Monticello council tables car dealership development, zoning request

Monticello council members tabled action Monday night on an automobile dealership’s zoning and development request for the former Monticello Ford property.
Principal Stephen Grittman with Northwest Associated Consultants represented the city and reviewed Cornerstone Chevrolet’s request for a planned unit development (PUD).
Grittman said the Monticello Planning Commission members reviewed the PUD and rezoning Oct. 2 and conducted a public hearing.
During discussion, commissioners recommended project approval, but had concerns about a proposed pathway along Highway 25 and a 200-square foot electronic message sign requested by Cornerstone.
Commissioners included the pathway in conditions of approval, but limited the sign to 100 square feet.
Bill Beard represented West Metro at the Oct. 2 public hearing.
He was concerned the Cornerstone project, as proposed, would be released from a previous PUD, which includes the property owned by West Metro.
Cornerstone’s proposed PUD consists of the former Monticello Ford dealership property.
It includes the building site and sales display lot at the corner of Highway 25 and Chelsea Road, and the Ford storage lot directly west of the dealership on Sandberg Road.
Stephen Rohlf is Cornerstone Auto Resource’s project and land development coordinator. He addressed the PUD and zoning changes with the city council.
Jack Perry with the Minneapolis-based law firm Briggs & Morgan represented West Metro Buick GMC. Perry asked the council to table Cornerstone’s request.
Rohlf told the council Cornerstone was under a tight deadline, and needed the city’s zoning approval before it could obtain ownership of the vacant dealership.
Mayor Clint Herbst said he wasn’t excited about the Highway 25 pathway, and suggested tabling Cornerstone’s request at the start of the council’s discussion.
Rohlf estimated that including the pathway would add more than $36,000 in assessments. “I can build it a heck of a lot less than being assessed,” he said.
The 200 square-foot message board would be 20 feet high. Cornerstone has a similar sign at its Highway 10 location in Elk River, Rohlf said.
The Monticello sign would be used to display community and public safety announcements as well as advertising. Cornerstone would relocate its existing pylon sign
Perry said he had nine concerns with the proposed PUD and zoning changes.
“We are not trying to stop this project, but we were not told why we were going through this,” he said, referring to the PUD process.
West Metro was also concerned other signage proposed by Cornerstone would have a huge impact.
“People usually don’t revoke a PUD and come up with a new one,” he added. “We need time to look at this. You have two very similar dealership operations competing with each other.”
Rohlf said Cornerstone Chevrolet would just as soon not have a competitor’s directional sign on its property.
Grittman said a variance wasn’t needed regarding signage. “Part of the PUD allows for flexibility regarding signage,” he said.
Herbst said the city wanted to work with Cornerstone and West Metro.
“You are going to be neighbors for a long time,” he said. He suggested the PUD and re-zoning request be tabled for two weeks.
Council members voted 4-0 to table the request, placing it on the Oct. 22 meeting agenda.
Councilmember Glen Posusta was not in attendance Monday night.