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Baxter City Council: Council approves Navillus Business Center replatting

Baxter City Council members Steve Barrows (left), Mayor Darrel Olson, Todd Holman and Mark Cross convene during the Nov. 7 meeting to discuss developments for the Navillus Business Center. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER—At least for now, circumstances delivered the Baxter City Council from ruling on a difficult and complicated request—one inciting a great deal of discussion during prior meetings and resulting in a split vote to table the matter.

The council voted unanimously Wednesday, Nov. 7, to approve replatting the Navillus Business Center property, approved a conditional use permit for joint access, and authorized a property easement for utility and drainage purposes on that property.

Notably, the property in question—the Navillus Business Center located southwest of College Road and Cypress Drive—factored prominently in discussions during the Oct. 19 meeting, with regards to how the property would be purposed into a towing-company lot.

Collins Brothers Towing, which leases the property from Navillus Land Co., factored into plans to reconfigure the southeast portion of the property into a lot for impounded vehicles, which the company said would require the construction of fencing and barbed-wire deterrents.

Landscaping—such as trees and shrubs to improve the appearance of the property—were deemed counterintuitive to the fence's purpose, as they could be used by trespassers to circumvent the barrier.

At the time, council members expressed concerns for allowing that kind of construction along a busy thoroughfare of the city and in view of neighboring apartments. There were also concerns establishing a legal framework for these kinds of developments—such as, in this case, an outdoor storage yard in an office zoning district—would set a precedent the city couldn't predict or contend with properly in future cases.

This impasse led to a split 3-2 vote to table the matter.

Ultimately, as Community Development Director Josh Doty told the council, Navillus opted to pull the Collins Brothers Towing aspects of the application. Predominantly, this pertains to the fencing, barbed wire and storage yard construction. However, they indicated they were still interested in replatting five parcels into three and applying for a joint access conditional use permit, as well as a public easement for drainage and utilities.

Doty noted the application met every stipulation of the conditional use permit.