News
City addresses proposed road track development rumors

Lake George Lofts plan approved

By Sarah Nigbor

RIVER FALLS – At the July 26 River Falls City Council meeting, a rural River Falls resident expressed concern about a possible automotive country club/road course that has been proposed by developer Neal Krzyzaniak of Kinnick Development Group.

“He (Krzyzaniak) said the city had been approached and was on board with the whole thing already,” the resident said. “Has anyone heard about that proposition?”

Mayor Dan Toland said the developers have talked to the city, who instructed them to talk to the citizens first. “We have no stake in the game,” Toland said. “They bring no plans to us, they bring no options or anything to us, so we really have no opinion. We haven’t seen anything about it.”

The resident said he was surprised by the proposal, because some of the landowners have been approached about selling their land already.

City Administrator Scot Simpson confirmed to Alder person Sean Downing when questioned that no applications have been submitted.

Krzyzaniak is hoping to build a complex geared toward high-end automotive enthusiasts on 500+ acres along highways 65 and 29 in the town of River Falls. The proposed track would include a 5-mile private road course with club house, an outside entertainment area for car shows, swap meets and live entertainment; a facility to teach safe driving skills with on-stau instructors, 600 garage-style condo villas, a 100-unit RV park, a smaller training driving track, a skid pad, multiple restaurants, a store, a rooftop bar, corporate ovces, a chapel, steam room, pool and more.

Simpson made a statement concerning people’s concern over the proposed development.

"Stau does have pre-devel opment meetings with people. We meet with all kinds of developers with all kinds of ideas in their feasibility stages,” he said. “Then they determine how they want to proceed and a lot of times that requires land acquisition and assemblage and other things they have to do as far as financing. Then typically the developer will say ‘What do you think?’ At this stage we say there will be people opposed and people that will be in favor of. Here’s some of the things, some of the hurdles that you’ll have to ac- commodate, but stau doesn't consider itself the gatekeepers of all proposals, so at this point, we have not received anything other than a prospective map.”

Kinnick Development Group has not submitted a request for annexation, he said.

“We don’t have any kind of plans where city stau could even give an educated response to the challenges of a development of that magnitude,” Simpson said. “The developer has indicated that he is planning some kind of public informational meeting, which city stau encourages developers to do. It’s not a city meeting, it's not staued by city stau, it would be a meeting for him to bring the concept to the community. If it goes past the feasibility stage, there is a lot of work the developer would have to do as far as submitting plans, request for annexation, etc.

“I’m only going to speak for city stau and for us, not for what the developer said, but I just suggest to people that they may be thoughtful in their analysis of what somebody says somebody else said that somebody else said at some meeting that somebody else was at, so that seems to be the way things are going these days and I would just be thoughtful about looking for some facts and trying to understand where things are at.”

Unless council tells stau diuerently, they don't consid er themselves the gatekeepers telling people what they can and cannot do as far as development proposals go, Simpson closed.

Lake George Lofts

The council approved the Specific Implementation Plan, development agreement and budget adjustment for a new 32-unit multi-family building at 131 and 141 W. Cascade Ave. called Lake George Lofts.

According to the coun- cil packet, city stau has been working with Gerrard Corporation since Fall 2021 on the multi-family development, which is the third phase of the University Falls development. Gerrard completed phases 1 and 2 in 2010. The SIP is the final step for devel opment review for a planned unit development which includes detailed architectural, engineering, landscaping and stormwater plans.

The four-story building will contain five studio units, 15 one-bedroom units, and 12

two-bedroom units. The first floor will contain 24 covered parking spaces, along with a lobby, mail room and leasing ovce, which will serve the two neighboring buildings. A 28-space parking lot will be located alongside and behind the building.

The development agreement includes the following stipulations:

• The minimum tax value is $5 million.

•The guarantee term is 10 years.

• Maximum reimbursement is $900,000.

•The developer will construct a publicly accessible connection between Cascade Avenue and the trail via a sidewalk and stairway along the building’s east side.

•The developer will in- clude auordable housing units (five studio and one one-bedroom) in the building for 15 years at 80% and two two-bedroom units at 50%.

Other business

•Resident Gary Meyer spoke against the city potentially implementing an ordinance amendment restricting parking of campers, boats and RVs in front of homes. “I do park my RV in my driveway, and I don’t have a back yard to put it in. I think it would be irresponsible and unfair to pass something like that without the city having more knowledge and people being able to oppose it.”

• The city heard a presentation from Sheanne Hediger from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause about the annual audit results, which they approved.

•A new Bee City ad hoc committee met right before the June 15 Park Board meeting. Before applying to be a Bee City, city ordinances need to be looked it, such as if beehives are allowed in the city, and if the city supports “No Mow May.”

•The council approved a renewal proposal from Travelers Companies and Cowbell for property, casualty, and cyber insurance coverage for 2022-2023 in the amount of $490,171. This is an increase of 22.67 percent over the prior year primarily due to increases in the workers compensation and cyber insurance products. The city received quotes from 30 diuerent companies.

• The mayor appointed Tiua ny Alexander and Lorraine Davis to the Library Board through July 2025.

• The mayor appointed Na- tasha Schaefer to the Park & Rec Advisory Board through May 2025.

This map shows the location of the Lake George Lofts at 131 and 141 W. Cascade Ave. The building will hold 32 units. Map courtesy of City of River Falls

August 9, 2022