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Milaca City Council members will consider a controversial rezoning request that if approved could pave the way for possible development of a taproom brewery in a new general business district.

Jay and Rosemary Lunn have submitted a request to have their property at 405 First St. E. rezoned from residential to general business district to make it useable for new purposes.

Jay Lunn is retired and wants to sell the property.

Eric Sannerud, another Milaca area resident and CEO of Mighty Axe Hops, has expressed interest in transforming the historic building that's located on the property into a taproom brewery.

The Lunn Construction Co. building was built in 1926. In their application for rezoning, the Lunns stated that over time, the building was surrounded with residential properties.

“I believe this business will bring many benefits to the Milaca area,” Jay Lunn wrote, referring to Sannerud’s business plan.

He added: “It will act as a draw from the highway to downtown businesses. It will create a community gathering space and generate additional tax base, jobs, and tourism.”

Residents who attended Monday night’s Milaca Planning Commission meeting strongly disagreed.

Approximately 15 people attended the meeting, and evenly expressed a number of critical concerns about the rezoning request.

Residents living near 405 First Street E. are worried a change from residential zoning to a general business district will increase the likelihood of car versus pedestrian or bicycle accidents in the area, boost noise levels and auto exhaust pollution, and create a potential drop in their property values.

The Milaca Planning Commission is an advisory body to the city council and is responsible for ensuring development within the city meets the standards of the comprehensive plan and the zoning code.

Commissioners conduct public hearings to receive comments on variances, conditional use permits, development proposals, subdivisions, and rezoning, but do not have the final say on such matters.

The planning commission meets the second Monday of each month.

Action items are forwarded to the Milaca City Council for additional discussion and a final vote.

During Monday night’s meeting, the commission voted 2-1 in favor of the Lunn’s request.

Commissioners Sherie Billings and Arla Johnson voted yes and Commissioner Joel Millam voted no. Commissioners Scott Harlicker and Pam Novak were not in attendance at Monday night's meeting.

City leaders are scheduled to review the Lunn property rezoning request this Thursday (Jan. 16) during a meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m.

See next week’s Union-Times for a full report on Monday night’s Milaca Planning Commission meeting and Thursday night’s Milaca council meeting regarding the outcome of the proposed rezoning request.

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