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Baxter council approves agreement with business owner

BAXTER — A deeded right-of-way along Foley Road had Baxter City Council members looking again at a zoning request driven by business growth.

The property, on Foley Road across from Northwood Turf and Power, has two commercial buildings. One is a warehouse and the other is occupied by Krause Lock and Key with office and retail space.

Action Graphics was formerly part of the property until it moved to Forthun Road about 2003.

Gary Walton, property owner, attended the July 10 Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission, seeking clarification on the process. Walton has owned the property for 15 years with Mills formerly leasing one building and the lock and key business as a current tenant.

Walton told the commission a motorcycle shop was a prospective tenant interested in moving into the building, but he was worried he’d lose the tenant if there was delay. He’s been working with city staff to get through the necessary approvals. The initial plan was to move the motorcycle shop into the building by Aug. 1.

At the July 3 Baxter council meeting, council members voted to table the planned unit development application until more information was gathered on the plan. Council members were weighing the zoning request against its recent traffic study showing an expected increase in vehicles via Foley Road and Isle Drive, largely driven by the addition of Costco, which is driving more development in the area.

In the future, Foley Road west of Isle Drive is expected to have 11,000 vehicles per day with 60 percent to 70 percent of traffic coming and going to Isle Drive.

All that traffic is expected to create a need for a right-turn lane in the next four to six years.

Tuesday the council took a fresh look a the right-of-way on the north side of the property in light of the traffic study. After looking into the issue, staff reported the deeded right-of-way is a public road but underlying fee title belongs to the property owner and is needed to meet the parking requirements. With the recent traffic study, city staff wasn’t recommending vacating the city’s interest.

Instead, staff recommended a limited use agreement that allows the property owner to use the right-of-way until a time when the city needs it in the future. The limited use agreement would be in place of a planned unit development and conditional use permit and less costly for the landowner.

The lost parking space will have to be dealt with in the future when the road does go through. But it could be relocated, staff reported, as Walton also owns the adjacent property.

The council approved the limited use agreement.

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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