Alexandria, Minnesota 56308
Minutes of the meeting of June 28, 2021
A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 28th day of June, 2021 at the Township Conference Room, 324 Broadway, and via teleconference.
Roll Call: Commission members present were Shad Steinbrecher, Larry Steidl, Linda Dokken-McFann and Julie Haar. Also present were Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk, and Ben Oleson, Township Zoning Administrator. As said members formed a quorum and the meeting was called to order by Chairman Steidl at 5:00 p.m.
Agenda: Steinbrecher, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to approve the agenda as written. Motion carried unanimously.
Minutes: Steinbrecher, seconded by Haar, made a motion to approve the minutes of the May 24, 2021 meeting as written. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the interim use request submitted by Eastside Storage – Alexandria, LLC located at 4354 County Road 82 SE.
Public Hearing: Richard Heidecker, representing Eastside Storage, said their request is to increase the capacity of rental units by utilizing shipping containers, stating they are more affordable at present than constructing a new building. He commented that their intent is to keep containers in the same location on the property.
Commissioner Haar inquired if an interim use was the appropriate vehicle to use since the owners consider the containers to be “permanent.” Zoning Administrator Oleson stated that the goal of the interim use is to set definitive periods of time and provides a review/renewal process. Mr. Heidecker indicated they are experimenting with the concept of using shipping containers versus an actual building. If proven viable, they would continue to utilize the containers, replacing them as needed.
Zoning Administrator Oleson reported that the applicants are proposing to make use of 12 shipping containers as commercial storage rental units which would be added to an area of their existing mini-storage facility in place of one of the future buildings they had identified in their original plans. At present, the applicants state they would make use of the shipping containers on a temporary basis until construction prices become more reasonable and then build a permanent mini-storage building as originally anticipated. Oleson also reported that the planning commission had discussed the topic of shipping containers in the past and determined they would require an interim use permit.
Chairman Steidl asked how many times the IUP could be renewed. Oleson stated there was no limit.
Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment. Hearing none, he closed the public hearing and resumed the meeting.
In a partial response to staff recommendation No. 2, Commissioners Steinbrecher and Dokken-McFann commented that the containers appear to be adequately screened from the road.
Dokken-McFann voiced a concern about transfer of ownership of the property. The current owners have kept it in good repair and the existing containers onsite appear to be in good condition. She asked if the IUP would have enough leverage to ensure a new owner keeps it to the same standard. Oleson responded that a safeguard is provided for this eventuality in our zoning ordinance.
Dokken-McFann also indicated she felt an after-the-fact fee should be imposed since 10 of the 12 shipping containers are already in place.
Dokken-McFann, seconded by Haar, made a motion to recommend approval of the Interim Use Permit application submitted by Eastside Storage – Alexandria LLC with the two conditions in the staff report, condition no. 1 to be changed to read: “a period of up to ten years;” and to add conditions 3 and 4 to read: 3) That the interim use permit be limited to twelve (12) shipping containers; and 4) To impose the minimum after-the-fact fee of $500. Roll: Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Steidl – yes. Motion carried unanimously.
Zoning Administrator’s Report: Oleson provided an update on zoning activities. Consensus to have Chairman Steidl contact Chris Just and Alden Just concerning the storage containers on Chris Just’s property.
New Business: none
Old Business: Oleson reported the town board recommended that the zoning subcommittee meet to review and recommend changes to the zoning ordinance regarding “shouse” regulations.
Adjournment: Being no further business Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.
Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk
Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2021
Larry Steidl, Chairman