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BE Council OKs UHD zoning change

By Staff | May 23, 2009

The United Hospital District’s plan to build a new clinic facility onto the current hospital took a big step forward last Monday night.

The Blue Earth City Council voted to proceed with a zoning change, allowing the hospital to build in the current residential area.

The change, as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission, re-zones several parcels of land from R-1, to a B-2 designation.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey said the B-2 designations are the same as the downtown area.

Several residents from the adjoining parcels of land were at the meeting to learn about the change.

UHD Admin-istrator Jeff Lang pointed out the area involved contained houses which the hospital has purchased. That residential area now needs a business designation.

Council member Glenn Gaylord was concerned the residents’ questions would be addressed. They had to do with drainage and fences.

“Actually, changing to a B-2 zoning area will protect the residents interests better,” Bailey said.

Lang agreed, citing the ‘screening’ concern. If the lots to the west of the hospital were left as R-1 residential, the hospital could put in a parking lot and not have to fence it off.

In a B-2 business zone, the fencing is required, and must be at least 6-feet high.

Lang said plans for the area are not yet complete, but will probably involve variance requests for some of the project. At that time, citizens will again have an opportunity to express their concerns.

In other business, the council:

– Discussed the airport project, including the credit card fuel machine.

– Took a second look at the nuisance ordinance. Concerns surrounded when to enforce the snow removal rule, and when the 24-hour time limit would start.

– Heard from City Engineer Bill Sayre that the Eighth and Moore Street project is expected to begin this week. Sayre said the contractor is attempting to work with the residents, so they will have access to their homes.