Decision on variance, rezoning postponed

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Board of Zoning Adjustment on Thursday continued to a later, undetermined date, a public hearing on a variance from the City Code that would permit zero-foot common-wall setbacks on some tax-forfeited lots in the Dakota West Addition.

Addressing a related issue, the New Ulm Planning Commission also delayed a decision on a petition to rezone the property from single-family to single and two-family residence district.

The property is located west of Cottonwood Street, north of Boundary Street and South of Flandrau State Park. It was platted in 2007. It has 39 lots. Thirty-five lots were forfeited to the state for non-payment of real estate taxes. Brown County is responsible for the sale and maintenance of these properties.

The variance and the rezoning would allow the construction of the twin homes on the tax-forfeited lots subject to Thursday’s meetings. Brown County officials say there is a interest in this type of development, and the actions would allow the potential sale of the lots.

Decisions on the variance and rezoning were delayed as a result of a letter by property owners who bought some lots in the addition. The letter argues that Restrictive Covenants from 2009 restrict the use of the lots in the addition to single residential purposes. It is these owners’ position that the city is barred from rezoning the property to anything other than single-family residences.

City staff said the purpose of delaying a decision is to further explore the legal issues pertaining to the matter (how the Restrictive Covenants apply in cases of tax forfeiture).

City staff says city regulations in general were not designed for twin homes, and numerous similar variances have been granted in the past. The proposed development proposal would place one dwelling on each lot, the same density of development found in a single-family zoned area.

Fairhills Fifth Addition

The Planning Commission approved a revised final plat of the Fairhills Fifth Addition.

The property is located west of Ashland Road, north of Maplewood Drive and south of U.S. Highway 14. It is undeveloped and was formerly a gravel pit.

The platted area totals 7.2 acres, and the plat would create 22 lots.

Since a previous meeting, changes have been made to the plat, including eliminating a block and transferring lots to another block, and moving a public trail to its original location to avoid a retaining wall up to 8 feet high.

Also, due to the location of the public trail, one block would not have complied with city area and depth requirements. A topographic survey determined that a portion of the paved surface of the existing public trail is on property owned by Prairie Land Development. An exchange of property between the city and Prairie Land would eliminate the need for variances and place the entire trail on city property. It would also make the non-compliant lot compliant.

The plat assumes the land swap will be approved by the City Council.

Sarah Hills

Third Addition

The Planning Commission approved a preliminary plat for the Sarah Hills Third Addition.

The property is located south of Airport Road, west of Boundary Street and north of Maplewood Drive.

The platted area totals 3.62 acres and the plat would create 10 lots.

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