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Residential development in works for city’s south shore

BEMIDJI – Details are scarce.

In fact, following an hour and 30-minute closed session Tuesday night of the Bemidji Economic Development Authority, little but the name of a developer, and the fact that an offer was made for the purchase of city-owned land by B&B Enterprises LLC, is known.

But, according to City Attorney Alan Felix, the offer was met with a counter-offer on what he said will be residential development on the land.

“I can take this opportunity to report what is reportable,” Felix said at the end of the City Council’s regular meeting. “The (Bemidji Economic Development Authority) is moving forward with an entity for the purchase of a property north and east of the (Sanford Center) for residential development purposes. Obviously, when negotiations for the purchase of the property, as directed by the BEDA, are finalized we’ll have more details to share with the public.”

Felix, in responding to media queries between the end of the closed BEDA session and the beginning of the regular council meeting, outlined the authority’s behind-closed-doors actions.

“And if you’re familiar with the BEDA process. ... you know that there’s going to be a public hearing process that has to take place before the BEDA, and before the sale, can take place,” Felix said. “And that will all obviously occur when there’s final terms negotiated for that sale.”

Mayor Rita Albrecht said the company is made up of “local people,” and that the LLC is located in Bemidji.

In other business:

The council held a public hearing on an ordinance that would allow for the operation of licensed taprooms and the sale of “growlers” – 64-ounce containers of beer. The ordinance would also allow for the sale 750-millileter bottles. Both containers must be consumed off-site.

Justin Kaney, of Bemidji Brewing, spoke in praise of the ordinance, and said he’s still looking for a location to set up a taproom.

Passed a resolution to close city parking lot 7 between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 to April 1 to anyone not holding a parking permit for the lot, which is east of Minnesota Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. Signs marking the new hours will be installed. Director of Public Works Craig Gray advised the council of complaints from downtown businesses concerning plowing of the lot.

“What we found is that there’s a number of cars parked in parking lot 7 during plowing hours that do not have a parking permit,” Gray said. “This parking lot, like all, allows you to park in the lot for three hours even if you don’t have a permit. Unfortunately, there’s no way for police to tell, at 2 a.m., whether a car’s been there for three hours or not.”

Ward 4 Councilmember Reed Olson, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, expressed concern that late-night patrons of downtown businesses would drive home in order to avoid being ticketed for parking in the lot.

“That might encourage some people to drive their cars home, and they should probably let their car sit there overnight and get a parking ticket instead of driving home,” he said.

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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