Planning panel chooses 4 parks
NEW ULM — The New Ulm Planning Commission selected Upper Cottonwood, Pollinator Park, Maplewood and Lakeside Village as the top locations to develop neighborhood parks.
Over the last few months, New Ulm has been reviewing existing and proposed parks for development. The Park and Recreation Commission took the lead on creating a ranking system to identify the most appropriate location for the next park.
The Planning Commission has also participated in the review process. Last month, the Planning Commission members each identified their top three choices for the next park. Upper Cottonwood, Laekside Village and Maplewood were ranked the highest by the Planning Commissioners, but they deferred any further action until more information was available on the Parks Commission’s evaluation process.
The Parks commissioners have since held a work session to finalize the selection criteria and scoring system.
After reviewing the information, the Planning Commission discussed which parks they would formally recommend for development.
Community Development Director David Schnobrich provided the commission with a tabulation on the commissioners voted last month. Upper Cottonwood was the top selection by a wide margin, with Lakeside Village second. Maplewood had the third-highest vote but was only one higher than the Pollinator Park.
With a close ranking system, the commission decided to recommend four park locations for a recommendation. The commissioners unanimously agreed Upper Cottonwood should be ranked first but were undecided which parks should be ranked second, third and fourth.
Commissioner Ashley Aukes wanted the Pollinator Park on North Broadway to be ranked in the top three. She saw it as a possible destination park after further development.
Aukes made the motion to recommend Upper Cotton, Pollinator, Maplewood and Lakeside Village for development in that order. Commissioner Cate Macho seconded the recommendation, and it was unanimously accepted.
This recommendation will go to the city council at their March 16 meeting. The Park and Recreation Commission is expected to submit a recommendation during the same meeting.
The commission unanimously approved a variance to allow an attached garage addition to be located 3 feet from the side property line. The property is located at 12 N. Payne St. Jason Kletscher, the applicant, requested a variance for a 20-foot by 22-foot garage addition to be constructed.
There is an existing 14-by-22-foot garage on the property that was built in 1920. The owner would prefer to add to the existing garage rather than removing the building and constructing a new one. The addition would maintain the existing distance from the north property line.
Staff recommended approval of the variance. City Planner John Knisley said he did not believe the building will change the essential character of the neighborhood and the addition would not change the distance to the existing property line.
Commissioner Dave Munson asked if the garage’s original construction predated the code requiring a setback.
Community Development Director David Schnobrich said the first evidence of New Ulm having setback codes was in 1935, but details of those zoning codes are lost to time. The current setback codes used by New Ulm were adopted in 1968. In the case of Kletscher’s garage, the building predates the current code by nearly 50 years.
The commission unanimously approved the variance.
The commission unanimously approved a second variance regarding the construction of a 28-by-36-foot storage shed placed 10 feet from the front yard property line abutting 10th South Street. The request came from Paul and Colleen Beranek.
The front yard setback in this district is 30 feet. The property is located in a cul-de-sac along Southridge Road with the back of the property along 10th Street South. Since the property is abutting two streets, it has two front yard setback areas.
Staff recommended approval due to the slope along the northern property line and minimal space between the home and neighboring home to access the rear of the property. Staff believes the placement of the building does not change the essential character of the neighborhood.