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Annexation approved for proposed townhomes

A proposed townhome development in southwest Wadena is continuing to go through, as the Wadena City Council approved a developer's agreement and an annexation ordinance during its regular meeting Wednesday.

Initially, Matt and Terry Roach, representing their company, Roach Development LLC, did not want to accept the agreement as written, partly because it said the agreement "shall run with the land and will be recorded against the title to the property."

City Administrator Brad Swenson said that section is a way to guarantee the property on 11th Street and King Avenue Southwest stays as intended: single story townhomes.

Swenson said there were several options to deal with the issue, including a compromise to let the restriction expire after a certain number of years.

Swenson also said City Attorney Jeff Pederson, who was not present at the meeting, recommended to leave it as written.

Wadena Planning and Zoning Director Dean Uselman said the intent was to make sure developers do what was stated in the public hearing, and some residents had expressed concern that a high rise could be built due to the R-2 zoning given to the area.

Uselman said having the rule expire in 25 years or so would be a good idea, because the neighborhood would probably change by then anyway.

Matt Roach said his concerns regarded what would happen to the property in the worst case scenario, where they would no longer own it in future years because the clause would affect the property in the eyes of lenders.

Roach said they plan to build the property as proposed and own it 30 to 40 years from now. He also said he wants to be comfortable with how the title is shaped.

Also, Roach gave the hypothetical situation of trying to sell a piece of property restricted to single-family townhomes if the rest of the neighborhood were to change into gas stations and commercial property. Otherwise, he said he has no problem agreeing contractually.

Uselman said if the agreement is bound at the council, it could be unbound decades in the future by the city council if need be.

"If it's easily unbindable, we're all in," Roach said.

The council adopted the developer's agreement.

Additionally, the council also approved the ordinance to annex the parcel of land to the city of Wadena from Compton Township.

Uselman added that the Roach Development LLC properties in other towns are well-maintained.