Neighbors are heard
Residents appeared before the Minneota City Council Monday night protesting the establishment of Minneota Auto Body and Glass in their residentially-zoned neighborhood.
The council reacted to the expressions of neighbors of 207 W. 2nd Street and denied a Conditional Use Permit to Cory Sandhurst, owner of the auto body company. The property is the former Todd Bretschneider residence and body shop and is owned by Wayne and Bonnie Oftedahl.
Sandhurst said he wants to move his business to that location. Currently, the business is located along Highway 68 going southeast toward Marshall.
Sandhurst said he would be, “Installing a paint booth,” and indicated 97 to 98 percent of the paint spray would not be outside the building.
But during a public hearing, Stephanie Moon, who owns a business and daycare next to the proposed shop, said the fumes from the business can be dangerous to her daycare children when they are in the backyard. “What about the two percent that will leak?” she asked.
Another area resident Darlene Dorenkamper protested the body shop, saying, “When Bretschneiders had the paint shop, they had all the equipment to hold down the paint. But I went for a walk and I couldn’t breath. I wasn’t sure I would make it back home.”
“I don’t like the idea of a business starting up in a residential area. Businesses should start up in the industrial park,” said Dorenkamper.
City Administrator Shirley Teigland said she’d researched the files and found no evidence the shop had ever been zoned commercial. Sandhurst indicated he had purchased the property and, “Bought the lot behind it for parking vehicles.”
The current location of Minneota Auto Body and Glass was no longer a possibility and was growing too expensive said Sandhurst. He indicated he wouldn’t have insurance on the business after February 1.
“I’m not against him growing business. We need business growing in Minneota — just not in my backyard,” said Moon. Before Bretschneider was gone, “One of our (daycare) children had headaches and ever since Bretschneider has been gone, she has them no more,” Moon said.
And Moon added, “We would like to encourage business in town, but not in residential areas.” She indicated there may also be increased traffic in the area because of the business.
“The only person driving through the area will be me parking the cars I’m working on,” Sandhurst said.
Sandhurst said the cost of updating his current building would be much higher than the costs of the new building.
“It’s going to be a lot more efficient. Heating costs will be lower. It’s about $5,000 worth of fuel to heat the (current) building. And the cost of propane will be a lot more efficient,” Sandhurst said.
Sandhurst indicated new standards make the equipment more efficient and cleaner.
“About 99 percent of the work is repair work, painting … no sandblasting, no chrome,” said Sandhurst.
“We fully support business and we fully want every business to succeed. But we’re not looking at changing something. This is something in the middle of a neighborhood. Because of this, I can’t support it. The neighbors showed up and voiced their concerns and I can’t ignore that,” said Mayor John Rolbiecki.
“If you show them your plan and the neighbors come aboard and are for it, then maybe I would be aboard,” said Mayor Rolbiecki.
Sandhurst said, “If this isn’t going to work, I will be forced to leave this town with my business. I have worked here for 10 years and I have part of me in this town,” said Sandhurst. The council suggested working with Sandhurst about a building in the industrial park.
“I’m kind of in a time crunch since insurance runs out in February,” said Sandhurst. Water and sewer would have to be run to the lot and that can’t be done until spring. The council voted 3-2 to deny the conditional use permit based on the neighbors disagreement with the move.
Voting to deny were Mayor Rolbiecki, Councilman Jerry Teigland and Councilman Tim Koppien with council members Travis Gillund and Amber Rodas voting against denying the permit.
On Tuesday, Sandhurst told The Mascot he has filed a new application for the permit with the city council. “I will take the council and neighbors on a tour of the building and give them a demonstration and show them what I’m doing,” Sandhurst said.
He’s hopeful the second time around will provide more information so the permit can be approved.
IN OTHER action the board:
•Approved a resolution designating the Minneota Mascot as the official newspaper and financial institutions as Bank of the West of Minneota; Bank West Investment Services, Inc. and State Bank of Taunton.
•Approved John Engels as city attorney; Travis Gillund as acting mayor and set the committees for the upcoming year.