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City council opens door to additional housing efforts

Members of the Medford city council Tuesday night cleared the way for additional housing projects in the city.

Council members took action to help different projects advance including rezoning and a developer’s agreement to provide funding support.

Council members approved a rezoning request for 612 E. Taylor St. from R-2 one and two family residential use to R3 multi-family residential use.

According to city coordinator Joe Harris, the owners plan to place three duplexes on the parcel with driveway access off of Taylor Street. The planning commission had previously voted in favor of the zoning change following a public hearing held earlier this month.

Aldermen also approved a zoning change for Dan Olson from C-1 highway commercial to R-1 single family home for a lot on Emmerich Drive immediately north of the In Stitches and Ink building. Olson plans to construct a single family home on the new parcel.

Council members approved a developer’s agreement with Bryan Schultz of Northwoods Leasing for the construction of 8 residential housing units at 225 Marjorie Lane.

Schultz owns the apartment complex located near Broadway Theatre and plans to expand building four duplexes in the space between the existing buildings and Hwy 64. Driveway access will remain from Marjorie Lane.

The project is estimated to have a total cost of $1 million with Schultz planning to begin construction this spring when weather permits with construction to be completed by December 24, 2024. Under the loan program set up by the city, the city will participate by lending the project $100,000 for 10 years with no interest.

In other housing news, Harris reported that the second of four apartment buildings on Pep’s Drive came on-line at the beginning of the month and is currently half-full. The remaining units are expected to open through the rest of the year.

Construction of the first home in the new subdivision at the south end of Pep’s Drive is underway with foundation work beginning this week. The city has sold seven lots in the subdivision so far and have 20 remaining.

Harris also reported to council members that Commonwealth has given the word they will be moving forward with construction of a workforce housing project in the parcel adjacent to the NTC campus on Progressive Ave. The project is utilizing tax credits from WHEDA to build an apartment complex there.

In addition to the residential projects, city council members approved two annexation requests which will clean up the islands of town land discovered on the map.

The first is for a small triangle of property located at 1190 S. 8th St. in the city. The wedge of property goes partially under an existing structure on the site.

The other parcel is at 729 S. Park Ave. and includes a portion of dedicated road right of way to the rear of the property. While other parts of the road had been vacated in the past this remnant still remained in the town of Medford.

City planner Bob Christensen explained that under state law, the city has to pay the town several years worth of property taxes on the parcel. This is done to ease the impact of annexations. Given the very small size of these annexations, Christensen estimated the tax impact will be “around $7 to $8.”

In other business, council members:

  Approved a new handbook explaining the duties and responsibilities of being a city council member.

  Adopted the state law for the city’s damage to property ordinance to make it uniform as an option to issue the city ordinance violation.

  Approved the annual materials and equipment use bids for road and public works material. In keeping with past practice, the city accepts all backhoe, truck and driver bids which allows them flexibility to utilize who is available when the city has need.

  Approved a bid from Jensen Chip and Seal Coating for $9,900 to do street striping in the city over a bid of $34,350 from Fahrner Asphalt for the work.

  Approved the annual ordinance to enact and adopt the supplement to the city’s code of ordinances. This adds the ordinances approved in the past year to the city’s code book.