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Joint Planning Commission: Hensley Auto Salvage decision expected tonight

The future of Hensley Auto Salvage is expected to be decided tonight.

The Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board is slated to consider whether to deny an Interim Use Permit for the business, which conducts auto salvage, auto repair and used auto sales at 4701 Irvine Ave. N.W., or allow its owners another chance. Without an IUP, the business could not operate.

The JPB will convene for its regular meeting tonight at 6 at Bemidji City Hall.

The Joint Planning Commission last month voted 9-1 Thursday night to recommend denying the IUP.

Hensley Auto Salvage has not been allowed to be in operation since December, when the JPB rescinded its Conditional Use Permit due to violations at the site.

The JPB stated then that if the business met all of the conditions of the CUP and was able to obtain a new permit through the joint planning process, the business would be allowed to reopen.

That process began last month when the JPC held a public hearing and considered the request by Bill and Barb Hensley for an IUP.

No one from the public addressed the JPC. Joint planning staff had not made a recommendation to the JPC in the case. Planning Administrator Mel Milender said that although Hensley has made impressive improvements, staff was not willing to make quarterly visits to make sure he continues to comply.

Hensley Auto Salvage was established in 1977 in Northern Township.

Other agenda items

Two other cases are scheduled during the JPB's meeting.

They include:

- A request from Sandra Allendorph for a 55-foot variance from the required 100-foot setback from the Ordinary High Water Mark of Lake Bemidji that would allow for the installation of a mound septic system to serve 7314 Birchmont Court Northeast.

- A rezone request by the JPC to have eight parcels, located west of U.S. Highway 2 between 15th Street Northwest and Paul Bunyan Drive Northwest, rezoned from B-2 (general commercial) to R-5 (high-density housing).