Plan to build 30 townhomes in Alexandria denied

The Alexandria City Council followed the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and denied the conditional use permit, variance and re-plat.

EP Alexandria City Government 2

ALEXANDRIA — Highpoint Homes’ requests for a conditional use permit, a variance and a re-plat to build 30 owner-occupied townhomes in the unbuilt portion of Snowbird Lane were all denied.

At the Aug. 15 Alexandria Planning Commission meeting, several residents in the area opposed the plan. They said it would change the look of the neighborhood, add traffic and create a crowded neighborhood. They were also concerned about drainage and safety of children who play in the area.

At its Monday, Aug. 22 meeting, the Alexandria City Council denied the townhome plan mainly because it did not meet the required impervious surface limitations.

The council denied the variance request, because one of the tiers in the development would have been nearly 28% larger than city code allows. City Planner Mike Weber said Highpoint Homes could apparently still build a townhome project with as many as 26 units if the impervious surface coverage in the plan's fourth tier is reduced by 12,376 square feet.

The council cited other reasons for denying the variance:


  • It would result in a homeowner/developer-created plight (caused by the size and/or design of the units).
  • By greatly exceeding the allowable impervious surface coverage, it would not be in keeping with the essential character of the area.
  • The application does not meet all of the tests required for finding that practical difficulties exist.

Once the variance request was denied, it caused the conditional use permit and re-platting requests to fail because they hinged on the variance getting approved. For all three requests, the council voted to deny on a 4-0 vote. Council member Scott Allen abstained.
In other zoning action, the council:

  • Approved a request from Diane Rick to vacate a portion a dedicated but unbuilt street, known as Fourth Avenue East, lying between Spruce Street and Temple Street near Ron’s Warehouse. Rick is parking her vehicles there and wants to put in a sidewalk or pavers to help her get in and out of her car, especially when it’s wet or muddy. The city will retain a permanent access and utility easement over the existing right-of-way.
  • Approved an exception to platting request from Massman Companies. It wants to divide an unplatted 80-acre parcel along the north side of County Road 46 West/34th Avenue West, west of Nevada Street, in order create a 3.32 acre tract that it could sell. It’s not a proposal for development and the existing house on the site will remain. 
  • Approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance to comply with recent legislative changes regarding housing for persons with developmental disabilities. Under the new law, licensed residential care services provided to more than four people with developmental disabilities in a supervised living facility, including in an intermediate care facility for people with development disabilities, are allowed as a permitted single-family residential use.  Also, the licensed capacity for providers was increased from caring for six people to seven or eight people.

Also, a conditional use permit application from VIE Church was withdrawn before the planning commission meeting. It wants to build a church on the east side of County Road 46, about a quarter-mile north of the Hazel Hill Road roundabout.
The following are other items from the Aug. 22 meeting not covered in other council stories.

Douglas Street and Halloween

The council wants to gather more input about whether to close a portion of Douglas Street on Halloween in an effort to make the neighborhood safer.

The council decided to close the street last year and is seeking feedback on whether it should close the street between Seventh and 13th Avenue again this year.

Residents are asked to comment on the city's website,
or send emails to or attend a public input meeting on Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. at City Hall.

Charter amendment approved

The council voted to amend two sections of its home rule charter.

The charter has been described as the city’s “constitution” or guiding document for its codes, rules and policies. The city’s charter commission recommended these changes:

  • Section 4.01, nominations and elections. Currently, it states that the council shall meet and canvass the election returns and declare the result “within three days after the election.” That would be changed to “in the manner prescribed by state statute.”
  • Section 12.05, vacation of streets. Right now, the charter states that no street or alley within the city shall be discontinued except by “ordinance.” This would be changed to except by “resolution.”

After no one from the public spoke at Monday’s public hearing, the council approved the changes.
Under the process the city uses, a charter amendment may only be adopted by ordinance if it receives a unanimous vote by the council and is approved by the mayor.


The council will consider a second and final reading of the ordinance changes at its Sept. 12 meeting. If approved, citizens have 60 days to submit a petition signed by registered voters equal in number to at least 5% of the registered voters in the city or 2,000, whichever is less.

If no petition is made, the amendment will take effect 90 days after final approval is given.

Annexation request gets final approval

The council gave final approval to an annex property along Cardinal Lane in LaGrand Township, south of Latoka Drive.

The owners of the 0.22-acre site are Jacob Shay and Alison Argyll. In their petition, they noted that the land has or is to become, urban or suburban. They’re requesting to be annexed in order to receive city water. LaGrand Township, Douglas County and the state were notified about the change.

Donation will help DARE

The council agreed to accept a $3,000 donation from the Alexandria Elks Lodge 1685. It will go toward the Alexandria Police Department to offset costs for its Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

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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