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Town of River Falls: Residents oppose changing town's industrial acreage size

A public hearing to address changes to a law about light-industrial lot sizes was held at the Monday, July 19, town of River Falls board meeting.

Business owner Joel Cordes, of Lake and Pond Aeration, asked the board to consider a change from a two-acre- to one-acre minimum for light industrial lots.

The only plot of town land potentially affected by this change is located on 902nd St. near the Town Hall off Hwy. 65. It's part of a light industrial park with one business - Health Centered Dentistry.

Nearby neighbors were at the Town Board meeting to express concerns.

Scott Shew, N7923 902nd St., said change the lot size would bring in more traffic to areas where his children play.

Shew felt the proposed change would be "...contrary to what my family bought into," and added: "These changes are going to affect my family and my neighbors' families."

Neighbor Dan Carlson, N7924 902nd St., understood the acreage was zoned light industrial but didn't like changing the parameters. Carlson was concerned that such a change may set precedence for changes to other local laws.

Town of River Falls Planning Commission member and neighbor, John Oliver, N7899 920th St., thought the current two-acre minimum was "...more attuned to the aesthetics of River Falls township."

Oliver, too, was concerned with the precedent that this change could encourage: "What's to stop a person from asking to divide their land into one-acre lots for residential building?"

The light industrial land co-owner, Larry Murphy, was present to support the changes to the law.

Murphy said, "...the land has sat vacant for a long time. I have an opportunity to sell some of the land that I have been paying taxes on and would like the board to give its approval. The possibility of lowering the minimum acreage was always there and shown on the plot map."

Town Board Supervisor Siri Smith said: "Obviously this is a big enough issue that we need to have the Planning Commission weigh in, as well as do our due diligence to make sure we make the right decision for the township."

The Town Board decided to send the issue back to the Planning Commission for further review and have another public hearing before deciding.

For more on the town of River Falls board meeting, please see the July 28 print edition of the River Falls Journal.