Strip mall proposal still up in airThe fate of a developer's bid to build a strip mall along Main Street near downtown Red Wing remains uncertain, as it now heads for further review by city planning officials.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
The fate of a developer's bid to build a strip mall along Main Street near downtown Red Wing remains uncertain, as it now heads for further review by city planning officials.
Red Wing City Council Monday sent developer Kevin Smith's proposal to erect a commercial building at 930 Main St. back to the city's Advisory Planning Commission.
This came after council two weeks ago denied Smith a permit needed for the project. The issue was brought back because Mayor John Howe vetoed the measure.
"Development in our city is few and far between, and I think we should take another run at this," Howe said Monday, explaining his veto. A vote to override the veto failed. Council voted 4-3 in favor of an override, but a two-thirds (5-2) vote is required to override a veto.
Smith needs the council to approve a variance request before he can proceed. That's because his plans to build a 6,250-square-foot building - which would house a Subway and Taco John's, with a drive-thru window, and several retail shops - doesn't meet several of the city's recently adopted commercial design standards.
Council members have said the development would improve the lot. But they also have pointed out Smith's proposal misses on many of the new design standards.
A majority of council members have said they're unwilling to bend that far because it would undermine the design ordinance.
Originally it appeared Smith's building would deviate from five design standards, but Council member Dean Hove told the council at its April 26 meeting Smith has cleared a number of the issues.
Council members squabbled Monday over the proper way to proceed Smith's intent to amend his proposal, ultimately choosing to send it back down to the planning commission for further review.
Smith has said delaying construction could derail the project because his tenants are corporate franchises that may be unwilling to wait for his proposal to make its way through City Hall.
After Monday's meeting Smith expressed frustration over the process, saying there isn't a good line of communication between him and the city. Asked if he has time to go back and work with the commission, Smith replied, "Perhaps?"
His project was approved in 2008. But Smith had to hold off on construction because a potential tenant backed out. His permit expired in spring of 2009 and new standards were approved in August.
Smith, who lives in Hudson, Wis., said he didn't realize his permit elapsed nor did that more stringent standards were being passed. He criticized the council for not informing him of the changes.
Some city officials have responded saying the design standards were well publicized in Red Wing.