Brewery's move is approved
The Alexandria City Council issued a conditional use permit Tuesday for Copper Trail Brewery to relocate to the old United Building Center building on North Broadway, which is also home to Real Estate By Jo.
According to the owners, the brewery has outgrown its current site on 30th Avenue East and the new location would allow it to expand by four times with additional seating — 150 seats rather than 60 — along with outdoor space and a larger production area.
Food trucks will still be allowed to set up near the brewery.
The brewery will have a 10-year lease with the option for five more years after that.
Copper Trail was a recent winner of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission's "Pitch Your Plan" contest and won three hours worth of engineering from Widseth Smith and Nolting. The owners have been meeting with WSN on a landscaping plan that's a condition of the permit.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a request from Joanna Hvezda for a $150,000 loan from the city's Revolving Loan Fund that will be used to build-out the new Copper Trail location.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $439,000.
The loan will be paid back over five years at an interest rate of 5 percent. All closing costs, recording fees and mortgage taxes will be paid by the borrower.
The fund still has a healthy balance of $607,000, according to City Planner Mike Weber.
In other planning and zoning action:
• The council granted a platting exception to Randy Lewis to divide an unplatted 1.7 acre parcel along Third Avenue East at the site of the former Woodsman Power Products. This will allow Lewis to convey a portion of the property. Lewis said a customer plans to purchase the main building but couldn't afford the entire property. The customer plans to lease the building from Lewis.
• The council granted a platting exception to Reed and Kay Hvezda to divide an unplatted 192.85 acre parcel between Lost Lane and Cross Country Lane. The property is a former farmsite and is being split to convey the southeasterly portion of the site. The rest of the site will continue as agriculture use.
Following are other items from the May 28 meeting not included in other council stories.
The council received recommendations from its charter commission to make three amendments to the city's charter. It scheduled a public hearing to discuss the proposed changes for Monday, July 22 at 7:15 p.m.
Section 2.04 concerns the city clerk position. The title would be officially changed to city administrator. The amendment says the administrator will perform the duties and responsibilities of the city clerk and treasurer as determined by state law, the charter and city ordinances. The city clerk title was changed decades ago to reflect the fact there was no longer a clerk or treasurer but the council at that time did not properly go through all the steps that are needed to make changes in the charter.
Revisions in Section 2.05 streamlines the duties of the city administrator as having all the powers, rights and privileges and granted by the charter, the city council or the state. It also says that if the administrator is absent or unable to perform his duties, the council will designate someone to do the work.
The last amendment deals with initiative, referendum and recall — processes used by the public to overturn certain decisions made by the council that don't appropriate money or involve tax levies, land use or zoning. The changes include more detailed instructions for those who sign the petitions and makes the process compliant with state law. It also adds details for the petitioners, such as requiring that the five electors who form a committee to initiate a referendum or recall to be residents of Alexandria, as well as those signing a petition.
The city is publishing the proposed amendments in the Wednesday, June 26 newspaper.
In another action related to the charter, the council recommended the appointment of Jeff Crosby to fill a vacant position on the charter commission. The recommendation will be presented to the chief judge of the district court for consideration.
Crosby, who works at U.S. Bank, has lived in the community for 25 years and in his application he said he wants to make a positive difference by giving back to the city.
TIF district reassigned
The council approved a request to assign a tax increment financing district from Pioneer Development, LLC to Stone Manor SPE, LLC.
LBR Properties built the two 63-unit buildings on Arbor Crossing, east of the Alexandria Area High School and Knute Nelson Grand Arbor.
The project was granted a housing TIF district in 2012 for 13 years. It requires 20 percent of the units to be occupied by individuals or families with incomes that are 50 percent or below the county's median income level.
In 2016, the note was assigned to Pioneer Development because of a change in ownership structure.
Stone Manor is a real estate investment firm specializing in buying and managing multifamily properties throughout the Midwest. It plans to purchase both buildings and maintain the low-income requirements.
Deerwood Drive bid
The council voted 4-1 to accept a bid of $247,549 make sanitary sewer improvements and other underground work on Deerwood Drive.
Council member Todd Jensen voted no.
The low bid, among the eight received, was submitted by Breitbach Construction of Elrosa.
The bid was 28 percent more than the city's estimate of $193,262 but was somewhat expected because other cities have been reporting higher bids that exceed estimates by 10 to 40 percent.
City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven recommended accepting the bid because he didn't think rebidding would result in a lower bid.
The money will come out of the city's Revolving Improvement Fund, which has a balance of $2.42 million.
Three benefitting property owners will each be assessed $5,000.
Food truck license
The council issued a food truck/vendor license to Kim Hoban, doing business as Green Canteen, LLC, of New York Mills.
The food truck will set up at Copper Trail Brewery and Theater L'Homme Dieu.
The council also issued a transient merchant license to Craig Berg, doing business as Cooler Treats. Berg is also seeking a retail mobile food handler license from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.