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Joint Planning Board: Final OK for VistaNorth addition

The plan for a second addition to the VistaNorth developed received final approval during a special Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board meeting Thursday evening.

The plan includes the construction of 8-, 10- and 12-plex residential housing units.

The JPB voted unanimously to approve the Planned Unit Development, preliminary plat and final plat in a quick 15-minute meeting at City Hall.

"We look forward to the new building development," said Chairman Tim Mountain following the approval. "It should be a great addition to the Bemidji community."

The JPB already was familiar with the proposal as it first was presented to the board April 8. However, the plan had been revised then from the original plan that was presented to the Joint Planning Commission in May.

Originally requested was a second addition to VistaNorth with more housing units and some commercial development. The JPC voted to recommend denial of that plan due to concerns with the commercial development.

Following that meeting, the proposal was amended in an effort to respond to the commission's concerns. The planned commercial development was eliminated while residential units were increased.

The JPB first considered the new proposal in early April, but voted to send the matter back to the JPC for another public hearing and subsequent reconsideration.

That public hearing was held last week and the JPC voted unanimously to recommend approval.

There was little discussion at Wednesday's JPB meeting.

JPB member Richard Lehmann said he received one phone call from a neighbor who appreciated the elimination of the commercial component.

Mountain said he received two comments, both of which actually supported the commercial development as the people commenting felt the addition would house senior citizens, who could use a neighborhood grocery store.

Special meeting

The JPB plans to hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. May 20 with as many JPC members as possible for a joint discussion on the current status of the joint planning venture and future goals.