The Blaine City Council on Jan. 19 gave approvals for Twin Cities Orthopedics to move ahead with its development of a new office building.
Rob Simmons, chief operating officer of Twin Cities Orthopedics, said the goal is to break ground later this spring and open in the spring of 2018.Twin Cities Orthopedics is planning to construct a three-story, 50,000-square-foot office building at 11225 Ulysses St. NE. It would close its existing clinic in the Blaine Medical Center, which is just 1 mile away, when this new office building opens.
“From a business needs standpoint, we look at the Blaine market where we have very little presence at this time and feel there’s an opportunity to expand our services there,” Simmons said.
Twin Cities Orthopedics had originally proposed a 60,000-square-foot building, but shrunk it down to 50,000 square feet because of wetlands on the property.
In addition to approving the preliminary plat, the council approved rezoning the property from B-2 Community Commercial to B-3 Regional Commercial. This allows the clinic to be taller. The B-2 zoning allows buildings to be up to 36 feet tall while B-3 allows a maximum height of 50 feet.
The council also approved a variance so that some of the parking stalls could be 19 feet long instead of Blaine’s standard 20-foot requirement. This allows the developer to get 11 more parking stalls.
Bryan Schafer, community development director, said this parking stall length variance was not brought up by the applicant until recently. After confirming there are cities that allow 19-foot-long parking stalls, Blaine staff recommended to the council that it allow the variance.
Schafer said city staff at some point will do some more research on parking stall lengths and may come back to the council with a proposed code amendment.
Council Member Wes Hovland commented on how difficult it can be for owners of large vehicles to get into some parking spaces and he said the issue is not just about the stall length, but the width as well.
“The compact cars, the smaller cars, no problem, but if you get into full-size vehicles it’s really difficult getting in and out of these spaces and potentially it puts people at greater risk of having minor accidents,” Hovland said.
Schafer responded that there would not be any recommendation to reduce the width of the stalls. The length would be the only issue the city would consider.
“We like the stall width where it’s at and we wouldn’t be looking at trying to reduce that,” he said.
Article originally posted on ABCNewspapers.com on Feb. 1, 2017.