Permission granted for street-level apartment


After much consideration and two continuations on the matter, the Maple Lake City Council has approved a conditional use permit for Scott Christian to place a residential apartment on the ground floor of his downtown building at 66 Birch Ave. S. The approval came at the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Christian, intending to place the apartment in the building’s middle section, had previously informed commissioners the building was too large to fill out with retail space and that he had no intention of changing the storefront in any way. As the building had once included an apartment, with bathroom fixtures that still remain, Christian had said he was hoping to put an apartment on the main level again and provided a floor plan including square footage and a designated parking area. 
Prior to recent amendments disallowing street-level apartments in the downtown business district, the city’s zoning ordinance had provided for a residential dwelling in connection with retail use in the same building as a conditional use, though members of the Planning Commission had voiced doubts regarding the appropriateness of residential dwellings on the street level, ultimately recommending against the approval. But, as Christian’s application had been made before the amendments, councilmembers agreed that the new rules did not apply in this case.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.