Cambridge City Council approves business development

The Cambridge City Council learned of Woody’s Auto plans to expand and Local Pawn’s plans to relocate downtown during the March 17 council meeting.

City Planner Marcia Westover explained Steven Wudel, owner of Woody’s Auto, is requesting an interim use permit for automobile sales and service. Wudel currently runs his business at 119 Main St. N. and 161 Main St. N. He wishes to expand his business to include 140 First Ave. W. (former Federated Co-op property).

Westover explained the businesses at 119 Main. St. N. and 161 Main St. N. exist as a legal non-conforming use. The status indicates that the use may have been incorporated on the property before the current zoning laws were enacted.

As the use is expanding to a new location, an interim use permit is now required, as all three properties will be reviewed under one interim use permit, making the existing locations conforming.

Westover explained the proposal is for automobile sales and minor automobile service based on a five-year interim use. According to city code, minor service includes items such as incidental repairs, replacement of parts, tune-ups, lubrication, washing, detailing and equipment installation.

Following discussion, the council approved the five-year interim use permit. Wudel has been in business for 13 years, and the council thanked him for his businesses and willingness to invest in the city.

Local Pawn relocating downtown Cambridge

Westover explained Local Pawn is requesting an interim use permit to relocate their business to 107 Main St. N. from its existing location at 306 Garfield St. S.

Local Pawn has been in business since January 2012. A change of ownership occurred when Krystle Lindelof purchased the business in January 2014.

Westover explained Lindelof received positive results when the Police Department did its investigation for the issuance of the pawnbrokers license.

Westover informed the council there are eight parking spaces on site for employee and customer parking. She said the parking lot flow and traffic congestion in the area is a concern with access to Highway 95 and the alley.

However, it is an existing situation and the former use was retail, and the requested new use is also retail.

She said outdoor storage was also a concern, and Lindelof is working on a long term contract with a local mini storage for larger items that need to be stored for the new location.

Following discussion, the council approved the interim use permit for five years, and if the use causes undue traffic concerns, parking concerns or congestion, the interim use shall cease. Outdoor storage will not be allowed on site.

Highway 95 bridge construction detour

Public Works Director Steve Wegwerth updated the council on the detour plans in regard to the west Highway 95 bridge construction project on the west side of Cambridge.

Wegwerth said construction will, he hopes, begin at the end of March, and continue throughout the summer. He said there will be no parking on Fern Street between Highway 95 and Second Ave. He also mentioned there will be no parking in the angled parking lot on Second Avenue by City Park.

Wegwerth said discussions are still taking place as to whether parking in the rectangular parking lot at City Park will be allowed. He said there are concerns with traffic leaving the parking lot and attempting to make a left-hand turn to head west on Second Avenue.

Wegwerth noted the public canoe landing access located near City Park will also be closed for the summer due to storage of construction equipment.

Traffic heading eastbound on Highway 95 will be detoured onto Second Avenue near Anoka Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus. Traffic heading westbound on Highway 95 will be detoured at Fern Street.

“We are trying to keep the detoured traffic out of residential areas as much as possible,” Wegwerth noted

Police training, firearms and tactical equipment

Police Chief Tim Dwyer, along with officers Jason Harvey and Chad Saleans, appeared before the council to request authorization to spend up to $33,000 from 2013 excess revenue funds to purchase needed police training and safety equipment.

The purchase will include $12,900 for Blauer Tactical High Gear protective suits, Airsoft training weapons and accessories; dual-purpose safety masks; and expendable training batons. It will also include the purchase of $19,525 for six new patrol rifles and tactical accessories, and outfitting the department’s currently owned eight rifles.

Dwyer praised the work of Harvey and Saleans.

“These two officers did a lot of research and took a lot of time in putting this proposal together,” Dwyer said.

In regard to the training and safety equipment, Dwyer said the items will give the officers the knowledge, skills and mind-set to effectively make decisions about using lawful force to gain compliance from those who do not obey police commands. It also gives the officers the skills needed to protect themselves and citizens from those what wish to do them harm.

When justifying the patrol rifle upgrades and additions, Dwyer explained in today’s society, where there has been an increase in school and public venue shootings, law enforcement is often finding responding officers are out-gunned and under-equipped as compared to the aggressors.