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Pine River: Council holds two public hearings

The Pine River City Council approved two requests following public hearings at the Tuesday, April 12, council meeting. The first public hearing was for a variance to allow Doug Taylor to build a fence at his Cozy Theater property in the city. Tay...

The Pine River City Council approved two requests following public hearings at the Tuesday, April 12, council meeting.

The first public hearing was for a variance to allow Doug Taylor to build a fence at his Cozy Theater property in the city. Taylor was requesting a fence taller than would be allowed without a variance, to be used to provide a separation for his theater audience from the surrounding buildings and highway.

The council informed Taylor of the restrictions on the variance, telling him that he still had to abide by sign ordinances if he wanted to advertise on the fence and that he could not fill the fenced in area with items for long-term storage. Taylor agreed to these terms.

No opposition was raised and Taylor's variance was approved.

The council then held a hearing for the rezoning of Dollar General property on the south end of town. The property is currently zoned industrial, and has certain setbacks (a distance required between construction and roads, waterways or other items) according to that zoning.

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However, the current construction on the property encroaches on those setbacks. Because commercial properties have different setbacks, rezoning was requested.

During the March meeting the council determined rezoning in this case would not be spot-zoning because the nearby properties are also commercial, and therefore the property could be zoned without legal issue.

There was no opposition to the request for rezoning, and the council approved the request.

In other business, the Pine River council:

• Learned that The Warehouse would like to offer swimming lessons at the Pine River swimming beach. The council approved the request.

• Agreed to allow Pine River Aeromotor, a new business at the municipal airport, to use a hangar to repair airplanes and to sell used airplanes with approval on a case-by-case basis to prevent crowding the airport with airplanes for sale.

• Agreed to allow the Pine River United Methodist Church to use its back parking lot for a fish fry July 16, as well as to close a section of street for additional space.

• Agreed to invite the Pine River Economic Development Commission to discuss having the Cass County Economic Development Corporation manage the city's incoming Minnesota Investment Funds (MIF) as a Local Development Organization (LDO). Currently the MIF funds have strict guidelines for use, but under an LDO, those guidelines would be less restrictive. The EDC already provides this service to other cities, including Backus.

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• Changed its August regular meeting to Aug. 8 due to primary elections.

• Set election judge pay at $10 an hour.

• Voiced approval of a 5K run corresponding with the 2016 Relay for Life.

• Approved promotion of Tammy Hamilton to executive director of the Pine River Housing Authority.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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