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USC has rezone request

By Staff | Mar 3, 2013

Wells officials will be holding public hearings to consider zoning changes to allow a $28.825 million school being built south of the city on the west side of Highway 22.

United South Central School District officials have requested the following:

to rezone the 63 acres where the school will be located from A (agricultural district zone) to R-1 (general residential district zone);

a conditional use permit to allow a kindergarten through 12th-grade school along with athletic facilities and accessory buildings;

and, preliminary and final plat approval.

“We’re in partnership with the school district in trying to accommodate their needs to get this construction going,” says City Administrator Steve Bloom.

“This is so the district can stay on their timeline to get groundbreaking started in the spring,” he adds.

Deputy city clerk Deb Redman says 75 letters have been sent to property owners who are within 350 feet of the proposed project.

City Engineer Travis Winter of Bolton & Menk and I & S Group have been working closely with district officials regarding any issues construction of the school poses to the city.

Councilwoman Ann Marie Schuster says she recently talked with Brad Potter of I & S.

“He wants to know if the city wants any landscaping requirements for the school property or architectural requirements for the building,” she says.

Councilmembers told Schuster they aren’t interested in putting any restrictions on the project.

I & S is studying issues associated with the new school, such as streets that will be public or allowed to be owned by the school district, zoning and who is responsible for on-going maintenance.

The Planning Commission will discuss the zoning requests during a public hearing set for 5 p.m. on March 4 at the Community Center.

Councilmembers will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. prior to their March 11 meeting at the Community Center.

In other business, councilmembers, Bloom and City Attorney David Frundt went behind closed doors to discuss contract negotiations with two unions.

Bloom says talks involve three full-time police officers, police chief, library director and liquor store manager.

Faribault County District 3 Commissioner Bill Groskreutz of Wells told the council a meeting to discuss animal control issues was scheduled for Feb. 27.

Groskreutz says he, District 1 Commissioner John Roper, two Blue Earth councilmembers and City Administrator Kathy Bailey and Sheriff Mike Gormley would be attending.

“I want to make you aware of the meeting in case there is a specific issue you want addressed or want to send someone,” he says.

Councilmembers decided to have Police Chief Jim Ratelle attend on the city’s behalf.