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Bemidji City Council to discuss downtown parking

BEMIDJI – The city council will consider adding new restrictions to a downtown parking lot during its Monday night meeting.

The parking lot, located at the corner of Fourth Street Northwest and Minnesota Avenue Northwest, would be closed to overnight parking except for vehicles with valid permits. The switch is intended to alleviate snowplowing issues in the lot.

“This parking lot, like some others, usually has a number of vehicles in it all night, which makes for some very eventful snowplowing,” city engineer Craig Gray wrote in a memo to the council. “In the winter some of the vehicles do not move for a number of days.”

Gray wrote that some of the cars do not have valid overnight tenant permits. But the lot allows cars without permits to be there for up to three hours.

That creates a problem for police, who can’t write a ticket for a car in the middle of the night without knowing if it’s within the three-hour window, Gray wrote.

The Downtown Development Authority agreed to the change in signage.

The lot would be closed from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. to all vehicles without a permit under the staff recommendation. Violators would be ticketed and towed.

“This will allow the police department to assist us in getting vehicles removed for snow removal activities,” Gray wrote.

Taproom, Growler hearing

The council will also hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance allowing taprooms at licensed breweries and to allow brewers to sell 64-ounce “growlers” for consumption off-site.

The hearing comes during the second reading of the ordinances.

A hearing on the taproom and small brewer license fees will also be held. The council proposed setting annual taproom license fees at $400 and $240 for the growler license. 

Land sale

The Bemidji Economic Development Authority, the council’s real estate alter-ego, will hold a 5:30 p.m. meeting Monday to discuss the potential sale of a plot of land northeast of the Sanford Center.

Last month, city manager John Chattin indicated that they were in discussions with a residential developer for that land.

It’s unclear if any sale will be approved Monday night.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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