Council approves permits for apartment, boarding house in west Brainerd
Brainerd City Council members approved conditional use permits for a boarding house and apartment complex in Creekside Community.
BRAINERD — Plans are underway for an apartment complex and boarding house in west Brainerd.
City Council members on Feb. 21 approved the final plat for Creekside Community , an affordable, supportive housing project on Jackson Street.
The latest move consolidated 11 lots on the property into four larger lots and approved conditional use permits to construct a 12-unit apartment building and a boarding house with attached health club. These facilities are Phase 2 of the project, headed up by the nonprofit My Neighbor To Love Coalition.
The apartment complex will contain eight studio units, two two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units, providing housing for 18-36 people. It will also have a laundry room and storage area.
The two-story Creekside Center will include a holistic health facility on the first floor, with health-related support services, classes and other activities that will focus on employment training.
The upper level will contain a boarding house, where potential residents can stay while waiting to move into one of the units at the nearby apartment complex. These residents would have a chance to learn about Creekside Community before officially moving in.
The goal of Creekside Community, according to nonprofit Executive Director Vicky Kinney, is to provide housing options for those struggling with homelessness and to address the factors contributing to poverty and homelessness in the community.
The first phase of the project, which is already underway across the street, will see the construction of four efficiency housing units, all just over 400 square feet in size. Kinney aims to keep the rent on these units low — roughly around $350-$450 a month or lower — and give residents an opportunity to do yard work and other tasks throughout the community to help offset their living costs.
A second 12-unit apartment complex is planned for the future, bringing the community’s capacity to 40-80 residents.
Approval for the final plat last week came with an agreement to lessen the minimum number of parking spots needed for the boarding house and health club. Under city code, six spots are required for the boarding house and another four for the health club, but Kinney requested deferment of two of those spaces, as those who use the health club will primarily be residents who already live on site and therefore will have parking included with their apartment building.The first 12-unit complex will have a parking lot with 27 spaces.
Council members approved final plat and permits for the two buildings last week on a 6-1 vote, with council member Gabe Johnson opposed. Johnson spoke against the project in November , when the council approved various measures to propel the project forward.
The area in which Creekside Community is situated is zoned Traditional Neighborhood 2 and is, according to the code, intended to provide a pedestrian-oriented mix of residential and neighborhood-serving commercial uses. It should reinforce the existing pattern of small, connected lots, blocks and streets and support development/redevelopment consistent with that pattern, the code states.
Johnson has maintained the development does not meet the standards of the zoning district in terms of small lots, walkability, sidewalks and alley garbage pickup. He said in November the TN-2 district is supposed to support a mixture of housing densities and commercial uses, and he does not believe replatting land into bigger lots fits within the city’s comprehensive plan. Other council members, however, mentioned the comprehensive plan’s goal of expanding housing options throughout the city.
Construction is underway on the Phase 1 fourplex, and work on the apartments and boarding house will follow.
THERESA BOURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .