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Commission recommends PUD change

Switch of zone of EDA-owned land also moves forward

City of Worthington
Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — In a meeting short on action items but long on discussion, the Worthington Planning Commission voted to advance a pair of city staff recommendations during its Tuesday meeting, one pertaining to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendment and another involving a change of zone.

The commission’s decision to advance the PUD Amendment to the Worthington City Council is expected to be heard at the April 26 council meeting. It involves a development by KJSM Investments LLC within the Cherrywood Addition. KJSM submitted an application to amend PUD #10 — encompassing 7.83 acres of land directly south of Olson Park — seeking to reduce the required rear yard setbacks from the current 30-foot requirement to 20 feet.

Worthington Assistant City Administrator/Director of Economic Development Jason Brisson told the commission that an amended PUD, in his view, “is compatible with the surrounding land uses and provides for a more efficient use of land than would be permissible under the prior PUD #10 requirements.”

Brisson also noted that he was contacted by Joel Jenkins of Chanhassen, representing Worthington’s Haack Acres, indicating his opposition to the amended PUD. Jenkins said he wouldn’t be opposed to change so long as the Haack Acres property was afforded a similar opportunity.

Lyle Voss, owner of Lyle Voss Construction in Worthington, also expressed concern about an amended PUD. While he wasn’t concerned about the change with regard to one of the PUD’s specific lots, he was worried about a plan that would move the required rear yard setbacks from 30 to 20 feet on all lots.

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“In a nice area, we just don’t want to have things smushed up in the back,” Voss said.

Both Brisson and Steve Johnson, representing KJSM, said the request for the setback change was driven by a demand for wider garage widths. Johnson said there are requests to extend garages out for all six lots encompassing the project.

“We’re in really good shape on all of these lots except for Lot 6 — with that one, we’re in there as tight as we can be,” said Johnson, who recalled a conversation with the city’s previous city planner, Jeremiah Cromie, on the matter. Johnson explained that while he was concerned with the rear yard setback on Lot 6 and suggested a 26-foot setback there, Cromie had recommended a 20-foot setback for all the PUD’s lots.

“Is there a possibility that this board could pass an amendment for a 26-foot setback, rather than 20?” Johnson inquired. Voss said he “would feel better” if that action was taken, adding that his preference would be a change from 30 feet to 20 feet for just Lot 6.

Planning Commission Chairman Ben Weber voiced his support for keeping the amendment to the PUD as written, moving all the rear yard setback requirements from 30 feet to 20 feet. “PUDs allow developers to proceed without a lot of paperwork,” said Weber, who made a motion to approve the amendment that was seconded by Andrew Berg.

While the motion was passed unanimously (commissioner Mark Vis was absent from the meeting). Brisson said he would research an alternative solution to amending the PUD, taking the concerns presented during the meeting into consideration.

The meeting’s other primary action item involved a request by the Worthington Economic Development Authority to change the zone for 8.51 acres of property it owns approximately 1,600 feet west of U.S. 59, south of 27th Street from its current TZ (transition zone district) zoning to M-2 (general manufacturing district). Brisson stated the proposed change of zone “minimizes potential of future land use conflicts, is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, and the subject property adequately provides for the unique needs of an M-2 district as defined by the city’s zoning ordinance.”

Dan Bogie, who identified himself as the sole resident/property owner in the immediate area, expressed his opposition to the change.

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“The first thing is, what’s that going to do to property values,” Bogie said. “I want something that doesn’t cause a lot of dust and a lot of traffic concerns and smells.”

Bogie expressed hope that the city would consider a different site for a business such as Cemstone, which Brisson confirmed remains interested in relocating to the location specified in the zoning change request. Nevertheless, the commission voted without opposition (city council representative Chris Kielblock abstained) to recommend the change, which will also be considered during the April 26 council meeting.

  • The Planning Commission also welcomed Jason Gerdes as a member; he will serve a three-year term expiring March 31, 2024. Weber was elected as chairman and Vis as vice-chairman for the upcoming year. Both served in those roles on an interim basis since December 2020.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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