Two downtown commercial properties got attention at the Cologne City Council last Monday, April 5, over nearby residential concerns mostly involving lighting.

Freedom Storage is a mini storage business at 180 Adams Avenue South, property zoned commercial. Some nearby neighbors have expressed concern about bright lights put up on high poles at the location that shine into homes and back yards at night. Also, concerns during the day about outside storage with no fence to hide its contents.

Discussion at the planning commission and city council meetings focused on a perceived “vagueness” in the city’s zoning ordinance regarding lighting glare and indoor versus outside storage.

The council directed the issue back to the planning commission to review the zoning language and possible site plan requirements. Meanwhile, the city administrator was directed to address neighbor concerns with the business owner.

Lighting also was an issue in an interim use permit (IUP) for a masonry business at 218 Lake Street West. The IUP was granted last summer, however, in late fall the city identified some violations of the permit requirements. Among them: lighting installed where it shouldn’t be, a surface issue causing a water drainage/erosion problem with a neighbor, and outside storage of vehicles and items.

The lighting issue appears to have been addressed, council members noted; however, the draining and parking issues have not, and the city is looking for a long-term plan from the building owner. The council agreed at its meeting that the IUP can remain in place for now, but indicated the permit could be removed if remaining issues are not resolved to city satisfaction.

In other Cologne news, with spring road weight restrictions off now, construction is expected to resume on Cologne’s downtown street and utilities reconstruction project, begun last year and slated to wrap up in 2021.

Earthwork and street construction also is expected to resume on Winkler Crossing 3rd Addition, the new housing development authorized by the city last year.

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