City Council tables Nordic Lodge expansion

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— After waiting more than four months since their Planning Commission hearing, the owners of the Nordic Lodge will have to wait a little longer. City Council, after reviewing issues such as sidewalks and architecture, decided to table the project until June 5 to let city staff and the applicant come to an agreement on a few issues.

The owners of the motel, which is located at 11th Street and Lincoln Avenue, want to add a coffee shop, office space, an employee apartment and a retail use at the front of their business on Lincoln. At the same time, they will be constructing a second story on three of their buildings to make up for the rooms the owners must demolish to free up space for the new businesses. The motel currently has 39 rooms.

Planner Tracey Hughes said the development has taken a long time to review in part because of a number of issues the city and the applicant had not agreed upon.

Discussion at council focused on the request by city staff that the applicants construct a sidewalk and bridge along 11th Street that would cause the elimination of eight parking spaces. Izabela Banas presented council with a petition signed by 35 local business owners asking the city to consider keeping the spaces. A few of those owners and nearby residents came to council to voice their opinions on the issue, most asking council to keep the parking there and not make the owner pay for a sidewalk.

"This is a huge penalty for this owner and I think it's distinctly unfair," said Paul Herrmann, who lives across the street from the motel.

Council members such as Council President Kevin Bennett said there was not enough of a connection between the need for a sidewalk and the new traffic generated by the businesses to reasonably demand the 11th Street sidewalk. But the city will likely ask the applicants to enter into a local improvement district to build a sidewalk and possibly a bridge along Oak Street.

Numerous references were made by both the city and the applicants' architect, Laura Frey, to the Mountain Town Sub-Area plan and the Mobility and Circulation Plan, both of which deal with issues of pedestrianization and parking. City Council found the plans to have some conflicting directives as to the need for pedestrianization versus the need for more parking.

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