Planning commission discusses Northland Mall, other developments

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Planning Commission approved Northland Mall zoning changes and a property annexation in a meeting Tuesday night. The commissioners unanimously approved Yellow Company LLC's application to rezone 23 acres of the 36-a...

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Planning Commission approved Northland Mall zoning changes and a property annexation in a meeting Tuesday night. 

The commissioners unanimously approved Yellow Company LLC’s application to rezone 23 acres of the 36-acre-property on Grand Avenue and Oxford Street to a B-3 zone from B-4, B-3, R-1 and R-5 zones.
The move designates the property as an area of “general business” instead of a shopping center, one-family and multifamily residential areas.
In addition, White Knight Investment LLC also submitted an application to rezone 12.93 acres that it will purchase from Yellow Company LLC from a R1 single-family residential area to a R4 medium-density zone.

However, White Knight Investment requested the commission not address the item on the agenda until the next meeting, because it is still in negotiations with the Yellow Company, owned by Aaron Marthaler.
The commissioners did not approve an application submitted by the Yellow Company for a preliminary plat of a seven-lot subdivision to be known as the Worthington Community Addition on the Northland Mall property.
The property has to be accessed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT), because it abuts U.S. 59 - a state funded highway, said Worthington Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis. MNDOT has until April 23 to assess the property.
The commissioners decided to abstain from action until after the April 23rd deadline or when MNDOT assesses the property. The members came to a consensus to have a special meeting to approve of the preliminary plat if MNDOT assesses the property before the planning commission’s next meeting on May 3.
The commission also approved rezoning and preliminary plat requests made by Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP).
The rezoning of the 5.11-acre property along Grand Avenue owned by SWMHP would designate the area as a multi-family medium- to high-density zone, instead of a single-family residential area.
A preliminary plat for a two-lot residential subdivision, to be known as the Grand Terrace Addition, on the same property was approved with an additional 20 foot easement.
The commission also discussed a petition for the annexation of 6.5 acres of property owned by Allen Drost into the city. The annexation includes the northeast quarter of section 34, except for a homestead located in the center of the property. The annexation would address future residential growth in the area, as stated in the city’s land use plan, Chapulis said.
A resident in the home expressed his concerns about the proposed annexation and future development of the property, during the meeting. Emmanuel Hernandez said he and a woman named Kayla live outside city limits for the safety of their 7-year-old child.
“We have that freedom and he can be outside to do what he wants with no worries,” he said, adding that he wanted to know what future developments would be made on the land.
“We have no desire to be in the city limits,” he continued.
Hernandez and Kayla have an agreement with Drost to enter their home, that is surrounded by his property.
“How do we access our property if that is not available to use anymore?” Hernandez asked.
Another resident, Jason Johnson, who shares a property line with the property in question, also addressed the commissioners.
“I bought my house because I wanted to be away from things,” he said. “I burn my trash, and I can shoot my ducks if I want. We are talking about putting several houses next to that.”
“I don’t see a problem with it but others might have a problem with me living outside of corporate limits,” he continued.
“The annexation does not guarantee that they can go forward with the development (on the Drost property),” Chapulis said, adding that a developer must first obtain a plat to build on the property.
“We would have those healthy discussions at that time,” he continued.
The city has no formal plans for the development of the property.
Commissioner Diane Garber asked Brad Chapulis if “unannexed island properties” were common in Worthington.
Chapulis said other cities do have island-like properties and there would be no issues regarding taxation, though the property may be annexed by the city in the future.
The planning commission approved the annexation. The project will be read at the next three city council meetings before council members vote on the issue.
The commissioners did not address a special use permit request by Jorge and Blanca Cardenas, as they withdrew their application before the meeting.
In other business the board:

  • Approved a preliminary plat for Merck Animal Health. The plat will convert six established lots into one parcel.
  • Approved a vacation right of way for Sanford Health. The company submitted a petition for vacation of a portion of Sixth Avenue north of 10th Street and a public alley between Fifth and Sixth avenues and 10th and 11th streets. It requested the city decommission the areas as public streets so it can incorporate them into its main campus.
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