Posted 7/6/22

FROM PAGE 1 area,” she said, then adding, “A couple things are challenging.” Among the challenges were ongoing inflation and hiring being restrained by the tight labor market. “Most folks are …

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FROM PAGE 1 area,” she said, then adding, “A couple things are challenging.” Among the challenges were ongoing inflation and hiring being restrained by the tight labor market. “Most folks are running through the labor market looking for better pay from job to job,” she said. “I’m sure that’s not anything that would surprise any of you.” In addition, Larson shared that consumer spending had grown slightly and remained at high levels as of the June report, while retail contacts had reported modestly higher revenues but lower profits from the previous month. Commercial construction had seen a slight increase, while manufacturing and agricultural activity had remained strong since the last report.

Lastly, around 70 percent of respondents to a business survey reported that non-labor input prices had increased for them in May.

“So again, it looks like Cottage Grove is ignoring part of the bubble that’s outside,” she said. “We’re kind of going our own path.”

Also covered at the June 28 EDA meeting were commercial projects related to Park Place Storage, the Bieter Eye Center, and Design Plus Cabinets, all in Cottage Grove.

As to Park Place Storage, plans had been submitted for a fourth building and were being reviewed, while for the Beiter Eye Center building and plumbing permits had been issued for a relocation to the Summerhill Professional Building.

Design Plus Cabinets was undertaking a tenant improvement project at 8599 West Point Douglas.

Last but not least were updates related to a remodel at Tradehome Shoes, final inspections for American Logistics Services in the Capp Industries building, and soon to come plumbing work at the Oakwood Park Shelter following state review approval. With no questions from the EDA members following Larson’s report it was into business interest in Cottage Grove from the ICSC event at Vegas in May. Larson led out the recap on ICSC as well.

“They visited a number of retailers,” she said of city officials at Vegas, with the drive to seek out new interest followed up with visits to those who had already expressed interest, including Raising Canes, Famous Footwear, Tommy’s Carwash, Papa John’s, Smoothie King, and Adventure Golf and Sports.

As to hotels, potentially interested parties include Choice Hotels (Extended Stay), Marriot, Wyndham, and Cobblestone.

“And we even have a discussion tomorrow with Marriott,” Larson said June 28. “I like to tell everyone Cottage Grove has been found. It’s official.”

Earlier the preceding night, meanwhile, the Cottage Grove Plan Commission heard presentations on three conditional use permit applications at its Monday June 27 meeting.

The first, from Lighthouse Baptist Church, sought an amended permit to move an existing house to the church property at 9979 80th Street South.

The second, by Ward Development in the care of Dish Wireless, was to add three Dish Network Antennas to the water tower at 8520 81st Street South west of Pine Tree Pond Park.

The third, was to allow a drive-through lane at an existing building located at 7582 80th Street South, for Dunkins/Baskins Robbin’s.

Church permit first. Approved for construction in 1988 at its current location, and receiving approval in 2006 for an updated site plan with parsonage, but not starting parsonage construction within a year of approval per City Code, Lighthouse Baptist had come seeking to make good on initial plans.

The site, which is zoned R-1 and allows for places of worship with an approved conditional use permit limiting residence to 10 people, would locate the parsonage 66 feet from the southern property line.

Public hearing notice was mailed to 70 properties within 500 feet of the property with proposed parsonage and published in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press on May 11 of this year. The item later tabled at the May meeting to follow in June, the City recommended that the approval be given, with State statute not requiring another public notice, due to the matter being tabled. As of the June 27 meeting staff had not received any comments, with Plan Commissioner Jessica Fisher asking a question on the site drain field. Senior City Planner Matt Mrosla noted that the drain field was in the same area as the original approvals, not a nearby wooded area.

“All right, at this time then I’ll open public hearing,” Plan Commission Chair Evan Frazier said. Following a neighbor who raised a light blocking issue when the occupant turned into the parsonage at night.

“We’re not opposed but we do have concerns,” he said of the need for a light screen for his backyard.

Following comment the hearing was closed, with City Planner Mrosla stating the church’s willingness to meet conditions of the approval. Motion being made by Commissioner Fisher and seconded by Commissioner Jerret Wright, the application from Lighthouse Baptist was approved.

Also appearing before the Plan Commission Monday night but from the applicant side was Steve Ward of Ward Development.

“I just want to say that our equipment is al little different than what you’ve seen in the past,” he said, saying the service was digital. The cabinet for the equipment was only 30 inches by 30 inches, fitting on a five by 7 foot pad, then enclosed by a 13 by 11 foot fenced area.

On a side note, the Dish Network equipment will be concealed behind a vinyl fence, and therefore unseen by the public who might pass by. At least one commissioner had a question.

“So we had a resident reach out with regard to the wireless network being installed,” Commissioner Wright said. “Is there any danger to the public?”

“We’re licensed by the FCC,” Ward said. “We’re prohibited from operating outside that,” he said of the narrow bandwidth. Following a chance for public comment with a motion by Commissioner Ken Brittian seconded by Commissioner Stevens, the application from Dish Network passed, a letter received from a resident entered into the record for the application.

Lastly for the Plan Commission was the Dunkins/ Baskin Robbins application, passing after presentation from Senior City Planner Emily Schmitz and questions answered by the applicant.

Tasked with reviewing applications before they reach the City Council, the Plan Commission is a good way to keep up to date on city business for interested residents.

It meets the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m., meetings being live streamed from City Hall.

For those looking forward, the Council meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, also at City Hall.

A Dish network application was among those covered by the Plan Commission June 27. Image from June 27 Plan Commission meeting packet.