Car repair business moving into town
By Jennifer Kotila
COKATO, MN A new business will be coming to Cokato after the planning and zoning commission and the city council approved a special use permit and site plans for the Palo property at last Monday’s special meeting.
The Palo property is located on US Highway 12 on the east side of Cokato, near the railroad bridge.
Doug DeCock of Lamberton, MN recently purchased the property, and his son, Andy DeCock will be operating a repairable car business at the site.
The DeCocks worked closely with the city, Wright Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and the city engineer to understand what the recommendations there were for improvements, said City Administrator Don Levens.
They also discussed what could and could not be done with the property in consideration of the wetlands that surround it, Levens added.
“City staff feels that these recommendations and requests are doable, and the applicant is here to answer any questions,” Levens told the planning and zoning commission.
Andy addressed the commission, saying he had been working with his father at a repairable car business in Lamberton for about 10 years, where he has learned everything he knows about the business.
Acknowledging that he had met with or talked with both Brian Sanoski of SWCD and the city engineer Eric Lembke of Stantec, Andy said he had a good understanding of the requests and recommendations for the property.
Andy plans numerous improvements to the property, which will take place next spring.
One of the improvements will be leveling out two dirt piles, using the dirt to fill in areas of erosion on the property.
Another improvement will be abandoning the current sanitary system (a septic tank) according to Minnesota law, and connecting to the city’s sewer and water system.
Trees and brush will be removed from the edge of the property to create better sight lines for Highway 12 traffic, and other landscaping will be completed, Andy said.
A shallow retention pond will also be constructed near the south end of the property, as recommended by Lembke.
The pond will collect runoff stormwater from the impermeable surface of the lot and retain it to remove pollutants before the water empties into the wetlands surrounding the property.
A fence will also be constructed on the property to obstruct the view of cars not for sale at the business, as well as the retention pond, DeCock said.
The repairable car business will have, at most, 20 to 25 cars available for sale, Andy said.
However, it will take him a few years to build up to that many cars, he added.
Although the main business will be selling cars after repair, Andy noted he may sell some other used cars there, as well.
The council also approved waiving the sewer and water connection fees for the property, and will continue to do so for new businesses in an effort to attract them to Cokato.