City of Red Wing

City Council Takes Step Back on Canadian Pacific Railway Conditional Use Permit and Variance Approval

Thursday, August 11 2011 12:00 AM

The Red Wing City Council, on Monday, August 8, 2011, unanimously voted to reexamine a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and Variance approval it made in July to allow Canadian Pacific Railway to construct a new office/storage building west of Broad Street, immediately south of the railroad lines. On August 4, 2011, Mayor Dennis Egan vetoed Resolution No. 6309, which was unanimously adopted by the City Council on July 25, 2011, approving the CUP and Variance. Mayor Egan cited concerns regarding the project's impact on an adjacent property and it's redevelopment plans; specifically, Mayor Egan stated that the proposed railroad office/storage building would negatively impact the views from a proposed restaurant site on the north side of the former malting building on Broad Street and that alternative locations for the railroad building should be investigated further.

Canadian Pacific Proposal: The Canadian Pacific proposal includes a 23'x43' (989 square foot) single story building and a six (6) stall parking lot between the building and Broad Street. Due to the location of the existing railroad lines, the narrow width of the property, and limited access to utilities and a public street, Canadian Pacific proposed to place the building and small parking lot within 3 ½' and 2', respectively, of the site's southern property line. The Red Wing Zoning Ordinance requires a CUP for "Railroad Transportation" in the I-1 (Light Industrial) Zoning District and requires a 20' side yard setback for the building and a 5' side yard setback for the parking lot.

Canadian Pacific intends to replace an existing small office on the north side of the railroad tracks along Levee Road, near Red Wing Grain, with the proposed new structure. The proposed site is currently used for exterior storage of various materials used by the railroad; Resolution No. 6309 requires that the area no longer be used for outdoor storage. The proposed building would have an 88.25' setback from its eastern property line (114.25' from the edge of Broad Street) and would face north, toward the main railroad lines and the Mississippi River. The proposed building, which is somewhat accessory in nature, was designed to be compatible with a small accessory building owned by Canadian Pacific on the north side of the tracks in Levee Park. The proposed building would be constructed of modular brick (Chestnut color) and includes a limestone sill that runs around the entire building and limestone lintels above the windows and doors. A hipped asphalt roof is proposed. The height of the building, as defined by the Red Wing Zoning Ordinance, is 11.5' tall; the highest point of the building, the center peak/ridge, has a height of 15'.

The property is located within the Heritage Mall Historic District, which requires a Heritage Preservation Design Review by the Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). The HPC reviewed the proposed building and site plan at their July 6, 2011 meeting. The HPC approved the Design Review, as submitted, with a single condition of approval requiring enhanced decorative detailing on the overhead door and the service door. The HPC found the proposal to be compatible in character to the Heritage Mall Historic District and adjacent buildings.

The "Maltery" Redevelopment: A Conditional Use Permit was issued in 2007 to Nicollet Restoration of Minneapolis to complete Phase 1 of a redevelopment plan for the former malting building on Broad Street. Phase 1 included the development of ten residential loft units on the second floor of the structure, which has never been completed. The overall conceptual plan for the redevelopment included live/work opportunities for artists, an art gallery, and a restaurant and restaurant deck on the north side of the building, facing the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River. The entire project has stalled, but interest remains to revive the concept and is supported by the Red Wing Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Action Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Action Plan: The Red Wing Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Action Plan call for the redevelopment of the area with mixed uses, an arts district, a new road connecting Broad Street to Old West Main Street (between Main Street and the railroad lines), and a public market. The plans also acknowledge the existing industrial and agricultural based commerce in the area, including the railroad, and the need to redevelop the area with all interests, and public safety, in mind. On July 19, 2011 the Red Wing Planning Advisory Commission unanimously recommended approval of the Canadian Pacific proposal finding that it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan (the Downtown Action Plan is a part of the Comprehensive Plan) and that the proposed development will not preclude the Comprehensive Plan's envisioned expansion of Levee Street to the west of Broad Street.

City Council Action on August 8, 2011: The City Council did not take action to uphold or override the Mayor's veto; however, the City Council agreed with the Mayor that additional time should be spent reexamining the proposed Canadian Pacific proposal and it's possible effect on adjacent property owners and the vision of the Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Action Plan. The City Council directed staff to work with Canadian Pacific to: examine if the proposed office/storage building could be moved further west, away from Broad Street; examine if a lower roof or different roof design could be achieved; examine the relocation of the proposed parking lot, or the removal of the parking lot from the plans.

In addition, the City Council approved the extension of the Canadian Pacific application's review period by 60 days, as permitted by Minnesota Statutes Section 15.99; this extends the review period to the end of October 2011. Staff will discuss the issues with representatives of Canadian Pacific in August; it is anticipated that the issue will be on the City Council's September 12, 2011 agenda for further action.