Permit approval for Ron's Repair expansion moves forward unchanged
The matter was tabled during the March 13 meeting of the Worthington City Council, due to new information from MnDOT that had come up after the commission had recommended approval of the permit.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Planning Commission convened for a special session Wednesday evening, in order to discuss a conditional use permit for Ron’s Repair.
The matter was tabled during the March 13 meeting of the Worthington City Council, due to new information from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that had come up after the commission had recommended approval of the permit.
The conditional use permit would allow for an expansion to the existing Ron’s Repair business, located along Minnesota Highway 60 in Worthington. Auto-repair businesses require a conditional use permit to operate in a general business district, as Ron’s Repair is, and changes to the property would need an updated permit.
During its March 7 meeting, the commission voted to recommend approval of the conditional use permit, with the attached condition that the property complies to all applicable local, state and federal standards and requirements.
However, when City Planner Matt Selof presented the matter to the city council, he noted that since the Planning Commission meeting, feedback had been received from MnDOT on the application. The state was requesting that the city require approximately 100 feet of curb to be installed along the frontage road, following the right-of-way.
The request was intended to tighten up access to Ron’s Repair and push the access point further back from the nearby intersection, in the hopes that this would reduce any traffic conflicts and allow for better utilization of the existing 100 feet of right-of-way.
“For 23 years, I’ve never heard anybody have a conflict,” said Ron’s Repair owner Ron Prins. “I was just curious on what the conflict is… I just don’t understand that.”
Selof stated that in further correspondence with MnDOT, he had requested evidence of any conflicts, and had not received anything back from the state.
Additionally, it was noted that Ron’s Repair currently has a variance, granted back in 2004, exempting the property from hard surfacing the lot on the property, until the frontage road is curbed and guttered or it becomes a public road. Approving MnDOT’s request would require the property to hard-surface the lot.
A fence along the same area was proposed as an alternative to the curb and gutter suggestion, but Prins stated it, like the curb, would change traffic patterns in the lot and have the additional drawback of causing issues with snow buildup.
During the planning commission special meeting, Selof said that in further correspondence with MnDOT, their response regarding the application had changed somewhat.
“They said after further review and consideration, we've decided not to require anything further from the applicant and we'll defer to the city on what you decide is appropriate,” Selof said. “I never had the impression that they could require anything which I had asked that… and they never responded to that question either.”
With the conflicts the curb and gutter, or fence, requirements would pose to the traffic entering and existing Ron’s Repair, the commission ultimately decided to forgo MnDOT’s suggestion and put forth the conditional use permit as it was approved during the initial planning commission meeting.