Construction firm, outfitter fishing for favorable zoning
Residents of Thirteenth Street may soon have a little more protection from the western winds that sweep off the grasslands surrounding town. At the March 8 planning commission meeting, Chuck Bartlett, a former Saratoga Director of Public Works and current engineer for WLC Engineering, Surveying and Planning, presented a proposal to rezone a 6.5 acre parcel of land west of town.
The parcel is bounded by the county road connecting Spring Creek Road and Jack Creek Road to the west. It’s north and south boundaries are formed by where Elm and Walnut Avenues would continue if extended, respectively. This land is currently vacant, but is zoned for retail business.
Under the proposal, made on behalf of Triple D Construction, LLC, roughly three acres on the north side of the parcel would be rezoned for light industrial use. An additional 3.5 acres on the southern side of the parcel would be designated for medium density residences.
Walnut Avenue’s pavement would be extended to the county road. Elm Avenue would terminate where it does today.
According to plans provided to the committee, four condominiums would be constructed in the medium density housing area, with an el-shaped paved road running from Walnut Avenue to the county road. In the light industrial zone, two “garage condominiums” would be built for lease as storage spaces, along with a lot dedicated for a shop and two .3 acre lots.
Much of the discussion centered around whether it would be better to extend Walnut or Elm Avenue to the county road. Bartlett said either option was feasible, but extending Walnut Avenue would be preferable because extending Elm Avenue would result in the loss of at least one lot from the light industrial zone.
The board seemed cautiously open to this plan. Still, many of its members wanted to go have a look at the land in question and consult area property owners before taking any action.
Steve Heinitz will likewise have to wait to learn whether or not he will be allowed to move forward with his proposed mobile business operating out of the community center parking lot. Heinitz, the owner of local outfitting company North Platte Trouters wishes to start a spin-off business selling fishing flies, tippets and leaders out of a large truck specifically designed for this purpose. The truck will generate electricity from solar panels, boast its own water supply and bathroom and otherwise be “completely off the grid,” in Heinitz’s words. The business owner plans on calling his truck “The Fly Box.”
Contingent on the blessing of town regulators and an absence of problems, the Platte Valley Community Center has tentatively agreed to host Heinitz in their parking lot for six months. Within three to five years, Heinitz hopes to move into a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment and employ two or three employees.
The business would be the first of its kind in Saratoga, and the planners seemed unsure how it should be regulated. Heinitz was passionate and organized in defense of his proposal, but several commission members hadn’t looked over the documents he had provided them prior to the meeting.
Ultimately, the commission concluded that since Heinitz’s business was mobile, it did not fall under their purview, and would have to be reviewed by the Saratoga Town Council.
Zoning Officer Kent Smith’s progress report took up the remainder of the proceedings. According to Smith, many town residents are not paying for construction permits, despite repeated verbal and written warnings. Smith plans to begin issuing citations shortly.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the planning commission will be held at 5:30 April 12 at the Saratoga Town Hall.