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Garage talk before Baxter Council Tuesday

BAXTER — Garage talk was back before the Baxter City Council Tuesday as the planned unit development known as Refuge on Grand Oaks arrived as a sketch plan before the council.

The city code requires the council review all sketch plans for planned unit developments (PUD). The city has an application for development of three acres of the JMS Baxter development on Grand Oaks Drive. Property from the former JMS development has gone back to the banks.

The new development plan calls for 24 multi-family units on 9.7 acres with 50 parking stalls.

Bill Deblon, community development director, said the JMS plat approval in 2002 showed two buildings on the sites with garages, although there was no written requirement with the approval. Deblon said garages aren’t included in the proposal, which has two parking stalls per unit. The city noted all other PUDs have garages. With a PUD, Deblon said the city expects exceptional design and planning.

Deblon questioned if the city should add a requirement that future phases have garages. City regulations do not currently require garages but the council recently asked staff to develop a garage ordinance after this development reached the city. The council previously decided it would not require this development, which had already submitted its application, to add garages after the fact.

Council member Jim Klein wondered if land could be set aside to allow for garages in the future. Deblon said they won’t be able to be added in the future because there isn’t enough land to build garages with the development.

Mayor Darrel Olson said he agreed garages should be part of the development, but added “that ship has sailed. I don’t think it needs a lot more discussion, that ship is gone.”

The council approved the sketch plan.

In other business:

When Deblon said a public hearing for the proposed disc golf course at Whipple Beach Park could possibly wait until after the Fourth of July, noting the addition of the parade route to Baxter, Council member Mark Cross said Brainerd’s city staff — other than the police department — has little input in the Fourth of July. Cross said from this point staff should not use the Fourth of July in Baxter as an excuse that it will take any of their time. Brainerd Community Action does the work, Cross said. He is married to Nancy Cross, Community Action executive director.

Approved the timber cutting plan, which includes the 62-acre Mississippi River Overlook Park the city added in 2006. The city has been working with the Department of Natural Resources to prepare the timber cutting plan with conservation in mind, Deblon reported. Logging trails may be used for future park trails.

The timber plan is for 32 acres of the park with plans to cut aspen, jack pine, paper birch and red oak in three phases with five-year intervals in between cutting of small and scattered harvest blocks. The first cutting area for the winter of 2012 and 2013 will reserve oak, maple, Norway and white pine from harvesting. The second tree cutting area is expected to follow in five years, in 2017.

Set a work session at 6:15 p.m. May 15 to review the 2011 audit.

Noted a Riverview Park open house and special parks meeting is planned at 6 p.m. May 17.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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