Auto Body man loses second chance for permit
A Conditional Use Permit application by Cory Sandhurst to operate a body shop at 207 West 2nd Street in a residential area has been turned down for the second time.
A second public hearing conducted by the Minneota City Council ended with the same results — rejecting Sandhurst's attempt to establish a body shop in what is zoned a residential area.
Explaining the need for a second hearing, Attorney John Engels said, “We had ground work to do so we are holding a public hearing once again.”
“I would put a motion, since we have a neighbor 10 feet away that is willing to issue a permit, to issue the permit,” said City Councilman Travis Gillund.
"We need to put the conditions on it and if they are not followed, we pull it,” said Councilman Gillund, after reading a letter from neighbor Jack Yochem, saying he gives approval to go forward with the use permit and that air quality is not an issue.
However, Yokum was concerned with property tax going up on his property and re-sale value decreasing. He’d like to see a yearly review of the conditional use permit reviewed on a yearly basis.
Councilman Gillund made a motion to allow the one-year conditional use permit.
There was no second to his motion so it died due to lack of a second.
”I’ll make a motion for a number of different reasons, partially because of what I’ve heard tonight (from the public) and, why do we even have zoning areas?”
“I don’t like the idea of opening a door for the next possibility. I will make a motion to deny,” said Councilman Jerry Teigland. Councilman Tim Koppien seconded Teigland’s motion.
Teigland added, "We also have put a lot of money into city development.”
Councilwoman Amber Rodas added, “There are too many what if’s on the table. I can’t whole-heartedly say this is going to be successful in a residential area.”
Four council members voted to deny the permit. Only Gillund did not vote to deny the permit. Motion passed, conditional use permit is denied.
“We own a home 75 feet from what will become an auto shop. The fumes are only 75 feet. Since last month when he was denied, he has been still operating and I have smelled paint fumes,” said Stephanie Moon, who owns a home and day care business plus a photography studio.
“It has no business in our residential area,” said Darleen Dohrenkamper.
“We own the house next door, right behind … where my son lives. We do not want to own a home in the backyard of an auto body shop,” said Gail Haroldson.
“I don’t want any one breathing in what is coming out,” she said adding, “We’ve done our homework”.
Her son, Bruce Reyell, the community barber, told the council he, too, has smelled fumes in his yard.
“If it goes through, what happens when I want to sell my house. I can’t imagine there will be a line of people who want to buy a house near a paint shop,” said Rollyn Dorenkamper.
But Sandhurst denied he has been in operation, saying, “I’ve been unemployed since the last meeting and there he has not been painting and there isn’t even the equipment in there.”
Sandhurst added, “I don’t know where people are saying they have been smelling fumes because I have not been painting.”
Members of the public didn’t agree with Sandhurst.
I was there a week after the last meeting and just today and it’s physically impossible for him to be spray painting in there,” said Councilman Gillund.
“This really is nothing personal. I don’t know you and no nothing about you, it’s about making an industrial business in there,” said area resident Matt Moon.
“I could smell something and the closer I got to your building, I did smell something,” Moon said.
“I’m not going to apologize for smelling paint fumes. I’m not going to apologize for that. We’re here to decide if this is appropriate.”
Moon and wife Stephanie filed, “Citizen concern forms” with the city council, saying they have smelled paint fumes as they walked outside.
Moon added, “We are here to decide if this business should be located here.”
In a filed complaint, Reyell said he was worried about inhaling toxic fumes.
“At the end of the day, this would be a bad zoning decision,” said Moon.
He added, “It just doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
Sandhurst’s conditional use permit application said his shop will be equipped with a new paint booth that is up to code.
“He has a better facility now than he’s ever had,” said Gary Sandhurst in defense of his son.
There was a question about the area being zoned residential. “Can it have a business?” was the question.
“The daycare parents are concerned about their kids playing in our yard next to where he’s driving vehicles,” said Stephanie Moon, daycare provider.
“I propose we bring this up in a year and who knows, maybe by then something will be available in the industrial park,” said Sandhurst.
Gary Sandhurst said he knows there has been no spraying going on and said when he does spray it will be for two hours, two or three times per week.
“This is a conditional use permit. Lets make some conditions, I’ll follow them,” said Cory Sandhurst.
“Bottom line is you want to put a commercial business in a residential area, I say no. Why would I want too?” asked Reyell.
“I do not want a paint shop in my back yard,” Stephanie Moon re-iterated.
“The bottom line is the neighborhood does not want a paint shop,” said Rollyn Dorenkamper.
“We don’t want the body shop around our house,” said Matt Moon.
“It’s not a good idea. Everybody I’ve talked to said it’s not a good idea,” Moon added.
The hearing was closed and Mayor John Rolbiecki asked for a motion from the council.
“We have to remember this will set a precedent either way,” said Councilman Tim Koppien.
“It’s hard to change once its started,” he said.
“I think there are valid points on both sides. I appreciate all the work everyone’s put into this,” said Councilwoman Amber Rodas.
“My question is, ‘How much control do we have if this passes?’” she asked.
Attorney John Engels said, “It would be up to the council, to your discretion.”
Sandhurst has not indicated what his next course of action will be.