A new 45-unit storage unit facility is planned for commercial property on County Highway 3 near Merrifield.

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday, July 13, followed the recommendation of the county’s planning commission to approve a preliminary plat for the proposed development. The property will be subdivided into 46 parcels, including one outlot, to be sold to individual owners.

Westin Properties LLC sought approval of its development plan for the land on the 19000 block of County Highway 3, just south of The Woods event center. In March, the county board agreed to redesignate the rural residential property as commercial property, paving the way for the most recent request.

Jake Frie, county environmental services supervisor, told commissioners Tuesday a condition Westin Properties LLC must meet to move forward with the plat is to fulfill requirements of the county highway department concerning the entrance to the buildings. Once the preexisting entrance to the property is upgraded, a second entrance to the south along with a culvert at that location must be removed.

There are no living quarters or septic systems proposed for the storage unit development, and once complete, it’s expected cover nearly 45% of the 6 acres with impervious surfaces. This is below the maximum allowable 60% for commercial properties. County staff must approve a revised stormwater management plan meeting county standards before development operations begin.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Commissioner Paul Koering said he felt the location was appropriate for commercial development.

“On County Road 3, it kind of makes sense,” Koering said. “It is a trunk highway, where I would assume that this would be the best spot for commercial. I’m assuming that’s why our planning commission, who goes through things very thoroughly, approved it unanimously. I guess I don’t see any issues with it.”

Late last year, the county board denied a preliminary plat for a similar storage facility near Pelican Lake amid strong opposition from neighbors, who argued the building did not fit the character of the residential neighborhood on a county road rather than a trunk highway. That facility did gain approval for a conditional use permit allowing placement on property zoned rural residential, along with a variance to dramatically reduce the lot size for individual sale of the units. But by denying the preliminary plat, commissioners essentially reversed the variance, putting a stop to a plan to sell rather than rent out the units.

Koering made the motion Tuesday to approve the plat, which was seconded by Commissioner Rosemary Franzen. The motion passed 3-0, with Commissioner Bill Brekken abstaining and Commissioner Doug Houge absent. Brekken said he would abstain because he’s a real estate agent with RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty, which will represent the developer in the sale of the individual storage units.

In other business, the county board:

Authorized Community Services Director Kara Terry to sign a letter of confirmation to accompany a supportive housing units proposal to Minnesota Housing for the property with the old Thrifty White building, 805 Laurel St. in downtown Brainerd. In the letter, Terry stated affordable housing and housing in general of areas of great need in Crow Wing County, citing current vacancy rates of 0.5% to 1%. She also supported the idea of four of the 36 planned units serving high priority homeless households, stating it “seems appropriate and a good ratio.”

Approved a final payment to Lot Pros Inc. for bituminous crack sealing on county highways 1, 11, 16, 30 and 33 and county roads 118, 125, 127, 137 and 168, along with Paradise Drive and roads in the First Assessment District. The final amount was $120,532.22, a total of $1,400 over the original contract amount.

Approved a final payment to DLL Excavating Inc. for aggregate surfacing on county roads 129, 132, 142 and 149, along with several First Assessment District roads. The final amount was $257,607.87, which was $1,592.76 over the original contract amount.

Supported lawful gambling applications for exempt permits for two events supporting Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center. The events are set for Sept. 9-11 and Sept. 17-18 at the center.

Approved a 3.2% malt liquor license application for Paul Bunyan Land doing business as Old Time Saloon in Nokay Lake Township.

Approved the hiring of the following people: Brandon Anderson, corrections officer, jail; Ashley Welu, property assessor in training, land services; Amy Getty, accounting technician, community services; Mimi Zhou, 911 communications officer, sheriff’s office; Jeffrey Maciej, deputy, sheriff’s office; Matthew Jorgens, deputy, sheriff’s office; and Ryan Allen, deputy, sheriff’s office.

Approved the promotion of Mitchell Hinnenkamp to environmental services technician, a new position approved May 25.

Accepted the departures of the following employees: John Veugeler, corrections officer, jail; Rebecca Ridlon, administrative associate, jail; Kirstin Lindbery, customer service specialist, land services; Theresa Stange, corrections officer, jail; and Melodie Villnow, accounting technician, community services. Replacement staffing for each of these positions was also approved.



CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.