New 53-unit apartment building proposed in Alexandria

Alexandria City Council tables zoning request for development that would be along the west side of North Nokomis near the intersection with Green Lane.

A 53-unit multiple family apartment building is proposed in Alexandria.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council tabled issuing a conditional use permit to Meadow Homes, LLC, on the west side of North Nokomis/County Road 44 near the intersection with Green Lane, west of 12 existing townhomes.

City Planner Mike Weber recommended the council to table the permit until the conditional use permit and a replat or final plat can be approved at the same time.

The total size of the site is 288,367 square feet. The project calls for two driveways, along with underground parking, surface parking, underground stormwater retention and other accessory uses in a medium-density residential zone.

Initially, the developers proposed a 71-unit apartment complex but through feedback, density concerns, and a traffic study, they reduced it to 53 units. The developers plan to offer housing for various income levels and worked with the school district in developing the property.


The council also tabled a request to amend a planned unit development for Woodland Heights First Addition.

The developer, Unique Development LLP, wants to eliminate the city’s requirement for off-street parking for a proposed community center/clubhouse, not yet built, at the corner of 10th Avenue East and Brookdale Drive.

The clubhouse, according to the developer, could possibly include a theater, community center, fitness center, indoor pool, shared patio space, grills, basketball court, pet center, and playground. It would be used by the tenants in the adjoining buildings.

The PUD, approved in 2016, includes three apartment buildings with a total of 144 units, along with four four-unit townhomes clustered around the easterly half of the site. Three of the buildings are open, one just broke ground and one more 80-unit building may be constructed in the near future, according to the developer.

The request was tabled to give the developer and city staff more time to define the parking requirements.

In other zoning action, the council:

  • Gave preliminary approval to Duininck Concrete's request to vacate a portion of an unbuilt public street known as Fifth Avenue East, west of Oak Street and east of the Soo Line/Canadian Pacific rail line. The site has been used for material storage by a former owner, Alex Concrete, for decades. Vacating the street will clear any title concerns.

  • Approved a conditional use permit for Skid Pro Attachment that will allow it to have off-site parking for seven vehicles as an accessory use for its office building on South McKay and Eighth Avenue.

  • Approved a final plat for the Morning Birch Avenue near Lake Park Avenue as requested by Walter and Roxanne Tischer.

  • Gave final approval to vacate a 142-foot section of an alley on the south portion of Block 60, where the Alexandria City Hall is located. A land survey revealed that an ALP Utilities electric feeder line and a CenterPoint Energy gas main were located outside the alley. The city granted easements to the two utility companies that would allow the existing lines to remain where they are.

Two food trucks approved

Mobile food truck licenses were issued to Peppa & Poppy’s and the Wrap Shack.

The council also approved transient merchant licenses to The Country Stop, Wild Bloom Flower Truck and Fabian Seafood Company.


Speedway adds event

The council agreed to Viking Speedway’s request for an additional event this season.

A "test and tune" date will take place either Saturday, May 1, or Sunday, May 2, from noon to 3 p.m.

Special events get green light

Three special events received permits:

  • VFW Post 936 will hold a Memorial Day event on Monday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. Organizers will serve pulled pork sandwiches and water to attendees of the Memorial Day parade in the grassy area below the retaining wall. A good-will offering will be taken. If there is heavy rain, the event will move to the VFW.

  • The Red Willow Arts Coalition Summer Concert series will take place on Thursday evenings beginning on May 27 through Sept. 2 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. on the Douglas County Courthouse lawn.

  • The Local Advisory Council of Adult Mental Health in Douglas County will hold a “May is Mental Health Month Walk” on Friday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will walk along the sidewalk from 1106 Broadway to City Hall and back to 1106 Broadway.

Council approves Revolving Loan Fund request

The council agreed to subordinate a $130,000 loan that was given to Astonish Enterprises, LLC, through the city’s Revolving Loan Fund in December 2019. The loan was part of a major remodeling project at Vital Fit Club at 112 6th Ave. E.

