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Published February 06, 2014, 10:06 AM

City planning commission pre-approves Hugo’s development

Many Grand Forks residents attended Wednesday’s City Council Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to voice their concerns on plans for the new Hugo’s development on the city’s south end.

By: Charly Haley, Grand Forks Herald

Many Grand Forks residents attended Wednesday’s City Council Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to voice their concerns on plans for the new Hugo’s development on the city’s south end.

With an audience of developers, city staff and about 30 to 40 residents, the Commission voted for preliminary approval of the proposed planning and zoning of the development, with the exception that the proposed connecting street off of Washington Street through the development end before connecting to 49th Avenue South.

Brad Gengler, city planner, said city staff and the developers would figure out a way to end the street. The Commission made that decision in an effort to ease traffic on 49th Avenue after hearing testimonials from several residents.

Proposed plans for the development on the east side of South Washington Street and the south side of 47th Avenue include a new Hugo’s grocery store surrounded by a “live, work and play type of development,” said Steve Swanson, a project consultant from AE2S.

ICON Architects presented plans for the development including retail areas with residential above, fast food and sit-down restaurants, banking, office space and other amenities.

Hugo’s is also looking to expand its catering service at this location with banquet facilities for possible corporate events, according to the plans. The new store may also have second-floor office space.

There are also plans at the west side of the 220-acre development for condominiums.

While the many residents, mostly of 49th Avenue, who spoke at the meeting said they were excited for a Hugo’s and restaurants to be nearby, they were largely concerned about traffic.

Some voiced concern about their children’s safety, playing in an area with increase traffic due to the development.

In response to the traffic concerns, which were previously voiced at a neighborhood meeting about the project, developers proposed a gate at the end of the proposed street through the development connecting to 49th Avenue.

Commissioners discussed the options of the through street and the gate, considering needs such as emergency vehicles and snow removal, before settling on amending the plans to end the street in the development, not having it connect to 49th Avenue.

The Commission also approved a cap on the amount of residents in the area where condominiums are planned, Gengler said. Original plans had a 36-plex there, but the Commission’s cap would only allow 6-plex housing, he said.

The Commission’s decision is preliminary, Gengler said. The issue will go to the full City Council for preliminary approval, then back to the Planning and Zoning commission, and again to the Council for final approval, he said.

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