Beach housing project meets oppositionA housing project proposed in Beach would help ease a housing crunch, but some residents are less than thrilled about it, especially since a $30,000 section of land will be donated to the developer.
A housing project proposed in Beach would help ease a housing crunch, but some residents are less than thrilled about it, especially since a $30,000 section of land will be donated to the developer.
The six lots being rezoned from a city park to residential may soon be home to 12 families, officials said.
Resident Todd Erhart said he when he moved to Beach the city wouldn’t sell him the same land that may now be donated to Lutheran Social Services Housing for the project.
“I, eight years ago, put this house next to a city park,” he said. “I’m just disturbed by the fact they lied to me.”
Kimberly Nunberg, city auditor and zoning administrator, said that was the plan for the area that remains an open field.
“I do vaguely remember that at that time, yes, that parcel of land was not for sale because it was designated for park area,” she said.
Mayor Walter Losinski said the park property would be moved about a block east.
Beach City Council members will hold a public hearing regarding bonding for the project Monday, Losinski said.
A public hearing on zoning for the park and housing project will be May 21, when Losinski said a final decision will likely be made.
“There would have to be a major change in what’s going on for this not to pass,” he added.
It will cost between $1.3 million and $1.5 million to construct six duplexes, said Jessica Thomason, director of Lutheran Social Services Housing.
Mary VanVleet, who has also resided across the street from the proposed development for about eight years, feels it would be unfair for the city to gift the land to LSS Housing.
“There are people that would gladly build a house there if they offered it to them,” she said. “We had to pay for our lots, so why shouldn’t they?”
Henry Gerving, Golden Valley County tax director, said there is no value assessed to the property, but that an average lot in Beach is worth about $5,000. Nunberg said the project would encompass six lots.
The project has been in the works for nearly four years, Losinski said.
“We had committed that land two and a half years ago,” he added. “We told them we would hold that land for three years for them to get their financing and stuff together.”
VanVleet wishes she would have been informed when the proposal was made, not years later.
“Why didn’t they make it a public offer?” VanVleet said.
Letters were recently sent to 14 residents nearby to inform them of the proposal, Losinski said.
Nunberg added minutes of city meetings are published in the local newspaper.
Losinski said three people expressed displeasure.
“In our democracy, you know, majority usually rules,” Losinski said. “You want to do what’s best for the community. As the mayor, that’s what I always strive to do.”
Erhart worries about who will be moving in next door.
“This stuff is going to change monthly, you know,” he said. “That’s the part that I’m afraid of is the wellbeing of my kids and safety.”
Thomason said prospective tenants be subjected to background checks.
“That’s just something that we do at all of our properties around the state as a best practice to make sure that we’re operating buildings that are safe for our tenants that live there,” she added.
City Council meetings are 7 p.m. at Beach City Hall at 153 Main St. E.