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Council tables zoning request from new school in Alexandria

Sacred Journey Academy would be located between County Road 46/McKay Avenue and Rosewood Lane, just south of 18th Avenue East near VIE Church.

Agenda - Monday, October 24, 2022
The first phase of the Sacred Journey Academy's plan includes the school and parking lot, shown on the left side of this drawing. Future plans include more buildings, soccer and softball fields, tennis courts and more parking.
Drawing by JLG Architects
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ALEXANDRIA — The Alexandria City Council tabled a zoning request from a proposed new kindergarten-8th grade school, Sacred Journey Academy.

The council tabled the school's application for a conditional use permit so it could it could have more time to study the traffic impact in that area, along with drainage issues. The council also extended the city's review period for 60 days.

The site is located between County Road 46/McKay Avenue and Rosewood Lane, just south of 18th Avenue East near VIE Church. The school plans to get the foundation in the ground this year and be up and running by next year.

The school expects to serve about 225 students. The plan also includes accessory parking with 87 stalls, and outdoor field and recreation space in the future – soccer, softball, tennis and basketball courts, and a playground. A stormwater retention pond would also be built.

The school would be in a 16.44-acre tract in a single-family zoning district. Schools are allowed as a conditional use.

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The proposed site, which includes six outlots from two existing plats, is also located within a shoreland district since almost all of it is within 1,000 feet of Lake Victoria. About 25% of the lot includes impervious areas.

The primary access would be from 18th Avenue East at about the midpoint between County Road 46 and Rosewood Lane. Since it is an elementary school and none of the students will be driving, the site should easily accommodate a couple hundred vehicles a day, according to City Planner Mike Weber.

The city's Planning Commission recommended the council to issue the permit with nine conditions:

  • A building permit is required.
  • A sign permit is required.
  • The site must have one parking stall per 20 students, plus three parking stalls per 1,000-square-feet of office space.
  • Connections to utilities, Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District and ALP Utilities, are required.
  • Any exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from residential uses and public streets.
  • A final drainage plan must be reviewed by the city engineer.
  • Trails and sidewalks must be installed in accordance with the area’s master plan.
  • Payment or arrangement for payment of the deferred waterline assessment must be made before a final plat is recorded.
  • A final plat must be submitted to the planning commission for approval.

During the council's discussion, Mayor Bobbie Osterberg was worried that the traffic flow in an out of the school twice a day could be a "disaster." She was also concerned about drainage in the area, which has caused flooding problems.
Council member Roger Thalman made a motion to table the permit and the council approved his motion on a 5-0 vote.

In other zoning action, the council:

  • Approved a conditional use permit and a replat to Jay Paulson with Highpoint Homes to construct 29 owner-occupied townhomes in a single-family residential district. The proposal includes the construction of a platted but unbuilt portion of Snowbird Lane with a public sidewalk on each side of the public street. The council approved both requests on a 4-0 vote with council member Scott Allen abstaining.
  • Approved a conditional use permit to DuWayne and Michelle Drumm to expand the Northside Collision Center at 1301 Northside Drive. The project will allow a 6,500-square-foot building to be used for indoor storage of customer vehicles, and replaces a portion of the existing open and outdoor storage. It will also provide employees with updated break room and restroom facilities.
  • Approved a preliminary plat for the GoodNeighbors West 46th Land, LLC. The 123.13-acre property is the site of the SunOpta warehouse that’s under construction. The developer, represented by Rob Thompson, plans to subdivide partially developed, unplatted land near County Road 46/34th Avenue West, east of the intersection with County Road 45. The developers will have to reapply for the tax increment financing because of the changes that were made.
  • Approved a replat/final plat for Gerald and Kolleen Roth in the Eltera Lane Second Addition. The vote was 4-0 with Allen abstaining.
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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