For the first time in many months, residents weren’t packed into a meeting that involved Dahl Automotive’s new dealership location along Hwy. 61.
The Winona City Planning Commission Monday unanimously gave a final approval on a revised version of Dahl’s site plan for their new facility — ending a long process of making changes to the plan to satisfy concerns from nearby neighbors and city officials. It was the first time in recent months that residents hadn’t gathered in crowds to speak out against the plans, citing a number of concerns such as light pollution, water runoff, parking, and visibility of the erecting new building which borders a neighborhood.
At the most recent Board of Adjustment meeting last month, residents said they were satisfied with the plan and were thankful for the hard work owner Andrew Dahl and his crew put into the plans to get the neighborhood on board.
“I just want to applaud everyone involved for hammering it out together,” commissioner Ed Hahn said Monday, congratulating Dahl for his efforts of working with the neighborhood. "This has been a frustrating, elongated process for everyone involved.”
The revised site plan includes adding 60 parking spaces, including 18 spaces for employees – which was a concern for nearby residents, who worried employees would park in their subdivision for lack of space on Dahl’s property.
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Other changes include splitting a previously planned single rain garden into two separate ones, adding an at maximum 10-foot-high berm around parts of the property with a six-foot fence to help block the view of the business from the nearby residential subdivision, along with adding a walking path that will run in between the rain gardens.
The planning commission added just one condition to the approval — that the berm be permanently maintained.
Even after gaining approval from the commission, Dahl continued his trend of working with residents. As soon as the commission gave the OK, Dahl swiveled around in his chair to chat with the two residents who showed up to the meeting.
He described the site plan in more detail, answered their questions, exchanged a few smiles, and ended by telling them to give him a call if they had any further questions or concerns.
“I feel like we got a nice compromise,” Dahl said to commissioners Monday.