The Stillwater City Commission on Monday approved a request on a 3-2 vote from Kerns Construction for a special use permit to allow pipe storage at 615 E. 17th Ave.

Two people spoke in favor of the request and eight stood in opposition.

Elnora Burke, a 17th Avenue resident, said there would be plenty of room for pipe storage if Kerns cleaned up its junk. Over the last several months, Tuckertown residents have challenged Kerns’ history of compliance as a basis for their fight to keep the pipe storage lot off of their street. Since the property was rezoned CC (community shopping) and not CG (general commercial), Kerns was required to present a site plan to be reviewed by city staff before commission consideration.

Vice Mayor Ruth Anne Kennedy and Commissioner Hank Moore opposed the request that came with conditions. In the end, eight conditions were approved, taking into consideration many of the Planning Commission’s suggestions.

The conditions of the permit include:

• There will be no access from 17th Avenue;

• The property will have a solid sight-proof fence that is at least six feet tall along the north and east sides of the property, along with appropriately identified trees planted along the same sides;

• The yard must be paved with at least six inches of asphalt millings and the surface must be maintained;

• Pipe and related materials cannot be stored higher than the top of the fence;

• If any power lines need to be moved, the city and Kerns will split the expense;

• Only pipe, pipe valves and related items may be stored in the yard.

Burke said Kerns’ history makes it not trustworthy and other residents echoed concerns about compliance. Shirley Weeks questioned approving the permit without a process for enforcement.

Also Monday, the commission approved a request from Ali Zarrabi for a special use permit for a sidewalk cafe at 622 S. Main. Two people stood in favor of the request that was approved 5-0 with the condition that an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant fence be permanently installed and a minimum of six feet of pedestrian sidewalk be maintained at all times.

Moore expressed concern about approving an extension of a business into public right-of-way that was not accessible to those with disabilities, as the fence and cafe is not expected to be the last on Main Street.

The commission also approved a preliminary planned development request from Carl and Grace Province for a combined use of residential and commercial for property at 424 S. Duck.

The 5-0 vote rezoned the property from commercial office to commercial office with a planned development.

The commission also approved a special use permit for All Pets Veterinary Hospital that will allow a low-impact animal service at 1423 S. Western Road. The permit was approved 5-0.

Also approved 5-0 by the commission was a request from College Park Properties for a final planned development for the construction of a townhome development. The development calls for 24 dwelling units in four buildings. The units will be sold as individual homes.

One person spoke in favor and one spoke in opposition. The question of drainage was raised and City Manager Dan Galloway said care goes into the planning of projects and applicants are not asked to solve offsite drainage problems.

Also approved by the commission, 5-0, was a text amendment related to the filing of final plats, acceptance of improvements and the warranty of improvements.

The text amendment will allow filing of a final plat prior to completion of required improvements. It will also give developers the option to have improvements accepted individually rather than all at once.

The text amendment also creates a warranty to replace maintenance bonds. The warranty for individual improvements will remain in place until one year after the first building permit is issued for a development.

Two items were removed from the consent docket before the remaining seven were approved 5-0. The first item approved on the docket was a notice from Suddenlink Communications of a price increase for expanded service from $26.90 to $29.90 per month, effective January.

Also approved was the commission meeting schedule for 2007 along with the purchase of an ambulance for the Stillwater Fire Department. Removal of lot conditions for Devin Place was also approved.

A sole source purchase of mobile communications software and a funding request for lease/purchase to upgrade mobile computers for the Police Department also was approved. Docket approval also included participation in the St. Paul Travelers settlement, authorizing the mayor to sign a general release.

The final item approved on the docket was a sole source purchase for the upgrade of outdoor warning sirens.

Two items were approved after they were removed from the docket. The first was notification from Suddenlink Communications of channel lineup changes effective Dec. 19.

The changes include the addition of the Hallmark Channel and the relocation of EWTN, ESPN Classic and the American Movie Channel. The lineup will drop the Cox channel. The item was pulled by Commissioner Tom Willams and approved 5-0.

Approval of the 2006-7 Forward Stillwater agreement with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce was removed by Moore, who expressed concern over the tech park not developing an industry. He also said he would like to see funding for the program directed to downtown after the programs end.

The item was approved 4-1 with Moore opposed.

A credit card agreement was approved 5-0 under general orders that authorizes an agreement with Bank of America to provide merchant services to the city of Stillwater.

The final plat for Miller Townhomes was also approved under general orders, 5-0.

The next scheduled meeting of the Stillwater City Commission is Monday at 5:30 p.m.

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