The Fergus Falls Planning Commission approved a variance of property at 1304 Brenvei Drive and the rezoning of 43 acres of Fergus Falls Port Authority (FFPA) land Monday after public hearings at City Hall.

Steven and Lynette Tonneson were requesting a variance for a detached accessory structure to be located in the front yard of their property on Brenvei Drive. 

The Tonneson bought their home in June 2016. They were asking to remove the existing 16-by-20-foot detached shed which was constructed in 1997. The Tonnesons have plans to replace the shed with a 28-by-26 double garage.

When their contractor went to obtain a building permit for the detached garage it was brought to their attention that the existing shed is approximately 26 feet from their south property line. Because East Fir Avenue is considered an arterial road, city code stipulates the setback must be 40 feet from the property line. The Tonneson would like to build within 18-20 feet of the property line.

The FFPA is proposing a change of zoning on property north of 1616 Weyrens Road from R-A (agricultural) to I-2 (general industrial district).

The area was annexed in 2005. It was purchased by the FFPA in 2012. At the present time the FFPA has a buyer for the 43-acre parcel. The proposed use of the land would be a demolition and recycling center. 

The land is on the edge of city limits. It contains farm fields and single-family residential housing. Land immediately to the south of the parcel contains six homes that are touching the parcel.

Mayor Ben Schierer and City Administrator Adam Bremseth attended the meeting to introduce the idea of online training beneficial to members of the planning commission as well as other city government groups. 

Because of the upcoming general elections Schierer and Bremseth were proposing to wait with the training until after the first of the year.

The commission was also informed that city staff would like to update some city ordinances — a process which will include members of the planning commission.

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