Baxter council members approve resolutions advancing Edgewood addition

Council member Todd Holman pushed to have some provisions amended, describing them as "troubling" and an "irregularity."

Baxter city officials Mayor Darrel Olson (left), council member Todd Holman, City Administrator Brad Chapulis and Assistant City Administrator Kelly Steele deliberate on a number of resolutions to move forward a 16-unit addition in senior house for the Edgewood Senior Living center on Firewood and Grand Oaks drives. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Baxter City Council approved a number of resolutions to replat, rezone and establish easements to allow the Edgewood Senior Living addition to move forward — though it struck down provisions to incorporate a $28,800 park dedication fee tied in with the arrangement.

Currently, a roughly 60-foot easement rests on the southern edge of the property on Firewood and Grand Oaks drives where Edgewood Management Group LLC is proposing to construct a 16-unit senior housing addition. The easement was intended to be built into a trail, but has remained unused and vacant since its establishment in the early 2000s.

Provisions in the staff recommended motion would have stipulated a $28,800 park dedication fee to either be used for the construction of the trail at the southern easement, or to vacate the easement and fund a new proposed trail on the eastern roadside of the property.

Council member Todd Holman expressed misgivings at these stipulations.

“I can’t think of a single time where we’ve required an easement and then had the developer come back to construct the trail at a different time,” Holman said. “We’ve always had the construction up front. The people are there. The equipment is there. It just seems more efficient.”


In addition, Holman found it unusual that the planning commission, not the parks and recreation commission, would dictate how to execute park dedication fees. He described it as “troubling” and an “irregularity” and said he was in favor of keeping the process as it was before — up front, with trail construction in conjunction with the senior housing addition.

William Bush, a resident of Firewood Drive and member of the Excelsior Place Townhome Association, said an east-west portion of the Paul Bunyan State Trail that runs through that area and abuts current and new Edgewood Senior Living properties would pose problems to private homeowners in the area. Earlier, Community Development Director Josh Doty noted there would be gaps in the trail that have to be hashed out between the developer and abutting property owners.

“That’s our contention — that you’re encroaching on properties,” said Bush, who pointed to a number of ponds in the area that may pose obstacles to a more linear, cleanly defined trail easement and run it through mostly privately owned areas, while also inhibiting stormwater drainage implemented on that stretch.

He also questioned why the trail was being expanded primarily on the more developed eastern side of Firewood Drive, instead of constructing new trails mostly on the undeveloped western side of the road.

“Why come through established properties?” Bush said. “There’s no easements on the western side of Firewood Drive. If you want an east-west trail, why don’t you relocate it? … We already having flooding problems. Going through existing areas and dealing with water, it’s going to be increasingly pushed into Excelsior (Court Apartments).”

Mayor Darrel Olson said he appreciated Bush’s diligence, but noted as yet there aren’t any plans to realign the trail or change construction initiatives in the area at this time.

The council approved an ordinance change that would differentiate the parking restriction on memory care and hospice from senior housing. As noted in studies, Doty said, these standards require more parking than is required for memory care units and half of required parking has to include a garage or underground facilities.

Doty said the ordinance change reflects that memory care and hospice residents rarely, if ever drive and the new simple standard of one parking spot per four housing units and one for every employee is a more realistic and viable option going forward, particularly for the Edgewood Senior Living facility to be built on Firewood Drive.


In addition, the council also approved a preliminary and final plat for the new Edgewood Senior Living Center addition planned at Lot 2, Block 1 on the intersection of Firewood and Grand Oaks drives, rezoning it from R2 medium density residential to R3 high density residential.

In other business, the council:

Adopted a conflict of interest disclosure policy and conflict of interest statement for public officials and management. City council members, department directors, assistant department directors, and supervisors must disclosure certain information if they will be involved in decisions or take actions that substantially affect their financial interests or those of a business with which they are associated.

Approved a resolution establishing four polling places for the 2020 election year. These include Baxter City Hall at 13190 Memorywood Drive, Heritage Church at 13424 Berrywood Drive, Lord of Life Lutheran Church at 6190 Fairview Road and Lakewood Evangelical Free Church at 6284 Fairview Road.

Approved amendments to the building official job description. By tweaking the necessary qualifications in terms of computer programming proficiency, required experienced and certification, the city hopes to draw a wider pool of qualified candidates.

Adopted a resolution providing for competitive negotiated sale of $2,795,000 of general obligation improvement bonds.

Accepted a $500 donation from the Kiwanis Club for the 2019 Children’s Triathlon.

Approved a conditional use permit for grading and filling in a shoreland overlay district to allow the installation of a rip rap erosion barrier on the 13000 block of Maplewood Drive.


Approved a conditional use permit for an accessory structure that deviates from typical size and design standards located on the 5400 block of Mapleton Road.

Approved Landwehr Construction Inc. partial pay estimates of $66,353 and $118,141, as well as change orders of $6,150 and $47,073.99 for the 2018 Cypress Drive improvements project.

Approved change orders to Knife River Corporation-North Central in the increased amount of $2,040 and $5,950, and a partial pay estimate of $559,710 for the 2019 mill and overlay and full-depth reclamation improvement project and the 2019 Memorywood Drive improvements project. In addition, the council approved a change order of $5,950 and a partial pay estimate of $563,237 for the project.

Approved agreements for stormwater facilities maintenance and development with EVI Baxter LLC.

Approved revised and substantial and final completion dates by Knife River Corporation-North Central and J.R. Ferch Inc., for the 2019 mill and overlay and full depth reclamation improvements project and 2019 Memorywood Drive improvements project.

Approved revised substantial and final completion dates with Knife River Corporation-North Central for the 2019 Mapleton Road, Jasperwood Drive and Knollwood Drive area improvements project and 2019 south sanitary sewer interceptor improvements project.

Approved an amendment that would allow a propane filling station to be installed at Gander RV & Outdoors, 14275 Edgewood Drive.

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