Weather Forecast


Wadena residents give council feedback on townhome project

Photo by Brian Hansel The former Leaf River Ag Service building in Wadena started coming down Tuesday morning. Doing the demolition work is Forest River Salvage of Fordville, N.D. The building was badly damaged by the tornado that hit Wadena in June, 2010.

Wadena City Council members and Compton Township officials got feedback from a few local residents regarding the annexation of a proposed townhome site during a public hearing July 24.

No action was taken since the purpose of the meeting was to gather input and hear any concerns.

Matt and Terry Roach of Little Falls-based Roach Development LLC were present at the hearing to answer questions about their proposed building project.

"We are two brothers of a family of eight that will be involved," Terry said.

Roach said the land they hope to build on was up for sale and suitable for the project's needs, but they need city utilities.

Wadena City Attorney Jeff Pedersen said the five-acre lot, just outside the city limits of Wadena on 11th Street Southwest and King Avenue, is not currently served by city water and sewer. If and when annexation goes through, the land will be ceded from Compton Township to the city of Wadena.

Previously, during the June regular council meeting, the parcel of land was approved for R-2 zoning in the first step of allowing the project to go through.

Matt said the building project would ideally start in the fall and be open by spring 2013. If they were delayed, they would not be able to begin until spring 2013.

Southwest Wadena resident Roger Folkestad said he was not against the townhome project, but would like to have some screening effect, such as trees, around the back side of the fourplexes.

Matt and Terry Roach said Folkestad's request was reasonable.

Wadena Planning and Zoning Director Dean Uselman had photographs of Roach Development LLC properties in New York Mills, and said their backyards look nice and appear more like front yards.

Southwest Wadena resident Elinor Wiskow said she was concerned about the existing homes for sale, and about empty lots already within the city limits still needing to be occupied.

Residential areas in southwest Wadena were hard hit by a June 17, 2010 tornado that ripped through Wadena.

"Do we have need for 28 more apartments in this town?" she asked.

Terry said people immediately seeking available rental units are in a different market from people seeking to purchase or build a permanent home.

The Wadena City Council typically holds its regular meetings the second Tuesday of every month. However, the next regular city council meeting will be Aug. 15, due to the primary election date.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said they would probably take action on the townhome project during that meeting.

City Administrator Brad Swenson said the state would ultimately need to approve annexation, which could take several weeks.