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Willmar City Council to consider land sale Aug. 15 for tiny home development

A public hearing regarding a land sale for a tiny home development and a public hearing for the rezoning of property surrounding the Uptown Willmar mall will take place during the Monday, Aug. 15, meeting of the Willmar City Council.

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WILLMAR — Construction of a tiny home development in the city of Willmar may begin within a year if the Willmar City Council approves a land purchase agreement it negotiated with Justin Paffrath of Edina Realty.

A public hearing regarding the land sale will take place Aug. 15 during the City Council meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services building. Following the public hearing, the council will consider approval of the purchase agreement for the sale.

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A second public hearing will also take place at the meeting for the rezoning of the Rockstep Plaza property, which surrounds the Uptown Willmar mall owned by Rockstep Capital. It is proposed the property be rezoned from shopping center to general business district in order to accommodate the different types of businesses moving into the property.

Land sale

Before going in front of Willmar City Council, sales of city property must be approved by the Willmar Planning Commission. The commission approved the sale for the tiny home development at its July 20 meeting in a split 3-1 vote. Commissioners Jonathan Marchand, Jeff Kimpling and Stacy Holwerda voted in favor of the land sale, and Commissioner Cletus Frank voted against it.

In explaining why he voted “nay,” Frank said, “It’s based upon the city’s estimated market value on the four parcels in question, not on the transaction itself or the intended use of the property by the purchaser. The sale price is less than half of the estimated fair market value.”

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He noted this is likely for real estate tax purposes, before adding, “I also acknowledge that these parcels have been on the city’s coffers for years undeveloped and there’s a benefit to the transaction.”

Aerial map overlaid with lines showing pending land purchase by Justin Paffrath from the city of Willmar for tiny home development in southeast Willmar, Minnesota, to be considered Aug. 15, 2022.
The green lines on this aerial map show four lots owned by the city of Willmar that Justin Paffrath proposes to purchase for a tiny home development in southeast Willmar. The sale of the lots on the north side of Pleasant View Drive Southeast, to the west of the intersection with 15th Street Southeast, will be considered Aug. 15, 2022, by the Willmar City Council.
Contributed / City of Willmar

The land in question is comprised of four lots on the north side of Pleasant View Drive Southeast, to the west of the intersection with 15th Street Southeast. One lot has an estimated market value of $3,600, according to the Kandiyohi County Geographic Information System. The three remaining lots have an estimated market value of $20,200 each, for a total of $64,200.

The purchase agreement negotiated between the city and Paffrath values each lot at $8,000, for a total purchase price of $32,000. It also requires that Paffrath begin construction of the tiny home community within one year of the closing date.

If approved, Paffrath will work with the Willmar Planning and Development Department to draft the standards for the project which will have to be approved by both the Planning Commission and City Council.

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Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: jkotila@wctrib.com or phone at 320-214-4339.
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