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The city of Cannon Falls voted unanimously to acquire a portion of the Sandstone Ridge Development from the Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority during their regular meeting on July 20. 

The Authority, better known as SEMMCHRA, was given the property in forfeiture for $1 at the time of the sale. The rest of the 15 lots were purchased by individuals in the county for $6,000-7,500, according to council documents. 

City Administrator Neil Jensen said SEMMCHRA did a study of the property after acquiring it and found it to be "welcoming, but expensive."

Jensen continued to say that soil and roads near the development are in "tough condition." 

SEMMCHRA voted during their own meeting to donate the property back to the city so they can decide what to do with it. 

According to council documents, the proposed site was going to possibly be 36 unit multi-family housing. Project costs were estimated more than $1.25 million, not taking costs associated with expansive soils within the site. 

To view these documents, visit the following link

Council member Steve Gesme and Mayor John Althoff said at the conclusion of Jensen's overview that the city should take back the property immediately. 

There was no other discussion on the development and each council member agreed to the motion to begin drafting paperwork to acquire the SEMMCHRA owned property. 

Vet clinic coming to Cannon Falls?

The consent agenda was unanimously approved by the council, but not before Council Member Matt Montgomery asked for a condition use permit for David Olson at 1233 Fourth Street South to be pulled down for discussion. 

The listed property is currently where the Artisan Plaza is.

Olson owns Artisan Plaza and was applying to the city to for a conditional use permit for Dr. Curtis Nelson of Goodhue. 

The conditional use permit would be used to build a small animal hospital in the former Real Deals location of the Artisan Plaza. 

Specifically, the conditional use permit would add walls, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, three exam rooms, offices, and an area for animal surgical preparation and recovery.

Montgomery asked for the item to be discussed mainly in regards to the tax-increment financing (TIF) the Artisan Plaza receives.

Montgomery asked if they were to allow the veterinary clinic to be established, would it affect the TIF that was in place? Jensen said that as long as Olson continues to pay his taxes, he should receive them back. 

Jensen said that Laura Qualey, the city's Community and Business Development Specialist, would look into the tax-increment financing of the property to see if things would be O.K.

“I’m in favor of that building being used in whatever way that we can that is positive in nature, but that restaurant was amazing and the market was great and was always a great place to grab a burger and sit on the patio," Montgomery said. "I hate to see that sit vacant and be replaced by a [veterinary] clinic on the one side.” 

The conditional use permit was unanimously approved by the council. 

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