured him that there is still quite a list of permitted uses, although not as many as the highway commercial zone.

Permitted uses within the "Neighborhood Convenience Commercial District" are outlined in the city's zoning code as follows:

A. Eating and Drinking Places. Soda fountains, ice cream parlors, tea rooms, restaurant and cafes, but not those providing live


B. Offices. Business and professional offices.


C. Residential. Dwelling units which are a part of the retail or service structure.

D. Retail and Service. Retail business or service establishment supplying commodities or performing services primarily for residents of the surrounding neighborhood on a day to day basis, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, household light appliance repair, hardware stores, delicatessens, specialty and handicraft shops, barber and beauty parlors, clothes cleaning or repair and laundry pick-up stations. Neighborhood indoor movie theatre may be permitted.

Cottingham told the council that the Planning Commission is hoping to change the city code to allow live entertainment in the neighborhood commercial zone with a conditional use permit.

In other matters Tuesday, Councilors and Mayor Ahlgren took the following actions:

  • Set a public hearing for April 2 on proposed improvements to Skyline Boulevard from Highway 33 to Pearl Street and also the improvement of Arthur Street from Skyline Boulevard to North Road.
  • Unanimously passed a resolution in support of efforts to adjust the legislation that allows the Cloquet Area Fire District to levy property taxes. The original legislation was amended during hearings in such a way that the CAFD cannot levy property taxes within its primary service area for ambulance service, although it can levy for fire service. Should the legislature make the requested change, it would likely mean that Cloquet residents would actually see a reduction in their share of the CAFD levy, because other areas would begin paying for a share of ambulance service.
  • Unanimously approved special assessments to adjacent property owners for the reconstruction last summer of 18th Street from Wilson to Prospect Avenue and Prospect Avenue from 18th to 20th Street (along with improvements to water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer utilities).

City Engineer Jim Prusak said the final assessment role includes 27 properties. The average cost per home was between $3,500 and $4,500, he said. Homeowners can pay the assessment up front or finance with the city to pay the money over 10 years at an 8 percent interest rate, Prusak said, noting that many people choose to take out a bank loan at an even lower interest rate.
"There are a number of more commercial or institutional-type facilities along the project," he said, naming St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Cloquet High School and an apartment building. "Those are larger properties and their assessments are considerably more."

No residents attended the public hearing on the street assessments, so the hearing was closed without comment from the audience.

Related Topics: CLOQUET
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