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South Town Addition plans face neighborhood opposition

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 15th, 2017

HURON — While Huron city commissioners unanimously approved first reading of an ordinance to rezone 10 acres in the South Town Addition near Coborn’s to accommodate up to two 69-unit apartment buildings and four- and six-unit townhouses, neighborhood opposition to their location in the middle of single-family dwellings also has them wanting to know if alternatives proposed by nearby property owners are viable.

Commissioner Doug Kludt, for one, said he doesn’t want to kill the project — with construction season rapidly approaching — but is also sensitive to neighbors who purchased lots at a city auction when that area was zoned for single family and twin homes.

Property owners like Todd and Kim Smith, 574 26th St. S.E., aren’t opposed to the project, but said there are other multi-family areas nearby that should be considered. They and others who spoke Monday night said building the pair of three-story apartment complexes in the middle of single-family homes is not a good plan because no one will want to build homes directly around it.

Commissioners will consider second and final reading of the rezoning ordinance Feb. 27.

Greater Huron Development Corporation Executive Vice President Barry Cranston said the developer is willing to invest millions of dollars in two phases of apartment buildings and townhouses this year and in 2018. Phase two will be built based on demand.

The apartment units will not be subsidized, but rents will be based on market rate.

While the units will go a long way in providing housing needed for 250 new jobs at Dakota Provisions by the end of the year, Cranston emphasized that this is a community project based on needs identified in a 2013 housing study.

GHDC and the city have committed to doing all they can to boost housing in Huron.

Cranston said the project in South Town Addition will spur more development in town, and will be a showcase for housing. The developer has done similar projects in small markets in South Dakota and Iowa, he said.

Another developer is planning a 40-unit complex for seniors that, hopefully, will free up homes in town for new buyers, he said.

Sherman Gose of GHDC said he has driven past the developer of the two 69-unit complexes in other cities, and they are well built and maintained. If the city begins denying developments such as these, it will once again decline in population as it did in the late 1990s, he said.

Dakota Provisions President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rutledge said Huron had a housing shortage in 2004 when the plant was being built. James Valley Housing was established to start remedying that, he said. But it was difficult to find project developers who would consider Huron, he said.

Of the 250 new jobs that need to be filled this year, 35 to 40 of them will be for supervisory positions, Rutledge said.

Kim Smith said there has been steady development of single-family homes and duplexes in the addition, with 10 coming in less than two years. Prior to that, the land was in bankruptcy for a decade.

She said she agrees more housing is needed, but is asking the apartment complexes be moved so they are not in the middle of a single-family district.

Cranston said he will have photos of the proposed buildings at the next hearing, as well as more information about whether other areas in the addition are viable.

He said the developer does prefer being near the new 24th Street Southeast extension because he feels it would provide the main access to and from Dakota Avenue South.

Meanwhile, in her semi-annual update to the commission, Beadle County Humane Society Executive Director Kim Krueger said 1,135 animal calls were made in 2016, primarily for running at large, neglect and bites.

Pet owners must license their animals. So far this year, 413 licenses have been issued, compared with 947 in 2016. Having an identification means the shelter can get animals returned home quickly, she said.

The shelter has a full-time and part-time position open, and always needs volunteers.

Commissioners also:

• Approved requests for alcoholic beverage consumption in public from Holy Trinity Catholic School for a fashion show brunch on March 4 in the multipurpose room, from LaRon Klock for a retirement party on March 24 at the Campus Center and from Adrian Smith for a wedding on June 3 at the Campus Center.

• Awarded an $851,396 bid to Asphalt Paving & Materials Co. of Huron for street milling and overlay.

Streets to be done this year are Kansas Avenue Southeast, from 13th to 18th streets; Utah Avenue Southeast, from Ninth to 12th streets; Beach Avenue Southeast, from Ninth to 12th streets; 18th Street Southwest and Southeast, from Ohio Avenue to Riverview Drive; and Indiana Avenue Southeast to the south about 600 feet.

Also, 14th Street Southeast, from Dakota to Iowa avenues; Seventh Street Southwest, from Wyoming to Illinois avenues; 24th Street Southwest, from Illinois Avenue to Highway 37; Wisconsin Avenue Southwest, from 22nd to 27th streets; 10th Street Southeast, from Dakota to Lawnridge avenues; 11th Street Southeast, from Dakota to Lawnridge avenues; Fourth Street Southeast, from Kansas to Idaho avenues; and Sixth Street Southeast, from Idaho to Frank avenues.

• Approved plats filed by Scott and Rebecca Rink, Greater Huron Development Corporation and the city of Huron.

• Accepted the retirement resignation of Fire Chief John Coughlin after more than 41 years of service to the city.

• Announced that the City Commission won’t meet Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day.

The solid waste rubble site will be closed Saturday and Monday. The Monday garbage and recycling routes will be collected on Wednesday, Feb 22. Containers should be out Tuesday evening as the trucks will not be rerouted.

For the complete article see the 02-14-2017 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-14-2017 paper.

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