While Days Inn demolition work continues, council approves height exception for new structure

city council

Demolition of the old Days Inn on 30th Avenue South west of Walgreen’s is nearly complete. (Photo/Nancy Hanson.)

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

For the second time in one month, the Moorhead City Council has granted a conditional use permit to allow a new apartment complex to exceed the height limit set by the site’s zoning.

The council unanimously approved the permit Monday to allow the four-story Compass Apartments to exceed the regulatory limit of 45 feet in height. City planner Robin Huston noted that the building itself falls within the 45-foot limit, but its pitched roof requires the additional 7 feet of clearance.

Enclave Development representative Brian Bochman said construction of the new building is expected to begin in June after demolition of the 52-year-old hotel is complete. Originally built as a Ramada Inn and conference center, it operated as a Days Inn until closing five years ago. The development company purchased the site at auction several years ago. The $32.4 million, 104-unit project received tax increment financing amounting to some $5 million from the city last December, along with a $600,000 interest-bearing loan to assist with demolition costs.

Bochman noted that Enclave has been working to be a good neighbor to the surrounding neighbors, including First Presbyterian Church to the north and apartments to the west and south. One example, he said, was that sidewalks will be added to the property, though there is no requirement to do so.

Council member Deb White applauded the company’s willingness to work with neighbors, noting that the pastor of the neighboring church endorsed their application for the variance while emphasizing their willingness to work together uses for the green space on the northeast edge of the property.

At its April 11 meeting, the council heard and approved a similar request to allow a 5-foot variance for another development planned at 2501 11th St. S. by Skaff Apartments, a three- and four-story residential building. At that meeting, a neighborhood resident presented a petition objecting to the development because of concerns about the effect it could have on traffic and overflow parking on the street, as well as potentially blocking the view for residents of the assisted living facility to the north. Architect Blake Carlson explained the additional 5 feet of height was needed to improve height for parking at ground level. The measure passed on a vote of seven to one.

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