Coon Rapids proposes change in land use on Hanson

A land use change for a currently vacant building at 10732 Hanson Blvd., Coon Rapids, has been recommended for approval by the Coon Rapids Planning Commission.

Land use change from moderate density residential to office has been proposed for property at 10732 Hanson Blvd.  Source: city of Coon Rapids
Land use change from moderate density residential to office has been proposed for property at 10732 Hanson Blvd. Source: city of Coon Rapids

The Coon Rapids City Council introduced a rezoning ordinance Oct. 2 and will consider it for adoption along with the comprehensive plan land use change resolution at its Oct. 16 meeting.

First National Bank Elk River, which owns the property, requested both a rezoning and comprehensive plan land use amendment from moderate density residential to office.

According to Marc Nevinski, city community development director, the bank is not planning to build an office on the site; as the property owner it is merely seeking a land use and zoning change.

Councilmember Scott Schulte said he has spoken with a business owner from another community who wants to move his operation to the site.

“This would be a perfect spot,” he said.

The 7,372 square-foot building on the site was constructed in 1968 and was most recently occupied by a private security firm, according to Planner Scott Harlicker.

In 1968, when the building was constructed both the land use and zoning were industrial, but they were changed to moderate density residential in 2010 as part of the city’s comprehensive plan update, Harlicker wrote in his report to the commission.

“These changes were made because industrial was not appropriate zoning and moderate density was compatible with the single-family residences and would serve as a buffer to Hanson Boulevard,” he wrote in his report.

But in the letter to the city requesting the land use change, Scott Fritz, senior vice president, First National Bank of Elk River, wrote that the bank is the owner of the property as a result of a mortgage foreclosure.

Vacant for about two years, it had been used as an office/warehouse and it fronts on Hanson with the rear adjacent to the railroad tracks, he wrote.

According to Fritz, under the current zoning/land use, the existing building would have to be demolished and the cost to construct any new building to comply with the zoning/land use would far exceed the value of the property.

“The ability to sell any such residential parcel would be extremely restricted in light of the location of the property in connection with the thoroughfares and the railroad,” Fritz wrote.

In Fritz’s view, a mistake was made in the 2010 land use change, while times and conditions have changed to such an extent that no reasonable use can be made of the property under the current land use designation, he wrote.

A land use and zoning change to office would be consistent with the prior use of the property and make it marketable, according to Fritz.

Harlicker recommended approval of the land use and zoning change to office because it would serve as a buffer between Hanson and the surrounding single-family homes and meet a comprehensive plan goal of maintaining a diversified economic base by allowing the reuse of an existing commercial building that has access to an arterial street.

Peter Bodley is at