Abby council to vote on developer’s agreement
The first prospective tenant in Abbotsford’s future industrial park is one step closer to establishing a foothold there after the city’s planning commission voted last week to recommend approval of a developer’s agreement.
Brandon Mueller, owner of Abbotsford Appliance, walked away satisfied with the five-page agreement after he and members of the commission hashed out a few revisions on Oct. 15 dealing with his plan to build a 10,000 square foot show room on land located west of STH 13.
Under the agreement, Mueller will have until Aug. 1, 2023, to complete construction on two acres of what is now city-owned land. In exchange for getting the land at $1 per acre, he is committing to constructing a building with a minimum assessed value of $250,000.
The city’s assessor has estimated that the building, as proposed, would have a fair market value of at least $435,000, but Mueller told the commission that he wants some flexibility to downsize the building if necessary.
Because the new building would be located inside a TIF district, the city will collect 100 percent of the property taxes based on the structure’s assessed value. At $250,000, this would generate $6,250 per year in revenue, or $100,000 over the life of the TIF district.
That money will be used to reimburse the city for what it has already spent to purchase the land and extend road and utilities to the site.
The building will be constructed in the northeast corner of a 24-acre parcel of land the city purchased last year for $170,000. Mueller said he would like to start construction next spring, but that may be delayed if the cost of building materials goes up.
In related news, the commission also recommended approval of a certified survey map of the new industrial park The map includes three distinct lots, including the two-acre parcel where Abby Appliance will be located, 14 acres of city-owned land open for development, and another three-acre parcel owned by the city north of where Opportunity Drive is slated to extend.
Grady said the 14-acre lot will be divided up later based on what developers want to do with the land in the future.
Water, sewer and storm sewer have already been extended into that area, and electrical and gas service will also be extended there as well.
Schilling fence, park plans
Commissioners signed off on plans for putting a fence around the soccer field in the Schilling subdivision north of Pine Street, with initial plans to keep a gate on the fence locked to discourage trespassing in neighboring residents’ yards.
Pine Street residents Dr. Paul and Nina Writz spoke to the commission about their desire for the fence to keep at least some of the soccer balls out of their yard while also discouraging trespassers.
The soccer field has already been established on the east side of North Fourth Avenue as part of a park that also includes playground equipment, but there have not been any regular games or tournaments played there. According to a preliminary plan developed by the city, a six-foot fence would run along the west, north and south sides of the field, with 10-foot sections behind the goals. The fence along the south side would extend beyond the width of the field in order to provide an extra barrier for three houses along Pine Street.
A sticking point in the conversation was the location of a proposed overlapping gap in the fence line that would allow players to retrieve balls from the residences’ backyards. Dr. Writz said they wanted to see the gap a little further to the west from where city officials originally proposed.
“This makes it a little easy for them to chase a ball and get into our yard,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Jakel said the city should do whatever it can to satisfy the residents’ wishes since their homes were there before the park was established.
Ald. Mason Rachu, chairman of the commission, said the fence is for the park, and not just the neighboring landowners.
“I think we’re doing a lot to try and accommodate them,” he said.
Mayor Lori Voss objected to putting an opening in the fence too close to Fourth Avenue, saying the city’s priority should be “safety first” when it comes to kids chasing balls outside the park.
Ultimately, the commission agreed to recommend a gate instead of a gap in the fence, with the gate staying locked until regular soccer games are organized at the field. The commission directed DPW Craig Stuttgen to get price quotes on fencing for the city council to consider.
Commissioners also discussed plans for a proposed walking path along the outside boundary of the park, coming off Pine Street and running to the northwest before connecting with Fourth Avenue.
The walking path is one of several park improvements the city is considering for the residential subdivision; other possible ideas include a basketball court and pavilion off North Third Avenue.
Under a developer’s agreement between the city and the owner of Abbyland Foods, who built the new Northside Apartments, the city is committed to spending $40,000 a year on park improvements for 10 years, or $400,000 total.
Commissioner Ivone Vazquez said the city should consider some type of indoor sports facility in the subdivision, predicting that it could be a money-maker for the city because of all the groups that would want to rent it.
Rachu said it’s a good idea but it would be “extremely expensive.”
“I guess that’s something we could put on a future agenda,” he said.
After further discussion, the commission agreed to proceed with the walking path plans, using recycled pavement from this year’s street projects as a base.
“The material is free; it’s sitting there,” Stuttgen said. “All we’ve got to do is put it in place.”
The commission authorized Stuttgen to get a quote for surveying the route of the path through the park, starting at Pine Street.
_ Grady told the commission about a 2013 easement granted by the city to Kwik Trip for an access road running south off Elderberry Road. Now that Colby is looking at extending Community Drive to the north, the city is committed to taking over the road from Kwik Trip so that it can connect to Colby.