Three related economic development matters were each approved during a Worthington City Council meeting that lasted slightly less than 30 minutes.
The council first approved a request a change of zone for property located north of Bioscience Drive and east of North Humiston Avenue from its current Transition Zone District to “PUD 7” – Planned Unit Development #7. The change brings the property located at the approximate addresses of 1525-1526 Bioscience Drive under one common zoning district.
Next, council members approved a request for a preliminary plat of a subdivision of a portion of that property that would create three lots, one of which contains an existing office building, one with an existing pharmacy distribution center and one empty lot. PUD 7 splits Bioscience Park into three different zones – A, B and C – and the property to be considered in this action is located mostly in Zone C with the western-most portion in Zone B.
Lastly, the council approved a request submitted by the city in conjunction with Prairie Holdings Group regarding the final plat for the Worthington Bio Science Industrial Park Second Addition. The lone variation between the preliminary and final plats is a small increase in the lot three frontage and a subsequent slight decrease in the lot two frontage. Consideration was contingent on the approval of the preliminary plat request.
In other business, the council – which was missing both Larry Janssen and Chris Kielblock on Monday – moved to forgive assessments on a pair of tax-forfeited properties in the city. Nobles County will host an auction today on a number of tax-forfeited properties, and the two up for auction in the city have substantial assessments outstanding for snow removal and lawn mowing. Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson noted that county staff have indicated that potential buyers have expressed interest in the properties, resulting in the asking of council to consider forgiving the assessments. Robinson noted that should the tax-forfeited properties go back into private ownership, the city would no longer have to incur the costs associated with their maintenance. The council’s action is contingent on legal council's recommendation of the city's authority to forgive previously certified assessment.
Council members also approved a grant agreement with the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division pertaining to the city’s airport maintenance and operation costs. The grant will cover the state fiscal years of 2022 and 2023. The city of Worthington will be paid for 75% of the eligible maintenance and operations cost, not to exceed $77,251 of state aid for each fiscal year.
Additionally, the council also approved the installation of a stop sign at the intersection of the new Cecilee Street extension and Grand Avenue. It also moved to receive a report and order a hearing on the Eighth Avenue Reconstruction Project from Ninth Street to its westerly terminus by regrading, base reconstruction, curb and gutter reconstruction, resurfacing, sidewalk reconstruction and sewer service replacement. The resolution sets the hearing for the Dec. 13 council meeting.
The Worthington Economic Development Authority approved matching grants for two entities during a brief Monday evening meeting that preceded the Worthington City Council meeting.
The EDA approved $5,000 in Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program funds for RE/Max that will go toward installation of a sloped roof structure and metal roofing for its office building at 1626 Oxford St. The total coast of the project was reported to be $30,927.44. Work on the project has been completed.
The EDA also approved payment of $3,217.95 in Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program funds for Bibles for Missions for exterior storefront improvements at 419 10th St. Final cost of the work, which has been completed, was $6,435.89 following the addition of new storefront finishes in a small area between the window units. The grant funds awarded represent 50 percent of the actual expenditures on the work.