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Former auto dealership could become church in Granite Falls, Minn.

GRANITE FALLS -- City Council members in Granite Falls will consider amending a zoning ordinance so that a vacant commercial property along U.S. Highway 212 can be converted for use as a church.

Members of the Rock Haven Church asked council members on Monday to amend the commercial zoning for the former Rittmiller Motors property on U.S. Highway 212 on the west side of the city, according to City Manager Bill Lavin.

To make the change, the council members would have to introduce a resolution at the next meeting and then approve it at a following meeting, he said.

The Rock Haven congregation currently holds Sunday worship services in the auditorium of the Yellow Medicine East High School. Its membership has grown and the church has an agreement to purchase the former auto dealership property, according to information provided the City Council.

The auto dealership has not operated at the location for about four years.

Council members expressed some concerns about the possibility of converting the property for use as a church. There is limited commercial highway frontage available in the community.

As a commercial property, it currently pays $13,030 a year in taxes. Those revenues would be lost if converted for use as a church.

In other business, council members told members of a group hoping to save a historic house at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Second Street that they would not stop its demolition as a hazardous structure. Council members previously awarded bids of $11,750 to remove asbestos from the structure and $15,845 for its demolition.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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