November 4, 2022 at 2:41 p.m.

North Branch Council OK's Central Park for vets' memorial; review of multi-unit projects expected

North Branch Council OK's Central Park for vets' memorial; review of multi-unit projects expected
North Branch Council OK's Central Park for vets' memorial; review of multi-unit projects expected

The North Branch City Council took a vote last week directing staff to write-up a motion calling for a one year study to evaluate using business-zoned parcels to build multi-family units.  The motion will be on the November 10 agenda.

Council will do the study and/or revise the Comprehensive Plan, either of which has the potential to “shut the door” on millions of dollars of developer investments, City Administrator Renae Fry cautioned.  

The council will see a fully worded resolution two days after the election,  finding for enacting a development moratorium —referred to as an interim ordinance—to halt multi-family projects while the issue is researched.

This upcoming vote may impact multiple projects  that are at various stages of readiness.  Fry said the projects can just as easily go to a nearby city that is more welcoming, which would be North Branch’s loss.  Fry added this is a case where a “...citizen group is trying to stop a (land) use by calling for a study.”

Council member Kathy Blomquist was the lone no vote explaining she had unanswered questions about what exactly was being requested for staff to bring as an action item November 10.

This potential upcoming moratorium was somewhat overshadowed last week by the long anticipated Veterans Memorial vote.
 
No surprise,  all five votes were cast in favor of advancing the vets’ memorial design as presented and its location in Central Park (see story from memorial information meeting last week online.)

Council member Kelly Neider commented she remains opposed to the use of Central Park.  “I wish it were going someplace else,” she stated, without giving an option.  

Council granted Central Park the preliminary approval 4-1 in February, with Neider opposed. (search memorial stories at www.chisagocountypress.com)
This design and location final okay will allow the memorial to move ahead.

Joe Scaramell, North Branch Beautification Association, told the council, “I never served but I can give back to my community” and mentioned the not-for-profit association has spearheaded raising money and acquiring North Branch’s benches, flower baskets and other amenities in downtown.

Watch this paper for memorial events and fundraiser announcements.

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