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Colfax Plan Commission recommends rezone to residential for salt shed lot

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Colfax Plan Commission is recommending the village board rezone the lot at 602 Evergreen Street from public use to residential.

The plan commission held a public hearing on the proposed  rezone October 2 for the lot where the village’s salt-sand shed was formerly located.

The building, which was built in 1903 and was used as a barn, as a county shop, as a village shop and then as a place to store the salt-sand mixture used in the winter for slippery roads, was torn down this spring.

Several village residents came to the July 10 village board meeting to say they had started a petition and that 100 village residents had signed the petition in favor of keeping the salt shed lot residential and not turning it into a commercial lot.

The lot is located in a residential area and is right next to Iverson Park.

Initially, the Commercial Testing Lab had been interested in the lot as a place to build a parking garage for the business’s route cars.

At the August 28 meeting, the Colfax Village Board voted to proceed with the rezone to residential and unanimously approved a motion to sell the lot by sealed bids. The village board also approved a separate motion setting the minimum price at $15,000 in view of the lot’s appraisal at $20,000.

According to state law, the plan commission must review a request for a rezone and then make a recommendation to the village board.

Several people have indicated an interest in purchasing the 72-foot by 168-foot lot.

Eight people were in the audience for the public hearing October 2.

Deborah Huebsch, who lives at 508 Evergreen Street, said she was in favor rezoning the lot to residential.

Yvette Flaten, 611 East River Street, said she “strongly applauds”  the village board for listening to the residents and would like to see the lot as residential for safety purposes.

Children frequently play in Iverson Park, and in fact, just prior to the plan commission meeting, Flaten said she had observed children playing on the park swings.

Barbara Black of 603 Evergreen Street said she, too, was in favor of the rezone to residential.

“I like it being a family neighborhood,” Black said.

Kim McEldowney, who lives directly east of the salt shed lot, said she was in favor of the lot being rezoned to residential as well.

After closing the public hearing, the Colfax Plan Commission unanimously approved a motion to recommend the village board rezone the lot from public use to residential.

The notice that the village is accepting sealed bids for the lot was published in the September 13 and September 20 Colfax Messenger, noted Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.

The bids were scheduled to be opened October 5 at 10 a.m.

The bids were expected to be presented to the village board at the October 9 meeting.

Mike Buchner, plan commission member, wondered if it is standard operating procedure to open the bids before the village board has had a chance to approve the rezone.

The people who have bid on the lot will not know whether the village board approved a rezone to residential, Buchner pointed out.

What if the village board does not approve the rezone? he asked.

If the village board decides not to follow the plan commission recommendation to rezone the lot to residential, the board could reject all of the bids that had been received, said Gary Stene, village president.

Stene serves as chair of the plan commission. In addition to Buchner, other plan commission members include Dave Hovre, Dave Wolff, Nancy Hainstock and Jason Johnson.

Johnson was absent from the meeting.

If the village board approves the rezone at the October 9 meeting, the ordinance rezoning the property will take effect after it has been published in the Colfax Messenger.