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Residents question rezoning

Residents raise concerns about plan to build duplexes on Allman St.
Residents question rezoning
City resident Lee Scheithauer raised questions about duplexes at Monday’s planning commission meeting.
Residents question rezoning
City resident Lee Scheithauer raised questions about duplexes at Monday’s planning commission meeting.

Members of the Medford Area Planning Commission cleared the way for more duplexes to come to the city.

Planning commission members gave their unanimous approval to rezone a lot at 267 Allman St. to be multi-family residential which will allow local developer Bryan Schultz to construct 4 new duplexes on the 3.28 acre parcel located immediately west of the United Methodist Church property. The rezoning request will now go to the full city council for action at the February 19 meeting.

The design and layout of the duplexes will be very similar to the duplexes Schultz recently had built on Marjorie See COMMISSION on page 4 Lane by the Broadway Theatre. The units will be onebedroom and like his other units will have restrictions on pets of any kind.

Schultz said he plans to use the existing driveway access from the parcel onto Allman Street. The current house on the lot will be demolished and completely removed. City Coordinator Joe Harris said it will be Schultz’s responsibility to extend the sewer and water utilities from the street to the property for the duplexes and they would be his lines to maintain.

Schultz said they would like to keep as many of the trees on the wooded lot in place with it to serve as screening for neighbors as well as an improved rural feel for the residents who will be living there.

As one-bedroom units, Schultz said they are targeting more older people and retirement age. “We don’t allow dogs or cats or anything,” Schultz said, noting they had someone who wanted fish and said no. “No animals of any kind.”

Schultz’s comments helped relieve some of the concerns of the half-dozen local residents who attended the public hearing held at the start of the Planning Commission meeting.

Resident Lee Scheithauer raised concerns with increasing traffic on the already-busy Allman Street. He said there is heavy traffic on the road with people going 40-50 mph and was concerned about the additional traffic entering and exiting the road.

“There is fast traffic coming through,” he said. Resident Bonnie Lindow noted there were a number of UTVs and trucks that also use the road.

Mayor Mike Wellner agreed that Allman Street is one of the busiest in the city and said that it, along with Hwy 64 and Perkins St. see a lot of traffic.

“It is getting louder and louder on our street,” Lindow said, raising concerns about the traffic. She noted that it is especially bad before and after school.

“If we have elderly there, is that safe for them?” Lindow asked, expressing concern about the traffic leaving the property.

Wellner noted that housing remains a major issue in the city, with the need for additional housing, whether it is for older people looking to downsize into an apartment or for new people coming to the community to work. He noted the factories and businesses are looking to have more workers, but cannot find places for them to live. He noted that even putting up 100 units of apartments in the industrial park is only scratching the surface.

Residents still expressed concerns over traffic volume and noise. As one resident pointed out when she moved there it was all farms, but it is now developed.

“You have to live on Allman St. or you don’t know how bad it is,” Lindow said.

Residents questioned if there was a way to remove Allman St. as a truck route or address the “divots” in the road from the most recent resurfacing where the manhole covers are slightly lower than the rest of the road.

With Alter Metals and Melvins using the road for access to their facilities, the city is not looking to change its designation as a truck route.

Residents also raised concerns about an existing home nearby, which they described as being run-down and “shady” and if this was something Schultz wanted to have near his new units.

“Will that be a deterrent to get tenants back there?” Lindow asked.

Wellner said he has worked with the police chief and visited the particular home himself to talk with the owners about getting it cleaned up and they will continue to work with law enforcement and the homeowner.

Schultz said that if he could clean that up tomorrow he would do so. He also welcomed the city adding a stop sign by the driveway entrance to make it safer to access and leave the property.

From the public hearing, the rezoning was taken up by commission members who did not have any additional questions and unanimously approved the rezoning request.

In other business, commission members:

 Approved an annexation request from Galen Searles with Slapshot Pizza for a .88 acre parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection of CTH O and Hwy 13. The property previously was a trailer sales and service business.

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According to city planner Bob Christensen, Searles is annexing with the intention of connecting to the city water and sewer services. Harris said the service is stubbed into the property so there would be minimal cost to do so.

 Approved formally dedicating a more than 20-year-old section of Pine Street that was built in 2002 under terms of a developers agreement with Contemporary Homes. Under the agreement, the developers had to build the road to city specifications as part of the project. Through interaction between Contemporary Homes and neighboring property owners, the road had never been formally turned over to the city, despite this the city has been plowing and maintaining the road since it was completed. According to Christensen, Contemporary Homes recently purchased the remaining adjoining properties adding buildable lots to the area. The purchase resolved lingering issues between Contemporary Homes and the property owners. Commission members accepted the formal road dedication.

Developer Bryan Schultz answers a question from a resident during Monday evening’s public hearing on a request to rezone a parcel on Allman St. to allow for the construction of four duplexes. The duplexes will be single-bedroom units geared toward older residents downsizing from their homes. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS