By Gabe Licht
Median sales prices for Delano homes increased 10.4 percent, from $207,000 to $231,000, from 2013 to 2014, City Assessor Ken Yager told the Delano City Council during Tuesday’s Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting.
In total, 51 homes were sold in 2014, at values about 7 percent higher than Yager had assessed them at.
“I had about the same number of calls prior to this meeting as I normally do,” Yager said. “When they heard what their neighbors were selling their homes for, they were satisfied with that. Some of them felt the value was going up faster than what it actually is. My response was, ‘Maybe yours is. The market will determine that.’”
There were a total of 420 building permits in 2014, including 41 new homes and two major commercial projects. There were also 71 unfinished permits at the end of 2014.
Jim Borrett of the Wright County Assessor’s Office explained that state law requires assessors to value property at 100 percent of its market value, but have a range of 90 to 105 percent to work with. Valuations are based on sales between Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.
“Countywide, there was a 4.93 percent increase in residential and seasonal properties,” Borrett said. “Depending on where those properties are located, some cities might see a larger increase or a lesser increase.”
Commercial and industrial properties saw a .13 percent decrease in valuation, while agricultural valuations dropped .6 percent.
After no public comment from residents, the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting was adjourned and a special city council meeting began.
City Planner Al Brixius approached the council with an application for a front yard setback variance for Calbrandt Inc. at 768 Seventh St. S.
“Initially, we talked to (owner) Cal (Brandt) about expanding his building to the south,” Brixius said. “We found it had poor soils at the back of the building that prevents them from locating the building at that location. As such, they located the building addition off the front.”
Doing so decreased the setback from 30 feet to 25 feet.
Brixius said the expansion would not be a significant encroachment.
“It’s certainly consistent with the intent and purpose of our zoning ordinance and consistent with the comprehensive plan, which is very much in favor of expansion with existing industries,” Brixius said.
One issue is the elimination of 13 parking stalls. The site is required to have 72 parking spaces total.
Brixius noted that Calbrandt does not need additional parking for current employees, but the requirement is in place in case the building is ever sold to a different business with different needs.
Calbrandt will have the option to construct additional parking at the south end of the lot.
“That could go where a building expansion would not be feasible,” Brixius said.
Calbrandt could also acquire an administrative permit for deferred parking.
The Delano Planning Commission recommended approval of the variance and the city council unanimously agreed to do so.