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Caribou Coffee Cabin plans to open in Alexandria

The drive-through-only kiosk will be located near the northwest corner of the intersection of Dakota Street and Highway 29, east of Viking Bank.

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ALEXANDRIA — A third Caribou Coffee, this one a drive-through kiosk only, may open in Alexandria soon.

At its meeting Monday night, the Alexandria City Council issued a conditional use permit to Java Companies, based in the Twin Cities, to build the new Caribou on the northwest corner of the intersection of Dakota Street and Highway 29, east of Viking Bank, which is selling the land.

No indoor seating will be allowed. These small drive-throughs are called Caribou Coffee Cabins, according to Java Companies, which has developed about 20 of them, the closest in Sauk Centre.

Alexandria, with a population of 14,690, has one coffee shop for every 1,469 people.

The council approved the permit with conditions — building and sign permits are required; there must be three paved, off-street parking stalls; utility connections must be made; any exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from residential uses and public streets; and a final drainage plan must be reviewed by the city engineer.

The council also approved a final plat for the property, Minnerath Second Addition.

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In other zoning action, the council:

  • Was informed that a conditional use permit for the proposed Sacred Journey School was withdrawn. The council tabled taking action on the permit this past October. The location was between County Road 46/McKay Avenue and Rosewood Lane, just south of 18th Avenue East near VIE Church.
  • Approved a final plat for Whispering Meadows Second Addition that includes six-unit town homes. It's the third and final phase in a development on the east side of Voyager Drive. It was approved with conditions — exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from residential uses and public streets; no storage above the fence height; screening is required; any security fencing can't be more than 8-feet high. The developer is Slowing Down Investments, LLC.
  • Approved a preliminary plat, Douglas County Plat 3, owned by Reed and Kay Hvezda. A 20-acre portion of the land in the city will be combined with land in Lake Mary Township and sold to Douglas County, which plans to use it to store materials such as sand, gravel and salt.
  • Approved a conditional use permit for Robert Conn, doing business as CNVC Properties, LLC. The permit will allow him to have open, outdoor storage for PVC pipe and drain tile at 311 Park Street, which at one time was a beer warehouse.

Following are other items from the Dec. 27 meeting not included in other council coverage.

Help for home buyers

Help is on the way for first-time home buyers in Alexandria.

The council authorized staff to once again apply for funding through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency's "Minnesota City Participation Program."

This year, the city and local lenders were able to assist local home buyers to access $988,645 in MCPP funds. There is no cost to the city.

The total MHFA first-time home buyer loan commitments to the city is now approaching $11.2 million over the past 25 years, according to City Planner Mike Weber.

Alexandria HRA to conduct rental inspections

The Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority was approved to conduct inspections under the city's residential rental registration program in 2023.

The contract is capped at $30,000.

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The HRA also did the inspections this year.

Donations help fire department, public works

The council accepted donations to the fire department and public works department.

The fire department received $905.50 from Harry and Georgine Roers ($500), Keith and Janet Bergerson ($200), community members via a promotion sponsored by the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association and Miller Brewing Company ($155.50) and Ruth and Roger Schultz ($50).

The department will use the money to outfit a grass/off-road rig in the future.

The public works street department received a $150 donation from David Pressler, who thanked the street crews for keeping streets and alleys passab;e in the winter. The money will go to the department’s equipment fund.

TIF district decertified

The council agreed to decertify a tax increment financing district for Force America.

The district was created in 2013 to support the construction of a 45,000 square foot manufacturing facility on Iowa Street in the city’s Industrial Park.

All the costs and obligations from the TIF have been paid in full. The bank note was paid off one year earlier than planned, according to Nicole Fernholz, director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission.

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With the decertification, roughly $76,502 in captured tax capacity will be released from the TIF program.

Property owners assessed for clean-up work

Property owners who shirked their duties by not removing excess amounts of weeds, junk or snow on their land will soon have to pay for it.

As part of its year-end financial duties, the council certified the costs of such cleanups to the county auditor’s office and the costs will be included in a one-year special assessment on the property owners’ taxes.

The charges include snow removal in the downtown area, properties where the city had to cut grass and weeds, maintain trees and shrubs and remove junk and rubbish, and for unpaid police false alarms.

Sixteen parcels of land will be assessed. The total amount of the assessments is $13,984.62.

Company to study city’s compensation system

The council approved an agreement to have Flaherty and Hood, P.A., to conduct a classification and compensation study of city employees.

Under the agreement, the cost of the study won’t exceed $50,000.

The study is expected to take six or seven months to complete.

Licenses approved

The council approved the following licenses for 2023: on-street loading zone – Village Cooperative; tobacco – Fleet Farm Fuel and Walgreens; transient merchant – Prime House Direct.

Fire department to get new truck

The council agreed to purchase a 2023 Ram 3500 truck for the fire department through Hibbing Chrysler Center for $57,330.

The truck will replace a 2008 Ford Utility Chassis that was sold to the Walker FIre Department for $65,000. That money will be put into the department’s equipment fund.

Agreement with MnDOT updated

The council agreed to update an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation involving the roles and responsibilities associated with the federal aid funds. It allows MnDOT to act as the city’s agent in accepting the funds for construction projects.

The agreement hasn’t been updated since Dec. 26, 2017.

End-of-year fund transfers

As part of its year-end process to reconcile the city’s financial records, the council agreed to transfer funds.

The transfers include $14,532 from the employee benefit fund to the general fund; funds from the Storm Water Utility Fund to the Debt Service Fund to cover bond payments and to the Capital Projects Funds for stormwater costs in city construction projects; funds from the Capital Improvement Fund to the RCC Expansion Fund; Funds from the Capital Improvement Fund into the Municipal State Aid Fund to cover the city’s share of state aid project in 2022; and funds from the Public Works Equipment Funds to the Public Works 2022 lease/purchase debt service fund.

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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