May 11, 2018 at 10:13 a.m.

Plat, church school charter permit OK'd

Plat, church school charter permit OK'd
Plat, church school charter permit OK'd

A large land area (see graphic) in North Branch was addressed by the city council as a package platting, titled “North Branch Meadows” in approving zoning actions needed to move along a plan to build housing for adults in assistive programs for managing mental health.

The site will have 24 hour management.  Supportive services in Region 7-E (east central Minnesota) will do referrals to the facility.

The Willow Grove development was approved as a planned unit development and will be 20 units. There are some 100 people enrolled in supportive services programs at any one time, so officials expect this housing will be well-used.  

It won Central MN Housing Partnership sponsorship, announced in October 2017 (See Press Oct 12)   The city of North Branch qualified for  two of 60 project funding partnerships announced by the state last fall. The second North Branch project being supported is Cherokee Place off 400th, for working families.

There are two lots near Olson Power, in the southeast corner of the freeway interchange, off what will be an extension of 14th, where Willow Grove is located.  The rest of the property on the city council agenda  (a total of 264 acres) is identified through the council action for future platting.

The city council voted 5-0  on all items.  Two lots and four large outlots were designated, the Comprehensive Plan was amended and the rezoning approved for the project from R-2 to R-3.

In other matters, North Branch Council gave the go-ahead to Access Church to house a charter school for grades K-8.  The church has a permit for a K-3 school and got an extension on that permit when the year deadline was approaching and the school-- Phoenix Academy-- wasn’t ready to open.

The school should attract more students now with the added grades, to achieve its 130 student enrollment target, council was advised.

Council members Jim Swenson and Robert Canada vocalized some worries about the dangerous intersection at the church, at 392nd and Hwy 95, although they did vote yes with their fellow councilmembers for the grade expansion.

Council also adopted an outdoor storage plan-permit for the property just north of Lampert’s on the west side of the freeway off Flink.  There will be evergreen tree plantings for screening and other standards met.

The community garden site at Williams Park has organized as a 501C3 charitable entity.  Organizer of the public space, master gardener Dianne Patras Smith, provided information to the city that the program can now accept donations and raise funds.

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