The city planning and commission on Thursday unanimously approved a proposal to redevelop the old Tomtronix building at 227 N. Front St. into a small recording studio and studio for private music lessons.
The permit application came from Nathaniel and Arlene Sperl for the property at 227 N. Front Street. The applicant plans to operate a small recording studio in the building, allowing musicians to come into the studio and record music. The other part of the business would involve private lessons.
The property is currently located within a General Industrial Zoning District (I-2). Music recording is permitted in the service and general business districts. A permit is required to operate in an industrial district.
The building will remain aesthetically the same. The applicant plans to upgrade the building with fresh paint, new windows, flooring and landscaping.
City staff recommended approval because a music recording studio is considered a less intense use than most I-2 permitted land uses. The applicant also plans to install noise control equipment.
The planning commission unanimously supported the permit. Commissioner Larry Mack said it was a good use of the property.
President Anne Earl said it was good to know the building would not be vacant. She also had no concerns about the noise generated as the nature of the businesses required noise abatement.
The commissioners believed that the trains running through this part of town would create more noise than the studio.
City Council will give final approval of the permit at its meeting on Tuesday, April 4.
The commission also recommended a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) permitting the production and retail sale of Sweethaven Tonic products and the operation of a tasting room were approved for a property at 110 N. Minnesota Street.
The request came from Leah Treleven on behalf of Sweethaven Tonics. Trevleven plans to use the former Herberger building to produce and retail Sweethaven Tonic products. The space will also serve as a beverage tasting room. Initial plans are to convert the rear half of the building into an invigorating production and packaging area, with the front portion as a tasting room.
Staff recommended approval of the application. The property is zoned General Commerce (B-3). The sale of tonic products has been considered in the same general character as the other businesses in this zoning sector and is compatible with the adjoining properties.
The commission had questions about waste disposal and deliveries to the property. The main entrance to the building is on Minnesota Street and there were concerns that the street could become even more crowded.
Treleven said trash would be removed from the rear of the building on the alley side. Product would be brought into the front entrance as there is no rear access to the main level.
Treleven said that when a large product is brought in, the delivery truck will park on the side streets and a pallet jack will bring the product in from the front.
Asked about the company’s opening schedule, Treleven said he hopes the production area will be finalized in May and the rest of the building will be open in the fall.
Final permit approval will be presented to City Council on Tuesday.
The commission approved a height variation for a detached garage at 300 S. Jefferson Street.
The request was to allow the garage to be built at a height of 19 feet and 6 inches. The property is located in the neighborhood of single-family and two-family residences (R-2). Isolated accessory buildings must not exceed 16 feet in the R-2 district. Height regulations are flexible if the property has a 14.3% slope from the street elevation. The property has a slope of only 10%, but the garage would be shorter than the house. The top of the garage would reach the approximate height of the eaves of the house.
The commission ultimately recommended approval of the waiver, with a dissenting vote from Commissioner Ashely Aukes. Aukes did not believe the waiver request met all of the criteria necessary for approval. She didn’t believe that any single circumstance required the garage to be more than three feet of extra height.
Staff confirmed that other height deviations for detached accessory buildings had been approved in the city, but the reason for the approval was unknown. There have been incidents where the topography has created a situation where the roof of the garage is significantly lower or higher than the house. In these cases, it was deemed appropriate to allow a greater height.
Commissioner Dave Munson moved the motion to approve the waiver with a second from Larry Mack. Munson thought this design of the garage would be in harmony with the property.
Final approval of the waiver will be presented to City Council on Tuesday.