Proposed Retail Development in Kasson Draws Heated Criticism

Posted at: 10/07/2013 10:50 PM
Updated at: 10/08/2013 11:32 AM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Neighbors and business owners are furious over a potential business developer looking to build in Kasson. City officials shared the news with the public Monday.

In a very tense meeting, the small town learned that their neighborhood park could be replaced with a 30,000 square foot retail center.

Residents showed up by the dozens to this informational meeting, bringing with them some very strong opinions. Many of them, outraged that the city would even consider the contractors proposal in that location, potentially buying out a couple homes in the area. "We are willing to give you ‘X’ amount of dollars for your property, which by the way is $7,000 less than the estimated market value," Kasson resident Carl David Zomok said he was told by the developers when they were at his door step.

"That's going to bring down our land values, so it’s just ridiculous, I think," said Kasson resident Jamie Finne.

They'd be relocating the park and building in a space that’s currently zoned as residential. "Why would they want to put it in the park? Why not in the commercially zoned area already?" asked Finne.

That was one of the big questions at the meeting Monday, and another... "This is a floodplain. I don't know why they would want to make and build here and cause problems upstream to those people who are living up there," said Finne.

City administrator Randy Lenth says the contractor wants that spot because of the traffic. "We have 13,000 cars a day going by on Mantorville Avenue. There are more cars going down Mantorville Avenue than there is on Highway 14 East," said Lenth.

Though many details have to be hammered out, he thinks bringing retail to Kasson would be a good thing. "Kasson residents live here but they spend their money in Rochester," said Lenth.

Still, many living in that area think it'll do them more harm than good. "You ask me why I'm angry? Why I'm concerned about this? They don't even care, you know why they don’t care? …because they don't live here!" said Zomok.

This is only something the contractor has proposed to the city, though it's being considered, it hasn't been at the table of a council meeting. It would also have to be rezoned and inspected by the DNR (since it's a floodplain) for it to move forward, but we'll continue to follow this.