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Dave Olson, Published February 02 2011

Moorhead Planning Commission: Board OKs plan for McDonald's

Over the objections of several Moorhead residents, the Moorhead Planning Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to OK plans McDonald’s has to tear down and rebuild its restaurant on Eighth Street South.

The proposal now goes to the City Council, which may discuss it at a Feb. 14 meeting.

As part of McDonald’s plans, the company would tear down two homes located on Ninth Street that it purchased years ago and expand its parking lot to the east.

The company would keep a garage for storage purposes and a wall would be built on the east edge of the restaurant’s parking and drive-thru area.

Several neighborhood residents spoke in opposition to the proposal, including Lyle Landstrom, who said it was an example of a commercial enterprise getting its foot in the door of a residential neighborhood.

“I want to close that door and lock it,” said Landstrom, who added that city code bars a residential garage from being used for commercial purposes.

“It’s not my code, it’s your code,” Landstrom said.

Deb White, the lone Planning Commission member voting against the proposal, said she believes it violates the intent of the city’s comprehensive plan and “sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Planning Commission Member Luther Stueland, who is also a City Council member, said he understood the residents’ concerns, adding that Tuesday’s decision was one of the most difficult he has had to make since joining the City Council.

But, he said a guiding principle he tends to follow is that property owners should be able to do what they want with their property within established rules.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555