Bremer Bank, the primary lender, is seeking to inject new money, $50,000, into the site for an interior redesign and requested the city to subordinate the loan. In the past, the city has routinely granted such requests – where the requester is also the original lender or is replacing the original lender.

New carpeting at City Hall

The council voted to replace the carpeting in the council chambers and the conference room.

During technology upgrades last year, the carpet had to be peeled up for work and then glued back down. The carpet is in bad condition and needs to be repaired, according to Marty Schultz, city administrator.

Arnquist Carpet Plus of Alexandria is doing the work at a cost of $9,522. The money will come out of the city’s Capital Improvement Fund.


City takes over loan of airplane

The plane displayed at the entrance to the Chandler Field airport, which has been loaned to the American Legion Post 87 for many years through the U.S. Air Force’s Community Static Display Loan Program, will soon become the city’s responsibility.

The council agreed to have the city take over the loan for the retired U.S. Air Force T-33 plane.

The American Legion requested the city to take it over. The Airport Commission reviewed the request and determined that since the airplane is located on city property, it made sense for the city to assume the loan.

Under the agreement, the city promised to keep the plane in good condition.

After reviewing the plane’s maintenance history with American Legion members, city staff said there is minimal work involved and any future maintenance could likely be done with volunteer labor.

Airport Manager Kreg Anderson said the T-33 plane, which is mounted on a metal pole, is a popular attraction. "Believe it or not, people travel all the way from Minneapolis to take a picture of an airplane on a stick," he told the council.

Coronavirus grant helps airport

The Alexandria Airport will soon receive $13,000 from the federal Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program.

The money can be used for items related to combatting the pandemic, operation and maintenance, and debt service.


In other airport-related items, the council:

  • Agreed to award a bid of $88,900 from Alexandria Electric to make electrical upgrades at the Bellanca Building at the airport. The work includes upgrading the fixtures and lights to LED to brighten up different areas of the building and save electricity costs. The work is the final part of a $362,000 renovation the city and the Minnesota Department of Transportation are doing at the Bellanca Building, which was once used to manufacture Bellanca aircraft. The city and state are sharing the costs equally. The goal is to fix the building up so it can be rented out to tenants.

  • Agreed to execute an airport ground lease with Shelly and Mark Arnold that will allow them to build a private hangar. The 48-foot-by-50-foot hangar will be located on the south side of the airport near the T-hangar that’s under construction. The 20-year lease calls for an initial yearly payment of $240, paid through property taxes, and updated annually according to interest rates from the Consumer Price Index.

Emergency order extended

For the 13th time since the pandemic began, the Alexandria City Council extended its declaration of a local emergency because of COVID-19.

The city first ratified the mayor’s declaration on March 18 last year and has been extending it monthly. This latest action extends it through May 31 – unless Gov. Tim Walz lets his executive order declaring the emergency expire before that date.

The declaration allows the city to approve emergency ordinances that take effect immediately and provides greater flexibility, such as holding meetings through Zoom video conferencing. It’s separate from Walz’s executive orders for restrictions on restaurants and other businesses.

Stormwater changes finalized

The council gave final approval to changes in the city’s stormwater management ordinance.

The goals of the changes are:

  • Improve consistency of language and terminology between Alexandria’s and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s construction stormwater permits with matching definitions and descriptions of stormwater treatment systems.

  • Reference MPCA construction stormwater general permit practices and systems to reduce insignificant variations.

  • Define land disturbance categories and submittal requirements to be consistent with Alexandria’s stormwater permit process and building department criteria.

  • Add MPCA ordinance requirements for salt storage and handling, and pet waste.

Fire department donation

The Alexandria Fire Department will receive $150, thanks to a donation from Bill and Marilyn Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria.

The council approved a resolution accepting the donation and thanking the Ingebrigtsens.


Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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